The 2016 Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) governs management of the national forest in accordance with the National Forest Management Act (NFMA). The Forest Plan tiers to and is supported by other planning efforts.
2001 Roadless Rule (as amended)
On May 24, 2011, the Alaska District Court vacated the Tongass exemption and reinstated the 2001 Roadless Rule on the Tongass National Forest (Organized Village of Kake, et al. v. USDA, et al.). At this time, the Tongass National Forest is subject to the provisions of the 2001 Roadless Rule.
The following link to the Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation website provides the most current roadless information: www.fs.usda.gov/roadless
The 2012 planning rule for land management planning for the National Forest System was published in the Federal Register on April 9, 2012, and it became effective 30 days following the publication date on May 9, 2012. The complete planning rule, including the preamble and rule text, along with other informational materials, is available through the link in this section.
The final planning directives, effective January 30, 2015, are now available. These directives are the key set of agency guidance documents that direct implementation of the 2012 planning rule. In addition to the public comments, detailed recommendations from the Federal Advisory Committee (FACA Committee) chartered by the Secretary of Agriculture are reflected in the directives.
In December 2014, Congress passed legislation that finalized the remaining Sealaska allotment under ANCSA, enabling the conveyance of 18 parcels in Southeast Alaska.
The Monitoring and Evaluation Program helps guide resource management on the Tongass National Forest. Monitoring questions and indicators are designed to test relevant assumptions, track relevant changes, and measure management effectiveness and progress toward achieving Forest Plan desired conditions and objectives. Biennial monitoring reports evaluate information gathered in the two previous years, enabling the Responsible Official to determine if changes are needed to the associated Forest Plan components or content.
Monitoring and evaluation is a quality control process for implementation and provides evaluation of the effectiveness of the Forest Plan. It provides the public, the Forest Service, and other concerned resource agencies with information on the progress and results of plan implementation. Monitoring and evaluation comprise an essential feedback mechanism within an adaptive management framework to keep the Plan dynamic and responsive to changing conditions.
Forest Plan Five-Year Review
The Record of Decision prepared for the 2008 Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) indicated that the Tongass National Forest would evaluate the plan and its implementation five years after its issuance, as called for by the National Forest Management Act (NFMA) planning regulations in place at the time. The Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan adopted in 2008 so a five year review was completed in 2013.
The NFMA planning regulations have since been updated and five-year reviews of Forest Plans are no longer required. Regardless, the Tongass Forest Supervisor determined that it would be beneficial to conduct a review to gain greater insight into the Forest Plan and its implementation to determine whether any actions at this time are needed to clarify or adjust the plan.
Final Public Comment Report
The Tongass National Forest heard from a wide range of people about how the Forest Plan was working. To read those comments click on the Report of Comments here: Report of Comments made during the Five-Year Forest Plan Review.
Since 1997, the Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) has included standards and guidelines to help maintain sustainable wolf populations. Among these is a standard to develop and implement an interagency Wolf Habitat Management Program where wolf mortality concerns have been identified.
An interagency wolf technical committee comprised of U.S. Forest Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service technical specialists convened from March, 2016 to March, 2017 to address concerns regarding wolf mortality in Game Management Unit 2. The recommendations are now available here. The document addresses five key components of wolf management in GMU 2: deer habitat management, road management, wolf management and mortality, den management, and human dimensions.
These recommendations focus on GMU 2, but may also have utility elsewhere on the Tongass National Forest.
Over the past year the Tongass has worked to create a 5-year schedule of integrated forest management activities. The completed (TIP) emphasizes projects that include a combination of management opportunities.
Learn more about this visionary initiative that include business, communities and government.