National Forest System Land Management Planning
AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is amending regulations
pertaining to the National Forest System Land Management Planning. This
final rule amends the 2012 rule and is intended to clarify the
Department's direction for plan amendments, including direction for
amending land management plans developed under the 1982 rule.
DATES: This rule is effective January 17, 2017
ADDRESSES: For more information, refer to the World Wide Web/Internet
. More information may be
obtained on written request from the Director, Ecosystem Management
Coordination Staff, Forest Service, USDA Mail Stop 1104, 1400
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-1104.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ecosystem Management Coordination
staff's Assistant Director for Planning Andrea Bedell Loucks at 202-
295-7968 or Planning Specialist Regis Terney at 202-205-1552.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Forest Service proposed changing the
existing land management planning rule to clarify the amendment process
for land management plans. The proposed rule to amend the 2012 rule
(hereafter referred to as the proposed rule) was published in the
Federal Register on October 12, 2016, at 81 FR 70381.
The National Forest Management Act (NFMA) requires the Forest
Service to develop land management plans to guide management of the 154
national forests, 20 grasslands, and 1 prairie that comprise the 193
million acre National Forest System (NFS). 16 U.S.C. 1604.
The NFMA required the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a
planning rule ``under the principles of the Multiple-Use Sustained-
Yield Act of 1960, that set out the process for the development and
revision of the land management plans, and the guidelines and
standards'' (16 U.S.C. 1604(g)). Compliance with this requirement has
had a long history, culminating in the current land management planning
rule issued April 9, 2012 (77 FR 22160, codified at title 36, Code of
Federal Regulations, part 219 (36 CFR part 219)) (hereinafter referred
to as the 2012 rule).
In 1979, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Department) issued the
first regulations to comply with this statutory requirement. The 1979
regulations were superseded by the 1982 planning rule (hereinafter
referred to as the 1982 rule).
Numerous efforts were made over the past three decades to improve
on the 1982 rule. On November 9, 2000, the Department issued a new
planning rule that superseded the 1982 rule (65 FR 67514). Shortly
after the issuance of the 2000 rule, a review of the rule found that it
would be unworkable and recommended that a new rule should be
developed. The Department amended the 2000 rule so that the Forest
Service could continue to use the 1982 rule provisions until a new rule
was issued (67 FR 35431, May 20, 2002). Attempts to replace the 2000
rule, in 2005 and 2008, were set aside by the courts on procedural
grounds, with the result that the 2000 rule remained in effect. In
2009, the Department reinstated the 2000 rule in the Code of Federal
Regulations to eliminate any confusion over which rule was in effect
(74 FR 67062, December 18, 2009; 36 CFR part 219, published at 36 CFR
parts 200 to 299, revised as of July 1, 2010). In reinstating the 2000
rule in the CFR, the Department specifically provided for the continued
use of the 1982 rule provisions, which the Forest Service used for all
land management planning done under the 2000 rule. The 1982 rule
procedures have therefore formed the basis of all existing Forest
Service land management plans.
In 2012, after extensive public engagement, the Department issued a
new planning rule to update the thirty-year old 1982 rule. The 2012
rule sets forth directions for developing, amending, revising, and
monitoring land management plans (77 FR 21260, April 9, 2012). The 2012
rule is available online at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2013-title36-vol2/pdf/CFR-2013-title36-vol2-part219.pdf.
On February 6, 2015, the Forest Service issued National Forest
System Land Management Planning Directives for the 2012 Planning Rule
(planning directives; see 80 FR 6683). The planning directives are the
Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 1909.12 and Forest Service Manual (FSM)
Chapter 1920, which together establish procedures and responsibilities
for carrying out the 2012 rule. The planning directives are available online at http://www.fs.fed.us/im/directives/.To read the complete notice... https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-12-15/html/2016-30191.htm