IDAHO – Scoping and comment period begins for the Sage Hen Integrated Restoration Project

sagehen-area-project

The Emmett Ranger District of the Boise National Forest has initiated a scoping and comment period for the Sage Hen Integrated Restoration Project, effective April 15, 2020. The opportunity to comment ends 30 days following the date of publication of the legal notice in the newspaper of record. The legal notice published April 14, 2020, in the Idaho Statesman. Members of the public are invited to submit comments related to the project’s Proposed Action.

“This is an opportunity for people who are interested in the project to provide their feedback on proposed actions to improve forest conditions in the Sage Hen area.” Said Katie Wood, Emmett District Ranger. “We welcome suggestions so we can move forward with on the ground restoration activities to address a wide range of ecological and recreational issues within the project area.”

The Sage Hen project area encompasses about 67,800 acres within Gem and Valley counties and around Sage Hen reservoir. The purpose of this project is to:

  •  Manage and restore vegetation conditions to improve resiliency to uncharacteristic disturbances.
  •  Improve aquatic and terrestrial habit and watershed conditions.
  •  Improve and manage recreational opportunities and use.
  •  Support local and regional economies.

Proposed actions include using a variety of tools to meet project objectives, such as:

  •  Reducing hazardous fuels (prescribed burning, mechanical and non-mechanical treatments)
  •  Timber harvest, (noncommercial thinning and reforestation)
  •  Replacing culverts to improve aquatic organism passage
  •  Road management activities and decommissioning roads causing ecological damage
  •  Campground and trailhead improvements and dispersed camping changes

USDA Forest Service plans to analyze the project under an Environmental Assessment. The project area, potential treatments and proposed activities are described in more detail in the Preliminary Purpose and Need and Proposed Action, which is available online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=56701 (see Scoping tab).

Following Governor Little’s “Stay at Home Order” and recommended social distancing guidelines the Emmett Ranger District will not be holding any face-to face public meetings. Public comments can be mailed in or submitted through the Sage Hen Integrated Restoration Project’s website under the scoping tab. To comment electronically visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=56701. Select “Comment” under “Get Connected” on the right side of the webpage. To submit comments using the web form, select “Comment on Project” on the right side of the webpage. If uploading a file with comments, comments must be in the form of plain text (.txt), Word (.doc, .docx) or PDF (.pdf).

Due to COúVID-19 concerns we are asking comments be submitted electronically when possible to minimize exposure; however, hard copy comments can still be submitted via mail by sending them to Emmett Ranger District, 185 7 Highway 16, Suite A, Emmett, ID 8361 7, Attention: Katherine Wood, or by fax at 208-3657037. If submitting comments by mail or fax, include “Sage Hen” in the subject line.

The responsible official is not accepting hand-delivered comments at this time as the Emmett Ranger District office currently is closed to the public as part of precautions in response to COVID-19. If for some reason you cannot submit comments electronically or via traditional mail, or you wish to provide hard copies of documents referenced in your electronic or traditional mail comments, please, contact Katherine Wood at 208-365-7000.

Thanks in advance and, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.

Ric Foster
Public Lands Volunteer
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext. 2