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Draft EIS Done for Fuels Management

July 30, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

The Jackson Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest has completed the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Teton to Snake Fuels Management Project. Following the DEIS, the Notice of Availability (NOA) for the open comment period is scheduled to start approximately on August 7, 2015.

 The Teton to Snake Fuels Management Project is located in Teton and Lincoln Counties just west of the town of Jackson, Wyoming. This project proposes to use thinning and prescribed fire treatments in the wildland-urban interface to reduce potential wildfire intensity and the need for aggressive suppression responses; reduce the likelihood of wildfire spreading to private lands; increase firefighter safety; and allow fire to operate more freely as a natural ecosystem process, especially in the Palisades Wilderness Study Area (WSA).

The DEIS includes three alternatives analyzed in detail. Alternative 3 (the preferred alternative) would mechanically thin about 1,800 acres and use prescribed fire on about 12,500 acres. Mechanical thinning would include commercial and non-commercial activities. All actions include design features and best management practices to reduce or eliminate potential adverse environmental effects. No construction of temporary or permanent roads, or commercial harvest would occur within the WSA or inventoried roadless areas. The project’s Wildland Urban Interface area is considered as having one of the highest fire risk ratings in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, as it is located near a highly dense residential area. 

The Environmental Protection Agency will publish a Notice of Availability (NOA) for the DEIS in the Federal Register. Written, facsimile, hand-delivered, and electronic comments concerning this action will be accepted for 45 days following that date. The publication date of the NOA in the Federal Register is the exclusive means for calculating the comment period for a proposed action documented in a draft EIS. Those wishing to comment should not rely upon dates or timeframe information provided by any other source. The NOA will be posted on the Forest’s website upon publication.

Online copies of the document and comment instructions can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=23638. For more information about this project, contact Steve Markason, North Zone Fire Management Officer at (307) 739-5431 or smarkason@fs.fed.us

Brooks Out At Soda Butte

July 30, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

Yellowstone National Park, in coordination with partner agencies Montana Fish, Wildlife &Parks, Wyoming Game &Fish Department, and the US Forest Service, has approved a project to remove nonnative brook trout from Soda Butte Creek and reintroduce Yellowstone cutthroat trout into the stream as part of continued efforts to restore Yellowstone’s native fish population.

The Soda Butte Creek Native Fish Restoration Project will help restore an important fishery in upper Soda Butte Creek by protecting native cutthroat trout populations of the entire Lamar River watershed from future invasion by nonnative brook trout. This project is part of Yellowstone’s 2010 Native Fish Conservation Plan to conserve native fish from threats of non-native species, disease, and climate. Under this proposal, biologists will remove brook trout by applying an EPA-approved piscicide (rotenone) to Soda Butte Creek upstream of Ice Box Canyon.

Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, a draft Categorical Exclusion (CE) for this project was prepared and made available for public review from May 20 to June 19, 2015. The park received a total of 56 pieces of correspondence. In response to public comments concerning potential negative impacts to native Yellowstone cutthroat trout currently living in Soda Butte Creek, both Yellowstone National Park and Montana Fish, Wildlife &Parks will use electroshock fishing to remove cutthroat trout prior to the rotenone treatments. The salvaged cutthroat trout will be held within the Soda Butte Creek watershed and returned to the creek in the areas of Cooke City and Silver Gate following the rotenone treatments.

Cutthroat trout are the only trout species native to Yellowstone and were once the dominant fish species within the park prior to Euroamerican settlement. Native cutthroat trout are thought to be among the most ecologically important fish of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and are highly regarded by anglers. Genetically pure Yellowstone cutthroat trout populations have declined throughout their natural range in the Intermountain West, succumbing to competition with and predation by nonnative fish species, a loss of genetic integrity through hybridization, habitat degradation and predation.

No New Commish Before Aug 4th

July 29, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

 

teton-county-logoNo decision on a county commission seat will be made before next Tuesday.

County Commissioners have met behind closed doors for about a total of nine hours so far in their quest to make a decision on selecting s replacement for Mellissa Turley.

After a second round of questioning this morning, Natalia Macker, Len Carlman, and Phoebe Snow were sent out of the room and Paul Vogelheim, Mark Newcomb, Barb Allen, and Smokey Rhea went into an executive session that recessed over the lunch hour and resumed at 2:30. Now that meeting has been continued again – until August 4th.

There had been some indication that the field may have been narrowed down to two of the three, but commissioner refused to confirm that.

The Teton County Democratic Party had tendered the names for consideration on Thursday and thecommission, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans began interviews yesterday.

The apparent deadlock is thought to be along party lines, however members of the board are mum on the actual discussion.

Commissioners Don’t Have A Decision

July 29, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

Teton County Commissioners broke from a closed door meeting at 12:15 this afternoon without deciding on the replacement for Melissa Turley, who resigned earlier this month.

Teton County Democrats whittled down a list of over a dozen names to three and presented a slate featuring Natalia Macker, Phoebe Stoner, and Len Carlman for the board’s consideration.

The commissioners will reconvene at 2:30 this afternoon, again behind closed doors.

There was some indications that the group had narrowed the field down to two choices. The candidates were brought in for a second round of questions this morning after interviews yesterday. The commissioners had several hours of non-public conversation yesterday as well.

August 12th is the deadline for the decision and if one is not made, a judge will determine the outcome.

Its Chip-Seal Season!

July 29, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

Chip-sealing begins today on Cache Creek Drive (Redmond to Rancher), West Kelly Avenue, West Hall Street, Hansen Street (Rancher to South Cache), Karns Avenue   (Vine to Milward), South Willow Street (Snow King to Broadway), and West Pearl Street (Willow to east end).

This chip-sealing project will occur over a three-day period between July 29 and July 31st.   Seal coating is tentatively scheduled to occur on the same roadways on Wednesday August 5, 2015, weather depending. Parking on these streets shall be prohibited between the hours of 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM.  Please be aware of posted “No Parking” signage. Parking on adjacent streets may access businesses and Residences. Vehicles parked on streets that have been signed “No Parking” WILL BE TOWED at the owners expense.

YNP Road Norris to Mammoth Closed at Night

July 29, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

A portion of the Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone National Park is closed at night. The 5.4 mile closure is part of a multi-year road improvement project on the 16-mile stretch of road between Norris Geyser Basin and the Golden Gate area in Swan Lake Flats just south of Mammoth Hot Springs. This year marks the final phase of the project.

Nightly closures will be in effect seven days a week between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am for the section of road just north of the entrance to the Norris Campground to the Moose Exhibit turnaround in the Willow Park area just south of the Indian Creek Campground eight miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs. Both campgrounds will remain open and accessible 24 hours a day. The closures are anticipated to last into September, but may be extended until early October if needed to safely complete the road project before winter.
“We realize closing this portion of the road will be an inconvenience to some visitors,” said Superintendent Dan Wenk. “However, the window of opportunity to perform road construction in Yellowstone is limited due to the long winters. By implementing these closures at night, it allows the contractor to more safely and effectively get this critical work done, while impacting the fewest number of visitors. No one wants their vacation to be affected by road construction, but we can all appreciate the safer, more enjoyable park experience that this project will provide.”
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