Public Comments Sought On Draft Environmental Impact Statement On Proposed Huckleberry Landscape Restoration Project

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Council, ID – The Council Ranger District is seeking comments on the proposed Huckleberry Landscape Restoration Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement. A public meeting is scheduled for July 9 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., at the Council Ranger District office.

Forest Service personnel will be available to share the project proposal and answer questions.

The Huckleberry Landscape Restoration Project is the fourth project on the Forest that is part of the Payette National Forest’s Weiser-Little Salmon Headwaters Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project. Other projects have been the Mill Creek-Council Mountain project, Lost Creek-Boulder Creek project and the Middle Fork Weiser River project. This fourth proposed project encompasses approximately 67,000 acres on the Council Ranger District of the Payette National Forest, and is located northeast of Council, primarily in the Brownlee Reservoir Subbasin and the Indian, Lick and Bear Creek subwatersheds.

Proposed restoration activities include timber harvest, biomass harvest, road reconstruction, road realignment, temporary road construction, road storage, road decommissioning, culvert removal, culvert replacement, thinning of sub-merchantable trees, prescribed fire, and other actions. Specific vegetation treatments are proposed to enhance Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel habitat, a threatened species as listed by the Endangered Species Act. Proposed recreation improvements include developed and dispersed recreation site improvements, motorized and non-motorized trail development and realignment, trailhead improvements, and the conversion of Smith Mountain Lookout to a public rental cabin.

This project is based in part on recommendations provided by the Payette Forest Coalition. The Payette Forest Coalition is a collaborative group formed under the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 whose recommendations are structured to meet the intent of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program. The Payette Forest Coalition members represent stakeholders from a broad range of interests including the, environmental community, timber industry, recreational groups and state and county government. 

The purpose of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program is to encourage the collaborative, science-based ecosystem restoration of priority forest landscapes. For more information on the Payette Forest Coalition and its involvement in the Payette National Forest’s Weiser-Little Salmon Headwaters Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project visit www.payetteforestcoalition.org.

How To Comment, Timeframe

The Environmental Protection Agency published a Notice of Availability for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement in the Federal Register on June 21, 2019. Written, facsimile, hand-delivered and electronic comments concerning this action will be accepted for 45 days following that date. The publication date of the NOA in the Federal Register is the exclusive means for calculating the comment period for a proposed action documented in a DEIS. Those wishing to comment should not rely upon dates or timeframe information provided by any other source.

The preferred method to submit comments is electronically via the project webpage at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50218. Simply click on “Comment/Object on Project” under the “Get Connected” panel on the right side of the page and fill out the web form with your comments.

Written comments will also be accepted and may be submitted to Keith Lannom, Forest Supervisor, Payette National Forest, 500 North Mission Street Building 2, McCall, ID, 83638 or by fax to 208-634-0744. The office business hours for those submitting hand-delivered comments are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Establishing Eligibility To Object

This project is subject to 36 CFR 218.7 parts (a) and (b). In order to be eligible to file an objection, specific written comments related to the project must be submitted during scoping, or during the comment period on the draft EIS in accordance with procedures in 40 CFR 1506.10, or during any other periods public comment is specifically requested on this EIS (36 CFR 218.5). Individual members of organizations must have submitted their own comments to meet the requirements of eligibility as an individual. Objections received on behalf of an organization are considered as those of the organization only. Comments must have an identifiable name attached or verification of identity will be required. A scanned signature may serve as verification on electronic comments. For objection eligibility each individual or representative from each entity submitting timely and specific written comments regarding the proposed project must either sign the comments or verify identity upon request. Names and addresses of those who comment and/or file objections will become part of the public record. All comments received will be published with authorship information in the public reading room on the project webpage.

For additional information, contact Mark Fox, Project Leader at the Council Ranger District, (208) 253-0164.

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