36 CFR 219.13 - Plan amendment and administrative changes.
(a)Plan amendment. A plan may be amended at any time. Plan amendments may be broad or narrow, depending on the need for change, and should be used to keep plans current and help units adapt to new information or changing conditions. The responsible official has the discretion to determine whether and how to amend the plan and to determine the scope and scale of any amendment. Except as provided by paragraph (c) of this section, a plan amendment is required to add, modify, or remove one or more plan components, or to change how or where one or more plan components apply to all or part of the plan area (including management areas or geographic areas).
(b)Amendment requirements. For every plan amendment, the responsible official shall:
(1) Base an amendment on a preliminary identification of the need to change the plan. The preliminary identification of the need to change the plan may be based on a new assessment; a monitoring report; or other documentation of new information, changed conditions, or changed circumstances. When a plan amendment is made together with, and only applies to, a project or activity decision, the analysis prepared for the project or activity may serve as the documentation for the preliminary identification of the need to change the plan.
(2) Provide opportunities for public participation as required in § 219.4 and public notification as required in § 219.16. The responsible official may combine processes and associated public notifications where appropriate, considering the scope and scale of the need to change the plan. The responsible official must include information in the initial notice for the amendment ( § 219.16(a)(1)) about which substantive requirements of §§ 219.8 through 219.11 are likely to be directly related to the amendment ( § 219.13(b)(5)).
(3) Amend the plan consistent with Forest Service NEPA procedures. The appropriate NEPA documentation for an amendment may be an environmental impact statement, an environmental assessment, or a categorical exclusion, depending upon the scope and scale of the amendment and its likely effects. Except for an amendment that applies only to one project or activity, a proposed amendment that may create a significant environmental effect and thus requires preparation of an environmental impact statement is considered a significant change in the plan for the purposes of the NFMA and therefore requires a 90-day comment period for the proposed plan and draft environmental impact statement ( § 219.16(a)(2)), in addition to meeting the requirements of this section.
(4) Follow the applicable format for plan components set out at § 219.7(e) for the plan direction added or modified by the amendment, except that where an amendment to a plan developed or revised under a prior planning regulation would simply modify the area to which existing direction applies, the responsible official may retain the existing formatting for that direction.
(5) Determine which specific substantive requirement(s) within §§ 219.8 through 219.11 are directly related to the plan direction being added, modified, or removed by the amendment and apply such requirement(s) within the scope and scale of the amendment. The responsible official is not required to apply any substantive requirements within §§ 219.8 through 219.11 that are not directly related to the amendment.
(i) The responsible official's determination must be based on the purpose for the amendment and the effects (beneficial or adverse) of the amendment, and informed by the best available scientific information, scoping, effects analysis, monitoring data or other rationale.
(ii) When basing the determination on adverse effects:
(A) The responsible official must determine that a specific substantive requirement is directly related to the amendment when scoping or NEPA effects analysis for the proposed amendment reveals substantial adverse effects associated with that requirement, or when the proposed amendment would substantially lessen protections for a specific resource or use.
(B) If the appropriate NEPA documentation for an amendment is a categorical exclusion or an environmental assessment accompanied by a finding of no significant impact ( § 219.13(b)(3)), there is a rebuttable presumption that the amendment will not have substantial adverse effects.
(6) For an amendment to a plan developed or revised under a prior planning regulation, if species of conservation concern (SCC) have not been identified for the plan area and if scoping or NEPA effects analysis for the proposed amendment reveals substantial adverse impacts to a specific species, or if the proposed amendment would substantially lessen protections for a specific species, the responsible official must determine whether such species is a potential SCC, and if so, apply section § 219.9(b) with respect to that species as if it were an SCC.
(c)Administrative changes. An administrative change is any change to a plan that is not a plan amendment or plan revision. Administrative changes include corrections of clerical errors to any part of the plan, conformance of the plan to new statutory or regulatory requirements, or changes to other content in the plan ( § 219.7(f)).
(1) A substantive change to the monitoring program made outside of the process for plan revision or amendment may be made only after notice to the public of the intended change and consideration of public comment ( § 219.16(c)(6)).
(2) All other administrative changes may be made following public notice ( § 219.16(c)(6)).