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Sierra National Forest Draft EIS released

The U.S. Forest Service is releasing the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) and draft forest plans for the Sierra, Inyo, and Sequoia National Forests. The Notice of Availability for documents is expected to publish in the Federal Register May 27.

This notice will initiate the 90-day public comment and review period, which includes 12 public meetings and six tribal forums.

The draft EIS and draft forest plans are available on-line at the Forest Plan Revision project website: http://tinyurl.com/r5earlyadopters. Supplemental information will be shared on this website in the coming weeks.

Forest plans provide strategic direction guiding how the Forest Service manages national forest system lands. The Forest Service has been working with the public, area tribes, and local, state and federal agencies for several years on these forest plan revisions, ultimately leading to the development of the draft environmental impact statement and draft forest plans.

A short video about forest plan revision is available on-line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuqbIwhB2QM.

The existing forest plans are more than 20 years old and due for revision. Economic, social, and ecological conditions; new laws, regulations and policies are in place; and new information based on monitoring and scientific research is available now that didn’t exist when the current plans were written.

The draft EIS explains why the Forest Service is proposing plan revisions, presents a range of different management alternatives, and analyzes the environmental effects of the alternatives.

Based on this analysis and the public comments the Forest Service receives on these draft documents, final EIS and proposed forest plans will be developed.

The Forest Service encourages all interested members of the public to submit comments and participate in the upcoming public events:

June 16: Public Meeting, Clovis, 6-8 p.m.

June 28: Public Webinar, on-line registration, 12-1:30 p.m.

June 29: Public Meeting, Fort Mason, San Francisco, 6-9 p.m.

Aug. 1: Public Meeting, Mammoth Lakes, 6-8 p.m.

Aug. 4: Public Meeting, Clovis, 6-8 p.m.

For the latest information about meeting locations, times, and parking information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/r5earlyadopters .

During the 90-day comment period the public may submit comments using one of the following methods, including a web-based form on the project website where the draft EIS, draft forest plans and supplemental documents are available. Submit comments only once using one of the following methods. You may request a confirmation response if you submit your comment via the project web-site.

*  Project web-site comment form: http://tinyurl.com/r5earlyadopters

*  Postal mail: Planning Team Leader, Forest Plan Revision, 1839 South Newcomb Street, Porterville, CA 93257

*  E-mail: r5planrevision@fs.fed.us

Together, the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests manage nearly 4.6 million acres of national forest system lands located at the southernmost extent of the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California and portions of western Nevada.

These three forests are “early adopters” of the 2012 Planning Rule, meaning they are among the first national forests across the country implementing this new rule to revise their forest plans.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone.

Those same lands provide 20% of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80% of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

U.S. Forest Service

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