Forest Plan Revision Test Page

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WHAT IT IS – The spatial area used with the Assessment Report.

 

In forest planning, the “area of influence” is the part in the plan area that is used during the land management planning process to evaluate social, cultural, and economic conditions of the area. We use area of influence when we conduct our assessment for plan revision, the area helps in analyzing results of our proposed plan. We can also use results of these studies in coming up with alternatives in the environmental impact statement for plan revision.

WHY IT IS IDENTIFIED – The Assessment Report identifies the current socio, cultural and economic conditions of the area. At the Forest Planning stage, each idea we come up with will identify the socio-economic impacts associated with the different alternatives for the area.

We know that how we manage any one of our Forests can influence people anywhere, from our next door neighbor to visitors from another country. However, in evaluating how our current forest plan is doing and how we expect our revised forest plan will affect people, we want to focus on the primary area of influence as it relates to social, cultural, and economic conditions in the area. By primary, we mean where management of the plan area substantially affects social, economic, and cultural conditions. The area of influence includes adjacent lands in which social, economic, and cultural conditions may be directly affected by the management of the national forest. Usually the area of influence would be the group of counties in which the National Forest is situated or in close enough proximity, but the area can be more distant from the National Forest or considered an area of influence for a different reason. The significance of the area of influence would be that these counties’ social, economic, and cultural conditions would be substantially affected by decisions made concerning management of the Ashley National Forest. However, the forest plan does not provide direction to adjacent areas to the National Forest, only National Forest System lands.

The Ashley National Forest, located in northeastern Utah and southwestern Wyoming, is in the first phase of a three-phase forest planning process to revise our forest land management plan (also known as a forest plan). Our current plan was completed in 1986 and needs to be updated to address current ecological, economic and social conditions and trends that exist today.

Forest plans provide strategic direction for management of all resources on a National Forest for ten to fifteen years.  They describe the outcomes we hope to achieve (desired conditions), and provide guidance for projects.  Forest plans do not make site-specific decisions or require any specific actions, but all projects conducted on a National Forest must be consistent with the strategic direction in its forest plan.

This is a considerable effort that will take up to 4 years to complete.  The Forest welcomes your participation in this process.  In order to learn more about this process, please click here or on the image below.

 

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW:

The Assessment

Ashley National Forest Draft Assessment Report Anticipated to be Available for Public Review and Comment during Early Summer, 2017.

The Forest is currently in the process of developing an Assessment Report that will be used during Forest Plan development and preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  Assessments rapidly evaluate existing information about relevant ecological, economic, and social conditions, trends and sustainability and their relationship to the land management plan within the context of the broader landscape.

During the assessment phase, a team of Forest Service specialists identifies, gathers, and evaluates resource information and produces an assessment summarizing information relevant to management in the plan area.  The assessment must address a broad array of ecological, social, economic, and cultural conditions (a list of 15 required topics is found in the 2012 Planning Rule at 36 CFR 219.6(b)).

Public meetings will be held to present and discuss the assessment and comment period will be announced once the Draft Assessment Report is available.

Concurrent Analyses

In connection with the Assessment, the Ashley National Forest is conducting a series of concurrent analyses during the Plan Revision process, including evaluations on: Wilderness, Species of Conservation Concern (SCC), and Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSR).

 

Wilderness Evaluation

Under the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) of 1976, the Wilderness Protection Act (WPA) of 1964, and the 2012 Planning Rule, any Forest undergoing a plan revision must review lands that may be suitable for Wilderness designation and analyze the impacts from recommendation of such lands.

We are in the process of completing a review of comments on the updated February 2017 Draft Potential Wilderness Inventory and developing a final inventory for use in the next stage of the process, which is an evaluation of lands within the inventory for wilderness characteristics.

As a reminder, the inventory step is the first of a four step process.

  1. InventoryWilderness Evaluation Thumbnail
  2. Evaluation
  3. Analysis
  4. Recommendation

Additional information regarding the Potential Wilderness Evaluation process can be found on the Ashley National Forest Wilderness Evaluation web application.

Please click here or on the image to visit our Wilderness Evaluation web application site.

Thank you to all who participated in the August 2016 and February 2017 draft inventory review process.  Opportunities to participate in the Wilderness evaluation step will occur Late Summer / Early Fall, 2017.  

 

Wild and Scenic Rivers

The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, establishes a National Wild and Scenic Rivers System for the protection of selected national rivers and their immediate environments, which possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural, or other similar values which are to be preserved in free-flowing condition.

View of Green River in canyon below Flaming Gorge DamThe Forest Service 2012 planning rule requires a comprehensive inventory of rivers and their evaluation for eligibility during forest plan revision.

In 2005 and 2008 respectively, the Ashley National Forest conducted a Wild and Scenic Rivers Eligibility and Suitability Study. During this study, the Ashley determined that two rivers, the Green River, below the Flaming Gorge Dam, and the Uinta River, within the High Uintas Wilderness, were the rivers on the Ashley suitable for a WSR designation. Click here to view the documents associated with that analysis.

The rivers that were analyzed during the previous eligibility study will not be reanalyzed during Plan Revision.  However, if changed circumstances exist, this may necessitate a new eligibility review for certain rivers in limited circumstances.  In addition, the Forest Service 2012 planning rule requires a slightly finer scale than completed during the previous eligibility study; as such, some additional river segments will require eligibility evaluation.  Approximately 41 river segments have been identified that will require evaluation study.  These are primarily tributary streams to other river segments previously analyzed in the 2005 study. Click here to view the List of Rivers and Map of Rivers to be analyzed in the eligibility review.

The Ashley National Forest is currently in the process of reviewing the eligibility of these additional segments and will be preparing a draft study report.  The report is anticipated to be available for public review and comment during Late Summer / Early Fall, 2017.

For more information about WSR analysis, click on the following links:

 

Species of Concervation Concern (SCC)

SCC are a species “... other than federally recognized threatened, endangered, proposed, or candidate species, that is known to occur in the plan area and for which the regional forester has determined that the best available scientific information indicates substantial concern about the Picture of Sage Grousespecies’ capability to persist over the long-term in the plan area.” [36 CFR 219.9(c)] During the Forest Plan Revision process, we will be evaluating species within the planning area to determine whether they meet the SCC criteria. Those meeting the criteria will be identified as such, and appropriate management will be undertaken to protect them.

The preliminary list has had public and cooperating agency review and submit comments, these comments are posted on the website in the Quick Links.  A description of the process and preliminary identification of the list of species of conservation concern can be found here: Potential Species of Conservation Concern (abbreviated version) or (Potential Species of Conservation Concern (detailed version).

Please see the Quick Link section at right for more detail on Species of Conservation Concern.

 

Additional Forest Planning Efforts:

The Ashley National Forest has completed 10 public meetings, 3 meetings with our cooperating agencies and regular monthly meetings with our Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) over the span of June till November.  We have prepared the first draft of the technical reports that become part of the Assessment of current conditions of the Forest and its resources.  They will be reviewed first by the Regional Office of the Forest Service and the cooperating agencies.  The comments received from the first reviewers will be addressed, the document edited, information added or removed then, the first draft of the Assessment will be ready for the public review in early winter/spring of 2017.

Thank you to those that submitted comments, provided data and attended open house meetings.  Your involvement with the Forest Plan Revision is essential AND the only way you can have a voice in the future of the Forest.

If individuals have additional general questions or comments regarding the Ashley National Forest Plan Revision effort and its components, they may do so by submitting them as noted in the “Providing Comments and For More Information” section below.

 

PROVIDING COMMENTS OR FOR MORE INFORMATION:

You may provide comments or contact the Forest Service Planning Team in any of the following ways:

Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

 

FOREST PLAN REVISION LIBRARY:

The Forest Plan Revision Library will host documents used throughout the revision process to assist in understanding the steps that have been taken and the products that have been developed.

 

HOW TO STAY INFORMED:

As public engagement opportunities are scheduled, announcements will be made via newspaper and radio spots, updates to this web site, and email notices to those who are on our mailing list.  To be added to the mailing list, please contact us via one of the means listed above or drop by any Ashley National Forest office.  Offices are located in Duchesne, Vernal and Manila, UT.  Please be sure to indicate whether you prefer to receive information via email or standard (paper) mail.

The Ashley National Forest is committed to making this an open and transparent process.  We encourage all interested parties to participate in the assessment as well as development of desired conditions, objectives, standards and guidelines that will guide future management activities on the Ashley National Forest.



Key Contacts

Cathleen Neelan, Forest Plan Revision Team Leader

435-781-5118

AshleyForestPlan@fs.fed.us

  



https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/ashley/landmanagement/planning/?cid=fseprd546882