Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project Available for Public Comment

Contact(s): Scott Jacobson, 605-440-1409

Custer, Sd, September 14— Black Hills National Forest officials have issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Black Hills Resilient Landscapes (BHRL) Project.  The Notice of Availability (NOA) is expected to be published in the Federal Register on Sep 15, opening up a 45-day comment period.

The purpose of the proposed project is to move landscape-level vegetation conditions in the project area toward objectives set by the Black Hills National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, as amended, in order to increase ecosystem resilience to insect infestation and other natural disturbances, provide diverse wildlife habitat, contribute to public safety and the local economy, and reduce risk of wildfire to landscapes and communities.

Proposed activities include reduction of hazardous fuels, prescribed burning, enhancement of hardwoods and grasslands, timber harvest, non-commercial thinning, and associated actions. The project area, which includes most of the Black Hills National Forest, consists of the areas designated under Healthy Forests Restoration Act authority at the request of the Governors of South Dakota and Wyoming. The Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board is serving as a formal collaborator on the project.

“The twenty-year mountain pine beetle infestation left behind a changed landscape,” said Mark Van Every, Forest Supervisor. “The focus of this project is to get forest conditions more in line with our forest plan.” 

Two public open houses will be held on:

October 5: Mystic Ranger District office in Rapid City, Sd, 8221 Mt. Rushmore Rd., from 6-8 p.m.

October 12: Crook County Courthouse in Sundance, Wy, 309 E. Cleveland St., from 6-8 p.m.

Further information on the project is available at http://tinyurl.com/BHRLProject. Paper copies of the DEIS available on request and at all Black Hills National Forest offices.

Specific written comments on the DEIS and substantive formal comments on the programmatic Forest Plan amendment must be submitted either online at http://tinyurl.com/BHRLProject, via mail or fax, or in person (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays), to: BHRL Project, Black Hills National Forest, 1019 N. 5th St., Custer, SD 57730; (605) 673‐9350 (fax), c/o BHRL Project. Electronic comments may be submitted in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), portable document format (.pdf), rich text format (.rtf), text (.txt), or hypertext markup language (.html).

For further information on the Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project, contact Anne Davy, Project Manager, at (406) 273-1836.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit, http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills or call (605) 673-9200.