U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued a memorandum to Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen providing direction that will serve as a blueprint to help modernize the agency’s systems and approaches to ensure national forests and grasslands continue to meet the needs of the American people.
The Secretary made the announcement in Missoula on Friday at the Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center. Perdue said the blueprint will cut unnecessary red tape and prioritize active management of national forests and grasslands.
“Under this administration, the Forest Service has sold more timber than we have in the last 22 years and made significant increases in our hazardous fuels treatments and active management of our national forests. While I am proud of our progress to promote active management, reduce hazardous fuels, work across boundaries and increase the resiliency of our nation’s forests and grasslands, I believe more can be done,” said Secretary Perdue. “Today, I am announcing a blueprint for reforms to provide further relief from burdensome regulations, improve customer service, and boost the productivity of our national forest system.”
The Secretary’s direction will encompass four areas of the agency’s work:
- Increasing the productivity of national forests and grasslands: The Forest Service will focus on productive use of national forests and grasslands, and identify new opportunities to deliver goods and services the American people efficiently and effectively.
- Valuing our Nation’s grazing heritage and the national grasslands: The Forest Service will recognize grazing on national grasslands as essential for their management and streamline range improvements and the permit renewal process to reduce burdens and improve customer service for America’s grazers.
- Increasing access to national forest system lands: The Forest Service will modernize and simplify the permitting process to increase public access to national forests and grasslands.
- Expediting environmental reviews to support active management: The Forest Service will streamline their environmental review process through greater accountability for efficient decision making, succinct and understandable documentation, and focus and effective public engagement.
“Our mission delivery today includes a whole range of values and benefits that people expect from their forests and grasslands,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “The Secretary’s direction will help ensure we are providing healthy resilient forests and grasslands that continue to deliver on the goods and services the American people want and need, while also supporting communities, public access and fire-adapted landscapes.”
Read the entire memorandum issued by Secretary Perdue.