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Houston Regional Group - News
Sierra Club Provides Comments to Forest Service on Kidhaw Project
Brandt Mannchen

The Sierra Club provided the U.S. Forest Service (FS) with pre-scoping comments on the Kidhaw Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project (KWHIP), in Compartments 5/6 of Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF).

The Sierra Club visited Compartments 5/6 on December 20, 2011 and then formulated its comments for the FS. Some of the comments that the Sierra Club provided to the FS include:

1) A vigorous non-native invasive plant species (NNIPS) control program should be implemented in Compartments 5/6, especially along the power-line right-of-ways (ROW), roads, ponds, and wet areas. The Sierra Club saw many Japanese Climbing Fern, Japanese/Chinese/European Privet, Chinese Tallow, non-native Yucca, Crepe Myrtle, and Chinaberry in Compartments 5/6.

2) The FS should implement a feral hog reduction program in Compartments 5 and 6. This program should be coordinated with as many of the adjacent landowners as possible to reduce feral hog populations in the area so that wildlife management activities can be successfully implemented.

3) The ponds and swales that the Sierra Club saw need to be restored. Wetland or aquatic plants planted along the shoreline, like Spider-Lily, Louisiana Iris, Button-bush, and Black Gum would provide wildlife with a diversity of vegetation, shade, shelter, and food at these ponds. At every pond or swale that the Sierra Club visited Chinese Tallow was present.

4) The power-line ROW in Compartment 6 that crosses Forest Road should be gated to stop illegal trash dumping. The trash that exists on this ROW should be picked up, removed, and disposed of properly.

5) In Compartment 6, where the power-line exits the compartment to the west, the wet area (stream-side zone) should be enlarged and remapped on the stand map.

6) A list of desirable upland hardwood tree species should be compiled by the FS. This list should be used in marking canopy and midstory individual hardwood trees and clumps of hardwood trees that will be preferentially protected. This list should include, at a minimum, Southern Red Oak, Post Oak, Blackjack Oak, and Black Hickory. The FS should address the replacement of canopy hardwood trees due to their loss from natural disturbance or human actions.

7) The Sierra Club supports the restoration of the blackland prairie in Compartment 5, Stand 8. Herbicides used to kill King Ranch Bluestem and Bahia Grass should be applied sparingly via spot applications and in a manner that will not allow run-off, groundwater contamination, or off-site damage to native grasses and herbaceous species.

8) The Sierra Club supports the periodic use of prescribed fires to increase grass and herbaceous plant species where appropriate in Compartments 5/6.

9) The FS should conduct variable thin logging in areas of Compartments 5/6 where mature or immature saw-timber is found. Not all areas should consist of pine trees spaced 20-25 feet apart. Variable thin logging in some areas will provide for a diversity of tree densities that will be preserved over the landscape. The greater density of mature pine trees in some areas will add to the feeding habitat that the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker can use.

February 2011

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Last updated:  01/10/2011.   Content 1999-2011 by the Sierra Club.