Rio Grande National Forest Plan Revision

The Rio Grande National Forest is revising their 1996 forest plan.

The Rio Grande National Forest’s revised land management plan, supporting final environmental impact statement and draft record of decision are now available (www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46078). The forest plan provides management guidance across the 1.8 million acre Rio Grande National Forest for the next 15 years.  
 
In the first three years of implementation, the revised plan would provide nearly 2,000 new jobs in the recreation, timber and grazing industries worth $65 million in labor income. The plan also supports healthy watersheds that supply clean, abundant water to the San Luis Valley, supplying an agricultural industry worth more than $500 million.
 
The plan would use active management to improve forest conditions, while providing for clean air, water, and forest products. Management direction would be updated for all plant and wildlife species, including spruce-fir ecosystems. The land management plan also recommends 40,052 acres be added to the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area and three miles to the eligible and suitable Wild, Scenic and Recreation river system.  Cultural values would be protected, while allowing multiple-use access to the forest and improving recreation opportunities.  These values include the availability of and access to firewood and forest botanical products, for use by local communities.  Partnerships and citizen science are prioritized in the land management plan, supporting more monitoring necessary to ensure the work done on the ground is meeting current and future needs.
 
The land management plan also recognizes the role of naturally-ignited fires on the landscape and encourages them to be used as a tool to improve forest conditions and protect communities from catastrophic wildfires.
 
The final environmental impact statement analyzes the environmental, social and economic effects of the proposed land management plan and lays out several alternatives. The draft record of decision describes the selected alternative, which will become the land management plan.
 
A 60-day objection period begins with the publication of the legal notice in the Rio Grande National Forest's newspaper of record, The Valley Courier (Alamosa, CO) on Friday, August 2.  The objection process provides an opportunity for those who have participated in the process to have their unresolved concerns reviewed prior to the Forest Supervisor issuing a final decision. The reviewing official for the land management plan is Rocky Mountain Regional Forester Brian Ferebee.
 
The draft record of decision, land management plan, final environmental impact statement and associated documents are available online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46078

Recent Postings

                     September 6, 2019
                               
Objection Process information

August 13, 2019
           Public Meetings - land management

                    August 22, 2018
                             
Assessment 5 - At Risk Species 

                                                             

Public Participation

Public participation during the process is extremely important to ensure that the best forest plan will be developed for your national forest. There are several ways to participate in the planning process:

  •          Public meetings click here
  •          Email: Comments may be emailed to  rgnf_forest_plan@fs.fed.us
  •          Postal Service mail to:

Rio Grande National Forest
Forest Plan Revision
1803 US Hwy 160
Monte Vista, CO 81144

Forest Plan Revision Schedule

Process/Product

Activity

Proposed Completion

Date

Assessment

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

July 2016

Need to Change

  • Highlights those areas of the 1996 Plan to be updated in the revised Plan.

August 2016

Proposed Action

  • Utilizes information gathered from the assessment, review of key findings and identifies proposed actions to be used to develop the Forest Plan.

August 2016

Notice of Intent

  • Notification to revise the land management plan in the Federal Register which initiates a public comment on the Proposed Action.

August 2016

Draft Plan
 

  • Address potential desired conditions, management objectives, and other plan components based on identified need for change.
  • Develop alternatives for issues with differing options.

Summer 2017

Draft EIS
 

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

Summer 2017

Final EIS and Draft Plan Decision

  • Obtain public feedback on proposed plan and draft EIS.
  • Prepare final EIS and draft plan decision.

 Spring/Fall, 2019

Objection Process

  • Prior to approving the preferred alternative, the public may raise issues related to the Plan revision and suggest ways to improve the plan decision.

Start date - August 2 

Final Decision

  • Made by Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor

Summer/Fall 2019

Implementation and Monitoring

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

Ongoing

 

 

 





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