Tongass Forest Plan Amendment

The Tongass National Forest (TNF) will be amending the 2008 Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan (forest plan) over the next two years, with an estimated final decision in August, 2016.

The scope of the plan amendment has a narrow focus; changes to accomplish the transition to young growth management as provided in the Secretary’s Memorandum (1044-009), and changes to make renewable energy development more permissive on the Tongass, as identified during the Forest Plan Five-Year Review process.  Changes to the forest plan are being developed under the new National Forest System land management planning rule (36 CFR 219) (2012 planning rule), and embody the provisions of the National Forest Management Act. The Tongass is the first national forest to amend a plan completed under the 1982 planning rule using the 2012 planning rule.

Based on public scoping comments received on the Notice of Intent (NOI), published in the Federal Register (FR) on May 27, 2014 (79 FR 30074-30075), combined with analysis of comments received on the Forest Plan Five-Year Review,four thematic issues were identified, with a focus on: 1) young-growth transition; 2) renewable energy; 3) roadless areas; and 4) wildlife habitat. 

While many issues resulted from scoping, not all of the issues raised warrant analysis in the environmental impact statement (EIS), as there would not have been an ability to analyze their environmental effects; therefore, the issues raised through scoping will help shape the alternatives, and are being analyzed when:

  • Analysis of the issue is necessary to make a reasoned choice between alternatives. (Does it relate to how the proposed action or alternatives respond to the purpose and need?)
  • The issue is significant (an issue associated with a significant direct, indirect, or cumulative impact; or where analysis is necessary to determine the significance of impacts).

Links listed below relate to forest plan amendment planning

Tongass NF Forest Plan Amendment (posted as information is available), and the current Tongass NF Land Management Plan and related direction (i.e. current Forest Plan, as amended).

The existing TNF Inventory and Monitoring Program been informed & developed in the past, as described in the existing Forest Plan direction; this program is also being revised by Tongass Planning staff employees, as required within the Final Forest Service Land Management Planning Directives (Forest Service Handbook (FSH 1909.12) and Manual (FSM 1920) , this project development is being conducted separately, but informed the ongoing Forest Plan Amendment, with an expected TNF Plan Monitoring Program completed in May, 2016).