Kootenai National Forest; Lincoln and Sanders Counties; Montana; Kootenai National Forest Young Growth Environmental Impact Statement, 43056-43057 [2015-17770]

Download as PDF 43056 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 139 / Tuesday, July 21, 2015 / Notices protocol. Treatment of figs with methyl bromide fumigation is also consistent with the International Plant Protection Convention’s standard of requiring the least restrictive phytosanitary measures to mitigate pests of concern. Therefore, in accordance with the regulations in § 305.3(b)(3), we are affirming our addition of a methyl bromide treatment schedule for figs to control certain pests, as described in the TED made available with the previous notice. The treatment schedule is numbered T101-i-2–2. The treatment schedule will be listed in the PPQ Treatment Manual, which is available as described in footnote 1 of this document. Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701–7772 and 7781– 7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3. Done in Washington, DC, this 15th day of July 2015. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2015–17841 Filed 7–20–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Kootenai National Forest; Lincoln and Sanders Counties; Montana; Kootenai National Forest Young Growth Environmental Impact Statement 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 disclose the environmental effects of commercial and non-commercial vegetation management activities and prescribed burning of activity fuels. Access management changes and other design features are included to protect resources and facilitate management activities. The project is located across the Kootenai National Forest Kootenai National Forest, Lincoln and Sanders Counties, Montana. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received within 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Chris Savage; Forest Supervisor, Kootenai National Forest, 31374 US Hwy 2, Libby, MT 59923. Comments may also be sent via email to commentsnorthern-kootenai@fs.fed.us; or via facsimile to (406) 283–7709. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:58 Jul 20, 2015 Jkt 235001 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Janis Bouma, Project Team Leader, Kootenai National Forest, 31374 US Hwy 2, Libby, MT 59923. Phone: (406) 283–7774. 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: On May 20, 2014, Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced the designation of approximately 45.6 million acres of National Forest System lands across 94 national forests in 35 states to address insect and disease threats that weaken forests and increase the risk of forest fire. The Kootenai National Forest is the only forest in Montana that lies completely within these priority landscapes. The Governor of Montana has asked that priority be given to project development within these designated insect and disease areas, and created his Forest in Focus Initiative to accelerate the pace and scale of forest restoration in the state of Montana. The Kootenai National Forest Young-Growth Project area is approximately 400,000 acres in size and is located only in second-growth; previously harvested timber stands about across the Kootenai National Forest. Purpose and Need for Action The purpose and need for this project is: (1) Improve the resiliency of the timber stands to insects and disease; (2); improve wildlife habitat especially for grizzly bear and lynx; (3) address impacts from climate change and, 4) and to decrease risk of stand-replacing wildfire. Overall project benefits and the purpose associated with young-growth vegetation management will be to improve stand conditions and increase resistance to insects, disease, and standreplacement wildfire while also providing for abundance of forage and improved habitat conditions for a variety of wildlife species. Managing these stands is important in order to reach a healthier stocking rate and to increase overall growth and vigor of the stand by reducing competition and stress on remaining conifers. Management of these stands would also increase quantities of grasses, forbs, and shrubs that many wildlife species utilize in the early stage of forest development, thereby improving foraging habitat for grizzly bear, lynx, and other wildlife species. The project would allow for adaptive management over the next 10 to 15 years as stand conditions would PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 allow and to respond to local environmental conditions and stocking rates. All of these benefits fall within the Governor’s criteria. Proposed Action The proposed action includes noncommercial and commercial vegetation management activities that accomplish the following: Habitat improvement for grizzly bear and lynx; (2) Reduce fuel loading and ladder fuels; (3) Break up the continuity of fuels; (4) Reduce tree densities and tree species susceptible to fire mortality; (5) Increase fire resilient species; (6) Reduce susceptibility to insects and potential disease; (7) Increase tree vigor and resilience to disturbance. Project NEPA analysis would employ various adaptive management screens across the initial proposed acreage. These ‘‘screens’’ would be used to avoid impacts to Threatened and Endangered wildlife and plant species, and sensitive areas. Treatment boundaries could also be further narrowed depending on localized site conditions including soils conditions, standard wildlife effects mitigations, and Best Management Practices (BMPs). Therefore, the actual, on-the ground vegetation management would be considerably smaller than the initial 400,000 acres proposed for evaluation. The project would rely on the existing road system to reach the stands with a need for treatment, with no new specified road construction proposed for this analysis. Prior logging systems such as previous skid trails may be used if evidence of them still exists. If site-specific Forest Plan amendments may be needed, then the proposed treatments would be dropped or deferred to another future project analysis. The acres included in this anticipated decision would provide forest products for an array of markets. A portion of the acreage, predominately the older second growth, would provide a saw log product. Many of the acres would provide non-saw products such as post and pole. These offerings of forest products would be assessed for economic feasibility and may be mixed and matched with other offerings or decisions in order to ensure economic viability. Additionally, in order to anticipate and respond to future timber market opportunities or newly developed markets, the analysis would consider biomass removal in addition to traditional commercial timber harvest activities. Various silvicultural treatments would be proposed to meet the vegetative objectives for the previously harvested areas and move the landscape E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 139 / Tuesday, July 21, 2015 / Notices towards the desired ranges. Often two or more treatments, for example commercial harvest followed by noncommercial thinning may be prescribed for the same unit. Pre-commercial thinning would occur either following a commercial entry or as the only treatment. Trees cut during this activity may be removed as biomass (if future market opportunities develop) or left on site and the slash treated by a variety of fuels treatments. Possible Alternatives The Forest Service will consider a range of alternatives. One of these will be the ‘‘no action’’ alternative in which none of the proposed action would be implemented. Additional alternatives may be included in response to issues raised by the public during the scoping process or due to additional concerns for resource values identified by the Interdisciplinary Team. Responsible Official The Forest Supervisor of the Kootenai National Forest, 31374 US Highway 2, Libby, MT 59923–3022, is the Responsible Official. As the Responsible Official, I will decide if the proposed action will be implemented. I will document the decision and rationale for the decision in the Record of Decision. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Nature of Decision To Be Made Based on the purpose and need, the Responsible Official reviews the proposed action, the other alternatives, the environmental consequences, and public comments on the analysis in order to make the following decision: (1) Whether the proposed action will proceed as proposed, as modified by an alternative, or not at all? (2) Whether to implement timber harvest and associated fuels treatments, and prescribed burning, including the design features and potential mitigation measures to protect resources; and if so, how much and at what specific locations; (3) What, if any, specific project monitoring requirements are needed to assure design features and potential mitigation measures are implemented and effective, and to evaluate the success of the project objectives. A project specific monitoring plan will be developed. Preliminary Issues Initial analysis by the Interdisciplinary Team has brought forward seven issues that may affect the design of the project: (1) Susceptibility to severe wildfire; (2) Effect on wildlife habitat, especially lynx, grizzly bear, and bull trout; (3) Effect on big game VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:58 Jul 20, 2015 Jkt 235001 winter range; (4) Economic viability of commercial treatments; (5) Cost of noncommercial treatments; (6) Effects on water quality and aquatic habitats; and (7) Effects on weed introduction and spread. Scoping Process This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. The Interdisciplinary Team will continue to seek 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. The overall development of the project would also be done through a collaborative process with interested parties, including the Kootenai Forest Stakeholders Coalition, Lincoln County, Sanders County, and timber industry. 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 become part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered. Dated: July 10, 2015. Chris S. Savage, Forest Supervisor, Kootenai National Forest . [FR Doc. 2015–17770 Filed 7–20–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Natural Resources Conservation Service [Docket No. NRCS–2015–0010] Notice of Proposed Changes to the National Handbook of Conservation Practices for the Natural Resources Conservation Service Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). ACTION: Notice of availability of proposed changes in the NRCS National Handbook of Conservation Practices for public review and comment. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 43057 Notice is hereby given of the intention of NRCS to issue a series of revised conservation practice standards in the National Handbook of Conservation Practices. These standards include: Channel Bed Stabilization (Code 584), Karst Sinkhole Treatment (Code 527), Open Channel (Code 582), Pond (Code 378), Surface Drain, Field Ditch (Code 607), Surface Drain, Main or Lateral (Code 608), Vertical Drain (Code 630) and Waste Hauling (Code 321). NRCS State Conservationists who choose to adopt these practices for use within their States will incorporate them into section IV of their respective electronic Field Office Technical Guide. Section 343 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 requires NRCS to make available for public review and comment all proposed revisions to conservation practice standards used to carry out HEL and wetland provisions of the law. DATES: Effective Date: This is effective July 21, 2015. Comment Date: Submit comments on or before August 20, 2015. Final versions of these new or revised conservation practice standards will be adopted after the close of the 30-day period and after consideration of all comments. SUMMARY: Comments should be submitted, identified by Docket Number NRCS–2015–0010, using any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attention: Regulatory and Agency Policy Team, Strategic Planning and Accountability, Natural Resources Conservation Service, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Building 1– 1112D, Beltsville, Maryland 20705. NRCS will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. In general, personal information provided with comments will be posted. If your comment includes your address, phone number, email, or other personal identifying information (PII), your comments, including personal information, may be available to the public. You may ask in your comment that your PII be withheld from public view, but this cannot be guaranteed. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wayne Bogovich, National Agricultural Engineer, Conservation Engineering Division, Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 6136 South Building, Washington, DC 20250. ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\21JYN1.SGM 21JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 139 (Tuesday, July 21, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 43056-43057]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-17770]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Kootenai National Forest; Lincoln and Sanders Counties; Montana; 
Kootenai National Forest Young Growth Environmental Impact Statement

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 disclose the environmental effects of commercial and 
non-commercial vegetation management activities and prescribed burning 
of activity fuels. Access management changes and other design features 
are included to protect resources and facilitate management activities. 
The project is located across the Kootenai National Forest Kootenai 
National Forest, Lincoln and Sanders Counties, Montana.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
within 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Chris Savage; Forest Supervisor, 
Kootenai National Forest, 31374 US Hwy 2, Libby, MT 59923. Comments may 
also be sent via email to comments-northern-kootenai@fs.fed.us; or via 
facsimile to (406) 283-7709.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Janis Bouma, Project Team 
Leader, Kootenai National Forest, 31374 US Hwy 2, Libby, MT 59923. 
Phone: (406) 283-7774.
    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: On May 20, 2014, Department of Agriculture 
Secretary Vilsack announced the designation of approximately 45.6 
million acres of National Forest System lands across 94 national 
forests in 35 states to address insect and disease threats that weaken 
forests and increase the risk of forest fire. The Kootenai National 
Forest is the only forest in Montana that lies completely within these 
priority landscapes. The Governor of Montana has asked that priority be 
given to project development within these designated insect and disease 
areas, and created his Forest in Focus Initiative to accelerate the 
pace and scale of forest restoration in the state of Montana. The 
Kootenai National Forest Young-Growth Project area is approximately 
400,000 acres in size and is located only in second-growth; previously 
harvested timber stands about across the Kootenai National Forest.

Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose and need for this project is: (1) Improve the 
resiliency of the timber stands to insects and disease; (2); improve 
wildlife habitat especially for grizzly bear and lynx; (3) address 
impacts from climate change and, 4) and to decrease risk of stand-
replacing wildfire.
    Overall project benefits and the purpose associated with young-
growth vegetation management will be to improve stand conditions and 
increase resistance to insects, disease, and stand-replacement wildfire 
while also providing for abundance of forage and improved habitat 
conditions for a variety of wildlife species. Managing these stands is 
important in order to reach a healthier stocking rate and to increase 
overall growth and vigor of the stand by reducing competition and 
stress on remaining conifers. Management of these stands would also 
increase quantities of grasses, forbs, and shrubs that many wildlife 
species utilize in the early stage of forest development, thereby 
improving foraging habitat for grizzly bear, lynx, and other wildlife 
species. The project would allow for adaptive management over the next 
10 to 15 years as stand conditions would allow and to respond to local 
environmental conditions and stocking rates. All of these benefits fall 
within the Governor's criteria.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action includes non-commercial and commercial 
vegetation management activities that accomplish the following:
    Habitat improvement for grizzly bear and lynx; (2) Reduce fuel 
loading and ladder fuels; (3) Break up the continuity of fuels; (4) 
Reduce tree densities and tree species susceptible to fire mortality; 
(5) Increase fire resilient species; (6) Reduce susceptibility to 
insects and potential disease; (7) Increase tree vigor and resilience 
to disturbance.
    Project NEPA analysis would employ various adaptive management 
screens across the initial proposed acreage. These ``screens'' would be 
used to avoid impacts to Threatened and Endangered wildlife and plant 
species, and sensitive areas. Treatment boundaries could also be 
further narrowed depending on localized site conditions including soils 
conditions, standard wildlife effects mitigations, and Best Management 
Practices (BMPs). Therefore, the actual, on-the ground vegetation 
management would be considerably smaller than the initial 400,000 acres 
proposed for evaluation. The project would rely on the existing road 
system to reach the stands with a need for treatment, with no new 
specified road construction proposed for this analysis. Prior logging 
systems such as previous skid trails may be used if evidence of them 
still exists. If site-specific Forest Plan amendments may be needed, 
then the proposed treatments would be dropped or deferred to another 
future project analysis.
    The acres included in this anticipated decision would provide 
forest products for an array of markets. A portion of the acreage, 
predominately the older second growth, would provide a saw log product. 
Many of the acres would provide non-saw products such as post and pole. 
These offerings of forest products would be assessed for economic 
feasibility and may be mixed and matched with other offerings or 
decisions in order to ensure economic viability. Additionally, in order 
to anticipate and respond to future timber market opportunities or 
newly developed markets, the analysis would consider biomass removal in 
addition to traditional commercial timber harvest activities.
    Various silvicultural treatments would be proposed to meet the 
vegetative objectives for the previously harvested areas and move the 
landscape

[[Page 43057]]

towards the desired ranges. Often two or more treatments, for example 
commercial harvest followed by non-commercial thinning may be 
prescribed for the same unit. Pre-commercial thinning would occur 
either following a commercial entry or as the only treatment. Trees cut 
during this activity may be removed as biomass (if future market 
opportunities develop) or left on site and the slash treated by a 
variety of fuels treatments.

Possible Alternatives

    The Forest Service will consider a range of alternatives. One of 
these will be the ``no action'' alternative in which none of the 
proposed action would be implemented. Additional alternatives may be 
included in response to issues raised by the public during the scoping 
process or due to additional concerns for resource values identified by 
the Interdisciplinary Team.

Responsible Official

    The Forest Supervisor of the Kootenai National Forest, 31374 US 
Highway 2, Libby, MT 59923-3022, is the Responsible Official. As the 
Responsible Official, I will decide if the proposed action will be 
implemented. I will document the decision and rationale for the 
decision in the Record of Decision.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    Based on the purpose and need, the Responsible Official reviews the 
proposed action, the other alternatives, the environmental 
consequences, and public comments on the analysis in order to make the 
following decision:
    (1) Whether the proposed action will proceed as proposed, as 
modified by an alternative, or not at all?
    (2) Whether to implement timber harvest and associated fuels 
treatments, and prescribed burning, including the design features and 
potential mitigation measures to protect resources; and if so, how much 
and at what specific locations;
    (3) What, if any, specific project monitoring requirements are 
needed to assure design features and potential mitigation measures are 
implemented and effective, and to evaluate the success of the project 
objectives. A project specific monitoring plan will be developed.

Preliminary Issues

    Initial analysis by the Interdisciplinary Team has brought forward 
seven issues that may affect the design of the project: (1) 
Susceptibility to severe wildfire; (2) Effect on wildlife habitat, 
especially lynx, grizzly bear, and bull trout; (3) Effect on big game 
winter range; (4) Economic viability of commercial treatments; (5) Cost 
of non-commercial treatments; (6) Effects on water quality and aquatic 
habitats; and (7) Effects on weed introduction and spread.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. The 
Interdisciplinary Team will continue to seek 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. The overall development of the 
project would also be done through a collaborative process with 
interested parties, including the Kootenai Forest Stakeholders 
Coalition, Lincoln County, Sanders County, and timber industry.
    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 become part of the public 
record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be 
accepted and considered.

    Dated: July 10, 2015.
Chris S. Savage,
Forest Supervisor, Kootenai National Forest .
[FR Doc. 2015-17770 Filed 7-20-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3411-15-P