Monongahela National Forest is in the early stages of developing a project proposal for the Deer Creek Project on approximately 40,000-acres of National Forest System land around Arbovale, Green Bank and Green Bank Observatory in Pocahontas County. This project provides opportunities to improve forest health, species composition and age class distribution; restore red oak; prevent “mesophication” (where shade-tolerant species replace shade-intolerant species due to a lack of fire); improve wildlife habitat; enhance stream and riparian habitat; and improve recreational and heritage opportunities on national forest land in this area.
The project proposal will contain management actions to move National Forest System land from its existing condition toward its desired conditions, as described in the Monongahela National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan). The Forest Plan is available online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/mnf/landmanagement/planning.
Deer Creek Project Contains Three Forest Plan Management Prescriptions
Management Prescription 3.0 emphasizes the following:
- Age class diversity and sustainable timber production
- A variety of forest scenery
- Habitat for wildlife species tolerant of disturbances, such as deer, grouse, and squirrel
- A primarily motorized recreation environment
Management Prescription 4.1 emphasizes the following:
- Active and passive restoration of spruce and spruce-hardwood communities
- Research or administrative studies on spruce restoration
- Recovery of threatened and endangered species and other species of concern associated with spruce and spruce-hardwood communities
- Management of hardwood communities where spruce is a negligible or absent component
- Generally restricted public motorized access and use
- A mix of forest products
Management Prescription 6.1 emphasizes the following:
- A vegetation management strategy that emphasizes sustainable production of mast and other plant species that benefit wildlife
- Active restoration of pine-oak and oak-hickory communities
- Restricted motorized access and a network of security areas that reduce disturbance to wildlife
- A primarily nonmotorized recreational setting
- A mix of forest products
Little Mountain Inventoried Roadless Area is within the MP 6.1 (Wildlife Habitat Emphasis) area on the western side of the project area. No road may be constructed or reconstructed in this approximately 8,000 acre area unless it meets narrowly-defined criteria in the 2001 Roadless Rule pertaining to safety, ecological restoration, or preexisting rights. Removal of generally small-diameter timber may be allowed when the removal maintains or improves roadless characteristics and improves habitat for threatened, endangered, proposed or sensitive species; or maintains or restores ecological structure, function, or composition to reduce uncharacteristic wildfire effects. The lack of existing infrastructure in this area will provide an opportunity to be creative in managing this piece of land.
The scoping period to gather comments on proposed management actions in the Deer Creek Project is anticipated in spring 2022. Project information will be posted as it becomes available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=60882. For more information or to get on the project mailing list, contact Amy Albright at firstname.lastname@example.org.