[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 107 (Friday, June 3, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 32135-32141]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-13800]


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Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
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Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 107 / Friday, June 3, 2011 / 
Notices

[[Page 32135]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

RIN 0596-AC77


National Forest System Invasive Species Management Policy

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of proposed directive; request for comment.

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

SUMMARY: The Forest Service is seeking comment on it's proposal to 
establish an internal directive to Forest Service Manual (FSM) 2900 for 
invasive species management. The proposed invasive species management 
directive will provide foundational comprehensive guidance for the 
management of invasive species on aquatic and terrestrial areas of the 
National Forest System (NFS). The directive articulates broad 
objectives, policies, responsibilities, and definitions for Forest 
Service employees and partners to more effectively communicate NFS 
invasive species management requirements at the local, regional, and 
national levels. The directive primarily serves to clarify and improve 
the understanding, scope, roles, principles, and responsibilities 
associated with NFS invasive species management for Forest Service 
employees and the public. This directive will increase Forest Service 
effectiveness when planning and implementing invasive species 
management activities; using a collaborative and holistic approach for 
protecting and restoring aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems from the 
impacts of invasive plants, pathogens, vertebrates, and invertebrates.

DATES: Comments must be received in writing by August 2, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments through the World Wide Web/Internet Web site 
http://www.regulations.gov or mail written comments to Director, 
Rangeland Management, Mailstop 1103, Forest Service, USDA, 1400 
Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250-1103. All comments, 
including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record 
and are available for public inspection and copying. Persons wishing to 
inspect the comments are encouraged to call ahead (202) 205-1049 to 
facilitate entrance into the building.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Ielmini, National Invasive 
Species Program Coordinator, National Forest System, USDA Forest 
Service, Mailstop 1103, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 
20250, (202) 205-1049.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Forest Service is amending its 
directives by establishing a new title in the Forest Service Manual, 
FSM 2900--Invasive Species Management.

Background and Need for the Proposed Directive

Background for the Proposed Directive

    The management of aquatic and terrestrial invasive species across 
the landscape is widely recognized, and the Forest Service has 
conducted invasive species management activities across many programs 
for decades. However, during the development of the Forest Service 
National Strategy and Implementation Plan for Invasive Species 
Management (2004), it was identified that the National Forest System 
lacked a comprehensive policy (Forest Service directive) to provide 
specific direction to the field on the management of a full suite of 
aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. The need for a consolidated 
stand-alone directive for NFS invasive species management operations 
was further identified as a limiting factor during the program 
performance review, as well as during an ongoing program audit by the 
USDA Office of Inspector General. These assessments highlighted that 
the invasive species issue was not well understood in some agency 
programs, and based on information gathered on NFS program activities 
and annual program performance there was a need to better describe the 
roles and responsibilities for various levels of agency staff and 
leadership to more effectively address invasive species threats 
impacting the National Forest System.
    In addition to establishing this broad policy, the Agency is 
developing specific operational requirements, standards, criteria, and 
guidance for invasive species management operations through an 
accompanying handbook that will be issued through the Directives 
system. The process to develop this draft handbook has begun and public 
comment will be sought in the near future.

Need for the Proposed Directive

    The proposed invasive species management directive will provide 
foundational, comprehensive guidance for the management of invasive 
species on aquatic and terrestrial areas of the National Forest System. 
The directive articulates objectives, policies, principles, and 
definitions for Forest Service employees and partners to more 
effectively communicate NFS invasive species management requirements at 
the local, regional, and national levels. The directive primarily 
serves to clarify and improve the understanding, scope, roles, 
principles, and responsibilities associated with NFS invasive species 
management for Forest Service employees and the public. The directive 
will increase Forest Service effectiveness when planning and 
implementing invasive species management activities; using a 
collaborative and holistic approach for protecting and restoring 
aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems from the impacts of invasive plants, 
pathogens, vertebrates, and invertebrates.
    The proposed directive applies to all of the National Forest 
System's resource management programs. For example, it recognizes the 
need to integrate invasive species prevention, early detection and 
rapid response, control, restoration, cooperation, education and 
awareness, and mitigation activities across NFS resource management 
programs, Forest land use planning activities, project-level planning 
activities, and other NFS operations. By improving the overall NFS 
effectiveness against aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, the 
proposed directive will help the Forest Service to better manage 
healthy, resilient landscapes which will have greater capacity to 
survive natural disturbances and large scale threats to sustainability, 
especially under changing and uncertain future environmental conditions 
such as those driven by climate change and increasing human uses; a 
benefit for all

[[Page 32136]]

communities. Through the roles and responsibilities identified in the 
proposed directive, the Forest Service will be able to more effectively 
address invasive species in the conext of environmental issues such as 
adaptation to climate change, increasing wildfire risk, watershed 
restoration, fragmentation of habitats, loss of biodiversity, and human 
health concerns while engaging the public, including participation by 
underserved communities in these programs and benefits. The proposed 
directive strengthens the Agency's ability to communicate (outreach) 
invasive species management needs at the local, regional, and national 
levels by articulating objectives, policies, principles, and 
definitions of invasive species management for Agency employees and 
diverse partners. The proposed directive fosters a better understanding 
and collaboration among diverse interests among the local to national 
levels in order to: (a) Develop integrated pest management strategies, 
goals, objectives, and projects; (b) reduce the threat invasive species 
pose to local economies; and (c) increase support for and 
accomplishment of priority invasive species management projects 
threatening aquatic and terrestrial areas of the National Forest System 
and neighboring lands. This will increase the Agency's effectiveness 
when planning and implementing invasive species management activities 
as a tool for achieving sustainable management and providing a broad 
range of ecosystem services from NFS lands benefiting all communities. 
Implementation of the directive is projected to increase the amount of 
invasive species work planned and accomplished, increasing economic 
development opportunities and improving local economic stability, 
including job and contracting opportunities among small business 
entities, low-income and socially disadvantaged groups and communities.

Comments Being Sought

    The Agency is specifically seeking comment on the following 
objectives or goals, policy or broad governing principles, and 
definitions.

Proposed Objectives or Goals.

    Management activities for aquatic and terrestrial invasive species 
(including vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, and pathogens) will be 
based upon an integrated pest management approach on all areas within 
the National Forest System, and on areas managed outside of the 
National Forest System under the authority of the Wyden Amendment (Pub. 
L. 109-54, Section 434), prioritizing prevention and early detection 
and rapid response actions as necessary. All National Forest System 
invasive species management activities will be conducted within the 
following strategic objectives:
    1. Prevention. Take proactive approaches to manage all aquatic and 
terrestrial areas of the National Forest System in a manner to protect 
native species and ecosystems from the introduction, establishment, and 
spread of invasive species. Prevention can also include actions to 
design public-use facilities to reduce accidental spread of invasive 
species, and actions to educate and raise awareness with internal and 
external audiences about the invasive species threat and respective 
management solutions.
    2. Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR). Inventory and survey 
susceptible aquatic and terrestrial areas of the National Forest System 
so as to quickly detect invasive species infestations, and subsequently 
implement immediate and specific actions to eradicate those 
infestations before they become established and/or spread. Coordinate 
detection and response activities with internal and external partners 
to achieve an effective EDRR approach across all aquatic and 
terrestrial areas of the National Forest System. EDRR actions are 
grouped into three main categories: early detection, rapid assessment, 
and rapid response. EDRR systems will be consistent with guidance from 
the National Invasive Species Council, such as the `Guidelines for 
Early Detection and Rapid Response'.
    3. Control and Management. Conduct integrated invasive species 
management activities on priority aquatic and terrestrial areas of the 
National Forest System will be consistent with guidance from the 
National Invasive Species Council, such as the `Control and Management 
Guidelines', to contain, reduce, and remove established infestations of 
aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, and to limit the adverse 
effects of those infestations on native species, human health, and 
other National Forest System resources.
    4. Restoration. Pro-actively manage aquatic and terrestrial areas 
of the National Forest System to increase the ability of those areas to 
be self-sustaining and resistant (resilience) to the establishment of 
invasive species. Where necessary, implement restoration, 
rehabilitation, and/or revegetation activities following invasive 
species treatments to prevent or reduce the likelihood of the 
reoccurrence or spread of aquatic or terrestrial invasive species.
    5. Organizational Collaboration. Cooperate with other federal 
agencies, state agencies, local governments, tribes, academic 
institutions, and the private sector to increase public awareness of 
the invasive species threat, and promote a better understanding of 
integrated activities necessary to effectively manage aquatic and 
terrestrial invasive species throughout the National Forest System. 
Coordinate National Forest System invasive species management 
activities with other Forest Service programs and external partners to 
reduce, minimize, or eliminate the potential for introduction, 
establishment, spread, and impact of aquatic and terrestrial invasive 
species. Coordinate and integrate invasive species research and 
technical assistance activities conducted by Forest Service Research 
and Development, and State and Private Forestry programs with National 
Forest System programs to increase the management effectiveness against 
aquatic and terrestrial invasive species infestations impacting or 
threatening the National Forest System.

Proposed Policy or Principles

    The management of aquatic and terrestrial invasive species 
(including vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, and pathogens) will be 
based on an integrated pest management approach, throughout the 
National Forest System.
    1. Initiate, coordinate, and sustain actions to prevent, control, 
and eliminate priority infestations of invasive species in aquatic and 
terrestrial areas of the National Forest System using an integrated 
pest management approach, and collaborate with stakeholders to 
implement cooperative invasive species management activities in 
accordance with law and policy.
    2. When applicable, invasive species management actions and 
standards should be incorporated into resource management plans at the 
forest level, and in programmatic environmental planning and assessment 
documents at the regional or national levels.
    3. Determine the vectors, environmental factors, and pathways that 
favor the establishment and spread of invasive species in aquatic and 
terrestrial areas of the National Forest System, and design management 
practices to reduce or mitigate the risk for introduction or spread of 
invasive species in those areas.
    4. Determine the risk of introducing, establishing or spreading 
invasive species associated with any proposed

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action, as an integral component of project planning and analysis, and 
where necessary provide for alternatives or mitigation measures to 
reduce or eliminate that risk prior to project approval.
    5. Ensure that all Forest Service management activities are 
designed to minimize or eliminate the possibility of establishment or 
spread of invasive species on the National Forest System, or to 
adjacent areas. Integrate visitor use strategies with invasive species 
management activities on aquatic and terrestrial areas of the National 
Forest System. At no time are invasive species to be promoted or used 
in site restoration or re-vegetation work, watershed rehabilitation 
projects, planted for bio-fuels production, or other management 
activities on national forests and grasslands.
    6. Use contract and permit clauses to require that the activities 
of contractors and permittees are conducted to prevent and control the 
introduction, establishment, and spread of aquatic and terrestrial 
invasive species. For example, where determined to be appropriate use 
agreement clauses to require contractors or permittees to meet Forest 
Service-approved vehicle and equipment cleaning requirements/standards 
prior to using the vehicle or equipment in the National Forest System.
    7. Make every effort to prevent the accidental spread of invasive 
species carried by contaminated vehicles, equipment, personnel, or 
materials (including plants, wood, plant/wood products, water, soil, 
rock, sand, gravel, mulch, seeds, grain, hay, straw, or other 
materials).
    a. Establish and implement standards and requirements for vehicle 
and equipment cleaning to prevent the accidental spread of aquatic and 
terrestrial invasive species on the National Forest System or to 
adjacent areas.
    b. Make every effort to ensure that all materials used on the 
National Forest System are free of invasive species and/or noxious 
weeds (including free of reproductive/propagative material such as 
seeds, roots, stems, flowers, leaves, larva, eggs, veligers, and so 
forth).
    8. Where States have legislative authority to certify materials as 
weed-free (or invasive-free) and have an active State program to make 
those State-certified materials available to the public, forest 
officers shall develop rules restricting the possession, use, and 
transport of those materials unless proof exists that they have been 
State-certified as weed-free (or invasive-free), as provided in 36 CFR 
part 261.
    9. Monitor all management activities for potential spread or 
establishment of invasive species in aquatic and terrestrial areas of 
the National Forest System.
    10. Manage invasive species in aquatic and terrestrial areas on the 
National Forest System using an integrated pest management approach to 
achieve the goals and objectives identified in Forest Land and Resource 
Management plans, and other Forest Service planning documents, and 
other plans developed in cooperation with external partners for the 
management of natural or cultural resources.
    11. Integrate invasive species management funding broadly across a 
variety of National Forest System programs, while associating the 
funding with the specific aquatic or terrestrial invasive species that 
is being prioritized for management, as well as the purpose and need of 
the project or program objective.
    12. Develop and utilize site-based and species-based risk 
assessments to prioritize the management of invasive species 
infestations in aquatic and terrestrial areas of the National Forest 
System. Where appropriate, use a structured decision-making process and 
adaptive management or similar strategies to help identify and 
prioritize invasive species management approaches and actions.
    13. Comply with the Forest Service performance accountability 
system requirements for invasive species management to ensure efficient 
use of limited resources at all levels of the Agency and to provide 
information for adapting management actions to meet changing program 
needs and priorities. When appropriate, utilize a structured decision-
making process to address invasive species management problems in 
changing conditions, uncertainty, or when information is limited.
    14. Establish and maintain a national record keeping database 
system for the collection and reporting of information related to 
invasive species infestations and management activities, including 
invasive species management performance, associated with the National 
Forest System. Require all information associated with National Forest 
System invasive species management (including inventories, surveys, and 
treatments) to be collected, recorded, and reported consistent with 
national program protocols, rules, and standards.
    15. Where appropriate, integrate invasive species management 
activities, such as inventory, survey, treatment, prevention, 
monitoring, and so forth, into National Forest System management 
programs. Use inventory and treatment information to help set 
priorities and select integrated management actions to address new or 
expanding invasive species infestations in aquatic and terrestrial 
areas of the National Forest System.
    16. Assist and promote cooperative efforts with internal and 
external partners, including private, State, tribal, and local 
entities, research organizations, and international groups to 
collaboratively address priority invasive species issues affecting the 
National Forest System.
    17. Coordinate as needed with Forest Service Research and 
Development and State and Private Forestry programs, other agencies 
included under the National Invasive Species Council, and external 
partners to identify priority/high-risk invasive species that threaten 
aquatic and terrestrial areas of the National Forest System. Encourage 
applied research to develop techniques and technology to reduce 
invasive species impacts to the National Forest System.
    18. As appropriate, collaborate and coordinate with adjacent 
landowners and other stakeholders to improve invasive species 
management effectiveness across the landscape. Encourage cooperative 
partnerships to address invasive species threats within a broad 
geographical area.

Proposed Definitions

    Adaptive Management. A system of management practices based on 
clearly identified intended outcomes and monitoring to determine if 
management actions are meeting those outcomes; and, if not, to 
facilitate management changes that will best ensure that those outcomes 
are met or reevaluated. Adaptive management stems from the recognition 
that knowledge about natural resource systems is sometimes uncertain.
    Control. With respect to invasive species (plant, pathogen, 
vertebrate, or invertebrate species), control is defined as any 
activity or action taken to reduce the population, contain, limit the 
spread, or reduce the effects of an invasive species. Control 
activities are generally directed at established free-living 
infestations, and may not necessarily be intended to eradicate the 
targeted infestation in all cases.
    Early Detection. The process of finding, identifying, and 
quantifying new, small, or previously unknown infestations of aquatic 
or terrestrial invasive species prior to (or in the initial stages of) 
its establishment as free-living expanding population. Early detection 
of an invasive species is

[[Page 32138]]

typically coupled with integrated activities to rapidly assess and 
respond with quick and immediate actions to eradicate, control, or 
contain it.
    Eradication. With respect to invasive species (plant, pathogen, 
vertebrate, or invertebrate species), eradication is defined as the 
removal or elimination of the last remaining individual invasive 
species in the target infestation on a given site. It is determined to 
be complete when the target species is absent from the site for a 
continuous time period (that is, several years after the last 
individual was observed). Eradication of an infestation of invasive 
species is relative to the time-frame provided for the treatment 
procedures. Considering the need for multiple treatments over time, 
certain populations can be eradicated using proper integrated 
management techniques.
    Integrated Pest Management (IPM). A pest (in this context an 
invasive species) control strategy based on the determination of an 
economic, human health, or environmental threshold that indicates when 
a pest population is approaching the level at which control measures 
are necessary to prevent a decline in the desired conditions (economic 
or environmental factors). In principle, IPM is an ecologically-based 
holistic strategy that relies on natural mortality factors, such as 
natural enemies, weather, and environmental management, and seeks 
control tactics that disrupt these factors as little as possible. 
Integrated pest management techniques are defined within four broad 
categories: (1) Biological, (2) Cultural, (3) Mechanical/Physical, and 
(4) Chemical techniques.
    Invasive Species. Executive Order 13112 defines an invasive species 
as ``an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause 
economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.'' The Forest 
Service relies on Executive Order 13112 to provide the basis for 
labeling certain organisms as invasive. Based on this definition, the 
labeling of a species as `invasive' requires closely examining both the 
origin and effects of the species. The key is that the species must 
cause harm and be exotic to the ecosystem it has infested before we can 
consider labeling it as ``invasive''. Thus, native pests are not 
considered `invasive'', even though they may cause harm. Invasive 
species infest both aquatic and terrestrial areas and can be identified 
within any of the following four taxonomic categories: Plants, 
Vertebrates, Invertebrates, and Pathogens. Additional information on 
this definition can be found in Executive Order 13112.
    Invasive Species Management. Activities to prevent, control, 
contain, eradicate, survey, detect, identify, inventory, and monitor 
invasive species; includes rehabilitation and restoration of affected 
sites and educational activities related to invasive species. 
Management actions are based upon species-specific or site-specific 
plans (including forest plans, IPM plans, watershed restoration plans, 
and so forth), and support the accomplishment of plan goals and 
objectives and achieve successful restoration or protection of priority 
areas identified in the respective plan(s).
    Inventory. Invasive species inventories are generally defined as 
the observance and collection of information related to the occurrence, 
population or infestation of the detected species across the landscape 
or with respect to a more narrowly-defined area or site. Inventory 
attributes and purposes will vary, but are typically designed to meet 
specific management objectives which need information about the extent 
of an invasive species infestation. Inventories are typically conducted 
to quantify the extent of, and other attributes related to, 
infestations identified during survey activities.
    Memorandum of Understanding. A written agreement between the Forest 
Service and local, State, or Federal entities, or private 
organizations, entered into when there is no exchange of funds from one 
organization to another.
    Monitoring. For the purposes of invasive species program 
performance and accountability, the term ``monitoring'' refers to the 
observance and recording of information related to the responses to 
treating an invasive species infestation, and reported as treatment 
efficacy. By monitoring the treatment results over time, a measure of 
overall programmatic treatment efficacy can be determined and an 
adaptive management process can be used in subsequent treatment 
activities.
    Noxious Weed. The term ``Noxious Weed'' is defined for the Federal 
government in the Plant Protection Act of 2000 and in some individual 
State statutes. For purposes of this chapter, the term has the same 
meaning as found in the Plant Protection Act of 2000 as follows: The 
term ``noxious weed'' means any plant or plant product that can 
directly or indirectly injure or cause damage to crops (including 
nursery stock or plant products), livestock, poultry, or other 
interests of agriculture, irrigation, navigation, the natural resources 
of the United States, the public health, or the environment. The term 
typically describes species of plants that have been determined to be 
undesirable or injurious in some capacity. Federal noxious weeds are 
regulated by USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service under the 
Plant Protection Act of 2000 which superseded the Federal Noxious Weed 
Act of 1974. State statues for noxious weeds vary widely, with some 
states lacking any laws defining or regulating noxious weeds. Depending 
on the individual State law, some plants listed by a State statute as 
``noxious'' may be native plants which that state has determined to be 
undesirable. When the species are native they are not considered 
invasive species by the Federal government. However, in most cases, 
State noxious weed lists include only exotic (non-native) species.
    Prevention. Prevention measures for invasive species management 
programs include a wide range of actions and activities to reduce or 
eliminate the chance of an invasive species entering or becoming 
established in a particular area. Preventative activities can include 
projects for education and awareness as well as more traditional 
prevention activities such as vehicle/equipment cleaning, boat 
inspections, or native plant restoration plantings. Restoration 
activities typically prevent invasive species infestations by improving 
site resilience, and reducing or eliminating the conditions on a site 
that may facilitate or promote invasive species establishment.
    Priority Area Treated. Program or project plans (primarily at the 
district or forest level) will identify priority areas on which to 
focus integrated management actions to directly prevent, control, or 
eradicate a priority/high-risk aquatic or terrestrial invasive species. 
Priority areas indentified for invasive species treatments may include 
any specifically-delineated project area. Examples include, but are not 
limited to: a fuels treatment area, a developed recreation area, a 
transportation corridor, a facility, a sensitive habitat for rare 
species, a wetland, a river, a lake, a stream, an irrigation ditch, a 
grazing allotment, a stock pond, a fire camp, wildlife winter range, a 
burned area, a fire-break, a timber sale area, a wilderness area, a 
Research Natural Area, an energy transmission right of way, and so 
forth). The size of the priority area treated will typically be 
measured in acres. For linear features (such as a stream/river, trail, 
roadway, power-line, ditch, and so forth) the area size can be 
calculated from the length and average width. In some cases, a smaller 
portion of a delineated project area infested by invasive species may 
be prioritized for treatment over the larger

[[Page 32139]]

infestation. Guidance on determining and establishing priorities for 
invasive species management is provided in the Forest Service Invasive 
Species Management Handbook (FSH 2900).
    Rapid Response. With respect to invasive species (plant, pathogen, 
vertebrate, or invertebrate species), rapid responses are defined as 
the quick and immediate actions taken to eradicate, control, or contain 
infestations that must be completed within a relatively short time to 
maximize the biological and economic effectiveness against the targeted 
invasive species. Depending on the risk of the targeted invasive 
species, rapid response actions may be supported by an emergency 
situation determination and emergency considerations would include the 
geographic extent of the infestation, distance from other known 
infestations, mobility and rate of spread of the invasive species, 
threat level and potential impacts, and available treatments.
    Restored. With respect to performance specifically, the invasive 
species program is driven by an outcome-based performance measure 
centered on `restoration'. An area treated (see ``treatment'' 
definition) against invasive species has been `restored' when the 
targeted invasive species defined in the project plan was controlled or 
eradicated directly as a result of the treatment activity. In some 
instances, actions taken across particular areas to prevent the 
establishment and spread of specific invasive species are also included 
in this treatment definition. `Restored' acres are a subset of 
`treated' acres, which are tracked annually to determine the 
effectiveness of treatments. Preventing, controlling, or eradicating 
invasive species assists in the recovery of the area's resilience and 
the capacity of a system to adapt to change if the environment where 
the system exists has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed (in this 
case by invasive species); and helps to reestablish ecosystem functions 
by modifying or managing composition and processes necessary to make 
terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems sustainable, and resilient, under 
current and future conditions (as described in FSM 2020). In most 
cases, this is a performance measure defined in the project plan, and 
project managers have the flexibility to set the parameters for 
determining when the treated areas have been restored. Absence of an 
individual invasive species organism, whether through eradication or 
prevention efforts, is most often the criteria used to determine when 
acres have been restored. Monitoring treatment efficacy is critical to 
reporting invasive species management performance.
    Resilience. The capacity of an ecosystem to absorb disturbance and 
reorganize while undergoing change, so as to still retain essentially 
the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks. By working 
toward the goals of diverse native ecosystems that are connected and 
can absorb disturbance, it is expected that over time, management would 
create ecological conditions that support the abundance and 
distribution of native species within a geographic area to provide for 
native plant and animal diversity.
    State Agency. A State Department of Agriculture, State Department 
of Natural Resources, other State agency, or subdivision thereof, 
responsible for the administration or implementation of State laws 
pertaining to invasive species, noxious weeds, exotic species, or other 
pest/undesirable species.
    Structured Decision Making (SDM). A general term for carefully-
organized analysis of problems in order to reach decisions that are 
focused clearly on achieving fundamental objectives. Based in decision 
theory and risk analysis, SDM encompasses a simple set of concepts and 
helpful steps, rather than a rigidly-prescribed approach for problem 
solving. Key SDM concepts include making decisions based on clearly 
articulated fundamental objectives, dealing explicitly with 
uncertainty, and responding transparently to legal mandates and public 
preferences or values in decision making; thus, SDM integrates science 
and policy explicitly. Every decision consists of several primary 
elements, management objectives, decision options, and predictions of 
decision outcomes. By analyzing each component separately and 
thoughtfully within a comprehensive decision framework, it is possible 
to improve the quality of decision-making. The core SDM concepts and 
steps to better decision making are useful across all types of 
decisions: from individuals making minor decisions to complex public 
sector decisions involving multiple decision makers, scientists and 
other stakeholders.
    Survey. An invasive species survey is a process of systematically 
searching a geographic area for a particular (targeted) invasive 
species, or a group of invasive species, to determine if the species 
exists in that area. It is important to know where and when surveys 
have occurred, even if the object of the survey (target species) was 
not located. Information on the absence of an invasive species can be 
as valuable as information on the presence of the species, and can be 
used as a foundation to an early detection system. Unlike inventories, 
surveys typically do not collect additional detailed attributes of the 
infestation or the associated site.
    Targeted Invasive Species. An individual invasive species or 
population of invasive species, which has been prioritized at the 
project-level for management action based upon risk assessments, 
project objectives, economic considerations, and other priority-setting 
decision support tools.
    Treatment. Any activity or action taken to directly prevent, 
control, or eradicate a targeted invasive species. Treatment of an 
invasive species infestation may not necessarily result in the 
elimination of the infestation, and multiple treatments on the same 
site or population are sometimes required to affect a change in the 
status of the infestation. Treatment activities typically fall within 
any of the four general categories of integrated management techniques: 
Biological treatments, Cultural treatments, Mechanical treatments, or 
Chemical treatments. For example, the use of domestic goats to control 
invasive plants would be considered a biological treatment; the use of 
a piscicide to control invasive fishes would be characterized as a 
chemical treatment; planting of native seeds used to prevent invasive 
species infestations and restore a degraded site would be considered a 
cultural treatment technique; developing an aquatic species barrier to 
prevent invasive species from spreading throughout a watershed would be 
considered a physical treatment; cleaning, scraping, or otherwise 
removing invasive species attached to equipment, structures, or 
vehicles would be considered a mechanical treatment designed to 
directly control and prevent the spread of those species.

Regulatory Certifications

Environmental Impact

    The proposed directive establishes broad, foundational policy for 
invasive species management on the National Forest System and 
associated resources. Agency procedure at 36 CFR 220.6(d)(2) (73 FR 
43093) excludes from documentation in an environmental assessment or 
environmental impact statement ``rules, regulations, or policies to 
establish Service-wide administrative procedures, program processes, or 
instructions.'' The Agency has concluded that the proposed directive 
falls within this category of actions and that no extraordinary 
circumstances exist which would require preparation

[[Page 32140]]

of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

Regulatory Impact

    This proposed directive has been reviewed under USDA procedures and 
Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review. It has been 
determined that this is not an economically significant action. This 
action to issue agency policy will not have an annual effect of $100 
million or more on the economy nor adversely affect productivity, 
competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, nor state 
or local governments. This action will not interfere with an action 
taken or planned by another agency. This action will not alter the 
budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs 
or the rights and obligations of recipients of such programs. However, 
because of the extensive interest in the management of National Forest 
System land, this proposed agency directive has been designated as 
significant and, therefore, is subject to Office of Management and 
Budget review under Executive Order 12866.
    This proposed directive has been considered in light of Executive 
Order 13272 regarding proper consideration of small entities and the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), 
which amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq). A 
small enitities flexibility assessment has determined that this action 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities as defined by SBREFA. This proposed directive is focused 
on National Forest System invasive species management activities, is 
not a regulation, and imposes no requirements on small or large 
entities. Addtionally, the proposed directive will increase agency 
effectiveness when planning and implementing invasive species 
management activities at the local level and, in turn, will provide 
opportunities to facilitate economic development for local communities 
and provide job opportunities for small business entities or 
individuals.
    This proposed directive is consistent with the terminology and 
requirements identified in Executive Order 13112 on invasive species, 
and correlates the Forest Service roles and responsibilities with the 
goals, objectives, and priority actions to manage invasive species 
identified in the National Invasive Species Council's National Invasive 
Species Management Plan (2001 and 2008-2012, as amended).

Federalism

    The Agency has considered this proposed directive under the 
requirements of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The Agency has 
concluded that the proposed directive conforms with the federalism 
principles set out in this Executive Order; will not impose any 
compliance costs on the States; and will not have substantial direct 
effects on the States or the relationship between the national 
government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, the 
Agency has determined that no further assessment of federalism 
implications is necessary.

Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    Pursuant to Executive Order 13175 of November 6, 2000, 
``Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments,'' the 
Agency has assessed the impact of this proposed directive on Indian 
Tribes and has determined that it does not have substantial direct or 
unique effects on one or more Indian Tribes, on the relationship 
between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal 
Government and Indian Tribes. The proposed directive does not have 
tribal implications, affect the rights of Indian tribes to self-
governance, and does not impact tribal sovereignty or self-
determination. Specifically, the proposed directive represents a 
compilation and consolidation of existing invasive species management 
authorities, roles, and responsibilities focused on the duties of 
Forest Service personnel on the National Forest System, and does not 
impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments 
or preempt tribal law. Therefore, after discussions and coordination 
with the Forest Service Office of Tribal Relations and regional Forest 
Service tribal coordinators regarding this proposed directive, the 
Agency has determined that formal consultation with Tribal governments 
on this proposed directive is unnecessary prior to publishing this 
proposed directive in the Federal Register.
    Implementation of this directive primarily occurs at the local 
level (national forest or grassland unit) through land management 
planning and project-level planning and accomplishment. Therefore, 
coordination with Tribes, other governmental organizations, and the 
public is most applicable at the forest and grassland level because it 
is at that level that specific invasive species management goals and 
objectives are established. Also, at that level the design and effects 
of invasive species management activities are most effectively managed 
in relation to the Agency's tribal trust responsibilities and Indian 
tribal treaty rights.
    In addition, during the review and coordination with the Forest 
Service Office of Tribal Relations, it was agreed that the Agency would 
coordinate an outreach effort through the respective regional OTR 
directors/staff regarding the future development of the Forest Service 
Handbook for NFS Invasive Species Management; inviting additional 
review and collaboration with interested Tribal governments during that 
process. This future Forest Service Handbook on Invasive Species 
Management would tier directly from this proposed [final] directive and 
would provide the detailed operational requirements, standards, 
criteria, and guidance which would be most applicable to Tribal 
government interests.

No Takings Implications

    This proposed directive has been analyzed in accordance with the 
principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 12630, 
Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected 
Property Rights, and it has been determined that the proposed directive 
does not pose the risk of a taking of protected private property.

Civil Justice Reform

    This proposed directive has been reviewed under Executive Order 
12988 of February 7, 1996, ``Civil Justice Reform.'' After adoption of 
this proposed directive, (1) All state and local laws and regulations 
that conflict with this proposed directive or that would impede full 
implementation of this directive would be preempted; (2) no retroactive 
effect would be given to this proposed directive; and (3) the proposed 
directive would not require the use of administrative proceedings 
before parties could file suit in court challenging its provisions.

Unfunded Mandates

    Pursuant to Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 
U.S.C. 1531-1538), which the President signed into law on March 22, 
1995, the Agency has assessed the effects of this proposed directive on 
State, local, and Tribal governments and the private sector. This 
proposed directive does not compel the expenditure of funds by any

[[Page 32141]]

State, local, or Tribal government or anyone in the private sector. 
Therefore, a statement under section 202 of the Act is not required.

Energy Effects

    This proposed directive has been reviewed under Executive Order 
13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use. It has been determined that this proposed 
directive does not constitute a significant energy action as defined in 
the Executive Order.

Controlling Paperwork Burdens on the Public

    This proposed directive does not contain any additional record 
keeping or reporting requirements or other information collection 
requirements as defined in 5 CFR part 1320 that are not already 
required by law or not already approved for use, and therefore, imposes 
no additional paperwork burden on the public. Accordingly, the review 
provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et 
seq.) and its implementing regulations at 5 CFR part 1320 do not apply.

    Dated: May 27, 2011.
Mary Wagner,
Associate Chief.
[FR Doc. 2011-13800 Filed 6-2-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-P