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U.S. Forest Service Planning Rule advisory group issues statement of optimism

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2012 –Today, after their first meeting, the members of the Federal Advisory Committee who offer advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Chief of the Forest Service regarding implementation of the Forest Service’s new planning rule issued the following statement:

"We concluded our first meeting with a shared sense of optimism that the new planning rule can be implemented so that it works for everyone.  We look forward to working together to help the Forest Service in this important planning endeavor."

The planning rule provides the Forest Service the overarching framework individual national forests and grasslands use to create local land management plans.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack formed this Federal Advisory Committee to continue the Forest Service’s open and collaborative approach used in developing the rule and through its implementation.
At this first meeting, held in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11-13, the committee agreed on operating protocols, discussed plans for upcoming meetings, and established four working groups.

“I was very impressed with the collaborative spirit of the group and I believe that their diverse perspectives and potential contributions for the agency and stakeholders across the country are significant,” Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said:

“The members of this committee collectively bring to the table a vast amount of knowledge, passion and interest in our national forests and grasslands,” said Tony Tooke, director of ecosystem management coordination for the Forest Service and designated federal official for the committee.  “Forming this committee builds on the commitment to public involvement that guided us throughout the planning rule development, and we are eager to work with the committee to keep the collaborative momentum going.”
The Forest Service will continue to engage the public in a number of ways as the new rule is implemented. Opportunities will include participating in the early adopter forest plan revision efforts and commenting on the proposed planning directives when they are released for public comment. The committee’s scope of work includes the ability to make recommendations on directives relating to the Planning Rule, effective monitoring and evaluation methods, and suggestions for increased collaboration capacity.

The mission of the Forest Service 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. Forest Service lands contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $27 billion per year.



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Last modified March 29, 2013

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