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  • Writer's pictureBy Pacific Island Times News Staff

Navy proposes limestone forest habitat restoration in Finegayen

The Navy is proposing to restore limestone forest habitat in Finegayen by controlling invasive species and augmenting existing native plant stands with additional native and endemic plant species.

The proposed project is part of the forest enhancement activities within the North Finegayan and Finegayan forest enhancement sites adjacent to the Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz main cantonment in Dededo, according to the Navy's Programmatic Agreement memo.

The public commenting period for the project began July 9 and will continue through Aug, 23.

"The project seeks to restore the natural landscape with culturally important native species that are more representative of prehistoric conditions," the memo states.

Activities for the forest enhancement include:

· Removal of invasive animal species, notably feral pigs and deer. Removal activities involve limited ground disturbance but may include limited small stakes to secure nets or traps. Placement of these materials on the ground will not occur in known historic properties.

· Removal of invasive plants introduced after European contact, including trees such as Vitex parviflora and Spathodea campanulata). A variety of removal methods will be used, including herbicides, girdling with herbicides, and direct cutting of some large trees. Rootballs will not be removed but will be treated with herbicide to prevent regrowth.

· Outplanting native plant species. The vast majority of the plants will be in pots no larger than one gallon; a few larger trees in 5-gallon pots or larger may also be transplanted. In some areas of the forest, only seed dispersal will be used, with no ground disturbance required.

The total area of potential effects for the North Finegayan and Finegayan forest enhancement sites is 1,155 acres (467.4 hectares) for outplanting threatened and endangered species and invasive species removal.

The Programmatic Agreement memo cited archaeological studies that documented historic properties ranging from latte period ceramic/artifact scatters to historic concrete foundations within North Finegayan and Finegayan FES.

The Navy said, "safeguarding measures will be implemented during forest enhancement activities to ensure no historic/archaeological sites will be affected."

"Should a potentially significant archaeological deposit be encountered during site checks, the excavation shall cease and MCBCB archaeologists will be notified," the memo said. "The location will be documented, artifacts will be described, photographed, and returned to the pit."

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