Forest Service Handbook

pike and san isabel national forests

cimarron and comanche national grasslands (region 2)

pueblo, CO

 

fsH 1909.15Ė environmental policy and procedures handbook

 

zero code

 

Supplement No.:1909.15-2001-1

 

Effective Date:April 15, 2001

 

Duration:Effective until superseded or removed

 

Approved: /s/ William A. Wood(for)

†††††††††††††††††† ABIGAIL R. KIMBELL

††††††††††† †††††††† Forest Supervisor

Date Approved:04/06/2001

 

Posting Instructions:Supplements are numbered consecutively by Handbook number and calendar year.Post by document name.Remove entire document and replace with this supplement.Retain this transmittal as the first page of this document.

 

New Document(s):

 

1909.15 Zero Code

4 Pages

Superseded Document(s):

(Last supplement was No. 2 to chapter 30.)

None

 

 

Digest:

 

06

Establishes process for preparation and review of Environmental Assessments and Decision Memos.

 


06 - OVERVIEW OF PROCESS

 

The following procedures pertain to situations where the Forest Supervisor is the responsible official, with Ranger Districts preparing associated environmental and decision documents.

1.Identification of Project and Support Resources.District Rangers prepare and forward to the Forest Supervisor for approval, a Project Initiation Letter proposing the environmental analysis necessary.This letter represents an agreement between the District Ranger and Forest Supervisor on responsibility for completing specific tasks in conducting environmental analysis and preparing necessary NEPA and other required documentation.Include the following in the letter:

a.Description of the proposed activity, its location and extent.

b.Anticipated type of NEPA document.

c.Identification of known issues.

d.Statement of management objectives and associated targets.

e.Team composition, that is, identification of the principal Staff Officer, Interdisciplinary Team Leader, and any specialists requested for analysis and aid in preparing NEPA and other required documentation.

f.Description of the projectís public involvement strategy.

g.Identification of known alternatives to the proposal.

h.Time frame for completing the analysis and necessary NEPA documents.

 

The Forest Supervisor may negotiate changes where modifications are necessary.

 

The District Ranger should involve relevant Primary Staff and specialists at key points during the planning process to ensure they are familiar with the projectís pivotal issues and their handling prior to document review.

 

Review of documents prior to publication occurs one or more times during the process depending on the type of NEPA document involved.Required reviews are shown below:


 

 

Point in Process

CE

EA

EIS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice of Proposed action

 

Yes

 

 

Draft EIS

 

 

Yes

 

Decision Memo

Yes

 

 

 

Decision Notice/FONSI

 

Yes

 

 

Final EIS/Record of Decision

 

 

Yes

 

Forward one hardcopy of the relevant documentation to the Supervisor's Office and make an electronic version available.The package must include a transmittal letter, with a dual file designation of the functional area involved and 1950, certifying that the documents are ready for review and signature or distribution.Submit the package in a timely manner relevant to applicable project accomplishment deadlines, review timelines, and other required timelines per NEPA, appeal regulations, and other applicable direction.

2.Supervisorís Office Review.

a.Planning Staff Officer must maintain a tracking system for review in Supervisorís Office, this includes initially logging the package in, forwarding the package to the principal Staff Officer for review, and ensuring that NEPAís procedural requirements are met.

b.Principal Staff Officer identifies reviewers and ensures that non-NEPA procedural requirements are met. Staff officer coordinates with the District Ranger regarding modifications and certifies that the package is ready for publication and/or signature.District Ranger is then notified that the package has been approved and the next step can be taken.

The Principal Staff Officer provides a recommendation to the Forest Supervisor within the following time frames:

 

 

Point in Process

CE

EA

EIS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice of Proposed action

 

15

 

 

Draft EIS

 

 

15

 

Decision Memo

10

 

 

 

Decision Notice/FONSI

 

10

 

 

Final EIS/Record of Decision

 

 

15

 

Review times are working days.Districts may request faster review in an emergency.When lengthy/complex EA's or EISís are submitted, additional review time may be necessary.

 

c.Reviewers provide technical review for compliance with laws, regulations, and Forest Service policy relevant to their resource area and certify that their resource area has been adequately addressed, including an assessment of risks for complex issues.

d.The District Ranger enters the project into work-planning system, submits Project Initiation Letter, and ensures Supervisorís Office is familiar with the project and its issues.Conduct this process in accordance with procedural requirements of NEPA and other applicable laws (Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and so forth.).District Ranger must also prepare documents for the Forest Supervisorís approval, publish legal notices, and distribute final documents to interested parties.

3.Approval and Notification.After the Forest Supervisor signs and dates the Decision Memo, Decision Notice/FONSI, or Record of Decision, the Principal Staff Officer notifies the District of approval and returns package for publication and mailing.

4.Publication and Mailing.After approval, the District Ranger must publish relevant public notices in the appropriate Newspaper of Record (and others if desired) and mail documents to interested parties.