Forum Index > Stewardship > South Fork Stillaguamish Vegetation Project USFS / Darrington
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Ski
><((((°>



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 8307 | TRs
Location: tacoma
Ski
><((((°>
PostWed May 31, 2017 8:10 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dear Interested Party,

The Forest Service is continuing environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the SF Stillaguamish Vegetation Project. This letter is to invite your review of the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and invite your comments on issues that should be addressed in the Final EA and Decision Notice/Finding of No Significant Impact (DN/FONSI).  The project Draft EA can be accessed on the Forest website at:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=48837

Project Location

This vegetation management project is located on the Darrington Ranger District, east of Granite Falls in Snohomish County, Washington. The legal description of the Project area includes sections in: Township 29 North (T29N) to Township 31 North (T31N), Range 7 East (R7E) to Range 11 East (R11E).  Maps and additional information are provided on the website above.

Purpose and Need for Action

Summary: The project would thin second-growth timber stands within the S.F. Stillaguamish River drainage to promote forest stand structure that would serve as habitat for old-growth associated species and maintain and enhance Riparian Reserve conditions.  The overall goal is to support the health and wildlife habitat values of forest stands, while meeting aquatic, recreational, and scenic objectives within the South Fork (SF) Stillaguamish watershed.

Background: Second growth stands on National Forest System lands across the whole SF Stillaguamish River drainage (outside of wilderness) were reviewed for the opportunity to improve habitat conditions where high stocking densities limit stand structure development for spotted owl and marbled murrelet nesting and connectivity of habitat.  Riparian Reserves were reviewed for habitat conditions described as desired in Aquatic Conservation Strategy Objectives.

Need for action:

There is a need for more area with desired late successional habitat to provide nesting and other habitat characteristics for marbled murrelet and northern spotted owls.
There is a need for restoration of plantations within Riparian Reserves to adjust simple stand structure to restore vegetative and structural diversity that support well-distributed populations of native plant, invertebrate and vertebrate riparian associated species.
There is a need to manage the landscape to be resilient to disturbances and to provide and protect habitat for native species and species of concern.
There is an opportunity to begin implementation of recommendations in the Forest's Sustainable Road System Report and identify the minimum road system for the project area.   


Purpose of the Project:

Enhance habitat conditions for old forest associated species with emphasis on nesting habitat for marbled murrelet and northern spotted owls.
Maintain and restore riparian vegetation composition and structural diversity while protecting and enhancing fish habitat and aquatic organism passage.
Manage the SF Stillaguamish Late Successional Reserve on a landscape scale with the expectation that vegetation management may also contribute a supply of timber products to the public from the forest stand thinning. 
Manage USFS infrastructure and facilities within the SF Stillaguamish project area to support not only the goals of the Late Successional Reserve, but also meet recreational use within the watershed and to support administrative management of Forest lands.
Proposed Action (Alternative 2)

Changes from Scoping: The Proposed Action (Alternative 2) differs from the proposed action that was scoped in 2016.  The differences are based on comments received from the public and Tribes, and also based on resource specialists’ findings in the field and assessments of resource information. The major differences are reduction of areas considered for thinning treatment due to lack of access beyond the closed Canyon Creek Bridge, the identification of unstable slope areas and addition of resource protection buffers. The Draft EA also varies from the scoping action with the description of connected actions which includes haul routes, rock sources, fuel treatments, invasive plant treatments, and logging systems.  The draft EA also describes other proposed activities within the project area of recreation site improvements, aquatic organism passage site improvements and proposed changes in the forest transportation or road system (Access Travel Management) with roads identified for upgrade, storage, or decommissioning.

Summary: The Proposed Action would commercially harvest trees on a total area of approximately 2,160 to 3,600 acres of the SF Stillaguamish River drainage. An additional 2,500 to 3,000 acres would be considered for non-commercial thinning.  The trees to be thinned are entirely within second-growth stands, regenerated after previous logging harvest.  They are primarily conifers, ranging in age from approximately 30 to 70 years. Treated acres would emphasize forest stand development and enhancement of old forest characteristics, including species and structural diversity, and recruitment of coarse woody debris.  Variable density thinning with retention of large-diameter trees would promote tree diversity at the local scale, and contribute toward landscape and wildlife habitat diversity on the landscape scale. All treatments would be implemented over a one- to ten-year time period. The proposed action would result in the potential for approximately 50 to 90 million board feet (mmbf) of timber volume being sold.

All commercial timber harvest would be accomplished with both ground-based and skyline logging systems. Tethered assist ground-based systems using a winch system would be a logging system option for steep slopes that have been logged in the past using skyline logging systems.  Safety and efficiency of logging systems would be considered along with ability of the systems to reduce soil and aquatic impacts. 

The proposed action would include a number of connected action with the thinning treatments:

Roads - Both open and closed roads would be utilized with the use of 57 miles of open Forest system roads and reopening 29 miles of closed roads (and closing after use). Temporary roads would include the use of 12 miles of non-system roads, and 16 miles of road prism from previous timber harvest, and 1.5 miles of new temporary road.   Overhanging trees along haul routes would be removed (daylighting) as well as hazard trees leaning toward the road.
Rock sources – The proposed action has identified up to 12 sites that would be used for surface rock, with rock from 11 existing sites and one new site.
Fuel treatment – The proposed action would include slash disposal at landings and upslope of roads in circumstances described within the EA.
Other vegetation management would include the treatment of invasive plants throughout the project areas as per direction in the ROD for the MBS Invasive Plant FEIS (2015).
The proposed action also includes other proposed actions within the project area:

Recreational site improvements would include the following:
Boardman and Coal Lake Trailheads would have upgraded toilets.
Perry Creek Trail would have remove of culverts and reconfiguration of the old road section of the Perry Creek Trail from road to trail.
Heather Lake Trailhead expansion would increase parking from 25 to 75 vehicles, in a new 1 ac. footprint.
Sunrise Mine Trailhead relocation and expansion would relocate to a new 1-2 ac. trailhead back ½ mile from the current road terminus and convert ½ mile of road to trail. The new trailhead would provide for picnic tables and view area.
Walt Bailey Trailhead would be relocated approximately 1 mile back from the road terminus, at a former landing site and convert 1 mile of road to trail.  The new site would provide parking for approximately 30 vehicles, and potential for installation of toilet and picnic tables.
Fish and other aquatic organism passage site improvements were identified for 11 sites where barriers (e.g. undersized or failed culverts) would be removed or upgraded to simulate physical conditions found in natural streams.
Access and Travel Management of the forest road system would be updated with the proposed action.  The project proposes to decommission approximately 14 miles of road (currently non-drivable), store an additional 14 miles of road (ML 1) for a total of 73 miles in ML1 status. The proposed action would retain 20 miles in ML2 for high-clearance vehicles with an additional 7 miles of ML2 in administratively closed status (access to private land or rock sites).  There would be approximately 52 miles of road retained as ML 3 (passenger vehicle) with all trailheads accessible by Ml 3 roads, with the conversion of approximately 1.8 mile (3 road segments) from ML3 road to trail   The proposed action would also retain 5 miles of ML 4 road and 22.6 miles of non-system roads for use as temporary roads with treatments for restoration needs.
A detailed description of all components of the Proposed Action is in Chapter 2 of the Draft EA.

Other Alternatives

Alternative 1 (No Action): Under the No Action Alternative, the proposed SF Stillaguamish Vegetation project would not occur. Existing processes and trends within the project area would continue. No vegetation management would occur in the project area. No connected actions for vegetation, wildlife, fish, roads, recreation, fuels, or scenery would be implemented. Roads, trails, and culverts would remain in their current states, other than routine maintenance as funding permits. Non-system roads would not be constructed or reconstructed. Stands in the project area would continue to be over-stocked, with a lack of structural diversity. Timber would not be produced and revenues would not be obtained.

Alternatives considered:  An additional five alternatives were considered and not further developed as described in Chapter 2 of the draft EA.

Comment Period and Next Steps
We invite your comments to ensure that the full range of issues is considered, and all major issues are addressed. Pursuant to 36 CFR 218.25, comments on this proposed project will be accepted for 30 days beginning on the first day after the date of publication of the legal notice in the paper of record (Everett Daily Herald). In the event that the comment period ends on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday, comments will be accepted until the end of the next Federal working day. After consideration of comments received during this 30-day comment period, a draft Decision Notice (DN) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) will likely be issued. The draft decision will be subject to an objection process pursuant to 36 CFR 218, sub parts A and B. Only those who have submitted timely, specific written comments during a public comment period established by the responsible official are eligible to file an objection (36 CFR 218.5).

Comments should be within the scope of the proposed action, have a direct relationship to the proposed action, and must include supporting reasons for the Responsible Official to consider (36 CFR 218.2). Other eligibility requirements are defined by 36 CFR 218.25 (a)(3) and include name, postal address, title of the project and signature or other verification of identity upon request and the identity of the individual or entity who authored the comments. Individual members of an entity must submit their own individual comments in order to have eligibility to object as an individual. A timely submission will be determined as outlined in 36 CFR 218.25 (a)(4). It is the responsibility of the sender to ensure timely receipt of any comments submitted.

Emailed comments are preferred, and should be sent to comments-pacificnorthwest-mtbaker-snoqualmie@fs.fed.us  Comments may be mailed to: Forest Supervisor, Attention: SF Stillaguamish Vegetation Project, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, 2930 Wetmore Ave., Suite 3A, Everett, WA 98201. Office hours for submitting oral, telephone, or hand-delivered comments are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Comments may also be faxed to (425) 783-0214. Hand-delivered comments can be taken to the Supervisor’s Office at the address listed above, or to the Darrington Ranger District office at 1405 Emens Ave. North, Darrington, WA 98214. For electronically mailed comments, the sender should normally receive an automated electronic acknowledgement from the agency as confirmation of receipt, if not, it is the sender’s responsibility to ensure timely receipt by other means. Comments submitted electronically should be in pdf format or viewable in Microsoft Office applications. Comments received in response to this invitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the Project Record and available for public review.

Project updates and documents will be posted on the project website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=48837 and also sent to those who comment on the project. For further information, contact project leader Phyllis Reed at (360) 436-2332, or plreed@fs.fed.us

I appreciate your interest in this project and in the management of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Sincerely,

/s/Peter Forbes

-USFS-

--------------
"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Ski
><((((°>



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 8307 | TRs
Location: tacoma
Ski
><((((°>
PostWed May 31, 2017 8:16 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
errr..... looks pretty straightforward on the surface from the scoping letter above....

.... any reasons why this project shouldn't proceed?

--------------
"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Pyrites
Member
Member


Joined: 16 Sep 2014
Posts: 929 | TRs
Location: South Sound
Pyrites
Member
PostThu Jun 01, 2017 7:28 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Ski

It sounds similar to the sale in the Silver Creek drainage, just north of Randle. I read through that EA. Given the near monoculture and single age class of the trees in the second growth units, and that they are in LSR's, it seems preferable to doing nothing. If there is a weak link it is that, except for a couple decades immediately following sale, deer and elk feeding areas continue to significantly decrease. On the upside a few logs get cut.

A big difference is the Silver Creek area doesn't have any recognized trails. Purcell is to the east; a few too ambitious souls access Whalehead through the basin.

Best.

--------------
Keep Calm and Carry On?
               Heck No.
Stay Excited and Get Outside!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Kim Brown
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Jul 2009
Posts: 4743 | TRs

Kim Brown
Member
PostThu Jun 01, 2017 9:02 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Haven't looked closely, but a quick read, seems OK. Looks like they incorporated some of the concerns highlighted in some of the comment letters with obvious exceptions.

I reserve the right to change my mind here and there though.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Ski
><((((°>



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 8307 | TRs
Location: tacoma
Ski
><((((°>
PostSat Sep 23, 2017 9:45 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Saturday September 23, 2017 09:44 PDT

Notice of Draft Decision and Objection Filing Period

The Darrington Ranger District, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has prepared a final Environmental Assessment and draft Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact for the SF Stillaguamish Vegetation Project. The draft decision is now subject to a 45-day objection period prior to final decision.

The draft Decision Notice and final EA are available for review on the project website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=48837 and at the Darrington Ranger District office, 1405 Emens Ave. North, Darrington, WA 98214. 

Summary of Draft Decision
The draft decision proposes to implement Alternative 2B, and provides rationale for that decision. This alternative would commercially harvest trees on approximately 2,160 to 3,600 acres of the SF Stillaguamish River drainage. An additional 1,060 acres would be considered for non-commercial thinning. The selected alternative would implement connected actions for vegetation, fish and wildlife, recreation, roads, and fuels. The Selected Alternative 2B differs from Alternative 2 as described in the Draft EA, in the following ways:

Additional visual buffer was added along the Heather Lake Trail
Reduction of non-commercial thinning acres to stands where non-commercial thinning is most likely to be operationally successful within reasonable costs of treatment (1,060 acres)
There are changes in temporary road construction with a projected 3-5 miles of new temporary road to be constructed in order to avoid reconstruction of previous temporary roads in unstable locations and to better meet current logging systems.
There are changes in commercial thinning acres with approximately 330 acres of stands dropped from commercial thinning treatment. Stands were dropped due to three stands were found to have trees < 80 years of age, other stands had wetlands and overlapped with fish critical habitat. Other portions of stands are being dropped to retain high snag numbers (root-rot pockets) and stands having desired understory vegetation diversity. There are 330 acres dropped and   241 acres of optional treatment stands added, depending on stand conditions at the time of the thinning sale preparation. These stands were added to contribute to meeting desired priority habitat suitability for old growth associated species. The additional stands are within forest stand types associated with spotted owl and marbled murrelet nesting habitat, and would contribute to future large contiguous blocks of suitable nesting habitat as well as providing wildlife habitat connectivity.
There are minor changes in road maintenance levels due to clarifications during continued field reconnaissance, with the potential for an additional 2.5 miles of road decommissioned with Alternative 2B.
District Ranger, Peter Forbes is the Responsible Official for this project.

Location of Project
The project area includes 65,000 acres of National Forest System lands within the South Fork Stillaguamish watershed. The project is located in Township 29 North to Township 31 North, Range 7 East to Range 11 East; Willamette Meridian; Snohomish County, Washington.

Objection Process
The project is now subject to pre-decisional administrative review under 36 CFR 218 subpart B (objection process). Objections will only be accepted from those individuals or organizations who have previously submitted specific written comments during a designated opportunity for comment (36 CFR 218.5). Objections must be based on previously submitted, specific and timely written comments regarding the proposed project and attributed to the objector, unless the issue is based on new information that arose after the opportunities for comment.

Objections must include (36 CFR 218.8(d)): 1) objector’s name, address and telephone; 2) signature or other verification of authorship; 3) identify a single lead objector when applicable; 4) project name, Responsible Official name and title, and name of National Forest and/or Ranger District where project will be implemented; 5) description of those aspects of the proposed project addressed by the objection, including specific issues related to the proposed project; if applicable how the environmental analysis or draft decision violate law, regulation, or policy; suggested remedies to resolve the objection; supporting reasons for the reviewing officer to consider, and 6) statement demonstrating the connection between the objection and prior comments. Incorporate documents by reference only as provided for at 36 CFR 218.8(b).

Objections must be submitted to the objection reviewing officer: Forest Supervisor Jamie Kingsbury, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, 2930 Wetmore Ave., Suite 3A, Everett, WA 98201.  Objections may be submitted online at the project website, http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=48837 (under the “Get Connected” heading click on “Comment/Object on Project” and follow on-screen instructions for submitting objections), emailed to objections-pnw-mtbaker-snoqualmie@fs.fed.us, faxed to (425) 783-0214, or mailed or hand delivered to the above address 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Mon-Fri except holidays. Objections including attachments must be filed within 45 days of publication of this legal notice in the Everett Herald. That publication date is the exclusive means for calculating the time to file an objection, those wishing to object should not rely upon dates or timeframe information provided by any other source. It is the objector’s responsibility to ensure timely filing of a written objection with the reviewing officer as specified in 36 CFR 218.9. Electronic objections must be submitted in .doc, .rtf, .txt, or .pdf format, or as an e-mail message. Emails in other formats or containing viruses cannot be accepted. Emailed objections must include the project name in the subject line. More information on the objection process is in the Draft DN-FONSI. Objections received, including names and addresses of commenters, will be part of the Project Record and available for public review.

For further information, contact project leader Phyllis Reed at (360) 436-2332 or plreed@fs.fed.us.

Additional information is available on the project website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=48837

-USFS-

--------------
"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Stewardship > South Fork Stillaguamish Vegetation Project USFS / Darrington
  Happy Birthday payton, arcticlights69!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy