Planning

Small waterfall in a creek within the floor of a wooded forestSaguaro cactus with rugged mountain sin background

Tonto National Forest Plan Revision

Each National Forest and Grassland is governed by a Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) in accordance with the National Forest Management Act (NFMA). The Tonto National Forest has a forest plan providing comprehensive management direction for resources on the National Forest System Lands. This includes plan direction for management, protection, and uses of the Forest. Monitoring conditions on the Forest ensures projects are done in accordance with plan direction and identify conditions that might require a change in the Forest Plan.

The Tonto National Forest began revising its Forest Plan in 2014 using the 2012 Planning Rule for the National Forest System. This webpage provides information on the forest plan revision process and how to get involved.

Where Are We Now in the Plan Revision Process? (Click to expand)

The Tonto National Forest published the Revised Final Environmental Impact Statement (Revised FEIS) on May 28, 2021. The revised FEIS addresses identified short comings in the 2016 final Travel Management Rule Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and includes the final Supplemental EIS in the Appendix.

The Draft Record of Decision (DROD) was issued on Oct. 4, 2019 for a 45-day objection period. The forest received twelve objections within the filing period, and response letters were sent from the Reviewing Official on Feb. 19, 2020.

The Record of Decision details how the forest addressed the Reviewing Official’s instructions to the Forest Supervisor. The Record of Decision will be signed no sooner than 30 days after publication of the Notice of Availability (NOA) for the Revised FEIS (40 CFR 1506.10(b)(2).

2019 Notice of Availability (NOA)(Click to expand)

The comment period for the draft land management plan (draft forest plan) and draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) has now ended.

The Notice of Availability (NOA) of the draft forest plan and DEIS was published in the Federal Register on December 13, 2019 which initiated the 90-day comment period through March 12, 2020. Comments received within this comment period can be read in the Tonto Plan Revision Comment Reading Room.

The planning team is currently working on a response to comments and incorporating information received through this comment period to develop the final land management plan and final environmental impact statement (FEIS). The draft Record of Decision (ROD) is anticipated for Late 2020 or Early 2021.

If you would like updates on the status of the final forest plan and FEIS send an email to SM.FS.tontoplan@usda.gov with a request to be added to the mailing list.

Draft Forest Plan and DEIS Documents (Click to expand)

The Notice of Availability (NOA) of the draft land management plan (draft forest plan) and draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) was published in the Federal Register on December 13, 2019 which initiated the 90-day comment period through March 12, 2020. Comments received within this comment period can be read in the Tonto Plan Revision Comment Reading Room.

All documents are in PDF format. The size of the documents can be very large and may take some time to download.

 

Forest Plan Revision Schedule (Click to expand)

The Tonto National Forest began revising its Forest Plan in 2014 using a collaborative approach and best available scientific information. The following table outlines the planning phases, process, and activities, as well as provides links to key documents or information for each phase of the plan revision process.

Process/Product Description Date
Assessment The Forest initiated the forest plan revision process in early 2014. After collaboration with the public, tribes, partner agencies, and other stakeholders, the Forest released an Assessment of Ecological, Social, Cultural, and Economic Conditions, Trends, & Risks to Sustainability. For more information click the Assessment link to the left. March 2017
Species of Conservation Concern (SCC)

Under the 2012 planning rule, the Forest is required to compile a Species of Conservation Concern (SCC) list. It is comprised of native species whose long-term future on the forest is considered at risk but are not currently protected under the Endangered Species Act. For more information click the SCC link to the left.

In Progress
Notice of Intent (NOI) and Needs to Change (NTC)

The publication of the NOI in the Federal Register to revise the land management plan posted on April 6, 2017. It initiated a 45-day formal scoping period highlighting the Needs to Change, which outline specific parts of the 1985 Forest Plan to be updated or supplemented in the revised plan. For more information click the NOI and NTC link to the left.

April 2017
Wild & Scenic Rivers Eligibility Process

As part of the forest plan we will be identifying eligible Wild & Scenic River segments, providing the basis for making the eligibility determination, documenting information supporting why or why not a segment was determined eligible, and identifying the proposed classification and location of the eligible segments. For more information click the Wild & Scenic Rivers Eligibility Process link to the left.

In Progress
Wilderness Recommendation Process

As part of forest plan forests are required to identify lands that may or may not be suitable for the National Wilderness Preservation System. The process of identifying suitable areas occurs in four primary steps: Inventory, Evaluation, Analysis, and Recommendation. For more information click the Wilderness Recommendation Process link to the left.

In Progress
Preliminary Proposed Plan (PPP)

Formal comments on the Preliminary Proposed Plan (PPP) were received between November 6, 2017 – January 12, 2018. This was accompanied by a round of public and partner meetings. For more information click the PPP link to the left.

November 2017
Draft Forest Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

Development of a draft forest plan and a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) that analyzes the described affected environment and the environmental effects of each of the plan alternatives. The draft forest plan and DEIS was released on December 13, 2019, initiated a 90-day comment period. Comments are being used to prepare a final forest plan and final environmental impact statement (FEIS).

December 2019
Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)

Comments on the DEIS are analyzed and reviewed in the development of a final environmental impact statement (FEIS). The FEIS identifies any needed changes between the draft and final EIS. The FEIS, Draft Record of Decision, and Plan will be released with a 30 day notice of availability.

TBD
Objection Process

Notice to start the Objection Process which will initiate a 90 day comment period and a 90 day resolution period, as per 36 CFR 219.53(a)

TBD
Final Record of Decision and Final Forest Plan

Decision made by Tonto National Forest Supervisor

TBD
Implementation & Monitoring

Forest Service implements the Revised Plan and begins ongoing monitoring.

TBD

Features

Travel Management

The Final Record of Decision for the Tonto National Forest Travel Management Plan was signed on October 5, 2021. 

Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth released the Forest Service’s decision on how motorized vehicle use will be managed on the 2.9 million-acre Tonto National Forest. This decision is part of a nationwide effort by the USDA Forest Service to address motorized recreation. 

The 2005 Travel Management Rule requires that all National Forest System lands designate roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle travel. 

Spotlights

Other Plans and Area Analyses

These plans provide overarching guidance to specific projects and tier to the forest plan. They are usually resource or area specific.

Forest Plan Monitoring and Inventory Reports

Monitoring conditions on the Tonto National Forest ensures projects are completed in accordance with plan direction and determines effects that might require a change in the Forest Plan.




https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/tonto/landmanagement/planning