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U.S. Forest Service Developing Policies Addressing Mitigation on National Forests and Grasslands

April 7, 2016

The U.S. Forest Service is developing national policy to address mitigation of adverse impacts in National Forests and Grasslands and is seeking public input on this policy. This effort reflects the agency's attempt to implement a November 3, 2015 Presidential Memorandum, "Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investment." This memorandum directed all federal agencies, within 180 days of its issuance, to "adopt a clear and consistent approach for avoidance and minimization of, and compensatory mitigation for, the impacts of their activities and the projects they approve."

On April 6, 2016, the Forest Service held a webinar and released a white paper titled "Seeking Recommendations in Formulating Agency Policy on Mitigating Adverse Impacts on National Forests and Grasslands." In the webinar and white paper, the Forest Service explained that its forthcoming mitigation policy will consist of a "brief" regulation that establishes "clear goals" for the use of mitigation on National Forest System lands. Its policy will also consist of a "detailed set of directives" in the Forest Service Manual and Handbook that clarify the methods and tools of mitigation. The Forest Service anticipates it will publish a draft regulation for public review and comment in June 2016 and a final regulation in October 2017. The agency will release draft directives for public review and comment in late 2016 or early 2017 and will finalize the directives by November 2017.