Central OregonForest Service plans nearly 20,000 acres of vegetation treatment, road closures near...

Forest Service plans nearly 20,000 acres of vegetation treatment, road closures near Green Ridge

Forest Service plans nearly 20,000 acres of vegetation treatment, road closures near Green Ridge

Project includes thinning, mowing, prescribed burns

SISTERS, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Sisters Ranger District is releasing a draft decision notice and final environmental assessment Tuesday on a large-scale, nearly 20,000-acre vegetation treatment project covering the Green Ridge area, including thinning, prescribed burns and 55 miles of road closures and decommissioning (removals).

With the release of the draft decision, a 45-day objection filing period will open to those who have previously commented on the project, the Deschutes National Forest said in Monday’s announcement, which continues in full below:

“The Green Ridge Landscape Restoration project proposes the range of treatments needed to make the overall Central Oregon landscape more resilient to wildfires, insects, and disease. Recent investments made through the Forest Service 10-year Wildfire Crisis strategy will support this work,” said Holly Jewkes, Forest Supervisor for the Deschutes National Forest supervisor, said in Monday’s announcement.

The alternative chosen in the draft decision includes up to 19,437 acres of thinning, mowing, and prescribed fire treatments. It also authorizes restoration of aspen and cottonwood stands and 268 acres of hand thinning of small trees around meadow edges in prime mule deer habitat.

Changes to roads in the area are also an important part of the chosen alternative. The draft decision authorizes 35 miles of road closures and 20 miles of road decommissioning. Some of the road decommissioning includes unauthorized roads.

The Forest Service says the road closures and decommissioning will reduce disturbance to and increase core habitat for mule deer and other wildlife species. Given declines in mule deer populations in the area over the past several years, the road closures and decommissioning are an important aspect of the project.

The draft decision authorizes realignment and parking lot improvements of Green Ridge Trail #4025, cutting of approximately 5.25 million board feet of timber and includes all connected actions such as tree planting.

“We are excited to release the draft decision notice and edge one step closer to implementing this important project. I feel the selected alternative best balances resource protection of sensitive areas such as northern spotted owl habitat with active management of treating fuels, closing unnecessary roads, and providing forest products to local economies,” said Ian Reid, District Ranger for the Sisters District.

Only individuals or organizations that previously submitted specific written comments during a designated opportunity for public comment may object to this draft decision within 45 days. More information on the project and copies of these documents are available at: https://bit.ly/3yjVHqX .

For more information regarding the objection process please contact Lauren DuRocher at 541-316-9686.

The post Forest Service plans nearly 20,000 acres of vegetation treatment, road closures near Green Ridge appeared first on KTVZ.

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