Culture / Hiking/Backcountry

Forest Service releases Forsythe II Environmental Analysis for review

492px-USFS_Logo.svgNEDERLAND
The U.S. Forest Service’s Roosevelt National Forest has released its environmental assessment of the proposed Forsythe II Project, a forest management project in the vicinity of Nederland and Gross Reservoir. A draft decision is expected to be released by Forest Supervisor Monte Williams during the first week of December.

The Forsythe II Project proposes to conduct a variety of vegetation management activities with the primary goals of restoring a more resilient forest in the absence of wildfire; reducing the impacts on watersheds in the event a wildfire does occur; and providing opportunities for neighboring landowners to create defensible space on the National Forest boundary near their homes.

Proposed forest management activities include cutting, thinning and controlled burning in lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, mixed conifer, aspen and meadows. Most of the cut debris will be removed or piled to burn during winter months.

The Forest conducted several public input opportunities during this planning process. The first scoping period occurred in the fall of 2015 when the public was invited to provide input to the development of the proposed action. The second comment period was held during January 2016 when the public was able to comment on the proposed action. An interdisciplinary team reviewed the 300-plus comment letters received, identified key issues and developed alternatives to potentially address those issues. The interdisciplinary team then disclosed the potential effects of each proposed alternative.

In making this decision, the Forest Supervisor will weigh potential effects with the stated purpose and need for the project.

Typically, environmental assessments are released concurrently with draft decisions, however in an effort to give the public more time to review the 220-page document and the environmental consequences of the eight alternatives it considers, four of which it considers in detail, the environmental assessment is being released approximately three weeks in advance of the draft decision.

The release of the draft decision during the first full week of December will kick off the formal 30-day objection period, which will begin the day the legal notice is published in the newspaper of record (in this case the Coloradoan). The public will also be notified by email, social media and local news outlets when the draft decision is released. Objections must be received during the official objection period to be considered. The Forest Service does not have authority to extend the objection period. Comments and objections will not be accepted before the draft decision is released.

While the public is always welcome to provide comments and feedback at any point in this process, formal objections will only be accepted from those who have previously submitted timely and specific written comments regarding the proposed project during scoping or other designated opportunities for public comment.

The environmental assessment, maps, photos, background, and information on how to object are located on the project website at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/Forsythe2.

Save the Date
An open house is being planned from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the Boulder Ranger District office, located at 2140 Yarmouth Ave. in Boulder, to answer questions about the Environmental Assessment and Draft Decision. A variety of specialists will be on hand during the open house, and the public is welcome to stop by at any point during the event. Help is also available by calling Reid Armstrong, public affairs specialist, at 303-541-2532 or emailing her at krarmstrong@fs.fed.us.

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