(LARAMIE, Wyo.) October 8, 2019 – The USDA Forest Service has been working with cooperating agencies this summer on clarifying certain aspects of the Medicine Bow Landscape Vegetation Analysis project. The project’s timeline was adjusted earlier this year when the Draft Record of Decision was withdrawn so that citizen concerns could be addressed by providing further detail.
Examples of topics being addressed include clarifying the important role that the public and cooperating agencies will play during development and implementation of projects, more clearly describing how many miles of temporary road would be used at one time, and augmented pre-project field checklists for roadless considerations, temporary road construction, and public engagement.
A Draft Decision for public review is expected to be released in early 2020, which will then initiate the 30-day objection filing period. After the objection filing period, consideration of issues raised, and resolution of issues by the Reviewing Official, it is expected that the Forest Supervisor will be prepared to issue a final Record of Decision before Spring 2020. A new project implementation timeline will be established after the final Record of Decision is issued.
The initial Proposed Action for the project was presented to the public in July of 2017. The proposed project will provide the planning, implementation, and adaptive management foundation for improving forest conditions through treatments on a maximum of 360,000 acres, spread over 15 years.
The Landscape Vegetation Analysis project, also known as LaVA, intends to authorize adaptive management of forest vegetation in a timely manner. LaVA will reduce the risk of wildfire near communities and allow removal and utilization of beetle-killed timber while it is still marketable.
This landscape-scale proposal was developed by the USDA Forest Service along with multiple cooperating agencies. It will accelerate the pace and scale of active forest restoration using a wide range of tools. Those tools include tree thinning, harvest, and hazard tree removal, as well as prescribed burning in the Medicine Bow National Forest, Sierra Madre and Snowy Ranges.
Project information is available on the Forest web site at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=51255.