Forest Service seeks comments on West Fork project

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The Forest Service has completed the environmental assessment for the West Fork Fire Salvage and Restoration Project and seeks public comment. A legal notice was posted May 4, initiating a 30-day comment period. The project is in the Libby Ranger District of the Kootenai National Forest.

The purpose of the project is to remove hazard trees affecting public health and safety along travel routes and other areas considered for salvage, restore portions of the landscape burned by the wildfire by initiating reforestation, reduce watershed impacts resulting from NFS roads and unauthorized routes, and recover forest economic value and benefits through salvage, generating revenues to support the accomplishment of project objectives.

The West Fork Fire Salvage and Restoration EA analyzes the No Action Alternative and the Modified Proposed Action. The Modified Proposed Action was developed in response to public comments received during the scoping period; refinement was based upon comments to include more treatment of burned stands. The modified proposed action includes the addition of unit 202 (117 acres) and the removal of units 50 (22 acres) and 53 (66 acres) due to riparian habitat conservation areas (RHCA). Unit 119 (14 acres) was removed due to meeting old growth standards. No new permanent road construction or road decommissioning are proposed in this project. The EA discloses the projectís environmental effects.

A public meeting will be held on May 22, 2018, at the Kootenai National Forest Supervisorís Office, 31374 US Highway 2, in Libby. Forest Service resource specialists will be on hand to provide information and answer questions regarding this project.

The complete EA, along with supporting documentation, is available on the Kootenai National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/projecl?proiect=53014.

For more information, call Project Team Leader Katie Van Alstyne at 406-303-0269 or Libby District Ranger Nate Gassman at 406-2893-7598.

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