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June 6, 2012     The Adams County Record
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June 6, 2012
 

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Page 18 Wednesda June 6, 2012 Payette National Forest the fuel for the biomass plant. Last year a grinder that was used didn't make the right kind of fuel to feed properly. This method will hopefully make a quality chip that will work better for the plant. Red tape runaround For the past three years, the Forest Service has been temporarily opening dosed roads so that people can harvest firewood along them. The plan was to open five of the six roads that were opened last year that still have significant amounts of firewood, plus several more roads. But this year a wrench has been thrown into the works because of a court decision in California. Firewood roads were being opened under a "Categorical Exclusion" (CE), which is a short process for actions that entail no significant environmental effects. In California someone challenged a Forest Service CE action, and, long story short, any CE that requires a "Decision Memo" or any project that involves a "timber product" is subject to the appeal regulations and requires a notice and comment period. Because of this, the process would likely be prolonged by about 135 days, which would not allow for the roads to be opened before it would be time to close the roads again for big game security (hunting season). So, unless the case is settled soon, no closed roads will be opened this year for firewood harvest. Next year the Council and Weiser District Ranger plans to open roads for firewood collection again. The extra time needed will be allowed for so that roads can be opened in mi&summer. The regular personal use firewood program is not affected by this CE challenge. Cutting firewood on open and seasonally- open roads will continue as usual this year. Firewood cutters should be aware that there are areas (shown on the firewood map) where cutting firewood above the road in riparian conservation areas is not allowed in order to -protect bull trout habitat. Woodcutters should also note that motoriZed skidding with cables and other means is not allowed unless it is authorized for p.articular situations. The Forest Service will continue to work with Adams County to make firewood available for the Senior Citizens firewood program. Road Projects Ranger Lesch said the bridge on the East Fork Road that was washed out several years ago will be replaced this summer and should be completed by fall. Other repair work on that road will close it temporarily. Around mid- July to mid-August, the road will be temporarily closed at a point four miles up from the junction with the Shingle Flat Road for up to two weeks. When the work is about to start, the Forest Service will release updates with a more specific time frame. Repair work on the Middle Fork Road is continuing this summer, and may close that road temporarily for up to two weeks, probably in !ate June or early July. If possible, the contractor will try to keep a single-lane open while the work goes on, with complete closures for short periods. The restoration of the road and the road banks will be an ongoing project for the next couple years. For a map showing road projects on the west side of the Forest, you can go to www.fs.usda.gov/payette and do a search on the site for "west road projects." Road Decommissioning Melanie Vining reported Continued from front page for several years. Ttmber harvest, biomass chipping, road construction, road obliteration, and other related activities are being completed by several sale purchasers and contractors: Tom Mahon Logging, Idaho Forest Group, Yellowstone Power, J- I. Morgan, Gladhart Logging, South Fork Wood Products, Tamarack Mill, Boise Building Solutions, Ikola Logging, Helmich Industries and Carlock - Logging. On the Council District, the last hmber sale was awarded three years ago. For the past three years, the Forest Service in Council has put most of theirenergy into the Mill Creek - Council Mountain Landscape Restoration Projec t . The first timber sale from that project will be offered this fall. It will include about 8 million board feet on Cottonwood Creek. Then for the next couple of years, the Council District will offer three large timber sales and a couple smaller sales in the Mill Creek - Council Mountain project area. The first sale will be an Integrated Resource Timber Contract (IRTC), which means the value of timber that is harvested will pay for the cost of other work done in the sale area. By contrast, an Integrated Resource Service Contract (IRSC) is a contract where the value of the timber will not cover the cost of restoration activities, and other funds are used to supplement, the contract. For instance, several recent IRSCshave been funded by stimulus money. Both of these types of contracts are called stewardship contracts because restoration projects other than timber harvest are included, and the primary objective is to improve conditions within the contract area. Preparation work for the Cottonwood Creek timber sale is nearly completed. Timber harvest could begin this fall. Part of the project will be improvements to the Cottonwood and Mill Creek roads, which is included as a separate contract. There are three timber sales currently active on the Council District: Cuprum Fuels Reduction, Crooked River Restoration, and Summit Gulch Restoration. Timber harvest on these sales is expected to be completed this year. Other restoration activities and prescribed lurning will continue for several years. This year, Mahon Logging will bring some logs to the school and the school will bring in a chipper to make on four recently completed or ongoing timber sales, and the status of road decommissioning on them: Summit Gulch: A total of 4 miles will be decommissioned, and 2 miles are slated for long- term closure. Crooked River: 5 miles were decommissioned last year; most of those miles were obliterated. There are 12 more miles to be completed this year, plus 2 miles of long-term closure. Cuprum: A total of 8.8 miles of system and nonsystem road will be decommissioned (mostly obliteration). Not much of this has been done yet, and probably won't be completed until next season. Pole Creek: 4.2 miles of existing road plus about 1.8 miles of temporary roads, for a total of about 6 miles of road will be decommissioned. This may be completed by August. Fire Season forecast and updates Fire season projections this summer are suggesting that we will not have the wet and cool summer that we hhve had for the last four yea.rs. The 2012 Wildland Fire Outlook suggests that the area around the Payette The Adams County Record NF will experience an "average" fire season, which is around 120 fires across the forest and would include one or two larg e fires. On the West Zone of the Forest (Council & Weiser) an average season consists of 30 lightning caused fires per year, ranging from spots/single tree up to two acres. Payette NF Forest Fire Suppression Staffing: 4 helicopters with crews, 70 smokejumpers, 7 engines, 2 hand crews, 1 IDL Single Engine Air Tanker (700 gal). The West Zone staffing will consist of; 2 type-4 heavy engines with 5 personnel each. 2 type-.6 light engines with 3 personnel each. 2 type-7 prevention trucks with 2 personnel One 10-person hand crew. The West Zone will also staff two lookouts-- Horse Mountain & Sturgill Mountain. Indian Mountain will be staffed during high fire danger days. "[here are no significant changes in national fire management policies this year. There are still only two kinds of fire; Wildland Fires that are managed for suppression objectives and managed within acceptable level of risk to fire responders while accounting for the protection of the public, property and natural resources. The second kind of fire is prescribed fire that is utilized by the agency and others to accomplish resource management objectives. One of the issues that Forest officials are watching this year is the amount of money identified within the agency to support fire suppression. There is concern that these funds could run short during the fire season. This might require the agency to shift funding to support firefighting, which may hurt other programs. What Do You Want? The Natural Resource Committee would like to know what" issues people in the community would be interested in hearing about. Attendance at NRC meetings has been poor, and they would like to present programs in which people are interested and will attend. They ask that people email ideas, suggestions or questions to becky@secesh.net. GOT NEWS? WE DO? f In Adams County $40.00 per year Out of Adams County $45.00 per year Out of State $50.00 per year 108 Illinois Avenue, Council 253-6961