Bend/Ft. Rock Ranger District; Deschutes National Forest; Deschutes County, OR; Ogden Landscape Vegetation Management Project EIS, 69325-69326 [E9-30744]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 250 / Thursday, December 31, 2009 / Notices action: (1) Effects to Big Game Habitat and (2) Mechanical Equipment in the IRA. An alternative responding to these issues would be included in the analysis. Additional alternatives may be included to respond to the scoping issues and other resource values. erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with NOTICES Public Involvement and Scoping The public is encouraged to take part in the process and to visit with Forest Service officials at any time during the analysis and prior to the decision. The Forest Service has sought and will continue seeking information, comments, and assistance from Federal, State, and local agencies, Tribal governments, and other individuals or organizations that may be interested in, or affected by, the proposed action. It is expected that formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will occur for this project regarding the potential impacts to endangered species. This input will be used in preparation of the draft and final EIS. The scoping process includes: 1. Identifying potential issues. 2. Identifying major issues to be analyzed in depth. 3. Identifying alternatives to the proposed action. 4. Exploring additional alternatives that will be derived from issues recognized during scoping activities. 5. Identifying potential environmental effects of this proposal (i.e., direct, indirect, and cumulative effects and connected actions). Estimated Dates for Filing The draft EIS is expected to be filed with the Environmental Protection agency (EPA) and to be available for public review in February 2010. At that time EPA will publish a Notice of Availability of the draft EIS in the Federal Register. The comment period on the draft EIS will be 45 days from the date the EPA publishes the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. It is very important that those interested in the management of this area participate at that time. The final EIS is scheduled to be completed in April 2010. In the final EIS, the Forest Service is required to respond to comments and responses received during the comment period that pertain to the environmental consequences discussed in the draft EIS and to applicable laws, regulations, and policies considered in making a decision regarding the proposal. Reviewer’s Obligations It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times and in such a way that they are useful to the VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:06 Dec 30, 2009 Jkt 220001 Agency’s preparation of the EIS. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer’s concerns and contentions. The submission of timely and specific comments can affect a reviewer’s ability to participate in subsequent administrative review or judicial review. Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, anonymous comments will not provide the respondent with standing to participate in subsequent administrative review or judicial review. Responsible Official Paul Bradford, Forest Supervisor of the Kootenai National Forest, 31374 U.S. Highway 2, Libby, MT 59923-3022, is the Responsible Official for this project. The Responsible Official decides if the proposed project will be implemented, and documents the decision and reasons for the decision in the Record of Decision. The responsibility for preparing the DEIS and FEIS is delegated to Mike Herrin, District Ranger, Three Rivers Ranger District. Dated: December 18, 2009. C. Quinn Carver, Acting for Forest Supervisor Paul Bradford, Kootenai National Forest. [FR Doc. E9–30740 Filed 12–30–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–M DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Bend/Ft. Rock Ranger District; Deschutes National Forest; Deschutes County, OR; Ogden Landscape Vegetation Management Project EIS Forest Service, USDA. Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The USDA, Forest Service, will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on a proposed action to promote development of large tree structural conditions and to improve forest health and fuel conditions within the 26,500-acre Ogden Landscape planning area. The planning area is located to the west of and adjacent to the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and to private lands to the east of State Highway 97, south of Forest road 9735 and north of Forest road 22. PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 69325 The planning area is all within public lands managed by the Deschutes National Forest. An analysis has been initiated that takes a landscape approach to managing the vegetation to meet objectives for resilient forest, fuels and fire behavior, and wildlife habitat. Methods that would be used to reduce tree density and hazardous fuels are: Non-commercial and commercial thinning, mechanical shrub treatment, and prescribed burning. The alternatives will include the proposed action, no action, and, if necessary, additional alternatives that respond to issues generated through the scoping process. The agency will give notice of the full environmental analysis and decisionmaking process so interested and affected public may participate and contribute to the final decision. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by 30 days following the date that this notice appears in the Federal Register. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Shane Jeffries, District Ranger, BendFort Rock Ranger District, Red Oaks Square, 1230 NE. Third Street Suite A–262, Bend, Oregon 97701. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Beth Peer, Environmental Coordinator, BendFort Rock Ranger District, Red Oaks Square, 1230 NE. Third Street Suite A– 262, Bend, Oregon 97701, phone (541) 383–4769. Responsible Official: The responsible official is John Allen, Forest Supervisor, Deschutes National Forest, 1001 SW. Emkay Dr., Bend, OR 97701. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background. This Central Oregon landscape is a priority for restoration. There are many high-value areas within and adjacent to the project area: Paulina Creek which bisects the planning area from east to west is eligible for the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System; popular sites such as McKay, Ogden, and Prairie Campgrounds and the Peter Skeen Ogden National Scenic Trail provide diverse opportunities for recreation; and the primary access into and out of Newberry Crater and the Newberry National Monument passes through the project area. The project area also provides habitat for goshawk and other Management Indicator Species. High fuel loads and the presence of ladder of fuels puts these areas at risk to a large scale wildfire. The amount of late and old structure ponderosa pine is far below the historic range of variability. A majority of the planning area is second-growth ponderosa pine, which has grown in following historic logging in the 1920s to 1940s. Portions of the area have been E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with NOTICES 69326 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 250 / Thursday, December 31, 2009 / Notices thinned dating from the 1960s to as recently as 2009. In thinned and unthinned areas, tree growth is increasing stand density relative to stocking capacity of the site. Densities are affecting tree diameter growth and creating conditions favorable for mountain pine beetle attack. In some cases, lodgepole has been established and is adversely affecting the growth of ponderosa pine. There are also areas of pure lodgepole pine that are either mature stands, or have been regenerated in the recent past. Mixed conifer stands are a smaller component of the landscape and are primarily ponderosa pine with a mix of lodgepole pine and white fir. Purpose and Need. The general purpose of entering the project area is to move the area towards a more resilient landscape and provide a diversity of habitats closer to what historically occurred. There is a need to reduce forest vegetation density and fuels to increase resilience to insects, disease, and stand-replacing fire, and to increase the proportion of LOS ponderosa pine. Currently, values associated with the landscape are susceptible to a widescale disturbance. The Deschutes National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan supports proactive maintenance and enhancing the vigor of the forest in preventing a stand replacement event rather than waiting. There is a need to contribute to the local and regional economies by providing timber and other wood fiber products and associated jobs. The Deschutes National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan supports management of timber resources and recognizes the value in a way that is consistent with other resource objectives, environmental constraints, and economic efficiency. Proposed Action. The Forest Service proposes to implement activities across approximately 14,600 acres within the Ogden Landscape. Treatments (commercial and non-commercial thinning) will provide a diversity of habitat structures that are more in line with historical conditions. Thinning will maintain large trees that are present and encourage the development of late and old structure characteristics in stands where not currently present. Shrub mowing will reduce surface and ladder fuels and allow fire to be used as an ecological restoration tool. Prescribed fire will be applied in the firedependent ecosystems to reduce fuels, maintain habitat, and allow fire to perform its natural ecological function. Treatments are designed to address the objectives for each stand type and are VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:06 Dec 30, 2009 Jkt 220001 strategically located across the area to break up fuel continuity. Issues. Preliminary issues include the potential effect of the proposed action on cultural resources, developed and dispersed recreation, noxious weeds, air quality, and wildlife habitat. Comment. Public comments regarding this proposal are requested in order to assist in identifying issues, determine how to best manage the resources, and to focus the analysis. Comments received to this notice, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposed action and will be available for public inspection. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, those who submit anonymous comments will not have standing to appeal the subsequent decision in accordance with 36 CFR parts 215 and 217. Additionally, pursuant to 7 CFR 1.27(d), any person may request the agency to withhold a submission from the public record by showing how the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) permits such confidentiality. Persons requesting such confidentiality should be aware that, under FOIA, confidentiality may be granted in only very limited circumstances, such as to protect trade secrets. The Forest Service will inform the requester of the agency’s decision regarding the request for confidentiality, and where the request is denied, the agency will return the submission and notify the requester that the comments may be resubmitted with or without name and address within a specified number of days. A draft EIS will be filed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and available for public review by October 2010. The EPA will publish a Notice of Availability (NOA) of the draft EIS in the Federal Register. The final EIS is scheduled to be available February 2011. The comment period on the draft EIS will be 45 days from the date the EPA 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 a draft EIS 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 EIS stage but that are not raised until after completion PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 of the final EIS may be waived or dismissed by the courts [City of Angoon 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 EIS. To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft EIS 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 EIS of 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. In the final EIS, the Forest Service is required to respond to substantive comments received during the comment period for the draft EIS. The Forest Service is the lead agency and the responsible official is the Forest Supervisor, Deschutes National Forest. The responsible official will decide where and whether or not to apply natural fuels treatments, thin stands, and reforest group cuts. The responsible official will also decide how to mitigate impacts of these actions and will determine when and how monitoring of effects will take place. The Ogden Landscape Vegetation Management decision and the reasons for the decision will be documented in the record of decision, which will be subject to Forest Service Appeal Regulations (35 CFR Part 215). Dated: December 18, 2009. John Allen, Forest Supervisor, Deschutes National Forest. [FR Doc. E9–30744 Filed 12–30–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–M DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Klamath National Forest, CA, Johnny O’Neil Late-Successional Reserve (LSR) Habitat Restoration and Fuel Reduction Project AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM Forest Service, USDA. 31DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 250 (Thursday, December 31, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 69325-69326]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-30744]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Bend/Ft. Rock Ranger District; Deschutes National Forest; 
Deschutes County, OR; Ogden Landscape Vegetation Management Project EIS

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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

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

SUMMARY: The USDA, Forest Service, will prepare an environmental impact 
statement (EIS) on a proposed action to promote development of large 
tree structural conditions and to improve forest health and fuel 
conditions within the 26,500-acre Ogden Landscape planning area. The 
planning area is located to the west of and adjacent to the Newberry 
National Volcanic Monument and to private lands to the east of State 
Highway 97, south of Forest road 9735 and north of Forest road 22. The 
planning area is all within public lands managed by the Deschutes 
National Forest. An analysis has been initiated that takes a landscape 
approach to managing the vegetation to meet objectives for resilient 
forest, fuels and fire behavior, and wildlife habitat. Methods that 
would be used to reduce tree density and hazardous fuels are: Non-
commercial and commercial thinning, mechanical shrub treatment, and 
prescribed burning. The alternatives will include the proposed action, 
no action, and, if necessary, additional alternatives that respond to 
issues generated through the scoping process. The agency will give 
notice of the full environmental analysis and decision-making process 
so interested and affected public may participate and contribute to the 
final decision.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by 30 days following the date that this notice appears in the Federal 
Register.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Shane Jeffries, District Ranger, 
Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District, Red Oaks Square, 1230 NE. Third Street 
Suite A-262, Bend, Oregon 97701.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Beth Peer, Environmental Coordinator, 
Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District, Red Oaks Square, 1230 NE. Third Street 
Suite A-262, Bend, Oregon 97701, phone (541) 383-4769.
    Responsible Official: The responsible official is John Allen, 
Forest Supervisor, Deschutes National Forest, 1001 SW. Emkay Dr., Bend, 
OR 97701.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background. This Central Oregon landscape is 
a priority for restoration. There are many high-value areas within and 
adjacent to the project area: Paulina Creek which bisects the planning 
area from east to west is eligible for the National Wild and Scenic 
Rivers System; popular sites such as McKay, Ogden, and Prairie 
Campgrounds and the Peter Skeen Ogden National Scenic Trail provide 
diverse opportunities for recreation; and the primary access into and 
out of Newberry Crater and the Newberry National Monument passes 
through the project area. The project area also provides habitat for 
goshawk and other Management Indicator Species. High fuel loads and the 
presence of ladder of fuels puts these areas at risk to a large scale 
wildfire.
    The amount of late and old structure ponderosa pine is far below 
the historic range of variability. A majority of the planning area is 
second-growth ponderosa pine, which has grown in following historic 
logging in the 1920s to 1940s. Portions of the area have been

[[Page 69326]]

thinned dating from the 1960s to as recently as 2009. In thinned and 
unthinned areas, tree growth is increasing stand density relative to 
stocking capacity of the site. Densities are affecting tree diameter 
growth and creating conditions favorable for mountain pine beetle 
attack. In some cases, lodgepole has been established and is adversely 
affecting the growth of ponderosa pine. There are also areas of pure 
lodgepole pine that are either mature stands, or have been regenerated 
in the recent past. Mixed conifer stands are a smaller component of the 
landscape and are primarily ponderosa pine with a mix of lodgepole pine 
and white fir.
    Purpose and Need. The general purpose of entering the project area 
is to move the area towards a more resilient landscape and provide a 
diversity of habitats closer to what historically occurred. There is a 
need to reduce forest vegetation density and fuels to increase 
resilience to insects, disease, and stand-replacing fire, and to 
increase the proportion of LOS ponderosa pine. Currently, values 
associated with the landscape are susceptible to a wide-scale 
disturbance. The Deschutes National Forest Land and Resource Management 
Plan supports proactive maintenance and enhancing the vigor of the 
forest in preventing a stand replacement event rather than waiting.
    There is a need to contribute to the local and regional economies 
by providing timber and other wood fiber products and associated jobs. 
The Deschutes National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan 
supports management of timber resources and recognizes the value in a 
way that is consistent with other resource objectives, environmental 
constraints, and economic efficiency.
    Proposed Action. The Forest Service proposes to implement 
activities across approximately 14,600 acres within the Ogden 
Landscape. Treatments (commercial and non-commercial thinning) will 
provide a diversity of habitat structures that are more in line with 
historical conditions. Thinning will maintain large trees that are 
present and encourage the development of late and old structure 
characteristics in stands where not currently present. Shrub mowing 
will reduce surface and ladder fuels and allow fire to be used as an 
ecological restoration tool. Prescribed fire will be applied in the 
fire-dependent ecosystems to reduce fuels, maintain habitat, and allow 
fire to perform its natural ecological function. Treatments are 
designed to address the objectives for each stand type and are 
strategically located across the area to break up fuel continuity.
    Issues. Preliminary issues include the potential effect of the 
proposed action on cultural resources, developed and dispersed 
recreation, noxious weeds, air quality, and wildlife habitat.
    Comment. Public comments regarding this proposal are requested in 
order to assist in identifying issues, determine how to best manage the 
resources, and to focus the analysis. Comments received to this notice, 
including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered 
part of the public record on this proposed action and will be available 
for public inspection. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted 
and considered; however, those who submit anonymous comments will not 
have standing to appeal the subsequent decision in accordance with 36 
CFR parts 215 and 217. Additionally, pursuant to 7 CFR 1.27(d), any 
person may request the agency to withhold a submission from the public 
record by showing how the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) permits 
such confidentiality. Persons requesting such confidentiality should be 
aware that, under FOIA, confidentiality may be granted in only very 
limited circumstances, such as to protect trade secrets. The Forest 
Service will inform the requester of the agency's decision regarding 
the request for confidentiality, and where the request is denied, the 
agency will return the submission and notify the requester that the 
comments may be resubmitted with or without name and address within a 
specified number of days.
    A draft EIS will be filed with the Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) and available for public review by October 2010. The EPA will 
publish a Notice of Availability (NOA) of the draft EIS in the Federal 
Register. The final EIS is scheduled to be available February 2011.
    The comment period on the draft EIS will be 45 days from the date 
the EPA 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 
a draft EIS 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 EIS stage but that are not 
raised until after completion of the final EIS may be waived or 
dismissed by the courts [City of Angoon 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 EIS.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft EIS 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 EIS of 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.
    In the final EIS, the Forest Service is required to respond to 
substantive comments received during the comment period for the draft 
EIS. The Forest Service is the lead agency and the responsible official 
is the Forest Supervisor, Deschutes National Forest. The responsible 
official will decide where and whether or not to apply natural fuels 
treatments, thin stands, and reforest group cuts. The responsible 
official will also decide how to mitigate impacts of these actions and 
will determine when and how monitoring of effects will take place.
    The Ogden Landscape Vegetation Management decision and the reasons 
for the decision will be documented in the record of decision, which 
will be subject to Forest Service Appeal Regulations (35 CFR Part 215).

    Dated: December 18, 2009.
John Allen,
Forest Supervisor, Deschutes National Forest.
[FR Doc. E9-30744 Filed 12-30-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-M