Cliff Knox Project documents available for public review
PRAIRIE CITY & HINES, OR – (Press Release from the Malheur National Forest)
The Malheur National Forest – Prairie City and Emigrant Creek Ranger Districts have prepared a draft Record of Decision (ROD) and a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Cliff Knox Project. These documents are available for public review on the Malheur National Forest website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50433.
The 40,000-acre Cliff Knox Project includes vegetation restoration actions and related road activities to improve forest resilience, reduce the risk of uncharacteristic disturbances like catastrophic wildfire or widespread insect and disease outbreaks and improve unique habitats such as riparian, quaking aspen, mountain mahogany, shrub steppe and meadows. Two action alternatives and the no action alternative were analyzed in the FEIS.
The draft Record of Decision is subject to an objection process pursuant to Forest Service regulations at 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 218 (https://www.ecfr.gov). The regulations at 36 CFR 218 provide an opportunity for individuals and organizations to file an objection to a project before the final decision is signed. This allows interested individuals and organizations to share their concerns regarding the decision with the deciding official before the final decision is made.
Objections will only be accepted from individuals and entities as defined in 36 CFR 218.2 who have previously submitted specific written comments regarding the proposed project during either of the 30-day scoping period or 45-day comment period on the draft environmental impact statement in accordance with 36 CFR 218.5(a).
The draft Record of Decision documents the deciding official’s rationale for selecting the proposed action alternative (alternative 2) with modifications. Modifications to the proposed action were made to improve elk security and reduce impacts from road construction. The decision includes forest and unique habitat restoration activities (commercial, small diameter and non-commercial thinning), landscape scale prescribed burning and managing unplanned ignitions, road activities (road use and maintenance for haul, temporary road construction, and road system changes), designating wildlife connectivity corridors, and forest plan amendments. The draft Record of Decision is based on the careful design of the project and the effects analysis in the Cliff Knox Project FEIS. Limited copies of the final environmental impact statement and draft Record of Decision are available at the Malheur National Forest Supervisor’s Office/Blue Mountain Ranger District, 431 Patterson Bridge Road, John Day, OR 97845. Additional information can be obtained by emailing the project lead, Lori Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org. or Shilo Burton-Harper at email@example.com.
The project would enhance existing forest road networks to provide access while reducing road related impacts to aquatic and terrestrial habitat and water quality. The restoration activities would also benefit public and firefighter safety as well as provide economic value of forest products to support economies and provide employment opportunities. “These fire-adapted ecosystems need restoration to prevent uncharacteristically severe disturbances from wildfire or insect and disease outbreaks,” said Craig Trulock, Forest Supervisor. “This project will restore our dry pine forest types, create healthier forest conditions, support jobs, and improve fish and wildlife habitats.”