Thank you for your participation.
Forest Supervisor, Tahoe National Forest
U.S. Forest Service begins preparing environmental report for over-snow vehicle use on the Tahoe National Forest
The Forest Service is beginning to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the designation of over-snow vehicle (OSV) use on the Tahoe National Forest. Attached is a scoping letter and description of our proposal. We encourage you to review the attached information and follow the instructions provided to submit comments about the proposed action. To assure your comments are fully considered during the scoping phase of this project, please submit comments by March 25, 2015. Your comments will help us assess the environmental effects of the proposed action.
Thank you for your participation.
Forest Supervisor, Tahoe National Forest
USFS invites public comments on environmental statement for Chimney Rock National Monument Management Plan
PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo. - The San Juan National Forest is seeking public comments on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that has been prepared for Chimney Rock National Monument. The Draft EIS analyzes the development of a Management Plan for the Monument, as well as several specific projects within the Monument.
The plan will provide direction and guidance for management of the Monument’s resources and implementation of future projects and activities within the Monument. The plan also will amend direction for management of the Monument in the San Juan National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan.
Specific projects proposed include approval of construction of up to two miles of interpretive trails, new visitor facilities and parking areas near the existing visitor cabin, and visitor shelters near the upper parking area, as well as various prohibitions designed to minimize disturbance to peregrine falcons and prevent other resource damage.
The Pagosa Ranger District will host a public open house on Thursday, February 12, 2015, from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Community Center to offer information, answer questions and take comments. The Draft EIS, Management Plan, and a list of projects and prohibitions with descriptions and maps can be downloaded from the San Juan National Forest website at:www.fs.usda.gov/projects/sanjuan/landmanagement/projects
A Notice of Availability for the Draft EIS will be published in the Federal Register on Friday, January 16, 2015. Written, facsimile, hand-delivered, and electronic comments will be accepted for 45 days from that date until Monday, March 2, 2015. When providing comments, please specify if you are commenting on the management plan, the specific project proposals, or both.
Written comments can be mailed to District Ranger, PO Box 310, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, or hand-delivered to the Pagosa District Office at 180 Pagosa Street in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, between 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Comments may also be faxed to: Attn: Sara Brinton, fax number 970-264-1538, or emailed to: email@example.com.
For more information, please contact Paul Blackman, Recreation Specialist, or Sara Brinton, NEPA Coordinator, 310 Pagosa Street, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, 970 264-2268 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Input received, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record and available for public inspection. Only individuals or entities who submit timely and specific written comments during the public comment period will be eligible to file an objection.
Waldport, OR – The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (ODNRA) Designated Routes Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Draft Record of Decision (ROD) will be available September 17, which begins a 45-day objection period.
“There was extensive outreach for public comments and this is the final product of those efforts,” said Michele Jones, Central Coast Ranger District and Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area District Ranger. “We are appreciative of the input and excited about this step toward signing the final Record of Decision for Designated Routes depending on what comes out of the objection period.”
The primary purpose and need for the project is to complete the designation and development of a comprehensive, understandable designated off-highway vehicle route system that can be effectively managed and maintained within the Management Area 10 (C) areas of the ODNRA.
In response to comments received throughout the planning process, four action alternatives were developed in addition to our original proposed action. The Draft ROD identifies Modified Alternative 4 as the preferred alternative. Modified Alternative 4 would:
• Designate an additional 2.3 miles of trails. This is the same as Alternative 4 in the FEIS.
• Reallocate 518 acres of Management Area 10 (C) to Management Area 10 (B), opening these lands to cross-country off-highway vehicle use. These acres have been modified from the original Alternative 4. The modifications are described below.
The areas reallocated to open riding contain 46 miles of user-developed routes. This is a modification of Alternative 4 in the FEIS because the reallocations of areas A3 and A16 have been changed, and an additional area has been added, A17.
In the North Riding Area, reallocation A3 has been increased from 6 acres to 28 acres, containing 1.2 miles user-developed routes. Also, in the north, A17 adds 64 acres containing one mile of user-developed routes.
In the Middle Riding Area, reallocation A16 has been reduced from 132 acres to 109 acres, containing 6.3 miles of user-developed routes.
A hard copy of the FEIS, Draft ROD, and supporting documents are available for viewing during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Central Coast Ranger District-Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area offices in Reedsport and Waldport, along with the Siuslaw National Forest Headquarters in Corvallis. Printed copies of the FEIS will also be available at several public libraries including Eugene, Springfield, Roseburg, Waldport, Reedsport and Coos Bay.
The electronic version of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area Designated Routes 10(c) FEIS, Draft ROD, and supporting documents are posted on the Siuslaw National Forest website at http://go.usa.gov/VkDz. If you are interested in the project background please visit ourOregon Dunes Designated Routes page at http://go.usa.gov/VKzd. If you need a copy of the FEIS and Draft ROD in another format, please let us know and we’ll be glad to provide it.
Background and explanation of objection period:
When the draft EIS was released, the associated documentation indicated that the upcoming decision would be subject to an administrative appeal process according to the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR 215); this process allows people who submitted comments during the comment period on the draft EIS an opportunity to appeal the final decision after it is signed. However, on March 27, 2013, new regulations were released that apply to this project.
The new regulations provide an opportunity for individuals, organizations and tribal entities to file an objection to a project before the final decision is signed. This allows interested individuals, organizations and tribal entities to advise the Deciding Official about concerns regarding the final decision before the decision is made. The new regulations allow anyone who submitted timely, specific written comments about the proposed project during any designated opportunity for public comment, to file an objection to the draft decision (36 CFR 218.5).
If you commented on the Designated Routes project during the scoping period, the review of the draft EIS, or during any of the public meetings, you can file an objection to the draft decision. When the final EIS and Draft Record of Decision are released for public review, you will have 45 days in which to review the documents and, if you choose, file an objection to the Draft Record of Decision. Objections must be postmarked or received by the Reviewing Officer, Regional Forester, within 45 days from the date of publication of notice of the objection in Corvallis Gazette-Times, Corvallis, OR. The publication date is the exclusive means for calculating the time to file an objection. Those wishing to file an objection should not rely upon dates or timeframe information provided by any other source.
Specific directions on how to file an objection are provided in 36 CFR 218.8. (A printed copy is available upon request.) The electronic version of the Code of Federal Regulations can be found at http://go.usa.gov/VKtP.
At a minimum an objection must include the following:
1. The objector’s name and address, with a telephone number, if available;
2. A signature or other verification of authorship upon request (a scanned signature for Email may be filed with the objection);
3. When multiple names are listed on an objection, identification of the lead objector (verification of the identity of the lead objector shall be provided upon request);
4. The name of the proposed project, the name and title of the Responsible Official, and the name(s) of the National Forest(s) and/or Ranger District(s) on which the proposed project will be implemented;
5. A description of those aspects of the proposed project addressed by the objection, including specific issues related to the proposed project if applicable, how the objector believes the environmental analysis or draft decision specifically violates law, regulation, or policy; suggested remedies that would resolve the objection; supporting reasons for the reviewing officer to consider; and
6. A statement that demonstrates connection between prior specific written comments on the particular proposed project or activity and the content of the objection.
Objections, including attachments, must be filed via mail, fax, email, hand-delivery, express delivery, or messenger service (Monday throughFriday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays).
· MAIL or DELIVER: Regional Forester, Objection Reviewing Officer, Pacific Northwest Region, USDA Forest Service, Attn. 1570 Appeals and Objections, 1220 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, Oregon 97204
· FAX: Regional Forester, Attn: 1570 Objections at (503)-808-2339
· EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org . Please put OBJECTION and the project name in the subject line.
Mailed objections must be postmarked or delivered no later than close of business November 3.
Dear Interested Party,
The Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to disclose the environmental consequences of the alternatives considered for the Becker Integrated Resource Project. Project scoping was initiated with publication of a legal notice in the Idaho Statesman on May 7th and ended on June 9th. Following review of comments received and additional review with the interdisciplinary team, the Responsible Official has decided to proceed with preparation of an EIS. As a result, additional comments concerning the scope of the analysis will be accepted. Comments must be received by September 8th.
The project information and the Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS are available on theBecker Integrated Resource Project Webpage.
How to Comment
Written, facsimile, hand-delivered, verbal, and electronic comments concerning this project will be accepted.
Written comments must be submitted to: Boise National Forest, Idaho City Ranger District, Attention: District Ranger Brant Petersen, P.O. Box 129, Idaho City, ID 83631; or by fax to 208-392-6684. The office hours for those submitting hand-delivered comments are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Oral comments may also be provided at the Idaho City Ranger District office during normal business hours via telephone 208-392-6681 or in person.
Comments may also be submitted through the Becker Integrated Resource Project Webpage. To submit comments using the webform select "Comment on Project" under "Get Connected" on the right panel of the project webpage.
Email comments must be submitted in a format such as an email message, plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), Adobe (.pdf) and Word (.doc) to email@example.com. Please put "Becker Integrated Resource Project" in the subject line of email comments. Comments must have an identifiable name attached or verification of identity will be required. A scanned signature may serve as verification on electronic comments.
Sparks, Nevada… The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Carson City District have extended the comment period for the Bi-State Sage-Grouse Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) following the release of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) proposal to protect the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the Greater Sage-grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The DEIS will amend resource management plans to conserve, enhance and restore habitat for the species.
“We are extending the comment period on the DEIS to December 27 to coincide with the comment period on the proposed listing announced by FWS on October 25,” said Bill Dunkelberger, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Supervisor. “This change in our schedule will allow the public to look at each document and provide comments relative to both”.
The 34-day extension will make it easier for the public to comment on both of the DEIS and FWS documents. Comments received will be shared by the BLM, Forest Service and FWS to revise the proposed plan amendment and address the key threats identified by the FWS in their proposal.
The 90 day public comment period for the Greater Sage-grouse Bi-State Distinct Population Segment Forest Plan Amendment DEIS began on August 23 and was scheduled to end on November 23.
“Working together will complement our efforts to conserve the species,” said Bernadette Lovato, BLM Carson City District Manager. “We strongly encourage the public to share information that we can use to ensure that we have a broad analysis prior to finalizing the plan amendments.”
As part of this effort the Forest Service and BLM will also attend the FWS meetings scheduled for:
November 5, 2013
4 to 6 p.m.
Tri-County Fairgrounds, Home Economics Building
Sierra Street and Fair Drive
Bishop, CA 93514
November 6, 2013
1 to 3 p.m.
Smith Valley Community Center
2783 State Route 208
Wellington, NV 89444
The DEIS and other documents related to the project can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/htnf.
Yosemite National Park releases final environmental impact statement on Restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias
Yosemite National Park announces the release of the Restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias Final Environmental Impact Statement (Mariposa Grove FEIS). This landmark plan provides the foundation for the restoration and site improvements in the park’s largest grove of giant sequoias. The Mariposa Grove, along with Yosemite Valley, was included in the Yosemite Grant that was signed into law on June 30, 1864. This marked the first time the federal government set aside land for protection and is considered to be the genesis of the national park idea. The Mariposa Grove contains approximately 500 mature giant sequoia trees that are among the oldest, rarest, and largest living organisms in the world.
The paramount objectives of the restoration plan include restoring degraded habitat and natural processes in the grove. This includes restoring prime giant sequoia habitat and associated wetlands, which are currently impacted by the parking lot and roads in the lower grove area. Other objectives include improving traffic circulation, visitor parking, and visitor orientation to the grove.
Restoration and improvements to the Mariposa Grove specifically include:
· Restoring giant sequoia and associated wetland habitat
· Constructing a transit hub at the South Entrance which will allow for the relocation of the current parking area from the grove
· Adding shuttle service between the South Entrance and the Lower Grove area during peak use periods
· Building accessible trails through the grove to allow for improved access without impacting the sequoia trees and other sensitive areas.
· Restoring natural hydrology and reducing noise by eliminating commercial tram service through the grove.
· Establishing a new pedestrian trail between South Entrance and the lower grove area, and several new accessible trails within the grove.
Yosemite Conservancy, the park’s philanthropic partner, is contributing significant funding for this landmark project.
Following a 30-day no action period, the National Park Service (NPS) will document a final decision in a Record of Decision (ROD), which will be published in the Federal Register.
The Mariposa Grove FEIS is available on the Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at (http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/mariposagrove).To request printed documents or CDs, e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (209) 379-1202. Copies may also be requested via mail at: Superintendent, Attn: Mariposa Grove/FEIS P.O. Box 577 Yosemite National Park, CA 95389.
Forest Releases Clear Creek Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Kamiah, Idaho—According to Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Supervisor Rick Brazell, the Clear Creek Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is now available for public review and comment.
The DEIS presents and analyzes options for restoring forest vegetation and improving watershed conditions within the nearly 44,000 acre Clear Creek analysis area. The proposed treatments are expected to improve long-term resilience of vegetation, reduce fuels, improve habitat for a variety of species including elk, and reduce sediment reaching Clear Creek, a tributary of the Middle Fork Clearwater River located approximately five air miles southeast of Kooskia, ID.
District Ranger Joe Hudson said the Clear Creek proposal is notable because it represents a new way of doing business as prescribed by the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program. Consistent with program principles, the proposal was developed collaboratively, and considers a larger area and more extensive restoration treatments than most agency analyses. He added that this approach should be more efficient and will allow for more meaningful outcomes on the land.
The DEIS describes a “no action alternative” and three action alternatives. All three action alternatives include 1371 acres of prescribed burning, 1887 acres of precommercial thinning, 119.8 miles of system road reconstruction and replacement of 77 undersized culverts.
Commercial timber harvest associated with the action alternatives ranges from 61.8 million board feet to 85.2 million board feet. Hudson emphasized that the outputs are products of science-based restoration activities, and will make a positive difference for both the environment and people.
Robyn Miller with The Nature Conservancy and Clearwater Basin Collaborative member said the group is pleased the agency has released such a comprehensive plan for the Clear Creek area. “While recognizing that this project will continue to evolve with ongoing public input, we believe the proposal outlined in the Clear Creek DEIS is a great starting point that addresses the ecological needs of the Clear Creek drainage and the economic needs of the surrounding communities.”
The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests and Clearwater Basin Collaborative developed a comprehensive science-based restoration approach for the 1.4-million-acre Selway-Middle Fork area in 2010 and submitted it for funding through the national Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program. It was one of ten projects initially selected, making it eligible to receive up to $4 million annually for up to ten years.
Since its selection the project has been awarded over $8.5 million dollars which have been used to implement a number critical projects to restore the watershed, treat weeds and reduce hazardous fuels. The Clear Creek proposal is the first large-scale integrated resource project to be implemented as part of this program.
The Clear Creek DEIS is available online at http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project=38021, or it can be obtained by contacting Interdisciplinary Team Leader Lois Hill at 208-935-4258. Project presentations can also be requested through District Ranger Joe Hudson at 208-926-8930 or CFLRP coordinator Mike Ward at208-926-6413. Comments regarding the Clear Creek proposal are due within 45 days of the publication of the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register which is scheduled to be published on or about April 19th.
Yosemite National Park announces the release of the Restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias DEIS for public review
Yosemite National Park releases the Restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Mariposa Grove DEIS) for public review and comment. The public comment period for the Mariposa Grove DEIS is open today through Tuesday, May 7, 2013. The document is available for public review on the park’s website.
The primary goals of the Mariposa Grove DEIS are to restore giant sequoia habitat and improve the visitor experience. Overall, the plan will improve the natural processes that are critical to the long term health of the trees, protect special status species, enhance operational sustainability, improve visitor education and way-finding, improve visitor and employee safety, and protect cultural resource values.
The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, the largest of three sequoia groves within the park, contains approximately 500 mature giant sequoias. The significance of this grove was recognized by Abraham Lincoln when he signed the Yosemite Grant on June 30, 1864, a landmark bill that set aside and protected Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove. The giant sequoias are among the largest and oldest living things on earth.
The Mariposa Grove DEIS will restore dynamic ecological processes and increase the resiliency of this treasured grove. Heavy visitor use over the past 150 years has negatively impacted the Mariposa Grove. Additionally, roads and parking lots in the sequoia grove, along with other development, have adversely impacted the natural ecosystem. The plan will provide for visitor access, while reducing impacts to the grove and restore the natural ecosystem of the area.
The Mariposa Grove DEIS presents and analyzes four alternatives, including a No Action Alternative. The park identified Alternative 2 (South Entrance Hub) as the Preferred Alternative. This alternative will restore giant sequoia habitat by removing the parking lot in the lower grove, removing the gift shop, and ceasing the commercial tram operation. Additionally, the road within the grove will be rerouted to avoid a wetland, thus allowing restoration of this sensitive area.
The Preferred Alternative will improve the visitor experience by also proposing traffic and transportation improvements that include a new parking lot and transportation hub near the South Entrance to the park. Improvements include enhanced orientation for visitors and a free shuttle bus between the transportation hub and the Mariposa Grove. Parking will be available near the grove for vehicles with handicap placards. A new trail will be constructed, which will enable visitors to hike from the transportation hub to the grove. Accessible boardwalks and trails will be constructed within the lower grove in order to provide better access and protect sensitive wetlands.
For a copy of the plan and a complete description of the alternatives, please visit the park’s website at (http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/mgrove.htm). Comments can be submitted on the Planning Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/mariposagrove. Comments made through the PEPC website are the preferred method of submission. Comments can also be sent via email to email@example.com or via U.S. mail to:
Yosemite National Park
Attn: Mariposa Grove DEIS
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389
Public meetings will be held in multiple locations throughout the Yosemite area. Specific dates, locations, and times will be announced soon.
Final Environmental Impact Statement on pack and saddle stock outfitter guide special use permit issued on Okanogan-Wenatchee NF
WINTHROP, WA— On Thursday, February 21, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest released the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Pack and Saddle Stock Outfitter Guide Special Use Permit Issuance. Rebecca Heath, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Supervisor, will consider the information in the document as she makes a decision about issuing 10-year term permits to pack and saddle stock outfitter-guides.
“Pack and saddle stock outfitters have been operating in the Pasayten and Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness Areas, the Sawtooth Backcountry, and most of the Methow Valley Ranger District for decades, “said Michael Liu, District Ranger for the Methow Valley Ranger District. “They have been operating under one-year permits for the past several years while we completed this analysis. It was important to analyze the effects of this use and to consider how to best manage the commercial use while protecting important resource values. We also needed to reconcile some inconsistencies in past direction.”
“There is more work to be done, but completing the Final Environmental Impact Statement was an important milestone in being able to move ahead with a Record of Decision and issuing ten-year permits,” he said.
Each year, the pack and saddle outfitter-guide businesses provide assistance to many groups and individuals wishing to experience the backcountry and wilderness. With their unique set of skills, equipment and expertise, pack and saddle stock outfitters serve a needed niche; making forests accessible to individuals who may need assistance to access it or those who do not have the knowledge or experience to do so on their own.
Public review and comment on the Draft version of this document, released in August of 2010, led to several changes in the Final Environmental Impact Statement. Noticeable changes include revised visitor numbers, development of Alternative 4, and an additional Forest Plan amendment in certain alternatives.
Based on her review of the analysis displayed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement, Forest Supervisor Heath anticipates making a decision on Pack and Saddle Stock Outfitter Guide Special Use Permit Issuance in late March, 2013.
For additional information about the project, please contact Jennifer Zbyszewski, Recreation and Wilderness Program Manager at 509-996-4021. The document is available for download from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website atwww.fs.usda.gov/goto/okawen/projects.
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Merced River and Tuolumne River
Available for Public Review
Yosemite National Park announces the release of two Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan Draft Environmental Impact Statements for the Merced River (MRP) and the Tuolumne River (TRP) for public review and comment. The public comment period for the MRP is open now through Thursday, April 18, 2013. The public comment period for the TRP is open now through Monday, March 18, 2013. Both documents, in their entirety, are available for public review on the park’s website beginning today.
In accordance with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Yosemite National Park is required to release a management plan that adequately protects the Merced River and the Tuolumne River. The Merced River was designated Wild and Scenic by the U.S. Congress in 1987 to preserve its free-flowing condition and to protect and enhance the values that made it unique. The Tuolumne River was designated Wild and Scenic in 1984 due to its rich natural, cultural, and scenic values.
The MRP presents the environmental analysis of six alternatives, including a No Action Alternative, the National Park Service (NPS) is considering, according to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The park has identified Alternative Five as the Preferred Alternative: Enhanced Visitor Experiences and Essential Riverbank Restoration.
The Preferred Alternative will protect and enhance the Merced River’s iconic resources in perpetuity and allow visitors the freedom to access Yosemite Valley by private vehicle, with expanded options for public transit; reduce traffic congestion and crowding and provides organized and efficient parking for day use visitors; expand the opportunity for overnight accommodations (camping and lodging) in Yosemite Valley; maintains Yosemite’s positive effect on local and regional economies; replace substandard, temporary, and aging employee housing currently in the park with code compliant residences that fit the historic character and significance of Yosemite; and promote environmental sustainability and public safety by relocating facilities away from flood and rockfall hazards and on to more resilient, buildable sites.
The TRP presents the environmental analysis of four alternatives the National Park Service is considering, according to NEPA. The park has identified Alternative Four as the Preferred Alternative: Improving the Traditional Tuolumne Experience.
The Preferred Alternative seeks to retain a traditional Tuolumne experience while reducing development and making the visitor use more sustainable. Specifically, the alternative will allow for the restoration of informal trails, replanting of native vegetation, and the restoration of natural hydrologic conditions; continue to provide visitor access to the Tuolumne River; repair damaged riparian areas near the river and in meadows; maintain the health and integrity of the river system, while still providing access to the river without damaging sensitive areas.
For a copy of the plans and a complete description of all alternatives, please visit the park’s website atwww.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/mrp.htm (MRP) or http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/trp.htm (TRP) Comments on either DEIS can be made through the Planning Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yose_mrp (MRP) or http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yose_trp (trp). Comments made through the PEPC website are the preferred method of submission. However, comments can also be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via U.S. mail to:
Yosemite National Park
Attn: Merced River Plan or Attn: Tuolumne River Plan
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389
Public meetings will be held in multiple locations throughout the Yosemite area. Specific dates, locations, and times will be announced soon.
To learn more about how Yosemite inspires generations of visitors, please see our video entitled “The Yosemite Inspiration” at http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/planning.htm
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Cody and Worland field offices will soon be providing supplemental analysis to the Bighorn Basin Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), released in April 2011.
The supplement, expected in early 2013, will include additional environmental analysis of Greater Sage-Grouse related topics. The supplement will be available for a 90-day public comment period, during which time public meetings will be held to provide opportunities for interested individuals to ask questions and provide input on the supplement. After addressing public comments received during the comment period, the BLM will continue to develop a Proposed RMP and Final EIS.
Once finalized, the plan will provide future direction in all aspects of public land and mineral management on approximately 3.2 million surface acres and 4.2 million acres of mineral estate in northwest Wyoming.
Additional information on the Bighorn Basin Resource Management Plan Revision Project can be found at www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/programs/Planning/rmps/bighorn.html or you may contact BLM Planning and Environmental Coordinator Holly Elliott at 307-347-5100.
Electric Peak snowmobile routes enviromental impact statement released by Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
Dillon, Mont., July 20, 2012 — The Determination and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) evaluating the potential effects of three winter routes specifically delineated in the Forest Plan is available. The FSEIS evaluates the potential effects relevant to applying the minimization criteria established by Executive Order 11644, as directed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana. These snowmobile routes are located in the Electric Peak area near Thunderbolt Creek and Cottonwood Lake, on Road #056 corridor in the Antelope Basin vicinity, and on Road #325 to Antone Cabin in the southwest portion of the Snowcrest Mountains.
The 2009 Forest Plan provides management direction for activities on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest including motorized and non-motorized allocations. Wildlands CPR, Inc., Friends of the Bitterroot, Inc., and Montanans for Quiet Recreation filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Montana alleging inadequate analysis of the impacts of winter motorized travel when developing the Forest Plan and failure to analyze criteria intended to minimize off-road vehicle impacts. The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana found the Forest Service had adequately applied the minimization criteria of Executive Order 11644 for areas generally open to snowmobile use. However, the court found “to the extent that specific routes have been designated for snowmobile use”, the Forest Service failed to show it adequately applied the minimization criteria at the route-specific level. The court ordered that the Forest Service apply the minimization criteria mandated by EO 11644 at the route specific level where specific snowmobile routes are designated.
The Determination and Final SEIS are available electronically at: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/bdnf/forest-plan by clicking on “Final SEIS for BDNF Plan.” The responsible official is Faye L. Krueger, Region 1, Regional Forester.
For more information about the Determination or FSEIS, contact Peri Suenram at (406) 683-3967.
Philipsburg, Mont., Oct. 19, 2012 – The Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF, Pintler Ranger District, has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Flint Foothills Vegetation Management Project to address vegetation conditions in the project area resulting from current insect and disease infestations. The project area encompasses 44,522 acres on the north end of the Flint Range located approximately six miles southeast of Drummond, Montana. Over 80 percent of the project area (37,010 acres) is managed by the Forest Service and the remainder is private inholdings (7,512 acres). The DEIS discloses the environmental effects of proposed vegetation treatments including salvage by clearcut harvest regeneration, commercial thinning, seed tree harvest with reserves, prescribed burning, and pre-commercial thinning on 5,703 acres on Forest Service Lands.
Three alternatives are analyzed in the DEIS; the No Action Alternative and two action alternatives. The No Action Alternative is required by the National Environmental Policy Act and serves as the environmental baseline to compare the action alternatives. Alternative 2 is the Proposed Action, and Alternative 3 responds to public concerns about new road construction, and logging within old-growth stands.
Under the No Action Alternative no salvage of lodgepole pine by clearcut harvest, commercial thinning, seed tree harvest, prescribed burning, or pre-commercial thinning would be implemented to accomplish project and Forest Plan objectives.
Alternative 2 proposes to salvage by clearcut regeneration harvest dead and dying lodgepole pine stands on 1,163 acres; commercial thin ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir stands on 1,149 acres, which includes 121 acres of old growth; and regenerate by seed tree harvest Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine stands on 353 acres. Collectively, the commercial vegetation treatments would provide 16,042 MBF (32,083 CCF) in sawtimber; and 4,010 MBF (8,021 CCF) in non-saw timber.
Prescribed burning would be used to treat mid-elevation lodgepole pine and low-elevation Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine stands on 1,990 acres. Additionally, pre-commercial thins would be used to treat naturally regenerated, lodgepole pine and Douglas-fir stands on 1,048 acres.
Approximately 1.3 miles of new National Forest System roads and 7.2 miles of new temporary roads would be constructed. About 2.4 miles of road (1.3 miles of new NFS road construction and 1.1 miles of open and closed unauthorized routes) would be added to the Forest transportation system.
Alternative 3 addresses public concerns over new road construction, and logging within old-growth stands. No new system or temporary roads would be constructed to access units or accommodate logging within units. No commercial thinning would occur within the understory of old-growth stands. As a result, 666 fewer acres of salvage by clearcut regeneration harvest and 1,022 fewer acres of commercial thinning would occur under Alternative 3. All other vegetation treatments remain the same as Alternative 2.
Comments will be accepted for 45 calendar days following publication of a Notice of Availability (NOA) the Federal Register. The forest anticipates that the NOA will be published on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012; however this is only an estimate and the actual date of publication may be different. To submit your comments: provide your name, address, telephone number, and organization represented, if any; specific facts along with supporting reasons that you believe should be considered; and your signature. Comments may be submitted via the following methods:
Mail: Pintler Ranger District, Attn: Flint Foothills Vegetation Project, 88 Business Loop, Philipsburg, MT 59858.
Email: email@example.com. Type: “Flint Foothills Vegetation Project” in the subject line.
Fax: (406) 859-3689. Include your mailing address and phone number, as well as “Flint Foothills Vegetation Project” in the subject line of the cover sheet.
Hand delivery: Pintler Ranger District, 88 Business Loop, Philipsburg, MT 59858. Comments may be submitted 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mon. through Fri., excluding holidays.
The DEIS will be available online at the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/bdnf/projects, and hard copies or CDs are available upon request to Charlene Bucha Gentry at (406) 859-3211.
Gallatin NF to hold public meeting on draft environmental impact statement on Northwestern energy proposal
Bozeman, MT – The Bozeman Ranger District, Gallatin N.F. is currently seeking comments until December 3, on a recent Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for NorthWestern Energy’s proposal to rebuild and upgrade their existing 69 kilovolt (kV) electrical transmission line to a 161 kV transmission line from the Jack Rabbit substation located near Four Corners, west of Bozeman, MT, to a substation location near Big Sky Meadow Village in Big Sky, Montana. On November 15, the Forest Service will host a public meeting concerning NorthWestern Energy’s proposed transmission line upgrade/rebuild in Big Sky, Montana at the Ophir School gymnasium from 5 to 7 p.m.
The proposal to upgrade and rebuild the transmission line covers 16 miles of National Forest System Lands (NFS); the entire length of the proposed upgrade/rebuild is 37 miles. The DEIS examines the potential effects of the proposed action, which would utilize and expand the existing transmission line right-of-way across NFS Lands, and three alternatives including no action.
The Gallatin Valley and Big Sky areas are among the fastest growing within NorthWestern Energy’s service territory. The electrical power demand in the Big Sky area is currently served from two 69 kV transmission lines. On an annual basis, current usage exceeds capacity of one of these substations about 40 percent of the time. In the event of a power outage from the Ennis Auto Substation there would be inadequate infrastructure to serve the electrical load from the Jack Rabbit Auto Substation. The project is being proposed to meet current energy demand, provide for anticipated growth, and comply with industry standards and customer needs.
The DEIS is available on the Gallatin National Forest’s website at www.fs.usda.gov/gallatin. A hard copy is also available for review at the Bozeman, Belgrade, and Big Sky public libraries. For more information about the project, or to request a copy of the DEIS, please contact Amy Waring, Project Leader, at 406-255-1451.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lander Field Offices has released a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) and decision record (DR) for a wild horse gather in the North Lander Wild Horse Herd Management Area (HMA) Complex, located east of Riverton in Fremont County. The gather is scheduled to begin in early November.
Based on a July 2012 census flight to inventory the population, it is estimated that there are approximately 900 wild horses in the North Lander Complex, which encompasses the Conant Creek, Dishpan Butte, Muskrat Basin and Rock Creek HMAs. The appropriate management level (AML) for the complex is 320-536 horses.
The BLM will gather, treat with fertility control, release and remove wild horses. The gather is necessary to bring the population of the complex back to its AML and slow the growth rate of the population that is returned to the North Lander Complex to help achieve a thriving natural ecological balance and a multiple use relationship with other resources within the HMAs.
The revised environmental assessment, FONSI and DR are available at www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/documents/lfo/N-Lander-gather.html. The decision is subject to administrative review through the appeal process, which is outlined in the DR.
Wild horses that are removed will be available for adoption to qualified applicants. For more information about adopting a Wyoming wild horse, visit www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/programs/Wild_Horses.html.
For more information, please contact BLM Wild Horse Specialist Scott Fluer at 307-332-8400.
Emmett Ranger District releases draft Scriver Creek Integrated Restoration Project for public comment
Scriver Creek Integrated Restoration Project
The Emmett Ranger District has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Scriver Creek Integrated Restoration Project (SCIRP). The 11,500 acres project is located approximately 6 miles north of Crouch, Idaho. The SCIRP proposes to undertake vegetative condition restoration, improve watershed conditions, and utilize wood products resulting from restoration activities to support local and regional communities through a variety of activities including commercial and non-commercial vegetation management and road system modifications and maintenance activities. A Notice of Intent (NOI) announcing that the Forest Service will prepare a Supplemental DEIS for the Scriver Integrated Restoration Project was published in the Federal Register on June 18, 2012.
Location SummaryThe project area is approximately 11,500 acres and is located in the Scriver Creek sub-watershed, a tributary to the Middle Fork Payette River, 6 miles north of Crouch, Idaho.
District: Emmett Ranger District
Final environmental impact statement for Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge's management plan is available
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today released the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge's (Refuge) final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (final CCP/EIS), analyzing three management alternatives and selecting Alternative 2 as the Service's preferred.
The final CCP/EIS proposes a 15-year management plan for improving the Refuge's habitats for the long-term conservation of fish, wildlife and plants and for providing wildlife-dependent recreation, environmental education, and interpretation opportunities for Refuge visitors. In 30 days, the Service's Pacific Regional Director will decide which alternative will be implemented.
"One of the Refuge's most important issues is restoring the degraded wildlife habitat conditions caused by feral horse and burro populations," said John Kasbohm, Project Leader for Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Feral horses and burros are not native to the Refuge and cause considerable damage to native habitats by over-grazing and trampling fragile vegetation, stream beds and other wildlife resources. The Service reexamined habitat monitoring data obtained in 2002 and concluded that 44 percent of the Refuge's streams and 80 percent of its springs are severely degraded by feral horses and burros. Results from ongoing research indicate both riparian and upland habitats are impacted by feral horses and burros.
The cost of managing feral horses and burros is substantial, which results in fewer funds and staff to support the Service's conservation mission and the Refuge's purposes.
"Managing the Refuge's feral horse and burro populations has been required to limit damage to wildlife habitat," Kasbohm said. "In the final plan, we propose to restore native habitats and species and lower long-term operating costs by removing all feral horses and burros from the Refuge within five years."
Removal of the feral horses and burros would occur primarily through a roundup (gathers) and private adoption program.
The preferred alternative also recommends that 351,598 acres of the refuge be designated as wilderness. This includes 262,745 acres from a 1974 wilderness recommendation to Congress that has not been acted upon. Not all of the acres in the 1974 recommendation are included in the current recommendation, which incorporates some areas not included in the 1974 recommendation.
The 575,000-acre Refuge was established to conserve pronghorn antelope and other native species of the sagebrush steppe ecosystem, such as greater sage grouse, prairie falcons, pygmy rabbits, American pika and other migratory birds. Most of the Refuge's lands are located in northern Nevada, with a small area in southern Oregon. In the semi-arid environment of this area, the Refuge?s fish and wildlife species rely on its valuable but limited water resources and adjacent meadows, wetlands and riparian zones, which are impacted by feral horses and burros year-round but most severely during late-summer and mid-winter.
The Service invited public comments on the Draft CCP/EIS in September 2011 and received suggestions for improving the Refuge's habitat conservation and recreational programs. Those comments, addressed in the final CCP/EIS, regard the following issues:
Restore springs and other key habitats;
Manage wildland and prescribed fires;
Reduce and remove encroaching western juniper;
Provide wildlife-dependent public uses;
Delineate public vehicle access to the Refuge;
Add a visitor contact station and improve campgrounds; and
Consider currently proposed wilderness areas and wilderness study areas for a potential wilderness recommendation.
Notice of Availability of the final CCP/EIS published in today's Federal Register. The final CCP/EIS is available on the Refuge's Web site: www.fws.gov/pacific/planning/main/docs/NV/docssheldon.htm, and printed copies are available at public libraries in: Lakeview, OR; Alturas, CA; and Winnemucca and Reno, NV. You can also read a copy below this article. Requests for a CD-ROM copy of the final plan can be submitted via e-mail or U.S. mail as follows.
John Kasbohm, Project Leader
Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex
PO Box 111
Lakeview, OR 97630.
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The Salmon River Mountain Press shares news from federal and state natural resource agencies, environmental, conservation and recreation groups in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The blog delivers the content one news story at a time.