SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) is seeking comments on the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for proposed management of 1,083 acres of National Forest System lands off the Mt. Rose Highway (SR 431) above Incline Village, Nevada. Comments will be accepted for 30 calendar days following the publication of the legal notice in the Tahoe Daily Tribune on Friday, April 27, 2018.

“With the Incline Management Plan Project, we aim to restore the Incline Meadow wetland and surrounding habitat, improving water quality, benefitting wildlife and vegetation, and improving dispersed recreation opportunities on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe,” said LTBMU Forest Supervisor, Jeff Marsolais. “In addition, this project will also complement the Incline Fuels Reductions and Healthy Forest Restoration work that is currently underway.”

The draft EA analyzes two alternatives, the No-Action Alternative and the Proposed Action, Alternative 2. Under Alternative 2, project-specific activities would include a series of management actions related to roads and trails projects, hydrology and habitat restoration and vegetation management activities. The project also proposes a Forest Plan amendment to modify a portion of the project area from a general conservation management area to a backcountry management area.

Project specific roads and trails proposals include adopting and rerouting of existing trails; replacing and/or upgrading road and trail stream crossings; installing Best Management practices (BMPs) and interpretive and wayfinding signs; creating a new trail near the former Incline Lake bed and installing resource protection barriers.

Restoration activities would include removing the dam diversion ditch that connects Third Creek to the former Incline Lake bed; restoring stream channels and aquatic species habitat throughout the area; revegetating areas that are degraded with native vegetation species; restoring damage to wetlands, which resulted from water diversion activities; repairing erosion along the Franktown Ditch; developing a plan for future white bark pine management; and reducing tree density in meadow and wetland areas through forest thinning and restoration of Aspen communities.

The preliminary need to amend and change the Forest Plan is to designate approximately 400 acres of the project area (west of Third Creek) as a backcountry management area, which would benefit water quality, habitat, scenery and provide dispersed recreational opportunities. The remainder of the site would remain designated as a general conservation (general forest) area. No change to the management area description in the Forest Plan is proposed; only the geographic distribution of the land designated as backcountry management area within the project area is proposed to change. The following substantive requirements may be related to the amendment: 36CFR 219.8 (a3i) Riparian Areas sustainability, and 36 CFR 219.10 (a [1, 6, and 10]) Integrated resource management for multiple use.The plan amendment will be subject to the objection procedures outlined in 36 CFR 219 Subpart B.

The draft EA is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/InclineMgmt.

For more information on the project and how to comment, contact Ashley Sibr at 530-543-2615 or email asibr@fs.fed.us.