Vegetation management projects planned


DEL NORTE— The Divide Ranger District is requesting public input for the analysis of proposed vegetation projects in the Rock Creek Drainage.
The proposed activities are within an approximate 3,750 acre analysis area located within the Rock Creek Drainage approximately 12 miles southwest of Monte Vista within T.37N. R.6E. Sections 4, and 9 – 16.  The project is proposing to treat vegetation in the Rock Creek drainage by a combination of methods which may include mastication (mulching), hand crews, prescribed fire and limited aspen harvest over the course of several years.
Within the analysis area, up to 500 acres of small diameter mixed conifer will be masticated or thinned by hand crews. Hand crews will be focused in areas too steep for machinery. A follow up to these treatments may involve prescribed fire in early spring or late fall as conditions are appropriate. Additionally, up to 50 acres of aspen are being considered for harvest because of proximity to existing roads.
The first treatment proposed for implementation consists of a mulching/hand crew unit of approximately 120 acres potentially as early as late summer of 2019. The projects are planned to improve big game winter range, re-establish aspen while also removing a forest product, reduce fuels, and to improve the overall health of timber stands by removing understory trees heavily impacted by western spruce budworm.
Our preliminary determination is that the projects are within categories of actions listed in regulations 36 CFR 220.6(e), that are excluded from documentation in an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement, and that there are no extraordinary circumstances that would preclude use of a categorical exclusion.
Written comments are most useful if received within 30 days of this publication and may be mailed to Divide Ranger District, 13308 W. Hwy 160, Del Norte, CO 81132. Comments may also be submitted electronically to [email protected] or via facsimile to 719-657-6035. Additional information can be obtained by calling Dale Gomez at 719-657-6024 or at the Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/riogrande/landmanagement/projects.


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