Decision Released for Glacier Loon Fuels Reduction and Forest Health Project

By Beacon Staff

The Swan Lake District Ranger has published a decision for the Glacier Loon Fuels Reduction and Forest Health Project Environmental Assessment.

Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber decided to implement Alternative D of the EA, with modifications as the selected alternative.

Several plans and other regulations also provide context to the management direction for these lands. These include the National Fire Plan, the Missoula County Wildfire Protection Plan, the Seeley Swan Fire Plan, the Healthy Forests Restoration Act and the Flathead National Forest land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan).

“The need for the Glacier Loon Fuels Reduction and Forest Health Project was based upon the differences between desired landscape conditions and current conditions related to hazardous fuels treatment in the wildland-urban interface, forest health, and forest products on National Forest lands in the project area,” Swan Lake District Ranger Rich Kehr said in a statement.

A summary of the actions in the decision include the following:

— Fuel reduction and forest health treatment of affected stands on approximately 1,405 acres of National Forest System (NFS) lands within the Glacier Loon Project Area.

— Harvest activities will be implemented using tractor, skyline, mechanical, and hand treatments in the summer and tractor and forwarder logging systems during the winter.

— Slash will be treated through a combination of the following; whole tree yarding (or possibly yarding of tops), lop and scatter, masticating, and/or excavator piling. Fuel accumulations at landings will be treated by either burning, chipping/masticating, and/or removal from National Forest lands. Prescribed fire treatments will include broadcast burning, pile burning and/or jackpot burning.

— Hand planting with desired species will occur on an estimated 305 acres within regeneration treatment units. Where adequate site preparation is achieved, natural regeneration will be expected to occur and in some cases supplement with planted seedlings.

— Fuels treatment will occur on 1,159 acres within the Wildland Urban Interface.

— Fuels treatment will occur on 246 acres outside the Wildland Urban Interface.

— Best Management Practices (BMPs) will be implemented on an estimated 29.3 miles of haul routes to meet Timber Sale Requirements and reduce sediment yields. Application of BMPs on all temporary roads constructed and roads temporarily opened will also be implemented as requirements of the timber sale.

— Units would be accessed through an estimated 5.9 miles of temporary road construction. System roads would be used for road haul. These temporary roads would be reclaimed following their use.

— Road decommissioning of an estimated 8.4 miles of National Forest System Road.

Additional information is available by following the NEPA Projects link on the website and clicking on the Glacier Loon Project link.

For more information call Kehr at 406-837-7501.

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