Wind River Environmental Assessment Released

Contact(s): Gala Miller


Vancouver, WA – April 8, 2021 - Gifford Pinchot National Forest Managers recently completed the Upper Wind Forest Management Environmental Assessment (EA).  The EA was released for a 30-day public comment period following public notice in the Columbian newspaper published March 26, 2021.

The project is located within the northern portion of the Wind River watershed and the planning area is within the Mt. Adams Ranger District. The objective of the project is to produce a mix of seral stages throughout the planning area by implementing thinning and regeneration silvicultural prescriptions to restore ecosystems and improve forest health.

The project intends to thin approximately 3,000 acres of forest plantations and to regenerate approximately 400 acres to create early seral habitat. While most of the trees removed for the project would be sold commercially through timber sales, trees on approximately 220 acres would be made available for instream restoration projects.

The project includes treatments to open-up the tree canopy in about 60 acres to enhance Sisyrinchium or pale blue-eyed grass, a sensitive botanical species. Where plantation thinning is planned, the objective is to reduce tree densit to accelerate the development of elements common to old-growth habitat, an indicator of biodiversity.

Where regeneration treatments are planned, the objective is to create larger openings to create complex, early seral habitat with areas of high densities of large trees and snags with high proportions of down wood cover. In the past 70 years, clear-cut harvesting has left an abundance of 40 to 60 acres patch types across the landscape. A consequence of an abundance of this patch size is an increase in edge habitat and a loss of interior habitat.  Interior habitat, either in early seral or late seral patches, can be the highest quality for wildlife that have high dependence on that successional stage. Two openings that are planned to be larger than the standard 40 acres, may be permitted provided there is a 60-day public comment period for these treatments and approved by the Regional Forester.

This past September the Big Hollow Fire burned through a portion of the planning area for this project. Approximately 221 acres of the proposed thinning stands within the project no longer meet the management objectives and have been dropped from the proposed action.

Successful vegetation management ensures that our National Forests are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change while enhancing our water resources.

View the draft Environmental Assessment and comment here: www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=58249.

Copies of the draft Environmental Assessment and any supporting documents are available upon request by contacting Erin Black: erin.black@usda.gov.

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/giffordpinchot/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD901272