Afton, Wyo. – The Greys River Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest is beginning the public scoping period for a second round of treatment on National Forest lands near the Town of Star Valley to increase stand vigor, decrease dead trees and fuel loading near the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area.
The area in proposition is located on Forest land adjacent to private property in the town of Star Valley Ranch and Lincoln County. This will be the second treatment for the area since the 2005-06 seasons where it was first treated to reduce the built up of forest fuels. Due to the likelihood of future debris accumulation that can intensify a potential fire, a monitoring plan was developed to ensure the area did not gradually increase available fuels. The current presence of Douglas-fir and mountain pine bark beetles has increased the amount of dead trees in the area causing an accumulation of forest fuels. In order to maximize stand health, repel bark beetles, and lower fuel accumulation, the Greys River Ranger District is proposing to treat up to 293 acres in the area treated nine years ago and some additional areas in the Wildland Urban Interface.
The project area is located within the Inventoried Roadless Area #03002. Treatment for the fuel reduction includes thinning conifer trees, falling, limbing and bucking of dead standing trees, limbing and bucking of dead and live downed trees, and the limbing of larger live conifer trees. Most wood and debris coming from this project will be piled and burned as weather permits.
This project is located within the Upper Star Valley area, recognized by the 2015 Lincoln County Community Wildfire Protection Plan as priority number two for fire risk within Lincoln County. The Town of Star Valley Ranch has reached an agreement to treat private land through a joint Wyoming Division of Forestry grant to improve stand health and lower the threat of bark beetle infestation within the Greys River Ranger District.
The Greys River Ranger District is opening its comment period for the project to ensure there are no extraordinary circumstances related to this decision that that may lead to significant individual or cumulative environmental effects. This project is expected to be authorized by the use of a categorical exclusion, which would exclude the decision from documentation in an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment.
Written comments must be submitted to Richard Raione, District Ranger for the Greys River Ranger District, or to Dwayne Gibbons, West Zone Fire Manager Officer, at 671 North Washington St., Afton, WY 83110. Comments can also be submitted though email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com by May 22, 2015.
Further information of the scoping notice and a description of the proposed project are available online atwww.fs.usda.gov/main/btnf/home.