Scoping workshops this month, comments due by September 29
The U.S. Forest Service today announced a 30-day public scoping period to start the National Environmental Policy Act process for revising forest plans on the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests. The scoping period begins August 29, 2014 with the publishing of the Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register.
The Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra are three of eight national forests selected as “early adopters,” meaning they will be the first forests to revise their land management plans under the 2012 Forest Service Planning Rule. The planning rule provides the framework for Forest Service land management plans on national forests across the nation.
These three forest plan revisions will be completed through the development of one environmental impact statement (EIS). The final EIS will result in three separate Records of Decision and three separate forest plans. Forest Supervisors are the responsible officials for making decisions on their specific forest plans.
A “scoping period” gives the public a chance to tell the Forest Service what issues and concerns they think should be addressed in the EIS before alternatives are developed and analyzed in the EIS. Public involvement is a critical piece of this analysis and considered in the range of alternatives, which will be made available for public review and comment when drafted.
The Forest Service expects to release a draft of the EIS and alternatives for public review by spring 2015.
The EIS allows for a robust public involvement process, which begins with the scoping period announced today. Public meetings to answer questions and accept written public comment are scheduled. They will be held on:
6:00-8:00pm – Monday, September 15, Sierra National Forest, Holiday Inn, 5090 East Clinton Way, Fresno, CA
6:00-8:00pm – Tuesday, September 16, Sequoia National Forest, Supervisor’s Office, 1839 South Newcomb Street, Porterville, CA
6:00-8:00pm – Thursday, September 18, Inyo National Forest, Tri-County Fairgrounds, Sierra Street & Fair Drive, Bishop, CA
The Forest Service values public participation. Communications from the public regarding this project, including commenter’s names and contact information, will become part of the public record.
Comments, including anonymous comments, will be accepted at any time. However, comments posted after the close of a designated comment period may not be given full consideration. Anonymous comments and comments submitted after the close of the final designated comment period will not provide the commenter standing for administrative review.
Scoping comments must be received by September 29, 2014 and may be submitted:
- Online: http://tinyurl.com/r5earlyadopters (click on the “Comment on Project” hyperlink under the “Get Connected” topic at the right side of the webpage),
- Electronic mail: R5planrevision@fs.fed.us, or
- U.S. mail: Land Management Plan Revision, U.S. Forest Service, 1839 South Newcomb Street, Porterville, CA 93257
Please remember to specify which forest or forests your comments apply to. For forest-specific information, please contact that forest directly:
- Inyo NF: Deb Schweizer at 760-873-2427 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sequoia NF: Alicia Embrey at 559-784-1500 or email@example.com
- Sierra NF: Dirk Charley at 559-297-0706 x4805 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The NOI, detailed proposed action and maps are available for review HERE.
For earlier information regarding forest plan revision documents and the planning process prior to the release of the NOI and scoping period, please visit the Pacific Southwest Region’s planning website HERE.