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Forest Public Meeting Planned

The Forest Service today announced the scheduling of two Larson Reforestation and Fuels Reduction Project public meetings. The meetings are being held in conjunction with a 45-day formal comment period on the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

To assist in understanding what actions are being proposed and how to participate in the process during the comment period, the Forest Service will host two public information sessions. The first session will be held on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 at the Groveland Ranger District Office, 24545 Highway 120, Groveland, CA 95321 at 7:00 p.m. The second session will be held on Thursday, November 13, 2003 at the Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 19777 Greenley Road, Sonora, CA 95370 at 7:00 p.m. The meetings are intended to provide information, assist members of the public and local communities in understanding what actions are being proposed, how to navigate through the DEIS document, and how to participate in a meaningful way in the planning effort during the comment period.

The DEIS describes the analysis of four alternatives for reforestation and fuel reduction in the 1987 Larson Fire area. Alternative 1 (Proposed Action) would reforest 3,963 acres with a combination of treatments, including aerial and ground applied herbicides. Alternative 2 (No Action) would leave the area in its present condition. Alternative 3 would reforest 2,617 acres with a combination of treatments including ground-applied herbicide. Alternative 4 would reforest 3,775 acres with treatments similar to Alternative 1, but with reduced aerially applied herbicides.

Alternative 4 is the preferred alternative to implement the Larson Reforestation and Fuels Reduction project, as it appears to meet the land management objectives for the area, and responds best to public omments received during initial scoping for the proposal.

Under Alternative 4 the Forest proposes to reduce fuel accumulations and reforest nearly 4,000 acres with conifer trees, construct fuel breaks along strategically located roads and topographic features, thin nearly 750 acres of existing plantations, and control the spread of noxious weeds in areas where these activities occur.

The 45-day public comment period will end in mid-December. Comments should be mailed to: Comments should be mailed to: Groveland Ranger District, Attn: Larson EIS, 24545 Highway 120, Groveland, CA 95321. All public comments on the DEIS will be carefully considered in development of the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and final decision, expected by July 15, 2004.

Electronic comments may be submitted by e-mail to: comments-pacificsouthwest-stanislaus-groveland@fs.fed.us [Subject: Larson EIS] (please include full name and a mailing address with comments).

The DEIS is available on the Stanislaus National Forest website at www.fs.fed.us/r5/stanislaus. Paper or CD copies are also available on request. Review copies of the DEIS are also available at the Tuolumne County Main Branch Library in Sonora, the Public Library in Groveland, the Groveland Ranger District Office, near Groveland, and the Forest Supervisor´s Office in Sonora.

For more information on how to comment and participate in the Larson Reforestation and Fuels Reduction planning effort, or to request a copy of the DEIS, please contact Steve Marsh at (209) 962-7825 ext. 550 or via e-mail at smarsh@fs.fed.us.