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News: Comment period opens for St. Vrain Forest Health Project

June 8, 2022

BOULDER, Colo. (June 8, 2022) – The Roosevelt National Forest’s Boulder Ranger District, today, opened its public comment period 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.”

“We read every comment we receive and carefully consider whether we need to develop alternatives or adjust our upcoming environmental analysis to include something we didn’t address in our initial proposal,” said Boulder District Ranger Kevin McLaughlin. “We always welcome feedback and input, and this project builds regular public input into its core structure, but comments will be most relevant if received within the official comment period, before we develop alternatives and begin our environmental analysis.”

All the documents related to the proposal were released for public review on May 25. 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.

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.

“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.”

To be the most helpful, comments provided should be within the scope of the proposed action or suggest alternatives, have a direct relationship to the proposed plan or alternatives and must include supporting reasons for the responsible official to consider. Examples could include suggested modifications or corrections to the information in the proposed action, missing environmental or socioeconomic information not already identified in the proposed action, new information about laws, regulations, or guidance that apply to forest management, missing scientific research or errors in the Forest Service’s rationale, and points in the proposal that are confusing or hard to understand.

Starting on June 8, 2022, the Forest Service’s Comment Analysis and Response Application (CARA) web comment form on this page will be available for submitting comments.  All comments must be received prior to 11:59 p.m. July 8 to be considered as part of the project record.

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. A recording of the public webinar held on June 2 is also available online.