The Hoosier National Forest invites the public to participate in a 30-day scoping period as part of a recently announced forest management project to improve forest health and sustainability.
Part of the Hoosier National Forest is included in the northwest corner of Jackson County.
The U.S. Forest Service is in the early stages of analysis and no decisions have been made yet on the actions being considered for the project that will be known as the Houston South Vegetation Management and Restoration Project.
The proposed project involves treating vegetation and conducting related management activity to improve forest health and increase sustainability of oak-hickory ecosystems, while also improving wildlife habitat, according to a news release from the Forest Service.
The project would move the forest toward its desired future condition as identified in the 2006 Hoosier National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan.
The majority of the project area is in the northwest corner of Jackson County on the Brownstown Ranger District near Kurtz. A small portion occurs in the northeast corner of Lawrence County. Maps and project details can be viewed online at fs.usda.gov/project/?project=55119.
The purpose and need of the proposal is to implement a wide array of vegetation management to provide a mosaic of forest conditions dominated by hardwoods and to restore dry hardwood forest ecosystems.
The proposal also includes the need to reduce the amount of non-native pine in the project area to encourage growth of oak/hickory stands to provide a more suitable habitat to a wider array of wildlife species.
During the planning and analysis process, there may also be a need to repair poorly maintained roads, trails, eroded areas, and replace old culverts to increase aquatic habitat passage and stream stability and enhance stream viability. If approved, implementation of the project would occur in a phased manner over the span of approximately 10 years. The project website details information about the actions being considered and analyzed through this process.
For the Forest Service to develop the proposed action into a viable project that meets the identified objectives, they need assistance from the public they serve.
The public is invited to submit comments and concerns to the Forest Service so they can consider it as part of the project.
Comments are most useful when they include specific items along with supporting facts. For comments to be considered in the next stage of analysis, they should be submitted by Dec. 26.
Written comments may be submitted by letter, email, or fax. Those who wish to comment orally need to concur that they will be relying on the individual taking their comments to accurately transcribe and record those comments.
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In your comments, include the following information:
Your name, address, email address (if available) and telephone number
The project you are commenting on: Houston South
Site specific comments about the proposal along with supporting information you believe will help identify issues, develop alternatives, or predict environmental effects of our proposal
Mail to: Hoosier National Forest, ATTN: Houston South Vegetation Management and Restoration Project; 811 Constitution Ave., Bedford, IN 47421
FAX: 812-279-3423, ATTN: Houston South Vegetation Management and Restoration Project
Email: Electronic comments must be submitted in a format such as an email message, plain text (.txt), rich text (.rtf), Word (.doc or .docx) or Portable Document Format (.pdf) to [email protected]. Please include the subject header “Houston South Vegetation Management and Restoration Project” in your email. Comments must have an identifiable name attached or verification of identity will be required. A scanned signature may serve as verification on electronic comments.
Comments can be received in person at the Hoosier National Forest office at 811 Constitution Avenue, Bedford, IN or via telephone (812) 275-5987 during normal business hours, Monday – Friday (8:00 am – 4:30 pm), excluding holidays.
Comments received, including the names and addresses of those who comment, will become part of the public record for this project and will be available for public inspection.