Lochsa-Powell Ranger District

A view of patchy sections of larch forests that are part of the focus of the Lolo Insect and Disease project on the Lochsa-Powell Ranger District.

Implementation is set to begin later this summer on the Lolo Insect and Disease project on the Lochsa-Powell Ranger District.

Last week, Acting Forest Supervisor Kurt Steele, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, signed a final decision for the project, located approximately 16 air miles northeast of Kamiah. Steele selected a modification of Alternative 5 for the final decision, which addresses forest health concerns while considering multiple objectives and resource needs within the project area.

The decision outlines regeneration and intermediate harvest on about 3,387 acres followed by reforestation of disease–resistant and fire–resilient vegetation species such as western white pine, ponderosa pine, and western larch. The project will also include watershed improvement and roadwork activities. No timber harvest will take place within the Eldorado Creek Roadless Area or Lolo Trail National Historic Landmark, although these are within the project area.

“It will be great to start implementing this project soon to begin to address some of the insect and disease concerns in this watershed,” Steele said. “Our employees worked hard to get us here. My appreciation goes out to the interdisciplinary team that put this project together.”

The first timber sale associated with the Lolo Insect and Disease project is expected to be advertised later this summer.

The Lolo Insect and Disease project area comprises approximately 78,500 acres of national forest system lands in the Lolo Creek drainage of the Clearwater River subbasin. The project was developed in response to widespread tree mortality due to root disease and insect activity. The purpose of the project is to improve forest resistance and resilience to wildfire, insects, and disease; utilize dead, dying, and high–risk trees in a timely manner; restore natural disturbance patterns, and improve watershed conditions and wildlife habitat.

Timber sales associated with the project will be used to offset project costs, support local communities and economies, and provide for local and regional forest management objectives.

The final project decision was developed based on environmental analyses, the project’s purpose and need, public input during the planning process, and consultation with the Nez Perce Tribe.

Information about the project is available online at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=41466.

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