ArcNews Online

Summer 2004
Search ArcNews

E-mail to a Friend
Using E-Gov for Planning and NEPA

U.S. Forest Service and BLM Collaborate in Land Management

The forests of southern California experience some of the heaviest use of any public land in the United Esri Services logoStates today. Intense recreational use, growing urbanization, and the need to restore and maintain native species habitat are some of the land management challenges faced by the U.S. Forest Service in the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino National forests. Recently, the southern California forests published draft forest plans to provide forestwide strategic direction as well as a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) that describes the environmental analysis and conclusions of the forest plans. In the plans, the Forest Service is recommending an increase in both wilderness-designated areas and off-road vehicle access. For these forests, this could mean approximately 100,000 additional acres are available to be congressionally designated as wilderness and other land zoned to accommodate a range of recreation opportunities. The comment period is currently underway ending August 11, 2004. Review and comment on the forest plans and DEIS at

On May 14, 2004, the plans were posted for the public to review and comment on the proposed land use allocations in southern California's national forests. Aligning itself with federal legislation, such as the Government Paperwork Reduction Act, the President's Management Agenda, Clinger Cohen Act, and the E-Gov Initiative, the southern California Plan Revisions Team that assembled to revise the southern California plans has volunteered to participate with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the development and use of the ePlanning system.

  click to enlarge
The ePlanning Web site uses GIS maps.

ePlanning is a Department of the Interior project, developed by Esri's Professional Services Division and managed by the BLM, that establishes a new mechanism for creating, managing, and publishing within the land management process. Based on ArcGIS technology, ePlanning encourages participative and collaborative land use planning and focuses on managing and publishing text and map-based planning information. Land use planning content is inherently geographic and provides a good opportunity to develop a new ArcGIS attribute by building tools that allow land planning text to be managed using relational database technology where text-based decisions are tied to points on the ground in GIS.

ePlanning allows users to simultaneously create and manage the basic publication elements (text, graphics, tables, maps, etc.). Additionally, using ePlanning provides the flexibility to combine the elements in different formats for different outputs (Web and paper), link text to geography (spatial data), and link public comments to text and spatial data.

Because ePlanning is Web based, the southern California Plan Revisions Team can access the system from any Internet-connected computer. This advantage allows team members to see changes in real time and reduces travel costs to internal Forest Service meetings. The four Forest Service plans are available for review at Public comments on the plans will help the Forest Service develop the final forest plans, which will guide all natural resource management activities in the four forests for the next 10 to 15 years.

BLM is currently seeking federal agencies as partners for development, testing, and implementation of ePlanning technology, with the goal of implementing across government.

For more information on ePlanning, contact Carl Zulick, ePlanning project manager with the BLM Planning, Assessment, and Community Support Group (tel.: 202-452-5158, e-mail:, or Carsten Bjornsson, Esri Professional Services (tel.: 909-793-2853, ext. 1-2799; e-mail:

Contact Us | Privacy | Legal | Site Map