Rangeland Management Directives #ORMS-2514

The USDA Forest Service is requesting public input on the proposed updates to the rangeland management directives. The rangeland management directives are comprised of Forest Service Manual (FSM) 2200, Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 2209.13 and FSH 2209.16. The comment period has been extended. Your comments are requested by April 17, 2021. The rangeland management directives serve as the primary basis for the internal management and control of the rangeland management program. They are the primary source of administrative direction to Forest Service employees relative to the rangeland management program. Why Are They Being Updated? The Rangeland Management Directives have been in place for approximately 30 years. The focus of this effort is on updating outdated manuals and handbooks. The updates make them more usable, modern and conform to recent legislation. The updates provide greater management flexibility and improve the clarity of policies and procedures to guide responsible and consistent management of NFS lands. The updates involve 17 chapters with most of the updates being made to Forest Service Handbook 2209.13.

The dominant themes relative to the updates along with some tangible update examples include:

Succession Planning / Recognized Entities

  • Grandchildren as well as children can run up to 50% of the older generation’s term permitted numbers. After the permit is waived to children or grandchildren, the other generation can continue to run up to 50% of that generation’s numbers as they phase out of the family operation. This is intended to help in succession planning and transitions in family operations.
  • Expanded discussion on entities eligible to hold permits with such examples as limited liability companies, family limited partnerships, etc. aimed at enhancing available options for estate planning.

Conservation Oriented Flexibilities

  • Adds a Section on Conservation Easements and Agricultural Land Trusts. These allow ranches to remain in agricultural production (and tax base) in perpetuity.  They did not exist or were very seldom used 30 years ago.
  • More discussion on allowing Non-Use for Resource Protection and increasing the flexibility to build back numbers after destocking herds. Explains that droughts and other severe acts of nature are different and require flexibility in management responses.

Updates to Respond to New Laws, Audits, etc. and to Provide Needed Clarity

  • Updates the list of Laws, Regulations, and Executive Orders, and adds to the list, especially to include many more applicable to the National Grasslands after they were transferred to the Forest Service.
  • Updates the policy on excess and unauthorized use very similar to the Bureau of Land Management’s policy.

Expanded Discussions / Modernizations

  • Inserts a new section called “Informal Dispute Resolution”. Provides a detailed description of the process created in Section 8 of PRIA to allow opportunities to informally resolve allotment management concerns and disputes.
  • Expands the discussion on Tribal Treaty Grazing Rights and how those rights are exercised and administered.

What Chapters Are Being Updated? The proposed directives update Forest Service Manual 2200, “Rangeland Management”, Chapters Zero, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 70; Forest Service Handbook 2209.13, “Grazing Permit Administration”, Chapters 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90; and Forest Service Handbook 2209.16, “Allotment Administration”, Chapter 10.
 
Additional information on the proposed updates to the rangeland management directives can be found on the Proposed Rangeland Management Directives Updates Webpage at https://www.fs.fed.us/rangeland-management/directives.shtml. The content on the webpage describes and/or provides; what purpose the directives serve and why they are being updated, includes review companion documents that are intended to aid individuals in their review of the updated rangeland management directives and provides a schedule of information webinars.

The Forest Service values public participation. Communications from the public regarding this project, including commenters' names and contact information, will become part of the public record. Comments, including anonymous comments, will be accepted at any time. However, comments posted after the close of a designated comment period may not be able to be given full consideration.



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