[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 55 (Wednesday, March 23, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 14637-14642]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-5652]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

RIN 0596-AC02


National Forest System Land Management Planning Directives

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of issuance of agency interim directives; request for 
comment.

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SUMMARY: The Forest Service has issued twelve (12) interim directives 
to Forest Service Manuals 1330, 1900, and 1920 and Forest Service 
Handbook 1909.12 establishing procedures and responsibilities for 
implementing the National Forest land management planning regulation 
set out at 36 CFR part 219. The planning regulation was published in 
the Federal Register on January 5, 2005 (70 FR 1023). The intended 
effect of issuance of these IDs is to provide consistent overall 
guidance to Forest Service line officers and agency employees in 
developing, amending, or revising land management plans for units of 
the National Forest System. Public comment is invited and will be 
considered in developing final directives.

DATES: Interim directive no. 1330-2005-1, 1900-2005-1, 1920-2005-1, 
1909.12-2005-1, 1909.12-2005-2, 1909.12-2005-3, 1909.12-2005-4, 
1909.12-2005-5, 1909.12-2005-6, 1909.12-2005-7, 1909.12-2005-8, and 
1909.12-2005-9 is effective March 23, 2005. Comments must be received 
in writing by June 21, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments concerning these interim directives 
through one of the following methods: Federal Rulemaking Portal: http:/
/www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments; 
E-mail: planningdirectives @contentanalysis group.com. Include ``RIN 
0596-AC02'' or ``planning directives'' in the subject line of the 
message. Fax: (801) 397-2601. Please identify your comments by 
including ``RIN 0596-AC02'' or ``planning directives'' on the cover 
sheet or the first page. Mail: USDA Forest Service Planning Directives, 
c/o Content Analysis Group, PO Box 2000, Bountiful, UT 84011-2000. For 
detailed instructions on submitting comments

[[Page 14638]]

and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the ``Public 
Participation'' heading in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of 
this notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Regis Terney, Planning Specialist, 
Ecosystem Management Coordination Staff (202) 205-1552.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Participation

    Please note that the Forest Service will not be able to receive 
hand-delivered comments. If you intend to submit comments in batched e-
mails from the same server, please be aware that electronic security 
safeguards on Forest Service and Department of Agriculture computer 
systems for prevention of commercial spamming may limit batched e-mail 
access. The Forest Service is interested in receiving all comments on 
these interim directives (ID's). Therefore, please call (801) 517-1020 
to facilitate transfer of comments in batched e-mail messages. Please 
note that all comments, including names and addresses when provided, 
will be placed in the record and will be available for public 
inspection and copying. The agency cannot confirm receipt of comments. 
Individuals wishing to inspect comments should call Jody Sutton at 
(801) 517-1020 to schedule an appointment.
    These ID's are issued to Forest Service Manual (FSM) 1330, 1900 
Zero Code, 1920; and Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 1909.12, chapters 
10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, and 80. Copies of the ID's are available on 
the World Wide Web/Internet at http://www.fs.fed.us/emc/nfma/index, or 
on a compact disc (CD). Copies of the directives on CD can be obtained 
by contacting Regis Terney by e-mail (rterney@fs.fed.us) or by phone at 
1-866-235-6652 or 202-205-1552. Copies may also be obtained by 
contacting one of the following Regional Offices:

Northern Region: 200 E. Broadway, Federal Building, PO Box 7669, 
Missoula, MT 59807, (406) 329-3511, TTY Telephone: 406-329-3675.
Rocky Mountain Region: Street Address, 740 Simms St, Golden, CO 80401, 
Mailing address, PO Box 25127, Lakewood CO 80225-0127, 303-275-5350, 
TTY 303-275-5367.
Southwestern Region: 333 Broadway SE., Albuquerque, NM 87102, (505) 
842-3292, TTY: (505) 842-3198.
Intermountain Region: 324 25th Street, Ogden, UT 84401, (801) 625-5306.
Pacific Southwest Region: 1323 Club Drive, Vallejo, CA 94592, 707-562-
8737, TTY: 707-562-9130.
Pacific Northwest Region: PO Box 3623, 333 SW First Avenue, Portland, 
Oregon 97208-3623 USA, (503) 808-2468.
Southern Region: Attn: Public Affairs, 1720 Peachtree Rd, NW., Atlanta, 
GA 30309.
Eastern Region--R9: 626 East Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202, 
Phone: (414) 297-3600, TTY: (414) 297-3507.
Alaska Region: PO Box 21628, Juneau, AK 99802-1628, (907) 586-8806, 
TTY: 907-586-7921.

    Readers are encouraged to obtain a copy of the ID's to formulate 
their comments and provide input for the development of the final 
planning directives.

Background

    On January 5, 2005, the Department adopted final planning 
regulations for the National Forest System at 36 CFR part 219, subpart 
A (70 FR 1023). This 2004 planning rule provides broad programmatic 
direction in developing and carrying out land management planning. The 
rule explicitly directs the Chief of the Forest Service to establish 
planning procedures in the Forest Service directives system (36 CFR 
219.1(c)).
    The Forest Service directives consist of the Forest Service Manual 
(FSM) and the Forest Service Handbook (FSH), which contain the agency's 
policies, practices, and procedures and serves as the primary basis for 
the internal management and control of programs and administrative 
direction to Forest Service employees. The directives for all agency 
programs are set out on the World Wide Web/Internet at http://
www.fs.fed.us/im/directives.
    Specifically, the FSM contains legal authorities, objectives, 
policies, responsibilities, instructions, and guidance needed on a 
continuing basis by Forest Service line officers and primary staff to 
plan and execute programs and activities. The FSH is the principal 
source of specialized guidance and instruction for carrying out the 
policies, objectives, and responsibilities contained in the FSM.

Need for Interim Direction

    Procedural and technical details associated with implementing the 
2004 planning rule at 36 CFR part 219 are needed immediately for units 
to be able to begin or adapt plan amendments or plan revisions. About 
42 revision efforts are currently ongoing under the 1982 planning rule. 
The unit supervisors for all of these revisions have the option of 
transitioning to the 2004 planning rule. These ID's provide unit 
supervisors additional information so they may make an informed 
decision on whether to modify their existing planning processes to 
conform to the 2004 rule, or finish their revision efforts under the 
1982 planning rule.
    Likewise, about 4 to 5 units should be initiating their revision 
efforts this year. It is imperative that these units start off on the 
right foot in a consistent manner. This consistency is necessary so the 
American public that is interested in more than one unit, does not 
become confused and questions why units are revising plans differently.

Content of Interim Directives

    The following is an overview of what the ID's contain related to 
land management planning.

Forest Service Manual

FSM 1330--New Management Strategies

    The ID removes new perspectives in ecosystem management from the 
content of the chapter. FSM 1331 adds guidance for carrying out 
environmental management systems and how to conform to the consensus 
standard developed by the International Organization for 
Standardization (ISO) and adopted by the American National Standards 
Institute, as ISO 14001: Environmental Management Systems: 
Specification With Guidance For Use.

FSM 1900--Planning--Zero Code Chapter

    In general, the zero code sections of the directive coding scheme 
are used to identify general instructions, such as authority, 
objectives, and policy that apply to all subsequent direction within 
the section where the zero code is set out. The ID to the zero code 
chapter changes definitions to make them consistent with the 2004 
planning rule, removes direction on The Forest and Rangeland Renewable 
Resources Planning Act of 1974 (RPA) program, and replaces it with 
direction on the Forest Service's Strategic Plan.

FSM Chapter 1920--Land Management Planning

Section 1920.2--Objectives
    The ID to this section revises objectives 1 through 3 to reflect 
the principles of the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA), 
including public participation, interdisciplinary approach, and 
multiple use. Objectives 4 and 5 update sustainability wording.
Section 1920.3--Objectives
    The ID adds that the responsible official must conduct 
sustainability evaluations within an area large enough

[[Page 14639]]

to consider broad-scale factors and trends over large landscapes when 
plans are prepared or revised.
Section 1920.4--Responsibility
    The ID reserves the authority to the Chief to approve the schedule 
of plan revisions at FSM 1920.41.
Section 1921--Land Management Planning for 2004 Planning Rule
    The ID changes the caption from ``Regional Planning'' to ``Land 
Management Planning for 2004 Planning Rule.'' FSM 1921.03b adds policy 
that project or activity decisions should not be included in plans. FSM 
1921.04 adds responsibilities for Regional Foresters, Forest 
Supervisors, responsible officials, and District Rangers. FSM 1921.06 
adds requirements for plan documents. FSM 1921.1 includes direction on 
what constitutes a plan and describes (1) desired conditions, (2) 
guidelines, (3) identification of areas generally suitable for various 
uses, (4) evaluation and monitoring, (5) National Forest Management Act 
requirements for vegetation management, (6) objectives, (7) resource 
integration requirements, and (8) special areas. FSM 1921.15 describes 
requirements for identification of areas generally suitable for various 
uses. FSM 1921.16 provides an exhibit on special designated areas, 
including designating official, and cross-references.
    FSM 1921.17 adds a section on National Forest Management Act 
requirements. FSM 1921.17a adds requirements for vegetation management 
in carrying out site-specific projects. FSM 1921.17b adds requirements 
for vegetation management guidance in land management plans. FSM 
1921.17c adds requirements for determining the general suitability of 
lands for timber harvest and identification of lands not suitable for 
timber production with reevaluation to occur every 10 years. FSM 
1921.17d adds requirements for estimating long-term sustained-yield 
capacity (LTSYC) and limitation on timber harvest on ``land where 
timber harvest could occur'' to equal to or less than LTSYC, and 
exceptions to these limitations of timber harvest. This is a change in 
policy as existing policy calculates LTSYC from timber production lands 
only. FSM 1921.17e adds requirements for guidelines of maximum size 
limits for even-aged regeneration harvest. FSM 1921.17f adds 
requirements for guidelines of culmination of mean annual increment 
(CMAI) of growth and even-aged regeneration harvest and clarifies when 
CMAI concept does not apply. FSM 1921.17g adds requirements for timber 
management projections and other National Forest Management Act of 1976 
statutory requirements, including description of likely forest 
management systems, and adds a requirement that these timber management 
projections in a plan are not to be considered decisions and that they 
may be administratively corrected. FSM 1921.17h adds requirements for 
special conditions or situations that involve hazards to the various 
resources. FSM 1921.17i adds requirements for plan guidance on 
restocking.
    FSM 1921.18 adds requirements for establishment of performance 
measures and monitoring questions within land management plans and 
provides a cross-reference to FSM 1921.5.
    FSM 1921.2 includes direction on plan evaluation and includes an 
exhibit showing the cycle of planning. FSM 1921.21 describes management 
review of evaluations and environmental management systems (EMS) 
information to determine if changes are needed in plan components. FSM 
1921.3 includes an exhibit that shows the normal sequence of actions 
for plans, plan amendments, and plan revisions. FSM 1921.31 describes 
the need for change in plan components and FSM 1921.32 describes how to 
amend a plan. FSM 1921.33 describes a plan revision. FSM 1921.4 
describes plan implementation and FSM 1921.5 describes plan monitoring. 
FSM 1921.6 describes public participation, collaboration, consultation, 
and notification requirements.
    FSM 1921.7 describes social and economic evaluation, civil rights 
and environmental justice issues, ecological evaluation, ecosystem 
diversity, species diversity, and plan components for sustainability. 
This ID establishes at FSM 1921.74 that the rigor of analysis should be 
proportional to the level of risk to ecosystems and species. A key 
requirement at FSM 1921.77c states that for species-of-concern, the 
plan must provide for habitats that are of sufficient quality, 
distribution, and abundance to allow species populations to be well 
distributed and interactive, within the bounds of the life history, 
distribution, and natural population fluctuations of the species and 
the capability of the landscape across the plan area.
    FSM 1921.8 describes the role of science in planning, including 
uncertainty, risk, independent peer reviews, and documentation. FSM 
1921.9 provides guidance for carrying out environmental management 
systems.
Section 1922--Land Management Planning for 1982 Planning Rule
    There are minor editorial changes within this section. The caption 
is changed to ``Land Management Planning for 1982 Planning Rule,'' 
previously titled ``Forest Planning.''
Section 1923--Wilderness Evaluation
    At FSM 1923, the term ``roadless area'' is changed to ``potential 
wilderness area'' to avoid confusion with the areas identified in the 
Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation, Final Environmental Impact 
Statement, Volume 2, dated November 2000. Guidance is added on what 
areas should be subject to evaluation based on text from the 1982 
planning rule. Responsibilities are added for the Forest, Grassland, or 
Prairie Supervisor. Guidance is added on when a legislative 
environmental impact statement is required. Finally minor changes are 
made to text to agree with the 2004 planning rule.
Section 1924--Wild and Scenic River Evaluation
    At FSM 1924, policy is added to complete legislatively mandated 
studies within a specified study period to clarify conditions under 
which previous river studies may need to be revisited. A responsibility 
is added for the Regional Forester to prepare legislative proposals for 
river proposals and one was added for Forest, Grassland, or Prairie 
Supervisor to approve management direction for rivers found eligible or 
recommended for designation. At FSM 1924.2, a section is added to 
provide interim management of eligible or suitable rivers. Current text 
at FSH 1909.12, chapter 8, section 8.12 regarding interim management of 
study rivers is moved to FSM 1924.2.
Section 1925--Management of Inventoried Roadless Areas
    This section provides a cross-reference to another interim 
directive (no. 1920-2004-1) on inventoried roadless areas, which became 
effective on July 16, 2004.
Section 1926--Objection Process
    This section provides guidance for the pre-decisional objection 
process, including guidance on: Computation of periods, evidence of 
timely filing, lead objector, dismissal of objections, time frames for 
resolving objections, response of reviewing officials, and maintaining 
records.

[[Page 14640]]

Section 1927--Backcountry and Primitive Areas
    This section establishes a reserved code for backcountry and 
primitive areas for issuances of an interim directive or field 
supplementation.

Forest Service Handbook

FSH 1909.12--Land Management Planning Handbook

    The ID to this handbook includes a change from a 1 digit chapter 
coding scheme to a 2 digit coding scheme. For example, chapter 9 
becomes chapter 90. The current direction in chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 
and 6 is removed in its entirety and those chapters, with two digit 
coding, are revised to be consistent with the 2004 planning rule at 36 
CFR part 219. Chapters 70 and 80 (formerly chapters 7 and 8), and the 
zero code chapter contain revisions to assure consistency with the 2004 
planning rule.
Chapter 10--Land Management Plan
    This chapter provides direction on what constitutes a plan and 
multilevel planning. A 19-page exhibit in section 11 provides examples 
of plan components, pre-proposal analysis, and site-specific project 
proposals. Section 12 includes guidance on the three parts of a plan: 
vision, strategy, and design criteria displayed in the plan model at 
http://www.fs.fed.us/emc/nfma/index.html. Section 12 includes several 
exhibits: Including (1) an outline of a plan and (2) a sample 
environmental management systems policy and (3) sample plan components. 
Section 13 includes guidance on the monitoring program and associated 
performance measures. Section 14 includes guidance on resource 
integration requirements for air, water, fire, recreation, heritage 
resources, minerals, range, travel management, and land use.
Chapter 20--The Adaptive Planning Process
    This chapter provides guidance on the adaptive planning process and 
includes procedural steps for amending and revising plans. Section 24 
describes how to review and evaluate a plan and provides guidance on 
evaluation report content and format. Section 25 describes how to amend 
or revise a plan. Section 28 describes content for the approval 
document for plan development, plan amendment, or plan revision. 
Section 29 describes the application of plan direction to projects.
Chapter 30--Public Participation, Collaboration, and Notification
    This chapter provides guidance on how to do the public 
participation, collaboration, and notification process and describes 
each party's responsibilities and relationships in these processes.
Chapter 40--Science and Sustainability
    This chapter provides guidance on sustainability. Section 41 is 
reserved to provide a location for field supplementation on the role of 
science. Section 42 describes social and economic sustainability and 
provides a framework for social and economic evaluation. Section 43 
describes ecological sustainability and describes how to analyze 
ecosystem diversity and species diversity. The steps in the ecosystem 
diversity analysis include:
    1. Selecting the appropriate scales;
    2. Identifying the characteristics of ecosystem diversity that will 
be the focus of the analysis;
    3. Developing information on the range of variation;
    4. Describing the current condition of the selected 
characteristics;
    5. Describing the current condition of disturbance regimes;
    6. Evaluating the status of the selected characteristics of 
ecosystem diversity;
    7. Describing risks to selected characteristics of ecosystem 
diversity; and
    8. Developing plan components for ecosystem diversity.
    The steps in the species diversity analysis include:
    1. Establishing the ecosystem context for species;
    2. Identifying listed species, species-of-concern, and species-of-
interest;
    3. Screening species-of-concern and species-of-interest for further 
detailed consideration in the planning process;
    4. Collecting information;
    5. Identifying species groups/surrogate species for analysis and 
management; and
    6. Developing plan components for listed species, species-of-
concern, and species-of-interest.
    Section 43.22 provides guidance to responsible officials in 
identifying species-of-concern and species-of-interest. For instance, 
it states that the responsible official may identify species with ranks 
of G-1 through G-3 on the NatureServe ranking system as species-of-
concern. Additionally, section 43.22b specifies how responsible 
officials may identify species-of-interest. For example, it states that 
the responsible official may identify species-of-interest with ranks of 
S-1 and S-2 on the NatureServe ranking system as deemed appropriate by 
the responsible official. Species-of-interest may include hunted, 
fished, and other species identified cooperatively with State fish and 
wildlife agencies consistent with the Sikes Act.
Chapter 50--Plan Set of Documents
    This chapter provides direction on what constitutes a record, 
records required by the planning rule, record specifications, retention 
of records, and a record checklist.
Chapter 60--Forest Vegetation Resource Planning
    This chapter adds guidance on timber and forest vegetation resource 
planning, including guidance on identifying lands generally suitable 
for timber production, suitability determinations at the project level, 
and long-term sustained-yield capacity.
Chapter 70--Wilderness Evaluation
    This chapter revises terminology to be consistent with the 
terminology used in the 2004 planning rule. For instance, requirements 
for evaluation are changed from ``during the development of the forest 
plan'' to ``during developing or revising a land management plan'' and 
terms such as ``roadless areas'' to ``areas or lands.'' Changing the 
term ``roadless areas'' to ``areas or lands'' avoids confusion with the 
term ``inventoried roadless areas.'' ``Inventoried roadless areas'' are 
those areas identified in a set of inventoried roadless area maps, 
contained in Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation, Final 
Environmental Impact Statement, Volume 2, dated November 2000. Section 
74 adds requirements for wilderness evaluation documentation and is 
direction previously found in section 4.19c.
    Other changes are made to update the chapter, including removing 
outdated wording because the direction is not needed, or not 
applicable. For instance, at section 71.1 at paragraph 1, language 
discussing the statutory definition of wilderness is removed. In 
section 71.12, paragraph 4 pertaining to location of an area conducive 
to the perpetuation of wilderness values is removed. In section 72.1, 
(1) language discussing the range of geological, biological, or 
ecological strata is removed; (2) the list of activities considered for 
primitive and unconfined recreation is revised; (3) wording associated 
with outdoor education and scientific study and special scenic features 
is removed; and (4) wording pertaining to how boundaries affect the 
manageability of an area is removed.

[[Page 14641]]

Chapter 80--Wild and Scenic River Evaluation
    This chapter revises terminology, such as the term ``study report'' 
to ``study report/EIS'' and updates terminology, such as, ``management 
prescriptions'' to ``management direction,'' and so forth. In addition, 
chapter 80 provides more explicit guidance for the Wild and Scenic 
Rivers (WSRs) study process that is consistent with a November 21, 
1996, memorandum to Regional Foresters from the Directors, Ecosystem 
Management Coordination and Recreation, Heritage, and Wilderness 
Resources Staffs, Washington Office, with the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture-U.S. Department of the Interior Guidelines, and with the 
river study direction of other Federal agencies. These changes 
strengthen and reinforce the linkage of the river study process to land 
management planning. In addition, the content of original 8.12--Interim 
Management of Study Rivers is moved to FSM 1924.2 and combined with 
portions of the original section 8.2.

Regulatory Certifications

Regulatory Impact

    This notice has been reviewed under USDA procedures and Executive 
Order (E.O.) 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review. The Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) has reviewed this notice and has determined 
that it is substantive, nonsignificant. The ID's would not have an 
annual effect of $100 million or more on the economy nor adversely 
affect productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health 
or safety, nor State or local governments. The ID's would not interfere 
with an action taken or planned by another agency nor raise new legal 
or policy issues. Finally, the ID's would not alter the budgetary 
impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the 
rights and obligations of recipients of such programs.
    Moreover, the ID's have been considered in light of Executive Order 
13272 regarding proper consideration of small entities and the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), which 
amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). No 
direct or indirect financial impact on small businesses or other 
entities has been identified. Therefore, it is hereby certified that 
these ID's will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities as defined by the act.

Environmental Impact

    These ID's provide the detailed direction to agency employees 
necessary to carry out the provisions of the final 2004 planning rule 
adopted at 36 CFR part 219 governing land management planning. Section 
31.12 of Forest Service Handbook 1909.15 (57 FR 43208; September 18, 
1992) excludes from documentation in an environmental assessment or 
impact statement ``rules, regulations, or policies to establish 
Service-wide administrative procedures, program processes, or 
instructions.'' The agency's conclusion is that these ID's fall within 
this category of actions and that no extraordinary circumstances exist 
as currently defined that require preparation of an environmental 
assessment or an environmental impact statement.

No Takings Implications

    These ID's have been analyzed in accordance with the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 12360, Governmental Actions and 
Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights, and it 
has been determined that they would not pose the risk of a taking of 
private property as they are limited to the establishment of 
administrative procedures.

Energy Effects

    These ID's have been analyzed under Executive Order 13211, Actions 
Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use. It has been determined that they do not 
constitute a significant energy action as defined in the Executive 
order.

Civil Justice Reform

    These ID's have been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil 
Justice Reform. These ID's will direct the work of Forest Service 
employees and are not intended to preempt any State and local laws and 
regulations that might be in conflict or that would impede full 
implementation of these directives. The directives would not 
retroactively affect existing permits, contracts, or other instruments 
authorizing the occupancy and use of National Forest System lands and 
would not require the institution of administrative proceedings before 
parties may file suit in court challenging their provisions.

Unfunded Mandates

    Pursuant to Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 
U.S.C. 1531-1538), which the President signed into law on March 22, 
1995, the effects of these ID's on State, local, and Tribal 
governments, and on the private sector have been assessed and do not 
compel the expenditure of $100 million or more by any State, local, or 
Tribal government, or anyone in the private sector. Therefore, a 
statement under section 202 of the act is not required.

Federalism

    The agency has considered these ID's under the requirements of 
Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has made a preliminary 
assessment that the ID's conform with the federalism principles set out 
in this Executive order; would not impose any significant compliance 
costs on the States; and would not have substantial direct effects on 
the States, on the relationship between the national government and the 
States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government. Moreover, these ID's address the land 
management planning process on National Forests, Grasslands or other 
units of the National Forest System, which do not directly affect the 
States. Based on comments received on these ID's, the agency will 
consider if any additional consultation will be needed with State and 
local governments prior to adopting final directives.

Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    These ID's do not have tribal implications as defined by Executive 
Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments, and therefore, advance consultation with Tribes is not 
required.

Controlling Paperwork Burdens on the Public

    These ID's do not contain any record keeping or reporting 
requirements or other information collection requirements as defined in 
5 CFR part 1320 and, therefore, impose no paperwork burden on the 
public. Accordingly, the review provisions of the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and implementing regulations at 5 
CFR part 1320 do not apply.

Conclusion

    These ID's provide consistent interpretation of the 2004 planning 
rule for line and staff officers, and interdisciplinary teams. As a 
consequence, the agency can fulfill its commitment to improve public 
involvement and decisionmaking associated with developing, amending, or 
revising a land management plan. The Forest Service has developed these

[[Page 14642]]

planning directives to set forth the legal authorities, objectives, 
policy, responsibilities, direction, and overall guidance needed by 
Forest Service line officers, agency employees, and others to use the 
2004 planning rule.
    Normally, when the agency determines that public notice and 
opportunity to comment are necessary on a Forest Service Manual or 
Handbook revision, the agency publishes a notice of a proposed revision 
with a minimum 60-day comment period. The agency then considers the 
comments, makes any changes, drafts, and publishes a final Federal 
Register notice explaining the final directive and the rationale for 
any changes. At a minimum, this process takes 6 months and usually 
takes 9-12 months. Such a delay in issuing planning directives would 
perpetuate uncertainty and confusion and delay units from beginning or 
adjusting plan amendments or revisions with interested and affected 
publics.
    Consequently, the agency has elected to issue interim directives 
and to make them immediately effective. An interim directive expires 18 
months from issuance and may be reissued only once for a total duration 
of 36 months. Thereafter, the direction must be incorporated into an 
amendment or allowed to expire.
    The Forest Service is committed to providing adequate opportunities 
for the public to comment on administrative directives that are of 
substantial public interest or controversy, as provided in the 
regulations at 36 CFR part 216. Because it is important to provide 
Forest Service units with interim direction to ensure consistent 
interpretation of the 2004 planning rule, the agency is issuing these 
ID's and making them effective immediately. However, pursuant to 36 CFR 
216.7, the Forest Service is now also requesting public comment on 
these ID's.
    All comments will be considered in the development of final 
directives. The full text of these Manuals and Handbook references are 
available on the World Wide Web at http://www.fs.fed.us.directives. 
Single paper copies are available upon request from the address and 
phone numbers listed earlier in this notice as well as from the nearest 
Regional Office, the location of which are also available on the 
Washington Office headquarters homepage on the World Wide Web at http:/
/www.fs.fed.us.

    Dated: March 8, 2005.
Peter J. Roussopoulos,
Acting Chief.
[FR Doc. 05-5652 Filed 3-22-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-P