Carson National Forest Plan Revision

 

This series of videos describes the complexities of the forest plan revision process and the connection of the plan to communities and partners in northern New Mexico.

 

 

Forest Plan Revision

The forest plan provides strategic direction to guide management of forest resources and is a framework for site-specific decision making. The Carson National Forest is currently in the process of revising its existing 1986 Forest Plan under the 2012 Planning Rule. Under the 2012 Planning Rule, plan revision involves three distinct phases: (1) assessment of the current conditions and trends of forest resources and multiple uses; (2) development of a revised plan; and (3) monitoring and implementation of the final approved plan.

The final Carson NF Land Management Plan, Final Environmental Impact Statement, and a draft Record of Decision are available for public review. The  reviewing officers’ instructions in response to objections are complete.

Where are we now in the process?

The reviewing officers held an objection resolution meeting on March 15, 16, and 17, 2022 with objectors and interested persons. Based on their review of the objections, the Final Plan, and the project record they have provided instructions to the responsible officials including changes and clarifications that must be completed prior to approval of the final Record of Decision. The Carson National Forest is currently working to address those instructions and expects to release an updated Final Plan and Final Record of Decision later in summer 2022.

Forest Plan Revision Schedule

The Carson National Forest began revising its forest plan in 2014 using extensive public involvement and best available science under the new planning guidelines. We have coordinated closely with the Santa Fe and Cibola National Forests, which are also revising their respective plans. The following table outlines the planning phases, process and activities.

Process/Product

Activity

Proposed Date

Assessment 

(Completed)

  • Evaluate existing and relevant data and information
  • Assess sustainability of social, economic and ecological resources within the plan area and a broader landscape
  • Begin public involvement and communication processes

September 2015

Species of Conservation Concern (SCC)

(In progress)

  • Evaluate existing and relevant data and information about species indicating substantial concern about the species’ capability to persist over the long term in the Carson National Forest.
  • Begin communication and public input on Potential SCCs.
  • Concurrence of Potential SCC List with Regional Forester.
  • Final SCC when Final Forest Plan Decision is signed.

Release date: May 2015

Approved Potential List March 2016

Updated 2019

Final List Summer 2022

Plan Need to Change

(Completed)

  • Utilizes information gathered from the assessment.
  • Reviews key findings
  • Highlights areas of the 1986 Forest Plan that need to be updated in the revised forest plan

September 2015

Public Involvement and Comments on Assessment, SCCs, Forest Plan Need to Change

(Completed)

  • Obtain public feedback on Assessment, SCCs, and Plan Need to Change

September 2015

Notice of Intent

(Completed)

  • Notification to Revise the land management Plan in Federal Register with a 45 scoping period for public comment on the Proposed Action

October 2015

Wilderness Inventory and Evaluation Process

(Completed)

  • Initiate process for wilderness recommendation to determine what forest lands may be potentially eligible for designation as Wilderness as required by 2012 Planning Rule

Inventory March 2016

Evaluation September 2016

Public Involvement during Wilderness  

(In Progress)

  • Obtain public feedback on each step of wilderness process

Fall  2017-2018

Eligible Wild and Scenic Rivers

(In Progress)

  • Obtain public feedback on Wild and Scenic River eligibility evaluation

Process document April 2017

Evaluation v1 September 2017

Evaluation v2 January 2018

Evaluation v3 April 2019

Final evaluation Summer 2022

Preliminary Draft Proposed Plan

(Completed)

  • Address potential desired conditions, management objectives, and other plan components based on needs to change
  • Release for public comment
  • Identify issues raised by the public and develop alternatives to address the issues

July 2017- Forest-wide Plan Components and (v1)


December 2017-Forest-wide, Designated Areas, and Management Areas (v2)

 

Public Involvement during Preliminary Draft Proposed Plan

(Completed)

  • Obtain public feedback on Preliminary Draft Proposed Plan, management areas, and alternatives

Winter 2017- 2018

Draft Proposed Plan and Draft EIS

(Completed)

  • Develop a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that analyzes the effects upon the environment of each of the Plan alternatives

Summer 2019

Public Comments on Draft Plan and EIS

(Completed)

  • Obtain public feedback for at least 90 days on proposed plan and draft EIS
  • Comments are used to prepare a final EIS

Fall 2019

Final Plan, EIS and Record of Decision (ROD)

(In Progress)

  • Based on comments received during comment period, Final EIS is prepared
  • Final EIS includes FS responses to comments received during comment period
  • Draft Record of Decision (identifies the preferred alternative) is prepared

Final versions of the plan and EIS are available for review

Final ROD Summer 2022

Objection Process

(In progress)

  • Prior to approving the preferred alternative, the public raises issues related to the Plan revision and suggests ways to improve the plan decision
  • Regional Forester reviews objections following the end of the objection-filing period and renders written response

The 60-day objection filing period is closed. Objections letters are posted. Reviewing officer instructions to the responsible official are posted.

Final Decision

  • Based on objection review and response, final Record of Decision is made by the Carson National Forest Supervisor

Summer 2022

Implementation and Monitoring

  • Forest Service implements the Plan and begins on-going monitoring

Summer 2022