The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) has decided to withdraw the draft decision notice and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the Santa Fe Mountains Landscape Resiliency Project (SFMLRP) to improve forest and watershed health in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains adjacent to Santa Fe.
“This pause in the NEPA process gives us the opportunity to re-engage with our partners and our community on the urgent need to make the forested landscapes around Santa Fe more resilient to the threats of climate change, drought and wildfire,” Acting Forest Supervisor James Duran said.
Over the last three months, the Forest Service has been focused on suppression of the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon Fires and ongoing post-fire recovery, delaying work on many other significant projects for the SFNF. Withdrawing the draft decision acknowledges both the importance of the objection period in the NEPA process and Forest Service Chief Randy Moore’s national review of the agency’s prescribed fire program to identify improvements in policy and process.
The SFNF plans to initiate a new objection period for the SFMLRP draft decision before the end of the year. Organizations or individuals who previously submitted comments specific to the SFMLRP during scoping or the comment period can submit an objection in the new objection period. Objections submitted in the objection period that ended May 12 will have to be resubmitted to be considered. The new objection period will commence with the publication of a legal notice in the Albuquerque Journal and will be announced in a news release.
The SFMLRP was developed in close coordination with partners in the Greater Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition, including other federal agencies, state, local and Tribal governments, and non-governmental and community organizations. The 50,566-acre project would use prescribed fire and small-tree thinning to improve the health of a priority landscape.
The environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the SFMLRP began with scoping in 2019, and the draft environmental assessment (EA) was released for public comment in September 2021. The final EA was released on March 28, 2022, which launched a 45-day objection period.
to provide clean water to the City of Santa Fe.”