2004 NEPA Fire Recovery Project
Controlled understory burn (Pajutee 2004).
July 20, 2004 Scoping Letter Released
August 20, 2004 Public Response Deadline
The B&B Fire Recovery Project "Public Scoping Letter and Proposed Action Summary" was released by Sisters Ranger District Forester, Bill Anthony, on July 20, 2004. This was the first step in the seven-part National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) process for beginning snag salvage and tree planting projects within the B&B Complex, Cache Mountain, and Link Fire burn areas. This is also the first of only two opportunities the public will have to comment on the proposed project before it is undertaken.
Public presentations, field trips, and printed materials were also used by Deschutes NF to inform the public about the project. For example, two public outreach B&B Field tours to discuss Recovery Plan issues were scheduled and hosted by Sisters Ranger District representatives on August 14 and August 18, 2004.
Written comments were requested to be submitted by August 20, 2004. We will index and publish all public responses at this address, as they are obtained from the Deschutes NF in digital format.
Proposed Action Summary
There are 95,600 acres within the 2003 Link and B&B fires areas. The B&B Fire Recovery Project area includes approximately 42,143 acres of the total within these fires. The project area includes only lands on the Sisters Ranger District (east of the Cascades) and outside of the Cache Mountain Research Natural Area and the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area.
This proposal is for the salvage of commercial timber on approximately 10,000 to 14,000 acres on the Sisters Ranger District. Trees to be harvested were killed or severely damaged during the Link and B&B Complex Fires in the summer of 2003. Reforestation and fuel treatments on the same areas are also proposed. It includes approximately 80 miles of roads to be closed or decommissioned out of approximately 360 miles currently within the project area.
The Stated Purpose and Needs for This Project
* (1) The harvest of dead and dying timber before it loses all of its economic value.
* (2) Reduction of harvest slash and small trees within salvage units to establish fuel conditions that will reduce the potential for future uncharacteristic fire and * (3) restore fire as an ecosystem component.
* (4) Reforestation of historically prevalent or common species (where seed sources are lacking) within salvage areas to aid in the quicker development of desired forest conditions, including large tree structure.
* (5) Provide for public, administrative, and operational safety by removing hazard trees along open roads and areas of concentrated high use.
* (6) Reduction of open road densities, particularly within Late-successional and Riparian Reserves, to help protect and improve watershed conditions, fisheries, and wildlife habitat.
The Seven (7) NEPA Steps from B&B Complex EIS to ROD
The environmental analysis for this project will be documented in the B&B Fire Recovery Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In brief, the environmental analysis process will follow these seven steps:
1. Scoping – This is the step we are in now. It involves public involvement to help in the identification of issues and concerns with the proposed action. Deadline: August 20, 2004.
2. Alternative Development – Alternatives to the proposed action are formulated and described in response to identified issues and concerns.
3. Description of Environmental Consequences – Effects of all of the alternatives are described in site-specific detail sufficient to address the issues and concerns, and to allow for the identification of a preferred alternative for implementation.
4. Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) – When the three steps above are completed the analysis will be documented in a DEIS and made available to the public and other agencies for comment (estimate February 2005).
5. Comment Review – Comments to the DEIS will be reviewed, and adjustments are made to alternatives or analysis where needed.
6. Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) – Response to comment and final environmental analysis documented in FEIS.
7. Record of Decision (ROD) – Based on the analysis documented in the FEIS a decision will be made on which alternative to implement (estimate July 2005).
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