Plumas National Forest, Feather River Ranger District, California, Slapjack Project, 54707-54709 [05-17897]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 179 / Friday, September 16, 2005 / Notices their satisfaction with various aspects of the locations they visited. Forest Service or contractor personnel will interview visitors as they exit National Forest System lands at a stratified random sample of recreational sites and forest access points. Surveys will be conducted on about one-fifth of the National Forests each year, so that complete coverage of agency lands occurs over a five-year cycle. Results of this study will be published in agency reports and various research journals. Data gathered in this collection is not available from other sources. Estimate of Annual Burden: 10 minutes. Type of Respondents: People who visit National Forest System lands. Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 66,000. Estimated Annual Number of Responses per Respondent: 1. Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 11,000 hours. Comment is invited on: (1) Whether this collection of information is necessary for the stated purposes and the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical or scientific utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. All comments received in response to this notice, including names and addresses when provided, will be a matter of public record. Comments will be summarized and included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval. Dated: September 2, 2005. Frederick R. Norbury, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 05–18385 Filed 9–15–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Plumas National Forest, Feather River Ranger District, California, Slapjack Project AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:04 Sep 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 Notice to intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. ACTION: SUMMARY: The USDA Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact statement to disclose the environmental effects from construction of defensible fuel profile zones (DFPZs); harvest and reforestation of timber stands; watersted rehabilitation; control of noxious weeds; construction of temporary roads and reconstruction of specified roads; decommissioning of roads; road access restrictions, and underburning forest fuels and debris in the Slapjack project area. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received within 30 days of the publication of this notice in the Federal Register. The draft environmental impact statement is expected by January 2006, and the final environmental impact statement is expected by April 2006. ADDRESSES: Send written comments ˜ concerning this notice to James M. Pena, Forest Supervisor, Plumas National Forest, P.O. Box 11500, 159 Lawrence Street, Quincy, CA 95971. Comments may be (1) mailed to the Responsible Official; (2) hand-delivered between the hours of 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays; (3) faxed to (530) 283–7746; or (4) electronically mailed to: commentspacificsouthwestplumas@fs.fed.us. Comments submitted electronically must be in Rich Text Format (.rtf). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Joyce, Project Leader, Feather River Ranger District, 875 Mitchell Avenue, Oroville, CA 95965, or call (530) 534–6500. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Project Location The Slapjack project area is located approximately 19 air miles east of Oroville, California, near the communities of Challenge, Brownsville, Dobbins, Forbestown, Feather Falls, Woodleaf, Clipper Mills, and Strawberry Valley. The project area consists of approximately 27,000 acres of public and private land and is located within Butte, Yuba, and Plumas Counties, California. It is generally situated between Lake Oroville to Dobbins to the west, the North Yuba River to Wambo Bar on the East, and from Barton Hill to the town of Feather Falls to the North. The area ranges in elevation from approximately 1,300 to 3,800 feet above mean sea level. The legal description of the project area is: Township (T) 20N, Range (R) 6E, portions of Sections 15, 23, 25, 26, and 34; T20N, R8E, portions of Section 32; PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 54707 T19N, R6E, portions of Sections 2–5, 9, 11 and 14; T19N, R7E, portions of Sections 1, 8, 11–13, 16–21 and 27–34; T19N, R8E, portions of Sections 4, 5, and 6; T18N, R7E, portions of Sections 2, 3, 12, 14, 22, 23, 26, and 34, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian. Proposed Action The Forest Service proposes to construct approximately 18 miles of DFPZs with a total treatment area of approximately 4,800 acres. A DFPZ is a strategically located strip of land approximately 1⁄4 mile in width on which fuels, both living and dead, have been modified in order to reduce the potential for sustained crown fire and to allow fire suppression personnel a safer location from which to take action against a wildfire. Proposed DFPZs are located primarily on ridges. Due to dense brush in the area, use of herbicides is proposed to maintain the effectiveness of the DFPZs. Use of mechanical ground based equipment is proposed on 1,099 acres in DFPZs for masticating woody shrubs and trees under 10 inches in diameter at breast height. The healthiest, largest, and tallest conifers would be left at a spacing of 18 to 25 feet, depending on size of the remaining trees. Mastication would break up fuel continuity in these stands. The Forest Service also proposes to harvest approximately 12 million board feet of timber through application of group selection and individual tree selection harvest methods. Group selection timber harvest would be conducted on approximately 240 acres within and near the DFPZ treatment units. Group selection involves harvest of trees up to 30-inches in diameter from small (1⁄2 to 2 acres) groups. The 240 acres would be harvested from a total area of about 2,291 acres. Over time, this would create an uneven-aged (all-aged) forests made up of a patchwork of small groups of same-aged trees. Individual tree selection harvest would be conducted on 148 acres to improve forest health and favor fire resilient tree species. Use of existing and temporary roads would be needed to access timber and DFPZ treatment areas. An estimated 26 miles of existing road would be reconstructed with 2 additional miles of road resurfacing. An additional 26 miles of road, no longer in use or needed, would be decommissioned or closed by various methods, such as removal of culverts, ripping and seeding, recountouring, and installing barriers. Use of herbicides to control the spread of noxious weeds is proposed on 10 to 15 acres. Aquatic and riparian E:\FR\FM\16SEN1.SGM 16SEN1 54708 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 179 / Friday, September 16, 2005 / Notices restoration projects include removal of five fish barriers, 1,000 feet of stream bank stabilization, and 15 acres of meadow restoration. Underburning is proposed on 841 acres. An underburn is a prescribed burn under an existing canopy of trees designed to reduce excessive live and dead vegetation. Firelines would be constructed and burning would be initiated based on prescribed burn plans and on ‘‘burn days’’ designated by the State Air Quality Control Board. Purpose and Need The purposes of the project are: (1) To reduce the wildfire threat to communities located in the wildlandurban interface by creating a strategic Defensible Fuel Profile Zone (DFPZ) that provides fire suppression personnel control points for fireline construction and access; (2) to create all-aged, multistory, fire resilient forest stands; promote ecological health; and increase the number of seedling and saplingsized stands to better match estimated pre-European settlement conditions for the various seral (successional) stages. Fire resilient species include ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, black oak, and sugar pine; (3) to contribute to the economic stability of rural communities by providing an adequate timber supply; (4) to implement restoration projects to promote healthy aquatic and riparian ecosystems; and (5) To control the spread of non-native, invasive plants within forest communities in order to maintain native plant diversity, natural communities, and maintain the effectiveness of DFPZs. Preliminary Issues The following preliminary issues have been identified for this proposal: Use of herbicides for control of noxious weeds and DFPZ maintenance, timber harvest within watersheds approaching or over the threshold of concern, and DFPZ construction costs. Additional issues may be identified during the scoping process. Responsible Official ˜ James M. Pena, Forest Supervisor, P.O. Box 11500, 159Lawrence Street, Quincy, CA 95971, is the Responsible Official. Nature of Decision To Be Made The Responsible Official will decide whether to implement this proposal, an alternative design that moves the area towards the desired condition, or not to implement any project at this time. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:04 Sep 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 Scoping Process Public questions and comments regarding this proposal are an integral part of this environmental analysis process. Comments will be used to identify issues and develop alternatives to the proposed action. To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues and concerns on the proposed action, comments should be as specific as possible. Information about the proposed action will be mailed to adjacent landowners, as well as to those people and organizations that have indicated a specific interest in the project, to Native American entities, and federal, state and local agencies. The public will be notified of any meetings regarding this proposal by mailings and press releases sent to the local newspaper and media. There are no meetings planned at this time. Public involvement was an integral part of the proposed action development as well. Forest Service personnel began working with local tribes, fire safe councils, Butte and Yuba County officials, State Congressional aides, South Feather Water and Power, the Quincy Library Group, and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in 2002–2003. The collaborators on the Slapjack Project, known collectively as the Eastern Butte/ Yuba Border group (EBYB), worked to develop a series of fuel reduction treatments on National Forest System lands that extend and connect with fuel treatments on private lands, including those owned by industrial timber companies. In the years since collaboration began, Forest Service personnel have continued to meet with members of the Butte and Yuba Fire Safe Councils, local residents, and industrial timberland owners to refine the Slapjack project proposal. Comment Requested This notice of intent initiates the scoping process which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. The public is encouraged to take part in the process and is encouraged to visit with Forest Service officials at any time during the analysis and prior to the decision. The Forest Service will be seeking information, comments, and assistance from Federal, State, and local agencies and other individuals or organizations that may be interested in, or affected by, the proposed vegetation management activities. Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent Environmental Review: A draft PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 environmental impact statement will be prepared for comment. The comment period on the draft environmental impact statement will be 45 days from the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes the notice of availability in the Federal Register. The Forest Service believes, at this early stage, it is important to give reviewers notice of several court rulings related to public participation in the environmental review process. First, reviewers of draft environmental impact statements must structure their participation in the environmental review of the proposal so that it is meaningful and alerts an agency to the reviewer’s position and contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 553 (1978). Also, environmental objections that could be raised at the draft environmental impact statement stage but that are not raised until after completion of the final environmental impact statement may be waived or dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490 F. Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D. Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings, it is very important that those interested in this proposed action participate by the close of the fifty-five day comment period so that substantive comments and objections are made available to the Forest Service at a time when it can meaningfully consider them and respond to them in the final environmental impact statement. To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft environmental impact statement should be as specific as possible. It is also helpful if comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft environmental impact statement or the merits of the alternatives formulated and discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer to the Council on Environmental quality Regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at 40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points. Comments received, including the names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposal and will be available for public inspection. (Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 1909.15, Section 21) E:\FR\FM\16SEN1.SGM 16SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 179 / Friday, September 16, 2005 / Notices Dated: September 2, 2005. Robert G. MacWhorter, Acting Forest Supervisor. [FR Doc. 05–17897 Filed 9–15–05; 8:45 am] DATES: Procurement List; Proposed Additions 3. There are no known regulatory alternatives which would accomplish the objectives of the Javits-WagnerO’Day Act (41 U.S.C. 46–48c) in connection with the product and services proposed for addition to the Procurement List. Comments on this certification are invited. Commenters should identify the statement(s) underlying the certification on which they are providing additional information. AGENCY: Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind Or Severely Disabled. ACTION: Proposed additions to Procurement List. End of Certification The following product and services are proposed for addition to Procurement List for production by the nonprofit agencies listed: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: The Committee is proposing to add to the Procurement List a product and services to be furnished by nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities. Comments must be received on or before: October 16, 2005. ADDRESSES: Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, Jefferson Plaza 2, Suite 10800, 1421 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia 22202–3259. Product Parts Kit, Hydraulic Transmission. NSN: 2520–01–398–4589—Parts Kit, Hydraulic Transmission. NPA: Goodwill Industries—Knoxville, Inc., Knoxville, Tennessee. Contracting Activity: Defense Supply Center Columbus, Columbus, Ohio. 54709 BILLING CODE 3410–11–M COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR TO SUBMIT COMMENTS CONTACT: Sheryl D. Kennerly, Telephone: (703) 603–7740, Fax: (703) 603–0655, or e-mail SKennerly@jwod.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice is published pursuant to 41 U.S.C 47(a)(2) and 41 CFR 51–2.3. Its purpose is to provide interested persons an opportunity to submit comments on the proposed actions. If the Committee approves the proposed additions, the entities of the Federal Government identified in the notice for each product or service will be required to procure the products and services listed below from nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities. Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification I certify that the following action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The major factors considered for this certification were: 1. If approved, the action will not result in any additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements for small entities other than the small organizations that will furnish the product and services to the Government. 2. If approved, the action will result in authorizing small entities to furnish the product and services to the Government. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:04 Sep 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 Services Service Type/Location: Custodial Services; Law Enforcement Center, FR 19, MP2 South of San Miguel, Sells, Arizona. NPA: J.P. Industries, Inc., Tucson, Arizona. Contracting Activity: Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC. Service Type/Location: Custodial Services; Somersworth U.S. Army Reserve Center, Route 108, Somersworth, New Hampshire. NPA: Northern New England Employment Services, Portland, Maine. Contracting Activity: Devens Reserve Forces Training Area, Devens, Massachusetts. Service Type/Location: Custodial Services; U.S. Army Reserve Center and Maintenance Shop, 7400 S. Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois. NPA: Jewish Vocational Service and Employment Center, Chicago, Illinois. Contracting Activity: 88th Regional Support Command, Fort Snelling, Minnesota. Sheryl D. Kennerly, Director, Information Management. [FR Doc. E5–5087 Filed 9–15–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6353–01–P Effective October 16, 2005. Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, Jefferson Plaza 2, Suite 10800, 1421 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia, 22202–3259. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR TO SUBMIT COMMENTS CONTACT: Sheryl D. Kennerly, Telephone: (703) 603–7740, Fax: (703) 603–0655, or e-mail SKennerly@jwod.gov. On July 8, 2005, the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled published notice (70 FR 39484) of proposed additions to the Procurement List. After consideration of the material presented to it concerning capability of qualified nonprofit agencies to provide the service and impact of the addition on the current or most recent contractors, the Committee has determined that the service listed below is suitable for procurement by the Federal Government under 41 U.S.C. 46–48c and 41 CFR 51–2.4. Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification I certify that the following action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The major factors considered for this certification were: 1. The action will not result in any additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements for small entities other than the small organizations that will furnish the service to the Government. 2. The action will result in authorizing small entities to furnish the service to the Government. 3. There are no known regulatory alternatives which would accomplish the objectives of the Javits-WagnerO’Day Act (41 U.S.C. 46–48c) in connection with the service proposed for addition to the Procurement List. COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED End of Certification Procurement List; Addition Service Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind Or Severely Disabled. ACTION: Addition to Procurement List. Service Type/Location: Custodial Services; U.S. Post Office—Brooklyn, 271 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This action adds to the Procurement List a service to be furnished by nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Accordingly, the following services are added to the Procurement List: NPA: NYSARC, Inc., NYC Chapter, New York, New York. Contracting Activity: GSA, Property Management Center, New York, New York. This action does not affect current contracts awarded prior to the effective date E:\FR\FM\16SEN1.SGM 16SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 179 (Friday, September 16, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54707-54709]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-17897]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Plumas National Forest, Feather River Ranger District, 
California, Slapjack Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice to intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The USDA Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact 
statement to disclose the environmental effects from construction of 
defensible fuel profile zones (DFPZs); harvest and reforestation of 
timber stands; watersted rehabilitation; control of noxious weeds; 
construction of temporary roads and reconstruction of specified roads; 
decommissioning of roads; road access restrictions, and underburning 
forest fuels and debris in the Slapjack project area.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
within 30 days of the publication of this notice in the Federal 
Register. The draft environmental impact statement is expected by 
January 2006, and the final environmental impact statement is expected 
by April 2006.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments concerning this notice to James M. 
Pe[ntilde]a, Forest Supervisor, Plumas National Forest, P.O. Box 11500, 
159 Lawrence Street, Quincy, CA 95971. Comments may be (1) mailed to 
the Responsible Official; (2) hand-delivered between the hours of 8 
a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays; (3) faxed to 
(530) 283-7746; or (4) electronically mailed to: comments-
pacificsouthwestplumas@fs.fed.us. Comments submitted electronically 
must be in Rich Text Format (.rtf).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Joyce, Project Leader, Feather 
River Ranger District, 875 Mitchell Avenue, Oroville, CA 95965, or call 
(530) 534-6500.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Project Location

    The Slapjack project area is located approximately 19 air miles 
east of Oroville, California, near the communities of Challenge, 
Brownsville, Dobbins, Forbestown, Feather Falls, Woodleaf, Clipper 
Mills, and Strawberry Valley. The project area consists of 
approximately 27,000 acres of public and private land and is located 
within Butte, Yuba, and Plumas Counties, California. It is generally 
situated between Lake Oroville to Dobbins to the west, the North Yuba 
River to Wambo Bar on the East, and from Barton Hill to the town of 
Feather Falls to the North. The area ranges in elevation from 
approximately 1,300 to 3,800 feet above mean sea level.
    The legal description of the project area is: Township (T) 20N, 
Range (R) 6E, portions of Sections 15, 23, 25, 26, and 34; T20N, R8E, 
portions of Section 32; T19N, R6E, portions of Sections 2-5, 9, 11 and 
14; T19N, R7E, portions of Sections 1, 8, 11-13, 16-21 and 27-34; T19N, 
R8E, portions of Sections 4, 5, and 6; T18N, R7E, portions of Sections 
2, 3, 12, 14, 22, 23, 26, and 34, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian.

Proposed Action

    The Forest Service proposes to construct approximately 18 miles of 
DFPZs with a total treatment area of approximately 4,800 acres. A DFPZ 
is a strategically located strip of land approximately \1/4\ mile in 
width on which fuels, both living and dead, have been modified in order 
to reduce the potential for sustained crown fire and to allow fire 
suppression personnel a safer location from which to take action 
against a wildfire. Proposed DFPZs are located primarily on ridges. Due 
to dense brush in the area, use of herbicides is proposed to maintain 
the effectiveness of the DFPZs. Use of mechanical ground based 
equipment is proposed on 1,099 acres in DFPZs for masticating woody 
shrubs and trees under 10 inches in diameter at breast height. The 
healthiest, largest, and tallest conifers would be left at a spacing of 
18 to 25 feet, depending on size of the remaining trees. Mastication 
would break up fuel continuity in these stands.
    The Forest Service also proposes to harvest approximately 12 
million board feet of timber through application of group selection and 
individual tree selection harvest methods. Group selection timber 
harvest would be conducted on approximately 240 acres within and near 
the DFPZ treatment units. Group selection involves harvest of trees up 
to 30-inches in diameter from small (\1/2\ to 2 acres) groups. The 240 
acres would be harvested from a total area of about 2,291 acres. Over 
time, this would create an uneven-aged (all-aged) forests made up of a 
patchwork of small groups of same-aged trees. Individual tree selection 
harvest would be conducted on 148 acres to improve forest health and 
favor fire resilient tree species.
    Use of existing and temporary roads would be needed to access 
timber and DFPZ treatment areas. An estimated 26 miles of existing road 
would be reconstructed with 2 additional miles of road resurfacing. An 
additional 26 miles of road, no longer in use or needed, would be 
decommissioned or closed by various methods, such as removal of 
culverts, ripping and seeding, recountouring, and installing barriers.
    Use of herbicides to control the spread of noxious weeds is 
proposed on 10 to 15 acres. Aquatic and riparian

[[Page 54708]]

restoration projects include removal of five fish barriers, 1,000 feet 
of stream bank stabilization, and 15 acres of meadow restoration.
    Underburning is proposed on 841 acres. An underburn is a prescribed 
burn under an existing canopy of trees designed to reduce excessive 
live and dead vegetation. Firelines would be constructed and burning 
would be initiated based on prescribed burn plans and on ``burn days'' 
designated by the State Air Quality Control Board.

Purpose and Need

    The purposes of the project are: (1) To reduce the wildfire threat 
to communities located in the wildland-urban interface by creating a 
strategic Defensible Fuel Profile Zone (DFPZ) that provides fire 
suppression personnel control points for fireline construction and 
access; (2) to create all-aged, multi-story, fire resilient forest 
stands; promote ecological health; and increase the number of seedling 
and sapling-sized stands to better match estimated pre-European 
settlement conditions for the various seral (successional) stages. Fire 
resilient species include ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, black oak, and 
sugar pine; (3) to contribute to the economic stability of rural 
communities by providing an adequate timber supply; (4) to implement 
restoration projects to promote healthy aquatic and riparian 
ecosystems; and (5) To control the spread of non-native, invasive 
plants within forest communities in order to maintain native plant 
diversity, natural communities, and maintain the effectiveness of 
DFPZs.

Preliminary Issues

    The following preliminary issues have been identified for this 
proposal: Use of herbicides for control of noxious weeds and DFPZ 
maintenance, timber harvest within watersheds approaching or over the 
threshold of concern, and DFPZ construction costs. Additional issues 
may be identified during the scoping process.

Responsible Official

    James M. Pe[ntilde]a, Forest Supervisor, P.O. Box 11500, 
159Lawrence Street, Quincy, CA 95971, is the Responsible Official.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The Responsible Official will decide whether to implement this 
proposal, an alternative design that moves the area towards the desired 
condition, or not to implement any project at this time.

Scoping Process

    Public questions and comments regarding this proposal are an 
integral part of this environmental analysis process. Comments will be 
used to identify issues and develop alternatives to the proposed 
action. To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering 
issues and concerns on the proposed action, comments should be as 
specific as possible.
    Information about the proposed action will be mailed to adjacent 
landowners, as well as to those people and organizations that have 
indicated a specific interest in the project, to Native American 
entities, and federal, state and local agencies. The public will be 
notified of any meetings regarding this proposal by mailings and press 
releases sent to the local newspaper and media. There are no meetings 
planned at this time.
    Public involvement was an integral part of the proposed action 
development as well. Forest Service personnel began working with local 
tribes, fire safe councils, Butte and Yuba County officials, State 
Congressional aides, South Feather Water and Power, the Quincy Library 
Group, and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in 
2002-2003. The collaborators on the Slapjack Project, known 
collectively as the Eastern Butte/Yuba Border group (EBYB), worked to 
develop a series of fuel reduction treatments on National Forest System 
lands that extend and connect with fuel treatments on private lands, 
including those owned by industrial timber companies. In the years 
since collaboration began, Forest Service personnel have continued to 
meet with members of the Butte and Yuba Fire Safe Councils, local 
residents, and industrial timberland owners to refine the Slapjack 
project proposal.

Comment Requested

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. The public is 
encouraged to take part in the process and is encouraged to visit with 
Forest Service officials at any time during the analysis and prior to 
the decision. The Forest Service will be seeking information, comments, 
and assistance from Federal, State, and local agencies and other 
individuals or organizations that may be interested in, or affected by, 
the proposed vegetation management activities.
    Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent 
Environmental Review: A draft environmental impact statement will be 
prepared for comment. The comment period on the draft environmental 
impact statement will be 45 days from the date the Environmental 
Protection Agency publishes the notice of availability in the Federal 
Register.
    The Forest Service believes, at this early stage, it is important 
to give reviewers notice of several court rulings related to public 
participation in the environmental review process. First, reviewers of 
draft environmental impact statements must structure their 
participation in the environmental review of the proposal so that it is 
meaningful and alerts an agency to the reviewer's position and 
contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 
553 (1978). Also, environmental objections that could be raised at the 
draft environmental impact statement stage but that are not raised 
until after completion of the final environmental impact statement may 
be waived or dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 
1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490 
F. Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D. Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings, 
it is very important that those interested in this proposed action 
participate by the close of the fifty-five day comment period so that 
substantive comments and objections are made available to the Forest 
Service at a time when it can meaningfully consider them and respond to 
them in the final environmental impact statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft 
environmental impact statement should be as specific as possible. It is 
also helpful if comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the 
draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft 
environmental impact statement or the merits of the alternatives 
formulated and discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer 
to the Council on Environmental quality Regulations for implementing 
the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at 
40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points.
    Comments received, including the names and addresses of those who 
comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposal 
and will be available for public inspection.

(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 
1909.15, Section 21)


[[Page 54709]]


    Dated: September 2, 2005.
Robert G. MacWhorter,
Acting Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 05-17897 Filed 9-15-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-M