Pine beetle battle to be expedited
Published: Thursday, December 27th, 2012
After more than a year of extensive public and partner involvement, Black Hills National Forest (BHNF) Supervisor Craig Bobzien announced the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and his Record of Decision for the BHNF Mountain Pine Beetle Response Project on Monday, Dec. 17. This decision will involve treatment on portions of approximately 248,000 acres of high-risk forest that officials believe will likely be affected by the mountain pine beetle. Bobzien said comments he received on the EIS were valuable to him in considering options for his decision.
Bobzien highlighted five areas the BHNF will focus on over the next five to seven years. First, treatment of the high risk areas will include cutting and chunking and chipping bug infested trees in order to slow down the spread of the epidemic. Secondly, within the 248,000 acres, approximately 122,000 acres of forest are slated for commercial and non-commercial timber harvesting. In addition, road construction will be reduced to 50 miles and focused on priority areas and urban interface.
Additional work in Spearfish Canyon is also in the plan to maintain scenic beauty, improve the watershed and take into consideration the habitat of the American dipper and Cooper’s Mountain snail.
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