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  • United States Department of Agriculture

    Forest Service

    Lusk Creek Canoe/Kayak Launch

    Environmental Assessment Hidden Springs Ranger District, Shawnee National Forest, Pope County, Illinois

    March 2017

    Responsible Official: Tim Pohlman, District Ranger Contact: Heather Carey Shawnee National Forest 602 N. First Street, Vienna, Illinois 62995 Phone: 618-658-2111, Fax: 618-658-1300, Email: hcarey@fs.fed.us

  • ii

    USDA NONDISCRIMINATION STATEMENT

    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights

    regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or

    administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin,

    religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status,

    family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or

    retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all

    bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident.

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g.,

    Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or

    USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay

    Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than

    English.

    To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form,

    AD-3027, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html and at any USDA office or

    write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To

    request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA

    by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400

    Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email:

    program.intake@usda.gov (link sends e-mail).

    USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

    http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html mailto:program.intake@usda.gov

  • i

    Contents Contents ............................................................................................................................................ i Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 1

    Proposed Project Location .......................................................................................................... 1 Need for Action ............................................................................................................................... 2 Public Involvement .......................................................................................................................... 3 Issues ............................................................................................................................................... 3

    Key Issues and Indicators............................................................................................................ 3 Alternatives ..................................................................................................................................... 3

    Proposed Action .......................................................................................................................... 4 Design Criteria and Monitoring .................................................................................................. 6 No Action Alternative ................................................................................................................. 7

    Environmental Effects ..................................................................................................................... 7 Botanical Resources .................................................................................................................... 7 Heritage Resources ..................................................................................................................... 8 Recreation Resources .................................................................................................................. 9 Visual Quality ........................................................................................................................... 10 Watershed Resources ................................................................................................................ 10 Wildlife Resources .................................................................................................................... 14

    Finding of No Significant Impact .................................................................................................. 15 Context ...................................................................................................................................... 15 Intensity ..................................................................................................................................... 15

    References ..................................................................................................................................... 18

    List of Tables

    Table 1. Design Criteria for Lusk Creek Canoe/Kayak Launch ...................................................... 6 Table 2. Monitoring for Lusk Creek Canoe/Kayak Launch ............................................................ 7 Table 3. Animal Species Selected for Further Analysis ................................................................ 14

    List of Figures

    Figure 1. Vicinity map ..................................................................................................................... 2 Figure 2. Proposed Launch Design ................................................................................................. 5

    Figure 3. Collapsed bridge abutment armoring the stream bank ................................................... 11 Figures 4 and 5. Uplsope of old bridge abutment, upstream of proposed launch site. .................. 11 Figure 6. Daily gage height for January 2014-January 2015 at the Lusk Creek gaging station. ... 12 Figure 7. Daily gage height for January 2015-January 2016 at the Lusk Creek gaging station. ... 12 Figure 8. Daily gage height for January 2016-January 2017 at the Lusk Creek gaging station. ... 13

  • Hidden Springs Ranger District, Shawnee National Forest

    1

    Introduction The USDA Forest Service Shawnee National Forest, in cooperation with the Lusk Creek Conservancy District, is proposing to construct a small canoe/kayak launch on Lusk Creek on the Shawnee National Forest in Pope County, Illinois.

    This environmental assessment (EA) has been prepared to determine whether constructing a

    developed canoe/kayak launch on Lusk Creek may significantly affect the quality of the human

    environment and thereby require the preparation of an environmental impact statement. By

    preparing this EA, we are complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The

    EA will summarize the findings of the team of resource specialists concerning this proposal.

    Additional documentation concerning this project, including specialist’s working papers, is filed

    in the project record located at the Hidden Springs-Mississippi Bluffs District Office, 602 N. First

    Street, Vienna, Illinois, as well as on the Forest’s website: www.fs.usda.gov/Shawnee

    Proposed Project Location The project area is located along the west side of County Road 5 (Eddyville Blacktop) near the

    bridge over Lusk Creek, approximately two miles southeast of Eddyville, Pope County, Illinois.

    The site is located in Section 16 Township 12S Range 6E on the USGS 7.5’ Waltersburg Quadrangle

    map.

    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Shawnee

  • Lusk Creek Canoe/Kayak Launch Environmental Assessment

    2

    Figure 1. Vicinity map

    Need for Action The purpose of this action is to develop access to Lusk Creek, in order to launch non-motorized

    watercraft. There are currently no public developed access points on Lusk Creek upstream from

    the State Recreation Area Marina at Golconda, Illinois. Forest visitors have developed a user

    created launch and parking area at the proposed site but it is difficult to use and does not consider

  • Hidden Springs Ranger District, Shawnee National Forest

    3

    the natural, biological, and cultural resources of the area. Access to Lusk Creek is reached only

    via a steep embankment, making the activity of launching non-motorized watercraft difficult and

    unsafe. A developed canoe/kayak launch would provide for improved public recreation

    opportunities, minimize effects to resources, and improve forest visitor safety.

    Public Involvement Public scoping for this project began on July 24, 2016, for a 30 day period. Notice of the project

    was advertised in The Southern Illinoisan newspaper, as well

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