South Lake Tahoe, Calif.— The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) has released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a project that would implement extensive forest thinning along Lake Tahoe’s South Shore to reduce the risk of high-intensity wildfire and improve forest health. Under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA), the release of the FEIS triggers the 30-day objection period for the project. Only those who have previously submitted written comments on this project may file an objection.
The South Shore Fuel Reduction and Healthy Forest Restoration Project (South Shore Project) area extends from Cascade Lake to the boundary of Heavenly Mountain Resort and the Nevada state line, and from Lake Tahoe to the LTBMU boundary. In accordance with the HFRA, the Forest Service coordinated extensively with other public landowners and local fire protection officials to design treatments that complement the Community Wildfire Protection Plans.
The Forest Service released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on April 10, 2009 for a 45-day public comment period, receiving 20 letters of comment. The FEIS contains the Forest Service response to comments. The FEIS analyzes three alternatives, including no action. The Forest Service preferred alternative would treat 10,112 acres. It addresses comments regarding impacts on wildlife and the watershed through a reduction in the total number of acres treated and increasing the number of acres treated by hand and using cut-to-length mechnical equipment.
Filing an objection triggers a 30-day resolution period. If no one files an objection, the Forest Supervisor can issue a decision for the project on the fifth business day after the close of the objection period. Permitting with the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board would occur prior to implementation.