U.S. Forest Service proposes directives for managing groundwater

Recently, the U.S. Forest Service proposed to amend its internal agency directives for Watershed and Air Management to establish direction for management of groundwater resources on National Forest System (NFS) lands as an integral component of watershed management (79 Federal Register 25815). The proposed amendment would

  • provide direction on the consideration of groundwater resources in agency activities, approvals, and authorizations;
  • encourage source water protection and water conservation;
  • establish procedures for reviewing new proposals for groundwater withdrawals on NFS land;
  • require the evaluation of potential impacts from groundwater withdrawals on NFS natural resources; and
  • provide for measurement and reporting to help build understanding of groundwater resources on NFS land.

The Forest Service is inviting public comment on the proposed directives. Comments must be submitted electronically by August 4, 2014.

More information about the directives is available at http://www.fs.fed.us/geology/groundwater.html. NCASI is currently evaluating technical aspects of the proposed directives.