01. May 2017 · Comments Off on USDA Forest Service South Pioneer Fire Salvage and Reforestation Project EA · Categories: Current Events, Public Meetings

Dear Interested Party:
The Forest Service has completed the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the South Pioneer Fire Salvage and Reforestation Project and is seeking public comment on this EA during the 30-day notice and comment period. The South Pioneer Project is located in Boise County approximately 18 miles northeast of Idaho City, Idaho, and 48 miles northeast of Boise, Idaho. The Project Area covers approximately 39,100 acres in the Boise River watershed. The EA is available on the Project web page: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50694. If you would prefer a hard copy of the EA, please contact John Riling, Team Leader, at jriling@fs.fed.us or by phone at 208-373-4171. A summary document containing the Agency’s response to comments received during the February 2017 scoping period is also available on the project website.

Project Description
The South Pioneer Fire Salvage and Reforestation Project proposes cutting hazard trees along NFS roads and trails, reforesting areas, decommissioning unauthorized routes, and salvaging additional trees killed by the wildfire to recover economic value to support restoration work. Salvage harvest activities are anticipated to begin in early summer 2017 and be completed by the end of the 2018 operating season, while activities such as reforestation would continue for approximately 10 years.
Immediate implementation is essential to successfully accomplish project purpose and need (e.g., address hazard trees that pose risks to public health and safety this next recreation season). Therefore, the Boise National Forest will request an emergency situation determination (ESD) to facilitate immediate implementation of the proposed activities during the 2017 field season. Only the Chief and Associate Chief of the Forest Service may grant an ESD (36 CFR 218.21(a)).

An emergency situation at 36 CFR 218.21(b) is defined as follows.
A situation on National Forest System (NFS) lands for which immediate implementation of a decision is necessary to achieve one or more of the following:
1. Relief from hazards threatening human health and safety
2. Mitigation of threats to natural resources on NFS or adjacent lands
3. Avoiding a loss of commodity value sufficient to jeopardize the agency’s ability to accomplish project objectives directly related to resource protection or restoration.
If the Chief decides this project qualifies for an ESD, the project will be exempt from the pre-decisional objection process (36 CFR 218). This exemption will allow us to implement the project as soon as the environmental analysis is completed and the decision is signed. Providing for immediate implementation following completion of the environment review allows the Boise National Forest to remove hazards safely, complete associated resource protection/restoration projects, and capture enough commodity value to market some of the trees. Often, if material proposed for removal cannot be sold, many of the project’s objectives cannot be met.

We recognize the importance of the public involvement process for this project and am aware that, should an ESD be approved, the expedited emergency procedure alters the structure of that process. Thus, as has been done since the fall of 2016, I will continue to employ a variety of communication options to share and receive information from interested parties. Visit the Pioneer Fire website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/boise/home/?cid=fseprd530485 for up-to-date information.

How to Provide Comment

The Forest Service is contacting interested persons, groups, and agencies to make them aware of the project and to gather pertinent feedback. To be most useful, please make your comments as specific as possible.

Electronic, written, hand-delivered, and facsimile comments concerning this project will be accepted. Comments may be submitted through the South Pioneer Fire Salvage and Reforestation Project webpage at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=50694.

Email comments must be submitted in a format such as an email message, plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), Adobe (.pdf) and Word (.doc) to: comments-intermtn-boise-idaho-city@fs.fed.us. Please put “South Pioneer” in the subject line of e-mail comments. Comments must have an identifiable name attached or verification of identity will be required. A scanned signature may serve as verification on electronic comments.

Written comments must be submitted to: Boise National Forest, Idaho City Ranger District, Attention: Brant Petersen, District Ranger, 3833 Highway 21, P.O. Box 129, Idaho City, Idaho 83631 or faxed to (208) 392-6684. The office hours for those submitting hand-delivered comments are: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Comments received in response to this request will be available for public inspection in the “Public Comment Reading Room” on the project webpage and will be released in their entirety, if requested, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.

Written, facsimile, hand-delivered, and electronic comments concerning this action will be accepted for 30 calendar days following the publication of the legal notice in the Idaho Statesman, the newspaper of record. The publication date of the legal notice in the newspaper of record is the exclusive means for calculating the comment period. Those wishing to comment should not rely upon dates or timeframe information provided by any other source. The regulations prohibit extending the length of the comment period. The legal notice will be posted on the project website within 4 calendar days of publication in the newspaper of record.

Stay Connected to this Project via the Web

To assist the Forest Service in meeting its goals of reducing our carbon footprint and to achieve a sustainable operation, we are transitioning to a web-based electronic comment system that allows all interested parties to receive project material (project updates, draft and final NEPA documents, and decisions) by e-mail. This new system gives you direct control over which mailing lists you are subscribed to and immediate electronic access to project documents as they are posted online. It’s easy, it’s good for the environment, and it gives “on-demand” access to projects.

To subscribe to this new system, go online to the South Pioneer Fire Salvage and Reforestation Project webpage: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50694. On the project website, you will see a box titled “Get Connected” on the right hand side of the page. Click on “Subscribe to Email Updates”. When you click on that item, you will be prompted to provide your e-mail address and select a password. When you have logged in, you will be able to manage your account by subscribing to projects by Forest, District, project type, or project purpose. You will also be able to change your e-mail address and password. If you no longer wish to follow the project(s), simply delete your subscription. Once you are subscribed, you will receive all project information via e-mail, unless you request hard copies.

Only those who subscribe to the mailing list, submit comments, or notify the Forest that they would like to remain on the mailing list for this project will receive future correspondences on this project. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, without an associated name and address, receiving further correspondences concerning this project will not be possible.

For further information on the project, please contact Brant Petersen, Idaho City District Ranger at 208-392-6681 or bpetersen02@fs.fed.us, or John Riling, Team Leader at 208-373-4171 or jriling@fs.fed.us.

 

Sincerely,

Melissa Yenko

Acting Forest Planner

Boise National Forest

1249 S. Vinnell Way, Suite 200

Boise, ID 83709

Phone: 208-373-4245

Email: myenko@fs.fed.us

 

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