Wild places sustain and define us; we, in turn, must protect them.
The Forest Service has released their formal proposal (scoping document) for the “Improving Conditions in the Blackwater Watershed” project, which would approve thousands of acres of logging on the east side of Cave Run Lake.
Comments on the Blackwater project are due by Friday, June 21st, 2019. Directions for commenting are at the end of this alert (comments made on this blog post do not go to the Forest Service).
Despite having held a series of public meetings and conversations during the development of the project, the Forest Service has failed to provide critical information in the proposal - including the actual locations of where they would sell timber. Instead, the agency has provided maps that show nearly 12,000 acres of areas where logging could happen over the next 10 to 30 years if they approve the project.
A breakdown of the confusing information provided in the proposal indicates that the Forest Service plans to log nearly to 1,200 acres per decade under this proposal, with an open-ended timeframe. The actual locations of logging areas won’t be determined or disclosed until after the environmental analysis and final decision approving the project – and well after the public has any meaningful opportunity to provide input or challenge the project. This is a radical change from decades of management and planning on the Daniel Boone National Forest, and follows an alarming trend happening on other national forests.
What we do know is that most of the logging would be in the form even-aged shelterwood cuts, where about 85% of the canopy is cut across units (stands) of 20 to 40 acres. A small amount of the shelterwood cutting (less than 5%) would take place to restore ecologically important limestone and cedar glades. Depending on the specific locations and practices used, some timber harvest to restore these glades could be beneficial.
The Forest Service has also proposed a small amount of uneven-aged management through group selection. However, what the Forest Service is calling “uneven-aged” management would consist of 1 to 2 acre clearcuts, rather than more selective, finer-scale silvicultural approaches that could support the development of true, multi-age forest structure.
The project would also allow for a variety of activities meant to improve streams across the project area, which we support. Stream restoration and improvement work could include reshaping stream channels, adding coarse woody debris, and planting native vegetation, as well as road work replacing culverts, hardening stream crossings, and relocating roads. The proposal also includes upgrading and seasonally opening certain roads in the project area to increase recreational access.
A summary of our main concerns:
What we do support:
We’ll post our full comments on our website once we get them submitted.
The official proposal, maps, and other project files can be viewed here.
Comments are due by Friday, June 21st, 2019
Make sure to include the full project title "Improving conditions in the Blackwater Watershed" with your comments.
Documents for the project can be found on the Forest Service’s website here.
Comments can be submitted in the following ways:
The Daniel Boone National Forest Service website has a comment form on their website here.
They have also a reading room, where you can read comments that have been submitted by the public.
Comments can also be sent by postal mail to:
Cumberland Ranger District, DBNF
2375 KY 801 South
Morehead, KY 40351
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