Central Tongass (CT) Project

Central Tongass LLA

 

Project Description

The Central Tongass (CT) Project is a landscape-scale project located on the Petersburg and Wrangell Ranger Districts. Its purpose is to meet multiple resource goals and objectives (i.e., needs) identified in the 2016 Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) using an integrated approach. Some of the project area needs include improving forest ecosystem health, supporting community resilience through economic development opportunities within Southeast Alaska communities, providing sustainable recreation opportunities to local visitors and the tourism industry, and offering a variety of wood products to regional mills and local communities. These needs will be met by implementing, over the next 15 years, a suite of activities (such as cabin construction, timber harvest, stream restoration, or road construction) identified by you and the Central Tongass planning team. To evaluate the environmental effects of the project, the Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact statement. Continued input from the tribes, partners, stakeholders and the general public will help the Forest Service determine the location and types of activities to implement, and how extensively they will occur across the landscape after the Responsible Official signs the decision for this project.

The CT Project area encompasses National Forest System (NFS) lands and lands of other ownership within the Petersburg and Wrangell Ranger Districts (3.7 million acres). This includes Mitkof, Kupreanof, Kuiu, Wrangell, Zarembo and Etolin islands and the U.S. mainland. Lands of other ownership, as authorized by their land owners, are included in the environmental analysis to facilitate integrated and economic planning and implementation. Wilderness will not be considered for resource management actions other than for invasive plant treatments.

Public involvement for this project has and will include: public community meetings, stakeholder meetings, subsistence hearings and notices in local publications like the Petersburg Pilot and the Wrangell Sentinel. This website will be the central source of information for all interested individuals and groups, and will help keep the public up-to-date on the Forest Service’s planning progress.

The Tongass National Forest has transitioned to an electronic mailing system for all projects and planning efforts, including the CT Project. We will communicate project updates and announcements through this system and invite you to sign up by clicking here and submitting your email address. You may select other Tongass projects that interest you as well by managing your subscriber preferences after you sign up.

If you would like to comment electronically on the CT Project during specified public comment periods, which is required to gain standing to object to the project later in the NEPA process, you may do so here. Please note, when a comment period is not open, the ability to submit electronic comments online will not be enabled, and contact information for the project leader will be displayed at that link. We welcome your input at any time, and look forward to continuing to work with you on developing a successful landscape-level project.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement - July 2019

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Central Tongass Project is available for public review. The official, 45-day public comment period began upon publication of the Notice of Availability of the DEIS in the Federal Register on Friday, August 2, 2019. During the 45-day comment period (ends at midnight on September 16, 2019) comments can be submitted here. The Forest Service incorporated previously submitted public input into the design of the proposed action and alternatives evaluated in the DEIS.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) describes three alternatives:  no action (Alternative 1), the proposed action (Alternative 2), and one other action alternative (Alternative 3). The alternatives represent different project designs intended to address issues raised by the public, while achieving to varying degrees the purpose and need for action. This DEIS describes the effects of implementing each alternative and compares them in terms of meeting management objectives and estimated impacts to resources.

For more information on submitting comments during the 45-day public comment period, please see the DEIS Cover Letter hyperlinked below, or use the "here" link above for commenting electronically.

Maps from the DEIS

The Forest Service appreciates your review of the DEIS and looks forward to your input during the 45- day public comment period.

Supporting Documents

Northern Tongass Integrated Weed Management EA

The Central Tongass IDT incorporates by reference the analysis completed for the Northern Tongass Integrated Weed Management EA, which was recently completed and released for public review. Both project areas are ecologically similar as are their treatment objectives and proposals. The analysis referenced are documented in the following Northern Tongass Integrated Weed Management EA resource reports:

Incorporation by reference is consistent with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) direction (40 CFR 1502.21) and Forest Service regulations that encourage reducing redundant analysis during the NEPA process.

Public Meetings and Subsistence Hearings

During the 45-day public comment period, the Forest Service will hold public meetings and subsistence hearings in the communities of Kake, Petersburg and Wrangell, Alaska to provide an opportunity for members of the public to 1) submit written comments on the DEIS, 2) review activities within the project area that may be considered for proposal and review after the Central Tongass decision is finalized, and 3) share how the proposed action or any of the alternatives may potentially affect users of subsistence resources within the project area. Once the dates and locations of the public meetings and subsistence hearings are finalized, they will be advertised on this website, as well as in local newspapers and through public service announcements. For more information contact Project Leader Carey Case at 907-772-3871 or carey.case@usda.gov.

September 3, 2019 Wrangell - Nolan Center Civic Room

  • 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. public meeting
  • 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. subsistence hearing

If you are unable to attend the subsistence hearing in person, please participate by calling 1-888-844-9904 Access Code - 6214820# to listen or provide subsistence testimony.

September 4, 2019 Petersburg - Holy Cross House

  • 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. public meeting
  • 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. subsistence hearing

If you are unable to attend the subsistence hearing in person, please participate by calling 1-888-844-9904 Access Code - 6214820# to listen or provide subsistence testimony.

  • 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. public meeting
  • 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. subsistence hearing

If you are unable to attend the subsistence hearing in person, please participate by calling 1-888-844-9904 Access Code - 6214820# to listen or provide subsistence testimony.

September 5, 2019 Kake - Council Chambers

  • 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. public meeting
  • 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. subsistence hearing

If you are unable to attend the subsistence hearing in person, please participate by calling 1-888-844-9904 Access Code - 6214820# to listen or provide subsistence testimony.

Scoping Period - August 2018

The first public comment period for the CT Project was open for 45 days following publication of the Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register on August 9, 2018. Information on submitting comments were provided in the NOI and a Scoping Report sent to interested individuals. 

Comments received during the scoping period may be seen in the CT Project Reading Room, under the heading “NOI Scoping”.

The Forest Service developed Draft Activity Cards to describe the activities considered in the Proposed Action or potentially in other action alternatives. Information presented about each activity includes what it usually accomplishes, how it is typically implemented, when it would be implemented, the implementation maximum, and possible integration opportunities with other activities. Additionally, the following maps were created to display aspects of the proposed action.

Activity cards, maps, the Notice of Intent, and other materials were provided below to keep the public informed. Your comments during this scoping period, along with all previously submitted input, helped the Forest Service develop a range of alternatives to be analyzed in the Environmental Impact Statement. 

Public Meetings

  • Wrangell - Wednesday September 5, 2018, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Nolan Center Civic Center
  • Kake - Tuesday September 11, 2018, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Kake Senior Center 
  • Petersburg - Thursday September 13, 2018, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Holy Cross House

Meetings were advertised in local newspapers and on local radio stations. Specific written comments on this project were accepted at these meetings. For more information contact Project Leader Carey Case at 907-772-3871 or carey.case@usda.gov

Pre-scoping Period, January 2018

The Petersburg and Wrangell Ranger Districts introduced the Central Tongass Project (CT Project) to the public in January with an introductory letter, a project area map and a questionnaire. The questionnaire collected ideas about the projects, infrastructure, activities and forest practices supported by community members within the project area.

In February, project team members talked to local tribes, and visited elementary, middle and high school students in Kake, Petersburg and Wrangell. Later, in March, the Forest Service held four public meetings in Kake, Petersburg and Wrangell to gather additional public input. The input collected from January through March is compiled here and summarized in a project update letter that was distributed in April. Since the update letter, additional input was received and added to the compilation. This spreadsheet is the foundation for activities considered in the Proposed Action.

To review the individual input received during the pre-scoping period (January 19 – May 31) visit the CT Project Reading Room, under the heading “Pre-scoping”.

For more information, contact Project Leader Carey Case at 907-772-3871 or carey.case@usda.gov





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tongass/landmanagement/projects/?cid=fseprd568085