East-Central Wet Mountains Forest Health & Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project
JW Associates was the prime consultant on an Environmental Assessment through Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA) authority for the San Carlos Ranger District of the San Isabel National Forest. The purpose of the East-Central Wet Mountains Hazardous Fuels Reduction and Forest Restoration Project is to reduce fire intensity and behavior and to provide a stronghold for fire management resources to defend in the event of large wildfire(s) in that area. In addition, portions of the project area that have moved away from historic forest conditions due to the lack of disturbances would be moved back towards more historic conditions. The restored areas would create more sustainable forest conditions that are resilient to fire, insects and diseases while providing for diverse wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, sustainable watershed conditions and increased fire fighter safety. To serve this purpose, treatments may include thinning, mulching, tree removal, and prescribed burning to reduce forest canopy densities, and ground and ladder fuels in areas across the landscape.
The proposed action is to treat approximately 18,800 acres within the 111,627 acres East Central-Wet Mountains Project Area. The treatments would result in reducing wildfire hazards and improving the health of the forest. The 18,800 acres of treatment contain Ponderosa pine, Mixed conifer, Upland shrublands, Aspen and Pinyon juniper.
The EA has been been through the Objection Period, without any objections filed. We completed scoping (including 2 scoping meetings), development and refinement of the proposed action, and issues and alternatives. In addition to writing the EA document, we also managed the drafting and revising of 8 specialist reports, including the Biological Evaluation/Biological Evaluation Assessment. Brad Piehl was the project manager and watershed lead. Jessica Wald was the public involvement lead and writer/editor. John Baas was the socio-economics, recreation and visuals lead. Zoe Ghali was the wildlife lead.