BEDFORD – A newsletter has been issued by the Forest Service to update interested stakeholders on the Buffalo Springs Restoration Project proposed in October 2021 for Orange and Crawford counties.
The purpose of the project is to promote tree growth, reduce insect and disease levels, move the landscape toward historic conditions, and increase the resiliency and structure of forest stands by restoring the composition, structure, pattern, and ecological processes necessary to make these ecosystems sustainable.
In addition to an overview of the forest treatments in the proposed project, the public is reminded that of the 204,000 acres of National Forest System land comprising the Hoosier National Forest, an average of 266 acres, or 0.13%, are actively managed for timber annually.
If the project is approved, the Forest Service would continue that same pace across the Forest and implement the Buffalo Springs Restoration Project actions incrementally over 10 –15 years, and likely longer for prescribed fire.
The newsletter summarizes the multiple-use mission of the USDA Forest Service and how that is considered when balancing a wide variety of viewpoints when managing National Forest System lands on behalf of the American people. It gives a synopsis of the laws, regulations, and policies that govern project decision-making and implementation, and it confirms the validity of the Hoosier National Forest 2006 Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, which guides decisions, including this project.
Forest Service staff are currently working on the draft environmental assessment and expect it to be released for public review in October 2022. Following its release, there will be a 30-day public comment period, in which all interested parties are able to participate.
Those who gave official comments on the initial proposal, and others who indicated interest, were emailed or mailed the newsletter.
The newsletter is also available on the Hoosier National Forest website, along with additional information about this project: https://go.usa.gov/xAn24