As of Tuesday, April 14, 2015
The Forest Service’s Crooked River Valley Rehabilitation would dramatically reshape a valley marked by mining five miles west of Elk City, and the Idaho County Commission is objecting.
“The search for gold and the history behind the mining activities in the Crooked River Valley are very important to Idaho County and its citizens and culture,” the commission wrote to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest last Thursday, April 9. “It is important to leave said rock tailings and other signs of mining in the area in place for future generations to enjoy the historical and cultural history of mining in Idaho County.”
The commission claims the Forest Service did not coordinate with the county and did not analyze whether economic benefits from “tourists and local citizens” who travel to the valley and nearby Orogrande could be lost along with the opportunity to “view the historical history of mining in that area.”
The commission’s letter also objects regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, travel delays, the Nez Perce Tribe’s role in the project, and to the Forest Service’s need “to improve fish habitat and water quality in Crooked River.”
The Forest Service published a 480-page final environmental impact statement (FEIS) two months ago, available online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nezperceclearwater/news-events/?cid=STELPRD3830352.
The FEIS details how and why the Forest Service developed the plan, which would “construct a 6,000 foot temporary bypass channel and temporary access road/levee (which will be removed and decommissioned following construction of the new channel); re-grade approximately 115 acres of floodplain by moving dredge tailings; reconstruct approximately 7,400 feet of stream channel; install woody bank structures; construct more than 2,700 feet of side channels; create conditions for 64 acres of wetlands; replant the valley bottom with native and approved non-native, plant species; and monitor and evaluate project actions.”