Local News

Draft Decision Available for Chewuch Transportation Plan

May 09, 2016

After considering transportation system needs and associated resource impacts on National Forest System Lands in the Chewuch River Drainage, District Ranger Mike Liu is poised to make a decision about whether transportation system changes in the Chewuch watersheds should occur, and if so, what changes will be implemented.

The Chewuch Transportation Plan Analysis Area encompasses approximately 316,000 acres of lands in the Upper and Lower Chewuch River watersheds, located mostly north of Winthrop, Washington in Okanogan County.

Specialists weighed three primary needs:  1). how to reduce environmental impacts of the road system; 2). how to reduce road maintenance costs; and 3). how to maintain adequate and safe access for public recreation and administrative use, while balancing  sustainable management of National Forest System lands and the need  for a healthy, functioning ecosystem.

Public outreach efforts associated with transportation planning in the Chewuch River drainage began back in 2011 with an open house, field trips and an online survey.  Information gathered during that outreach, along with an analysis of environmental risk and access needs, were used to develop a draft proposed action.  The proposed Action was sent out for comment in September of 2011. 

As a result of the outreach and subsequent scoping effort, a team of resource specialists crafted and analyzed the effects of three alternatives.  That analysis was summarized in a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) and public input was again sought in December of 2015.  Changes were made to the DEA based on the input received and the analysis was completed this month.

After carefully examining the effects findings for costs, forest resources, and public access needs, District Ranger, Mike Liu, will decide how and whether to implement the project. A draft decision notice is included.

The detailed analysis is available online at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=37194.

This decision is subject to the pre-decisional review process pursuant to 36 CFR 218.  During the objection period, only those individuals or organizations that submitted previous specific written comments during the designated opportunities for public participation may object.

For more information, please contact the Methow Valley Ranger District at 509-996-4000.


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