National Forest Advisory Board - FAQs

 

1. Why is an Advisory Board necessary for the Black Hills NF?

Craig Bobzien, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor, feels that the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board (Board) has been a positive effort to improve cooperation and understanding with Forest stakeholders since the Board’s inception in 2003.

In 2001, then-Senator Tom Daschle hosted a Forest Summit in Rapid City that drew a crowd of over 600 people to air their views on how the national forest is currently being managed. One of the concepts discussed was the formation of a “council” of diverse interests that would work cooperatively to provide advice and recommendations regarding national forest management. In the months following the Summit, it became clear that the public supported this concept and was ready to participate. In response, Supervisor John Twiss made the decision to establish the Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board. The Board was chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (FACA).

2. Why does the Board have to be chartered under FACA?

Because the Board provides advice to a federal agency, it must be chartered under FACA. This Act directs the formation and operation of committees that provide advice to executive branches of government. While the intent of establishing such committees is a beneficial one, FACA aims to govern those that might result in undue influence on the decision-making process. The Board’s charter spells out the group’s scope, duties, and responsibilities.

3. What kind of issues does the Board address?

Examples include:

  • Forest plan revisions or amendments
  • Travel management
  • Forest monitoring and evaluation
  • Site-specific projects that have forest-wide implications

4. Does this Board make decisions for the Forest?

No. Decision-making authority still rests with the Forest Supervisor or his designee. The Board provides advice and recommendations only.

5. Who is on the Board?

The Board consists of 16 people who represent a cross section of interests regarding the Black Hills National Forest. The Board membership must be balanced so that no particular interest has more weight than any other. Membership qualifications are spelled out in the charter of the Board (e.g. members must be United States citizens and must have demonstrated professional or personal qualifications or experiences to contribute to the charter and duties of the Board, etc.).  Black Hills National Forest staff review nominations for membership, and forward them to the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture who makes the appointments.

6. How do I apply to be on the Board?

To be considered for membership, nominees must submit the following: 1) a resume describing qualifications for membership to the Board; 2) a cover letter with rationale for serving on the Board and what you can contribute; and 3) a completed form AD-755, Advisory Committee Membership Background Information.  Letters of recommendation are welcome.  The AD-755 may be obtained from the Forest Service contact person or on-line. All nominations will be vetted by the United States Department of Agriculture. You may nominate yourself or someone else (with that person’s permission).

7. What is the difference between the Board and the Resource Advisory Committees?

The Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board and the  Resource Advisory Committees are two separate but similar entities. The Board exists to provide advice and recommendations on a broad range of forest-wide issues across the Black Hills.

8. What if the Board members cannot come to any agreements?

If discussion of an issue does not result in the Board’s unanimous advice or recommendation, then the minority opinion may also be presented to the Forest Supervisor.

9. Who is in charge of the Board?

The Forest Supervisor is the Designated Federal Officer in charge of calling Board meetings and approving agendas. The Board elects a Chairperson from within its group to govern the activities of the Board within its stated charter.

10. How do I know that the Board membership is not stacked toward one particular interest group or another?

Major tenets of FACA are openness and balanced membership. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Forest Supervisor to ensure that membership does NOT result in any undue influence of any particular interest group, but rather accurately represents the community of interests that the Forest serves.

12. Where do I get more information?

Contact your local Forest Service office at (605) 673-9200.





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