Forest Plan Revision

Staff Writer

The Inyo National Forest is finalizing its environmental impact statement and forest plan. To celebrate our progress, and prepare you for when we release the final documents this fall, we’re offering you a preview of the Inyo’s updated plan direction for sustainable recreation and aquatic and riparian resources. This isn’t the only preview we have planned. In the coming weeks, you’ll see updated plan direction for wild and scenic rivers and species of conservation concern. All this information will be available on-line at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r5/FPRPreview.

When you see the Inyo’s final forest plan later this year, you’ll notice we made a few changes based on many of the suggestions, ideas and comments you provided us. For instance, we refined our analysis particularly around recreation, wild and scenic rivers, recommended wilderness, aquatics, grazing and fire management. We improved the plan’s architecture to provide better organization and clarification based on your comments on the draft forest plan (published May 2016).

Regarding sustainable recreation, we heard that the previous recreation plan direction was insufficient, difficult to understand, and unclear as to what effect the direction would have on the forest’s resources and uses. So we’ve clarified how sustainable recreation will be balanced with other uses across the forest. We’ve done this through a three-zoned method for managing recreation based on the amount of uses in an area. This method will provide flexibility to manage activities differently from one place to another and in response to resource needs. Additionally, the updated recreation direction shifts some of the “potential management approaches” in the draft plan that were optional plan components to more prescriptive guidelines to better achieve desired outcomes.

As for water, watersheds, aquatic and riparian resources, we heard our approach was not communicated effectively. For example, people asked where in the draft plan were elements of the Aquatic Management Strategy defined in the 2004 Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment. So we’ve updated that strategy, using best available scientific information, clarified plan components, and placed these elements together in the proposed final plan. For this preview we’re highlighting the most important concepts. In the appendix we’ll release with the final plan, we’ll explain in more detail the relationship among different parts of the aquatic and riparian conservation strategy. That explanation will clarify the relationship between our desired conditions and standards and guidelines, provide short and long-term strategies, and outline management approaches that will help us maintain and restore watersheds and aquatic resources on the Inyo National Forest.

Ready to see what we’ve developed? Please visit our website for an overview, frequently asked questions, updated plan components and maps.

Curious about the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests? We’re continuing to address public comments in a revised draft EIS for these two forests. We’ll share updates on that progress in the coming months as well.

These previews offer a glimpse into plan development as it is happening. This process is information sharing; we are not receiving formal comments. The completed, final EIS and Inyo plan will be available for a 60-day objection period this fall. If you have questions feel free to contact Deb Schweizer, Public Affairs Officer, Inyo National Forest, at 760-873-2427.

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