Second comment period opens for St. Vrain Forest Health Project
BOULDER, Colo. (March 20, 2023) – Following nearly 8 months of careful study and analysis, Roosevelt National Forest officials have posted the draft environmental assessment for the St. Vrain Forest Health Project for public review and comment, marking the second formal comment period on this project. The comment period is open through Tuesday, April 18, 2023.
The project considers National Forest management actions across the St. Vrain Valley, from Lyons to Meeker Park, complementing work being completed on neighboring private and public lands.
“This project is about working with our communities and partners to prepare our shared landscape for wildfire,” said Boulder District Ranger Kevin McLaughlin. “We can help our forest ecosystems adapt to changing climates by proactively fostering a greater diversity of habitats. We can strategically implement forest management to give us places to contain unplanned fires when they occur. And we can bring fire back in managed ways to benefit the ecosystem, giving our watersheds and forests a better chance of recovering from fire when it happens.”
The first public comment opportunity on this project occurred in June 2022 when Forest managers requested feedback on the initial proposed action. At that time, 35 individuals and organizations submitted comments, which an interdisciplinary team evaluated and used to make factual corrections and clarifications, frame the scope of the environmental affects analysis, modify the proposed actions, and consider additional action alternatives. Consideration of those comments and preliminary responses are posted on the project webpage and can be found in Appendix E of the environmental assessment.
“One key update we made based on the first round of feedback we received was to highlight the areas we are most likely to treat within the project area,” McLaughlin said. “Using existing information, we looked at places where the dominant forest type and conditions, combined with the strategic location, feasibility, and past management history, helped us zone in on areas for potential forest management as part of this project. We hope this effort gives the public a better understanding of the possible scope of the project going forward.”
That mapping exercise also helped specialists identify any potential direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental affects that would result from this project.
To be the most helpful, comments provided should have a direct relationship to the proposed plan and effects analysis, including supporting reasons for the responsible official to consider. Examples could include suggested modifications or corrections to the information in the effects analysis, missing environmental or socioeconomic information, 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 March 20, 2023, the Forest Service’s Comment Analysis and Response Application (CARA) comment form will be available for submitting comments. All comments must be received prior to 11:59 p.m. April 18, 2023, 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.