Friday, July 15, 2011
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement being prepared for proposed land exchange
According to Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell, the Idaho County Commissioners objected to all action alternatives presented in the 2010 Draft Environmental Impact Statement because of potential negative economic impacts to
’s tax base. Idaho County
The Commissioners countered with a new alternative that identifies approximately 45,000 acres of federal lands entirely within
that could be considered for exchange for the roughly 40,000 acres of Western Pacific land within the Idaho County Upper Lochsa drainage. Those lands are also located within . Idaho County
The 45,000 acres identified by
exceeds what is needed to complete the exchange and will be refined through future public involvement processes. Idaho County
Brazell said he welcomes the alternative as he seeks a solution to what has been a contentious proposal. At the same time, he acknowledged the new alternative is likely outside of the agency’s authority because the Forest Service only has authority to approve a value-for-value exchange.
Project Manager Teresa Trulock said the next phase in the process is to develop a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement which presents and analyzes the new proposed alternative. That would be followed by a 45-day public comment period.
She expects the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to be released sometime in October.
The Upper Lochsa Land Exchange was initiated in 2008. It originally involved the exchange of approximately 40,000 acres of” Western Pacific Timber LLC lands that were interspersed with Forest Service lands near Lolo Pass for scattered parcels of national forest system lands located within Benewah, Bonner, Clearwater, Idaho, Kootenai and Latah counties.
The Forest Service sought to acquire the lands to block up ownership in the headwaters of the
. The lands also hold significant aquatic, terrestrial and cultural values. Upper Lochsa River
Information regarding the exchange including the 2008 Feasibility Analysis and the July 2011 Addendum can be viewed at the Clearwater National Forest website http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/clearwater/ under the heading “Projects.”
For more information, contact Teresa Trulock at (208) 935-4256.
Posted by ClearTrib at 11:45 AM