The Pacific Southwest Region is initiating the first phase of the forest planning process pursuant to the 2012 Forest Planning Rule which will describe the strategic direction for management of forest resources for the next ten to fifteen years. This notice communicates that the informal phase of the Bio-Regional Assessment has begun.
The Bio-Regional Assessment Report will be completed in July 2013. The Forest-level Assessment Reports for the three early adopter Forests which will tier from the Bio-Regional Assessment Report and will be completed in December, 2013. The formal revision process will begin in 2014. The Pacific Southwest Region of the United States, United States Department of Agriculture, along with the Sierra, Inyo, and Sequoia National Forests, are initiating the first phase of the forest planning process pursuant to the 2012 Forest Planning Rule. Forest plans describe the strategic direction for management of forest resources for the next ten to fifteen years, and are adaptive and amendable as conditions change over time. This initial phase includes the assessment of resource condition and trend at the bioregional and forest scales. Although not required by the new Planning Rule, the Region will complete a Bio-Regional Assessment to help provide a landscape scale perspective to the required forest assessments. An assessment is the first step in revising forest plans.
Under the 2012 Planning Rule, the planning process is continuous and includes three stages extending over the life of the Revised Forest Plan. The first stage is the assessment of resources, and occurs in the first year. The second stage is the formal process required by the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) and includes the preparation of Draft Environmental Impact Statements and Revised Forest Plan for public review and comment, and the preparation of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Revised Forest Plan. We expect the second stage to take two years. The third stage of the process is monitoring and feedback, which is ongoing over the life of the revised forest plans.