Angeles Volunteer Association

SOURCE:  Federal Register, March 18, 2009

Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan EIS
AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.
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 1988 
Sequoia National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (1988 Forest 
Plan) to provide for the protection of the objects of interest 
identified in the Proclamation.
DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by May 4, 2009. The draft environmental impact statement is expected 
September 2009 and the final environmental impact statement is expected 
March 2010.
ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Marianne Emmendorfer, Project 
Leader, Sequoia National Forest Headquarters, 1839 South Newcomb 
Street, Porterville, CA 93257, and Attention: Monument Management Plan, 
or via facsimile to (559) 781-4744.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marianne Emmendorfer, Project Leader, 
Sequoia National Forest, at the address listed above. Her telephone 
number is 559-338-2251, extension 313. Information regarding the 
monument and the planning process can also be found on the Giant 
Sequoia National Monument Web site located at
    On April 15, 2000, 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 Proclamation required establishment of 
a monument management plan within three years, and establishment of a 
scientific advisory board to assist in development of this plan. A 
scientific advisory board was appointed, in consultation with the 
National Academy of Sciences, to provide scientific guidance during the 
development of the 2004 Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan 
Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision. A 
Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan Record of Decision was 
signed on January 12, 2004. The monument plan was challenged and 
litigation was filed in the United States District Court for the 
Northern District of California on January 27, 2005 (Sierra Club, et 
al., v. Bosworth, et al., No. C-05-00397 CRB) and March 3, 2005 (People 
of the State of California, ex rel. Lockyer v. United States Department 
of Agriculture, et al., No. C-05-00898 CRB). In October 2006, Federal 
District Court, Judge Charles Breyer, found in favor of the plaintiffs 
in both cases and remanded the Plan to the USDA Forest Service ``* * * 
so that a proper Monument Plan can be developed in accordance with the 
Presidential Proclamation, * * * and in compliance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) * * *'' Calif. ex rel. Lockyer v. USDA, 
No. C-05-00898 (N.D. Cal., Oct. 11, 2006)....
    Purpose and Need for Action
    The Presidential Proclamation establishing the Giant Sequoia 
National Monument (Monument) required preparation of a management plan. 
The required plan will amend the existing 1988 Sequoia National Forest 
Land and Resource Management Plan (1988 Forest Plan) as amended by the 
1991 Kings River Wild and Scenic River, and Special Management Area 
Implementation Plan and the 2001 Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment 
(2001 SNFPA). The Proclamation focused on certain resources and uses in 
establishing the Monument so the proposed plan amendment will also 
focus on those areas in implementing the Proclamation.
    The Monument Management Plan may also incorporate the management 
direction provided by the 1990 Sequoia National Forest Land Management 
Plan Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA), and the 2004 Sierra Nevada 
Forest Plan Amendment Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (2004 
SNFPA SEIS), as applicable, and to the extent that direction is 
consistent with the Proclamation. Although the Monument plan 
environmental impact statement (EIS) must consider these other sources 
of direction, the plan is not constrained by the requirements 
prescribed in these documents. The plan will be informed by the best 
available science and will be based on a thorough review of relevant 
scientific information and practical experience, per the Proclamation 
and planning direction, resulting in a plan which could be 
substantially different from current management direction.
    The purpose and need of this management plan is to establish 
management direction for the land and resources within the Giant 
Sequoia National Monument in order to protect the Objects of Interest 
(as described below), while providing key resources and opportunities 
for public use within the Monument. Although many valuable Objects of 
Interest are identified, it was also clear in the Proclamation that the 
major purpose of the monument is to protect and maintain the giant 
sequoia groves and the rare giants within their unique and natural 
    The Monument management plan will describe a long-term vision and 
the strategic management direction to guide management activities that 
move resources toward the desired conditions. This Monument plan will 
define the parameters (limits) for management activities, and offer the 
flexibility to adapt project-level decisions to
accommodate rapidly changing resource conditions.
    The Proclamation states that the monument plan shall:
    Establish a transportation plan that provides for visitor 
enjoyment, and understanding about the scientific and historical 
objects consistent with their protection. (65 FR 24098).
    The Proclamation did not specifically state, but implied the 
following needs in protecting Objects of Interest in the Monument:
    (A) Provide for survival of mature and regeneration of young 
sequoias to assure the continued existence of this species. Consider 
the effects of disturbance and climate change on the regeneration, 
range and distribution of sequoias. (65 FR 24095).
    (B) Restore the ecological processes and attributes that may be 
altered due to a century of fire suppression and large-scale logging, 
so that forest resiliency to large-scale wildfire and other potentially 
catastrophic events is improved (65 FR 24095-24096),
    (C) Provide opportunities for scientific study of the Objects of 
Interest (such as biologists, geologists, paleontologists, 
archaeologists and historians) (65 FR 24095-24097).
    The Objects of Interest were generally identified in the 
Proclamation, with the requirement that the management plan would 
provide direction for their proper care. Through public and agency 
dialogue the Objects of Interest have been determined to be a mix of 
specific individuals/locations (i.e. specific caverns or named 
sequoias) and broad ecosystem processes (i.e. sequoia groves and 
associated watersheds). The following are the Objects of Interest that 
will be considered for protection under this Giant Sequoia National 
Monument Management Plan:
     The ecosystems and outstanding landscapes within the 
Monument that surround the sequoia groves, including the interconnected 
vegetation types;
     The naturally occurring giant sequoia groves and 
associated ecosystems, rare giant trees, and other rare and endemic 
plant species including the Springville clarkia, etc.;
     The diverse array of rare animal species include the 
Pacific fisher, great gray owl, American marten, northern goshawk, 
peregrine falcon, California spotted owl, California condor, several 
rare amphibians and western pond turtle;
     The paleontological resources in the meadow sediments, 
giant sequoia tree rings, and other vegetation that have recorded the 
ecological changes including fire regimes, volcanism, vegetation and 
climate over the millennia;
     The limestone caverns and other geologic features 
including granite domes, spires, geothermally produced hot springs and 
soda springs, and the mix of glacial and river carved gorges;
     Cultural resources, both historic and prehistoric, provide 
a record of human adaptation to climate change and other influences, 
including land use patterns, in shaping ecosystems over the past 12,000 
    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 protects and 
restores the objects of interest as identified in the Proclamation.

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