Public Comments Welcomed for Grassland Enhancement Project

11/21/19

The U.S. Forest Service is pleased to invite comments for the proposed Grassland Enhancement project located on the Hector Ranger District of the Finger Lakes National Forest. The nearly 450 acre project area includes National Forest System lands in the towns of Lodi, Covert, Hector, and Burdett within Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York. The Grassland Enhancement project proposal is now available for public review and the Forest Service is now seeking public comment before preparing an environmental assessment.

Written comments will be accepted during the 30-day public comment period ending December 20. This comment period is the only designated opportunity for public comment that will provide objection standing prior to a final decision for the project. A detailed description of the Grassland Enhancement project proposed action, associated maps and direction on how to submit comments can be found on the project website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=56961

A public open house to learn more about the project proposal is scheduled for the evening of November 22 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at the Hector Ranger Station located at 5218 State Route 414, Hector, New York, 14841. After a brief introduction, the open house format will provide an informal opportunity to ask Forest Service staff questions regarding proposed activities. Maps and information will also be available for review.

The project proposal includes management activities to achieve multiple benefits such as creating or increasing structural and compositional grassland species diversity, restoring areas to native warm season grass/forb mix for grassland obligate bird species and pollinators, reducing non-native invasive species and undesirable species within managed grassland areas, and enhancing grassland bird nesting areas within the ecoregion. The Grassland Enhancement Project proposed action is the culmination of field inventory and collaborative efforts conducted by Forest Service staff.

Comments received from the public will be used to help focus the environmental analysis on resource issues of concern. An environmental assessment is anticipated to be complete by the end of February 2020 followed by the issuance of a draft decision notice and comment period. A 45-day objection period for the draft decision notice will be provided to those who have objection standing.

If you have questions or would like more information about the Grassland Enhancement project proposal, public open house or how to submit comments, please contact Shawn Langston at 802-747-6743 or email at shawn.langston@usda.gov.