The Alaska Chapter submitted comments to the US Department of Agriculture opposing the U.S. Forest Service plan to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Area Conservation Rule in December, 2019.
As fishery scientists and resource managers, we are concerned that the DEIS will remove existing critical protections to highly valued fisheries and the watershed that they rely on and that the impacts were not adequately evaluated and therefore cannot be adequately considered, reduced, or mitigated. We do not believe the impacts and risks to fish and fish habitat have been fully described and we disagree with many conclusions reached based on the available data and science. The Tongass watersheds and the sustainable commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries they support represent a critical resource of national and global importance. The protections afforded this region under the current Roadless Rule support healthy and intact fisheries and fish habitat in one of the most productive salmon fisheries in the world, removing these protections would undoubtedly compromise the sustainability of the fisheries and the region. Consequently, until an acceptable scientific evaluation can be completed and reviewed, we recommend the No Action Alternative as the best path forward.
Read the full AK AFS comment letter 2019 comment letter opposing exempting the Tongass from the Roadless Rule.
2022 UPDATE: The Alaska Chapter submitted a comment in January 2022 supporting reinstating the Roadless Rule for the Tongass.