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Meridian Institute

Tongass National Forest Federal Advisory Committee

External Project Site: merid.org/tongassadvisorycommittee
Related: Environment and Natural Resources

In the spring of 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture established the Tongass Advisory Committee (TAC), under the auspices of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, to advise the Secretary of Agriculture and Chief of the U.S. Forest Service on transitioning the Tongass National Forest from old growth to primarily young growth timber management. Meridian Institute was selected to facilitate and coordinate the 15-member committee, which was composed of individuals representing diverse interests, including Alaska Native organizations and corporations; timber industry representatives; national or regional environmental and/or conservation organizations; federal, state, and local government representatives; and other forest users and the public at large.  

The TAC was tasked with producing recommendations regarding key elements to be considered in a Forest Plan modification to achieve a forest management strategy that is ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable. In May 2015, the TAC reached full consensus on a package of draft recommendations to be analyzed as part of the Tongass Land Management Plan Amendment. The management recommendations focused on the transition to young growth timber harvest, but also took into consideration the other important resource values of the Tongass, including tourism, recreation, and fishing, among others. In addition to the recommendations regarding the Plan Amendment, the TAC provided advice on how to ensure a successful, timely, and economically viable transition – including recommendations for implementation, monitoring, and investment.

In December 2015, upon review of the Proposed Tongass National Forest Land & Resource Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the TAC finalized its recommendations. A report detailing the recommendations is available for download at www.merid.org/TongassAdvisoryCommittee.

Over approximately 18 months, Meridian Institute and the Tongass National Forest convened nine full TAC meetings and numerous subcommittee calls and meetings. Meridian was responsible for conducting assessment interviews with all members; preparing, managing, and facilitating the meetings; documenting meeting outcomes; producing the final recommendations report; and compiling the TAC’s records.


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