National Forest System Land Management Planning Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

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Abstract:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (U SDA) Forest Service (the Agency) is  proposing a new rule at 36 CFR part 219 to guide development, revision, and amendment  of land management plans for units of  the National Forest System. The Agency  considered six alternatives in detail, in cluding the proposed action. The proposed action  and alternatives were developed through a nationwide collaborative effort. Alternative A  is the proposed action. Modified Alternative A is Alternative A with changes made based on public comment, tribal consultation, and consultation with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries. Modified Alternative A is the preferred alternative. Alternative B is the no-action alternative, consisting of the planning provisions of the 1982 planning rule as allowed by the transition language in the current planning rule. Alternative C  would require the land management planning process and resulting  plans to be limited to the minimum requirements of the National Forest Management Act with the addition of minimal requirements to meet the purpose and need  for a new planning rule. Alternative D consists of Alternative A with additional and replacement direction focused on plan  requirements for coordination, assessments, sustainability, species diversity, watershed  protections, monitoring, and some additional and alternative definitions. Alternative E consists of Alternative A with additional and replacement direction focused on prescriptive requirements for public notification, assessments, monitoring, and public notification. The Agency identified eight significant issues, which along with the various aspects of the purpose and need define the scope of the effects analysis. The significant issues are related to: ecosystem restoration, watershed protection, diversity of plant and  animal communities, climate change, multiple uses, efficiency and effectiveness, transparency and collaboration, and coordination and cooperation beyond National Forest System boundaries. The final programmatic  environmental impact  statement describes the effects of each alternative with respect to the purpose and  need and significant issues.

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