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Title 36Chapter IIPart 219 → Subpart A


Title 36: Parks, Forests, and Public Property
PART 219—PLANNING


Subpart A—National Forest System Land Management Planning


Contents
§219.1   Purpose and applicability.
§219.2   Levels of planning and responsible officials.
§219.3   Role of science in planning.
§219.4   Requirements for public participation.
§219.5   Planning framework.
§219.6   Assessment.
§219.7   New plan development or plan revision.
§219.8   Sustainability.
§219.9   Diversity of plant and animal communities.
§219.10   Multiple use.
§219.11   Timber requirements based on the NFMA.
§219.12   Monitoring.
§219.13   Plan amendment and administrative changes.
§219.14   Decision document and planning records.
§219.15   Project and activity consistency with the plan.
§219.16   Public notifications.
§219.17   Effective dates and transition.
§219.18   Severability.
§219.19   Definitions.

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§219.1   Purpose and applicability.

(a) This subpart sets out the planning requirements for developing, amending, and revising land management plans (also referred to as plans) for units of the National Forest System (NFS), as required by the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974, as amended by the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et seq.) (NFMA). This subpart also sets out the requirements for plan components and other content in land management plans. This part is applicable to all units of the NFS as defined by 16 U.S.C. 1609 or subsequent statute.

(b) Consistent with the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 (16 U.S.C. 528-531) (MUSYA), the Forest Service manages the NFS to sustain the multiple use of its renewable resources in perpetuity while maintaining the long-term health and productivity of the land. Resources are managed through a combination of approaches and concepts for the benefit of human communities and natural resources. Land management plans guide sustainable, integrated resource management of the resources within the plan area in the context of the broader landscape, giving due consideration to the relative values of the various resources in particular areas.

(c) The purpose of this part is to guide the collaborative and science-based development, amendment, and revision of land management plans that promote the ecological integrity of national forests and grasslands and other administrative units of the NFS. Plans will guide management of NFS lands so that they are ecologically sustainable and contribute to social and economic sustainability; consist of ecosystems and watersheds with ecological integrity and diverse plant and animal communities; and have the capacity to provide people and communities with ecosystem services and multiple uses that provide a range of social, economic, and ecological benefits for the present and into the future. These benefits include clean air and water; habitat for fish, wildlife, and plant communities; and opportunities for recreational, spiritual, educational, and cultural benefits.

(d) This part does not affect treaty rights or valid existing rights established by statute or legal instruments.

(e) During the planning process, the responsible official shall comply with Section 8106 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (25 U.S.C. 3056), Executive Order 13007 of May 24, 1996, Executive Order 13175 of November 6, 2000, laws, and other requirements with respect to disclosing or withholding under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) certain information regarding reburial sites or other information that is culturally sensitive to an Indian Tribe or Tribes.

(f) Plans must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including NFMA, MUSYA, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Wilderness Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

(g) The responsible official shall ensure that the planning process, plan components, and other plan content are within Forest Service authority, the inherent capability of the plan area, and the fiscal capability of the unit.

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§219.2   Levels of planning and responsible officials.

Forest Service planning occurs at different organizational levels and geographic scales. Planning occurs at three levels—national strategic planning, NFS unit planning, and project or activity planning.

(a) National strategic planning. The Chief of the Forest Service is responsible for national planning, such as preparation of the Forest Service strategic plan required under the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 (5 U.S.C. 306; 31 U.S.C. 1115-1125; 31 U.S.C. 9703-9704), which is integrated with the requirements of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974, as amended by the NFMA. The strategic plan establishes goals, objectives, performance measures, and strategies for management of the NFS, as well as the other Forest Service mission areas: Research and Development, State and Private Forestry, and International Programs.

(b) National Forest System unit planning. (1) NFS unit planning results in the development, amendment, or revision of a land management plan. A land management plan provides a framework for integrated resource management and for guiding project and activity decisionmaking on a national forest, grassland, prairie, or other administrative unit. A plan reflects the unit's expected distinctive roles and contributions to the local area, region, and Nation, and the roles for which the plan area is best suited, considering the Agency's mission, the unit's unique capabilities, and the resources and management of other lands in the vicinity. Through the adaptive planning cycle set forth in this subpart, a plan can be changed to reflect new information and changing conditions.

(2) A plan does not authorize projects or activities or commit the Forest Service to take action. A plan may constrain the Agency from authorizing or carrying out projects and activities, or the manner in which they may occur. Projects and activities must be consistent with the plan (§219.15). A plan does not regulate uses by the public, but a project or activity decision that regulates a use by the public under 36 CFR Part 261, Subpart B, may be made contemporaneously with the approval of a plan, plan amendment, or plan revision. Plans should not repeat laws, regulations, or program management policies, practices, and procedures that are in the Forest Service Directive System.

(3) The supervisor of the national forest, grassland, prairie, or other comparable administrative unit is the responsible official for development and approval of a plan, plan amendment, or plan revision for lands under the responsibility of the supervisor, unless a regional forester; the Chief; the Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment; or the Secretary acts as the responsible official. Two or more responsible officials may undertake joint planning over lands under their respective jurisdictions.

(4) A plan for a unit that contains an experimental area may not be approved without the concurrence of the appropriate research station director with respect to the direction applicable to that area, and a plan amendment applicable to an experimental area may not be approved without the concurrence of the appropriate research station director.

(5) The Chief is responsible for leadership and direction for carrying out the NFS land management planning program under this part. The Chief shall:

(i) Establish planning procedures for this part in the Forest Service Directive System in Forest Service Manual 1920—Land Management Planning and in Forest Service Handbook 1909.12—Land Management Planning Handbook.

(ii) Establish and administer a national oversight process for accountability and consistency of NFS land management planning under this part.

(iii) Establish procedures in the Forest Service Directive System for obtaining inventory data on the various renewable resources, and soil and water.

(c) Project and activity planning. The supervisor or district ranger is the responsible official for project and activity decisions, unless a higher-level official acts as the responsible official. Requirements for project or activity planning are established in the Forest Service Directive System. Except as provided in the plan consistency requirements in §219.15, none of the requirements of this part apply to projects or activities.

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§219.3   Role of science in planning.

The responsible official shall use the best available scientific information to inform the planning process required by this subpart for assessment; developing, amending, or revising a plan; and monitoring. In doing so, the responsible official shall determine what information is the most accurate, reliable, and relevant to the issues being considered. The responsible official shall document how the best available scientific information was used to inform the assessment, the plan or amendment decision, and the monitoring program as required in §§219.6(a)(3) and 219.14(a)(3). Such documentation must: Identify what information was determined to be the best available scientific information, explain the basis for that determination, and explain how the information was applied to the issues considered.

[81 FR 90737, Dec. 15, 2016]

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§219.4   Requirements for public participation.

(a) Providing opportunities for participation. The responsible official shall provide opportunities to the public for participating in the assessment process; developing a plan proposal, including the monitoring program; commenting on the proposal and the disclosure of its environmental impacts in accompanying National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents; and reviewing the results of monitoring information. When developing opportunities for public participation, the responsible official shall take into account the discrete and diverse roles, jurisdictions, responsibilities, and skills of interested and affected parties; the accessibility of the process, opportunities, and information; and the cost, time, and available staffing. The responsible official should be proactive and use contemporary tools, such as the Internet, to engage the public, and should share information in an open way with interested parties. Subject to the notification requirements in §219.16, the responsible official has the discretion to determine the scope, methods, forum, and timing of those opportunities. The Forest Service retains decisionmaking authority and responsibility for all decisions throughout the process.

(1) Outreach. The responsible official shall engage the public—including Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, individuals, and public and private organizations or entities—early and throughout the planning process as required by this part, using collaborative processes where feasible and appropriate. In providing opportunities for engagement, the responsible official shall encourage participation by:

(i) Interested individuals and entities, including those interested at the local, regional, and national levels.

(ii) Youth, low-income populations, and minority populations.

(iii) Private landowners whose lands are in, adjacent to, or otherwise affected by, or whose actions may impact, future management actions in the plan area.

(iv) Federal agencies, States, counties, and local governments, including State fish and wildlife agencies, State foresters and other relevant State agencies. Where appropriate, the responsible official shall encourage States, counties, and other local governments to seek cooperating agency status in the NEPA process for development, amendment, or revision of a plan. The responsible official may participate in planning efforts of States, counties, local governments, and other Federal agencies, where practicable and appropriate.

(v) Interested or affected federally recognized Indian Tribes or Alaska Native Corporations. Where appropriate, the responsible official shall encourage federally recognized Tribes to seek cooperating agency status in the NEPA process for development, amendment, or revision of a plan. The responsible official may participate in planning efforts of federally recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations, where practicable and appropriate.

(2) Consultation with federally recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations. The Department recognizes the Federal Government has certain trust responsibilities and a unique legal relationship with federally recognized Indian Tribes. The responsible official shall honor the government-to-government relationship between federally recognized Indian Tribes and the Federal Government. The responsible official shall provide to federally recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations the opportunity to undertake consultation consistent with Executive Order 13175 of November 6, 2000, and 25 U.S.C. 450 note.

(3) Native knowledge, indigenous ecological knowledge, and land ethics. As part of tribal participation and consultation as set forth in paragraphs (a)(1)(v) and (a)(2) of this section, the responsible official shall request information about native knowledge, land ethics, cultural issues, and sacred and culturally significant sites.

(b) Coordination with other public planning efforts. (1) The responsible official shall coordinate land management planning with the equivalent and related planning efforts of federally recognized Indian Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, other Federal agencies, and State and local governments.

(2) For plan development or revision, the responsible official shall review the planning and land use policies of federally recognized Indian Tribes (43 U.S.C. 1712(b)), Alaska Native Corporations, other Federal agencies, and State and local governments, where relevant to the plan area. The results of this review shall be displayed in the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the plan (40 CFR 1502.16(c), 1506.2). The review shall include consideration of:

(i) The objectives of federally recognized Indian Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, other Federal agencies, and State and local governments, as expressed in their plans and policies;

(ii) The compatibility and interrelated impacts of these plans and policies;

(iii) Opportunities for the plan to address the impacts identified or to contribute to joint objectives; and

(iv) Opportunities to resolve or reduce conflicts, within the context of developing the plan's desired conditions or objectives.

(3) Nothing in this section should be read to indicate that the responsible official will seek to direct or control management of lands outside of the plan area, nor will the responsible official conform management to meet non-Forest Service objectives or policies.

[77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 77 FR 44144, July 27, 2012]

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§219.5   Planning framework.

(a) Planning for a national forest, grassland, prairie, or other comparable administrative unit of the NFS is an iterative process that includes assessment (§219.6); developing, amending, or revising a plan (§§219.7 and 219.13); and monitoring (§219.12). These three phases of the framework are complementary and may overlap. The intent of this framework is to create a responsive planning process that informs integrated resource management and allows the Forest Service to adapt to changing conditions, including climate change, and improve management based on new information and monitoring.

(1) Assessment. Assessments rapidly evaluate existing information about relevant ecological, economic, and social conditions, trends, and sustainability and their relationship to the land management plan within the context of the broader landscape. The responsible official shall consider and evaluate existing and possible future conditions and trends of the plan area, and assess the sustainability of social, economic, and ecological systems within the plan area, in the context of the broader landscape (§219.6).

(2) Plan development, plan amendment, or plan revision.

(i) The process for developing or revising a plan includes: Assessment, preliminary identification of the need to change the plan based on the assessment, development of a proposed plan, consideration of the environmental effects of the proposal, providing an opportunity to comment on the proposed plan, providing an opportunity to object before the proposal is approved, and, finally, approval of the plan or plan revision. A new plan or plan revision requires preparation of an environmental impact statement.

(ii) The process for amending a plan includes: Preliminary identification of the need to change the plan, development of a proposed amendment, consideration of the environmental effects of the proposal, providing an opportunity to comment on the proposed amendment, providing an opportunity to object before the proposal is approved, and, finally, approval of the plan amendment. The appropriate NEPA documentation for an amendment may be an environmental impact statement, an environmental assessment, or a categorical exclusion, depending upon the scope and scale of the amendment and its likely effects.

(3) Monitoring. Monitoring is continuous and provides feedback for the planning cycle by testing relevant assumptions, tracking relevant conditions over time, and measuring management effectiveness (§219.12). The monitoring program includes plan-level and broader-scale monitoring. The plan-level monitoring program is informed by the assessment phase; developed during plan development, plan amendment, or plan revision; and implemented after plan decision. The regional forester develops broader-scale monitoring strategies. Biennial monitoring evaluation reports document whether a change to the plan or change to the monitoring program is warranted based on new information, whether a new assessment may be needed, or whether there is no need for change at that time.

(b) Interdisciplinary team(s). The responsible official shall establish an interdisciplinary team or teams to prepare assessments; new plans, plan amendments, and plan revisions; and plan monitoring programs.

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§219.6   Assessment.

The responsible official has the discretion to determine the scope, scale, and timing of an assessment described in §219.5(a)(1), subject to the requirements of this section.

(a) Process for plan development or revision assessments. An assessment must be completed for the development of a new plan or for a plan revision. The responsible official shall:

(1) Identify and consider relevant existing information in governmental or non-governmental assessments, plans, monitoring reports, studies, and other sources of relevant information. Such sources of information may include State forest assessments and strategies, the Resources Planning Act assessment, ecoregional assessments, non-governmental reports, State comprehensive outdoor recreation plans, community wildfire protection plans, public transportation plans, State wildlife data and action plans, and relevant Agency or interagency reports, resource plans or assessments. Relevant private information, including relevant land management plans and local knowledge, will be considered if publicly available or voluntarily provided.

(2) Coordinate with or provide opportunities for the regional forester, agency staff from State and Private Forestry and Research and Development, federally recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations, other governmental and non-governmental parties, and the public to provide existing information for the assessment.

(3) Document the assessment in a report available to the public. The report should document information needs relevant to the topics of paragraph (b) of this section. Document in the report how the best available scientific information was used to inform the assessment (§219.3). Include the report in the planning record (§219.14).

(b) Content of the assessment for plan development or revision. In the assessment for plan development or revision, the responsible official shall identify and evaluate existing information relevant to the plan area for the following:

(1) Terrestrial ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems, and watersheds;

(2) Air, soil, and water resources and quality;

(3) System drivers, including dominant ecological processes, disturbance regimes, and stressors, such as natural succession, wildland fire, invasive species, and climate change; and the ability of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on the plan area to adapt to change;

(4) Baseline assessment of carbon stocks;

(5) Threatened, endangered, proposed and candidate species, and potential species of conservation concern present in the plan area;

(6) Social, cultural, and economic conditions;

(7) Benefits people obtain from the NFS planning area (ecosystem services);

(8) Multiple uses and their contributions to local, regional, and national economies;

(9) Recreation settings, opportunities and access, and scenic character;

(10) Renewable and nonrenewable energy and mineral resources;

(11) Infrastructure, such as recreational facilities and transportation and utility corridors;

(12) Areas of tribal importance;

(13) Cultural and historic resources and uses;

(14) Land status and ownership, use, and access patterns; and

(15) Existing designated areas located in the plan area including wilderness and wild and scenic rivers and potential need and opportunity for additional designated areas.

(c) Plan amendment assessments. Where the responsible official determines that a new assessment is needed to inform an amendment, the responsible official has the discretion to determine the scope, scale, process, and content for the assessment depending on the topic or topics to be addressed.

[77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 77 FR 44145, July 27, 2012]

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§219.7   New plan development or plan revision.

(a) Plan revisions. A plan revision creates a new plan for the entire plan area, whether the plan revision differs from the prior plan to a small or large extent. A plan must be revised at least every 15 years. But, the responsible official has the discretion to determine at any time that conditions on a plan area have changed significantly such that a plan must be revised (16 U.S.C. 1604(f)(5)).

(b) New plan development. New plan development is required for new NFS units. The process for developing a new plan is the same as the process for plan revision.

(c) Process for plan development or revision. (1) The process for developing or revising a plan includes: Public notification and participation (§§219.4 and 219.16), assessment (§§219.5 and 219.6), developing a proposed plan, considering the environmental effects of the proposal, providing an opportunity to comment on the proposed plan, providing an opportunity to object before the proposal is approved (subpart B), and, finally, approving the plan or plan revision. A new plan or plan revision requires preparation of an environmental impact statement.

(2) In developing a proposed new plan or proposed plan revision, the responsible official shall:

(i) Review relevant information from the assessment and monitoring to identify a preliminary need to change the existing plan and to inform the development of plan components and other plan content.

(ii) Consider the goals and objectives of the Forest Service strategic plan (§219.2(a)).

(iii) Identify the presence and consider the importance of various physical, biological, social, cultural, and historic resources on the plan area (§219.6), with respect to the requirements for plan components of §§219.8 through 219.11.

(iv) Consider conditions, trends, and stressors (§219.6), with respect to the requirements for plan components of §§219.8 through 219.11.

(v) Identify and evaluate lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System and determine whether to recommend any such lands for wilderness designation.

(vi) Identify the eligibility of rivers for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, unless a systematic inventory has been previously completed and documented and there are no changed circumstances that warrant additional review.

(vii) Identify existing designated areas other than the areas identified in paragraphs (c)(2)(v) and (c)(2)(vi) of this section, and determine whether to recommend any additional areas for designation. If the responsible official has the delegated authority to designate a new area or modify an existing area, then the responsible official may designate such area when approving the plan, plan amendment, or plan revision.

(viii) Identify the suitability of areas for the appropriate integration of resource management and uses, with respect to the requirements for plan components of §§219.8 through 219.11, including identifying lands that are not suitable for timber production (§219.11).

(ix) Identify the maximum quantity of timber that may be removed from the plan area (§219.11(d)(6)).

(x) Identify questions and indicators for the plan monitoring program (§219.12).

(xi) Identify potential other content in the plan (paragraph (f) of this section).

(3) The regional forester shall identify the species of conservation concern for the plan area in coordination with the responsible official.

(d) Management areas or geographic areas. Every plan must have management areas or geographic areas or both. The plan may identify designated or recommended designated areas as management areas or geographic areas.

(e) Plan components. Plan components guide future project and activity decisionmaking. The plan must indicate whether specific plan components apply to the entire plan area, to specific management areas or geographic areas, or to other areas as identified in the plan.

(1) Required plan components. Every plan must include the following plan components:

(i) Desired conditions. A desired condition is a description of specific social, economic, and/or ecological characteristics of the plan area, or a portion of the plan area, toward which management of the land and resources should be directed. Desired conditions must be described in terms that are specific enough to allow progress toward their achievement to be determined, but do not include completion dates.

(ii) Objectives. An objective is a concise, measurable, and time-specific statement of a desired rate of progress toward a desired condition or conditions. Objectives should be based on reasonably foreseeable budgets.

(iii) Standards. A standard is a mandatory constraint on project and activity decisionmaking, established to help achieve or maintain the desired condition or conditions, to avoid or mitigate undesirable effects, or to meet applicable legal requirements.

(iv) Guidelines. A guideline is a constraint on project and activity decisionmaking that allows for departure from its terms, so long as the purpose of the guideline is met. (§219.15(d)(3)). Guidelines are established to help achieve or maintain a desired condition or conditions, to avoid or mitigate undesirable effects, or to meet applicable legal requirements.

(v) Suitability of lands. Specific lands within a plan area will be identified as suitable for various multiple uses or activities based on the desired conditions applicable to those lands. The plan will also identify lands within the plan area as not suitable for uses that are not compatible with desired conditions for those lands. The suitability of lands need not be identified for every use or activity. Suitability identifications may be made after consideration of historic uses and of issues that have arisen in the planning process. Every plan must identify those lands that are not suitable for timber production (§219.11).

(2) Optional plan component: goals. A plan may include goals as plan components. Goals are broad statements of intent, other than desired conditions, usually related to process or interaction with the public. Goals are expressed in broad, general terms, but do not include completion dates.

(3) Requirements for the set of plan components. The set of plan components must meet the requirements set forth in this part for sustainability (§219.8), plant and animal diversity (§219.9), multiple use (§219.10), and timber (§219.11).

(f) Other content in the plan. (1) Other required content in the plan. Every plan must:

(i) Identify watershed(s) that are a priority for maintenance or restoration;

(ii) Describe the plan area's distinctive roles and contributions within the broader landscape;

(iii) Include the monitoring program required by §219.12; and

(iv) Contain information reflecting proposed and possible actions that may occur on the plan area during the life of the plan, including: the planned timber sale program; timber harvesting levels; and the proportion of probable methods of forest vegetation management practices expected to be used (16 U.S.C. 1604(e)(2) and (f)(2)). Such information is not a commitment to take any action and is not a “proposal” as defined by the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR 1508.23, 42 U.S.C. 4322(2)(C)).

(2) Optional content in the plan. A plan may include additional content, such as potential management approaches or strategies and partnership opportunities or coordination activities.

[77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 77 FR 44145, July 27, 2012]

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§219.8   Sustainability.

A plan developed or revised under this part must provide for social, economic, and ecological sustainability within Forest Service authority and consistent with the inherent capability of the plan area, as follows:

(a) Ecological sustainability. (1) Ecosystem Integrity. The plan must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, to maintain or restore the ecological integrity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and watersheds in the plan area, including plan components to maintain or restore structure, function, composition, and connectivity, taking into account:

(i) Interdependence of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the plan area.

(ii) Contributions of the plan area to ecological conditions within the broader landscape influenced by the plan area.

(iii) Conditions in the broader landscape that may influence the sustainability of resources and ecosystems within the plan area.

(iv) System drivers, including dominant ecological processes, disturbance regimes, and stressors, such as natural succession, wildland fire, invasive species, and climate change; and the ability of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on the plan area to adapt to change.

(v) Wildland fire and opportunities to restore fire adapted ecosystems.

(vi) Opportunities for landscape scale restoration.

(2) Air, soil, and water. The plan must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, to maintain or restore:

(i) Air quality.

(ii) Soils and soil productivity, including guidance to reduce soil erosion and sedimentation.

(iii) Water quality.

(iv) Water resources in the plan area, including lakes, streams, and wetlands; ground water; public water supplies; sole source aquifers; source water protection areas; and other sources of drinking water (including guidance to prevent or mitigate detrimental changes in quantity, quality, and availability).

(3) Riparian areas. (i) The plan must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, to maintain or restore the ecological integrity of riparian areas in the plan area, including plan components to maintain or restore structure, function, composition, and connectivity, taking into account:

(A) Water temperature and chemical composition;

(B) Blockages (uncharacteristic and characteristic) of water courses;

(C) Deposits of sediment;

(D) Aquatic and terrestrial habitats;

(E) Ecological connectivity;

(F) Restoration needs; and

(G) Floodplain values and risk of flood loss.

(ii) Plans must establish width(s) for riparian management zones around all lakes, perennial and intermittent streams, and open water wetlands, within which the plan components required by paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section will apply, giving special attention to land and vegetation for approximately 100 feet from the edges of all perennial streams and lakes.

(A) Riparian management zone width(s) may vary based on ecological or geomorphic factors or type of water body; and will apply unless replaced by a site-specific delineation of the riparian area.

(B) Plan components must ensure that no management practices causing detrimental changes in water temperature or chemical composition, blockages of water courses, or deposits of sediment that seriously and adversely affect water conditions or fish habitat shall be permitted within the riparian management zones or the site-specific delineated riparian areas.

(4) Best management practices for water quality. The Chief shall establish requirements for national best management practices for water quality in the Forest Service Directive System. Plan components must ensure implementation of these practices.

(b) Social and economic sustainability. The plan must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, to guide the plan area's contribution to social and economic sustainability, taking into account:

(1) Social, cultural, and economic conditions relevant to the area influenced by the plan;

(2) Sustainable recreation; including recreation settings, opportunities, and access; and scenic character;

(3) Multiple uses that contribute to local, regional, and national economies in a sustainable manner;

(4) Ecosystem services;

(5) Cultural and historic resources and uses; and

(6) Opportunities to connect people with nature.

[77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 81 FR 90737, Dec. 15, 2016]

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§219.9   Diversity of plant and animal communities.

This section adopts a complementary ecosystem and species-specific approach to maintaining the diversity of plant and animal communities and the persistence of native species in the plan area. Compliance with the ecosystem requirements of paragraph (a) of this section is intended to provide the ecological conditions to both maintain the diversity of plant and animal communities and support the persistence of most native species in the plan area. Compliance with the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section is intended to provide for additional ecological conditions not otherwise provided by compliance with paragraph (a) of this section for individual species as set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. A plan developed or revised under this part must provide for the diversity of plant and animal communities, within Forest Service authority and consistent with the inherent capability of the plan area, as follows:

(a) Ecosystem plan components. (1) Ecosystem integrity. As required by §219.8(a), the plan must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, to maintain or restore the ecological integrity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and watersheds in the plan area, including plan components to maintain or restore their structure, function, composition, and connectivity.

(2) Ecosystem diversity. The plan must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, to maintain or restore the diversity of ecosystems and habitat types throughout the plan area. In doing so, the plan must include plan components to maintain or restore:

(i) Key characteristics associated with terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem types;

(ii) Rare aquatic and terrestrial plant and animal communities; and

(iii) The diversity of native tree species similar to that existing in the plan area.

(b) Additional, species-specific plan components. (1) The responsible official shall determine whether or not the plan components required by paragraph (a) of this section provide the ecological conditions necessary to: contribute to the recovery of federally listed threatened and endangered species, conserve proposed and candidate species, and maintain a viable population of each species of conservation concern within the plan area. If the responsible official determines that the plan components required in paragraph (a) are insufficient to provide such ecological conditions, then additional, species-specific plan components, including standards or guidelines, must be included in the plan to provide such ecological conditions in the plan area.

(2) If the responsible official determines that it is beyond the authority of the Forest Service or not within the inherent capability of the plan area to maintain or restore the ecological conditions to maintain a viable population of a species of conservation concern in the plan area, then the responsible official shall:

(i) Document the basis for that determination (§219.14(a)); and

(ii) Include plan components, including standards or guidelines, to maintain or restore ecological conditions within the plan area to contribute to maintaining a viable population of the species within its range. In providing such plan components, the responsible official shall coordinate to the extent practicable with other Federal, State, Tribal, and private land managers having management authority over lands relevant to that population.

(c) Species of conservation concern. For purposes of this subpart, a species of conservation concern is a species, other than federally recognized threatened, endangered, proposed, or candidate species, that is known to occur in the plan area and for which the regional forester has determined that the best available scientific information indicates substantial concern about the species' capability to persist over the long-term in the plan area.

[77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 81 FR 90737, Dec. 15, 2016]

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§219.10   Multiple use.

While meeting the requirements of §§219.8 and 219.9, a plan developed or revised under this part must provide for ecosystem services and multiple uses, including outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, wildlife, and fish, within Forest Service authority and the inherent capability of the plan area as follows:

(a) Integrated resource management for multiple use. The plan must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, for integrated resource management to provide for ecosystem services and multiple uses in the plan area. When developing plan components for integrated resource management, to the extent relevant to the plan area and the public participation process and the requirements of §§219.7, 219.8, 219.9, and 219.11, the responsible official shall consider:

(1) Aesthetic values, air quality, cultural and heritage resources, ecosystem services, fish and wildlife species, forage, geologic features, grazing and rangelands, habitat and habitat connectivity, recreation settings and opportunities, riparian areas, scenery, soil, surface and subsurface water quality, timber, trails, vegetation, viewsheds, wilderness, and other relevant resources and uses.

(2) Renewable and nonrenewable energy and mineral resources.

(3) Appropriate placement and sustainable management of infrastructure, such as recreational facilities and transportation and utility corridors.

(4) Opportunities to coordinate with neighboring landowners to link open spaces and take into account joint management objectives where feasible and appropriate.

(5) Habitat conditions, subject to the requirements of §219.9, for wildlife, fish, and plants commonly enjoyed and used by the public; for hunting, fishing, trapping, gathering, observing, subsistence, and other activities (in collaboration with federally recognized Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, other Federal agencies, and State and local governments).

(6) Land status and ownership, use, and access patterns relevant to the plan area.

(7) Reasonably foreseeable risks to ecological, social, and economic sustainability.

(8) System drivers, including dominant ecological processes, disturbance regimes, and stressors, such as natural succession, wildland fire, invasive species, and climate change; and the ability of the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on the plan area to adapt to change (§219.8);

(9) Public water supplies and associated water quality.

(10) Opportunities to connect people with nature.

(b) Requirements for plan components for a new plan or plan revision. (1) The plan must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, to provide for:

(i) Sustainable recreation; including recreation settings, opportunities, and access; and scenic character. Recreation opportunities may include non-motorized, motorized, developed, and dispersed recreation on land, water, and in the air.

(ii) Protection of cultural and historic resources.

(iii) Management of areas of tribal importance.

(iv) Protection of congressionally designated wilderness areas as well as management of areas recommended for wilderness designation to protect and maintain the ecological and social characteristics that provide the basis for their suitability for wilderness designation.

(v) Protection of designated wild and scenic rivers as well as management of rivers found eligible or determined suitable for the National Wild and Scenic River system to protect the values that provide the basis for their suitability for inclusion in the system.

(vi) Appropriate management of other designated areas or recommended designated areas in the plan area, including research natural areas.

(2) Other plan components for integrated resource management to provide for multiple use as necessary.

[77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 81 FR 90737, Dec. 15, 2016]

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§219.11   Timber requirements based on the NFMA.

While meeting the requirements of §§219.8 through 219.10, a plan developed or revised under this part must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, and other plan content regarding timber management within Forest Service authority and the inherent capability of the plan area, as follows:

(a) Lands not suited for timber production. (1) The responsible official shall identify lands within the plan area as not suited for timber production if any one of the following factors applies:

(i) Statute, Executive order, or regulation prohibits timber production on the land;

(ii) The Secretary of Agriculture or the Chief has withdrawn the land from timber production;

(iii) Timber production would not be compatible with the achievement of desired conditions and objectives established by the plan for those lands;

(iv) The technology is not currently available for conducting timber harvest without causing irreversible damage to soil, slope, or other watershed conditions;

(v) There is no reasonable assurance that such lands can be adequately restocked within 5 years after final regeneration harvest; or

(vi) The land is not forest land.

(2) The responsible official shall review lands identified in the plan as not suited for timber production at least once every 10 years, or as otherwise prescribed by law, to determine whether conditions have changed so that they have become suitable for timber production. As a result of this 10-year review, the plan may be amended to identify any such lands as suitable for timber production, if warranted by changed conditions.

(b) Timber harvest for purposes of timber production. A plan that identifies lands as suitable for timber production must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, to guide timber harvest for timber production or for other multiple use purposes on such lands.

(c) Timber harvest for purposes other than timber production. Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, the plan may include plan components to allow for timber harvest for purposes other than timber production throughout the plan area, or portions of the plan area, as a tool to assist in achieving or maintaining one or more applicable desired conditions or objectives of the plan in order to protect other multiple-use values, and for salvage, sanitation, or public health or safety. Examples of using timber harvest to protect other multiple use values may include improving wildlife or fish habitat, thinning to reduce fire risk, or restoring meadow or savanna ecosystems where trees have invaded.

(d) Limitations on timber harvest. Whether timber harvest would be for the purposes of timber production or other purposes, plan components, including standards or guidelines, must ensure the following:

(1) No timber harvest for the purposes of timber production may occur on lands not suited for timber production.

(2) Timber harvest would occur only where soil, slope, or other watershed conditions would not be irreversibly damaged;

(3) Timber harvest would be carried out in a manner consistent with the protection of soil, watershed, fish, wildlife, recreation, and aesthetic resources.

(4) Where plan components will allow clearcutting, seed tree cutting, shelterwood cutting, or other cuts designed to regenerate an even-aged stand of timber, the plan must include standards limiting the maximum size for openings that may be cut in one harvest operation, according to geographic areas, forest types, or other suitable classifications. Except as provided in paragraphs (d)(4)(i) through (iii) of this section, this limit may not exceed 60 acres for the Douglas-fir forest type of California, Oregon, and Washington; 80 acres for the southern yellow pine types of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas; 100 acres for the hemlock-Sitka spruce forest type of coastal Alaska; and 40 acres for all other forest types.

(5) Timber will be harvested from NFS lands only where such harvest would comply with the resource protections set out in sections 6(g)(3)(E) and (F) of the NFMA (16 U.S.C. 1604(g)(3)(E) and (F)). Some of these requirements are listed in paragraphs (d)(2) to (d)(4) of this section.

(6) The quantity of timber that may be sold from the national forest is limited to an amount equal to or less than that which can be removed from such forest annually in perpetuity on a sustained yield basis. This limit may be measured on a decadal basis.

(i) The plan may provide for departures from this limit as provided by the NFMA when departure would be consistent with the plan's desired conditions and objectives. Exceptions for departure from this limit on the quantity sold may be made only after a public review and comment period of at least 90 days.

(ii) This limit may be based upon increases in harvest levels based on intensified management practices, such as reforestation, thinning, and tree improvement if such practices justify increasing the harvests in accordance with the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960. The plan must require that such harvest levels be decreased at the end of each planning period if such practices cannot be successfully implemented or funds are not received to permit such practices to continue substantially as planned.

(iii) The Chief must include in the Forest Service Directive System procedures for estimating the quantity of timber that can be removed annually in perpetuity on a sustained-yield basis, and exceptions, consistent with 16 U.S.C. 1611.

(7) The regeneration harvest of even-aged stands of trees is limited to stands that generally have reached the culmination of mean annual increment of growth. This requirement would apply only to regeneration harvest of even-aged stands on lands identified as suitable for timber production and where timber production is the primary purpose for the harvest. Plan components may allow for exceptions, set out in 16 U.S.C. 1604(m), only if such harvest is consistent with the other plan components of the land management plan.

[77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 77 FR 44145, July 27, 2012; 78 FR 23492, Apr. 19, 2013; 81 FR 90737, Dec. 15, 2016]

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§219.12   Monitoring.

(a) Plan monitoring program. (1) The responsible official shall develop a monitoring program for the plan area and include it in the plan. Monitoring information should enable the responsible official to determine if a change in plan components or other plan content that guide management of resources on the plan area may be needed. The development of the plan monitoring program must be coordinated with the regional forester and Forest Service State and Private Forestry and Research and Development. Responsible officials for two or more administrative units may jointly develop their plan monitoring programs.

(2) The plan monitoring program sets out the plan monitoring questions and associated indicators. Monitoring questions and associated indicators must be designed to inform the management of resources on the plan area, including by testing relevant assumptions, tracking relevant changes, and measuring management effectiveness and progress toward achieving or maintaining the plan's desired conditions or objectives. Questions and indicators should be based on one or more desired conditions, objectives, or other plan components in the plan, but not every plan component needs to have a corresponding monitoring question.

(3) The plan monitoring program should be coordinated and integrated with relevant broader-scale monitoring strategies (paragraph (b) of this section) to ensure that monitoring is complementary and efficient, and that information is gathered at scales appropriate to the monitoring questions.

(4) Subject to the requirements of paragraph (a)(5) of this section, the responsible official has the discretion to set the scope and scale of the plan monitoring program, after considering:

(i) Information needs identified through the planning process as most critical for informed management of resources on the plan area; and

(ii) The financial and technical capabilities of the Agency.

(5) Each plan monitoring program must contain one or more monitoring questions and associated indicators addressing each of the following:

(i) The status of select watershed conditions.

(ii) The status of select ecological conditions including key characteristics of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

(iii) The status of focal species to assess the ecological conditions required under §219.9.

(iv) The status of a select set of the ecological conditions required under §219.9 to contribute to the recovery of federally listed threatened and endangered species, conserve proposed and candidate species, and maintain a viable population of each species of conservation concern.

(v) The status of visitor use, visitor satisfaction, and progress toward meeting recreation objectives.

(vi) Measurable changes on the plan area related to climate change and other stressors that may be affecting the plan area.

(vii) Progress toward meeting the desired conditions and objectives in the plan, including for providing multiple use opportunities.

(viii) The effects of each management system to determine that they do not substantially and permanently impair the productivity of the land (16 U.S.C. 1604(g)(3)(C)).

(6) A range of monitoring techniques may be used to carry out the monitoring requirements in paragraph (a)(5) of this section.

(7) This section does not apply to projects or activities. Project and activity monitoring may be used to gather information for the plan monitoring program, and information gathered through plan monitoring may be used to inform development of projects or activities. But, the monitoring requirements of this section are not a prerequisite for making a decision to carry out a project or activity.

(b) Broader-scale monitoring strategies. (1) The regional forester shall develop a broader-scale monitoring strategy for plan monitoring questions that can best be answered at a geographic scale broader than one plan area.

(2) When developing a monitoring strategy, the regional forester shall coordinate with the relevant responsible officials, Forest Service State and Private Forestry and Research and Development, partners, and the public. Two or more regional foresters may jointly develop broader-scale monitoring strategies.

(3) Each regional forester shall ensure that the broader-scale monitoring strategy is within the financial and technical capabilities of the region and complements other ongoing monitoring efforts.

(4) Projects and activities may be carried out under plans developed, amended, or revised under this part before the regional forester has developed a broader-scale monitoring strategy.

(c) Timing and process for developing the plan monitoring program and broader-scale strategies. (1) The responsible official shall develop the plan monitoring program as part of the planning process for a new plan development or plan revision. Where a plan's monitoring program has been developed under the provisions of a prior planning regulation and the unit has not initiated plan revision under this part, the responsible official shall modify the plan monitoring program within 4 years of the effective date of this part, or as soon as practicable, to meet the requirements of this section.

(2) The regional forester shall develop a broader-scale monitoring strategy as soon as practicable.

(3) To the extent practicable, appropriate, and relevant to the monitoring questions in the plan monitoring program, plan monitoring programs and broader-scale strategies must be designed to take into account:

(i) Existing national and regional inventory, monitoring, and research programs of the Agency, including from the NFS, State and Private Forestry, and Research and Development, and of other governmental and non-governmental entities;

(ii) Opportunities to design and carry out multi-party monitoring with other Forest Service units, Federal, State or local government agencies, scientists, partners, and members of the public; and

(iii) Opportunities to design and carry out monitoring with federally recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations.

(d) Biennial evaluation of the monitoring information. (1) The responsible official shall conduct a biennial evaluation of new information gathered through the plan monitoring program and relevant information from the broader-scale strategy, and shall issue a written report of the evaluation and make it available to the public.

(i) The first monitoring evaluation for a plan or plan revision developed in accordance with this subpart must be completed no later than 2 years from the effective date of plan decision.

(ii) Where the monitoring program developed under the provisions of a prior planning regulation has been modified to meet the requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the first monitoring evaluation must be completed no later than 2 years from the date the change takes effect.

(iii) The monitoring evaluation report may be postponed for 1 year in case of exigencies, but notice of the postponement must be provided to the public prior to the date the report is due for that year (§219.16(c)(6)).

(2) The monitoring evaluation report must indicate whether or not a change to the plan, management activities, or the monitoring program, or a new assessment, may be warranted based on the new information. The monitoring evaluation report must be used to inform adaptive management of the plan area.

(3) The monitoring evaluation report may be incorporated into other planning documents if the responsible official has initiated a plan revision or relevant amendment.

(4) The monitoring evaluation report is not a decision document representing final Agency action, and is not subject to the objection provisions of subpart B.

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§219.13   Plan amendment and administrative changes.

(a) Plan amendment. A plan may be amended at any time. Plan amendments may be broad or narrow, depending on the need for change, and should be used to keep plans current and help units adapt to new information or changing conditions. The responsible official has the discretion to determine whether and how to amend the plan and to determine the scope and scale of any amendment. Except as provided by paragraph (c) of this section, a plan amendment is required to add, modify, or remove one or more plan components, or to change how or where one or more plan components apply to all or part of the plan area (including management areas or geographic areas).

(b) Amendment requirements. For every plan amendment, the responsible official shall:

(1) Base an amendment on a preliminary identification of the need to change the plan. The preliminary identification of the need to change the plan may be based on a new assessment; a monitoring report; or other documentation of new information, changed conditions, or changed circumstances. When a plan amendment is made together with, and only applies to, a project or activity decision, the analysis prepared for the project or activity may serve as the documentation for the preliminary identification of the need to change the plan.

(2) Provide opportunities for public participation as required in §219.4 and public notification as required in §219.16. The responsible official may combine processes and associated public notifications where appropriate, considering the scope and scale of the need to change the plan. The responsible official must include information in the initial notice for the amendment (§219.16(a)(1)) about which substantive requirements of §§219.8 through 219.11 are likely to be directly related to the amendment (§219.13(b)(5)).

(3) Amend the plan consistent with Forest Service NEPA procedures. The appropriate NEPA documentation for an amendment may be an environmental impact statement, an environmental assessment, or a categorical exclusion, depending upon the scope and scale of the amendment and its likely effects. Except for an amendment that applies only to one project or activity, a proposed amendment that may create a significant environmental effect and thus requires preparation of an environmental impact statement is considered a significant change in the plan for the purposes of the NFMA and therefore requires a 90-day comment period for the proposed plan and draft environmental impact statement (§219.16(a)(2)), in addition to meeting the requirements of this section.

(4) Follow the applicable format for plan components set out at §219.7(e) for the plan direction added or modified by the amendment, except that where an amendment to a plan developed or revised under a prior planning regulation would simply modify the area to which existing direction applies, the responsible official may retain the existing formatting for that direction.

(5) Determine which specific substantive requirement(s) within §§219.8 through 219.11 are directly related to the plan direction being added, modified, or removed by the amendment and apply such requirement(s) within the scope and scale of the amendment. The responsible official is not required to apply any substantive requirements within §§219.8 through 219.11 that are not directly related to the amendment.

(i) The responsible official's determination must be based on the purpose for the amendment and the effects (beneficial or adverse) of the amendment, and informed by the best available scientific information, scoping, effects analysis, monitoring data or other rationale.

(ii) When basing the determination on adverse effects:

(A) The responsible official must determine that a specific substantive requirement is directly related to the amendment when scoping or NEPA effects analysis for the proposed amendment reveals substantial adverse effects associated with that requirement, or when the proposed amendment would substantially lessen protections for a specific resource or use.

(B) If the appropriate NEPA documentation for an amendment is a categorical exclusion or an environmental assessment accompanied by a finding of no significant impact (§219.13(b)(3)), there is a rebuttable presumption that the amendment will not have substantial adverse effects.

(6) For an amendment to a plan developed or revised under a prior planning regulation, if species of conservation concern (SCC) have not been identified for the plan area and if scoping or NEPA effects analysis for the proposed amendment reveals substantial adverse impacts to a specific species, or if the proposed amendment would substantially lessen protections for a specific species, the responsible official must determine whether such species is a potential SCC, and if so, apply section §219.9(b) with respect to that species as if it were an SCC.

(c) Administrative changes. An administrative change is any change to a plan that is not a plan amendment or plan revision. Administrative changes include corrections of clerical errors to any part of the plan, conformance of the plan to new statutory or regulatory requirements, or changes to other content in the plan (§219.7(f)).

(1) A substantive change to the monitoring program made outside of the process for plan revision or amendment may be made only after notice to the public of the intended change and consideration of public comment (§219.16(c)(6)).

(2) All other administrative changes may be made following public notice (§219.16(c)(6)).

[77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 81 FR 90738, Dec. 15, 2016]

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§219.14   Decision document and planning records.

(a) Decision document approving a new plan, plan amendment, or revision. The responsible official shall record approval of a new plan, plan amendment, or revision in a decision document prepared according to Forest Service NEPA procedures (36 CFR part 220). The decision document must include:

(1) The rationale for approval;

(2) A statement of how the plan, plan amendment, or plan revision applies to approved projects and activities (§219.15);

(3) The documentation of how the best available scientific information was used to inform planning, the plan components, and other plan content, including the plan monitoring program (§219.3);

(4) The concurrence by the appropriate research station director with any part of the plan applicable to any experimental forests or experimental ranges (§219.2(b)(4)); and

(5) The effective date of the plan, amendment, or revision.

(b) Decision document for a new plan or plan revision. In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, the decision document must include an explanation of how the plan components meet the sustainability requirements of §219.8, the diversity requirements of §219.9, the multiple use requirements of §219.10, and the timber requirements of §219.11.

(c) Decision document for a plan amendment. In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, the decision document must explain how the responsible official determined:

(1) The scope and scale of the plan amendment; and

(2) Which specific requirements within §§219.8 through 219.11 apply to the amendment and how they were applied.

(d) Planning records. (1) The responsible official shall keep the following documents readily accessible to the public by posting them online and through other means: assessment reports (§219.6); the plan, including the monitoring program; the proposed plan, plan amendment, or plan revision; public notices and environmental documents associated with a plan; plan decision documents; and monitoring evaluation reports (§219.12).

(2) The planning record includes documents that support analytical conclusions made and alternatives considered throughout the planning process. The responsible official shall make the planning record available at the office where the plan, plan amendment, or plan revision was developed.

[77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 81 FR 90738, Dec. 15, 2016]

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§219.15   Project and activity consistency with the plan.

(a) Application to existing authorizations and approved projects or activities. Every decision document approving a plan, plan amendment, or plan revision must state whether authorizations of occupancy and use made before the decision document may proceed unchanged. If a plan decision document does not expressly allow such occupancy and use, the permit, contract, and other authorizing instrument for the use and occupancy must be made consistent with the plan, plan amendment, or plan revision as soon as practicable, as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, subject to valid existing rights.

(b) Application to projects or activities authorized after plan decision. Projects and activities authorized after approval of a plan, plan amendment, or plan revision must be consistent with the plan as provided in paragraph (d) of this section.

(c) Resolving inconsistency. When a proposed project or activity would not be consistent with the applicable plan components, the responsible official shall take one of the following steps, subject to valid existing rights:

(1) Modify the proposed project or activity to make it consistent with the applicable plan components;

(2) Reject the proposal or terminate the project or activity;

(3) Amend the plan so that the project or activity will be consistent with the plan as amended; or

(4) Amend the plan contemporaneously with the approval of the project or activity so that the project or activity will be consistent with the plan as amended. This amendment may be limited to apply only to the project or activity.

(d) Determining consistency. Every project and activity must be consistent with the applicable plan components. A project or activity approval document must describe how the project or activity is consistent with applicable plan components developed or revised in conformance with this part by meeting the following criteria:

(1) Goals, desired conditions, and objectives. The project or activity contributes to the maintenance or attainment of one or more goals, desired conditions, or objectives, or does not foreclose the opportunity to maintain or achieve any goals, desired conditions, or objectives, over the long term.

(2) Standards. The project or activity complies with applicable standards.

(3) Guidelines. The project or activity:

(i) Complies with applicable guidelines as set out in the plan; or

(ii) Is designed in a way that is as effective in achieving the purpose of the applicable guidelines (§219.7(e)(1)(iv)).

(4) Suitability. A project or activity would occur in an area:

(i) That the plan identifies as suitable for that type of project or activity; or

(ii) For which the plan is silent with respect to its suitability for that type of project or activity.

(e) Consistency of resource plans within the planning area with the land management plan. Any resource plans (for example, travel management plans) developed by the Forest Service that apply to the resources or land areas within the planning area must be consistent with the plan components. Resource plans developed prior to plan decision must be evaluated for consistency with the plan and amended if necessary.

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§219.16   Public notifications.

The following public notification requirements apply to plan development, amendment, or revision. Notifications may be combined where appropriate.

(a) When formal public notification is required. Public notification must be provided as follows:

(1) To initiate the development of a proposed plan, plan amendment, or plan revision;

(2) To invite comments on a proposed plan, plan amendment, or plan revision, and associated environmental analysis. For a new plan, plan amendment, or a plan revision for which a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) is prepared, the comment period is at least 90 days, except for an amendment that applies only to one project or activity. For an amendment that applies only to one project or activity for which a draft EIS is prepared, the comment period is at least 45 days unless a different time period is required by law or regulation or authorized pursuant to 40 CFR 1506.10(d). For an amendment for which a draft EIS is not prepared, the comment period is at least 30 days;

(3) To begin the objection period for a plan, plan amendment, or plan revision before approval (§219.52);

(4) To approve a final plan, plan amendment, or plan revision; or

(5) To announce whenever a plan, plan amendment, or plan revision process initiated under the provisions of a previous planning regulation will be conformed to meet the provisions of this part (§219.17(b)(3)).

(b) Project or activity plan amendments. When a plan amendment is approved in a decision document approving a project or activity and the amendment applies only to the project or activity, the notification requirements of 36 CFR part 215 or part 218, subpart A, applies instead of this section.

(c) How public notice is provided. The responsible official should use contemporary tools to provide notice to the public. At a minimum, all public notifications required by this part must be posted online, and:

(1) When the Chief, the Under Secretary, or the Secretary is the responsible official, notice must be published in the Federal Register.

(2) For a new plan or plan revision, when an official other than the Chief, the Under Secretary, or the Secretary is the responsible official, notice must be published in the Federal Register and the applicable newspaper(s) of record.

(3) When the notice is for the purpose of inviting comments on a proposed plan, plan amendment, or plan revision for which a draft EIS is prepared, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Federal Register notice of availability of a draft EIS shall serve as the required Federal Register notice.

(4) For a plan amendment when an official other than the Chief, the Under Secretary, or the Secretary is the responsible official, and for which a draft EIS is not prepared, notices must be published in the newspaper(s) of record.

(5) If a plan, plan amendment, or plan revision applies to two or more units, notices must be published in the Federal Register and the newspaper(s) of record for the applicable units.

(6) Additional public notice of administrative changes, changes to the monitoring program, opportunities to provide information for assessments, assessment reports, monitoring evaluation reports, or other notices not listed in paragraph (a) of this section may be made in any way the responsible official deems appropriate.

(d) Content of public notices. Public notices required by this section except for notices applicable to paragraph (c)(3) of this section, must clearly describe the action subject to notice and the nature and scope of the decisions to be made; identify the responsible official; describe when, where, and how the responsible official will provide opportunities for the public to participate in the planning process; and explain how to obtain additional information.

[77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 81 FR 90739, Dec. 15, 2016]

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§219.17   Effective dates and transition.

(a) Effective dates. (1) A plan or plan revision is effective 30 days after publication of notice of its approval.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, a plan amendment for which an environmental impact statement (EIS) has been prepared is effective 30 days after publication of notice of its approval; a plan amendment for which an EIS has not been prepared is effective immediately.

(3) A plan amendment that applies to only one specific project or activity is effective on the date the project may be implemented in accordance with administrative review regulations at 36 CFR parts 215 and 218.

(b) Plan amendment and plan revision transition. For the purposes of this section, initiation means that the Agency has issued a notice of intent or other notice announcing the beginning of the process to develop a proposed plan, plan amendment, or plan revision.

(1) Initiating plan development and plan revisions. Plan development and plan revisions initiated after May 9, 2012 must conform to the requirements of this part.

(2) Initiating plan amendments. All plan amendments initiated after May 9, 2012, are subject to the objection process in subpart B of this part. With respect to plans approved or revised under a prior planning regulation, including the transition provisions of the reinstated 2000 rule (36 CFR part 219, published at 36 CFR parts 200 to 299, revised as of July 1, 2010), plan amendments may be initiated under the provisions of the prior planning regulation for 3 years after May 9, 2012, and may be completed and approved under those provisions (except for the optional appeal procedures of the prior planning regulation); or may be initiated, completed, and approved under the requirements of this part. After the 3-year transition period, all plan amendments must be initiated, completed, and approved under the requirements of this part.

(3) Plan development, plan amendments, or plan revisions initiated before this part. For plan development, plan amendments, or plan revisions that were initiated before May 9, 2012, the responsible official may complete and approve the plan, plan amendment, or plan revision in conformance with the provisions of the prior planning regulation, including its transition provisions (36 CFR part 219, published at 36 CFR parts 200 to 299, revised as of July 1, 2010), or may conform the plan, plan amendment, or plan revision to the requirements of this part. If the responsible official chooses to complete an ongoing planning process under the provisions of the prior planning regulation, but chooses to allow for an objection rather than an administrative appeal, the objection process in subpart B of this part shall apply. When the responsible official chooses to conform an ongoing planning process to this part, public notice must be made (§219.16(a)(5)). An objection process may be chosen only if the public is provided the opportunity to comment on a proposed plan, plan amendment, or plan revision, and associated environmental analysis.

(c) Plans developed, amended, or revised under a prior planning regulation. This part supersedes any prior planning regulation. No obligations remain from any prior planning regulation, except those that are specifically included in a unit's existing plan. Existing plans will remain in effect until revised. This part does not compel a change to any existing plan, except as required in §219.12(c)(1). None of the requirements of this part apply to projects or activities on units with plans developed or revised under a prior planning rule until the plan is revised under this part, except that projects or activities on such units must comply with the consistency requirement of §219.15 with respect to any amendments that are developed and approved pursuant to this part.

[77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 77 FR 44145, July 27, 2012]

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§219.18   Severability.

In the event that any specific provision of this part is deemed by a court to be invalid, the remaining provisions shall remain in effect.

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§219.19   Definitions.

Definitions of the special terms used in this subpart are set out as follows.

Alaska Native Corporation. One of the regional, urban, and village native corporations formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.

Assessment. For the purposes of this subpart, an assessment is the identification and evaluation of existing information to support land management planning. Assessments are not decisionmaking documents, but provide current information on select topics relevant to the plan area, in the context of the broader landscape.

Best management practices for water quality (BMPs). Methods, measures, or practices selected by an agency to meet its nonpoint source control needs. BMPs include but are not limited to structural and nonstructural controls and operation and maintenance procedures. BMPs can be applied before, during, and after pollution-producing activities to reduce or eliminate the introduction of pollutants into receiving waters.

Candidate species. (1) For U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service candidate species, a species for which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service possesses sufficient information on vulnerability and threats to support a proposal to list as endangered or threatened, but for which no proposed rule has yet been published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

(2) For National Marine Fisheries Service candidate species, a species that is:

(i) The subject of a petition to list and for which the National Marine Fisheries Service has determined that listing may be warranted, pursuant to section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(A)), or

(ii) Not the subject of a petition but for which the National Marine Fisheries Service has announced in the Federal Register the initiation of a status review.

Collaboration or collaborative process. A structured manner in which a collection of people with diverse interests share knowledge, ideas, and resources while working together in an inclusive and cooperative manner toward a common purpose. Collaboration, in the context of this part, falls within the full spectrum of public engagement described in the Council on Environmental Quality's publication of October 2007: Collaboration in NEPA—A Handbook for NEPA Practitioners.

Connectivity. Ecological conditions that exist at several spatial and temporal scales that provide landscape linkages that permit the exchange of flow, sediments, and nutrients; the daily and seasonal movements of animals within home ranges; the dispersal and genetic interchange between populations; and the long-distance range shifts of species, such as in response to climate change.

Conservation. The protection, preservation, management, or restoration of natural environments, ecological communities, and species.

Conserve. For purposes of §219.9, to protect, preserve, manage, or restore natural environments and ecological communities to potentially avoid federally listing of proposed and candidate species.

Culmination of mean annual increment of growth. See mean annual increment of growth.

Designated area. An area or feature identified and managed to maintain its unique special character or purpose. Some categories of designated areas may be designated only by statute and some categories may be established administratively in the land management planning process or by other administrative processes of the Federal executive branch. Examples of statutorily designated areas are national heritage areas, national recreational areas, national scenic trails, wild and scenic rivers, wilderness areas, and wilderness study areas. Examples of administratively designated areas are experimental forests, research natural areas, scenic byways, botanical areas, and significant caves.

Disturbance. Any relatively discrete event in time that disrupts ecosystem, watershed, community, or species population structure and/or function and changes resources, substrate availability, or the physical environment.

Disturbance regime. A description of the characteristic types of disturbance on a given landscape; the frequency, severity, and size distribution of these characteristic disturbance types; and their interactions.

Ecological conditions. The biological and physical environment that can affect the diversity of plant and animal communities, the persistence of native species, and the productive capacity of ecological systems. Ecological conditions include habitat and other influences on species and the environment. Examples of ecological conditions include the abundance and distribution of aquatic and terrestrial habitats, connectivity, roads and other structural developments, human uses, and invasive species.

Ecological integrity. The quality or condition of an ecosystem when its dominant ecological characteristics (for example, composition, structure, function, connectivity, and species composition and diversity) occur within the natural range of variation and can withstand and recover from most perturbations imposed by natural environmental dynamics or human influence.

Ecological sustainability. See sustainability.

Ecological system. See ecosystem.

Economic sustainability. See sustainability.

Ecosystem. A spatially explicit, relatively homogeneous unit of the Earth that includes all interacting organisms and elements of the abiotic environment within its boundaries. An ecosystem is commonly described in terms of its:

(1) Composition. The biological elements within the different levels of biological organization, from genes and species to communities and ecosystems.

(2) Structure. The organization and physical arrangement of biological elements such as, snags and down woody debris, vertical and horizontal distribution of vegetation, stream habitat complexity, landscape pattern, and connectivity.

(3) Function. Ecological processes that sustain composition and structure, such as energy flow, nutrient cycling and retention, soil development and retention, predation and herbivory, and natural disturbances such as wind, fire, and floods.

(4) Connectivity. (see connectivity above).

Ecosystem diversity. The variety and relative extent of ecosystems.

Ecosystem services. Benefits people obtain from ecosystems, including:

(1) Provisioning services, such as clean air and fresh water, energy, fuel, forage, fiber, and minerals;

(2) Regulating services, such as long term storage of carbon; climate regulation; water filtration, purification, and storage; soil stabilization; flood control; and disease regulation;

(3) Supporting services, such as pollination, seed dispersal, soil formation, and nutrient cycling; and

(4) Cultural services, such as educational, aesthetic, spiritual and cultural heritage values, recreational experiences, and tourism opportunities.

Environmental assessment (EA). See definition in §219.62.

Environmental document. For the purposes of this part: an environmental assessment, environmental impact statement, finding of no significant impact, categorical exclusion, and notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

Environmental impact statement (EIS). See definition in §219.62.

Even-aged stand. A stand of trees composed of a single age class.

Federally recognized Indian Tribe. An Indian or Alaska Native Tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges to exist as an Indian Tribe under the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994, 25 U.S.C. 479a.

Focal species. A small subset of species whose status permits inference to the integrity of the larger ecological system to which it belongs and provides meaningful information regarding the effectiveness of the plan in maintaining or restoring the ecological conditions to maintain the diversity of plant and animal communities in the plan area. Focal species would be commonly selected on the basis of their functional role in ecosystems.

Forest land. Land at least 10 percent occupied by forest trees of any size or formerly having had such tree cover and not currently developed for non-forest uses. Lands developed for non-forest use include areas for crops, improved pasture, residential or administrative areas, improved roads of any width and adjoining road clearing, and power line clearings of any width.

Geographic area. A spatially contiguous land area identified within the planning area. A geographic area may overlap with a management area.

Inherent capability of the plan area. The ecological capacity or ecological potential of an area characterized by the interrelationship of its physical elements, its climatic regime, and natural disturbances.

Integrated resource management. Multiple use management that recognizes the interdependence of ecological resources and is based on the need for integrated consideration of ecological, social, and economic factors.

Landscape. A defined area irrespective of ownership or other artificial boundaries, such as a spatial mosaic of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, landforms, and plant communities, repeated in similar form throughout such a defined area.

Maintain. In reference to an ecological condition: To keep in existence or continuance of the desired ecological condition in terms of its desired composition, structure, and processes. Depending upon the circumstance, ecological conditions may be maintained by active or passive management or both.

Management area. A land area identified within the planning area that has the same set of applicable plan components. A management area does not have to be spatially contiguous.

Management system. For purposes of this subpart, a timber management system including even-aged management and uneven-aged management.

Mean annual increment of growth and culmination of mean annual increment of growth. Mean annual increment of growth is the total increment of increase of volume of a stand (standing crop plus thinnings) up to a given age divided by that age. Culmination of mean annual increment of growth is the age in the growth cycle of an even-aged stand at which the average annual rate of increase of volume is at a maximum. In land management plans, mean annual increment is expressed in cubic measure and is based on the expected growth of stands, according to intensities and utilization guidelines in the plan.

Monitoring. A systematic process of collecting information to evaluate effects of actions or changes in conditions or relationships.

Multiple use. The management of all the various renewable surface resources of the NFS so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the needs of the American people; making the most judicious use of the land for some or all of these resources or related services over areas large enough to provide sufficient latitude for periodic adjustments in use to conform to changing needs and conditions; that some land will be used for less than all of the resources; and harmonious and coordinated management of the various resources, each with the other, without impairment of the productivity of the land, with consideration being given to the relative values of the various resources, and not necessarily the combination of uses that will give the greatest dollar return or the greatest unit output, consistent with the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 (16 U.S.C. 528-531).

National Forest System. See definition in §219.62.

Native knowledge. A way of knowing or understanding the world, including traditional ecological and social knowledge of the environment derived from multiple generations of indigenous peoples' interactions, observations, and experiences with their ecological systems. Native knowledge is place-based and culture-based knowledge in which people learn to live in and adapt to their own environment through interactions, observations, and experiences with their ecological system. This knowledge is generally not solely gained, developed by, or retained by individuals, but is rather accumulated over successive generations and is expressed through oral traditions, ceremonies, stories, dances, songs, art, and other means within a cultural context.

Native species. An organism that was historically or is present in a particular ecosystem as a result of natural migratory or evolutionary processes; and not as a result of an accidental or deliberate introduction into that ecosystem. An organism's presence and evolution (adaptation) in an area are determined by climate, soil, and other biotic and abiotic factors.

Newspaper(s) of record. See definition in §219.62.

Objection. See definition in §219.62.

Online. See definition in §219.62.

Participation. Activities that include a wide range of public involvement tools and processes, such as collaboration, public meetings, open houses, workshops, and comment periods.

Persistence. Continued existence.

Plan area. The NFS lands covered by a plan.

Plan or land management plan. A document or set of documents that provide management direction for an administrative unit of the NFS developed under the requirements of this part or a prior planning rule.

Plant and animal community. A naturally occurring assemblage of plant and animal species living within a defined area or habitat.

Productivity. The capacity of NFS lands and their ecological systems to provide the various renewable resources in certain amounts in perpetuity. For the purposes of this subpart, productivity is an ecological term, not an economic term.

Project. An organized effort to achieve an outcome on NFS lands identified by location, tasks, outputs, effects, times, and responsibilities for execution.

Proposed Species. Any species of fish, wildlife, or plant that is proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service in the Federal Register to be listed under Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act.

Recovery. For the purposes of this subpart, and with respect to threatened or endangered species: The improvement in the status of a listed species to the point at which listing as federally endangered or threatened is no longer appropriate.

Recreation. See Sustainable recreation.

Recreation opportunity. An opportunity to participate in a specific recreation activity in a particular recreation setting to enjoy desired recreation experiences and other benefits that accrue. Recreation opportunities include non-motorized, motorized, developed, and dispersed recreation on land, water, and in the air.

Recreation setting. The social, managerial, and physical attributes of a place that, when combined, provide a distinct set of recreation opportunities. The Forest Service uses the recreation opportunity spectrum to define recreation settings and categorize them into six distinct classes: primitive, semi-primitive non-motorized, semi-primitive motorized, roaded natural, rural, and urban.

Responsible official. See definition in §219.62.

Restoration. The process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed. Ecological restoration focuses on reestablishing the composition, structure, pattern, and ecological processes necessary to facilitate terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems sustainability, resilience, and health under current and future conditions.

Restore. To renew by the process of restoration (see restoration).

Riparian Areas. Three-dimensional ecotones of interaction that include terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that extend down into the groundwater, up above the canopy, outward across the floodplain, up the near-slopes that drain to the water, laterally into the terrestrial ecosystem, and along the water course at variable widths.

Riparian management zone. Portions of a watershed where riparian-dependent resources receive primary emphasis, and for which plans include plan components to maintain or restore riparian functions and ecological functions.

Risk. A combination of the likelihood that a negative outcome will occur and the severity of the subsequent negative consequences.

Scenic character. A combination of the physical, biological, and cultural images that gives an area its scenic identity and contributes to its sense of place. Scenic character provides a frame of reference from which to determine scenic attractiveness and to measure scenic integrity.

Social sustainability. See sustainability.

Sole source aquifer. Underground water supply designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the “sole or principle” source of drinking water for an area as established under section 1424(e) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300h-3(e)).

Source water protection areas. The area delineated by a State or Tribe for a public water system (PWS) or including numerous PWSs, whether the source is ground water or surface water or both, as part of a State or tribal source water assessment and protection program (SWAP) approved by the Environmental Protection Agency under section 1453 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S.C. 300h-3(e)).

Stressors. For the purposes of this subpart: Factors that may directly or indirectly degrade or impair ecosystem composition, structure or ecological process in a manner that may impair its ecological integrity, such as an invasive species, loss of connectivity, or the disruption of a natural disturbance regime.

Sustainability. The capability to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. For purposes of this part, “ecological sustainability” refers to the capability of ecosystems to maintain ecological integrity; “economic sustainability” refers to the capability of society to produce and consume or otherwise benefit from goods and services including contributions to jobs and market and nonmarket benefits; and “social sustainability” refers to the capability of society to support the network of relationships, traditions, culture, and activities that connect people to the land and to one another, and support vibrant communities.

Sustainable recreation. The set of recreation settings and opportunities on the National Forest System that is ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable for present and future generations.

Timber harvest. The removal of trees for wood fiber use and other multiple-use purposes.

Timber production. The purposeful growing, tending, harvesting, and regeneration of regulated crops of trees to be cut into logs, bolts, or other round sections for industrial or consumer use.

Viable population. A population of a species that continues to persist over the long term with sufficient distribution to be resilient and adaptable to stressors and likely future environments.

Watershed. A region or land area drained by a single stream, river, or drainage network; a drainage basin.

Watershed condition. The state of a watershed based on physical and biogeochemical characteristics and processes.

Wild and scenic river. A river designated by Congress as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System that was established in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 (16 U.S.C. 1271 (note), 1271-1287).

Wilderness. Any area of land designated by Congress as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System that was established in the Wilderness Act of 1964 (16 U.S.C. 1131-1136).

[77 FR 21260, Apr. 9, 2012, as amended at 77 FR 44145, July 27, 2012]

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