36 CFR 219.6 - Assessment.
The responsible official has the discretion to determine the scope, scale, and timing of an assessment described in § 219.5(a)(1), subject to the requirements of this section.
(a) Process for plan development or revision assessments. An assessment must be completed for the development of a new plan or for a plan revision. The responsible official shall:
(1) Identify and consider relevant existing information in governmental or non-governmental assessments, plans, monitoring reports, studies, and other sources of relevant information. Such sources of information may include State forest assessments and strategies, the Resources Planning Act assessment, ecoregional assessments, non-governmental reports, State comprehensive outdoor recreation plans, community wildfire protection plans, public transportation plans, State wildlife data and action plans, and relevant Agency or interagency reports, resource plans or assessments. Relevant private information, including relevant land management plans and local knowledge, will be considered if publicly available or voluntarily provided.
(2) Coordinate with or provide opportunities for the regional forester, agency staff from State and Private Forestry and Research and Development, federally recognized Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations, other governmental and non-governmental parties, and the public to provide existing information for the assessment.
(3) Document the assessment in a report available to the public. The report should document information needs relevant to the topics of paragraph (b) of this section. Document in the report how the best available scientific information was used to inform the assessment (§ 219.3). Include the report in the planning record (§ 219.14).
(b) Content of the assessment for plan development or revision. In the assessment for plan development or revision, the responsible official shall identify and evaluate existing information relevant to the plan area for the following:
(1) Terrestrial ecosystems, aquatic ecosystems, and watersheds;
(2) Air, soil, and water resources and quality;
(3) System drivers, including dominant ecological processes, disturbance regimes, and stressors, such as natural succession, wildland fire, invasive species, and climate change; and the ability of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems on the plan area to adapt to change;
(4) Baseline assessment of carbon stocks;
(5) Threatened, endangered, proposed and candidate species, and potential species of conservation concern present in the plan area;
(6) Social, cultural, and economic conditions;
(7) Benefits people obtain from the NFS planning area (ecosystem services);
(8) Multiple uses and their contributions to local, regional, and national economies;
(9) Recreation settings, opportunities and access, and scenic character;
(10) Renewable and nonrenewable energy and mineral resources;
(11) Infrastructure, such as recreational facilities and transportation and utility corridors;
(12) Areas of tribal importance;
(13) Cultural and historic resources and uses;
(14) Land status and ownership, use, and access patterns; and
(15) Existing designated areas located in the plan area including wilderness and wild and scenic rivers and potential need and opportunity for additional designated areas.
(c) Plan amendment assessments. Where the responsible official determines that a new assessment is needed to inform an amendment, the responsible official has the discretion to determine the scope, scale, process, and content for the assessment depending on the topic or topics to be addressed.