- 4FRI Rim Country Project
- Planning (NEPA) Status: Underway
- Location: Mogollon Rim and Red Rock Ranger Districts(Coconino NF), Payson and Pleasant Valley Ranger Districts (Tonto NF), Lakeside and Black Mesa Ranger Districts (Apache-Sitgreaves NF)
- 1St 4FRI Environmental Impact Statement
- Planning (NEPA) Status: Complete (2010 to 2015)
- Location: Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts (Kaibab NF) and Flagstaff Ranger District (Coconino NF)
- Analyzed 1 million acres; approved restoration activities in 580,000 acres
All of the above are part of 4FRI. Within the 2.4 million-acre footprint of the Initiative are multiple projects, which propose a suite of restoration activities, to be implemented through a variety of methods.
Why does 4FRI include more than one project?
Before any treatments can occur in a national forest, the Forest Service must conduct an in-depth examination of the existing forest conditions, the desired conditions, and the potential effects (beneficial and adverse) of any proposed activities. These analyses, guided by the National Environmental Policy Act, are often referred to as “NEPA projects” or “NEPA analyses,” and are documented in Categorical Exclusions (CEs), Environmental Assessments (EAs), and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs).
Forest restoration has been occurring in the four forests for many decades, but the projects analyzed relatively small areas. There are many of these smaller NEPA projects within the 4FRI footprint – some are complete and being implemented, and others are in different stages of the NEPA process. To “fill in the blanks,” the Forest Service is also conducting larger-scale NEPA analyses for 4FRI, such as the recently completed 1st EIS.
Where does the 4FRI Phase One Contract fit into all this?
The Phase 1 Stewardship Contract, held by Good Earth Power AZ LLC, is one method being used to implement mechanical treatments decided upon in 4FRI projects. It is not the only mechanical thinning contract for 4FRI projects, but it is the largest. The task orders that make up this contract come from multiple 4FRI projects with completed NEPA.
If the 4FRI Phase One Contract is only one method, what are the other methods of implementation?
First, keep in mind that FRI includes the entire suite of restoration activities, not just mechanical thinning. These various activities are carried out by Forest Service crews, volunteers and partners, smaller-scale contracts, and large stewardship contracts (e.g., the Phase One Stewardship Contract, as well as the White Mountain Stewardship Contract from 2010 to 2014). This flow chart also describes the structure of 4FRI.