Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday named the members of an advisory committee charged with providing guidance on the implementation of the new U.S. Forest Service Planning Rule.
"Members of this federal advisory committee will give unique perspectives on land management issues under the new planning rule, which provides stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of rural communities," said Vilsack. "The committee's input will be very important as we begin to implement the new rule and address critical management needs on our national forests and grasslands."
The committee's scope of work will include the ability to make recommendations on directives relating to the Planning Rule, effective monitoring and evaluation methods, and suggestions for increased collaboration efforts.
More than 220 people applied to serve on the committee, making for a demanding selection process. The selected members represent a balanced range of public interests in the management of National Forest System lands, as well as a diversity of backgrounds, communities, and geographic locations. This group will be able provide the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service Chief with feedback on a range of issues important to implementation of the planning rule.
"The members of this committee collectively bring to the table a vast amount of knowledge, passion and interest in our national forests and grasslands," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "Forming this committee continues the commitment to public involvement and collaboration that has guided us throughout this landmark rulemaking process."
While only 21 applicants could be selected for the committee, the Forest Service will continue to engage the public in a number of ways as the new rule is implemented. Opportunities will include participating in the early adopter forest plan revision efforts and commenting on the proposed planning directives when they are released for public comment. Meetings of the federal advisory committee are also open to the public.
Federal advisory committee members are as follows:
- Howard Raymond Vaughan, Montgomery, Ala.
- Vickie Roberts, Shelton Roberts Properties, Winona, Miss.
- William Barquin, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Portland, Ore.
- Daniel Dessecker, Ruffed Grouse Society, Rice Lake, Wis.
- Christopher Topik, The Nature Conservancy, Vienna, Va.
- Stephan Kandell, Trout Unlimited, Durango, Colo.
- Susan Jane Brown, Blue Mountain Forest Partners, Portland, Ore.
- Joan May, San Miguel County Commissioner, Telluride, Colo.
- Robert Cope, Lemhi County Commissioner, Salmon, Idaho
- Russell Ehnes, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, Great Falls, Mont.
- Adam Cramer, Outdoor Alliance, Bethesda, Md.
- Greg Schaefer, Arch Coal, Inc., Gillette, Wyo.
- Mike Anderson, The Wilderness Society, Seattle, Wash.
- Peter Nelson, Defenders of Wildlife, Washington, D.C.
- James Magagna, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Rock Springs, Wyo.
- Lorenzo Valdez, Youngsville Cattlemen Association, Fairview, N.M.
- Wally Covington, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Ariz.
- Rodney Stokes, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, East Lansing, Mich.
- Tom Troxel, Intermountain Timber Association, Rapid City, S.D.
- Pamela Motley, West Range Reclamation, LLC, Hotchkiss, Colorado
- Candice Price, Urban American Outdoors, Kansas City, Mo.
Visit the agency's planning rule website for more information about the committee, the new planning rule, and upcoming opportunities for public engagement.
In March, Vilsack announced USDA's final Planning Rule for America's 193 million-acre National Forest System that includes stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of rural communities. USDA and the Forest Service carefully considered more than a quarter million comments to develop the final rule, which emphasizes collaboration, sound science and protections for land, water and wildlife.