Flathead National Forest, Swan Lake Ranger District, Montana; Cooney McKay Project Environmental Impact Statement, 76963-76964 [06-9821]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 246 / Friday, December 22, 2006 / Notices jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES markets/em-markets.asp. Form AD–755 is required and is available on the EMP home page at http://www.fas.usda.gov/ mos/em-markets/Form%20AD–755.doc. Form SF–181 is requested, but optional, and is available at http://www.opm.gov/ forms/pdf_fill/sf181.pdf. The members of the Committee are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and serve at the discretion of the Secretary. Committee members serve without compensation, but can receive reimbursement for travel expenses to attend committee meetings, if requested, in accordance with USDA travel regulations. The Committee has a balanced membership of up to 20 members, representing a broad cross-section of the U.S. agricultural and agribusiness industry. All appointments will expire two years from the date of appointment. The Secretary may renew an appointment for one or more additional terms. Most meetings will be held in Washington, DC, though other locations may be selected on an occasional basis. Committee meetings will be open to the public, unless the Secretary of Agriculture determines that the Committee will be discussing issues, the disclosure of which justify closing all or a portion of a meeting, in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552b(c). Nominations are open to all individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, physical handicap, marital status, or sexual orientation. To ensure that the work of the Committee takes into account the needs of the diverse groups served by USDA, membership shall include, to the extent practicable, individuals with demonstrated ability to represent the interest of minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. Members should have experience, expertise, and knowledge of international agriculture and of trade and development issues as they affect emerging markets. No persons, company, producer, farm organization, trade association, or other entity has a right to representation on the Committee. In making selections, every effort will be made to maintain balanced representation of the various broad industries within the United States as well as geographic diversity. W. Kirk Miller, Acting Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service. [FR Doc. 06–9828 Filed 12–21–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–10–M VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:45 Dec 21, 2006 Jkt 211001 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service. Flathead National Forest, Swan Lake Ranger District, Montana; Cooney McKay Project Environmental Impact Statement Forest Service, USDA. Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposal to harvest timber, reduce hazardous forest fuels, and construct temporary roads within the Cooney McKay Project area. The project area is approximately 35 miles southeast of Bigfork, Montana, in the vicinity of the community of Condon, Montana. The Forest Service is seeking further information and comments from Federal, State, and local agencies and other individuals or organizations that maybe interested in or affected by the proposed actions. These comments will be used to prepare the draft EIS. DATES: The draft environmental impact statement is expected in March 2007 and the final environmental impact statement is expected in May 2007. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Steve Brady, District Ranger, Swan Lake Ranger District, 200 Ranger Station Road, Bigfork, MT 59911. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sue Tebay, Project Writer-Editor, Swan Lake Ranger District, 200 Ranger Station Road, Bigfork, MT 59911. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Forest Plan The EIS will tier to the Flathead National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) and EIS of January, 1986, and its subsequent amendments, which provide overall guidance of all land management activities on the Flathead National Forest. Background and Existing Condition Information The Forest Services believes that a combination of factors such as natural succession processes, extended regional drought patterns, introduction of invasive plants, human development patterns, along with unintended consequences of past management practices (e.g., fire suppression policies) have crated and continue to lead to vegetative conditions that do not wholly meet the desired future condition for the project area, as described in the Forest Plan. The consequences of these environmental changes and past PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 76963 management practices place portions of the forested landscape at an elevated risk to unwanted disturbances such as insect epidemics, wide-scale disease infections, and high-severity wildfire. Purpose and Need for Action The purpose and need for the Cooney McKay project include: (1) Improving the general health, resiliency, and sustainability of forest vegetative communities within the project area; (2) reducing the risk of insect epidemics and disease infestations within the project area; (3) reducing the hazardous forest fuels buildup on National Forest System lands adjacent to private lands within the project area; (4) providing for a safer environment for the public and firefighters should a wildfire occur within the project area; increase the probability of stopping wildfires on National Forest Services lands before they burn onto private lands; and (5) providing commercial and personal-use wood products for the local communities. Proposed Action To move toward the desired future (vegetative) condition of restoring and maintaining a healthy forest in the project area, the Cooney McKay proposal includes mechanical and/or hand vegetation treatments of mature and immature forest, ecosystem maintenance burning on approximately 2,500 acres of upper elevation forest and shrubland stands; hand planting of approximately 302 acres; and invasive plants/noxious weed treatment on traveled roadways. In addition, approximately 900 acres may be understory or jackpot burned following treatment. The proposal includes the construction and subsequent reclamation of approximately 2 miles of temporary roads on National Forest System lands to access treatment units. Best Management Practices would be applied to all temporary roads constructed and roads temporarily opened, as well as all system roads used in association with this project for access and product removal. The proposed management actions summarized above are being considered together because they represent either connected or cumulative actions as defined by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 1508.25). Possible Alternatives Alternatives may be developed to respond to concerns that the proposed action could potentially result in adverse impacts to white-tailed deer winter habitat or that the proposed E:\FR\FM\22DEN1.SGM 22DEN1 76964 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 246 / Friday, December 22, 2006 / Notices action could potentially impact wildlife species associated with closed canopy forest communities. Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent Environmental Review (Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 1909.15, Section 21) Responsible Official 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 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 45-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. Dated: December 15, 2006. Cathy Barbouletos, Forest Supervisor. [FR Doc. 06–9821 Filed 12–21–06; 8:45 am] Cathy Barbouletos, Forest Supervisor, Flathead National Forest, 1935 3rd Avenue East, Kalispell, MT 59901, is the responsible official for the preparation of the EIS and will make a decision regarding this proposal. Nature of Decision To Be Made This project will provide for removal of approximately 5.5 MMBF of commercial forest products, use of prescribed fire for ecosystem maintenance burning, shrub/grassland maintenance, reduction of hazardous fuels, and provide personal-use wood products for the local community. Scoping Process Public and internal scoping for this proposal is being initiated by the publication of this Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for the Cooney McKay Project in the Federal Register. The Forest Service scoping for the proposal includes the publishing of a legal notice in the paper of record, which will coincide with a mailing of information about the proposal to interested parties during January 2007. Multiple mailings to other government agencies, the public and organizations are planted to insure that interested parties are aware of and have an opportunity to comment on the proposal. The Forest Service plans on issuing news releases periodically during the development of this proposal. In addition the proposal will be included in the Schedule of Proposed Actions, which is updated quarterly and available on the National Forest Service Web site. A public meeting and field trip are tentatively planned for the June–July 2007 timeframe, the location of both of these scoping events will be at the Forest Service Condon Work Center, Condon, Montana. Preliminary Issues jlentini on PROD1PC65 with NOTICES Preliminary issues identified to-date include concerns that the implementation of the proposed action could result in the loss of white-tailed deer winter habitat and could also potentially reduce habitat for wildlife species associated with closed forest canopy communities. Comment Request This Notice of Intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:45 Dec 21, 2006 Jkt 211001 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 BILLING CODE 3410–11–M DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Federal Advisory Committee AGENCY: ACTION: Forest Service, USDA. Notice of meeting. SUMMARY: The Lake Tahoe Basin Federal Advisory Committee will hold a meeting on January 17, 2007 at The Creekside Room, Lake Tahoe Community College, One College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. This Committee, established by the Secretary of Agriculture on December 15, 1998 (64 FR 2876), is chartered to provide advice to the Secretary on implementing the terms of the Federal Interagency Partnership on the Lake Tahoe Region and other matters raised by the Secretary. The meeting will be held January 17, 2007, beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. DATES: The meeting will be held at The Creekside Room, Lake Tahoe Community College, One College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. ADDRESSES: Arla Hains, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Forest Service, 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. (530) 543–2773. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Items to be covered on the agenda include: (1) The Lake Tahoe Federal Advisory Committee Communications Plan; (2) the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act Round 8; and (3) Public Comment. All Lake Tahoe Basin Federal Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public. Interested citizens are encouraged to attend at the above address. Issues may be brought to the attention of the Committee during the open public comment period at the meeting or by filing written statements with the secretary for the Committee before or after the meeting. Please refer any written comments to the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit at the contact address stated above. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\22DEN1.SGM 22DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 246 (Friday, December 22, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 76963-76964]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 06-9821]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service.


Flathead National Forest, Swan Lake Ranger District, Montana; 
Cooney McKay Project Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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

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SUMMARY: The Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) for a proposal to harvest timber, reduce hazardous 
forest fuels, and construct temporary roads within the Cooney McKay 
Project area. The project area is approximately 35 miles southeast of 
Bigfork, Montana, in the vicinity of the community of Condon, Montana. 
The Forest Service is seeking further information and comments from 
Federal, State, and local agencies and other individuals or 
organizations that maybe interested in or affected by the proposed 
actions. These comments will be used to prepare the draft EIS.

DATES: The draft environmental impact statement is expected in March 
2007 and the final environmental impact statement is expected in May 
2007.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Steve Brady, District Ranger, Swan 
Lake Ranger District, 200 Ranger Station Road, Bigfork, MT 59911.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sue Tebay, Project Writer-Editor, Swan 
Lake Ranger District, 200 Ranger Station Road, Bigfork, MT 59911.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Forest Plan

    The EIS will tier to the Flathead National Forest Land and Resource 
Management Plan (LRMP) and EIS of January, 1986, and its subsequent 
amendments, which provide overall guidance of all land management 
activities on the Flathead National Forest.

Background and Existing Condition Information

    The Forest Services believes that a combination of factors such as 
natural succession processes, extended regional drought patterns, 
introduction of invasive plants, human development patterns, along with 
unintended consequences of past management practices (e.g., fire 
suppression policies) have crated and continue to lead to vegetative 
conditions that do not wholly meet the desired future condition for the 
project area, as described in the Forest Plan. The consequences of 
these environmental changes and past management practices place 
portions of the forested landscape at an elevated risk to unwanted 
disturbances such as insect epidemics, wide-scale disease infections, 
and high-severity wildfire.

Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose and need for the Cooney McKay project include: (1) 
Improving the general health, resiliency, and sustainability of forest 
vegetative communities within the project area; (2) reducing the risk 
of insect epidemics and disease infestations within the project area; 
(3) reducing the hazardous forest fuels buildup on National Forest 
System lands adjacent to private lands within the project area; (4) 
providing for a safer environment for the public and firefighters 
should a wildfire occur within the project area; increase the 
probability of stopping wildfires on National Forest Services lands 
before they burn onto private lands; and (5) providing commercial and 
personal-use wood products for the local communities.

Proposed Action

    To move toward the desired future (vegetative) condition of 
restoring and maintaining a healthy forest in the project area, the 
Cooney McKay proposal includes mechanical and/or hand vegetation 
treatments of mature and immature forest, ecosystem maintenance burning 
on approximately 2,500 acres of upper elevation forest and shrubland 
stands; hand planting of approximately 302 acres; and invasive plants/
noxious weed treatment on traveled roadways. In addition, approximately 
900 acres may be understory or jackpot burned following treatment. The 
proposal includes the construction and subsequent reclamation of 
approximately 2 miles of temporary roads on National Forest System 
lands to access treatment units. Best Management Practices would be 
applied to all temporary roads constructed and roads temporarily 
opened, as well as all system roads used in association with this 
project for access and product removal.
    The proposed management actions summarized above are being 
considered together because they represent either connected or 
cumulative actions as defined by the Council on Environmental Quality 
(40 CFR 1508.25).

Possible Alternatives

    Alternatives may be developed to respond to concerns that the 
proposed action could potentially result in adverse impacts to white-
tailed deer winter habitat or that the proposed

[[Page 76964]]

 action could potentially impact wildlife species associated with 
closed canopy forest communities.

Responsible Official

    Cathy Barbouletos, Forest Supervisor, Flathead National Forest, 
1935 3rd Avenue East, Kalispell, MT 59901, is the responsible official 
for the preparation of the EIS and will make a decision regarding this 
proposal.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    This project will provide for removal of approximately 5.5 MMBF of 
commercial forest products, use of prescribed fire for ecosystem 
maintenance burning, shrub/grassland maintenance, reduction of 
hazardous fuels, and provide personal-use wood products for the local 
community.

Scoping Process

    Public and internal scoping for this proposal is being initiated by 
the publication of this Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental 
impact statement for the Cooney McKay Project in the Federal Register. 
The Forest Service scoping for the proposal includes the publishing of 
a legal notice in the paper of record, which will coincide with a 
mailing of information about the proposal to interested parties during 
January 2007. Multiple mailings to other government agencies, the 
public and organizations are planted to insure that interested parties 
are aware of and have an opportunity to comment on the proposal. The 
Forest Service plans on issuing news releases periodically during the 
development of this proposal. In addition the proposal will be included 
in the Schedule of Proposed Actions, which is updated quarterly and 
available on the National Forest Service Web site. A public meeting and 
field trip are tentatively planned for the June-July 2007 timeframe, 
the location of both of these scoping events will be at the Forest 
Service Condon Work Center, Condon, Montana.

Preliminary Issues

    Preliminary issues identified to-date include concerns that the 
implementation of the proposed action could result in the loss of 
white-tailed deer winter habitat and could also potentially reduce 
habitat for wildlife species associated with closed forest canopy 
communities.

Comment Request

    This Notice of Intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement.

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 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 45-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)


    Dated: December 15, 2006.
Cathy Barbouletos,
Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 06-9821 Filed 12-21-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-M