Forest Service decision on vegetation project north of New Castle |

Forest Service decision on vegetation project north of New Castle

The White River National Forest has found no significant environmental impact for its planned Buford New Castle Project, located on the Rifle and Blanco Ranger Districts in Garfield and Rio Blanco counties.

“This decision represents a unique opportunity to manage vegetation for a variety of benefits,” said Sarah Hankens, Rifle District ranger. “The Buford New Castle Project demonstrates how recreation management and vegetation management can work together for long-term benefits and how active forest management sets the stage for a healthy future forest.”

The Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact and draft Decision Notice describe the proposed activities in detail and analyze the potential environmental effects of implementation. The draft decision includes the District Ranger’s Selected Alternative and a rationale for the decision. The Selected Alternative will authorize vegetation management treatments on 615 acres and a variety of silviculture methods will be used.

Additional activities authorized with the proposed action include installing interpretive signs along the road corridor, the development of 10 stock ponds, widening of the Buford New Castle Road from New Castle north to Buford to provide a more uniform width, improvements to create safer driving conditions on the road, and road maintenance through grading.

According to Doug Leyva, timber and fuels program manager for the White River National Forest, “The Selected Alternative gives the Forest Service an opportunity to actively manage aspen across the landscapes, increase diversity to make ecosystems more resilient to natural disturbance processes and provides forest products to local businesses.”

The release of this draft decision initiates the 45-day objections period. Individuals who submitted timely and specific written comments during the combined scoping and comment period (Nov. 19, 2015, through Dec. 18, 2015) will have eligibility to file an objection to the draft Decision Notice.

Both documents are available for download on the White River National Forest website. Hard copies may be reviewed at the Rifle Ranger District in Rifle.

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