PDA

View Full Version : What is a SOPA?



Jarhead
October 9th, 2009, 10:28 AM
As part of carrying out the mission of the Forest Service, agency resource specialists develop proposals that will enhance or maintain resource values on public lands, as well as generate products. In addition, the public may submit proposals for various uses such as rights-of-way, land exchanges, and recreational events. A necessary part of the planning for these is the environmental analysis and documentation, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and agency direction.

The Schedule of Proposed Actions provides a list of proposals that will begin or are undergoing environmental analysis and documentation so that people can become aware of and indicate their interest in specific proposals.
The Schedule of Proposed Actions includes proposals whose decisions are expected to be documented in a Decision Memo, Decision Notice, or Record of Decision, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and agency direction.

The Schedule of Proposed Actions is published in January, April, July, and October. It contains the best available information at that time. Proposals that start and finish before the next schedule is produced will be listed in the next schedule as Completed.

Trail_Fanatic
October 13th, 2009, 12:46 AM
S.O.P.A. - "How To"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now that we are receiving the Schedule Of Proposed Actions, it helps to understand its outline. This document acts to inform the public what projects the Forest Service is undertaking as well as their progress on each. Below is an example page. There are a few pointers about each column of the document below the example.



Column One: PROJECT NAME

This is merely a title used to reference the actions proposed.

Column Two: PROJECT PURPOSE

This column should be monitored for:
Road Management
Recreation Management
Land Management Planning
These titles often, but not always, pertain to our recreation in some way.

Column Three: PLANNING STATUS

This shows how close the project is to completion.
The project life span is:
Scoping - NFS brainstorms list of items they would like to accomplish in an area or are approached with a project

Scoping Comment Period - the BEST time to influence the direction of a project. These are usually 30 days, but can be as long as 90 days if the NFS feels it is a large project with a great deal of impact to users.

NFS issues either an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with a list of 3 "Alternatives". Alternative 1 is ALWAYS "No Action", leave it the way it is. Don't be fooled; as much as we might like to see things stay the same, if this were a real possibility, the NFS wouldn't be considering a project in the area. Alternative 3 is written to be the "environmentally friendliest" of the alternatives. This is also usually written to be so extreme that they're desires for the project 'naturally' fall in between 1 and 3, as Alternative 2.

Public Comment Period called a "215 Comment Period" - This is the second opportunity to influence the project. If a comment is not made at this point, the would-be commenter looses legal standing to comment on the final decision. If you don't send a comment by this point, any comments you issue later in the process will not be considered by the NFS or by a Court.

Final Decision is issued, Implementation begins.

Notices of Intent to Appeal are due within 45 days from the Date of Decision. ONLY those who commented previously to this point can appeal a decision. A "Stay of Implementation" can also be filed at this point.
Informal Resolution Meeting - Both parties see if any compromise can be reached before a formal Court Hearing.
Formal Legal Appeal in Court.
The process MUST be followed to retain legal standing.

Column Four: DECISION

Lists the expected Day a Decision will be issued. This is often delayed if any 'substantive' comments are received that must have additional time spent on research before they can be properly addressed.

Column Five: EXPECTED IMPLEMENTATION

Work is expected to begin "on the ground" at this time, unless a "Stay of Implementation" is approved during the appeal process.

Column Six: PROJECT CONTACT

This lists the contact information of the Forest Personnel responsible for the coordination of the project. If you find a project that you are curious about, this is the person to ask for more information. This is usually easily accomplished by phone, but be aware, the NFS does NOT legally have to acknowledge phone conversations. Email and written correspondence (Sent with some form of a return receipt request - ONLY) are the only guaranteed forms of communication.

Sub-Column: DESCRIPTION

This only gives a brief outline of a project. Again, keep an eye out for references to Road Management, Transportation Management, and anything else that may have an effect on our recreation.

Sub-Column: LOCATION

Lists the responsible Unit of the NFS and gives a legal description of the area.



It is my hope that you will all go through the SOPA each quarter and see if any projects concern our recreation - keeping in mind that Scoping is the place to start.

If you find something of interest - post it up! Then, hopefully, we can get volunteers to assist with any data gathering that needs to be done. We needed to GPS the trails in the M-37 Project Area before we could offer any sensible comments as to which trails were important to us.

Then we write a comment and send it in.

Once we're doing this for a while, all the projects that concern us will have comments made during their Scoping and 215 periods.

Jarhead
October 13th, 2009, 11:40 AM
This thread has been prepared to be an article in a upcoming issue of The Boondocker.

navy-jeepster
October 26th, 2009, 05:10 PM
Bob

I have reviewed these before, and are full of good info.
They can be used to try and hold the forest service accountable to their own time tables published in these lists.

If you could also maybe forward the article to UFWDA for inclusion in the Voice, it would be great.

Thanks

Todd

Jarhead
October 26th, 2009, 08:16 PM
Bob

I have reviewed these before, and are full of good info.
They can be used to try and hold the forest service accountable to their own time tables published in these lists.

If you could also maybe forward the article to UFWDA for inclusion in the Voice, it would be great.

Thanks

Todd

Todd,

You know you are right. I get tunnel vision from time-to-time as I focus on Regional Land Access Issues.