USDA Forest Service releases the Revised Colville Land Management Plan

Release Date: Sep 6, 2018  

Contact: Franklin Pemberton, (509) 684-7000                                   Date: September 5, 2018        

USDA Forest Service releases the Revised Colville Land Management Plan

COLVILLE, Washington [September 7, 2018] – Today the USDA Forest Service released the revised Land Management Plan for the Colville National Forest, as well as a Final Environmental Impact Statement and a draft Record of Decision.  The revised Land Management Plan is expected to support communities by increasing jobs and timber outputs, and maintaining traditional uses of the forest including livestock grazing and recreation.

The revised Land Management Plan began development in 2004. Since then, the specifics of the plan were developed collaboratively alongside the many partners, communities, and the Tribes that have a stake in the many uses of the Colville National Forest.

The revised Land Management Plan prioritizes rural prosperity, with treatment of fire-prone forests, forest access, and healthy watersheds.  When fully implemented, it has potential to annually support over 800 jobs and $36 million in labor income – including more than a 200 new jobs and almost $12 million in additional labor income when compared to the existing 1988 Land Management Plan.

The revised Land Management Plan provides updated management direction for the approximately 1.1 million acre Colville National Forest in northeast Washington.  The revised Land Management Plan provides an updated framework compared to the 1988 Plan, addressing changing environmental and socio-economic conditions in northeast Washington.

“We have been listening to diverse perspectives as we developed this revised Plan,” said Acting Pacific Northwest Regional Forester, Dianne Guidry.  The revised Land Management Plan honors the many years of input provided by partners, stakeholders, and the public.  Together, we are working to make the Forest more resilient to change while also supporting rural prosperity and community well-being.  I want to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to the revised Colville Land Management Plan.”

Under the revised Land Management Plan, the Forest Service aims to improve forest health and resilience to insect and disease, while reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire over time.  The improved conditions aim to provide for:

  • long-term economic, social, and ecological value for local communities and the American people;
  • healthier forests resilient to wildfire, insects, and diseases – enabling the Forest Service to be a better neighbor for adjacent landowners;
  • cleaner water for downstream communities and farmers, as well as improved habitat for sensitive fish, wildlife, and plants.

The revised Land Management Plan provides a framework for future site-specific decisions that may change forest uses once those separate decisions are implemented.  Decisions during the 15-year life of the revised Land Management Plan have the potential to deliver the following annual benefits:

  • More jobs: Up to 207 new jobs in the forest products sector – from 330 jobs under the existing Plan to an estimated total of 537 jobs under the revised Land Management Plan.
  • More income: Up to $12 million in additional income in the forest products sector – from an estimated $19.3 million under the existing Plan up to an estimated $31 million under the revised Land Management Plan.
  • More timber output: Up to 21 MMBF in additional timber harvest – from 41 MMBF under the existing Plan to 62 MMBF under the revised Land Management Plan.
  • Continued grazing output: Approximately 29,500 Animal Unit Months (AUMs), a level of output consistent with the existing Plan.
  • Continued forest access: For the public’s benefit and enjoyment, the National Forest will continue to be open for multiple uses.  Both motorized and non-motorized access remains free of charge in the vast majority of areas.
  • Continued opportunities for motorized and non-motorized recreation: balancing needs for forest access for timber harvest, wildfire suppression, and recreation with concerns for more wilderness the revised Land Management Plan includes a limited amount of carefully selected recommended wilderness (approximately 6% of the planning area), and backcountry areas.

On September 7, 2018, the Forest Service plans to publish a legal notice in The Seattle Times to initiate a 60-day objection period for the revised Land Management Plan.  The Seattle Times is the newspaper of record for Regional Forester decisions in the state of Washington in the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service, and the date of the legal notice will determine the initiation of the 60-day objection period.  Additionally, the Forest Service will publish a Notice of Objection in the Federal Register regarding the objection period.  A 90-day objection resolution period will occur after the close of the 60-day objection period.  After resolution of the objections, the Regional Forester will sign a final Record of Decision for the revised Land Management Plan.  The final revised Land Management Plan will then replace the 1988 Plan.

For more information about the objection period, and to access the revised Land Management Plan, draft Record of Decision, and Final Environmental Impact Statement, please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/colville/landmanagement/planning/?cid=stelprd3824594.

Media Contact:  Franklin Pemberton, fpemberton@fs.fed.us, 509-684-7000

“USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

 





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/colville/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD594898