Draft Decision Notice for Porkey Heights Supplemental Environmental Assessment Project Available for Review

Contact(s): Kathy Mohney

The draft decision notice and finding of no significant impact for the 5,319-acre Porkey Heights Supplemental Environmental Assessment is now available for review. In the draft decision notice, Marienville District Ranger Rob Fallon said he preferred the modified proposed action alternative because it would address a number of forest health concerns within the Porkey Heights project area and provide for more young-aged forest.

The original decision for the Porkey Heights project was signed in 2009. The Allegheny National Forest has been experiencing a number of forest health issues including defoliation by cherry scallopshell moth and fall webworm, infestations of beech bark disease, emerald ash borer, and the hemlock woolly adelgid.

“As we began implementation of this project, several forest health concerns have developed,” said District Ranger Rob Fallon. Marienville staff conducted forest stand exams in 2016, and found that mortality and crown dieback of black cherry, white ash, and American beech were reducing healthy tree stocking levels. Fallon said that reforestation activities are needed to ensure that desirable tree seedlings can be established and successfully become the next generation of healthy forest.

“We are concerned that seed tree abundance and distribution is declining within these project areas to the point that it will become more difficult to successfully regenerate these forest stands to desirable tree species that include red maple, black cherry, yellow-poplar, cucumber tree, sugar maple and other species,” said District Ranger Rob Fallon. “Regeneration of these areas should occur now while there are still viable seed trees within these hardwood stands.”

This project is subject to the 36 C.F.R. part 218 pre-decisional objection process. Objections will be accepted for 45 days, beginning on the first day after the legal notice was published in The Kane Republican.

For more information, please go to the Porkey Heights Supplemental Environmental Assessment link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50269.