Forest Service Seeking Comment on Chetco Bar Fire Salvage Project

Contact(s): Roland Giller


 

Date:

January 11, 2018—12:30 p.m.

 Contacts:

Rogue River-Siskiyou N.F. Acting Public Affairs Officer Roland Giller, 541-274-1667

Chetco Bar Fire Salvage Coordinator Jessie Berner, 541-439-6201

 Forest Service Seeking Comment on Chetco Bar Fire Salvage Project

          MEDFORD—Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest managers are seeking public input on a proposal to harvest fire-killed trees in the Chetco Bar Fire area and recover timber value before it becomes unsuitable for processing at lumber mills.

            “This proposal goes a long ways toward helping our local communities recover economically as well as meet the need to restore forest habitat,” said Gold Beach District Ranger Tina Lanier. “Public input will help us successfully chart a course toward meeting both needs.”

            Lightning ignited the Chetco Bar Fire in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area near the Chetco River. The fire was reported on July 12, 2017, and burned about 191,197 acres before it was contained, including about 170,321 acres on the Gold Beach and Wild Rivers Ranger Districts of the Rogue River-Siskiyou N.F.

            The proposal focuses salvage operations within 13,626 acres where trees suffered 50 to 100 percent canopy loss in areas designated as matrix. Under the Northwest Forest Plan, matrix areas allow timber harvests and other forest management activities to occur.

            About 25,000 acres of land designated as matrix burned. Parts of matrix burned at low-severity and its effects in areas where canopy cover loss is below 50 percent are often beneficial because of improved wildlife habitat, reduction in understory forest fuels, and increased light and nutrients for fire-adapted species.

            Factors that further reduced the number of acres that could be considered included non-merchantable tree species, limited road access for timber hauling, and avoidance of areas designated under the 2001 Roadless Rule as Inventoried Roadless Areas. The proposal includes utilizing existing roads and constructing temporary roads when resource values have been considered and impacts mitigated.

            Salvage timber harvests could capture some of the economic value matrix was intended to sustainably provide communities. They can also provide funds for post-fire recovery efforts, such as tree planting that can foster resilient forest conditions, while contributing to future timber production.

            The Chetco Bar Fire Salvage Project interdisciplinary team will work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine what effect the project would have on the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet. It is also working closely with the National Marine Fisheries Service to examine effects to Coho salmon.

            Rogue River-Siskiyou N.F. managers expect natural tree regeneration in most burned areas. But, some large areas have no remaining conifer seed sources available within seed dispersal distances. Hardwoods like tanoak, Pacific madrone, alder and big leaf maple are already sprouting. Large areas could convert from conifer to hardwood stands, without tree planting.

            Planting conifers would also be an important strategy to promote diversity of tree species if sudden oak death becomes widespread within Chetco River drainage hardwood stands.

            More information and maps of the Chetco Bar Fire Salvage Project area can be found on the project website at: http://bit.ly/2Dlpelz

            Comments will be accepted throughout the environmental analysis, but will be most useful if submitted by January 31, 2018. Forest Service managers will accept comments after that date. However, late comments might not inform their analysis and reduces their ability to effectively respond.

            Managers will accept written and electronic comments, and will notify those who submit comments when the draft environmental assessment is advertised for a 30-day public comment period.

            Written comments should be sent to:

            Chetco Fire Salvage Coordinator Jessie Berner

            Gold Beach Ranger District

            29279 Ellensburg Ave.

            Gold Beach, OR 97444

            Electronic comments can be submitted to: comments-pacificnorthwest-siskiyou-goldbeach@fs.fed.us. The subject line should contain the name of the project the comments are intended to address.

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/rogue-siskiyou/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD568983