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December 2016 Forest Plan Revision Update: Meet the Comment Review Team!
In October we shared with you that we’d received more than 30,000 comments on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) and draft forest plans for the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests. So, what happens now? Good question.

Eighteen Forest Service staff are reviewing and analyzing your comments. The team members are reading, reviewing all letters, and identifying substantive comments to which a response will be prepared. Substantive comments provide supporting facts or information, and pertain to the proposed action. Comments may present new information relevant to our analysis, present reasonable alternatives we didn’t consider in our analysis, or challenge the accuracy of our information, methodology or analysis.

Once we’ve determined which comments are substantive, we will prepare a response to them. The ways in which we respond to comments includes:
1.Develop and evaluate alternatives we didn’t previously consider. This analysis would appear in the final EIS.
2.Supplement, improve or modify our original analysis. This would be reflected in the final EIS.
3.Make factual corrections that would appear in the final EIS and forest plans.
4.Explain why the comment does not warrant further Forest Service response. Such responses would be addressed in the final EIS.

Now that you understand how we will respond to comments, let’s take a moment to meet the people who are carefully reading, reviewing and analyzing your input.

Nevia Brown, Planning Team Leader
Education: M.S. in Forest Ecosystem Assessment / Human Dimensions, Alabama A&M University B.S. in Biology and Forestry from Tuskegee University
Experience: 7 total years with the US Forest Service: 3.5 years as a forester, 4 years as a NEPA Coordinator, 3 months Planning Team Leader
Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plans set the stage on which a forest’s foundation should be built. The great outcomes of a forest depends on the architecture developed within the plan. Forest plans are the most powerful tool we have in our toolbox for developing a sustainable forest that all visitors can enjoy.”

Jennifer Anderson, Regional Fuels Planner
Education: Masters of Forest Resources, University of Georgia B.A. in Geography, Georgia State University
Experience: 1.5 years with the US Forest Service as a Fuels Planner 13 years with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service as a Fuels Specialist and Fire Planner
Why is forest plan revision important? “Revising the plan is imperative to adaptive management within our National Forests as conditions change over time. These management practices are directly related to providing clean air, water, healthy forests, and a place to recreate which is valuable to all people in some way or another.”

Phil Bowden, Regional Fuels Planner
Education: B.S. in Forestry, Michigan Technological University
Experience: 33 years with the US Forest Service in various fire-related positions 37 total years of natural resource management experience
Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest Plans guide how we manage the forests we love now and into the future.”

Amy Ziegler, Fire Planner
Education: B.S. in Natural Resource Management, Oregon State University
Experience: 27 total years with the US Forest Service: 8 years as a firefighter (mostly as a Hotshot), 6 years in fire dispatch, 13 years as a Forest Fire Planner
Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision helps to reassess the public landscape considering environmental, political, social, and economic changes over time and assure that how the agency manages the land is in alignment with current and potential public values and concerns.”

JoAnn Fites-Kaufman, Regional Planning Ecologist
Education: PhD. Forest Resources (Ecosystem Analysis), University of Washington M.S. Forest Science, University of Georgia B.S. Ecology, Humboldt State University
Experience: 25 total years with the US Forest Service: 10 years as Adaptive Management Services Enterprise Team Lead and Fire/Ecology Scientist, 11 years as Zone/Province Ecologist, 4 years as Regional Planning Ecologist
Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision offers an opportunity to shape forest restoration supporting healthy ecosystems and services such as water and habitat.”

Don Yasuda, Regional Analyst
Education/Certification: B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, University of California, Davis Certified Wildlife Biologist by The Wildlife Society
Experience: 28 total years with the US Forest Service: 15 years as a District wildlife biologist and assistant resource officer, 7 years supporting regional wildlife and planning efforts, and 6 years as the Regional Analyst
Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plans that are purposely and strategically managed to adapt to changing conditions, new knowledge, and new opportunities provide the best means to restore forests so they can provide the ecological, social and economic needs that benefit people.”

Andrea Davidson, Regional Recreation Planner
Education: M.S. in Natural Resource Management, University of Idaho B.S. in Recreation and Natural Resource Management (minor in Wilderness Studies), University of Montana
Experience: 12 total years with the US Forest Service: wilderness and special uses
Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision is a collaborative process between public, science, and agency knowledge. It produces an updated strategy that is capable of effectively responding to 21st century challenges while balancing the many needs for which your forests are valued. Ultimately, it produces a sound strategy that ensures proper public management of public lands.”

Mark Metcalfe, Regional Economist
Education: Specializations in economics and geography
Experience: 4 years total with the US Forest Service working on socioeconomic issues
Why is forest plan revision important? “Forests provide numerous contributions that improve the quality of all our lives. Plan revision is the opportunity to ensure these contributions continue for future generations.”

Tim Murphy, Regional Planning Hydrologist
Education/Certification: Masters of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida B.S. in Soil and Water Science, University of Arizona Certified Forester
Experience: Total of 35 years in natural resource management activities 6 years with the US Forest Service: 3 as NEPA Specialist, and 3 as Hydrologist/Soil Scientist
Why is forest plan revision important? “Forest plan revision provides a vision and direction for management of our national forests, taking into account changes on the ground, new science, and evolving values held by the American people who own these public lands.”

Terri Walsh, Regional Planning Silviculturist
Education/Certification: Undergraduate coursework in Forestry from Cal Poly SLO US Forest Service Region 5 Certified Silviculturist
Experience: 29 total years with the US Forest Service in Natural Resource Management: 3 years in timber sale preparation, 9 years in forest reforestation, 17 years in silviculture and planning
Why is forest plan revision important? “Human values change over time, and it is important that all of these values are taken into consideration when planning the future of our valuable natural resources.”

MaryLou Fairweather, Regional Natural Resource Planner
Education: B.S. in Biology from Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado M.S. in Plant Pathology, University of Arizona
Experience: 27 total years with the US Forest Service: 26 years as a Forest Pathologist, 1.5 years as Natural Resource Planner
Why is forest plan revision important? “The forest plan revision process is grounded in science and provides opportunities for public involvement and collaboration throughout all stages of the planning process.”

Talitha Derksen, Reg [truncated for length]