The Heppner Ranger District of the Umatilla National Forest is seeking public comment on the proposed West End Farm Bill Categorical Exclusion project, located approximately 28 miles southwest of Heppner.

The Forest Service will be accepting comments on the proposal until Nov. 12, according to a press release.

The purpose of this project is to reduce the risk and extent of an ongoing insect and disease infestation. The West End Project proposes to treat up to 3,000 acres by removing trees through mechanical treatments including commercial thinning, small diameter thinning, pile burning and prescribed fire.

Treatments would remove insect and disease infested trees and reduce stocking levels to decrease competition for moisture, light and nutrients. Proposed activities are designed to improve the ability of trees to ward off insects and diseases and decrease fuel build up from dead and dying trees, thus increasing forest stand resilience.

The Forest Service is seeking scoping comments to help refine the proposed action and identify ways to improve project design. The comment period is an opportunity for the public to be involved in the process and offer thoughts on alternative ways the Forest Service can accomplish the project purpose and need.

The Heppner Ranger District will also host a public workshop at the Heppner Ranger District office on Nov. 7.

For more information about the West End Project or the upcoming collaboration opportunity, contact the project lead, Diane Shirley, at diane.shirley@usda.gov or 541-427-5315.

Additional information about the West End Project, including how to comment on proposed activities, is available at fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php/?project=56315.

Additional information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at fs.usda.gov/umatilla.

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