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Groundwater Resource Management
on National Forest System Lands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 02, 2014

Forest Service Announces Proposed Directives

for Managing Groundwater

 

 

PLEASE NOTE! Proposed Groundwater Directive Comment Period Has Been Extended

The groundwater comment period has been extended for 30 days and will now end on September 3, 2014. Please continue to submit comments as directed below. For more information on the extension please see the Federal Register Notice and the Official News Release.

Federal Register Notice (Vol. 79, No. 148, Friday, August 1, 2013)

Official News Release: "Forest Service extends groundwater directive public comment period"

 

Overview of Proposed Directive

The Forest Service proposes to amend its internal Agency directives for Watershed and Air Management to establish direction for management of groundwater resources on National Forest System (NFS) lands as an integral component of watershed management. Specifically, the proposed amendment would provide direction on the consideration of groundwater resources in agency activities, approvals, and authorizations; encourage source water protection and water conservation; establish procedures for reviewing new proposals for groundwater withdrawals on NFS lands; require the evaluation of potential impacts from groundwater withdrawals on NFS resources; and provide for measurement and reporting for some larger groundwater withdrawals.

Key points of the proposed directive

THE PROPOSED DIRECTIVE WILL

  • Provide for consideration of groundwater resources in agency activities.
  • Encourage source water protection and water conservation.
  • Establish procedures for reviewing new proposals for groundwater withdrawals on NFS land.
  • Require the evaluation of potential impacts from groundwater withdrawals on NFS natural resources.
  • Provide for measurement and reporting to help build our understanding of groundwater resources on NFS land.

THE PROPOSED DIRECTIVE WILL NOT

  • Affect procedures or impose any new conditions on state-issued water rights.
  • Affect existing or future tribal water rights settlements or water compacts.
  • Impose any new regulations or requirements on locatable, leasable, geothermal, or mineral material operations.
  • Change the way state water quality regulations or tribal water quality standards are promulgated or administered.
  • Give the Forest Service any new authorities.

 

Comment process

The Forest Service welcomes public comment on its goal to create a comprehensive, consistent and effective approach to managing groundwater resources to meet the needs of communities and to ensure long-term benefits to people and ecosystems.

  • Comments on the proposed directive will be considered in development of the final directive.
  • The Forest Service welcomes public comment within 90 days from the date of publication of the notice in the Federal Register (published May 6, 2014). Comments must be received electronically. Electronic comments may be submitted by following the instructions at regulations.gov or via e-mail to fsm2500@fs.fed.us.

 

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USDA Forest Service
Last Modified:  May 2014
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