Apalachicola National Forest; Apalachicola Ranger District, Florida; Beasley Pond Analysis Area, 61282-61283 [2014-24191]

Download as PDF 61282 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 197 / Friday, October 10, 2014 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES resources using the principles of ecosystem management; and that lands disturbed by mineral operations are reclaimed using the best scientific knowledge and returned to other productive uses. If this information was not collected, the Forest Service would not be in compliance with the Federal Regulations and locatable mineral operations could result in undue damage to surface resources. Estimate of Annual Burden: 12 Hours (10 hours—Plan of Operations; 1 hour— Notice of Intent; 1 hour—Cessation of Operations). Type of Respondents: Mining operators. Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 283 (111—Plans of Operations; 169—Notices of Intent; 3— Cessation of Operations). Estimated Annual Number of Responses per Respondent: 1. Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 10,005 Hours (12 hours × 111 Plans of Operation = 1,332; 2 hour × 169 Notices of Intent = 338; 1 hour × 3 Cessation of Operations = 3; 1,332 + 338 + 3 = 1,673). 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: October 2, 2014. Gregory C. Smith, Acting Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2014–24200 Filed 10–9–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:09 Oct 09, 2014 Jkt 235001 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Apalachicola National Forest; Apalachicola Ranger District, Florida; Beasley Pond Analysis Area Forest Service, USDA. Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: The Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the impacts of timber harvest and associated activities on approximately 3,800 acres of forestland and savannahs in the Beasley Pond Analysis Area. Based on public scoping, discussion with other federal agencies and initial issues analysis, the responsible official has determined that preparation of an EIS is appropriate for this project. The proposed project is an activity implementing a land management plan and is subject to the pre-decisional objection process at 36 CFR part 218 subparts A and B. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by November 10, 2014. The draft EIS is expected December 2014 and the final EIS is expected March 2015. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Marcus Beard, District Ranger, 57 Taff Drive, Crawfordville, FL 32327. Comments may also be sent via email to comments-southern-floridaapalachicola@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to (850) 926–1904. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Branden Tolver—phone: (850) 926– 3561; email: btolver02@fs.fed.us. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. SUMMARY: Purpose and Need for Action The National Forests in Florida’s Forest Plan outlines several goals for the National Forests of Florida, one of which calls for the conservation and protection of declining natural communities, and uncommon biological, ecological, or geological site. The Beasley Pond Analysis area contains large areas of historical savannah habitat, multiple redcockaded woodpecker (RCW) clusters, critical habitat for the frosted flatwoods salamander and recent records of three federally listed plant species that occur in open savannah habitats. The primary purpose of this project is to maintain, improve, and restore a healthy forest PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 ecosystem by: Thinning both longleaf and slash pine stands to allow for further tree growth, restoring remnant savannahs to improve habitat for a variety of plant species, and controlling overabundant hardwood trees and brush species to restore herbaceous groundcover. Secondary benefits include maintaining a stable RCW habitat and improving the current transportation system. There is a need to reduce current stocking levels of stands within the project area to open the forest canopy and promote herbaceous groundcover growth and establishment. There also exists a need for rehabilitation and maintenance in declining natural savannah sites in the project area. Proposed Action ➢ First or intermediate thinning of approximately 1981 acres of slash and longleaf pine stands. Stands range in age from 25 to 141 years old. Younger slash and longleaf pine plantations have a basal area (BA) ranging from 70 to 173 square-feet per acre. Thinning these stands would reduce the BA to an average of 50 square feet per acre thus opening the stands for sunlight penetration needed for continued growth and groundcover establishment. ➢ Conduct uneven-aged management cuts on 978 acres of mature longleaf pine. Openings ranging from 1⁄4–2 acres (average size of 1⁄2 acre) in size will be created around existing longleaf seedlings or in areas of the stand that would be suitable for longleaf natural regeneration. The number of openings would be limited to 10% of the stand size. Stand 7 of compartment 28 (91 acres) will be treated with a foliar application of triclopyr (as needed) for hardwood control. ➢ Savannah restoration treatments on approximately 811 acres of savannah sites to remove pine trees and encroaching hardwoods. Girdling will be used in stands that cannot be accessed for traditional logging operations (stands 19 and 41 in compartment 26 and stand 37 in compartment 27). All of these sites have either been planted with slash pine or have been encroached upon by woody brush species and hardwood tree species. To restore these savannah sites a variable residual BA strategy will be implemented with groundcover condition serving as the trigger point for thinning intensity. More herbaceous groundcover is needed when thinning to a lower BA in order to continue the use prescribed fire as a means of maintaining the open park-like structure associated with savannahs. When groundcover conditions are deemed less E:\FR\FM\10OCN1.SGM 10OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 197 / Friday, October 10, 2014 / Notices than adequate to carry fire the Forest Service proposes to leave a higher residual BA of 40 square feet per acre in order to allow pine needle cast to serve as primary carrier of fire across the stand. ➢ Spot foliar application of the herbicide triclopyr (as needed) on 811 acres of savannah restoration sites for site hardwood control. This is not a broadcast application of herbicide. Spot treatment would occur only where there is a presence of woody vegetation that threatens the re-establishment of savannah plant species. If the savannah restoration areas do not show evidence of woody encroachment after harvest it will not receive herbicide treatment. ➢ Clearcut 16 acres of slash pine plantation for borrow pit excavation to provide surface material for future road work. ➢ Remove six cattle guards from a closed range allotment (two on highway 379, two on FSR 113, and one on FSRs 174 and 109). Possible Alternatives Three potential alternatives will be evaluated in the EIS. The first is the No Action alternative which will consist of no treatments in the proposed project area other than those already approved such as prescribed burning or nonnative invasive species control. The second alternative addresses the impact to the environment if no herbicides were used and treatments such as hardwood control were done by mechanical means. The third alternative would remove all proposed savannah treatments in the project area. Additional alternatives may also be added as we move through the planning process. Responsible Official Marcus Beard, District Ranger for the Apalachicola National Forest mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Nature of Decision To Be Made Based upon the effects of the alternatives, the responsible official will decide whether or not to implement the Proposed Action or one of the possible alternatives. Preliminary Issues 1. Impact of timber removal on species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. 2. Impact of borrow pit excavation on 16 acres of forested land. Scoping Process This notice of intent reinitiates the scoping process, which was started with a public scoping notice sent to VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:09 Oct 09, 2014 Jkt 235001 interested parties in June 2013. Pursuant to 36 CFR part 218 subparts A and B, a draft EIS will be made available for the 45-day notice and comment period. A final EIS and draft Record of Decision will be made available for a 45-day objection period. It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times and in such manner that they are useful to the agency’s preparation of the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer’s concerns and contentions. 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, they will not have standing to object. Dated: October 1, 2014. Marcus Beard, District Ranger. [FR Doc. 2014–24191 Filed 10–9–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Shawnee National Forest, Illinois; Cretaceous Hills Ecological Restoration Forest Service, USDA. Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: The USDA Forest Service Shawnee National Forest (Forest) intends to prepare an environmental impact statement to disclose the environmental consequences of an ecological restoration project. In the environmental impact statement, the USDA Forest Service will address the potential environmental effects of the restoration of an oak-hickory hardwood forest-type and the increase of wildlife habitat diversity through the removal or thinning of non-native pine trees and small shade-tolerant hardwood trees from about 3,200 acres, the application of prescribed fire on about 15,100 acres, treatment of invasive species, maintenance of barrens habitats, development of vernal ponds, and transportation system maintenance, construction, or reconstruction. The Cretaceous Hills Ecological Restoration Project (Hills Project) is located in the Bay Creek Ditch, Barren Creek and Sister Islands-Ohio River SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 61283 watersheds between the communities of Metropolis and Bay City, in southern Pope and eastern Massac Counties, Illinois. The 26,102 acres in the project areas include about 15,130 acres of National Forest System land and 10,972 acres of state and private land. All activities are proposed on National Forest System land. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by November 10, 2014 in order to be most useful in the development of the environmental impact statement. The draft environmental impact statement is expected February, 2015 and the final environmental impact statement is expected September, 2015. ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted on the Hills Project Web page: http://tinyurl.com/CretaceousHills-Shawnee-NF. Written comments may be sent to: Shawnee National Forest, Attn: Hills Project, 602 N. 1st Street, Vienna, IL 62995. Comments may also be sent via facsimile to (618) 658–1300, with ‘‘Hills Project’’ on the subject line. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amanda Kunzmann at 602 N. 1st Street, Vienna, (618) 658–2111, or akunzmann@fs.fed.us. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose of and Need for Action The purpose of the Hills Project is to implement land management activities consistent with the Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Plan) and bring the Forest closer to the desired condition stated therein. The Forest Plan outlines goals, objectives and desired conditions for Forest resources. The Hills Project Area encompasses three Forest Plan managementprescription areas: Even-Aged Hardwood Forest (EH), Mature Hardwood Forest (MH) and Natural Area (NA). The EH management prescription emphasizes maintenance of the oakhickory forest-type; ecological restoration to native hardwood of areas planted with non-native pine; wildlife habitat associated with a mix of hardwoods, pine and openland; and the production of high-quality hardwoods in a roaded-natural recreational setting. The desired condition relevant to this project is for a natural-appearing landscape with stands of hardwood trees in various age and size classes. The E:\FR\FM\10OCN1.SGM 10OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 197 (Friday, October 10, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 61282-61283]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-24191]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Apalachicola National Forest; Apalachicola Ranger District, 
Florida; Beasley Pond Analysis Area

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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

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

SUMMARY: The Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) to analyze the impacts of timber harvest and associated 
activities on approximately 3,800 acres of forestland and savannahs in 
the Beasley Pond Analysis Area. Based on public scoping, discussion 
with other federal agencies and initial issues analysis, the 
responsible official has determined that preparation of an EIS is 
appropriate for this project. The proposed project is an activity 
implementing a land management plan and is subject to the pre-
decisional objection process at 36 CFR part 218 subparts A and B.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by November 10, 2014. The draft EIS is expected December 2014 and the 
final EIS is expected March 2015.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Marcus Beard, District Ranger, 57 
Taff Drive, Crawfordville, FL 32327. Comments may also be sent via 
email to comments-southern-florida-apalachicola@fs.fed.us, or via 
facsimile to (850) 926-1904.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Branden Tolver--phone: (850) 926-3561; 
email: btolver02@fs.fed.us. Individuals who use telecommunication 
devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay 
Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern 
Time, Monday through Friday.

Purpose and Need for Action

    The National Forests in Florida's Forest Plan outlines several 
goals for the National Forests of Florida, one of which calls for the 
conservation and protection of declining natural communities, and 
uncommon biological, ecological, or geological site. The Beasley Pond 
Analysis area contains large areas of historical savannah habitat, 
multiple red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW) clusters, critical habitat for 
the frosted flatwoods salamander and recent records of three federally 
listed plant species that occur in open savannah habitats. The primary 
purpose of this project is to maintain, improve, and restore a healthy 
forest ecosystem by: Thinning both longleaf and slash pine stands to 
allow for further tree growth, restoring remnant savannahs to improve 
habitat for a variety of plant species, and controlling overabundant 
hardwood trees and brush species to restore herbaceous groundcover. 
Secondary benefits include maintaining a stable RCW habitat and 
improving the current transportation system. There is a need to reduce 
current stocking levels of stands within the project area to open the 
forest canopy and promote herbaceous groundcover growth and 
establishment. There also exists a need for rehabilitation and 
maintenance in declining natural savannah sites in the project area.

Proposed Action

    [rtarr8] First or intermediate thinning of approximately 1981 acres 
of slash and longleaf pine stands. Stands range in age from 25 to 141 
years old. Younger slash and longleaf pine plantations have a basal 
area (BA) ranging from 70 to 173 square-feet per acre. Thinning these 
stands would reduce the BA to an average of 50 square feet per acre 
thus opening the stands for sunlight penetration needed for continued 
growth and groundcover establishment.
    [rtarr8] Conduct uneven-aged management cuts on 978 acres of mature 
longleaf pine. Openings ranging from \1/4\-2 acres (average size of \1/
2\ acre) in size will be created around existing longleaf seedlings or 
in areas of the stand that would be suitable for longleaf natural 
regeneration. The number of openings would be limited to 10% of the 
stand size. Stand 7 of compartment 28 (91 acres) will be treated with a 
foliar application of triclopyr (as needed) for hardwood control.
    [rtarr8] Savannah restoration treatments on approximately 811 acres 
of savannah sites to remove pine trees and encroaching hardwoods. 
Girdling will be used in stands that cannot be accessed for traditional 
logging operations (stands 19 and 41 in compartment 26 and stand 37 in 
compartment 27). All of these sites have either been planted with slash 
pine or have been encroached upon by woody brush species and hardwood 
tree species. To restore these savannah sites a variable residual BA 
strategy will be implemented with groundcover condition serving as the 
trigger point for thinning intensity. More herbaceous groundcover is 
needed when thinning to a lower BA in order to continue the use 
prescribed fire as a means of maintaining the open park-like structure 
associated with savannahs. When groundcover conditions are deemed less

[[Page 61283]]

than adequate to carry fire the Forest Service proposes to leave a 
higher residual BA of 40 square feet per acre in order to allow pine 
needle cast to serve as primary carrier of fire across the stand.
    [rtarr8] Spot foliar application of the herbicide triclopyr (as 
needed) on 811 acres of savannah restoration sites for site hardwood 
control. This is not a broadcast application of herbicide. Spot 
treatment would occur only where there is a presence of woody 
vegetation that threatens the re-establishment of savannah plant 
species. If the savannah restoration areas do not show evidence of 
woody encroachment after harvest it will not receive herbicide 
treatment.
    [rtarr8] Clearcut 16 acres of slash pine plantation for borrow pit 
excavation to provide surface material for future road work.
    [rtarr8] Remove six cattle guards from a closed range allotment 
(two on highway 379, two on FSR 113, and one on FSRs 174 and 109).

Possible Alternatives

    Three potential alternatives will be evaluated in the EIS. The 
first is the No Action alternative which will consist of no treatments 
in the proposed project area other than those already approved such as 
prescribed burning or non-native invasive species control. The second 
alternative addresses the impact to the environment if no herbicides 
were used and treatments such as hardwood control were done by 
mechanical means. The third alternative would remove all proposed 
savannah treatments in the project area. Additional alternatives may 
also be added as we move through the planning process.

Responsible Official

Marcus Beard, District Ranger for the Apalachicola National Forest

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    Based upon the effects of the alternatives, the responsible 
official will decide whether or not to implement the Proposed Action or 
one of the possible alternatives.

Preliminary Issues

    1. Impact of timber removal on species listed as threatened or 
endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
    2. Impact of borrow pit excavation on 16 acres of forested land.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent reinitiates the scoping process, which was 
started with a public scoping notice sent to interested parties in June 
2013. Pursuant to 36 CFR part 218 subparts A and B, a draft EIS will be 
made available for the 45-day notice and comment period. A final EIS 
and draft Record of Decision will be made available for a 45-day 
objection period.
    It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times 
and in such manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of 
the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be 
provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly 
articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.
    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, they will not have standing to 
object.

    Dated: October 1, 2014.
Marcus Beard,
District Ranger.
[FR Doc. 2014-24191 Filed 10-9-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-P