Planning

Forest Plan Revision

Help Plan the Flathead's Future

Middle Fork Flathead

 

Release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement

The staff of the Flathead National Forest is pleased to announce the release of its draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the draft revised Land and Resource Management Plan (draft forest plan) for your review and input. In addition to the effects of the draft forest plan, the DEIS includes the environmental consequences of the draft forest plan amendments to incorporate habitat-related management direction for grizzly bears for the Helena, Lewis and Clark, Lolo, and Kootenai National Forests.

These documents reflect extensive public participation over the past 3 years through collaborative working group meetings and other public input. We greatly appreciate the commitment of interested participants who have provided important contributions toward the development of the draft forest plan and amendments. The documents also reflect a truly interdisciplinary team approach in the consideration of the input received, as well as of the directives associated with the 2012 planning rule.

Purpose of the draft forest plan and amendments

The purpose of the draft forest plan is to provide for long-term direction to guide the management of the Flathead National Forest. The draft forest plan describes the Forest’s distinctive roles and contributions within the broader landscape and details forest-wide, management area, and geographic area desired conditions, objectives, standards, and guidelines. The draft forest plan identifies suitable uses of National Forest System lands and estimates of the planned timber sale quantity for the Forest. The draft forest plan identifies priority watersheds for restoration, and includes areas being recommended for wilderness designation and eligible wild and scenic rivers.

The purpose of the forest plan amendments, along with the revised forest plan for the Flathead National Forest, is incorporating habitat-related direction from the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy to ensure adequate regulatory mechanisms are in place across these national forests in support of the de-listing of the grizzly bear (for more information go to the plan amendments webpage).

DEIS and draft forest plan documents

The full text of the draft forest plan, DEIS, maps, and other relevant documents can be found below:

Volume 1—DEIS for the revised forest plan for the Flathead National Forest

Volume 2—DEIS for the revised forest plan for the Flathead National Forest (includes literature cited), with appendices as follows:

 Volume 3—DEIS for the Forest Plan Amendments to incorporate relevant direction from the NCDE Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy for the Helena, Kootenai, Lewis and Clark, and Lolo National Forests, with the two appendices as follows:

 The Draft Revised Forest Plan for the Flathead National Forest, with appendices as follows:

Providing your input

The comments that you provide during the 120-day comment period help us to identify the range of issues to be addressed and the significant concerns related to the draft plan, draft amendments, and draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). This comment period will assist the interdisciplinary team in developing a preferred alternative and in the analysis and documentation of the environmental and social effects of the proposed plan components and alternatives, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) procedures.

Because of the volume and the nature of the comments we expect to receive, we are asking that you organize your comments. Please identify the specific part of the plan you are commenting on (i.e. page number, chapter, section), and if you are commenting on a specific plan component, list the identifier code.  If you identify concerns, offering a proposed solution is highly encouraged.

As a starting point for your comments, please consider the following topic areas:

We’ve opened public discussions on plan revision topics as information was available, including:

  • Wild and Scenic Rivers: We are sharing an update on our wild and scenic rivers process.
  • Monitoring Program
  • Wilderness: We shared our process for evaluating and identifying lands that may be suitable for recommendation and inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System.
  • Species of Conservation Concern: We asked for public input that provides additional scientific information that may affect the draft proposed SCC lists. More information can be found on the Northern Region SCC webpage.
  • Do you agree/disagree with plan components (e.g., desired conditions, objectives, standards, and guidelines)?  If you disagree, what changes would you suggest or can you suggest additional management direction that you would like to see considered?
  • Do you have suggestions for management areas that need to be included or areas delineated differently?

How to Comment

The comment period will commence with the publication in the Federal Register (June 3, 2016) of the Notice of Availability of the draft revised forest plan, draft amendments, and draft environmental impact statement for the Flathead National Forest. Comments must be received or postmarked within 120 days of the publication of the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times and in such a way that they are useful to the Agency’s preparation of the final environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer’s concerns and contentions. Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, anonymous comments will not provide the respondent with standing to participate in subsequent administrative or judicial reviews.

Only those individuals and entities who have submitted substantive formal comments related to the Flathead National Forest plan revision and the four amendments during the opportunities provided for public comment , will be eligible to file an objection (36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 219.53(a)). The decision to approve the revised forest plan for the Flathead National Forest and the amendment for the Helena, Lewis and Clark, Kootenai, and Lolo National Forests will be subject to the objection process identified in 36 CFR Part 219 Subpart B (219.50 to 219.62).

Electronic comments may be submitted to http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46286. Please send written comments to Flathead National Forest Supervisor’s Office, Attn: Forest Plan Revision, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, Montana 59901. Written comments must be postmarked by the Postal Service, e-mailed, faxed, or otherwise submitted by 11:59 pm on the 120th calendar day following publication of the notice of availability in the Federal Register.

DEIS Collaborative Mapping Tool

If your comments are associated with specific areas on a map, you may want to consider using the Talking Points Collaborative Mapping website.  However, you do not need to use both tools, nor repeat your comments with both tools, to provide comments. The purpose of the mapping website is to broaden your ability to communicate and link your comments to specific areas of the Forest. The mapping tool can be used to indicate desired conditions in a specific area, to dicuss delineation of management areas, or comment on a geographic area of interest. Comments or pictures can be attached to a particular point of interest or general comments can be made.

Species of conservation concern

The Flathead National Forest will provide the regional forester with public comments received on species of conservation concern (SCC). The regional forester will consider comments received and respond to them in the final environmental impact statement and Record of Decision. For more information about SCC visit the Northern Region SCC website.

 Forest Plan Revision Schedule

Key Deliverables/Activities

Proposed Date

Assessment

Completed April 2014

Draft Proposed Action

Completed March 6, 2015

60-day Scoping Period (10-day extension authorized)

March 6 – May 15, 2015

DEIS for the draft forest plan and draft forest plan amendments (120-day comment period begins June 3, 2016)

May 27, 2016

FEIS & Draft ROD

April 2017

FEIS & Final ROD

December 2017

Links to additional webpages, documents, and information

The Flathead National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (1986) (added 5/11/15)

The Forest Plan Revision Wilderness Inventory and Evalution webpage. (linked 6/29/15)

The Forest Plan Revision Collaboration, Communication, and Conversations webpage; includes links to the collaborative mapping websites for the proposed action, wilderness inventory and evalutation, and management area designations.

Click Here for geospatial data related to forest plan revision.

Proposed Action for the Revised Forest Plan

A proposed action for the revised forest plan was released in March 2015. The full text of the proposed action can be found below.

The Assessment of the Flathead National Forest (April 2014):

News Releases

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joe Krueger, Forest Planner, Flathead National Forest, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, Montana 59901, (406) 758-5243.

 

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