The Renewable Resources Extension Act: An Overview

The Renewable Resources Extension Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-306) strengthened existing Extension programs by mandating and funding an expanded role for Extension in renewable natural resource conservation and management. The Renewable Resources Extension Act (RREA) provides forest and rangeland owners and managers with information they need to sustainably produce wood products, forages and livestock, fish and wildlife populations and outdoor recreation opportunities. In addition to the benefits provided by a healthier environment and a more productive land base, the processors and consumers of these resources are served directly by RREA programs that foster the efficient use and distribution of forest and rangeland products.

The RREA, as with other Extension education programs, is conducted through the cooperative efforts of the Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 73 land-grant universities and more than 3,100 counties. Federal RREA funds are distributed annually to cooperating states. These funds are used to strengthen Extension education programs in five program areas, including:

  • Rangeland Management
  • Forestland Management
  • Wildlife and Fisheries
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Environmental Management and Renewable Resource Public Policy

Extension Program Leaders in each state allocate RREA funds to develop and implement specific projects within these program areas that address unique resource management challenges. As a result, the structure and focus of RREA programs vary depending on each state's natural resource base and the educational needs of its citizens.