Coconino Forest Plan

View of mountain peaks in the distance

The Coconino National Forest has completed the revision of its Forest Plan! A forest land and resource management plan, or Forest Plan, provides integrated, forest-wide guidance for all forest uses and activities on national forest lands.

Fossil Creek CRMP Plan Amendment

The decision for the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive River Management Plan (Fossil Creek CRMP) in October 2021 authorized an amendment to the Coconino Forest Plan to apply to all future projects and activities within the Fossil Creek Special Area. This plan amendment:

  1. Decreases the area of the Fossil Creek Designated Wild and Scenic River Special Area byfour acres at T21N, R7E, E 1/2 Section 21 in order to comply with the requirements ofSection 3(b) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, which states, “boundaries shall include an average of not more than 320 acres of land per mile.…”
  2. Incorporates the management direction provided in Chapter 3 of the Fossil Creek CRMP. This management direction applies to the 2,892 acres within the Fossil Creek DesignatedWild and Scenic River Special Area on the Coconino National Forest.
  3. Recommends an 11.6-acre addition to the Designated Fossil Springs Botanical Area.

To incorporate this amendment, changes have been made to the Coconino Forest Plan.Appendix G has been added, containing the management direction for the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River Special Area, and pages and maps updated. The cover letter sent out for this amendment is available here, and the updated Forest Plan and replacement pages are available for review and download on the Forest Plan webpage

2021 Biennial Monitoring Evaluation Report for FYs 2018-2020

The first Biennial Monitoring Evaluation Report for the Revised Coconino Forest Plan is now complete and available for review. This report covers the first three years of plan implementation, fiscal years 2018 through 2020, and presents the results of the monitoring required by the forest plan monitoring strategy during this period. Required by the 2012 Planning Rule (36 C.F.R. §219.12), biennial monitoring evaluation reports document whether a change to the plan or change to the monitoring program is warranted based on new information, whether a new assessment may be needed, or whether there is no need for change at that time. This first monitoring report is being published two years after the Forest Plan's monitoring strategy was transitioned to focal species, an administrative change made in 2019. The report and its cover letter are available for review here.

Administrative Change #2 to the Forest Plan

This administrative change carries forward modifications and clarifications to the Coconino Forest Plan, and an errata to the Record of Decision (ROD), to address the decision made on appeals of the plan, follow the instructions given in that decision, and provide the resolutions agreed to and offered in appeal resolution meetings with the apellants. The alterations made as part of this administrative change, as well as the errata to the ROD, are listed in the attached document, “Coconino Forest Plan, Administrative Change per Appeal Resolutions, Administrative Change #2.” In this document, additions are indicated by bold, italicized text; deletions are indicated by strike-through text. The pages of the Forest Plan that have been modified by this administrative change and the errata for the ROD are published on the 2018 Forest Plan & Final EIS webpage.

Appeal Decision Made for the Revised Forest Plan

The decision on the appeals of the FEIS and ROD for the revised Coconino Forest Plan has been made by the Chief of the Forest Service, and all parties to the appeals have been notified. This appeal decision is the final administrative determination of the Department of Agriculture unless the Secretary elects to review the decision.

There were two appeals of the revised plan, from the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Chapter (Grand Canyon Wildlands Council and Arizona Wilderness Coalition). The Forest Service worked with the apellants to resolve their appeal issues and the Arizona Game and Fish Department withdrew their appeal in its entirety. The Sierra Club informed the Forest Service that one of their appeal points related to trail management guidance had been resolved. The remaining appeal issues from the Sierra Club were reviewed by the Reviewing Officer for the Chief, and the decision was made to affirm the revised Coconino Forest Plan, with instructions given to add clarity on two appeal topics. The forest will follow these instructions and publish an administrative change that addresses them as well as the appeal resolution agreements made with the apellants. 

The appeal period for the Coconino Revised Forest Plan closed August 23, 2018. To review appeals filed on the 2018 Forest Plan, click this link and the "Post-Decision" tab.

Monitoring Transition to Focal Species

In order to comply with the requirements of the 2012 Planning Rule, the Coconino National Forest must make an administrative change to the Monitoring Strategy. The Coconino NF prepared proposed changes to the monitoring strategy, specifically the transition from management indicator species (MIS) to focal species, identifying and monitoring for these focal species, and published these changes for public review and comment in December and January 2019. Due to the partial government shutdown, review and comment was extended through February 2019.

Comments were received from four reviewers, groups, and agencies. The Coconino NF considered the comments, discussed them further with commenters, and made some important changes to our proposal as a result of the insights provided. This administrative change has been approved (approval letter) and the resultant changes to the Coconino Forest Plan Monitoring Strategy (Chapter 5 of the Forest Plan) are described and listed in the document "Coconino Administrative Change per Monitoring Transition to Focal Species." An updated version of the Forest Plan is now posted to the Forest Plan and Final EIS webpage, along with replacement pages for this administrative change.