Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Forest Service Issues Draft Decision Notice for Plaskett-Keller August Complex Phase 1 Project

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The following is a press release issued by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service:

Mendocino National Forest from San Hederein [Picture by Matt LaFever]

Mendocino National Forest Supervisor Ann Carlson has issued a draft decision notice with a finding of no significant impact for the Plaskett-Keller August Complex Phase 1 environmental assessment. Carlson has selected Alternative 3 (modified Proposed Action) which will remove fire-killed and fire-injured trees from the project area. Forest officials issued a legal notice in the Chico Enterprise Record announcing the opportunity to file an objection to the decision within 45 days.

The decision would allow for removal of dead and dying trees on just over 2,000 acres located on the Covelo and Grindstone Ranger Districts in areas that experienced high levels of tree mortality during the August Complex fires. The project includes a commercial salvage component of approximately 1,173 acres within the August Complex perimeter, while 991 acres of roadside hazard trees and fuels would be disposed of on‑site (e.g., pile burning or chipping) or removed as biomass (e.g., woody debris that can be converted to energy or used as chips in landscaping).

The project would address time-sensitive safety concerns, capture remaining economic value of dead trees and reduce risk of future high-intensity wildfire by preventing the buildup of excessive fuel loads. Research plots have also been established to further the scientific understanding of short- and long-term effects of salvage logging.

Objections can be filed by mail, fax or email to the reviewing officer: USDA Forest Service, Jennifer Eberlien, Regional Forester, 1323 Club Drive, Vallejo, CA 94592, Attn: Plaskett-Keller Project; fax (707-562-9229); or email to objections-pacificsouthwest-regional-office@usda.gov with subject: Plaskett-Keller Project. Formats that will be accepted for electronically submitted comments are: .doc, .pdf, .rtf, or .txt. The objection period ends at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 21, 2022. Additional instructions for submitting objections can be found in the legal notice and on the project website.

The environmental assessment, finding of no significant impact, draft decision notice and supporting documentation are available online at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=59444.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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