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Harris River Watershed Rehabilitation EA Decision Issued


June 09, 2007

Ketchikan, Alaska - The Tongass National Forest will be working to restore and enhance stream ecosystems this summer in the Harris River watershed, located near the community of Hollis, Alaska on Prince of Wales Island. The project, as outlined in the Harris River Watershed Rehabilitation Environmental Assessment (EA) Decision Notice (DN) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), is the final in a suite of rehabilitation projects in the watershed. These projects reduce sedimentation in watershed streams, promote healthy and stable fish and wildlife populations, and improve visitor access and interpretation opportunities.

In making his decision, Craig District Ranger Greg Killinger stated, "We are excited to begin this important work. Our local communities are dependent on healthy fish runs and wildlife resources-this restoration and enhancement work will improve these resources while providing local employment opportunities." Specifically, the project will eliminate artificial fish barriers, reduce stream bank erosion and diversion potential, and improve hydrologic connectivity, as well as improve trails. Thinning activities in young growth stands will emphasize wildlife and riparian values. Components of the decision will proceed as funding allows, potentially taking up to 10 years to complete all projects within the selected alternative. The Forest will be partnering with the State to complete those elements of the decision that occur on State land.

The Forest Service conducted extensive public scoping as part of the process, requesting comments on the project via letters and meetings with Tribal Councils.

The 30-day Environmental Assessment comment period ended on May 6, 2007 and and according to the news release, no comments regarding National Forest Systems lands projects were received. Pursuant to Forest Service appeal regulations at 36 CFR 215 this decision is therefore not subject to appeal.

Implementation of this action may occur immediately upon publication of legal notice planned for June 11.


Source of News:

US Forest Service - Tongass National Forest


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Ketchikan, Alaska