The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are currently in the process of revising their Forest Plan using the 2012 Forest Planning Rule for the National Forest System.

The existing Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forest plans were written in 1987, and the forests were administratively combined in 2013, resulting in the need for a revised Forest Plan for the combined forests. A draft Proposed Action for the new Forest Plan was released in July 2014.

From KEA’s Comment Letter Being Submitted by April 20th, 2020

This forest plan revision will dictate the management of four million acres of land and 1460 rivers within the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forests. Land management decisions made by the Forest Service in this proposed forest plan revision will have a direct effect on the environmental health of the forests, land, air, water, and wildlife of the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests for generations to come.

KEA recommends including all 1.5 million acres of undeveloped, unprotected roadless wildlands in the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forests to be designated wilderness. KEA opposes the Forest Service’s directive (in new forest service plan) that any roadless areas (including the road fewer areas adjacent to the Gospel – Hump Wilderness, which were wrongfully omitted in the 2008 Idaho Roadless Rule) not recommended as wilderness be open for development/logging. KEA recommends the Forest Service protect any & all roadless areas as a non-motorized, non-mechanized backcountry area. Further, KEA strongly recommends that all management activities and objectives comply with the spirit and intent of the Wilderness Act.

KEA recommends that ALL 89 eligible rivers identified by The Forest Service be recommended to Congress to be protected for their free-flowing status and Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORV’s) and be designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

KEA is opposed to increasing logging in the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forests and recommends the Forest Service decrease current harvest rates and abide by the principal guidance of the Wilderness Act. Further, KEA recommends that there should be no exceptions to allow logging (commercial thinning, thinning, or otherwise) which reduce current 300-foot buffers to 150-feet along rivers and streams in the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forests.

KEA recommends the development of measurable, quantifiable, enforceable, non-discretionary standards based on the best available science (that the agency MUST abide by before, during, and after logging, or other development) for protecting watersheds/water quality and wildlife & fisheries habitat in the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forests.

KEA recommends the development and inclusion of comprehensive conservation plans and quantifiable standards in the Forest Plan to protect wildlife. In particular (but not limited to), Steelhead salmon, bull trout, Westslope cutthroat, and Pacific Lamprey. Grizzly bear populations are also of particular concern to the public. Grizzly Bear conservation plans and standards should include the identification and preservation of essential migration corridors and address the habitat security necessary for the recovery of the species.

For Ease of Commenting Feel free to Use the Idaho Conservation League Comment Form: https://p2a.co/EYWmE0A