King Fire Restoration Project, Eldorado National Forest, Placer and El Dorado Counties, California, 77445-77447 [2014-30158]

Download as PDF mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 247 / Wednesday, December 24, 2014 / Notices 219 Subpart B). The administrative review process provides an individual or entity an opportunity for an independent Forest Service review and resolution of issues before the final approval of a plan, plan amendment or plan revision. ADDRESSES: Written comments or questions concerning this notice should be addressed to Rio Grande National Forest, Attn.: Plan Revision, 1803 W. Hwy 160, Monte Vista, CO 81144, or by email to: comments-rocky-mountain-riogrande@fs.fed.us (subject heading titled Forest Plan Revision). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Waring, Forest Planner, (719) 852– 6215. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m., Pacific Time, Monday through Friday. More information on the planning process can also be found on the Rio Grande National Forest Web site at http://www. fs.usda.gov/riogrande. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Forest Management Act (NFMA) of 1976 requires that every National Forest System (NFS) unit develop a land management plan. On April 9, 2012, the Forest Service finalized its land management planning rule (2012 Planning Rule), which provides broad programmatic direction to National Forests and National Grasslands for developing and implementing their land management plans. Forest plans describe the strategic direction for management of forest resources for fifteen to twenty years, and are adaptive and amendable as conditions change over time. Under the 2012 Planning Rule, the assessment of ecological, social, and economic trends and conditions is the first stage of the planning process. The second stage is a development and decision process guided, in part, by the NEPA and includes the preparation of a draft environmental impact statement and revised Forest Plan for public review and comment, and the preparation of the final environmental impact statement and revised Forest Plan. The third stage of the process is monitoring and feedback, which is ongoing over the life of the revised forest plans. With this notice, the agency invites other governments, non-governmental parties, and the public to contribute to the development of the assessment report. The assessment will rapidly evaluate the sustainability of existing ecological, economic, and social conditions and trends within the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:34 Dec 23, 2014 Jkt 235001 context of the broader landscape. It will help inform the planning process through the use of Best Available Scientific Information, while also taking into account other forms of knowledge, such as local information, national perspectives, and native knowledge. Lastly, the assessment will help identify the need to change the existing 1996 plan. Collaboration as part of the assessment phase supports the development of relationships of key stakeholders throughout the plan revision process, and is an essential step to understanding current conditions, available data, and feedback needed to support a strategic, efficient planning process. As public meetings, other opportunities for public engagement, and public review and comment opportunities are identified to assist with the development of the forest plan revision, public announcements will be made, notifications will be posted on the Forest’s Web site at http://www.fs. usda.gov/riogrande, and information will be sent out to the Forest’s mailing list. If anyone is interested in being on the Forest’s mailing list to receive these notifications, please contact Amy Waring, Forest Planner, at the mailing address identified above, by sending an email to: comments-rocky-mountain-riogrande@fs.fed.us (subject heading titled Forest Plan Revision). Responsible Official: The responsible official for the revision of the land management plan for the Rio Grande National Forest is Dan Dallas, Forest Supervisor, Rio Grande National Forest, 1803 W. Hwy 160, Monte Vista, CO 81144. Dated: December 17, 2014. Dan S. Dallas, Forest Supervisor, Rio Grande National Forest. [FR Doc. 2014–30189 Filed 12–23–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service King Fire Restoration Project, Eldorado National Forest, Placer and El Dorado Counties, California Forest Service, USDA. Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: The Eldorado National Forest proposes to restore portions of the King Fire of 2014. The proposed action includes hazard tree removal, fuel reduction, salvage logging, reforestation, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77445 road improvements, watershed improvements, and research. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by January 23, 2015. The draft environmental impact statement is expected March 2015 and the final environmental impact statement is expected June 2015. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to 100 Forni Road, Placerville, CA 95667, Attention: King Fire Restoration Project. Comments may also be sent via email to comments-pacificsouthwest-eldorado@ fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to 530–621– 5297. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia Ferrell, Team Leader, Eldorado National Forest, 100 Forni Road, Placerville, CA 95667, phone 530–642– 5146 or email to pferrell@fs.fed.us. A scoping package, maps and other information are online at: http://www.fs. fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php ?project=45952. 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: General Background The King Fire started September 13, 2104 and burned approximately 97,000 acres on the Eldorado National Forest and on private timberlands. The project area for this analysis is the approximately 63,000 acre portion of the King Fire on Eldorado National Forest lands within the Georgetown, Pacific, and Placerville Ranger Districts administrative boundary. The project area includes all or portions of 30 watersheds. The large high severity portions of this fire resulted in adverse effects to forest resources such as soil, riparian areas, and wildlife habitat, and killed thousands of trees that contribute to hazardous conditions for people and extremely high fuel loading over time. Purpose and Need for Action The underlying need(s) for this proposal include: Reduce the risk from falling dead, dying, and defective trees to the safety of forest visitors and workers, and of damaging private property, structures, and cultural resources; reduce accumulation of fuel over the long term in strategic fire management areas for the purpose of improving the ability to manage and control future fires; maintain the ecological integrity of post fire habitat while restoring diverse conifer forests and laying the foundation for resiliency E:\FR\FM\24DEN1.SGM 24DEN1 77446 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 247 / Wednesday, December 24, 2014 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES into the future; expeditiously recover timber killed by the fire commensurate with available markets, for the purpose of generating funds to offset the cost of restoration activities and contribute to societal needs for wood products; take advantage of research opportunities to increase knowledge regarding the effects of large fires on the environment, how to reduce the risk of future fires, and how to restore resilient forests after fires; reduce existing and potential sources of soil movement and sedimentation to streams, and reduce large woody fuel accumulation in sensitive areas where a future fire is likely to have detrimental effects on soil, water, and cultural resources. Proposed Action In developing the proposed action, consideration was given to areas that burned with high severity outside the natural range of variation; exclusion of hardwood/shrub/grassland areas that would continue to persist without treatment; maximizing the probability of California spotted owl persistence within and adjacent to the King Fire, maintaining habitat suitable for fire obligate wildlife including the blackbacked woodpecker, promoting a mosaic of post-fire vegetation important for species associated with early seral habitats, and minimizing impacts to the threatened Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and California red-legged frog; conifer seed dispersal and the need to plant trees in areas unlikely to naturally regenerate; identification of wildland urban interface defense zones where the focus is on protecting life and property; strategic fuel management zones to contain wildfire and facilitate prescribed fire; and generally eliminate steep slopes from the proposed action where treatments would be prohibitively expensive, and where treatment was not needed to meet other objectives of the project. Areas identified for treatment are: approximately 1,200 acres in the wildland urban interface (WUI) defense zone where increasing fuel loads pose a hazard to community fire protection; approximately 7,300 acres within the fire management zone which are strategic areas identified to establish a safe and effective place for future fire suppression; approximately 5,600 acres in the forest resiliency area where reestablishment of conifer forests are desired, ecologically sustainable, and can be managed to have a high probability of surviving subsequent wildfire; other specific areas where treatment would occur for research and watershed improvement; and roads needing hazard tree removal VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:34 Dec 23, 2014 Jkt 235001 (approximately 429 miles), repair, closure, and/or decommissioning. Within Strategic Fuels Management Zones, WUI Defense Zones, and Forest Resiliency Areas, remove dead conifer trees using in excess of soil cover needs and wildlife snag retention levels needs. In the Forest Resiliency Areas, snags will generally be retained in two to five acre patches covering 15 to 20 percent of a treatment area and incorporating the largest snags available. No standing snags will be retained in WUI Defense Zones, and four large snags per acre up to 12sq. ft./acre basal area in a grouped configuration will be retained in Strategic Fire Management Zones. Trees to be removed have brown foliage or no foliage remaining as viewed from the ground. Mortality monitoring for tree removal may be conducted up to 4 years following the fire. Within Hazard Areas, remove hazard trees along Forest Service system roads open to the public and roads needed for access to treatment areas, along private residential property, adjacent to structures, and in specific cultural resource sites identified by the archeologist. Hazard trees to be removed are dead and dying trees that have potential to reach the road or property and live trees that are sufficiently damaged or defective to pose a risk of falling within the next 5 years. Methods include mechanical or other ground based logging on approximately 11,800 acres, skyline or helicopter logging on approximately 700 acres, hand treatments on approximately 700 acres, and mastication or machine piling on approximately 100 acres. In areas identified above, the maximum desired surface fuel loading is 6–10 tons per acre of material <3″ diameter. In areas described above where additional treatment is needed to reduce fuel loading to the desired level or provide additional soil cover, tops, limbs, and unmerchantable boles of harvested trees, and small dead trees that are not removed using the logging methods described, would be treated by one or more of the following methods: cutting and scattering to within 18 inches of the ground, cutting and left in place, hand piling, mastication or chipping with a track mounted masticator or chipper; and/or cutting trees and piling using tractors or rubber tired machinery with brush rakes or grapples. Piles would be burned. Within portions of watersheds determined to be at high risk of soil erosion and sedimentation which could negatively impact watershed resources, treatments include: Increasing groundcover using onsite or imported material (e.g. mastication, lop and PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 scatter, mulching), obliteration of existing disturbances, and removal of excess woody material. Planting of seedlings would occur on approximately 14,000 acres of conifer forest types where a forested community is the desired condition, but where natural regeneration of a desired species composition and density are not expected to occur within the next several decades, and where stands can reasonably be effectively and efficiently managed into the future. Planting strategies would be designed to maintain ecological integrity while balancing future climate projections, economics, long-term management feasibility, and desired conditions. Except in the limited circumstances where site preparation to treat residual fuels is not needed, salvage logging would be completed before planting takes place. At the time of planting, the planted seedlings would be released from competing vegetation by hand scraping a radius of 2 to 5 feet around the seedlings depending on competing vegetation and follow-up treatment planned. Follow-up manual and herbicide release of seedlings from competing vegetation would occur where competing vegetation is expected to reduce seedling survival or growth below an acceptable level. Proposed research projects are to study the effect of varying salvage and re-planting intensities on the fuel complex and native/non-native species abundance over time; study forest resilience after high-severity wildfire: the effect of snag density and distribution on the retention of forest ecosystem functions; and additional projects to be determined. Responsible Official Forest Supervisor, Eldorado National Forest. Nature of Decision To Be Made The decision to be made is whether to adopt and implement the proposed action, an alternative to the proposed action, or take no action to restore the King Fire area. Scoping Process This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. A scoping open house will be held January 13, 2015 in Placerville, CA. Comments specific to the location, methods, and actions proposed are the most helpful. 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 E:\FR\FM\24DEN1.SGM 24DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 247 / Wednesday, December 24, 2014 / Notices 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. Dated: December 18, 2014. Laurence Crabtree, Forest Supervisor. N. Mission Street, Building 2, McCall, Idaho 83638. Comments may also be sent via email to comments-intermtnpayette@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to 208–634–0744. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen Penny, Project Team Leader, 208–253–0164, spenny@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 and Need for Action [FR Doc. 2014–30158 Filed 12–23–14; 8:45 am] The purpose is to: (1) Move vegetation toward the desired conditions (e.g., canopy closure in large tree class, species composition, and size class DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE distribution) defined in the Forest Plan and consistent with the current science Forest Service for restoration of ponderosa pine, Intermountain Region, Payette National Douglas-fir, grand fir, subalpine fir and Forest, Council Ranger District, Idaho, lodgepole habitat types, with an Middle Fork Weiser River Landscape emphasis on: (a) Improving habitat for Restoration Project specific wildlife species of concern, such as the species dependent on dry AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA. coniferous forests, while maintaining ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an habitat for federally-listed and sensitive environmental impact statement. species; (b) Maintaining and promoting large tree forest structure, early seral SUMMARY: The Council Ranger District of the Payette National Forest will prepare species composition (for example aspen, western larch, ponderosa pine, and an Environmental Impact Statement Douglas-fir) and forest resiliency to fire, (EIS) for the Middle Fork Weiser River insects and disease and climate change; Landscape Restoration Project. The (c) Reducing the risk of uncharacteristic Middle Fork Weiser River Landscape wildland fire, with an emphasis on Restoration Project area is located restoring and maintaining desirable approximately six miles southeast of Council, Idaho, primarily in the Middle plant community attributes including fuel levels, fire regimes, and other Fork Weiser River watershed. It ecological processes; and (d) comprises approximately 50,000 acres Maintaining and promoting large trees and is within the boundaries of the where retention is consistent with the Council Ranger District of the Payette above objectives. (2) Maintaining and National Forest, in Adams County promoting legacy ponderosa pine and Idaho. The project is designed to move western larch and legacy-like Douglas vegetation toward desired conditions, fir; (3) Restore heterogeneous fine and improve wildlife habitat, reduce forest landscape scale mosaic patterns by fuels, improve watershed conditions establishing varying patch sizes through a variety of activities including consistent with spatial patterns that commercial and non-commercial vegetation management and road system promote forest resilience to disturbance; (4) Within dry non-forested habitats, modifications and maintenance; maintain and promote native grasses improve recreation infrastructure and and restore desired conditions for age opportunities; and improve firefighter and canopy class structure on sagebrush and public safety by establishing and bitterbrush; (5) Decrease the conifer fuelbreaks. encroachment into aspen and nonDATES: Comments concerning the scope forested habitats; (6) In order of priority, of the analysis must be received by move the Granite Creek subwatershed January 23, 2015. The draft from a Watershed Condition Framework environmental impact statement is (WCF) rating of Class 3 (Impaired) to a expected August, 2015 and the final Class 2 (Functioning at Risk), and move environmental impact statement is Mica Creek, Jungle Creek, and Little Fall expected February 2016. Creek subwatersheds within the Project area toward the desired condition for ADDRESSES: Send written comments to soil, water, riparian, and aquatic Keith Lannom, Forest Supervisor, 500 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES BILLING CODE 3410–11–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:34 Dec 23, 2014 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77447 resources; (7) Manage recreation use in the Project with an emphasis on hardening primary dispersed recreation areas, improving existing trails and providing new trail opportunities including an OHV loop and a nonmotorized trail; (8) Contribute to the economic vitality of the communities adjacent to the Payette National Forest; and (9) Improve firefighter and public safety by establishing strategically placed defensible fuelbreaks within the Project area. The need for the Project is based on the difference between the existing and desired conditions. These differences include: (1) Loss of habitat for Family 1 wildlife species, such as the whiteheaded woodpecker, compared to historical conditions; (2) Fewer large tree size classes than desired in the drier forest types (Potential Vegetation Groups 2, and 5), and higher canopy cover; (3) Fewer early seral tree species (i.e. aspen, ponderosa pine and western larch) than desired; (4) Increased stand and landscape homogeneity of size classes, species diversity, tree distributions and canopy closure; (5) Increased high canopy closer in the large size classes in some vegetation types; (6) Increased conifer encroachment into aspen and nonforested habitats; (7) Fewer fire resistant tree species (i.e., ponderosa pine and Western larch) and higher densities of non-fire resistant tree species; (8) Higher surface fuel loading in those areas that have missed one or more fire return intervals; (9) Less than desired watershed function and integrity, including increased sedimentation, hydrologic risk from flooding, disturbance in RCAs (mainly roadrelated), habitat fragmentation, lack of large woody debris in some streams, and lack of coarse woody debris in areas of past timber harvest; and (10) Trail and recreation facilities that do not meet current design and accessibility standards. Proposed Action The Proposed Action includes: Up to 13,002 acres of commercial harvests (a combination of Free Thin, Free Thin– Patch Cut-Selection Harvest, Aspen Restoration, and Mature Plantation Harvest). Combined commercial and non-commercial vegetation treatments include up to 5,280 acres of Meadow Restoration and 1,267 acres of Restoration of Low Density Timber Stands. Non-commercial treatments include thinning up to 4,309 acres. These acreages include treatments designed for and within Riparian Conservation Areas (RCAs) and total approximately 3,428 acres. Prescribed E:\FR\FM\24DEN1.SGM 24DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 247 (Wednesday, December 24, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 77445-77447]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-30158]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


King Fire Restoration Project, Eldorado National Forest, Placer 
and El Dorado Counties, California

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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

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

SUMMARY: The Eldorado National Forest proposes to restore portions of 
the King Fire of 2014. The proposed action includes hazard tree 
removal, fuel reduction, salvage logging, reforestation, road 
improvements, watershed improvements, and research.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by January 23, 2015. The draft environmental impact statement is 
expected March 2015 and the final environmental impact statement is 
expected June 2015.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to 100 Forni Road, Placerville, CA 
95667, Attention: King Fire Restoration Project. Comments may also be 
sent via email to comments-pacificsouthwest-eldorado@fs.fed.us, or via 
facsimile to 530-621-5297.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia Ferrell, Team Leader, 
Eldorado National Forest, 100 Forni Road, Placerville, CA 95667, phone 
530-642-5146 or email to pferrell@fs.fed.us. A scoping package, maps 
and other information are online at: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project=45952.
    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:

General Background

    The King Fire started September 13, 2104 and burned approximately 
97,000 acres on the Eldorado National Forest and on private 
timberlands. The project area for this analysis is the approximately 
63,000 acre portion of the King Fire on Eldorado National Forest lands 
within the Georgetown, Pacific, and Placerville Ranger Districts 
administrative boundary. The project area includes all or portions of 
30 watersheds. The large high severity portions of this fire resulted 
in adverse effects to forest resources such as soil, riparian areas, 
and wildlife habitat, and killed thousands of trees that contribute to 
hazardous conditions for people and extremely high fuel loading over 
time.

Purpose and Need for Action

    The underlying need(s) for this proposal include: Reduce the risk 
from falling dead, dying, and defective trees to the safety of forest 
visitors and workers, and of damaging private property, structures, and 
cultural resources; reduce accumulation of fuel over the long term in 
strategic fire management areas for the purpose of improving the 
ability to manage and control future fires; maintain the ecological 
integrity of post fire habitat while restoring diverse conifer forests 
and laying the foundation for resiliency

[[Page 77446]]

into the future; expeditiously recover timber killed by the fire 
commensurate with available markets, for the purpose of generating 
funds to offset the cost of restoration activities and contribute to 
societal needs for wood products; take advantage of research 
opportunities to increase knowledge regarding the effects of large 
fires on the environment, how to reduce the risk of future fires, and 
how to restore resilient forests after fires; reduce existing and 
potential sources of soil movement and sedimentation to streams, and 
reduce large woody fuel accumulation in sensitive areas where a future 
fire is likely to have detrimental effects on soil, water, and cultural 
resources.

Proposed Action

    In developing the proposed action, consideration was given to areas 
that burned with high severity outside the natural range of variation; 
exclusion of hardwood/shrub/grassland areas that would continue to 
persist without treatment; maximizing the probability of California 
spotted owl persistence within and adjacent to the King Fire, 
maintaining habitat suitable for fire obligate wildlife including the 
black-backed woodpecker, promoting a mosaic of post-fire vegetation 
important for species associated with early seral habitats, and 
minimizing impacts to the threatened Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog 
and California red-legged frog; conifer seed dispersal and the need to 
plant trees in areas unlikely to naturally regenerate; identification 
of wildland urban interface defense zones where the focus is on 
protecting life and property; strategic fuel management zones to 
contain wildfire and facilitate prescribed fire; and generally 
eliminate steep slopes from the proposed action where treatments would 
be prohibitively expensive, and where treatment was not needed to meet 
other objectives of the project.
    Areas identified for treatment are: approximately 1,200 acres in 
the wildland urban interface (WUI) defense zone where increasing fuel 
loads pose a hazard to community fire protection; approximately 7,300 
acres within the fire management zone which are strategic areas 
identified to establish a safe and effective place for future fire 
suppression; approximately 5,600 acres in the forest resiliency area 
where reestablishment of conifer forests are desired, ecologically 
sustainable, and can be managed to have a high probability of surviving 
subsequent wildfire; other specific areas where treatment would occur 
for research and watershed improvement; and roads needing hazard tree 
removal (approximately 429 miles), repair, closure, and/or 
decommissioning.
    Within Strategic Fuels Management Zones, WUI Defense Zones, and 
Forest Resiliency Areas, remove dead conifer trees using in excess of 
soil cover needs and wildlife snag retention levels needs. In the 
Forest Resiliency Areas, snags will generally be retained in two to 
five acre patches covering 15 to 20 percent of a treatment area and 
incorporating the largest snags available. No standing snags will be 
retained in WUI Defense Zones, and four large snags per acre up to 
12sq. ft./acre basal area in a grouped configuration will be retained 
in Strategic Fire Management Zones. Trees to be removed have brown 
foliage or no foliage remaining as viewed from the ground. Mortality 
monitoring for tree removal may be conducted up to 4 years following 
the fire.
    Within Hazard Areas, remove hazard trees along Forest Service 
system roads open to the public and roads needed for access to 
treatment areas, along private residential property, adjacent to 
structures, and in specific cultural resource sites identified by the 
archeologist. Hazard trees to be removed are dead and dying trees that 
have potential to reach the road or property and live trees that are 
sufficiently damaged or defective to pose a risk of falling within the 
next 5 years.
    Methods include mechanical or other ground based logging on 
approximately 11,800 acres, skyline or helicopter logging on 
approximately 700 acres, hand treatments on approximately 700 acres, 
and mastication or machine piling on approximately 100 acres.
    In areas identified above, the maximum desired surface fuel loading 
is 6-10 tons per acre of material <3 diameter. In areas 
described above where additional treatment is needed to reduce fuel 
loading to the desired level or provide additional soil cover, tops, 
limbs, and unmerchantable boles of harvested trees, and small dead 
trees that are not removed using the logging methods described, would 
be treated by one or more of the following methods: cutting and 
scattering to within 18 inches of the ground, cutting and left in 
place, hand piling, mastication or chipping with a track mounted 
masticator or chipper; and/or cutting trees and piling using tractors 
or rubber tired machinery with brush rakes or grapples. Piles would be 
burned.
    Within portions of watersheds determined to be at high risk of soil 
erosion and sedimentation which could negatively impact watershed 
resources, treatments include: Increasing groundcover using onsite or 
imported material (e.g. mastication, lop and scatter, mulching), 
obliteration of existing disturbances, and removal of excess woody 
material.
    Planting of seedlings would occur on approximately 14,000 acres of 
conifer forest types where a forested community is the desired 
condition, but where natural regeneration of a desired species 
composition and density are not expected to occur within the next 
several decades, and where stands can reasonably be effectively and 
efficiently managed into the future. Planting strategies would be 
designed to maintain ecological integrity while balancing future 
climate projections, economics, long-term management feasibility, and 
desired conditions. Except in the limited circumstances where site 
preparation to treat residual fuels is not needed, salvage logging 
would be completed before planting takes place. At the time of 
planting, the planted seedlings would be released from competing 
vegetation by hand scraping a radius of 2 to 5 feet around the 
seedlings depending on competing vegetation and follow-up treatment 
planned. Follow-up manual and herbicide release of seedlings from 
competing vegetation would occur where competing vegetation is expected 
to reduce seedling survival or growth below an acceptable level. 
Proposed research projects are to study the effect of varying salvage 
and re-planting intensities on the fuel complex and native/non-native 
species abundance over time; study forest resilience after high-
severity wildfire: the effect of snag density and distribution on the 
retention of forest ecosystem functions; and additional projects to be 
determined.

Responsible Official

    Forest Supervisor, Eldorado National Forest.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The decision to be made is whether to adopt and implement the 
proposed action, an alternative to the proposed action, or take no 
action to restore the King Fire area.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. A scoping open 
house will be held January 13, 2015 in Placerville, CA. Comments 
specific to the location, methods, and actions proposed are the most 
helpful.
    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

[[Page 77447]]

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.

    Dated: December 18, 2014.
Laurence Crabtree,
Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 2014-30158 Filed 12-23-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-P