Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday announced a call for nominations to serve on a newly-formed advisory committee that will guide better management of our national forests and grasslands. The National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule will advise and give recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service.
"Input from the public is critical to successful land management planning," said Vilsack. "I'm forming this committee to help us implement planning that conserves our forests and grasslands for the benefit of water, wildlife, recreation and the economic vitality of our rural communities."
The committee will provide advice and recommendations on issues such as planning rule directives for implementation, best practices, effective monitoring practices and ongoing collaboration efforts. It will meet three to four times annually, or as often as necessary to complete its work. Members of the committee do not receive compensation, but may be reimbursed for travel expenses. The announcement of this committee builds on the Agency's efforts to develop a new Land Management Planning Rule for the National Forest System.
"We will keep the collaborative momentum going as we transition to implementing a new rule," said U.S Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "Forming this committee demonstrates the same commitment to public involvement that has guided us throughout the development of this crucial new rule."
The committee will be comprised of up to 21 members with diverse backgrounds, who represent the full range of public interests in management of the National Forest System lands and who represent geographically diverse locations and communities, within each of the following three categories of interests:
1. Up to seven members who represent one or more of the following:
- Represent the affected public at-large
- Hold State-elected office (or designee)
- Hold county or local elected office
- Represent American Indian Tribes
- Represent Youth
2. Up to seven members who represent one or more of the following:
- National, regional, or local environmental organizations
- Conservation organizations or watershed associations
- Dispersed recreation interests
- Archaeological or historical interests
- Scientific Community
3. Up to seven members who represent one or more of the following:
- Timber Industry
- Grazing or other land use permit holders or other private forest landowners
- Energy and mineral development
- Commercial or recreational hunting and fishing interests
- Developed outdoor recreation, off-highway vehicle users, or commercial recreation interests
The 45-day nomination period closes Feb. 21, 2012. Additional details on the committee and the application form are available at the U.S Forest Service website, or by calling 202-205-0830. The call for nominations will be published Friday in the Federal Register.