Monitoring and evaluation is a process required by the Tongass Forest Plan and is essential in implementing the adaptive management strategy. There are three kinds of monitoring included in the Tongass Forest Plan; implementation, effectiveness and validation monitoring. Implementation monitoring focuses on whether or not the standards and guidelines of the plan are being implemented. Effectiveness monitoring is used to determine if the standards and guidelines are bringing the Forest closer to achieving the objectives stated in the Forest Plan. Finally, validation monitoring is used to examine if the accuracy of the assumptions and predicted effects used to formulate the plan are valid. The design and sampling methods employed for the three kinds of monitoring are described in the monitoring protocols.
Monitoring and evaluation are instrumental to operating within an adaptive management framework, and may result in corrective actions, adjustment of plans, and to point the way in determining how to respond to changing conditions. Monitoring reports are completed on annual & five year time frame. The annual report supplies an overview and reports on specific time-critical monitoring whereas the five year report is a comprehensive review of the data and the evaluation provides the Forest Service, other agencies, and the public with essential feedback on the progress of implementing and effectiveness of the Forest Plan.
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Monitoring Protocol guidebooks
Tongass National Forest Draft Plan Monitoring Program
The Tongass National Forest Draft Plan Monitoring Program is available for public review. This document was developed to facilitate the program’s transition to conform to the monitoring requiremnts for land managmenet plans as described in 36 CFR 219.12 . Send or hand-deliver written comments on the Tongass National Forest Draft Plan Monitoring Program to: Tongass National Forest, Attn: Susan Howle, 648 Mission Street, Ketchikan, Alaska 99901. The FAX number is (907) 228–6215. Comments may be sent via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with “Tongass National Forest Draft Plan Monitoring Program” on the subject line. Comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer’s concerns and contentions.
The 2012 planning rule requires that an existing plan’s monitoring program must be made to conform to the monitoring requirements of the rule within 4 years of the rule’s May 9, 2012 effective date (May 9, 2016), or as soon as practicable. The 2012 Planning Rule, in 36 CFR 219.12 (a)(5), included the following eight requirements:
Each plan monitoring program must contain one or more monitoring questions and associated indicators addressing each of the following:
i. The status of select watershed conditions.
ii. The status of select ecological conditions including key characteristics of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
iii. The status of focal species to assess the ecological conditions required under § 219.9.
iv. The status of a select set of the ecological conditions required under § 219.9 to contribute to the recovery of federally listed threatened and endangered species, conserve proposed and candidate species, and maintain a viable population of each species of conservation concern.
v. The status of visitor use, visitor satisfaction, and progress toward meeting recreation objectives.
vi. Measurable changes on the plan area related to climate change and other stressors that may be affecting the plan area.
vii. Progress toward meeting the desired conditions and objectives in the plan, including for providing multiple use opportunities.
viii. The effects of each management system to determine that they do not substantially and permanently impair the productivity of the land (16 U.S.C. 1604(g)(3)(C)).
The Tongass National Forest has a robust plan monitoring program that already addresses many of the eight requirements listed in the 2012 Planning Rule. The Draft Plan Monitoring Program will transition the monitoring plan out of the forest plan, thus providing the opportunity to more easily adapt to changing conditions on the forest.