Buffalo Springs Restoration Project – Public Engagement

As stewards of the land, we are entrusted by the American people to take a holistic look at forest ecosystems and make informed decisions about the future direction of those ecosystems and any needed management actions to improve conditions. An important part of that process is involving the local community, interested organizations, and forest visitors. This page is to share information about the Buffalo Springs Restoration Project and keep you updated on its status. ​

For more information:

Next Steps

At this time we are reviewing public comments, preparing responses to comments, and expect a final environmental assessment on the Buffalo Springs Restoration Project by the fall of 2023.

In early July, 2023, the most recent draft of the Phased Programmatic Agreement (regarding cultural resource surveys for the Buffalo Springs Restoration Project) was sent to the Tribal Nations and State Historic Preservation Officer for review.

Public Engagement

January 24, 2023

District Ranger Chris Thornton and Climate Adaptation Specialist Todd Ontl discuss the draft environmental assessment for the Buffalo Springs Restoration Project, the need to improve forest diversity and health, and the science behind managing forests for better resilience in a changing climate.

You can listen to the In This Climate Podcast here.

November 17, 2022

news release was sent to local media informing the public of the release of the draft environmental assessment and 30-day public comment period. Comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. (EST) December 19, 2022. Regulations prohibit extending the length of the comment period.

August, 2022

An update newsletter was published announcing the draft environmental assessment expected release in October, 2022.

April 26, 2022

An informational public meeting was held virtually from 6 to 8 pm. 

Click the link above for the meeting recording, or view the presentations at the links below:

April 22, 2022

Four public field tours were conducted between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Click on the topic below to view the recording:

March 14, 2022

news release was sent to local media informing the public of the Field Tour, Virtual Public Meeting, online map and draft cultural heritage programmatic agreement. 

December 3, 2021

news release was sent to local media to update the public that the project is now in the analysis stage.  A draft environmental assessment is anticipated to be released for public review and comment around April 2022. 

October 14, 2021

A public scoping letter and maps were released announcing the initiation of the Buffalo Springs Restoration Project and inviting the public to provide comments on the proposal.  The 30-day public scoping period ends November 15, 2021.   

May 15, 2021

Preliminary public input was reviewed and a news release was sent to local media explaining the District Ranger’s decision to move forward with a project proposal to meet the desired conditions and implement improvements.

March 03, 2021

An article was published in the Bloomington Herald Times informing the public about the Buffalo Springs Area of Interest and asking for public input.

March 02, 2021

Copies of the newsletter were posted and delivered to public locations (libraries, French Lick Visitor Center, Lost River Market) in Orange and Crawford counties.

February 16, 2021 

Specialist videos on current conditions were made available on this webpage.

January 08, 2021 

A newsletter with information on current conditions and a call out to the public for information was made available via email and this website.  In addition, a news release was sent to local media. 

Video Presentations From Our Specialists


Chris Thornton - Acting District Ranger

Duration: 00:01:41 |  Download the Video (21MB MP4)  

Heritage Resources

Tesa Villalobos - Heritage Program Manager

Duration: 00:07:54  |  Download the Video (21MB MP4)

Recreation Opportunities

Jeff Fischer - Acting Natural Resource Specialist

Duration: 00:05:55  |  Download the Video (28.3MB MP4)

Geologic Hydrologic and Soil Resources

Chad Menke - Hydrologist

Duration: 00:13:35  |  Download the Video (81.3MB MP4)

Caves and Karst Resources

Steve Harriss - Brownstown Ranger District Wildlife Biologist

Duration: 00:08:04  |  Download the Video (209MB MP4)

Forest Resources

Travis Swaim - Silviculturist

Duration: 00:10:43  |  Download the Video (55.8MB MP4)

Botany Resources

Cheryl Coon - Botanist

Duration: 00:09:06  |  Download the Video (37.8MB MP4)

Fuel and Fire Conditions

Jeremy Kolaks - Forest Assistant Fire Management Officer

Duration: 00:06:01  |  Download the Video (49.8MB MP4)

Wildlife Resources

Richard Winstead - Supervisory Wildlife Biologist

Duration: 00:18:12  |  Download the Video (82.5MB MP4)

Fish Resources

Len Kring - Fish Biologist

Duration: 00:10:45  |  Download the Video (25.4MB MP4)

Climate Change Effects

Chris Thornton - Climate Change Specialist

Duration: 00:03:02  |  Download the Video (22.3MB MP4)