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Forest Service Home > Projects and Policies > SOPA > Related Information

Forest Service Schedule of Proposed Actions
- Related Information

What is a SOPA?

As part of carrying out the mission of the Forest Service, agency resource specialists develop proposals that will enhance or maintain resource values on public lands, as well as generate products. In addition, the public may submit proposals for various uses such as rights-of-way, land exchanges, and recreational events. A necessary part of the planning for these is the environmental analysis and documentation, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and agency direction.

The Schedule of Proposed Actions provides a list of proposals that will begin or are undergoing environmental analysis and documentation so that people can become aware of and indicate their interest in specific proposals.

The Schedule of Proposed Actions includes proposals whose decisions are expected to be documented in a Decision Memo, Decision Notice, or Record of Decision, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and agency direction.

The Schedule of Proposed Actions is published in January, April, July, and October. It contains the best available information at that time. Proposals that start and finish before the next schedule is produced will be listed in the next schedule as Completed.



How to read the SOPA (legend)

The Schedule of Proposed Actions is presented in a tabular format to facilitate its use. Proposals are grouped by the administrative unit they affect, in a descending organizational order. For each proposal there are eight boxes of information as presented below:

[graphic] SOPA Report Field Boxes
Box 1: The first column contains the Project Name and expected type of analysis, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Box 2: The second column contains the thematic Project Purpose(s) of the proposal.

Boxes 3 through 5: The third, fourth, and fifth columns contain information about the estimated and actual status of the planning efforts (Planning Status, Decision, and Expected Implementation).

Box 6: The sixth, last, column contains the Project Contact information.

Boxes 7 and 8: Below the second through sixth columns, are two rows. The first row is a brief Project Description. The second row is Location information.


Legend

Project Name: The name of the proposal.

Project Purpose: The thematic purpose(s) of the proposal.

Description: A brief description of the nature of the proposal.

Location: Where the proposal would occur—may include Forest Service administrative unit name, state, county, legal description, and/or other physical description.


Planning Status:

  1. Developing Proposal indicates that formal public scoping is expected to start within the period of time for which the SOPA is published. This status provides an early notice of proposals being developed and upcoming scoping.
  2. In Progress is initiated by public scoping of a proposed action. For an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the start of public scoping is denoted by the publication of the Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register. For an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Decision Memo (DM), the start of public scoping is determined by the Line Officer (e.g., mailing, public meeting, legal notice in newspaper, etc.). A project remains In Progress until it is either put On Hold, Cancelled, or Completed.
  3. On Hold indicates that planning for the project has been suspended and will likely be resumed at a later date. On Hold projects will remain on the schedule until Cancelled or Completed.
  4. Cancelled indicates that planning for the project has been terminated. Cancelled projects will be listed as such once on the schedule and then removed.
  5. Completed indicates that all of the planned decision documents have been signed. Completed projects will be listed as such once on the schedule and then removed.

Estimated and actual planning status dates are also provided as relevant.

Decision: Date when a decision is expected to be approved or was actually approved by signing the decision document.

Expected Implementation: An estimate of when activity might occur on the ground.

Project Contact: The person who should be contacted for additional information about the proposal, or to be involved in future public involvement efforts.



The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is our basic charter for protection of the environment. It establishes policy, sets goals, and provides means for carrying out the policy. NEPA procedures provide the direction to help public officials make decisions that are based on the understanding of environmental consequences, and take actions that protect, restore, and enhance the environment. NEPA procedures also require that environmental information is available to citizens before decisions are made and actions are taken that may affect the human environment. The Forest Service's Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA) is one way of providing information to the public. The Schedule of Proposed Actions is not intended to be a substitute for scoping and public involvement.

Also see the Forest Service NEPA website and the Council on Environmental Quality's NEPAnet website.



Abbreviations and Definitions

CE
Categorical Exclusion:
A category of actions, which generally do not individually or cumulatively have significant effect on the human environment, for which neither an Environmental Assessment nor Environmental Impact Statement is required. Additional information about a CE can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 30.
DM1
Decision Memo:
Decision document for an action that has been categorically excluded from documentation in an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement. Additional information about a DM can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 30.
DN1
Decision Notice:
Decision document resulting from an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact. Additional information about a DN can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 40.
EA
Environmental Assessment:
A concise public document that briefly describes the environmental impacts of a proposal and alternatives, along with analysis for determining whether to prepare a Finding of No Significant Impact or an Environmental Impact statement. Additional information about an EA can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 40.
EIS
Environmental Impact Statement:
A detailed public document disclosing environmental impacts of a proposal and alternatives. Additional information about an EIS can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 20.
FR
Federal Register:
A legal newspaper published every business day by the National Archives and Records Administration, containing Federal agency regulations; proposed rules and notices; and Executive orders, proclamations and other Presidential documents.
FONSI
Finding of No Significant Impact:
A document that briefly presents the reasons why an action will not significantly affect the human environment and for which an Environmental Impact Statement will not be prepared. Additional information about a FONSI can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 40.
NOA
Notice of Availability:
Notice published in the Federal Register that an Environmental Impact Statement is available. Additional information about a NOA can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 20.
NOI
Notice of Intent:
Notice published in the Federal Register that an Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared. Additional information about a NOI can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 20.
ROD1
Record of Decision:
Decision document resulting from an Environmental Impact Statement. Additional information about a ROD can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 20.
Scoping
The procedures by which the Agency identifies important issues and determines the extent of analysis necessary for an informed decision on a proposal. Scoping is part of the public involvement process. Additional information about scoping can be found in Forest Service Environmental Policy and Procedures Handbook 1909.15, Chapter 10.
SOPA
Schedule of Proposed Actions:
A list of proposals that will begin or are undergoing environmental analysis and documentation so that the public can become aware of and indicate their interest in specific proposals.

1 Note that some decisions may be subject to administrative appeal (see the Forest Service Environmental Appeal and Litigation website).



Applicable to the Schedule of Proposed Actions of the National Forests in Alaska: Chugach and Tongass.

CZMA-FAA1
Coastal Zone Management Act - Federal Agency Activity (15 CFR 930.35 and .36):
Forest Service will provide either a consistency determination or negative determination to the Alaska Office of Project Management and Permitting.
CZMA-FAA2
Coastal Zone Management Act - Federal Agency Activity (15 CFR 930.36(c)):
Project is generally consistent with the Alaska Coastal Management Program.
CZMA-FAA3
Coastal Zone Management Act - Federal Agency Activity (15 CFR 930.34(c)):
Forest Service does not expect to provide a consistency determination or a negative determination.
CZMA-FAA4
Coastal Zone Management Act - Federal Agency Activity (15 CFR 930.36):
Forest Service has not decided whether it intends to provide a consistency determination.
CZMA-FL/P1
Coastal Zone Management Act - Federal License / Permit (15 CFR 930.53):
Applicant must provide a consistency certification to the Alaska Office of Project Management and Permitting and obtain from it approval before Forest Service can issue permit.
CZMA-FL/P2
Coastal Zone Management Act - Federal License / Permit (15 CFR 930.54):
Alaska Coastal Management Program consistency certification normally not required.

US Forest Service
Last modified March 29, 2013
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