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Forest Service seeks public input on forest plan alternatives


usfs-logo-282x300-1290332-4963851South Lake Tahoe, Calif. – As part of its Forest Plan revision process, the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) is asking for public comment on four alternatives for managing National Forest System lands. The alternatives respond to public input obtained from comment periods and multiple public meetings in 2008 and 2010, as well as the multi-year Pathway 2007 interagency collaboration.

“We’ve developed four alternatives that we believe reflect what we’ve heard to date about how we can best manage National Forest System lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin,” said Nancy Gibson, forest supervisor for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. “Now we’re encouraging the public to take a look at these alternatives and tell us what measures they prefer and why.”

Each alternative differs in how it addresses four key resource issues: watershed health and aquatic ecosystems; forest health, hazardous fuels and terrestrial wildlife habitat; sustainable recreation; and access to national forests via facilities, roads and trails. From these alternatives, the LTBMU will develop a revised forest plan that will guide management of 154,000 acres of National Forest System lands on both the California and Nevada sides of the Lake Tahoe Basin for the next 15 years. The current Forest Plan dates to 1988, a time when issues such as fuels reduction and aquatic invasive species were not yet in the forefront of discussion.

Based on this final round of public comment, the LTBMU will prepare a final environmental impact statement and Forest Plan, expected to be published in late 2012. Publication of the final plan and final environmental impact statement triggers a 60-day period during which members of the public, agencies and groups that have previously commented can file objections to the plan. After an objection resolution period, the Regional Forester for the Pacific Southwest Region will issue a decision to continue managing the LTBMU under the current plan, adopt one of the alternatives in its entirety or combine measures from two or more alternatives.

The alternatives will be available for review and comment for 90 days, until August 30, 2012. On July 17 and 18, the LTBMU will hold public meetings to explain the alternatives and answer questions. On Tuesday, July 17, 2012, two meetings will take place at the Forest Supervisor’s Office, 35 College Drive in South Lake Tahoe, from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. On Wednesday, July 18, 2012, the meetings will take place at the North Tahoe Conference Center, also from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 pm. The LTBMU will offer a webinar for those who can’t attend the public meetings. The webinar will offer the opportunity to view the presentations given at the public meetings and offer the chance to participate in a virtual question and answer session.

The draft environmental impact statement, an executive summary and other background materials are available athttp://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/ForestPlanRevision. For more information, call Matt Dickinson, 530-543-2683 or Denise Downie, 530-543-2769.

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