USFS Southern HDs Landscape Restoration Draft EA

The pre-decisional draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Southern HDs Landscape
Restoration Project is available for 30 days for your comment and review. The EA, including
maps, is available for download from the San Juan National Forest (SJNF) website at:
https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=58742

BACKGROUND and NEED
The project area encompasses approximately 35,000 acres in the HD Mountains on the
Columbine Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest. The project is located south and east
of Bayfield, in Townships 34-35 North, Ranges 5-6 West, N.M.P.M., within La Plata and
Archuleta Counties, Colorado.
The need for this project is to move existing vegetative conditions toward desired conditions as
described in the San Juan National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan. Due to longterm
exclusion of fire, the vegetation is not meeting desired conditions, now having tight canopy
spacing, low canopy base height, extensive ladder fuels under mature ponderosa pine trees, and
continuous, thick ground fuels. This project is designed to provide integrated vegetation
treatments that will meet multiple objectives. More specifically to:
• create and maintain vegetation conditions that support desirable fire behavior, and
support beneficial fire;
• improve forest and ecosystem diversity and resilience to disturbance;
• reduce risk to life, property, cultural, and natural resources from wildfire;
• decrease the financial costs of wildfire suppression;
• improve wildlife habitat diversity;
• increase forage production for grazing wildlife and livestock;
• provide wood products to meet local demands.
Public and Tribal involvement has been on-going since the fall of 2020 through scoping letters
and emails, presentations to the northern San Juan Basin Stakeholders and Four Rivers Resilient
Forest Collaborative groups, a field trip with Tribal representatives, and listing on the San Juan
National Forest’s Schedule of Proposed Actions. Internal and external scoping revealed concerns
about impacts from the proposed action to forest health and vegetation, fire behavior, adjacent
landowners, recreation, Colorado Roadless Areas, wildlife, soils, and cultural resources. These
impacts are analyzed in the EA.
As a result of scoping responses, part of the initial proposed action was dropped from detailed
consideration, which would have designated a dual-purpose fire line and motorized trail between
Saul’s Creek and Spring Creek. As result of dropping the motorized trail proposal, the Forest
Service considered one action alternative in detail.
Written comments can be submitted in one of the following ways:
The preferred method is to submit electronic comments through an on-line comment form at:
https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=58742
or
Postal, delivery service, or hand delivered to: Southern HDs EA Comments, Columbine
Ranger District, P.O. Box 439, 367 Pearl Street, Bayfield, CO 81122. Comments may be
delivered to the Columbine Ranger District between the hours of 8:00am-4:30pm Mon-Fri,
excluding holidays.
or
Comments may be faxed to: Southern HDs EA Comments at (970) 884-2428.