Forest Service publishes Draft Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Swamp Eddy Project

Forest Service publishes Draft Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Swamp Eddy Project

PLAINS, MT. - The Forest Service has prepared a draft Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (DN and FONSI) for the Swamp Eddy project, located on the Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger District approximately five miles southwest of Plains, MT. This notice documents the decision to implement the modified proposed action. The decision would authorize prescribed burning, timber harvest, non-commercial vegetation treatments, road work, and recreation management activities within the project area. The decision would also amend the Lolo Forest Plan by changing Management Area allocations and adding approximately 527 acres to the suitable timber base. Additionally, the decision would address an emerging outbreak of defoliator insects and fir engraver beetle by adding approximately 165 acres of timber harvest and two miles temporary road within the project area to remove dead and diseased trees.

The Swamp Eddy project aims to improve the health and resiliency of forest vegetation, support the economic vitality of local communities, maintain a suitable transportation system to support long-term forest management, and improve resource conditions and public safety at a dispersed recreation site.

“This draft decision reflects an important step forward on the Swamp Eddy project. Now that salvage from the Sheep Gap Fire is coming to a close, we are looking forward to implementing the originally planned activities in the unburned sections of the project area to restore forest health, support the local economy, and improve the recreation experience for the public,” said Plains/Thompson Falls District Ranger Erin Carey.

Several comments on the Swamp Eddy Environmental Assessment (EA) were received during the 30-day comment period. The comments and responses to those comments are located in Appendix E of the draft Decision Notice available on the Lolo National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/projects/lolo/landmanagement/projects.

This decision is subject to the objection process pursuant to 36 CFR 218, subparts A and B (36 CFR 219 for the included forest plan amendment). Objections will only be accepted from those who have previously submitted specific written comments regarding the proposed project during scoping or other designated opportunity for public comment in accordance with §218.5(a). Objections must be submitted within 45 calendar days following the publication of a legal notice in the Missoulian newspaper on Nov. 4, 2019.  

Objections, including attachments, must be filed via mail, express delivery, or messenger service to: Objection Reviewing Officer, USDA Forest Service, Northern Region, 26 Fort Missoula Road, Missoula, MT  59804; FAX to (406) 329-3411; email to appeals-northern-regional-office@usda.gov; or by hand-delivery (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays) to the same address.

If objections are filed, the responsible official may not issue a decision document approving the project until the reviewing officer has responded in writing to all objections. The project may be implemented immediately after the decision is signed. If no objections are filed within the 45-day filing period, approval of the proposed project in a decision document may occur on, but not before, the fifth business day following the end of the objection filing period.  Implementation can begin immediately after the decision is signed.

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/lolo/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD676632