36 CFR 219.2 - Levels of planning and responsible officials.
Forest Service planning occurs at different organizational levels and geographic scales. Planning occurs at three levels - national strategic planning, NFS unit planning, and project or activity planning.
(a) National strategic planning. The Chief of the Forest Service is responsible for national planning, such as preparation of the Forest Service strategic plan required under the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 (5 U.S.C. 306; 31 U.S.C. 1115-1125; 31 U.S.C. 9703-9704), which is integrated with the requirements of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974, as amended by the NFMA. The strategic plan establishes goals, objectives, performance measures, and strategies for management of the NFS, as well as the other Forest Service mission areas: Research and Development, State and Private Forestry, and International Programs.
(b) National Forest System unit planning.
(1) NFS unit planning results in the development, amendment, or revision of a land management plan. A land management plan provides a framework for integrated resource management and for guiding project and activity decisionmaking on a national forest, grassland, prairie, or other administrative unit. A plan reflects the unit's expected distinctive roles and contributions to the local area, region, and Nation, and the roles for which the plan area is best suited, considering the Agency's mission, the unit's unique capabilities, and the resources and management of other lands in the vicinity. Through the adaptive planning cycle set forth in this subpart, a plan can be changed to reflect new information and changing conditions.
(2) A plan does not authorize projects or activities or commit the Forest Service to take action. A plan may constrain the Agency from authorizing or carrying out projects and activities, or the manner in which they may occur. Projects and activities must be consistent with the plan (§ 219.15). A plan does not regulate uses by the public, but a project or activity decision that regulates a use by the public under 36 CFR Part 261, Subpart B, may be made contemporaneously with the approval of a plan, plan amendment, or plan revision. Plans should not repeat laws, regulations, or program management policies, practices, and procedures that are in the Forest Service Directive System.
(3) The supervisor of the national forest, grassland, prairie, or other comparable administrative unit is the responsible official for development and approval of a plan, plan amendment, or plan revision for lands under the responsibility of the supervisor, unless a regional forester; the Chief; the Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment; or the Secretary acts as the responsible official. Two or more responsible officials may undertake joint planning over lands under their respective jurisdictions.
(4) A plan for a unit that contains an experimental area may not be approved without the concurrence of the appropriate research station director with respect to the direction applicable to that area, and a plan amendment applicable to an experimental area may not be approved without the concurrence of the appropriate research station director.
(5) The Chief is responsible for leadership and direction for carrying out the NFS land management planning program under this part. The Chief shall:
(i) Establish planning procedures for this part in the Forest Service Directive System in Forest Service Manual 1920 - Land Management Planning and in Forest Service Handbook 1909.12 - Land Management Planning Handbook.
(ii) Establish and administer a national oversight process for accountability and consistency of NFS land management planning under this part.
(iii) Establish procedures in the Forest Service Directive System for obtaining inventory data on the various renewable resources, and soil and water.
(c) Project and activity planning. The supervisor or district ranger is the responsible official for project and activity decisions, unless a higher-level official acts as the responsible official. Requirements for project or activity planning are established in the Forest Service Directive System. Except as provided in the plan consistency requirements in § 219.15, none of the requirements of this part apply to projects or activities.