The USDA Forest Service has completed the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluating the proposed Pulaski Grouse Vegetation Project on national forest land between Lithia and Troutville.
The project was proposed to improve early successional (young forest) and mixed landscapes that benefits the ruffed grouse, woodcock, eastern towhee, prairie warbler, whip-poor-will, Carolina wren and other wildlife species as part of the revised Jefferson National Forest Revised Land and Resource Management Plan.
The goals in the management plan also include providing a stable supply of wood projects for local needs where appropriate.
To accomplish this, the proposed project calls for:
• clearcutting with reserves that will sustain a distribution of early successional habitat conditions interspersed throughout a forested landscape;
• providing dense stands of saplings in the 5-20 year age group for hiding and thermal cover;
• providing regenerating stands 3-7 years of age that still have a significant herbaceous component along creek bottoms, damp swales, and lower north or east slopes for brood habitat;
• optimizing hard and soft mast production; provide drumming platforms, and control access during critical nesting and brood-rearing seasons.
The lack of early successional habitat is the primary focus of this proposed action, and according to the management plan, clearcutting is considered the best way to create early successional habitat
To create a mosaic of intermittent young forest areas, the plan proposes taking management action through various cuttings, thinning and regeneration methods on16 units totaling about 600 acres on the 2,169 acres in a linear area along the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The EA and other documents associated with the project can be downloaded from the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest website by following the Land and Resource Management and Projects links at www.fs.usda.gov/project=47718.
The documents are also available for review a the Natural Bridge Station Forest Service district office. Printed copies are available on request.
The opportunity to comment on the EA is open for 30 days and can be done by hand-delivery to the district office, mail to District Ranger, Glenwood and Pedlar District, Pulaski Vegetation Management Project Scoping Committee, 27 Ranger Lane, Natural Bridge Station, 24579, and by email in common digital format email@example.com. Note in the subject line, note the name of the project.
For more information, contact John Donahue at 540-291-2188.