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Response to Comments Received During the Public Comment Period for
the Manistique Jack Pine Budworm Project
List of Commenters
1.
Tony Furlich, Forester Hydrolake Leasing and Service Co
2.
Pete Jandro
3.
Craig Albright, MDNR Wildlife Biologist
4.
Charles J. Geerlings, Stamper Sportsmen Club
5.
John Ries, Michigan Sharptailed Grouse Association
6.
Les Hohan, MDNR, Newberry
7.
Dave Roberts
The number of each comment references the commenter number listed above. The Forest
Service response in bold follows each comment.
1.
I support your efforts to harvest the 2334 acres of jack pine damaged by the recent budworm
outbreak as it is essential to get this timber into the marketplace before severe mortality and
further degradation occurs. This jack pine timber is essential in maintaining the local forest
products industries that depend on jack pine timber.
Your comments and support are noted and appreciated
.
I support your efforts to replant approx. 280 acres to red pine as this will help break up this jack
pine monoculture with a more insect and disease hardy tree species. Can more acres be replanted
to red pine?
The decision on where to plant particular species is primarily determined by soil
conditions. The soil in most of the project area is more suited to jack pine. Red pine
would be planted in areas with better soils conditions.
2.
I live in the Three Otters Land Division, which is 2 miles north of the US 2 bridge over the
Whitefish River. I get to my home via CR 509, then traverse the power/ oil pipeline, forest road
8009, east to the hill and down below the hill to the north. My question is: the jackpine is going
to be cut between CR 509 and the Whitefish hill to the west, is the forest road 8009 (under the
powerline) going to be fixed / reconstructed? And also, when is the cutting going to start?
FR 8009 will not be reconstructed along its entire length. We will be doing “spot”
work on the worst sections of the road. Intersections will also be brushed out. We
anticipate harvesting to begin this summer (2006). (
Note
: Since our initial response
to Mr. Jandro harvest date has been move to 2007).
This information was sent to Mr. Jandro who in turn responded with the following
information. This was supplied to FS civil engineers to utilize in determining the
Response to Comments – Manistique Jack Pine Budworm EA
1
level of work required on FR 8009. Additional information on transportation and
access management is found in Chapter 3 of the EA.
I inquired about the road because by the end of the summer, there will be 5 homes down below
the Whitefish hill just to the north, and we use FR 8009 to get to our homes. For the first few
years I was the only one living here and the road stayed ok due to less use. With all the traffic
now, the road is getting bad. As time goes on, I'm sure there will more homes down here.
There are 15 lots. The better the repairing of the bad spots, the more it will help us out.
3.
The purpose and need for action are explained very well.
Likewise, the proposed actions
are easy to understand.
I feel you have made a very good case for undertaking this project, and
there should be many tangible benefits.
The potential for extraction of wood products will be
appreciated by the forest products industry, and this should benefit the local economy.
The
reduction in hazardous fuels will be appreciated by private landowners who are scattered
throughout the area who would have much to lose if a wildfire were to occur.
From a wildlife
standpoint, this project provides an opportunity to enhance habitat conditions for a number of
species.
Your comments and support are noted and appreciated.
We encourage Forest Service staff to work closely with your own wildlife biologists to integrate
habitat management opportunities into this project.
Considerations that seem particularly
important:
Enhancement of habitat for the endangered Kirtland's Warbler, a species with a very
small breeding area largely in Lower Michigan, is encouraged.
The provision of
breeding habitat in the U.P. could be important in widening the distribution of this bird
and guarding against catastrophic loss of the species if Lower Michigan habitats were to
suddenly fail.
A number of project-area stands were identified as having potential for
regeneration to Kirtland’s warbler breeding habitat. Stands were grouped into 9
blocks, for a total of approximately 1,400 acres, and were prioritized by size
(larger is better), percentage of jack pine, and topography.
Stands would need
to be re-stocked to levels at or above 1,089 trees/acre, with a sufficient number of
small openings, and snags for perching.
Prescribed burning may be used as a
tool to help stimulate natural regeneration. Additional information is found in
the Design Criteria section of Chapter One of the EA and the wildlife section of
the EA.
Increasing vegetative diversity in mono-typical stands provides additional habitat
attributes for wildlife.
The plan to underplant red oak on 156 acres to restore the natural
oak component is commendable.
Also, use of natural regeneration methods are
encouraged whenever possible, rather than plantation management.
Natural regeneration
methods often result in more diversity in stocking density and vegetative composition.
Response to Comments – Manistique Jack Pine Budworm EA
2
This proposed project provides a rare opportunity to increase or reconfigure large
opening complexes.
Large openings are valuable habitat for sharp-tailed grouse, sandhill
cranes, upland sandpipers, bluebirds, American kestrels, and many other species.
However, there are not many opportunities to provide this type of habitat.
We encourage
you to work closely with your wildlife staff to determine whether large openings and
brushlands can be a product of this project.
Creating large openings and brush lands does not meet the purpose and need for
this project.
Upland pine landscapes, due to their dry terrain, are easily traversed by wheeled
motorized vehicles.
Road and trail systems tend to become numerous over time, and
sometimes vehicles even elect to strike out cross-country.
We support plans to provide
reasonable vehicular access while effectively obliterating, blocking, or closing road
segments that are unnecessary or redundant.
Not only does excessive vehicular activity
cause potential disturbance to sensitive wildlife species, but it can result in illegal
dumping, environmental damage (hill climbing), and very importantly---a reduced
quality of outdoor experience if vehicle noise is common and there are no "walk in" areas
present for those who wish to get away from roads.
We have noted and taken your comments into consideration.
4
.
I must write in opposition to this project. As stated in this project proposal nothing has been
done in this area for 50 years. Yet now you want to cut jack pine and replace it with jack pine.
Most of the stands proposed for treatment are currently jack pine or a jack and red
pine mix. These stands were planted between the 1930s and 1950s. Since jack pine
matures at 45 to 55 years, these stands are just now mature enough for commercial
harvesting. Post-harvest site preparation will ensure the natural regeneration of
jack pine.
But you refuse to treat the aspen. Or help it expand. You have allowed the loss of early
succession to a point that we are now at a large imbalance.
There is only a minimal amount of aspen scattered in a few mixed species stands.
The aspen should regenerate naturally after harvesting but since it does not occur in
large numbers prior to harvest, it will not regenerate in large numbers.
Treating
aspen does not meet the purpose and need for this project.
The phrase if you build it they will come. The reason there is no game species in this area is
because there is no management for it. Here is a golden opportunity to develop an area for
hunting recreation. Until we recognize this maybe its better to let nature take its own
management in hand.
Response to Comments – Manistique Jack Pine Budworm EA
3
In general, large acres of jack pine do not support hunting recreation as well as
other species types. This project was proposed to address dead and dying jack pine
and the resulting high fuel levels. Hunting recreation opportunities will be analyzed
and developed where appropriate and feasible on other parts of the forest.
5.
I have the following comments to make on the timber management and fuels project spelled
out in your memo of March 28, 2006.
1. Because Kirtland’s warbler habitat is also very important, temporary, habitat for sharp-
tails, we recommend that no jack-pine stands be converted to red pine, especially in the
subject areas which we understand to be valuable KW habitat.
Of the approximately 2,334 acres proposed for treatment, approximately 289
acres are proposed for conversion to red pine
.
This species change is based
on better soil conditions. See responses 1 and 7 and the Proposed Action
section of Chapter One of the EA.
2. It is our understanding that there are two or three sharp-tail leks in the “8 Mile” area
and the Bog Lake area. We note that there will be sizeable jp clearcuts in these areas
which will provide valuable, temporary habitat for sharp-tails. As part of the timber
management part of the plan, we recommend intensive openland management of both
areas in the future, such as prescribed burns-is they are not already included as part of
future plans.
There is currently an active lek in the Eight-Mile area and an historic lek
near Bog Lake.
Large opening maintenance has occurred in both of these
areas since the 1980’s, and will continue in the future, including prescribed
burning.
3. We also understand that there are Kirtland’s warblers in the “8 Mile” area,
compartment 21 (I believe). The jp clearcuts near them will certainly be helpful to both
KW and sharp-tails.
We agree that the jack pine clear-cuts will benefit both sharp-tailed grouse
and Kirtland’s warbler.
Thank you for giving our organization the opportunity to participate.
Your comments and support are noted and appreciated.
6.
Looks like you've done a thorough review and found no significant risk in the area, and
Budworm in older stands will have a very detrimental effect.
Given the demand for more timber
in the region, the likelihood of high mortality of Jack Pine leading to loss of timber, and
increased fire risk from dead trees, It seems like a great idea to me to proceed!
Your comments and support are noted and appreciated.
.
Response to Comments – Manistique Jack Pine Budworm EA
4
7
.
I would first like to thank you for the very thoroughness in providing the information I
received. I have hunted in the areas from south of 442 and north to the Little Indian River since
1953.My first hunt was along the Stuben road about two mile east of Forest Highway 13. At that
time the plantings were very small and you could see for at least a mile or so. During the years
since my parents purchased a cottage on Island Lake off Doe Lake road. and I purchased a
cottage on Goose Neck Lake in 1987. I am only telling you this to let you know I am familiar
with areas you have addressed and the changes I've seen in these areas the last 50yrs.
I like what you are planning to do and the way you are proposing to address the problem. The
only thing I question is why are the same kind of pine going to be allowed to grow when it seems
to always be the Jack Pine and another pine of some kind that was planted along 2218 and has
also been clear cut during the last 15yrs. Is it to costly to plant White Pine as they seem to always
look very healthy?
Site conditions generally determine what type of tree species is planted. Soil type
and condition are an important component of these conditions. Past planting,
especially those in the 1930s, resulted in trees planted on the wrong sites. For
example, red pine might be planted on poorer jack pine sites which results in poor
growth. We attempt through our management activities to convert sites back to the
appropriate species. Cost is not generally a factor in the type of species planted.
Well any way it looks like you know what you’re doing and I think the improvement on
Killpecker Creek is a real plus.
Your comments and support are noted and appreciated.
Response to Comments – Manistique Jack Pine Budworm EA
5
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