Forest Service Considers Changes to Grazing Program Southeast of Tonasket

Release Date: Dec 11, 2012   Tonasket, WA

Tonasket Ranger District is looking at the livestock grazing program for Bannon, Aeneas, Revis and Tunk Cattle and Horse Allotments to determine what changes may be needed.  Recent surveys identified areas of concern within these grazing allotments.  The Forest Service will consider changes that may be needed to provide for the protection of forest resources.  Impacts of proposed changes will be analyzed and the results of that analysis will be presented in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). 

The four allotment area, collectively referred to as BART, sits southeast of Tonasket Washington between Aeneas Valley and the Colville Indian Reservation.  BART includes National Forest lands on Bannon and Tunk Mountains and in the Crawfish Lake area. 

An evaluation of the four allotment project area revealed streambank instability issues and sediment concerns.  The Forest proposes developing an adaptive management strategy that would allow livestock grazing to continue at the current levels while providing protection for other forest resources.  The proposed strategy is designed to occur in stages; allowing adequate time for improvements to be constructed and to see if those improvements prove effective.  Examples of proposed improvements include additional fence construction; moving, removing or installing new water troughs; relocating corrals; and resting, or keeping cattle off of, portions of allotments for specified periods of time.  If, through monitoring, improvements do not prove effective, then additional fencing may be installed to achieve the desired resource protections.

Specifics about the changes being considered can be found in the BART scoping notice, available online at www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php/?project=38873, at the Tonasket Ranger District Office, or by calling Christina Bauman at 509-486-5112. 

One important step in developing an EIS is to present the proposed action to interested parties and seek comments.  Those comments then shape the alternative actions to be considered as part of the EIS.  When complete, the EIS will provide information needed to make an informed decision about grazing on these allotments. 

“I would appreciate receiving any written comments, concerns or suggestions you may have about the BART project by January 18, 2013,” said Dale Olson, Tonasket District Ranger. 

Comments can be mailed to Ranger Olson at 1 West Winesap, Tonasket WA 98855, emailed to comments-pacificnorthwest-okanogan-tonasket@fs.fed.us, or faxed to 509-486-1922.