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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Forest Service's management indicator species approach to monitoring wildlife and their habitat in national forests, focusing on the cost-effectiveness and ultimate usefulness of this approach.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture 1. The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to fully consider the concerns GAO identified about the utility of the management indicator species approach to wildlife monitoring as the agency considers modification and clarification of the approach. During the ongoing agency examination of the Forest Service's monitoring approach, the needs and experiences of field staff responsible for implementing it should be solicited and reflected in any rules and guidance that are ultimately issued.
Closed - Implemented
The Forest Service's approach to monitoring has been clarified in a revised proposed rule on forest planning. The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on April 13, 1995. Following an extended comment period that resulted in over 1,000 public responses, the Forest Service prepared a final rule in December 1995. The final rule is in the Department of Agriculture's review and clearance process and is expected to be finalized by early 1997.

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