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FL National Forest holding FLIPS Open House

The Finger Lakes National Forest (FLNF) is currently in the middle of a collaborative project development phase for the proposed Finger Lakes Invasive Pest Strategy Project (FLIPS). The FLIPS Project is a forest health themed project that proposes timber harvest, timber stand improvement, and associated forest restoration work on approximately 700 acres of FLNF forest ground. The Forest Service is providing an opportunity to learn about the proposed FLIPS project and its proposed actions as well as to provide input on proposed activities. To this end, the FLNF will be holding an open house meeting at the Hector Ranger Station on Wednesday, February 10th at 5:30 pm. A project briefing will be given at 5:30 followed by the opportunity to give collaborative input or to ask questions immediately following. The office is located at 5218 State Route 414 in Hector, located about 8 miles north of Watkins Glen.The FLNF has the potential to see further decline in forest stand health for a multitude of reasons. Prominent among these is the threat posed by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an insect that is causing widespread mortality of Ash trees across NY state. The EAB is within 20 air miles of the FLNF, which has the potential to experience a total decline of mature Ash trees within the next decade. In areas of the FLNF where timber harvest may occur, several hardwood stands are also becoming overstocked, increasing the susceptibility to a range of forest health threats such as root rot, bark diseases, defoliators, and general species decline. There are also numerous softwood plantations on the FLNF that are deteriorating due to age and competition, insect and disease activity, as well as not being adapted to their specific location. These plantations also lack the structural and compositional diversity desirable for wildlife habitat.The proposed FLIPS project seeks primarily to improve forest heath conditions on the FLNF by reducing forest densities to improve individual tree and stand vigor, and to reduce the potential impact from threats such as EAB. Secondary objectives for forest restoration and wildlife habitat improvement are also sought through proposed project activities. The public open house meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to provide informal input ahead of the finalization of the proposed activities and initiation of a formal public scoping process scheduled to begin in March of 2016.The public may contact Tim Noon at (607) 546-4470 x316 or email at twnoon@fs.fed.us for more information regarding the open house meeting or the project proposal.USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (toll-free customer service), (800) 877-8339 (TDD), or (800) 845-6136 (TDD in Spanish).

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