UC Law Journal


Tony Arjo


One of the significant duties of the United States Forest Service is the protection of watersheds and water quality in the National Forests. The primary statutory authority for the Forest Service in this area is the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA). This Act was intended to transform the management practices that had embroiled the Forest Service in controversy during the 1960s and 1970s. This Note argues that while the NFMA added procedural protections, it also continues an historical tradition that allows the Forest Service to pursue management practices detrimental to watersheds and water quality as long as they met a broad definition of "multiple use." This Note also demonstrates that other federal statutes, in particular the Clean Water Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, may limit the Forest Service's power to engage in practices that damage water quality. These statutes embody a concept of multiple use that is more organic than the Forest Service's historical view and thus represent a rejection of the Forest Service's treatment of the National Forests as a mere collection of resources.

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