Umatilla National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District; Washington; Sunrise Vegetation and Fuels Management Project, 70844-70845 [2014-28069]

Download as PDF 70844 Notices Federal Register Vol. 79, No. 229 Friday, November 28, 2014 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Umatilla National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District; Washington; Sunrise Vegetation and Fuels Management Project Forest Service, USDA. Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: Umatilla National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District will be preparing an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze vegetation management and fuels treatment actions within the Asotin watershed in Garfield and Asotin Counties, Washington. The purpose of the project is to move species composition, structural characteristics, density, and fuel loading of the project area closer to ranges of desired conditions described in the Umatilla Land and Resource Management Plan. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by December 29, 2014. The draft environmental impact statement is expected November 2015 and final environmental impact statement is expected March 2016. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Monte Fujishin, Pomeroy District Ranger, 71 West Main, Pomeroy, WA 99347. Comments may also be sent via email to comments-pacificnorthwestumatilla-pomeroy@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to (509) 843–4621. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Cooper, Environmental Coordinator; Pomeroy Ranger District, 71 West Main, Pomeroy, WA 99347; email: bradleylcooper@fs.fed.us; phone: (509) 843–4626. 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. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:58 Nov 26, 2014 Jkt 235001 As they are developed, additional information and maps will be posted to the ‘‘Projects’’ page on the Forest Web site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/ umatilla/landmanagement/projects. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Sunrise project planning area has been substantially affected by processes of forest growth and succession in combination with forest management practices, resulting in the fuels and forest vegetation now present. Recent analysis suggests that patterns of forest structures, species cover types, density classes, and fuel loadings within the planning area are likely inconsistent with desired conditions (or ranges of conditions) described in the Umatilla National Forest Land and Resources Management Plan (Forest Plan), Eastside Screens amendment, and other related technical guidance. Purpose and Need for Action The need for action in Sunrise project planning area arises from the differences between existing and desired forest conditions, and the purpose of the project is to move species composition, structural characteristics, density, and fuel loading of the project area closer to ranges of desired conditions described in the Umatilla Forest Plan, plan amendments, and related guidance. The purpose and need for this project is responsive to and consistent with the following Forest Plan goals (FP pages 4– 1 to 4–3): • To provide land and resource management that achieves a more healthy and productive forest and assists in supplying lands, resources, uses, and values which meet local, regional, and national social and economic needs. • To provide for production and sustained yield of wood fiber and insofar as possible meet projected production levels consistent with various resource objectives, standards and guidelines, and cost efficiency. • To protect forest and range resources and values from unacceptable losses due to destructive forest pests through the practice of integrated pest management. Proposed Action In response to the purpose and need identified above, Umatilla National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District proposes vegetation and fuels PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 management treatments to improve the health and vigor of upland forest stands, and to reduce susceptibility to future wildland fires of uncharacteristic intensity by reducing hazardous and ladder fuels in Sunrise project planning area. Fuels treatments would be used to reduce existing uncharacteristic fuel loads of dead and live natural fuels, reduce fuels generated from harvest activities, prepare sites for regeneration, and maintain desired fuel conditions. One of the objectives of these fuel treatments is to break-up fuel continuity on the landscape, so that if a wildfire did occur, it could be safely and effectively contained. Vegetation and fuels treatments are anticipated to take place beginning in calendar year 2016 and could continue over a period of approximately five to ten years. Following are brief descriptions of activities proposed for implementation, along with associated activities that would occur concurrently. Timber harvest and other tree-cutting activities—The project would include mechanical tree-cutting activities across approximately 8,200 acres. Free thinning would be the primary silvicultural activity in some areas (approximately 6,200 acres). In other areas where thinning treatments alone would not meet landscape vegetation and fuels-related objectives, regeneration harvests and tree planting would occur (up to approximately 2,000 acres). Treatments will be designed to promote under-represented, early-seral tree species such as ponderosa pine and western larch. Harvest methods would include a combination of conventional ground based logging systems, and skyline systems. Activity units could include the removal of sawlogs, small diameter trees (generally less than 7.0 inches diameter at breast height (DBH)) and/or excess down wood for use as woody biomass products. Tree-cutting objectives and activities would vary depending on existing forest vegetation and fuels conditions. Although wood fiber utilization is expected in some areas, the focus of each treatment will be based on the desired conditions of each activity area and designed to move vegetative conditions towards those desired conditions. Fuels treatments (activity related and natural)—The proposed action will include ongoing maintenance of E:\FR\FM\28NON1.SGM 28NON1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 229 / Friday, November 28, 2014 / Notices desirable vegetation characteristics in previously treated areas and, when necessary, reduction of surface and ladder fuels, stand density, and canopy biomass to emulate fire intensities, and associated fire severities, associated with a particular Fire Regime. Prescribed fire entry will be utilized to rehabilitate decadent grass and shrub to improve wildlife forage in big game winter range and bighorn sheep habitat, dispose of activity fuels created by harvest, and as site preparation for planting. Treatment objectives would be achieved through a combination of the following activities such as whole-tree yarding, prescribed burning in harvest units (approximately 2,300 acres), grapple piling of activity fuels (approximately 600 acres). Landscape prescribed fire— Landscape prescribed fire would occur across approximately 11,500 acres within the Sunrise project area. This treatment would reintroduce fire to a fire-dependent ecosystem to lessen the impact of a future uncharacteristic wildfire and improve forage quality for big game (Management area direction for C3, C3A, C4, and C8). In the majority of the project area, fire intensities would be kept low by keeping fire out of the overstory and burning mainly surface fuels. Consistent with the mixedseverity fire regimes which have long characterized some parts of the project area, individual tree and group torching would likely occur in areas where there is sufficient ladder fuels and in timber stands with high occurrences of mistletoe. Upon completion the landscape could be described as a mosaic of unburned, lightly burned, moderately burned, and intensely burned patches. Road management—To accomplish implementation of proposed activities approximately 39 miles of open system roads, about 42 miles of closed system roads, and 46 miles of seasonally open roads would be used as haul routes. Closed system roads used for project activities would not be opened to the public. All system roads would remain the same after project implementation; open roads would remain opened, closed roads would continue to be closed, and seasonally open roads would continue with that designation. Approximately 11 miles of temporary road would be constructed of which 9 miles would be constructed over previous road templates. All temporary roads would be decommissioned after project activity use. No new specified road construction is proposed. Danger tree removal—Danger trees would be felled and removed along all previously described haul routes used VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:58 Nov 26, 2014 Jkt 235001 70845 for timber sale activity. If considered economically feasible they would be sold as part of a timber sale. Danger trees within Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas (RHCAs) would not be removed; they would be cut and left to provide additional coarse woody debris. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Responsible Official AGENCY: Monte Fujishin, District Ranger of Pomeroy Ranger District will be the responsible official for making the decision and providing direction for the analysis. SUMMARY: Nature of Decision To Be Made The responsible official will decide whether or not to implement the proposed action or an alternative to the proposed action, including the no action, and what monitoring will be appropriate. Scoping Process This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. A scoping letter will be sent to interested and/or affected members of the public, non-profit organizations, and other agencies. 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, anonymous comments will not provide the Agency with the ability to provide the respondent with subsequent environmental documents. Dated: November 19, 2014. Monte Fujishin, Pomeroy District Ranger. [FR Doc. 2014–28069 Filed 11–26–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–P PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Natural Resources Conservation Service [Docket No. NRCS–2014–0006] Notice of Meeting of the Agricultural Air Quality Task Force Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice of meeting. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Air Quality Task Force (AAQTF) will meet for discussions on critical air quality issues relating to agriculture. Special emphasis will be placed on obtaining a greater understanding about the relationship between agricultural production and air quality. The meeting is open to the public, and a draft agenda is included in this notice. DATES: The meeting will convene at 7:30 a.m. MST on Thursday and Friday, December 4–5, 2014. A public comment period will be held on the morning of December 5. The meeting will end at approximately noon on December 5. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Hilton Ft. Collins, 425 West Prospect Road, Fort Collins, Colorado 80526; telephone: (970) 482–2626. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions and comments should be directed to Dr. Greg Johnson, Designated Federal Official, USDA, NRCS, 1201 Lloyd Boulevard, Suite 1000, Portland Oregon 97232; telephone: (503) 273– 2424; fax: (503) 273–2401; or email: greg.johnson@por.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice of this meeting is given under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App. 2. Additional information concerning AAQTF, including any revised agendas for the December 4–5, 2014, meeting that occurs after this Federal Register Notice is published, may be found at: www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/ detail/national/air/taskforce. Draft Agenda Meeting of the AAQTF December 4–5, 2014, Fort Collins, Colorado A. Welcome remarks and introductions B. Colorado air quality and agriculture C. Update on agricultural air quality regulatory issues at the Environmental Protection Agency D. AAQTF Subcommittee reports E. Carbon credits and environmental markets F. Rocky Mountain National Park Nitrogen Deposition Issues G. Updates from USDA agencies (Forest Service, NRCS, NIFA, ARS) E:\FR\FM\28NON1.SGM 28NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 229 (Friday, November 28, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 70844-70845]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-28069]


========================================================================
Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 229 / Friday, November 28, 2014 / 
Notices

[[Page 70844]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Umatilla National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District; Washington; 
Sunrise Vegetation and Fuels Management Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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

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

SUMMARY: Umatilla National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District will be 
preparing an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze vegetation 
management and fuels treatment actions within the Asotin watershed in 
Garfield and Asotin Counties, Washington. The purpose of the project is 
to move species composition, structural characteristics, density, and 
fuel loading of the project area closer to ranges of desired conditions 
described in the Umatilla Land and Resource Management Plan.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by December 29, 2014. The draft environmental impact statement is 
expected November 2015 and final environmental impact statement is 
expected March 2016.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Monte Fujishin, Pomeroy District 
Ranger, 71 West Main, Pomeroy, WA 99347. Comments may also be sent via 
email to comments-pacificnorthwest-umatilla-pomeroy@fs.fed.us, or via 
facsimile to (509) 843-4621.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Cooper, Environmental 
Coordinator; Pomeroy Ranger District, 71 West Main, Pomeroy, WA 99347; 
email: bradleylcooper@fs.fed.us; phone: (509) 843-4626.
    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.
    As they are developed, additional information and maps will be 
posted to the ``Projects'' page on the Forest Web site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/umatilla/landmanagement/projects.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  Sunrise project planning area has been 
substantially affected by processes of forest growth and succession in 
combination with forest management practices, resulting in the fuels 
and forest vegetation now present. Recent analysis suggests that 
patterns of forest structures, species cover types, density classes, 
and fuel loadings within the planning area are likely inconsistent with 
desired conditions (or ranges of conditions) described in the Umatilla 
National Forest Land and Resources Management Plan (Forest Plan), 
Eastside Screens amendment, and other related technical guidance.

Purpose and Need for Action

    The need for action in Sunrise project planning area arises from 
the differences between existing and desired forest conditions, and the 
purpose of the project is to move species composition, structural 
characteristics, density, and fuel loading of the project area closer 
to ranges of desired conditions described in the Umatilla Forest Plan, 
plan amendments, and related guidance. The purpose and need for this 
project is responsive to and consistent with the following Forest Plan 
goals (FP pages 4-1 to 4-3):
     To provide land and resource management that achieves a 
more healthy and productive forest and assists in supplying lands, 
resources, uses, and values which meet local, regional, and national 
social and economic needs.
     To provide for production and sustained yield of wood 
fiber and insofar as possible meet projected production levels 
consistent with various resource objectives, standards and guidelines, 
and cost efficiency.
     To protect forest and range resources and values from 
unacceptable losses due to destructive forest pests through the 
practice of integrated pest management.

Proposed Action

    In response to the purpose and need identified above, Umatilla 
National Forest, Pomeroy Ranger District proposes vegetation and fuels 
management treatments to improve the health and vigor of upland forest 
stands, and to reduce susceptibility to future wildland fires of 
uncharacteristic intensity by reducing hazardous and ladder fuels in 
Sunrise project planning area. Fuels treatments would be used to reduce 
existing uncharacteristic fuel loads of dead and live natural fuels, 
reduce fuels generated from harvest activities, prepare sites for 
regeneration, and maintain desired fuel conditions. One of the 
objectives of these fuel treatments is to break-up fuel continuity on 
the landscape, so that if a wildfire did occur, it could be safely and 
effectively contained.
    Vegetation and fuels treatments are anticipated to take place 
beginning in calendar year 2016 and could continue over a period of 
approximately five to ten years. Following are brief descriptions of 
activities proposed for implementation, along with associated 
activities that would occur concurrently.
    Timber harvest and other tree-cutting activities--The project would 
include mechanical tree-cutting activities across approximately 8,200 
acres. Free thinning would be the primary silvicultural activity in 
some areas (approximately 6,200 acres). In other areas where thinning 
treatments alone would not meet landscape vegetation and fuels-related 
objectives, regeneration harvests and tree planting would occur (up to 
approximately 2,000 acres). Treatments will be designed to promote 
under-represented, early-seral tree species such as ponderosa pine and 
western larch. Harvest methods would include a combination of 
conventional ground based logging systems, and skyline systems. 
Activity units could include the removal of sawlogs, small diameter 
trees (generally less than 7.0 inches diameter at breast height (DBH)) 
and/or excess down wood for use as woody biomass products. Tree-cutting 
objectives and activities would vary depending on existing forest 
vegetation and fuels conditions. Although wood fiber utilization is 
expected in some areas, the focus of each treatment will be based on 
the desired conditions of each activity area and designed to move 
vegetative conditions towards those desired conditions.
    Fuels treatments (activity related and natural)--The proposed 
action will include ongoing maintenance of

[[Page 70845]]

desirable vegetation characteristics in previously treated areas and, 
when necessary, reduction of surface and ladder fuels, stand density, 
and canopy biomass to emulate fire intensities, and associated fire 
severities, associated with a particular Fire Regime. Prescribed fire 
entry will be utilized to rehabilitate decadent grass and shrub to 
improve wildlife forage in big game winter range and bighorn sheep 
habitat, dispose of activity fuels created by harvest, and as site 
preparation for planting. Treatment objectives would be achieved 
through a combination of the following activities such as whole-tree 
yarding, prescribed burning in harvest units (approximately 2,300 
acres), grapple piling of activity fuels (approximately 600 acres).
    Landscape prescribed fire--Landscape prescribed fire would occur 
across approximately 11,500 acres within the Sunrise project area. This 
treatment would reintroduce fire to a fire-dependent ecosystem to 
lessen the impact of a future uncharacteristic wildfire and improve 
forage quality for big game (Management area direction for C3, C3A, C4, 
and C8). In the majority of the project area, fire intensities would be 
kept low by keeping fire out of the overstory and burning mainly 
surface fuels. Consistent with the mixed-severity fire regimes which 
have long characterized some parts of the project area, individual tree 
and group torching would likely occur in areas where there is 
sufficient ladder fuels and in timber stands with high occurrences of 
mistletoe. Upon completion the landscape could be described as a mosaic 
of unburned, lightly burned, moderately burned, and intensely burned 
patches.
    Road management--To accomplish implementation of proposed 
activities approximately 39 miles of open system roads, about 42 miles 
of closed system roads, and 46 miles of seasonally open roads would be 
used as haul routes. Closed system roads used for project activities 
would not be opened to the public. All system roads would remain the 
same after project implementation; open roads would remain opened, 
closed roads would continue to be closed, and seasonally open roads 
would continue with that designation. Approximately 11 miles of 
temporary road would be constructed of which 9 miles would be 
constructed over previous road templates. All temporary roads would be 
decommissioned after project activity use. No new specified road 
construction is proposed.
    Danger tree removal--Danger trees would be felled and removed along 
all previously described haul routes used for timber sale activity. If 
considered economically feasible they would be sold as part of a timber 
sale. Danger trees within Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas (RHCAs) 
would not be removed; they would be cut and left to provide additional 
coarse woody debris.

Responsible Official

    Monte Fujishin, District Ranger of Pomeroy Ranger District will be 
the responsible official for making the decision and providing 
direction for the analysis.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The responsible official will decide whether or not to implement 
the proposed action or an alternative to the proposed action, including 
the no action, and what monitoring will be appropriate.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. A scoping letter 
will be sent to interested and/or affected members of the public, non-
profit organizations, and other agencies.
    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, anonymous comments will not provide 
the Agency with the ability to provide the respondent with subsequent 
environmental documents.

    Dated: November 19, 2014.
Monte Fujishin,
Pomeroy District Ranger.
[FR Doc. 2014-28069 Filed 11-26-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-P