Hamilton, Montana (March 18, 2015) – The Bitterroot National Forest has released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Draft Record of Decision (Draft ROD) for the Como Forest Health Project on the Darby Ranger District. The proposed vegetation management project encompasses 5,711 acres between Lake Como and Lost Horse Canyon.
Forest Supervisor Julie King has decided to implement Alternative 4 modified and include Units 3, 8, 10, 26, 38 and 57. The benefits of Alternative 4 modified are:
· Reduces mountain pine beetle infestation hazard in most of the high hazard ponderosa pine units
· Reduces the potential for crown fire
· Improves strategic opportunities to manage wildfire
· Maintains wildlife habitat components by not treating or modifying treatments in areas of hiding and thermal cover.
The purpose of the project is to improve forest health and reduce fuel loads while maintaining the scenic qualities of the area. The project includes commercial and non-commercial timber harvests and prescribed fire for fuels reduction. The Bitterroot Community Wildfire Protection Plan identifies the project area as a ‘high priority’ for fuels reduction in the wildland-urban interface.
The FEIS and Draft ROD are posted on the Bitterroot National Forest website at http://fs.usda.gov/project/?project=33829. Printed copies and CDs are also available for review at the Supervisor’s Office in Hamilton, the Darby Ranger District, and at local libraries.
The decision is subject to public objection under Code of Federal Regulations §218. Objections may only be filed by those who previously submitted comments specific to the project. All objections must be submitted to the Forest Service by April 28, 2015.
Objections may be mailed to: USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, ATTN: Objection Reviewing Officer, P.O. Box 7669, Missoula, MT 59807 OR hand delivered to: USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, ATTN: Objection Reviewing Officer, 200 East Broadway, Missoula, MT 59802, Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Electronic objections may be submitted to: email@example.com. Faxed objections may be submitted to (406) 329-3411. Please specify “Como Forest Health Project Objection” in the subject line.
If you have questions concerning the FEIS and Draft ROD, please contact Chuck Oliver, Darby District Ranger at 406-821-4244. Stay in touch with the Bitterroot National Forest through www.facebook.com/DiscoverTheBitterroot and www.twitter.com/BitterrootNF.