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March 17, 2005

The forest planning directives are out!
Tony Erba

The planning directives, in response to the 2004 planning rule, have been released for public review! Click on this link (http://www.fs.fed.us/emc/nfma/index.htm) to see these directives. The Federal Register notice announcing the start of the 90-day comment period is expected to released next week, tentatively set for Wednesday, March 23.

People wanted details...now they have them. I hope that people take the time to read the directives and offer thoughtful and informed comments rather than firing off comments without reading what they're commenting on.

Posted by Tony Erba on March 17, 2005 at 01:39 PM | Permalink


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Posted by: Mike Dechter

Ok. Where are the guidelines?

Mike Dechter | Mar 17, 2005 3:27:20 PM

Posted by: Julia Altemus

http://www.fs.fed.us/emc/nfma Then to to the links on the left side of the page entitled "Planning/National Forest Management Act" and the Interim Directives will appear in the core list of links.

Hope that helps.


Julia Altemus | Mar 17, 2005 4:14:57 PM

Posted by: Dave

This link should take you to the NFMA Directives without searching...


Dave | Mar 17, 2005 5:04:54 PM

Posted by: Tony Erba

Mike - not sure what you're searching for when you say "guidelines". Could you elaborate?

Tony Erba | Mar 17, 2005 8:38:15 PM

Posted by: Ned Iverson


Congratulation on getting the site up. I think it has potential to accomplish your discussion objectives. However I don't hold out a lot of hope for Policy and Practices.

Looking at the "forest planning directives", I would say you have your work cut out for you. Speaking strictly as an outsider and most admittedly with very limited knowledge, I would say, "What a mess."

I did go through Ch. 80 of Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers and I would conclude that the Forest Service is burdened, if not buried, with so much administrative oversight, regulation, and multiplicity of reporting and decision authorities that I am surprised that it hasn't collapsed under the weight. (And perhaps it has, but doesn't know it or is putting up a good front because it still exists.) I may be way wide of the mark, but I have some more thoughts if you are interested. Cheers, Ned

Ned Iverson | Mar 18, 2005 2:33:18 PM

Posted by: Dave Iverson

Ned (and others),

My views parallel yours, which ought not to be too surprising to you--since I followed in your footsteps in my organizational behavior studies.

I have long voiced concerns about over-regulation, over-lapping decision and reporting authorities, etc. I believe the first time I suggested throwing the FS Manual and Handbook in the Potomac was at an economics conference at Mt. Hood, Oregon about 20 years ago.

More recently I included that recommendation in five policy recommendations that I set before both Chief Dombeck and Chief Bosworth.

The first and third read:

·Throw the USFS manual and handbook in the Potomac: We cannot adopt "adaptive management," which we must do alongside "working politics" while harnessing ourselves to extant straight-jackets of a manual and handbook that sits on 18 feet of shelf space. I challenge anyone to find one healthy organization that has 18 feet of policy manual/handbooks.

·Lead with policy: Use the Natural Resource Agenda as a compass bearing and stress policy development as collaborative stewardship to lead the USFS into the next century. Emphasize "adaptive management/working politics," not Planning with a capital "P" as we have heretofore done. The NFMA regulation should boldly lead by promoting adaptive management and positioning "planning" as one part of adaptive management. Policy development would be key. Planning as we have know it would be relegated to the "watershed scale."

Responding to my list when first submitted to Chief Dombeck, then Regional Forester Dale Bosworth suggested that maybe a “controlled burn” would be a better approach to deal with the manual/handbook problem. Dale worried, tongue-in-cheek, that we might cause a pollution problem if we dumped that much material into the Potomac.

I never heard directly from Chief Dombeck, but his Special Assistant Chris Wood envisioned a photo-op moment with Dombeck driving a forklift loaded with the FS Manual/Handbook and depositing it in a recycling bin. Alas it was not to be.

Finally, in my 1999 'Second Epistle to the Committee of Scientists' I touched on problems I see with the Forest Service. I titled it “The Forest Service as a Learning-Challenged Organization” and suggested three main problems, all interrelated with the hide-bound nature of the bureaucracy: mission, science, and planning challenges.

Dave Iverson | Mar 18, 2005 3:19:19 PM

Posted by: John Rupe

I'm reading the draft planning directives and I'm finding the exact paragraph word for word three different times. It is so big that we need to repeat ourselves in various places so we don't miss important stuff.

John Rupe | Mar 19, 2005 8:54:27 AM

Posted by: Dave Iverson

Here is a link to the FS press release associated with the NFMA-related Directives, including dirctions on how/where to submit comments. Comments due by June 21, 2005.



Instructions for Submitting Comments

E-mail:planningdirectives@contentanalysisgroup.com. Include “RIN 0596-AC02” or “planning directives” in the subject line of the message. Fax: (801) 397-2601. Please identify your comments by including “RIN 0596-AC02” or “planning directives” on the cover sheet or the first page. Mail: USDA Forest Service Planning Directives, c/o Content Analysis Group, P.O. Box 2000, Bountiful, UT 84011-2000.

Dave Iverson | Mar 31, 2005 9:17:42 AM

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