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KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The U.S. Forest Service is accepting public comment regarding its revised scoping document for the South Revillagigedo Integrated Resource Project that’s being planned for the Shelter Cove, Shoal Cove and Thorne Arm areas.
The Forest Service is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed project, which would include harvests of old-growth and young-growth timber, development of recreational opportunities in the Shelter Cove and Saddle Lakes, restoration of watershed functions, and restoration and enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat, according to agency information.
Public comment is being accepted by the Forest Service through July 31.
Acting Tongass National Forest Supervisor Troy Heithecker said in a prepared statement that public input on projects like these is critical in ensuring that the agency is responsive to the needs and concerns of local communities.
“We are asking for our communities to let us know what they think about this plan going forward,” Heithecker said in the statement. “The people closest to these resources are most affected by how they are managed, so we need their thoughts, energy and support if we are going to be successful in managing their lands effectively.”
The scope of the proposed project has changed since its original release this past August.
For example, the original scoping considered the harvest of 60 million board feet of timber from up to 6,000 acres over a 15-year period. The new scoping announced on July 1 contemplates a harvest of 46 million board feet from up to 5,500 acres of old-growth forested land and up to 1,000 acres of young-growth.
The level of road activity is reduced in the new scoping document, as well.
Rather than 30 miles of new National Forest System roads, the new scoping cites 10 miles of such roads. The original proposal for 104 miles of reconstructed or reconditioned NFS roads is reduced to 80 miles, and the earlier inclusion of 60 miles of new temporary roads has been cut to 45 miles.
More information about the proposed project is available online at the Forest Service’s website for the project, which is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=53477.
Comments, which should include the commenter’s name, current physical mailing address, organization name if commenting as a representative, and the project title “South Revilla IRP” should be received by the Forest Service or postmarked by July 31, according to the agency.
Comments can’t be emailed (with South Revilla IRP in the subject line) to the agency at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments also can be mailed or hand-delivered to the Ketchikan Misty Fjords Ranger District (South Revilla IRP), at 3031 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan, Alaska, 99901.
The Forest Service anticipates having the draft Environmental Impact Statement completed by December, with the final EIS ready by October 2020.