SAGUACHE — The Saguache Ranger District of the Rio Grande National Forest has released the final environmental impact statement and draft record of decision for the La Garita Hills Restoration Project. The proposed project area is located southwest of Saguache and includes more than 145,000 acres of National Forest System land and 33,000 acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management San Luis Valley Field Office.
Saguache District Ranger Tristram Post selected Alternative Two of the three action alternatives analyzed in the environmental impact statement. The Bureau of Land Management will release a separate decision concerning proposed activities on lands managed by the San Luis Valley Field Office.
“The spruce beetle epidemic, historic fire suppression, and drought has created a need for a landscape approach to managing the area covered by the proposed La Garita Hills Restoration Project,” Post said. “The projects outlined in my draft decision would be conducted in an environmentally sensitive manner guided by the standard and guidelines of our forest plan and provide a variety of economic opportunities.”
Alternative Two would approve a variety of projects to be implemented over a 10 to 15 year period, including:
In order to allow the public to follow the progress of the management activities, maps, resource checklists, tracking spreadsheets and progress reports would be posted to the Rio Grande National Forest website as projects are implemented.
Individuals and organizations with standing – those who provided previous comments – will have 45 days to file objections to the analysis and draft decision once the legal notice is published in the Valley Courier (expected publication is May 5).
The La Garita Hills Restoration Project final environmental impact statement and draft record of decision may be viewed on the Rio Grande National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=42001.