NEWS: Forest Service releases St. Vrain Forest Health Project planning documents for public review
BOULDER, Colo. (May 25, 2022) – The Roosevelt National Forest’s Boulder Ranger District, today, released initial project documents for the Saint Vrain Forest Heath Project. Public scoping and comment are critical components of the National Environmental Policy Act process, commonly referred to as “NEPA.”
“The formal 30-day public comment period is expected to begin June 8, and we want to give the public additional time to learn about the project and review the proposal before then,” said Boulder District Ranger Kevin McLaughlin.
The proposal creates a framework for considering small National Forest management projects across the St. Vrain Valley, from Lyons to Meeker Park, that would complement work being completed on neighboring lands. Embracing a “conditions-based approach,” this proposal would allow the Forest Service to be responsive to future community requests for forest management in the St. Vrain Watershed while remaining adaptive to a changing environment and protecting forest resources.
The Saint Vrain Forest Health Project spent a long time in development. Years of discussion, field trips and input from scientists, area residents, partners and community leaders led the way forward.
“We’ve been excited to work with the Boulder Ranger District on adaptive management planning and getting diverse community members from across the St. Vrain Watershed engaged in forest management planning on their public lands,” said Chiara Forrester, forest program manager with the Left Hand Watershed Center, which leads the St. Vrain Forest Health Partnership, a collaborative of 100-plus agencies and community partners.
The proposal package, which includes about 300 pages of project information, scientific research, maps and illustrations, outlines a shared vision for this national forest landscape: a “Desired Future Condition.” It provides concepts about what different habitats should exist across an entire watershed and provides a toolbox of appropriate management actions to achieve that vision.
“This project is about preparing our communities and landscapes to be resilient to wildfire,” McLaughlin said. “We can proactively foster a greater diversity of habitats, giving our watersheds a better chance of recovering from fire when it happens. We can bring fire back in managed ways to benefit the ecosystem. And we can prepare our communities and watersheds for changing climates.”
Learn more about the St. Vrain Forest Health Project through our interactive story map. Project documents are available for review at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/StVrain. The St. Vrain Forest Health Partnership is hosting a webinar 5:30-7 p.m. June 2 to provide information and answer questions about the proposal: Register here.