Forest Service Extends Groundwater Directive Public Comment Period; ASDWA Provides Comments

On July 31st, the U.S. Forest Service announced a 30-day extension (until September 3rd) in the amount of time the public has to comment on a proposal to clarify the agency’s direction for groundwater.  The proposed directive on groundwater resource management was  published in the Federal Register on May 6  (proposal accessible via prior blue text).  The proposal is intended to help the Forest Service maintain and enhance water resources on national forests and grasslands.

The Forest Service’s further rationale for the directive is as follows:  “Currently, the Forest Service does not have a consistent approach to evaluating the potential effects to groundwater from the multiple surface uses of National Forest System (NFS) lands, or the role that groundwater plays in ecosystem function on NFS land. Nor does it have a consistent approach to responding to proposals that require Forest Service authorization when those proposals might impact groundwater resources.  The proposed directives would create a more consistent approach for the Forest Service to evaluate and monitor the effects to groundwater from actions on national forest system lands. By improving the agency’s ability to understand groundwater resources, the proposed directive would make the agency a better and more consistent partner to States, tribes and project proponents.”

In consultation with ASDWA’s Source Water Protection Committee, the Association provided comments on the proposed directive on July 31st (see attached Word document).

ATTACHMENTAttachment — ASDWA Comments on Forest Service Manual on Groundwater Resource Management (7-31-14)