Sequoia National Forest
August 25, 2016
At the links below, download and read our coalition comments on the draft EIS and forest plan revisions for the Sequoia, Sierra, and Inyo National Forests. This was a huge effort made possible because of the deep commitment, dedication, and expertise of a crack group of core activists on our team. Thousands of pages of (frequently highly technical) documentation had to be carefully read through, vetted, and analyzed in order to identify the many problem areas in the agency's management plans.
Sadly, the DEIS and plans are a big disappointment, and we know the Forest Service can do--and should have done--better. Because of the many omissions and inaccuracies, we have asked for a revision or supplement to the draft plans. In many instances, the findings of leading scientists in their fields, as well as the agency's own scientists, were ignored or simply left out. Further, the massive tree mortality event now taking place throughout the Sierra Nevada, but most notably in the southern end of the range, due to drought and bark beetle epidemic, was not addressed at all--not even mentioned.
The agency has utterly failed to produce a scientifically credible representation of the environmental conditions of the region.
The first link below takes you to the Sierra Forest Legacy coalition's main comment letter, followed by four attachments containing exhibits I -XII. Part 2 lists the attachments.
Part 1. Main comment letter (4.3 MB)
Part 3. Exhibits VIII - IX (8.7 MB).
Part 4. Exhibit IX - XII (Maps (10.7 MB).
Part 5. Exhibits XII (continued) (4.4 MB)
May 19, 2016
The Forest Service has released the draft forest plan revisions and draft environmental impact statements for the Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra National Forests. The documents can be accessed at this website. The official 90-day timeline for submitting comments to the agency is determined by the publication date in the Federal Register, May 27, 2016; comments must be received by the agency by August 25, 2016. Instructions for submitting public comments electronically are found on the website, or click here. There will also be several opportunities to participate in discussions with the Forest Service at public meetings, and comments may be submitted directly there.
The meeting places and times are posted here.
The Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo’s plan revisions are being completed with a single environmental impact statement (EIS). The final EIS will result in three separate Record of Decisions and three separate forest plans. Forest Supervisors will remain the responsible official for making decisions on their specific forest plan.
To learn about other on-going forest resource activities, not related to new forest plan revisions in the Sequoia National Forest, follow this link.
Below, you can read the comments and letters we've provided recently to the Forest Service relating to the three early adopter (Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra National Forests) plan revisions.
February 1, 2016 Comments on draft list of Species of Conservation Concern
February 1, 2016 Wilderness Evaluation Process and Areas Identified for DEIS Analysis
February 1, 2016 Comments on Wild and Scenic River Evaluation
October 30, 2014: Comments on Wilderness Evaluation Process
September 29, 2014
Today Sierra Forest Legacy and our coalition partners submitted scoping comments on the NOI for forest plan revisions for the Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra National Forests. Coalition partners included American Rivers, California Native Plant Society, California Wilderness Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, Friends of the River, Mono Lake Committee, Pacific Rivers Council, Sierra Club, Western Watersheds Project, and the Wilderness Society.
The following five files were part of the comment package and can be downloaded here:
August 29th, 2014
Today the Federal Register published the Forest Service's Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for the joint forest plan revisions for the Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra National Forests. Download the NOI here, and review all of the scoping materials and maps at this FS planning website for the three early adopter Sierra Nevada forests. The draft EIS and plan is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2015; the revision is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2016. Comments from the public will be accepted until September 29, 2014.
Click here to go to the FS planning website to download all the documents.
May 20, 2014
The Forest Service announced today that they have completed a revised Need for Change document. They will be now be hosting public workshops to mark the beginning of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process of forest plan revisions for the Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo National Forests. Additional information about the meetings is available at this Forest Service planning website.
Meetings in January focused on the emphasis areas outlined in the Preliminary Need to Change document from each Forest's Assessments that will inform the Land Management Plan revision.
The Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo forest plan revisions will be completed through the development of one environmental impact statement. The final EIS will result in three separate Records of Decision and three separate forest plans. Forest Supervisors will remain the responsible officials for making decisions on their specific forest plans.
December 30, 2013
The final Forest Assessment has been completed for the Sequoia National Forest. A workshop for the public to discuss the assessment, forest plan revision, and the "Preliminary Need for Change" document will be held on Tuesday, January 28, 2014, from 5 to 9 pm, at the Double Tree Hotel, 3100 Camino del Rio Ct., Bakersfield, CA 93308. For more information, contact Cody Norris at 760-376-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 16, 2013
Download and read our coalition's comments on the Draft Sequoia National Forest Assessment.
September 10, 2013
The Sequoia National Forest has completed the draft forest assessment that will be used to inform the forest plan revision. Comments from the public will be accepted until October 16, 2013. Download the draft assessment at the agency website.
Contact Maria Ulloa-Cruz for any questions or comments concerning the forest plan revision process for the Sequoia NF, at 559-784-110, ext. 1160, or at mtulloa<AT>fs.fed.us.
A fundamental principle in the planning rule is a commitment to utilizing the latest science. In Region 5, a Science Synthesis team was convened to summarize the most relevant new findings from recent (last 10-12 years) scientific literature on social, economic, and ecological issues across the Sierra Nevada. The Science Synthesis is now available, download it here.
The Draft Sierra Nevada Bioregional Assessment is now available. The purpose of the assessment is to provide broad, landscape-level information that will inform all forest plans throughout the region. Comments and information can be added directly to the document at the Living Assessment interactive website. The Bioregional Assessment addresses the 15 topic areas that the planning rule requires each forest to address and incorporated information from the agency, the public, and the Science Synthesis.
Draft topic papers for the Sequoia NF are currently available for public review until July 31, 2013. The planning rule requires assessment of the following fifteen components:
1. Terrestrial & aquatic ecosystems, and watersheds
2. Air, soil, water
3. Systems drivers (e.g. ecological processes, disturbance regimes and stressors)
4. Baseline assessment of carbon stocks
5. T & E, proposed & candidate species, & potential species of conservation concern in the plan area
6. Social, cultural, and economic conditions
7. Ecosystem services
8. Multiple uses
10. Renewable & nonrenewable energy and mineral resources
12. Areas of tribal importance
13. Cultural and historic resources and uses
14. Land status and ownership, use, and access patterns
15. Existing designated areas within the plan area (e.g. Wilderness , etc.)
In addition, the new forest plan will also contain these required components:
- Desired Conditions
- Suitability of Uses
- Other plan content such as:
- Distinctive Roles and Contributions
- Management Areas - Zones - Geographic Areas
- Recommended Areas (e.g., Wilderness, Wild & Scenic Rivers)
- Priority Watersheds
- Monitoring Program
March 23, 2012
The Forest Service announced today the finalizing of the new forest planning rule. According to the agency, no significant changes were made from the draft rule published in May, 2011, however, clarifications were made for important issues, such as the use of the best available science. You can read the rule here, or at the Forest Service planning rule website, where you will also find a summary, FAQs, and additional information and documents pertaining to the rule.
Read the Forest Service press release announcing the final rule here.
Although there was widespread support for retention of the strong viability rule language from the 1982 version of the rule, no such viability rule now exists for wildlife. However, because of the strong commitment to utilizing the best available science, we believe that the new rule can be equally as protective for wildlife viability and biological diversity, if commitments for monitoring and adaptive management are kept. Public participation in new forest management plan development will be essential to ensure that these commitments are met, and that national forest management continues to evolve along with our increased scientific knowledge.
If we are to sustain the biological treasure that is the Sierra Nevada for posterity, we must take seriously the threats of climage change and loss of habitat and ecological processes that face the national forests of our mountain range. Sierra Forest Legacy's Conservation Strategy, along with GTR-220, An Ecosystem Management Strategy for Sierran Mixed-Conifer Forests, and the latest companion technical report, GTR-237, Managing Sierra Nevada Forests, are the right tools we will need to get off to a good start for forest planning in California.
January 26, 2012
Today the USDA Forest Service announced the release of the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (FPEIS) for the 2011 Planning Rule. In addition, the agency announced that three forests (the Inyo, Sequoia, and Sierra NFs) in California will be among the first nationally to implement the new rule in the process of revising their current forest plans as required under the National Forest Management Act, NFMA (forest plans must be revised every 15 years). Read more about this history and the current planning rule on the NFMA section of this website.
It is likely that all of the forest plans currently due for revision in California will be revised in accordance with the new rule, which will be finalized in early 2012. We are fully engaged in leading a coalition of conservation groups throughout California in developing a conservation strategy for the 11 national forests of the Sierra Nevada that will ensure long term protection and conservation of the Sierra Nevada's unique and priceless biological heritage, and we will continue to be actively engaged with the Forest Service throughout the collaborative process set out in the new rule.
Due to the efforts of the Bush Administration in dismantling the 1982 forest planning regulations and replacing them with a watered down 2005 planning rule revision, National Forests throughout the Sierra Nevada came under serious threat of losing the key conservation provisions of the National Forest Management Act. The Forest Service sought to advance the plan revision process under a categorical exclusion from NEPA, or environmental analysis of possible significant impacts from new management directions. That would virtually eliminate public oversight of management of our public lands, and greatly erodes the long-standing NEPA process of environmental review. This, along with the administration's decimation of the conservation-focused 2001 Sierra Nevada Framework with its 2004 Framework revision, could leave the National Forests of the Sierra Nevada at risk of losing the amazing attributes that make them such unique global watersheds, recreation destinations, and significantly important ecosystems -- or at the least, leaving them significantly diminished.
In March, 2007, a court decision reversed the Bush administration's 2005 planning rule. In April 2008, however, the Planning Rule was released virtually unchanged, in spite of tens of thousands of comment letters opposing the revisions. Subsequently, the rule was found to be unlawful and overturned in federal court in June of 2009. Since then, the Forest Service has been developing a new rule and the accompanying environmental impact statement.
Today we are working with a coalition of national conservation groups to provide the agency with a unified, comprehensive vision for science-based management of our national forests that will ensure their long term stability in the face of global climate change, and protection for rare and imperiled plants and wildlife. Click on this link to go the Conservation Strategy website.