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Concession Administration Information:

Tiber Marina, a Concession Operation at Lake Elwell near Chester, Mont.
Tiber Marina, a Concession Operation at Lake Elwell near Chester, Mont.

Directives & Standards LND 04-02:

The following information is excerpted from the Reclamation Manual. The Reclamation Manual describes mandatory requirements for Reclamation-wide Programs, and describes official Reclamation policy for Concessions Management, Policy LND P02, and references Directives and Standards LND 04-01 Concessions Management by Reclamation, and Directives and Standards LND 04-02 (below) Concessions Management by Non-Federal Partners.

This information is also available for download or viewing as a .pdf (Adobe Acrobat):


Directives and Standards LND 04-02

Subject: Concessions Management by Non-Federal Partners

Purpose: Establishes minimum approval standards for all new, modified, or renewed non-Federal concession contracts.

Authority: Reclamation Act of 1902, as amended and supplemented; the Reclamation Project Act of 1939; and the Federal Water Project Recreation Act of 1965, as amended.

Contact: Land, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Office, D-5300


1. Non-Federal Partners. Reclamation may transfer to non-Federal partners the responsibility to develop and manage public recreation areas and concession services. Transferred areas are managed by a partner under Federal authorities, the partner's authorities, specific contracts, and agreements with Reclamation. Well-planned and -managed concessions on the Federal estate are of mutual interest to Reclamation and its partners. Reclamation is responsible for continuous management oversight of managing partners and their concessions operations.

2. Compliance With Directives and Standards. New concession contracts issued by managing partners must comply with these directives and standards. Existing concession contracts issued by managing partners must, at the first opportunity, be brought into compliance with these directives and standards. If a concession contract is amended or terminated because of contract default or for other reasons and a subsequent concession contract is issued by the non-Federal partner, the subsequent concession contract must be in compliance with these directives and standards.

3. Definitions.

A. Concession. A concession is a non-Federal commercial business that supports appropriate public recreation uses and provides facilities, goods, or services for which revenues are collected. A concession involves the use of the Federal estate and usually involves the development of real property improvements.

B. Exclusive Use. Exclusive use is any use that excludes other appropriate public recreation use or users for extended periods of time. Exclusive use includes, but is not limited to, boat docks, cabins, trailers, manufactured or mobile homes, structures, or amenities that are determined by Reclamation to be exclusive use.

C. Federal Estate. The Federal land and water areas under the primary jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation.

D. Fixed Assets. Fixed assets are any structures, fixtures, or capital improvements permanently attached to the Federal estate.

E. Improvement. An addition to real property that increases its value or utility or that enhances its appearance.

F. Management Agreement. A management agreement is a binding contract between Reclamation and a partner to provide public recreation opportunities and concession services on the Federal estate.

G. Non-Federal Partner. A non-Federal partner is a non-Federal public entity that manages recreation and other resources through a contractual agreement with Reclamation.

H. Total Benefits to the Government. Total benefits include:

(1) Direct Returns. These are fees generated by authorized concession contracts and paid directly to the managing entity or to the United States Treasury.

(2) Direct Benefits. These are fees paid into a contractually designated special account for resource and capital improvements that directly benefit the public in the area of operations where the fees are collected.

(3) Indirect Benefits. These are services performed by the concessionaire that benefit the public or improvements made to the Federal estate by the concessionaire.

4. Managing Partner Agreements.

A. Third-Party Concession Agreements. Third-party concession agreements are agreements between the non-Federal managing partner and another entity to provide concession related services and facilities.

(1) Agreement Standards. Any concession contract, including a contract renewal or modification, issued by the non-Federal managing partner must meet the requirements of these Concessions Management Directives and Standards.

(2) Contract Approval. Before issuing or renewing a non-Federal concession contract, the contract must be approved by Reclamation.

(3) Stand In Stead Conditions. All concession contracts must state that Reclamation will not stand in stead for the managing partner should the management agreement expire or be terminated. At Reclamation's discretion, Reclamation may issue a new concession contract that is in compliance with Reclamation Manual (RM), Concessions Management by Reclamation, LND 04-01. Reclamation will not issue a new contract until all exclusive use has been removed.

B. Review and Evaluation. All management agreements will require Reclamation to conduct annual concession operation reviews and evaluations. Reclamation may also conduct unplanned reviews, as necessary. If a review identifies operational or administrative deficiencies in the operation of a concession, a timetable must be established by the area office to correct these deficiencies.

C. Exclusive Use. New, renewed, or modified management agreements and concession contracts will include clauses that prohibit new exclusive use and require that existing exclusive use be phased out. When existing concession contracts issued by the partner are modified or renewed, Reclamation and the partner must establish a timetable in the concession contract that phases out existing exclusive use before the expiration of the contract. This timetable must be established before the concession contract is resubmitted to Reclamation for approval. The concessionaire and a person hired to guard the concessionaires investment may reside on the Federal estate, with the written approval of Reclamation.

D. Disposition of Fees. Unless State or local laws direct how concession fees paid to the partner will be used, the following will apply: (1) fees will be returned to the area to provide for operation, maintenance, and replacement of recreation facilities and new facility development; (2) any excess fees (profit) will be returned to Reclamation and disposed of according to RM, Crediting of Incidental Revenues, PEC 03-01.

E. Statistical Data. Each year, the managing partner will be required to provide Reclamation with the information specified in Reclamation's Recreation Use Data Report. Other information may be required, as necessary. This information will provide an accurate inventory of facilities. The report will also contain other data about the managing partner's recreation and concession operations on the Federal estate.

5. Concessions Planning. Concession development will adhere to the concessions principles listed in RM, Concessions Management (LND P02), will be based on appropriate plans developed by the partner or Reclamation, and will be approved by the Regional Director or delegate. Reclamation can provide direction and assistance in the process, as necessary, to accomplish effective commercial services planning.

6. Concessions Contracting. The following items will be addressed in all new and renewed concessions contracts issued by non-Federal partners.

A. Sale and Transfer. The sale and transfer of existing concessions must be approved according to the management agreement and reported to Reclamation in a timely manner.

B. Contract Language. The partner will develop and use contract language that complies with all applicable Federal laws, rules, regulations, and Executive Orders. Reclamation can provide examples of standard contract structure and language.

C. Length of Term. The term for a concession may not exceed the term of the management agreement between Reclamation and the partner. In general, terms should be as short as possible and based on the new investment required as determined by a financial feasibility evaluation.

D. Subconcessions. All subconcessions must meet the terms and conditions of the prime concession contract. The partner must approve all subconcessions and notify Reclamation in advance of any authorization that needs Reclamation approval. Generally, subconcessions are discouraged in order to keep operations under single management.

E. Concessions Building and Improvement Program. All designs and construction must comply with applicable Federal, State, and local environmental and historic preservation laws and regulations and building code requirements. In areas where no State or local construction standards exist, Reclamation may provide appropriate standards. Where required and before construction, building permits must be obtained from local authorities by the concessionaire. All facilities will be harmonious in form, line, color, and texture with the surrounding landscape.

F. Operation and Maintenance Plan. Concessionaires will prepare an annual operation and maintenance plan, which must be approved by the partner. The concession contract must clearly state what the plan will contain. Reclamation can provide examples of such plans for the partner and the concessionaire.

G. Reimbursement for Fixed Assets.

(1) A right to reimbursement may exist when a concessionaire places Reclamation-approved fixed assets on the Federal estate. Title to fixed assets must be established in the concession contract. Reimbursement of a concessionaire for fixed assets is the responsibility of the partner. The method for determining the amount of reimbursement and the method of payment will be specifically addressed in the concession contract between the partner and the concessionaire.

(2) In the event the partner's agreement with Reclamation expires or is terminated without a commitment by both Reclamation and the partner to enter into another agreement, all the concessionaires' fixed assets and personal property must be removed from the Federal estate unless Reclamation decides to issue a new concessions contract and decides to retain the fixed assets. [See paragraph 4A(3).] The partner will be responsible for ensuring that the concession area is returned in a condition satisfactory to Reclamation.

(3) It must be clearly stated that no financial obligation or risk will reside in the Federal Government for reimbursement for fixed assets or personal property as a result of the partner awarding a concession contract. All new concession contracts issued by the partner will address rights for reimbursement to the concessionaire for fixed assets. Interests in a concessionaire's fixed assets may not extend beyond the term of the management agreement. In addition, the concession contract must provide appropriate language regarding interests in fixed assets and methods of reimbursement, if any, to the concessionaire by the partner.

H. Area of Operation. Each concession contract will authorize and define only the physical area necessary to conduct the business activities allowed by the contract. Concession boundaries must be surveyed by the partner and easily recognizable by the visiting public.

I. Additional Facilities or Services. Any proposal for expansion of facilities or services must be reviewed by Reclamation and approved by the partner before the expansion takes place.

J. Exclusive Use. The contract must state that no new facility, service, or site determined by Reclamation to be exclusive use will be allowed. New, renewed, or modified concession contracts issued by the partner will include clauses that establish a timetable for phasing out existing exclusive use before the contract expires.

K. Reclamation Rights. All concession contracts must be subject to the rights of Reclamation and its agents to use the subject lands and waters for project purposes.

L. Termination of Concession Contract. Concession contracts will acknowledge the right of Reclamation to terminate, for cause, any concession contract authorized by a non-Federal partner.

M. Total Benefits. The partner will establish and recover fair benefits, including direct return and direct and indirect benefits, for the uses, rights, and privileges granted by a concession contract. For disposition of fees, see paragraph 4D.

N. Rates and Merchandise. Rates charged by concessionaires for services, food, lodging, and merchandise will be based on charges for comparable facilities, services, and merchandise provided by the private sector in similar situations. The partner must approve the rates requested by concessionaires.

O. Concessions Safety Program. Concessionaires are responsible for providing and ensuring a safe and healthful environment for both the visiting public and employees by developing, implementing, and administering health, safety, and educational programs to ensure that concession areas are managed in compliance with Federal, State, and local laws, rules, and regulations.

P. Environmental Compliance. Concession contracts will address all activities with potential environmental impacts resulting from the release of hazardous materials to the environment including, but not limited to, the following: pesticides, herbicides, sewage effluents, petroleum products, and liquid waste (gray water). Concessionaires are required to follow all applicable Federal, State, and local laws, rules, and regulations related to hazardous substance use, storage, and disposal. Application for and acquisition of all required certifications and permits are the responsibility of the concessionaire.

Q. Food Sanitation. Concessionaires' food services will comply with Federal, State, and local food handling and sanitation regulations.

R. Advertising and Signs. The Reclamation logo or name, along with the non-Federal partner logo or name, will be displayed at all concession entrances used by the public. Outdoor signs or other forms of advertising on the Federal estate must be approved by Reclamation before they are displayed.

S. Sale of Personal Property. The sale of personal property other than the approved concessions inventory is prohibited on the Federal estate. No party will be permitted to sell personal property, including vehicles, manufactured or mobile homes, house trailers, travel trailers, boats, or personal water craft, on the Federal estate.

T. Utility Services Provided by Reclamation. The fee charged for utility services provided by Reclamation will be based on the recovery of full operating and replacement costs for utility capital investments and comparable utility rates. Utility services include, but are not limited to, electricity, power, water, waste disposal, gas, and communication systems.

U. Insurance Program. Concessionaires must have and maintain an appropriate insurance policy that will indemnify the United States and meet applicable State requirements. All liability policies will provide that the insurance company will have no right of subrogation against the United States and must provide that the United States is named as an additional insured. The partner may establish similar requirements itself, but it must provide Reclamation with a copy of the insurance certificate that identifies the above conditions.

V. System of Recordkeeping. Financial reports and records necessary for management and oversight of concessions must be maintained and available to the partner and to Reclamation upon request. At a minimum, each concessionaire will complete Reclamation's Annual Financial Report form(s).

7. Concessions Administration.

A. Annual Review and Evaluation. All concession agreements issued by the non-Federal partner will require Reclamation and the non-Federal partner to conduct annual concession reviews and evaluations. The review should identify problems, solutions, and a timetable for resolving the problems in a written report. The non-Federal partner must ensure that any operational or administrative deficiencies noted by the review are corrected in accordance with the established timetable.

B. Nonprofit Organizations. In certain circumstances, it may be suitable for cooperative associations or nonprofit organizations to sell goods or provide visitor services to meet the goals and objectives of both Reclamation and the partner. These associations and organizations must be approved by the partner if the cooperating association operates within a concession or elsewhere on the Federal estate. The cooperating association will be responsible for maintaining its accounting system, and the system cannot be combined with a concessionaire's annual financial report. Nonprofit organizations will also be given very clear instructions identifying the type of business they are authorized to conduct and the types of goods and services they may provide. All organizations must provide written proof of their nonprofit status to Reclamation and the partner.

C. Employment of Reclamation Personnel or Family Members(1). Reclamation employees or family members may not be owners, partners, board members, corporate officers, general managers, or employees of any business providing commercial services on the Federal estate, nor may they have any financial interest in such a company. Ownership of stock shares traded in a recognized open market is not considered a financial interest under these directives and standards. Reclamation employees are further prohibited from using their public office for private or family gain. A Reclamation employee involved in preparing specifications, awarding a contract, or administering a concession may not be involved in that activity if the employee or a family member is involved in any phase or operation of that concession. Any Reclamation employee or family member responsible for any phase of a concession contract will be excused from duties related to the concession contract if the employee or a family member is involved in competing for the contract or if the Reclamation employee may benefit financially from the awarding of the contract.

1Guidance on this issue should be obtained from an ethics counselor in the servicing Reclamation Personnel/Human Resources Office.


(159) 4/29/02
Supersedes (74) 4/3/98

Last Updated: March 5, 2013

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