The Peril Strait Landscape Opportunities Project

BACKGROUND: The Peril Project is a collaborative stewardship initiative designed to improve wildlife habitat and recreational access within the False Island/Peril Strait landscape. Planning for Peril officially began in 2010, but the "landscape-scale" project concept is rooted in three efforts that began as far back as 2006: the U.S. Forest Service False Island Integrated Resource Management Plan (IRMP) planning group, the Sitkoh River and Creek Watershed Inventory and Restoration Plan (2009) and the Sitka Collaborative Stewardship Group (2009).

The Ocean Boulevard Wildlife Improvement Project, completed in 2011, was the first project to transpire from these collaborative efforts to improve the False Islandlandscape. The Sitkoh River Restoration was the second, and will be completed in 2012.

The Sitka Collaborative Stewardship Group,which was originallyformed to develop community-based stewardship opportunities related to Tongass management, organized two public meetings in 2010 to share information and gather collaborative input on Peril.These meetings were attended by a wide range of community stakeholders, and resulted in stewardship suggestions that can be read here(May 2010)and here(December 2010).

Click here for a copy of the 2011 Peril Project Environmental Assessment(EA).

STATS: As proposed in the Peril Project EA, work will include 2,122 acres of thinning in both upland and riparian areas; opening approximately 1.75 miles of closed road to off-highway vehicles (OHVs); constructing a 0.41-mile foot trail to the East Sitkoh Lake cabin; and placing large woody debris in 2.2 miles of Sitkoh Lake inlet streams to restore fish habitat. Work on the ground will begin in summer 2012.

INNOVATIONS:Peril is one of the first projects in the Sitka Ranger District in which collaborative input from the Sitka Collaborative Stewardship Group and other community partners has been prioritized. The goal is to better integrate community priorities into Forest Service planning efforts in the SCUA, and SCS will continue to engage in similar opportunities with the Forest Service and community partners.

Peril is also the first landscape-scale project to be undertaken in the Sitka Ranger District, meaning that multiple resource opportunities are being addressed within a single large landscape. By focusing on a wide range of opportunities and looking at ways to achieve multiple goals at once, the Forest Service is saving time and taxpayer money while providing more benefits to the local community.

FUNDING AND SUPPORT: All funding to-date for the Peril Project comes from the U.S. Forest Service. The project has received input and support from the Sitka Collaborative Stewardship Group since 2010.

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