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Forest Plan Goals, Objectives and Management Prescriptions
The 2006 Forest Plan has several goals established through the planning process. The goals are interrelated and provide a balance of public uses of the Forest.
Goal A - Multiple-Use Management
The Forest will be managed with environmentally sensitive, socially responsive and scientifically sound management practices that are, whenever possible, adapted from and supported by local research. Within its natural-resource capabilities and long-term sustainability, the Forest will provide a balance of multiple uses and public benefits that best meet desires and expectations. Public funds will be invested appropriately in the management of the Forest, in accordance with laws and regulations. Multiple-use management practices and their standards will not be compromised to gain short-term monetary savings or to avoid a necessary investment in long-term public benefits.
Goal B – Ecosystem Management
The resources of the Forest will be managed at an ecosystem and landscape scale in a manner that addresses the complex issue of biological diversity. This includes:
● Management, maintenance and restoration of ecosystems – rather than individual resources – emphasizing the conservation of biological diversity;
● Protection of unique and special ecosystems;
● Resource management that is environmentally sensitive and in harmony with the capability and sustainability of ecosystems;
● Balancing the complex interrelationships of people and natural resources;
● Integration of the desired values and uses of the land and its resources into management and research objectives; and,
● Collaboration with scientists and educators to test new ideas and technologies.
Goal C - Public Relationships
The Forest will continue to be responsive to the needs and values of the pubic and the public will continue to be involved in the management of the Forest through an ongoing dialogue. The principles of the National Environmental Policy Act and other legislation will continue to guide the Forest Service in seeking the advice and counsel of all interested citizens. Management decisions and actions will consider the desires of the public-at-large, as well as the specific desires of citizen groups, commercial interests and government authorities. A public relations program will continue in coordination with other public and private organizations to reduce conflicts and resource damage.
Goal D – Recreation Management
The Forest will continue to welcome all, providing a broad range of high-quality recreational opportunities and experiences. Use will be restricted only when essential to protect Forest resources and/or public health and safety and to provide the expected recreational experience.
The system trails on the Forest will be well-marked, mapped and maintained in order to provide for user safety and to protect natural resources. The Forest Service will be a partner with others who provide recreational opportunities in southern Illinois. Trails and recreational facilities will be managed cost-effectively to complement opportunities available on nearby private and public land.
The Forest will provide opportunities for visitors to learn about their environment, natural resources management and the Forest. Interpretive and informational programs will offer the opportunity to discuss issues and to learn and share experiences.
Goal E - VISUAL-RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
The effects of management practices and public use will often be observed in parts of the Forest. Roads and trails will be seen where they pass across hillsides or forest openings. Forest-openings for the benefit of wildlife or a campground will be seen occasionally, as well as some openings where trees have been removed and young trees are growing. However, even in those places where the results of human activity can be viewed, the Forest will work to blend the visual effects of the activity with the natural-appearing forest landscape.
Goal F - HERITAGE-RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
The Forest offers evidence of a rich cultural history that reflects our national heritage.
Significant historical and archaeological sites enable all to better understand and appreciate our heritage. The Forest will continue to identify, evaluate and preserve these sites and, where appropriate, provide visitors access to them and interpretation.
Other sites will require extensive protection and study. All eligible sites will be nominated for listing on the national register of historic places.
Goal G - SPECIAL-FEATURE MANAGEMENT
The Forest will preserve and maintain rare remnants of plant communities that were present in the region before European settlement. Unique natural environments, such as national natural landmarks and other natural areas, will be managed to preserve and protect their special features.
Savannas, barrens, prairies, glades and other natural plant communities will be restored through active management programs. These efforts will be undertaken with the cooperation and participation of other interested groups, such as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, The Nature Conservancy, the Illinois Native Plant Society and universities and colleges.
Goal H - RESEARCH
The Forest will continue to play an active role in meeting research needs related to the ecosystems of the Forest, the interaction of people with their environment, and the long-term effects of management practices. The Forest will continue to facilitate and cooperate in research by universities and others and in the management of the Kaskaskia Experimental Forest and Dixon Springs Agricultural Center.
Goal I - CANDIDATE WILD AND SCENIC RIVER MANAGEMENT
Six streams on the Forest are candidates for inclusion in the national system of wild and scenic rivers: Hutchins Creek, Big Creek, Big Grand Pierre Creek, Lusk Creek, Bay Creek and the Big Muddy River. A quarter-mile corridor along each will be managed to retain the stream’s eligibility for inclusion in the system. Any portion of the six rivers or creeks that falls within wilderness will be managed according to wilderness standards and guidelines. Management restrictions will apply only to National Forest System lands. Owners of private property on these streams will continue to enjoy their landowner rights.
Goal J - WILDERNESS MANAGEMENT
Seven areas on the Forest are congressionally-designated wilderness: Bald Knob, Clear Springs, Panther Den, Burden Falls, Bay Creek, Lusk Creek and Garden of the Gods. The Forest will provide in each wilderness the opportunity for solitude, challenge and primitive recreation, as described in the Wilderness Act and the Illinois Wilderness Act of 1990. Wilderness management will generally employ approaches and tools having the least effects on wilderness values.
Goal K - FOREST ECOSYSTEM HEALTH AND SUSTAINABILITY
A healthy and sustainable forest ecosystem is essential for maintaining biological diversity on the Forest. Most of the hardwood forests on the SNF will be large and relatively aged, providing old-growth forest conditions on much of the Forest. Maintaining the oak-hickory forest type based on the historic range of variability is important for biological diversity and wildlife habitat. The Forest will utilize various vegetation-management activities, such as landscape-level prescribed burning, timber harvesting and timber-stand improvement to help create and/or maintain the ecological conditions necessary to regenerate and maintain the oak-hickory forest-type. Forest-wide diversity of vegetation-types is ensured by application of the management prescriptions.
Where vegetation management is allowed, non-native pine plantations will be converted to native hardwoods, emphasizing plantations within or adjacent to natural areas. The restoration of native ecosystems will increase the biodiversity of the Forest’s ecosystems and regional landscapes.
Although this goal emphasizes the maintenance of a healthy and sustainable hardwood-forest ecosystem, the Forest may also produce some timber products as a by-product of vegetation-management activities. This would utilize a renewable forest resource and support the growing need for wood products in a manner that is environmentally sound and compatible with other uses.
The Forest will continue to cooperate with state and private forestry programs, the IDNR and university researchers to promote an integrated pest management program for the prevention and suppression of insect and pathogen infestations and non-native invasive species. A variety of integrated pest management techniques will be used.
Goal L - RANGE-RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
The range program will not be a major use of the Forest outside the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center. The Forest may use grazing to accomplish other goals such as research on wildlife habitat improvement. Mowing for hay may also be used to help achieve desired vegetation and wildlife-habitat objectives.
Goal M – WILDLIFE, FISH AND AT-RISK SPECIES MANAGEMENT
The Forest is home to hundreds of species of wildlife and fish. The Forest’s wildlife and fisheries management program will maintain or enhance habitat for all native species and ensure the diversity of natural communities throughout the forest environment.
Special attention will be given to the protection and management of critical riparian, forest-interior, oak-hickory forest, wetland and large openland habitats. The Forest will actively manage to maintain these special habitats. Some vegetation management techniques that may be employed include prescribed burning, timber harvesting, timber stand improvement, mowing, disking and seeding. Wetland management may include some structural engineering to restore and maintain important hydrological conditions.
The Forest will be managed to enhance opportunities for both consumptive and non-consumptive uses of wildlife and fish. The Forest Service, in cooperation with many partners, will provide additional waterfowl and other migratory bird habitat along the
Mississippi Flyway by expanding and renovating the Oakwood Bottoms Greentree Reservoir and restoring bottomland and riverine forests and wetlands in the Mississippi and Big Muddy Rivers floodplains.
Species that are endangered, threatened or sensitive, or whose viability is of special concern will be given necessary protection and special management to ensure their continued existence. This may include active vegetation and structural management to maintain or restore habitats as well as reestablishment of plants and animals on the Forest in cooperation with state and federal fish and wildlife management agencies.
Goal N - TRANSPORTATION-SYSTEM MANAGEMENT
The Forest will provide a system of roads and trails offering safe and efficient access for visitor use and enjoyment. In addition to enabling enjoyment of the Forest, the transportation system will provide safe and efficient administration of the Forest. Roads that are no longer needed will be decommissioned or used as a part of the trail system. User-developed trails not needed for the Forest trail system will be obliterated.
Goal O - SOIL, WATER, AIR MANAGEMENT
Soil, water and air resources are critical to the health and well-being of the Forest and natural environments of southern Illinois. Some of the most important areas on the Forest are the riparian zones of rivers, streams and lakes. These riparian ecosystems are characterized by abundant species-diversity, high densities of species and populations and ample productivity. Water quality is especially important in watersheds that supply municipal drinking water.
Soil productivity, water quality and the integrity of riparian ecosystems and water-supply watersheds will be maintained and/or enhanced through non-point water-pollution–control methods found in the best management practices supported by state and federal agencies and coordinated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These practices are incorporated into Forest-wide and specific management standards and guidelines, or incorporated by reference. Groundwater, lakes, rivers, streams, springs, wetlands and other bodies of water will be protected. Degraded aquatic and riparian ecosystems will be restored, as will the hydrologic condition of watersheds degraded by historic land uses.
Air quality will be maintained or improved through coordination with regulating agencies. Prescribed burning practices will ensure effective smoke management.
Goal P - GEOLOGY AND MINERALS MANAGEMENT
The geologic features contributing to the Forest’s diversity are recognized for their scenic beauty and contribution to unique habitats for flora and fauna, and prized as a rich natural resource. The Forest contains many rock formations, waterfalls, caves, groundwater resources, extensive fault systems, igneous rock dikes and other evidence of past geological processes. These processes are also responsible in part for the existence of mineral resources that could be economically and domestically significant.
The Forest will protect and, in some instances, showcase unique geologic features to enhance public understanding, use and enjoyment. Mineral resource exploration, development and extraction will be considered and, if appropriate, approved. If approved, exploration, development and extraction activities will be conducted in an environmentally sound manner that mitigates adverse effects on the forest ecosystem. Unique ecosystems will not be disturbed. Land that is disturbed will be quickly reclaimed and restored.
Goal Q - LAND-OWNERSHIP MANAGEMENT
The highest priorities of the Forest’s land-ownership adjustment program are providing for ecological restoration, protecting historic resources, reducing management costs and meeting the needs of the public. Acquisition of land that provides habitat for endangered, threatened or sensitive species will continue to be a prime consideration of land adjustment activities. Land consolidation will be sought in order to improve public benefits and reduce administrative costs and is especially important in congressionally-designated areas like wilderness.
Land-for-land exchanges will be considered when they meet the priorities for land ownership adjustment. Land exchanges involving isolated parcels of National Forest land will receive a higher consideration. The resolution of encroachments, title claims and boundary disputes will be stressed. National Forest land will be managed with emphasis given to protecting the rights of intermingled or adjoining private land and mineral owners, in recognition of the mutual benefits derived from being a good neighbor. Special-use permits that encumber use of National Forest land will receive site-specific analysis, considering not only environmental effects, but also the need to encumber the land and the relative benefits of the encumbrance.
Goal R - LAW ENFORCEMENT
The Forest will continue to inform the public regarding rules and regulations governing National Forest System lands. Forest Service law enforcement will continue to protect public safety and the resources of the Forest. Prevention of violations is the ultimate goal of law enforcement through proper engineering of facilities, public education and enforcement activities.
Goal S - FIRE MANAGEMENT
The Forest will manage fire-suppression resources to provide a safe, efficient, cost-effective organization that can ensure public and firefighter safety, protect property and resource values and reduce the wildfire risk to rural communities. Interagency cooperation among local, state, federal and other agency partners will continue to be incorporated in all aspects of the fire-management program.
Fire-use, the combination of prescribed and wildland fires, is applied on the landscape to restore and/or maintain desired vegetative communities, ecological processes and fire-adapted ecosystems; and fire regimes, condition classes and desired fuel-loadings. All appropriate methods to manage fuels, including prescribed fire and mechanical and manual methods, will be utilized in support of Revised Plan objectives.
Goal T - HUMAN AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
The Forest will continue to be a partner in rural development. Forest Service management programs will provide products, opportunities and services that support economic growth and enhance the quality of rural life. The Forest will provide human-resource programs that offer education, employment and resource experience opportunities. Opportunities will be made available for individuals and volunteer organizations to become partners in the management of the Forest through volunteer and challenge cost-share programs.
Chapter V of the 2006 Forest Plan (USFS 2005c) contains Forest-wide standards and guidelines that apply to the entire SNF and specific standards and guidelines that apply to each management prescription area. These standards and guidelines are rules and policies that guide Forest management and indicate what is required to establish and maintain desired land conditions. Appendix A of this Biological Opinion includes all the standards and guidelines developed specifically for federally listed species.
MANAGEMENT AREAS - The 2006 Forest Plan has fifteen management areas with associated prescriptions (see Table 1) to provide direction to help achieve Forest-wide goals and objectives. Maps of the management areas are presented in the SNF’s EIS for the 2006 Forest Plan and will not be included here.
Table 1. Management Area Assignment in the 2006 Forest Plan
|Appendix hm references used in habitat models for Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project||Appendix Bibliography (list of all articles cited and what chapter cited in)|
|Appendix 8: Curricula Vitae for Part-Time Faculty Appendix 1||Draft appendix a appendix a documents to for accreditation|
|Appendix a1||Appendix L|
|Appendix 1 – References||Supplementary Appendix|
|Bibliography: All References, Including Sources and Literature Cited||Appendix User Bibliography|