Sequoia and Sierra National Forests announced the release of their revised drafts environmental impact statement and revised draft land management plans on June 28, initiating a 90-day comment period closing on September 26. 

The forests are hosting public workshops to answer questions about the draft documents. The draft documents address the protection of wild and scenic rivers, fire management, wildlife species, aquatic and riparian ecosystems and recreation.The plans also continue the removalof millions of dead trees.

Those who have questions, but can’t attend a public workshop, virtual office hours are  scheduled for August 14. Public workshops will be held on August 20 and 21.

Virtual Office Hours:  The virtual office hours are open format discussions intended to gather and respond to questions those have while reviewing the draft documents. The next virtual office hours will be held on August 14, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Early registration is required. Please register by noon Tuesday, August 13 . Email fariba.hamedani@usda.gov to register. If  there are not at least 15 individuals registered by that deadline, the session will be canceled and responses will be made to registrants individually.  

It’s encouraged to send specific questions in advance to Fariba Hamedani at fariba.hamedani@usda.gov as soon as possible. Questions not submitted in advance will likely be answered after office hours.

 Please note any questions or comments submitted for the virtual office hours won’t qualify as formal written comments.  Please visit the project webpage (https://tinyurl.com/USFS-r5planrevision) for information on how to submit formal written comments.

 Public Workshops:  The Sequoia National Forest is hosting a public workshop on August 20, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at The Station by Kern County Fire Fighters, 7900 Downing Ave., Bakersfield. The Sierra National Forest is hosting a public workshop on August 21, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at Clovis Veteran’s Memorial District building, 808 4th St., Clovis. 

Recorded Kick-off Webinar:  The release of these revised draft documents was followed by a kick-off public webinar on July 10, to provide the public with an orientation to the plan revision effort, revised draft analysis, and revised draft plans. Covered is how to submit formal, written comments in a way that’s most helpful in shaping the development of final plans moving forward. Those interested can watch the webinar and download project documents by visiting the project website:  .

For further information on the plan revision effort, please contact the Team Lead, Fariba Hamedani, at 707-562-9121 or by email to fariba.hamedani@usda.gov

 

The draft plans address the 147 million trees that have died across nearly 10 million acres of public and privately-owned lands across the state since the drought began in 2010. While the majority of those 10 million acres are not part of the Sierra and Sequoia, our forests are the epicenter of this epidemic. The draft plans set the stage for continuing the work that the state, federal and local partners have done to fell 1.5 million dead and dying hazard trees since 2016, with a focus on those that pose the greatest threat to public health and safety.

Over a 15 year period, the draft plans also propose restoring as many as 180,000 acres on both forests to improve forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic, high-intensity wildfires and problems like insects and disease. We plan to do this in part by effectively using lower-intensity fires, in a controlled way and at an increased scale.  Lower-intensity fires are a critical component to a healthy and resilient landscape.  Fire can clear landscapes that become overgrown and can recycle organic matter back into the forest floor to enrich the soil and feed the growth that follows. Thanks to partnerships with organizations like CAL FIRE, the draft plans have guidance for how this can be done while protecting lives and communities from large, high-intensity wildfires’ ill effects.

 

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