Klamath River Basin Conservation Area Restoration Program:

Limited Assurance Regarding the Federal Funding Requirements

GAO-05-804: Published: Sep 19, 2005. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 2005.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Kay L. Daly
2025166906
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

The Klamath River Basin Fishery Resources Restoration Act (Act), passed in October 1986, required the Secretary of the Interior to establish and restore a conservation area in that river basin, created a management council and a task force to assist and advise the Secretary, and authorized $21 million until September 30, 2006. The restoration program reports that it had been appropriated over $17 million by September 2005. In anticipation of the authorization's expiration, GAO was asked to provide information for fiscal years 2000 through 2004, the most recent 5-year period for which complete information is available, about (1) funding for the program; (2) expenditures by the program for restoration projects, travel expenses, administrative expenses, overhead, and technical support; (3) expenditures by the management council and the task force; and (4) whether the Secretary complied with certain requirements of the Act. GAO obtained funding and expenditure information from FWS but did not audit that financial information.

The Secretary of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have taken a number of actions to formulate, establish, and implement the Klamath River Basin Conservation Area Restoration Program, including designating a conservation area, establishing the management council and the task force, formulating a long-term plan, and funding restoration projects in the Klamath River Basin. The restoration program reports receiving a little over $9.8 million in cash and noncash contributions during fiscal years 2000 through 2004 from federal and nonfederal sources. The federal portion totaled almost $6.3 million and consisted of about $5.1 million from FWS's lump-sum resource management appropriation account, and almost $1.2 million in cash and noncash contributions from federal entities that participated in restoration projects with FWS, according to FWS records. FWS records also show that the nonfederal portion consisted of almost $3.6 million in cash and noncash contributions from nonfederal entities that participated in restoration projects. During the same 5-year period, the restoration program spent about $7.6 million in cash and noncash contributions for restoration projects, about $200,000 for travel reimbursements, about $1.1 million for administrative expenses, and about $491,000 for overhead, according to information provided by FWS officials. Information was not available on technical support expenses incurred by the restoration program. The management council and the task force serve solely in an advisory capacity and do not directly select or manage projects. FWS officials told GAO that they paid about $800,000 to cover operating costs of the management council and the task force for the 5-year period. Regarding the financial requirements of the Act, FWS officials have correctly identified the need to fund some Restoration Program expenditures from monies that are not subject to the Act's restrictions, and FWS officials told GAO they believe they are in compliance with these provisions. However, FWS has not yet incorporated into their accounting procedures and record-keeping sufficient controls to provide reasonable assurance of compliance with those provisions of the Act. In addition, the Act requires that half of the restoration program's costs be funded by nonfederal sources. FWS officials collect some information on restoration projects regarding any nonfederal contributions, but they do not distinguish between cash and noncash contributions in project documents, document their valuation decisions regarding the noncash contributions, or take steps to verify that nonfederal contributions meet the Act's criteria. Incorporating these additional controls into the Restoration Program's operations would not be difficult or costly, and would provide reasonable assurance of compliance with those provisions of the Act.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: In order to enhance compliance with the Act, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service to track Restoration Program funds requested and received through the appropriations process by specifically identifying Klamath Restoration Program funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Fish and Wildlife Service could not provide documentation to show that they had established procedures for tracking restoration program funds. The Klamath River Restoration Fund expired in September 2006 and was not reauthorized.

    Recommendation: In order to enhance compliance with the Act, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service to develop standard operating procedures for reviewing and validating contributor-supplied information regarding the determination and valuation of noncash contributions and determination of nonfederal sources of funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Klamath River Restoration Fund expired in September 2006 and was not reauthorized. The Fish and Wildlife Service could not provide documentation to show that they had procedures for reviewing and validating contributor-provided information.

    Recommendation: In order to enhance compliance with the Act, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service to include a requirement in the standard project agreement that if any contributor to the project is a state or local government, that contributor must attest to how much, if any, of the contribution is from federal monies received by that state or local government.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) modified the project agreement language to specify whether contributed funds come from federal or non federal sources. FWS provided a sample project agreement to show that FWS modified the standard project agreement language and requirements. Further, a February 2006 project agreement signed by a FWS Field Supervisor, included language that required the project participant to specify whether contributed funds come from federal or non federal sources.

    Recommendation: In order to enhance compliance with the Act, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service to modify the standard project agreement language to distinguish between cash and noncash contributions from the project participant.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) modified the project agreement language to distinguish between cash and non cash contributions from project participants. FWS provided a sample project agreement to show that FWS modified the standard project agreement language and requirements. Further, a February 2006 project agreement signed by a FWS Field Supervisor, included language that required the project participant to distinguish between cash and non cash contributions.

    Recommendation: In order to enhance compliance with the Act, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service to track Restoration Program funds expenditures through FWS's Federal Financial System by assigning a project code to the Klamath Restoration Program funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) assigned a separate project code to the Klamath Restoration Program Funds to enable tracking these funds separately from other appropriated funds. Specifically, in FY 2006, FWS established project code 8K00, "Klamath River Restoration" in subactivity 1331 Anadromous Fish Management to track Klamath River funds separately from other 1331 monies. FWS provided a screen print from its Federal Financial System to show that the code had been implemented.

    Jul 16, 2014

    Jul 15, 2014

    Jul 9, 2014

    Jun 30, 2014

    Jun 16, 2014

    May 22, 2014

    May 21, 2014

    May 19, 2014

    May 12, 2014

    May 5, 2014

    Looking for more? Browse all our products here