Bridger-Teton National Forest releases Wild and Scenic Snake River Headwaters Draft Decision Notice
by Bridger-Teton National Forest
September 29, 2013
The Bridger-Teton National Forest has released the draft Decision Notice for the Wild and Scenic Snake River Headwaters Forest Plan Amendment Environmental Assessment (EA).
The Draft Decision Notice, along with the full text of the Forest Plan Amendment for Wild and Scenic Rivers management on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, is available online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/btnf/landmanagement/projects.
"The decision will result in a Forest Plan amendment and Comprehensive Resource Management Plan (CRMP) for the 315-miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers that occur on every district, except Kemmerer," said Jackson District Ranger Dale Deiter. "This is the second largest individual designation in the National system so it was a herculean task, but one that the Forest did a tremendous job with and worked so diligently with our public," he said.
Development of a CRMP for the Snake River Headwaters, recently designated by Congress as a part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, is mandated under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Through several years of public and interagency discussions and workshops, a draft of this CRMP was created. It became clear that some additional management direction would need to be added to the Bridger-Tetonís guiding Forest Plan document, establishing new river-related management zones and providing some guidelines and new monitoring requirements to meet the intent of the Craig Thomas Snake Headwaters Legacy Act (2009).
The Environmental Assessment analyzing proposed changes and additions to the Bridger-Tetonís Forest Plan was released in June 2013, with a 50-day comment period. During that time, three open houses were held for the public to ask questions and discuss the assessment. Forest staff has since worked to address and clarify any remaining concerns, and the draft Decision Notice describes changes to the proposed action that the Forest Supervisor has incorporated into Forest Plan direction. Responses to submitted comments are also published online with the draft Decision.
Under the new review process established by the 2012 Planning Rule, the public will have 45-days in which to file an Ďobjectioní to this draft decision; instructions are included with the draft decision. If no objections are filed, the Decision Notice will be signed, amending the Forest Plan. The Bridger-Teton will then incorporate the final decision into the Comprehensive River Management Plan, a living document to implement the new guidance, along with setting out the long-term vision and short-term activities to highlight the unique nature of these special rivers. This CRMP will be released with the final decision on the amendment.
The 315-miles of rivers and streams designated on the Bridger-Teton, combined with another 99 miles under National Park Service and National Elk Refuge jurisdiction, form the most comprehensive headwaters designation in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system.