The White River National Forest is soliciting public comments on the Swan River Stream Restoration Project in Summit County.
The project includes a variety of elements: 1) creation of 2 miles of stream, riparian and upland restoration habitat within existing dredged habitat; 2) road projects, including the expansion of an existing parking lot and creation of a new road and trail; 3) fish barrier construction; and 4) a hiking trail near the Swan River, all on a mix of private, county, town and Forest Service lands. Stream and riparian restoration and trail construction on private lands would be within public-access easements granted to the Forest Service. The project is located along Tiger Road in Summit County. A notice of proposed action is available online at: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php/?project=40988.
The project would reconnect the three main tributaries in the Swan River watershed and restore more than 17 miles of hydrologic function. The project would also create 2 miles of new stream available to the public, though restricted to summer and winter non-motorized, non-mechanical use, with camping and the use of firearms prohibited.
A team of natural resource specialists will analyze the potential environmental effects of the proposal, including impacts to special-status wildlife and botanical species, historic/prehistoric sites, aesthetics, hydrology and soils in the project area.
A collaborative planning effort has been underway for the last three years. Partners and stakeholders include Summit County Government, town of Breckenridge, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Trout Unlimited, Blue River Watershed Group, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, Rock Island Land Co. LLC, Holt Investment Family Limited Partnerships, Everist Materials LLC, and the Dillon Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service.
The comment period allows the public to provide input before any decisions are made. If approved, project elements on Forest Service lands or in the public-access easement would be managed by the Forest Service. The project area would be open to the public. Construction would likely begin in June 2014 and continue for five to 10 years.
To make a fully informed decision, the Forest Service would like to know if you have any thoughts, issues or concerns related to effects potentially caused by this proposal and how they might be addressed. Written comments must be submitted to: Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor, c/o Peech Keller, U.S. Forest Service, P.O. Box 620, Silverthorne, CO 80498. Hand-delivered comments may be submitted at the Dillon Ranger District between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Electronic comments including attachments can be submitted to: https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?Project=40988.
A public open house will be held Jan. 21 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Dillon Ranger District in Silverthorne. For information, contact Corey Lewellen, Fish Biologist, Dillon Ranger District, at (970) 262-3497.