Fishlake National Forest and Boulder Mountain Habitat Improvement Projects

Maggie Toone, Acting Assistant Forest Environmental Coordinator, Fishlake National Forest

Picture of an area of the Fishlake National Forest where treatments similar to those proposed in the Fishlake and Boulder Mountain Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project have been completed. ©Richfield Ranger District Wildlife Biologist, Kreig Rasmussen

The Beaver, Fillmore, Fremont River, and Richfield Ranger Districts of the Fishlake National Forest worked together to design a landscape scale project to remove encroaching pinyon and juniper trees in effort to improve wildlife habitat across the Fishlake National Forest. The project encompasses approximately 75,000 acres across the four districts. Treatments will take place in Phase I and early Phase II pinyon-juniper stands to restore sagebrush and grassland ecosystems.

Forest staff began project design in July 2016. The Inter-Disciplinary Team used a variety of existing vegetation cover layers to identify stands for treatment which were likely pre-European settlement sage-steppe and grassland communities where crown cover of these woodlands is 10 -30%. Treatment methods will involve hand cutting and use of wheeled and tracked equipment.

On July 6, 2017 the four District Rangers jointly signed the Decision Memo for the Fishlake and Boulder Mountain Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project. This project was categorically excluded from documentation in an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement because of the timber stand and wildlife habitat improvement nature of the actions being implemented and the degree of negative impacts being minimal. This project responds to an important natural resource need while also responding to the Forest Supervisor’s desire to improve efficiencies across the Forest. Additional focus can now be invested into implementation of this large landscape scale project.

U.S Forest Service is a Premier Partner of TWS.