36 CFR 219.7 - New plan development or plan revision.
(a) Plan revisions. A plan revision creates a new plan for the entire plan area, whether the plan revision differs from the prior plan to a small or large extent. A plan must be revised at least every 15 years. But, the responsible official has the discretion to determine at any time that conditions on a plan area have changed significantly such that a plan must be revised (16 U.S.C. 1604(f)(5)).
(b) New plan development. New plan development is required for new NFS units. The process for developing a new plan is the same as the process for plan revision.
(c) Process for plan development or revision.
(1) The process for developing or revising a plan includes: Public notification and participation (§§ 219.4 and 219.16), assessment (§§ 219.5 and 219.6), developing a proposed plan, considering the environmental effects of the proposal, providing an opportunity to comment on the proposed plan, providing an opportunity to object before the proposal is approved (subpart B), and, finally, approving the plan or plan revision. A new plan or plan revision requires preparation of an environmental impact statement.
(2) In developing a proposed new plan or proposed plan revision, the responsible official shall:
(i) Review relevant information from the assessment and monitoring to identify a preliminary need to change the existing plan and to inform the development of plan components and other plan content.
(ii) Consider the goals and objectives of the Forest Service strategic plan (§ 219.2(a)).
(iii) Identify the presence and consider the importance of various physical, biological, social, cultural, and historic resources on the plan area (§ 219.6), with respect to the requirements for plan components of §§ 219.8 through 219.11.
(iv) Consider conditions, trends, and stressors (§ 219.6), with respect to the requirements for plan components of §§ 219.8 through 219.11.
(v) Identify and evaluate lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System and determine whether to recommend any such lands for wilderness designation.
(vi) Identify the eligibility of rivers for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, unless a systematic inventory has been previously completed and documented and there are no changed circumstances that warrant additional review.
(vii) Identify existing designated areas other than the areas identified in paragraphs (c)(2)(v) and (c)(2)(vi) of this section, and determine whether to recommend any additional areas for designation. If the responsible official has the delegated authority to designate a new area or modify an existing area, then the responsible official may designate such area when approving the plan, plan amendment, or plan revision.
(viii) Identify the suitability of areas for the appropriate integration of resource management and uses, with respect to the requirements for plan components of §§ 219.8 through 219.11, including identifying lands that are not suitable for timber production (§ 219.11).
(ix) Identify the maximum quantity of timber that may be removed from the plan area (§ 219.11(d)(6)).
(x) Identify questions and indicators for the plan monitoring program (§ 219.12).
(xi) Identify potential other content in the plan (paragraph (f) of this section).
(3) The regional forester shall identify the species of conservation concern for the plan area in coordination with the responsible official.
(d) Management areas or geographic areas. Every plan must have management areas or geographic areas or both. The plan may identify designated or recommended designated areas as management areas or geographic areas.
(e) Plan components. Plan components guide future project and activity decisionmaking. The plan must indicate whether specific plan components apply to the entire plan area, to specific management areas or geographic areas, or to other areas as identified in the plan.
(1) Required plan components. Every plan must include the following plan components:
(i) Desired conditions. A desired condition is a description of specific social, economic, and/or ecological characteristics of the plan area, or a portion of the plan area, toward which management of the land and resources should be directed. Desired conditions must be described in terms that are specific enough to allow progress toward their achievement to be determined, but do not include completion dates.
(ii) Objectives. An objective is a concise, measurable, and time-specific statement of a desired rate of progress toward a desired condition or conditions. Objectives should be based on reasonably foreseeable budgets.
(iii) Standards. A standard is a mandatory constraint on project and activity decisionmaking, established to help achieve or maintain the desired condition or conditions, to avoid or mitigate undesirable effects, or to meet applicable legal requirements.
(iv) Guidelines. A guideline is a constraint on project and activity decisionmaking that allows for departure from its terms, so long as the purpose of the guideline is met. (§ 219.15(d)(3)). Guidelines are established to help achieve or maintain a desired condition or conditions, to avoid or mitigate undesirable effects, or to meet applicable legal requirements.
(v) Suitability of lands. Specific lands within a plan area will be identified as suitable for various multiple uses or activities based on the desired conditions applicable to those lands. The plan will also identify lands within the plan area as not suitable for uses that are not compatible with desired conditions for those lands. The suitability of lands need not be identified for every use or activity. Suitability identifications may be made after consideration of historic uses and of issues that have arisen in the planning process. Every plan must identify those lands that are not suitable for timber production (§ 219.11).
(2) Optional plan component: goals. A plan may include goals as plan components. Goals are broad statements of intent, other than desired conditions, usually related to process or interaction with the public. Goals are expressed in broad, general terms, but do not include completion dates.
(3) Requirements for the set of plan components. The set of plan components must meet the requirements set forth in this part for sustainability (§ 219.8), plant and animal diversity (§ 219.9), multiple use (§ 219.10), and timber (§ 219.11).
(f) Other content in the plan.
(1) Other required content in the plan. Every plan must:
(i) Identify watershed(s) that are a priority for maintenance or restoration;
(ii) Describe the plan area's distinctive roles and contributions within the broader landscape;
(iii) Include the monitoring program required by § 219.12; and
(iv) Contain information reflecting proposed and possible actions that may occur on the plan area during the life of the plan, including: the planned timber sale program; timber harvesting levels; and the proportion of probable methods of forest vegetation management practices expected to be used (16 U.S.C. 1604(e)(2) and (f)(2)). Such information is not a commitment to take any action and is not a “proposal” as defined by the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR 1508.23, 42 42 U.S.C. 4322(2)(C)).
(2) Optional content in the plan. A plan may include additional content, such as potential management approaches or strategies and partnership opportunities or coordination activities.