To allow the Forest Service to more efficiently implement projects related to improving water flow and the restoration of land and habitat – USDA has announced a proposed rule to streamline and shorten categories of environmental review for certain National Forest restoration projects. USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman says the efficiencies gained would allow for more rapid movement through the environmental review process and reduce the cost to the taxpayers of unnecessary documentation. Sherman says the projects are a win-win for the environment and the public and will result in positive environmental outcomes.
According to USDA – the proposed categorical exclusions facilitate the Forest Service to restore the flow of waters into natural channels and floodplains by removing, replacing or modifying water control structures; restore lands and habitat to pre-disturbance conditions by removing debris and sediment conditions following natural or human-caused events; and restore, rehabilitate or stabilize lands occupied by non-National Forest System roads and trails to a more natural condition.
The comment period for the proposed change is open for 60 days – closing August 13th. Comments can be submitted online, by mail or via fax.