Forest Fuels Reduction Project
The City of Bozeman and the Custer Gallatin National Forest are using prescribed burning, thinning, and timber removal to reduce wildland fuels. These treatments are designed to reduce the risk of severe and extensive wildfire in the lower portions of Hyalite and Bozeman creeks.
This work will also help decrease the amount of debris, sediment and ash entering our water treatment plant after a fire. While this project and work will not eliminate fire starts in our watershed, the project will reduce fire extent and severity near the municipal water intakes and treatment areas, and protect our water quality for Bozeman’s growing population. It will also provide for more defensible space in the Wildland Urban Interface, and just as critical – will increase public and firefighter safety.
Since the City of Bozeman’s land inholdings border or are completely surrounded by the Custer Gallatin National Forest, both entities are working together by conducting forest fuels reduction work consecutively. The City and Forest Service are planning to implement projects in similar timeframes, to minimize impacts to recreation users.
The Custer Gallatin National Forest is implementing a project decision from 2011, whereby much public comment was received, incorporated, and considered when developing project goals and scope. The City of Bozeman is implementing its own Forest Management Plan, which was developed to compliment the Forest’s Bozeman Municipal Watershed Decision and project scope.
The BMW project is a fuels reduction project. The Final Environmental Impact Statement analyzed effects to resources including the Gallatin Fringe Inventory Roadless Area, Threatened and Endangered Species, Wildlife, Fish, Watersheds, Soils, Vegetation, Recreation, Scenery and Air Quality. Project treatments were then designed to ensure natural resource needs, issues and concerns were met.
Residents and visitors can expect to see vegetation reduction work using prescribed burning, thinning, and timber removal. This means people will see some smoke, logging trucks, helicopters and other equipment, and crews working on both City and public lands to help protect the community’s water.
The City and the Forest Service recognize that the Hyalite and Bozeman drainages are loved and enjoyed by many people for the high-quality recreation opportunities this area provides. The agencies are committed to limiting the impact to residents and recreationists as much as possible and to constant communication and information sharing, including providing feedback opportunities, as the project moves forward.