Forest Service to update its Tahoe Basin plan | SierraSun.com

Forest Service to update its Tahoe Basin plan

Julie BrownSierra Sun

The U.S. Forest Service will update its forest plan for the Lake Tahoe Basin this summer.The plan directs every decision made on Forest Service land in the Basin.Rex Norman, spokesman for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit called the effort, The single, most important guiding document that we have.First established in 1988, the forest plan is overdue for an update, typically done every 15 years. The Forest Service in the Basin postponed the plans revision to take advantage of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agencys Pathway 2007 collaboration and visioning process, Norman said.Local Forest Service officials are also waiting for the go-ahead to engage the publics involvement from the agency’s headquarters, said Deputy Forest Supervisor Eli Ilano at the Pathway Forum.Any day now, we are anticipating a green light, Ilano said.The U.S. Forest Service put a hold on the management units forest plan public outreach while controversial planning rules were hashed out at the national level, Ilano said.The final Environmental Impact Statement for an updated 2008 planning rule was sent to the Department of Agriculture in February for a final decision on a policy that will engage the public in the development, implementation and monitoring of forest plans, according to a Forest Service press release.Regardless, Ilano said the process will be moving forward this summer with public workshops, field trips and opportunities to inform the Forest Services action and land-use management.Were basically setting policy for how to manage land and resources in Lake Tahoe, and the public gets to tell us how to do it, Ilano said. [The process] is much closer to peoples lives.Compared to the 1988 document, which incorporates site-specific prescriptions, the updated forest plan will be more strategic and flexible, focusing on general land uses across the Basin.Providing for an adaptive approach that adapts to changes like new science, advanced monitoring, as well as changing uses and trends, Norman wrote in an E-mail to the Sierra Sun. It will outline a vision, strategies and design criteria. The plan will incorporate the Pathways dialogue to create a document that will translate the regional vision into actions and on-the-ground projects. The regional vision is like a view from high above Lake Tahoe a broad look across boundaries or jurisdictions, Norman wrote in his E-mail. The job of Forest Service planners is to take that broad vision and focus it to the specific roles and functions of national forest lands.