Coronado National Forest - Forest Plan Revision
Topic: Coronado Revised Forest Plan/FEIS Status Update
What is a Forest Plan?
The National Forest Management Act (NFMA) of 1976 (PDF, 60 kb) required every national forest to develop a Forest Plan (plan) and periodically revise the Plan. Today, these plans provide broad direction for managing natural resources for the American people. Plans are programmatic in nature, meaning they cover a large geographic area, and their management direction is broad in scope. In addition, every forest plan must be consistent with environmental laws and regulations such as the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act.
Why does the Forest Plan need to be revised?
The current Coronado National Forest Plan was implemented in 1986. Since then, many social and resource conditions have changed, scientific information has improved, and land management policies have evolved. A few of these changes were addressed in amendments to the original Forest Plan. The current plan provides a solid foundation for forest management. Instead of starting over and developing a new plan from scratch, the planning process determines what is working in the existing plan and what needs to be revised. The forest is currently undergoing a forest plan revision to provide guidance for managing the 1,717,934 acre forest for the next 10 to 15 years.
The Forest Plan Revision Process:
The forest began revising the current plan in 2006. The proposed plan is based on best available science and years of collaboration with the public, Tribes, other federal agencies, and state and local governments. On November 22, 2013, the Coronado National Forest made the draft Coronado Forest Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) available for a 104-day comment period ending on March 6, 2014.
The forest received over two thousand comment letters during the comment period. Since the closing of the comment period, forest staff have been analyzing and addressing comments, updating documents and consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) regarding the proposed plan effects on threatened and endangered species on the forest.
Four alternatives were presented in the draft EIS. Those four alternatives have been refined and revised for the final EIS and forest plan. Alternatives considered include: the no action, the proposed action that includes 4 wilderness recommendations (Ku Chish, Mount Graham, Chiricahua Addition North and Whetstone), alternative one that includes 16 wilderness recommendations and alternative two that has more opportunities for motorized recreation (45,117 acres).
- Finalize responses to comments, update documents, receive the biological opinion from USFWS - November 2016
- Conduct Washington Office briefings – December 2016/January 2017
- Print & publish Final EIS, Plan and Notice Of Availability (NOA) – Spring 2017
- Prepare & publish Record of Decision (ROD) – 30 days after publishing the FEIS
- Appeals Period
- Plan Implementation
The publication of the final NOA and legal notice will announce the availability of the Final EIS, Revised Forest Plan and ROD. The ROD documents the decision of the Forest Service to adopt the Revised Forest Plan and Final EIS. It includes a summary of the alternatives considered, a discussion of public involvement in the decision making process, and the basis for making this decision. The ROD is based on an administrative record that includes the Coronado National Forest Revised Forest Plan, the Final EIS, and the record of the NEPA process for the development of the Revised Plan.
There will be a 30 day “cooling off period” before implementation of the plan begins. The opportunity to appeal the plan is limited to 90 days from the date of publication of the legal notice. The process for appeal resolution runs for nine months from the publication of the NOA.
If you would like more information about the revision process to date, or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us in any of the following ways:
Coronado National Forest
ATTN: Plan Revision
300 W. Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701
Rose Robinson, Forest Planner
Proposed Forest Plan Revision Documents
Plan Set of Documents:
- Draft Wilderness Evaluation Reports:
Plan Revision Updates