5-Year Review of Forest Action Plans and Effective Water Quality Protections

Lead Author: Kathryn Fernholz

Publish date: 11.20.2015

 

The 2008 Farm Bill included the requirement that forestry agencies in each state, U.S. territory and the District of Columbia develop assessments of the forests within their boundaries and strategies for addressing threats to these forests. The resulting Forest Action Plans, known technically as Statewide Forest Resource Assessments and Strategies, collectively provide a comprehensive strategic plan for the nation’s forests and a roadmap to care for them. The plans were completed in 2010 and as of 2015 the plans developed by each state and U.S. territory are reaching their 5-year anniversary.

 

This report provides an overview of the Forest Action Plans and reviews the specific plans in three states and one island territory to evaluate accomplishments related to protecting water quality in the five years since they were completed. The findings of this review support the conclusion that these plans provide a valuable tool for thoughtfully and thoroughly addressing threats and opportunities across diverse forests. The plans provide a nationwide overview to support high-level decision making while also supporting local actions through state-specific priorities. To support the full benefits of the plans it is vital that identified data gaps be addressed, including the critical need for complete and up-to-date resource inventory information (e.g., Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program activities). Also, there is value in periodic review and updating of the plans as needed on an approximately five-year cycle in order to measure progress and apply new information. The Forest Action Plans are available in their entirety, along with supporting information, via the website: www.forestactionplans.org/