In response to the United States Forest Service’s (USFS) proposal to revise its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) procedures, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter on February 2 encouraging the USFS to streamline its environmental analysis process to save time and resources which would allow the agency to conduct more fuel treatment and habitat restoration projects.
Andy Treharne, CSF’s Senior Director of Federal Lands Policy stated, “CSF strongly supports revising USFS NEPA processes to increase the efficiency of environmental analysis. With over 80 million acres of USFS lands in need of restoration to mitigate the risks of wildfire, insect outbreaks and disease infestation, reducing environmental analysis inefficiencies will allow the USFS to increase the scale of its work to improve forest and rangeland health for the benefit of fish, wildlife, watersheds and rural communities.”
With over 193 million acres under its management, USFS multiple-use conservation lands provide important recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women across the country. However, USFS lands are increasingly at risk to catastrophic wildfire and quality wildlife habitat is lacking as active forest management levels have decreased in part due to the USFS’s inefficient NEPA process.
To improve the USFS’s NEPA process, Treharne wrote, “Enacting measures such as limiting the length of environmental analysis documents, implementing landscape-level restoration projects, and expanding the use of categorical exclusions would enable the agency to begin tackling its extensive backlog of forest and watershed restoration needs, and we believe that the USFS can improve its NEPA process for the benefit of wildlife, forest health and all forest users without undermining public oversight or shortcutting important environmental safeguards.”
CSF will continue to monitor the USFS’s NEPA revision process in conjunction with other sportsmen’s conservation organizations as it moves forward.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?