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April 18, 2014
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New Forest Planning Rule seeks to restore nation’s forests: Final Environmental Impact Statement by US Forest Service released


• Plans would be required to provide opportunities for sustainable recreation, and to take into account opportunities to connect people with nature.

• Opportunities for public involvement and collaboration would be required throughout all stages of the planning process. The preferred alternative would provide opportunities for Tribal consultation and coordination with state and local governments and other federal agencies, and includes requirements for outreach to traditionally underrepresented communities.

• Plans require the use of the best available scientific information to inform the planning process and documentation of how science was used in the plan.

• The planning framework provides a more efficient and adaptive process for land management planning, allowing the Forest Service to respond to changing conditions.

“This approach requires plans to conserve and restore watersheds and habitats while strengthening community collaboration during the development and implementation of individual plans,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Under our preferred alternative, plan revisions would take less time, cost less money, and provide stronger protections for our lands and water. Finalizing a new rule will move us forward in managing our forests and grasslands, and will create or sustain jobs and income for local communities around the country.”

Continuing the strong emphasis USDA and the Forest Service have placed on public engagement throughout this rule-making effort, USDA is forming a Federal Advisory Committee to advise the Secretary on implementation of the final rule. The call for nominations for this committee was published in the Federal Register on January 5, 2012 and will close on February 21, 2012.

"We value the input we have received from the public throughout this process," said Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman. "This preferred alternative is a positive framework that will allow the Forest Service to more effectively restore our natural resources, support the economy, and adapt to changing conditions.”