The Pine Bear Project, located on 10,055 acres in the southeastern part of the Allegheny National Forest (ANF), proposes approximately 3,000 acres of even-aged logging—1,324 acres of which is clearcuts and 1,781 acres staged clearcuts (see location). Additionally, the project calls for 2,294 acres of other “treatments,” 1,483 acres of herbiciding, 105 acres of burning every 3 to 5 years, over 500 acres of fencing, 12 acres of stone pit expansion, and 2.5 miles of new road.
Within the Pine Bear project boundary are high quality aquatic habitats, which will be adversely affected by the actions proposed in the Pine Bear project (e.g., by clearcutting, and herbiciding). Bear Creek is classified as a High Quality, Cold Water Fishery, which must be afforded special protection. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Fish And Boat Commission recognizes Bear Creek as well as the streams and creeks listed below as Naturally Reproducing Trout Streams.
Twin Lick Run
Red Lick Run
These important aquatic habitats must be protected. The proposed action in the Pine Bear project will damage these streams and creeks with increased runoff and siltation, stream warming from canopy openings, and pollution from herbicide applications. The USFS must conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to determine the impact of the project on these important aquatic habitats and on the species that inhabit them.
The northwest area of the Pine Bear Project includes the Sackett oil field seen in the satellite image below. This area has been heavily fragmented and impacted by oil and gas drilling.
Also note previous clear-cut activities in image above. Some of these resulted from the East Side and Mortality I projects. Now the U.S. Forest Service intends to layer additional impacts on an area already hit hard by industrialization and extraction (See Initial Cut Map; Secondary Cut Map).
The U.S. Forest Service identified new oil and gas drilling areas last year in its, currently stalled, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process (AKA the Transition EIS) to "...authorize reasonable access for site-specific proposals to develop reserved and outstanding mineral rights within the Allegheny National Forest, with provisions to mitigate impacts to surface resources." (April 2010 through June 2010 SOPA). There are 20 areas identified in this Transition EIS process (TEIS) Part I. The TEIS, Part II, predicts “full mine out” conditions in the Pine Bear project area (wells spaced every 500 feet in a grid across the landscape). For more information see Drlling Continues! We need you for Forest Watch Action!.
There are at least three Marcellus Shale gas drilling operations adjacent to this area, two in Gamelands 28, and one north of the project area, off of Road 4009. The impact to the project area from these operations including effects of water withdrawal, erosion and sedimentation, air quality, must be considered cumulatively with the effects of the proposed action in an EIS.
There has already been extensive drilling damage (with more predicted in the near future), and considerable logging impacts in the Bear Creek watershed. A project of the scale proposed in Pine Bear must include an EIS to determine the cumulative impacts of OGD and the proposed timbering actions in the Bear Creek watershed. There must also be a plan for the restoration of the impacted area.