Public input invited for Cibola management plan

The U.S. Forest Service has produced the Cibola National Forest Draft Land Management Plan to replace the previous plan from 1985 and is asking for public comment. The comment period is open through Nov. 7.

Cibola includes four mountain ranger districts, two of them in the East Mountains; the Sandia and Mountainair ranger districts.

The plans states its “direction is designed to balance restoring ecosystems; conserving and maintaining native fish, wildlife, and plant species; and contributing important social, cultural, and economic benefits and services while meeting long-term sustainability that includes multiple uses.”

According to the draft plan, some reasons for the update include the effects of climate change, the need for an invasive species plan, and recognition of the Cibola’s role in local economies.

The plan is divided into three categories: ecosystems and species; water resource and watersheds; and human uses and influences. The plan lists “desired conditions” to work toward.

Within the ecosystems and species section, the Cibola, in addressing fire, plans, “an integrated resource approach to the use of planned fire and to address fuel accumulations in the wildland-urban interface.”

The plan would also “address habitats for plant and animal species important to tribes and other traditional communities.”

Some of the desired conditions for water resources and watersheds include “providing a sustainable water supply for multiple uses (wildlife, livestock, and recreation) and public water supplies.”

“The Cibola contains distinctive landscapes, cultural histories, and socioeconomic characteristics that contribute to the surrounding communities,” and the plan derives desired conditions in consideration of the people who use the land.

The draft plan is seeking “stabilization and preservation of historic properties and address the role of management of historic properties in economic development.” It says the Forest Service wants to work toward “identification and documentation of historic properties at risk of damage or destruction from catastrophic wildland fire.”

The plan seeks “direction regarding sacred sites, sacred places, natural and cultural resources important to tribes and requests for reburial of human remains and cultural items”

The plan states it will seek “ecosystem-based desired conditions for the livestock grazing program.”

An “update on managing recreational aviation activities, caves, and recreational activities associated with wildlife, fish, and cultural or historic sites,” and “management of recreational mining, mineral exploration and extraction,” is considered.

The Forest Service seeks to “add … direction for managing existing or proposed transmission corridors and renewable energy generation.”

All of this and much more is included in the plan, available online at fs.usda.gov/goto/CibolaForestPlanRevision.

Printed copies can be examined at the Mountainair Ranger District office, at 40 Ranger Station Rd. in Mountainair, and at the Sandia Ranger District office at 11776 Highway 337 in Tijeras.

A printed copy can also be found at the East Mountain public library in Tijeras and the Mountainair Public Library.

Public comment by mail can be addressed to Sarah Browne, Forest Planner, Cibola National Forest, 2113 Osuna Rd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113. Questions can be directed to Sarah Browne at the above address 505-346-3812.

Comments can be emailed to cibolamtnsplanrevision@fs.fed.us.

In addition, open house public meetings will be held Aug. 27 at the Dr. Saul Community Center in Mountainair, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sept. 26 at Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center in Albuquerque, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.