Angeles Volunteer Association

SOURCE:  Federal Register, February 5, 2008

Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan EIS

AGENCY: USDA Forest Service.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.


SUMMARY: The Department of Agriculture, Forest Service is preparing an

environmental impact statement (EIS) to establish management direction

for the land and resources within the Giant Sequoia National Monument

(GSNM) created by Presidential Proclamation on april 15, 2000. The

Forest Service, as the responsible agency, proposes to amend the

Sequoia National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (FLMP) to

provide for the protection of the objects of interest identified in the


DATES: The draft EIS for the Giant Sequoia National Monument Management

Plan is expected to be available for public comment in the early spring

of 2009; the final EIS and Record of Decision (ROD) are expected to be

published in the fall of 2009. Soon after the ROD is published, a

separate document representing the Management Plan in non-technical

language will be published.

ADDRESSES: Tina Terrell, Forest Supervisor, USDA Forest Service,

Sequoia National Forest, 1839 South Newcomb Street, Porterville, CA


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Julie Allen, Land Management Planning

Staff Officer, Sequoia National Forest, at the address listed above.

The phone number is (559) 784-1500. Information regarding the monument

and the planning process can also be found on the Giant Sequoia

National Monument website located at




On April 15, 200, a Presidential Proclamation creating the Giant

Sequoia National Monument was signed. The Proclamation designated

327,769 acres within the boundary of the Sequoia National Forest as a

National Monument to provide protection for a variety of objects of

historic and scientific interest, including giant sequoia trees and

their surrounding ecosystem. The plan will provide for and encourage

continued public access and use consistent with the purposes of the

Giant Sequoia National Monument. A range of alternatives will be

analyzed, including the no-action alternative, which is the current

management direction.

Purpose and Need for Action

The Presidential Proclamation creates a national monument

recognizing and protecting forever its unique resources. The

proclamation also clearly identifies opportunities for scientific

research, interpretation, recreation, and the need for a transportation

plan. We are committed to preparing a management plan that is

responsive to these needs and opportunities and that cares for the

objects of interest as identified in the proclamation.

Within the context of the Proclamation's statement of need, we are

committed to developing the proposed action and alternatives to it

through a comprehensive, inclusive, collaborative process involving

stakeholders. This collaborative process will be facilitated largely by

a third party neutral associated with the U.S. Institute for

Environmental Conflict Resolution, an organization chartered by

Congress for the purpose of resolving multi-party environmental issues

and disputes. Because the Giant Sequoia National Monument is a unique

treasure of international interest, it deserves the very best planning

approach possible. We believe that the very best management will result

from this innovative, collaborative approach which taps the knowledge

and creative energy of those who know and love the giant sequoias.

In the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process terms, this

Notice of Intent initiates the scoping period. We expect the scoping

period to last up to one year during which there will be a variety of

meetings and workshops. The collaborative process will thereby be the

focus, but not the sole means, of this extended scoping period during

which the proposed action will be developed and planning issues

identified. Notification of scoping activities will be posted on the

Web site,, and advertised through

the media. The collaborative process will continue to play a role

through development of the draft and final environmental impact


Current Management Direction

Until a new Monument Management Plan is implemented, current

management direction for the GSNM includes the Presidential

Proclamation, the Sequoia National Forest Land and Resource Management

Plan, as amended by the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment (2001), and

the Mediated Settlement Agreement.


Comments received in response to public scoping or any future

solicitation for public comments on a draft EIS, including names and

addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public

record and will be available for public inspection. Comments submitted

anonymously will be accepted and considered. Additionally, pursuant to

7 CFR 1.27(d), any person may request the agency to withhold a

submission from the public record by showing how the Freedom of

Information Act (FOIA) permits such confidentiality. Persons requesting

such confidentiality should be aware that under the FOIA

confidentiality may be granted in only very limited circumstances, such

as to protect trade secrets. The Forest Service will inform the

requester of the agency's decision regarding the request for

confidentiality, and where the request is denied; the agency will

return the submission and notify the requester that the comments may be

resubmitted with or without name and address.

The comment period on the draft EIS will be 90 days from the date

the Environmental Protection Agency publishes the notice of

availability in the Federal Register.

The Forest Service believes that, at this early stage, it is very

important to give reviewers notice of several court rulings related to

public participation in the environmental review process. First,

reviewers of a draft EIS must structure their participation in the

environmental review of the proposal so that it is meaningful and

alerts the agency to the reviewer's position and contentions. Vermont

Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 533 (1978). Also, environmental

objections that could be raised at the draft EIS stage, but that are not raised until

after completion of the final EIS, may be waived or dismissed by the

courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986)

and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490 F. Supp. 1334 (E.D. Wis.

1980). Because of these court rulings, it is very important that

persons interested in this proposed action participate by the close of

the 90-day comment period on the draft EIS so that substantive comments

and objections are made available to the Forest Service at a time when

it can meaningfully consider them and respond to them in the final EIS.

To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues

and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft

environmental impact statement should be as specified as possible. It

is also helpful if comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the

draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy or the merits

of the alternatives formulated and discussed in the statement.

Reviewers may wish to refer to the Council on Environmental Quality

Regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of the National

Environmental Policy Act at 40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points.

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