Chris Topik, The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Restoring America’s Forests, was placed on the U.S. Forest Service’s federal advisory committee (“FACA”) for the new Forest Service planning rule. The previous two-decade old planning rule, which provided guidelines for all activities on the Forest Service’s 192 million acres, was updated in April 2012. Chris’s role will be to provide recommendations on the new planning rule and how it will be interpreted on-the-ground.
“I am thrilled to do this public service,” said Topik. “Our National Forests are special places for peoples and nature, and we all need to work together to restore them. The Nature Conservancy has 60 years of expertise conserving forests, and we share the Forest Service’s interest in protecting the services our forests provide for people, water, and wildlife.”
Full Press Release from the USDA below:
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Names Members of Planning Rule Advisory Group
WASHINGTON, June 5, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today named the members of an advisory committee charged with providing guidance and recommendations on the implementation of the new U.S. Forest Service Planning Rule.
"Members of this federal advisory committee will give unique perspectives on land management issues under the new planning rule, which provides stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of rural communities," said Vilsack. "The committee's input will be very important as we begin to implement the new rule and address critical management needs on our national forests and grasslands."
More than 220 people applied to serve on the committee, making for a demanding selection process. The selected members represent a balanced range of public interests in the management of National Forest System lands, as well as a diversity of backgrounds, communities, and geographic locations. This group will be able provide the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service Chief with feedback on a range of issues important to implementation of the planning rule.
"The members of this committee collectively bring to the table a vast amount of knowledge, passion and interest in our national forests and grasslands," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "Forming this committee continues the commitment to public involvement and collaboration that has guided us throughout this landmark rulemaking process."
While only 21 applicants could be selected for the committee, the Forest Service will continue to engage the public in a number of ways as the new rule is implemented. Opportunities will include participating in the early adopter forest plan revision efforts and commenting on the proposed planning directives when they are released for public comment. Meetings of the federal advisory committee are also open to the public.
The committee's scope of work will include the ability to make recommendations on directives relating to the Planning Rule, effective monitoring and evaluation methods, and suggestions for increased collaboration efforts.
Federal advisory committee members are as follows:
Representing the public at-large
• Howard Raymond Vaughan, Montgomery, Ala.
• Vickie Roberts, Shelton Roberts Properties, Winona, Miss.
Representing American Indian Tribes
• William Barquin, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Portland, Ore.
Representing commercial or recreational hunting and fishing
• Daniel Dessecker, Ruffed Grouse Society, Rice Lake, Wis.
Representing conservation organizations or watershed associations
• Christopher Topik, The Nature Conservancy, Vienna, Va.
• Stephan Kandell, Trout Unlimited, Durango, Colo.
• Susan Jane Brown, Blue Mountain Forest Partners, Portland, Ore.
Representing county or local elected officials
• Joan May, San Miguel County Commissioner, Telluride, Colo.
• Robert Cope, Lemhi County Commissioner, Salmon, Idaho
Representing developed outdoor or commercial recreation
• Russell Ehnes, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, Great Falls, Mont.
Representing dispersed recreation
• Adam Cramer, Outdoor Alliance, Bethesda, Md.
Representing energy and mineral development
• Greg Schaefer, Arch Coal, Inc., Gillette, Wyo.
Representing national, regional or local environmental organizations
• Mike Anderson, The Wilderness Society, Seattle, Wash.
• Peter Nelson, Defenders of Wildlife, Washington, D.C.
Representing private landowners/grazing
• James Magagna, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Rock Springs, Wyo.
• Lorenzo Valdez, Youngsville Cattlemen Association, Fairview, N.M.
Representing the scientific community
• Wally Covington, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Representing state-elected officials
• Rodney Stokes, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, East Lansing, Mich.
Representing the timber industry
• Tom Troxel, Intermountain Timber Association, Rapid City, S.D.
• Pamela Motley, West Range Reclamation, LLC, Hotchkiss, Colorado
• Candice Price, Urban American Outdoors, Kansas City, Mo.
Visit the agency's planning rule website for more information about the committee, the new planning rule, and upcoming opportunities for public engagement.
In March, Vilsack announced USDA's final Planning Rule for America's 193 million-acre National Forest System that includes stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of rural communities. USDA and the Forest Service carefully considered more than a quarter million comments to develop the final rule, which emphasizes collaboration, sound science and protections for land, water and wildlife.
USDA works with state, local, and Tribal governments and private landowners to conserve and protect our nation's natural resources – helping preserve our land and clean our air and water. President Obama launched the America's Great Outdoors initiative in 2010 to foster a 21st century approach to conservation that is designed by and accomplished in partnership with the American people. During the past two years, USDA's conservation agencies — the U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Farm Service Agency — have delivered technical assistance and implemented restoration practices on public and private lands. USDA is working to better target conservation investments by embracing locally driven conservation and entering partnerships that focus on large, landscape-scale conservation.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Recreational activities on our lands contribute $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
The Nature Conservancy