The Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) and Region 4 jointly hosted a science-management dialogue in December 2015 to prepare for Forest Planning in the Intermountain Region. The National Forest Management Act (NFMA) of 1976 requires every national forest or grassland managed by the Forest Service to develop and maintain an effective Land Management Plan (also known as a Forest Plan). The process for the development and revision of plans, along with the required content of plans, is outlined in planning regulations, often referred to as the planning rule (the 2012 Planning Rule is the current rule). Managers of individual forests and grasslands follow the direction of the planning rule to develop a plan for land management specific to their unit.
Within the planning rule, Research Stations are responsible to provide assistance with science reviews, assessment information, plan monitoring, and reviews to the Forest Supervisor or Regional Forester. Therefore, RMRS and the Intermountain Region (Region 4 of the NFS) are working together throughout the planning process. Over a dozen scientists, program managers, and science delivery staff from RMRS joined the National Forest Service Library, over two dozen Region 4 program managers, and representatives from Regions 1 and 2 of the NFS, to actively engage in a facilitated dialogue and learning exchange. The workshop created a framework and key coordination points for participants to facilitate science-informed decision-making into the future, share information on forest planning processes, and identify information and resources available through the National Forest Service Library in support of forest planning.