Forest Service Releases Administrative
Direction for New Planning
Washington, D.C., March 17, 2005 - The U.S.
Department of Agriculture
Forest Service today issued the proposed administrative policy for
implementing its new planning regulation, which governs the 155
national forests and 20 grasslands. The public will have 90 days to
comment on the policy.
The interim “National Forest System Land Management Planning
Directives,” a summary of which will be published in the Federal
Register in the next several days, can be found in the Forest Service
Manual and the Forest Service Handbook, essentially internal “how to”
guidebooks. The directives detail procedural requirements and
responsibilities for forest and grassland managers to implement the new
planning rule, which became effective Jan. 5.
“This policy direction will provide consistent overall guidance to our
line officers as they begin to revise their forest plans using the new
planning rule,” said Forest Service Associate Chief Sally Collins.
“These instructions are essential for realizing the vision outlined in
the new rule—to provide future generations with healthier forests,
cleaner air and water, and more abundant wildlife while sustaining a
variety of forest uses.”
The policy includes guidance on how to develop an Environmental
Management System tool to improve performance and accountability,
afford the public with improved public participation opportunities,
provide for species protection by taking into account the best
available science, and develop guidelines on forest activities, such as
hazardous fuels reduction.
- Chapter 20 of the handbook outlines how
planning documents are
used to develop an Environmental Management System following
internationally-accepted standards. It also shows how planning
documents will be used to help conduct comprehensive, independent
audits of the Forest Service’s work.
- Chapter 30 of the handbook details the
collaboration, consultation, and notification process and describes
each party’s responsibilities and relationships in these processes. It
also provides guidance for the pre-decisional objection process.
- Chapter 40 of the handbook describes
plans for sustainability
while taking into account the best available science. It also states
how to analyze for ecosystem and species diversity as well as how to
identify species-of-concern and species-of-interest.
- Chapter 60 of the handbook gives guidance
on timber and forest
vegetation resource planning, including for guidance identifying lands
suitable as well as not suitable for timber production.
forests will revise their forest plans in the next several
years; several units are slated to begin this year. The new rule and
the proposed directives are available at www.fs.fed.us/emc/nfma/.
Instructions for Submitting Comments
Include "RIN 0596-AC02" or "planning directives" in the subject line of
Fax: (801) 397-2601. Please identify your comments by including "RIN
0596-AC02" or "planning directives" on the cover sheet or the first
Mail: USDA Forest Service Planning Directives, c/o Content Analysis
Group, P.O. Box 2000, Bountiful, UT 84011-2000.
The final planning directives, which will take into account public
comments received during the 90-day comment period, will be released
within 18 months.