Foothills Landscape Project - Environmental Assessment

SEEKING YOUR FEEDBACK: The revised Environmental Assessment is now available for review! Send in your comments by August 13, 2021. Details below

Foothills Landscape Project Summary

 

Foothills Landscape MapProject Location: The Foothills Landscape – 157,625 acres – stretches across the Chattahoochee National Forest and marks the area where the mountains are visibly reduced to foothills. Shortleaf pine and pitch pine forests are the dominant forest types, with hardwoods accounting for about a quarter of the landscape. The area offers a plethora of recreation opportunities, with nearly 200 miles of hiking, biking, horse and OHV trails and dozens of recreation sites. It includes a portion of the Cohutta WMA and Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Habersham, Lumpkin, Murray, Rabun and White Counties.

Proposed Action:  On July 14, 2021Foothills Project Habitat, the U.S. Forest Service released a revised proposal to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Foothills Landscape. You can review all the project details on the project NEPA webpage. Find more background information on the Foothills Landscape Project.

Purpose and Need: The Foothills Landscape Project would maintain and improve watershed and ecological conditions by addressing the need to improve biologic integrity, increase the ecosystem’s resilience to disturbance, restore connectivity, and support high water quality and soil productivity.

Project Vision: To create, restore and maintain ecosystems that are more resilient to natural disturbances. Specifically, the Forest Service is seeking to enhance and provide quality habitat for rare and declining species, as well as desired game and non-game species; to reduce hazardous fuel loading across the landscape to diminish damaging wildfires; to improve soil and water quality; to provide sustainable recreation and access opportunities; and to awaken and strengthen a connection to these lands for all people.

 

Project Status

CURRENT STATUS: The revised Environmental Assessment (EA) is now available for review. We received a large number of comments on this project in response to the original EA last year, and we are listening. We made changes to the structure of the project in response to many of the concerns expressed. We invite you to review and comment on the revised EA during the legal 30-day comment period beginning July 14, 2021 and ending August 13, 2021.

You can expect to see revisions that include:

  • Greater specificity of locations and timing of proposed actions prior to decisions leading to implementation
  • Opportunities for formal public comment throughout the life of the project
  • Collaborative working group to guide implementation

The revised EA and supporting documentation are available on Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests' project webpage at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=52509. Submit electronic comments at the Foothills Landscape Project webpage by selecting the “Comment/Object on Project” link in the “Get Connected” group at the right hand side of the project webpage. 

NEPA timeline

 

Next steps: Comments received for this revised EA will again be carefully considered before moving forward with a draft Decision Notice.

On the horizon: Once a draft Decision Notice is released, a 45-day objection period will begin.

Additional information: The original Environmental Assessment and supporting analysis documents are available to review on the project webpageSubscribe to receive information about the Foothills Landscape project by email. 

Community Collaboration: The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests invited stakeholders and partners to help establish a collaborative working group to guide the implementation of the Foothills Landscape project. This could include identifying priority areas for projects and best tools and approaches for achieving desired outcomes and monitoring progress. The member-driven working group may also develop new ways to adapt, support, streamline and scope future efforts. We hosted a series of facilitated, public meetings and conversations to discuss: What is the value of a Working Group? What are the benefits and barriers to participating? What’s possible? Now, a group of volunteers are working to co-develop the purpose and structure of a Foothills Collaborative Working Group. View Forest Supervisor Edward Hunter's opening remarks for the kick-off. You can also review a harvest of the meeting discussions from the first and second public meetings. Learn more details here.

 


 

"The right work in the right places at the right scale"

The Foothills Landscape project will
create, restore and maintain forests and waters
that are resilient, sustainable and productive for wildlife and people. 

 

Foothills Vicinity Map

 

Stay Connected:

Sign up to receive information about the Foothills Landscape collaboration by email. You can also keep in touch with happenings on our Facebook and Twitter pages (@ChattOconeeNF).

Subscribe to updates on the Foothills Landscape Project 

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If you have specific questions about the Foothills Landscape project, contact team leader Stephanie Israel at sm.fs.foothills@usda.gov or (770)297-3095.

 

Community Conversations

Community Conversations were hosted by the U.S. Forest Service after the release of the Environmental Assessment, where information was shared with the public and staff were available to answer individual questions from those attending.

Tuesday December 3, 2019

Wednesday December 4, 2019

Thursday December 5, 2019

Tuesday December 10, 2019

  • VIRTUAL Community Conversation

 

Community Collaboration

Beginning in 2016, partners and community members from across North Georgia have been working together with the Forest Service to realize a shared vision to address the complex conservation challenges across this landscape.  The purpose of the engagement was to discuss and debate the restoration needs on the landscape and the potential tools to improve the ecosystem’s resilience to disturbance and sustainability. There were two rounds of Community Conversations, four integrated workshops, five small group meetings and eight field trips convened during this time. In 2018, stakeholders met to collaboratively develop alternatives and design a multi-party monitoring plan. Find more background information on the collaboration effort behind the Foothills Landscape Project.

 

 

Since 2016, the U.S. Forest Service has convened
two rounds of Community Conversations, four integrated workshops,
five small group meetings and eight field trips.

 

NEPA Resources

FS NEPA Procedures and Guidance

NEPA Links

CEQ's NEPAnet

CEQ's Guide to NEPA

 

 

 

Last updated: April 22, 2021





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/conf/home/?cid=FSEPRD514937&width=full