The U.S. Forest Service has opened a 30-day public scoping period to start the National Environmental Policy Act process for revising forest plans on the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests.
The scoping period began Friday, Aug. 29 with the publishing of the Notice of Intent in the Federal Register.
The Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra are three of eight national forests selected as âearly adopters,â meaning they will be the first forests to revise their land management plans under the 2012 Forest Service Planning Rule. The planning rule provides the framework for Forest Service land management plans on national forests across the nation.
These three forest plan revisions will be completed through the development of one Environmental Impact Statement. The final EIS will result in three separate Records of Decision and three separate forest plans. Forest Supervisors are the responsible officials for making decisions on their specific forest plans.
The âscoping periodâ gives the public a chance to tell the Forest Service what issues and concerns they think should be addressed in the EIS before alternatives are developed and analyzed in the EIS.
âPublic involvement is a critical piece of this analysis and considered in the range of alternatives, which will be made available for public review and comment when drafted,â a press release from the Inyo National Forest states.
The Forest Service expects to release a draft of the EIS and alternatives for public review by spring 2015.
The EIS allows for a robust public involvement process, which begins with the scoping period announced last week. Public meetings to answer questions and accept written public comment on the INF plan are scheduled for 6-8: p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, at the Dyer Community Center in Dyer, Nev. and from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 at the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Bishop.
âThe Forest Service values public participation,â the press release states. âCommunications from the public regarding this project, including commenterâs name and contact information, will become part of the public record.â
Comments, including anonymous comments, will be accepted at any time. However, comments posted after the close of a designated comment period may not be given full consideration. Anonymous comments and comments submitted after the close of the final designated comment period will not provide the commenter standing for administrative review.
Scoping comments must be received by Monday, Sept. 29 and may be submitted online at http://tinyurl.com/r5earlyadopters (click on the âComment on Projectâ hyperlink under the âGet Connectedâ topic at the right side of the webpage).
Comments may also be emailed to R5planrevision@fs.fed.us, or mailed to Land Management Plan Revision, U.S. Forest Service, 1839 South Newcomb Street, Porterville, CA 93257.
Those planning to comment are asked to specify which forest or forests their comments apply to.
The NOI, detailed proposed action and maps are available for review at http://tinyurl.com/r5earlyadopters.
For earlier information regarding Forest Plan revision documents and the planning process prior to the release of the NOI and scoping period, visit the Pacific Southwest Regionâs planning website at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r5/FPR.
For specific information on the Inyo National Forest Plan, contact Deb Schweizer at (760) 873-2427 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For specific information on the Sequoia plan, contact Alicia Embrey at (559) 784-1500 or email@example.com
For specific information on the Sierra Forest Plan, contact Dirk Charley at (559) 297-0706 ext. 4805 or firstname.lastname@example.org