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4x4Voice News-Bytes

Featuring news and information about OHV recreation and environment issues within California. 4x4Voice News-Bytes - Site registration required to post.
  1. John Stewart
  2. Forest Planning
  3. Wednesday, 07 December 2016
  4.  Subscribe via email

In October we shared with you that we’d received more than 30,000 comments on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) and draft forest plans for the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests. So, what happens now? Good question.

Eighteen Forest Service staff are reviewing and analyzing your comments. The team members are reading, reviewing all letters, and identifying substantive comments to which a response will be prepared. Substantive comments provide supporting facts or information, and pertain to the proposed action. Comments may present new information relevant to our analysis, present reasonable alternatives we didn’t consider in our analysis, or challenge the accuracy of our information, methodology or analysis.

Once we’ve determined which comments are substantive, we will prepare a response to them. The ways in which we respond to comments includes:

  1. Develop and evaluate alternatives we didn’t previously consider. This analysis would appear in the final EIS.
  2. Supplement, improve or modify our original analysis. This would be reflected in the final EIS.
  3. Make factual corrections that would appear in the final EIS and forest plans.
  4. Explain why the comment does not warrant further Forest Service response. Such responses would be addressed in the final EIS.

Now that you understand how we will respond to comments, let’s take a moment to meet the people who are carefully reading, reviewing and analyzing your input.

Nevia Brown, Planning Team Leader

  • Education: M.S. in Forest Ecosystem Assessment / Human Dimensions, Alabama A&M University; B.S. in Biology and Forestry from Tuskegee University
  • Experience: 7 total years with the US Forest Service: 3.5 years as a forester, 4 years as a NEPA Coordinator, 3 months Planning Team Leader
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plans set the stage on which a forest’s foundation should be built. The great outcomes of a forest depends on the architecture developed within the plan. Forest plans are the most powerful tool we have in our toolbox for developing a sustainable forest that all visitors can enjoy.”

Jennifer Anderson, Regional Fuels Planner

  • Education: Masters of Forest Resources, University of Georgia; B.A. in Geography, Georgia State University
  • Experience: 1.5 years with the US Forest Service as a Fuels Planner; 13 years with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service as a Fuels Specialist and Fire Planner
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Revising the plan is imperative to adaptive management within our National Forests as conditions change over time. These management practices are directly related to providing clean air, water, healthy forests, and a place to recreate which is valuable to all people in some way or another.”

Phil Bowden, Regional Fuels Planner

  • Education: B.S. in Forestry, Michigan Technological University
  • Experience: 33 years with the US Forest Service in various fire-related positions; 37 total years of natural resource management experience
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest Plans guide how we manage the forests we love now and into the future.”

Amy Ziegler, Fire Planner

  • Education: B.S. in Natural Resource Management, Oregon State University
  • Experience: 27 total years with the US Forest Service: 8 years as a firefighter (mostly as a Hotshot), 6 years in fire dispatch, 13 years as a Forest Fire Planner
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision helps to reassess the public landscape considering environmental, political, social, and economic changes over time and assure that how the agency manages the land is in alignment with current and potential public values and concerns.”

JoAnn Fites-Kaufman, Regional Planning Ecologist

  • Education: PhD. Forest Resources (Ecosystem Analysis), University of Washington; M.S. Forest Science, University of Georgia; B.S. Ecology, Humboldt State University
  • Experience: 25 total years with the US Forest Service: 10 years as Adaptive Management Services Enterprise Team Lead and Fire/Ecology Scientist, 11 years as Zone/Province Ecologist, 4 years as Regional Planning Ecologist
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision offers an opportunity to shape forest restoration supporting healthy ecosystems and services such as water and habitat.”

Don Yasuda, Regional Analyst

  • Education/Certification: B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, University of California, Davis; Certified Wildlife Biologist by The Wildlife Society
  • Experience: 28 total years with the US Forest Service: 15 years as a District wildlife biologist and assistant resource officer, 7 years supporting regional wildlife and planning efforts, and 6 years as the Regional Analyst
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plans that are purposely and strategically managed to adapt to changing conditions, new knowledge, and new opportunities provide the best means to restore forests so they can provide the ecological, social and economic needs that benefit people.”

Andrea Davidson, Regional Recreation Planner

  • Education: M.S. in Natural Resource Management, University of Idaho; B.S. in Recreation and Natural Resource Management (minor in Wilderness Studies), University of Montana
  • Experience: 12 total years with the US Forest Service: wilderness and special uses
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision is a collaborative process between public, science, and agency knowledge. It produces an updated strategy that is capable of effectively responding to 21st century challenges while balancing the many needs for which your forests are valued. Ultimately, it produces a sound strategy that ensures proper public management of public lands.”

Mark Metcalfe, Regional Economist

  • Education: Specializations in economics and geography
  • Experience: 4 years total with the US Forest Service working on socioeconomic issues
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forests provide numerous contributions that improve the quality of all our lives. Plan revision is the opportunity to ensure these contributions continue for future generations.”

Tim Murphy, Regional Planning Hydrologist

  • Education/Certification: Masters of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida; B.S. in Soil and Water Science, University of Arizona; Certified Forester
  • Experience: Total of 35 years in natural resource management activities; 6 years with the US Forest Service: 3 as NEPA Specialist, and 3 as Hydrologist/Soil Scientist
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision provides a vision and direction for management of our national forests, taking into account changes on the ground, new science, and evolving values held by the American people who own these public lands.”

Terri Walsh, Regional Planning Silviculturist

  • Education/Certification: Undergraduate coursework in Forestry from Cal Poly SLO; US Forest Service Region 5 Certified Silviculturist
  • Experience: 29 total years with the US Forest Service in Natural Resource Management: 3 years in timber sale preparation, 9 years in forest reforestation, 17 years in silviculture and planning
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Human values change over time, and it is important that all of these values are taken into consideration when planning the future of our valuable natural resources.”

MaryLou Fairweather, Regional Natural Resource Planner

  • Education: B.S. in Biology from Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado; M.S. in Plant Pathology, University of Arizona
  • Experience: 27 total years with the US Forest Service: 26 years as a Forest Pathologist, 1.5 years as Natural Resource Planner
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “The forest plan revision process is grounded in science and provides opportunities for public involvement and collaboration throughout all stages of the planning process.”

Talitha Derksen, Regional Objection Coordinator for Programmatic Planning

  • Education: B.S. in Wildlife Conservation Biology and Applied Vertebrate Ecology, Humboldt State University
  • Experience: 9 years with the US Forest Service as a Wildlife Biologist and Natural Resource Planner
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revisions allow us to respond to changing conditions in the natural and social landscape.”

Judith Tapia, Planning Officer and Budget Manager, Sierra National Forest

  • Education: B.S. in Biochemistry, University of California at Davis
  • Experience: 7.5 total years with the US Forest Service: 6 years as an environmental coordinator wildlife biologist, 1.5 years as the Planning Staff Officer-Business Manager for the Sierra National Forest; 10 additional years in federal water management; and 10 additional years in local water quality management and regulation
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision offers an important opportunity for the public to be involved in determining how we will manage their public lands for the next 10-15 years, as well as helps us communicate the value of the forest to new audiences who were unaware of what the forests contribute to their life and community.”

Leeann Murphy, Resource and Planning Staff Officer, Inyo National Forest

  • Education: B.S. in Wildlife Management, New Mexico State University
  • Experience: 15 total years with the Forest Service: 13 years as a wildlife biologist, and 2 years as the Resource and Planning Staff Officer
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision offers an important opportunity for the public to be involved in determining how we will manage their public lands for the next 10-15 years.”

Irina Ford, Planning Staff Officer, Sequoia National Forest

  • Education: M.S. in Environmental Science, Kentucky State University; and B.S. in Natural Resources and Related Sciences (emphasis in Wildlife Biology), Tuskegee University
  • Experience: 8 years with the US Forest Service and 2 years with APHIS. Total of 10 years as a wildlife biologist, and nearly 1 year as a Forest Planner.
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision allows the public to assist with the management of our nation’s landscape, environment, and wildlife species. This synergy grants the opportunity for a united effort to conserve the environment.”

Brenda Ehmann, Environmental Coordinator and Sustainable Operations Point of Contact, Sequoia National Forest

  • Education: A.S. in Soil and Water Conservation, Colorado State College Trinidad; Undergraduate coursework in Natural Resources at: Colorado State University Pueblo, California State University Humboldt, and California State University Bakersfield
  • Experience: 38 total years of natural resource experience in leadership, public services, land management planning, sustainable operations, climate change, and environmental coordination; 28 years with the US Forest Service, 10 years with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, currently Forest Environmental Coordinator and Sustainability and Climate Change coordinator
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision sets the stage for holistic management of our public lands for the next 10-15 years. New science and public involvement inspires a fresh look at climate change and responses to changing ecosystems.”

Laura Hierholzer, Regional Environmental Coordinator

  • Education: B.S. Forest Management, Humboldt State University
  • Experience: 29 total years with the US Forest Service: 13 years as a timber sale administrator/planning forester, 2 years as a District timber management officer, 12 years as a Forest NEPA coordinator, and 2 years as the Regional environmental coordinator
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision offers an important opportunity for the public to be involved in determining how we will manage their public lands for the next 10-15 years.”

Kristen Allison, Fire Planner

  • Education: Degrees in Natural Resource Management and Communications, Oregon State University and California State San Marcos
  • Experience: More than 15 years in fire management with the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, primarily in fuels and fire planning.
  • Why is forest plan revision important? “It is a time when everyone can come to the table; take a look at where we were, where we are, and determine what our shared future will look like.”

In total this team has more than 380 years of experience in social and natural resource issues. As you can see there is a wealth of experience and passion devoted to forest plan revision efforts in California. This group’s fulltime job right now is determining what issues you raised in your comments and how best to address them in the final environmental impact statement and the revised forest plans. We will continue to keep you updated on our progress as we move forward.

Another item of note: We are in the process of updating our websites to meet the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirement that all public facing federal web sites and applications are accessed only through Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure (HTTPS). If you should encounter any broken links during this transition please send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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