By Gregg Goodland
Special to The SUN
Rio Grande National Forest officials are releasing the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the revised land management plan, under the provisions of the 2012 planning rule.
This final EIS was published in the Federal Register on Friday, April 10, for a 30-day review period. The Record of Decision, which approves the final plan, will be signed once the review period ends on May 11. The 2020 Land Management Plan will be available after the Record of Decision has been signed. The approved plan will provide guidance for managing 1.8 million acres of forest resources for the next 10-15 years.
Every national forest is required by federal law to have a land management plan that is periodically revised with public involvement. The Rio Grande National Forest has worked with the public, area tribes, and local, state and federal agencies since 2014 to revise its plan. Public input shaped direction for recreation, aquatic resources, eligible wild and scenic rivers, a proposed wilderness addition and species of conservation concern.
“The culmination of years of public meetings and hard work from staff and partners is nearing its final stage,” said Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas. “I look forward to reaching the final milestone in this long and valuable process.”
The final EIS includes the analysis of the five alternatives considered, including the No Action alternative that continues existing land management direction and four action alternatives.
The Rio Grande National Forest Land Management Plan, EIS and associated documents are available online at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46078.