Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota and Wyoming, Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project, 58470-58472 [2016-20382]

Download as PDF 58470 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 165 / Thursday, August 25, 2016 / Notices for their use in reviewing applications to participate and to sponsoring organizations to ensure that they do not employ as principals any persons who are disqualified from the program. This statutory mandate has been incorporated into § 226.6(c)(7) of the Program regulations. Need and Use of the Information: The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) uses forms FNS–843 Report of Disqualification from Participation— Institution and Responsible Principals/ Individuals and FNS–844 Report of Disqualification from Participation— Individually Disqualified Responsible Principal/Individual or Day Care Home Provider to collect and maintain the disqualification data. The State agencies use these forms, which are accessed through a web-based National Disqualification List system, to collect the contact information and the disqualification information and reasons on all individuals and institutions that have been disqualified and are therefore ineligible to participate in CACFP. The information is collected from State agencies as the disqualifications occur so that the list is kept current. By maintaining this list, the Department ensures program integrity by making the list available to sponsoring organizations and State agencies so that no one who has been disqualified can participate in CACFP. Without this data collection, State agencies and sponsoring organizations would have no way of knowing if an applicant has been disqualified from participating in CACFP in another State. Description of Respondents: State, Local, or Tribal Government. Number of Respondents: 56. Frequency of Responses: Reporting: On occasion; Other (as needed). Total Burden Hours: 784. Ruth Brown, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2016–20371 Filed 8–24–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–30–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Forest Service Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota and Wyoming, Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project Forest Service, USDA. Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: The Forest Service is proposing forest resilience management actions on portions of approximately SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Aug 24, 2016 Jkt 238001 1,098,000 acres of National Forest System lands managed by the Black Hills National Forest. The project area consists of lands within the treatment areas designated on the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota and Wyoming under the authority of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA, 16 U.S.C. 6591). The Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project will be carried out in accordance with HFRA title VI, section 602(d)— Insect and Disease Infestation. Since 1997, the Black Hills National Forest has experienced epidemic levels of mountain pine beetle infestation. The epidemic now appears to be slowing in most parts of the forest, but the infestation has left behind a changed landscape. Action is needed to address accumulations of fuels, undesirable distribution of forest structures, and other conditions that may decrease the forest’s resilience to disturbance. The purpose of the project is to move landscape-level vegetation conditions in the project area toward objectives of the Black Hills National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, as amended, in order to increase ecosystem resilience to insect infestation and other natural disturbances, contribute to public safety and the local economy, and reduce risk of wildfire to landscapes and communities. The Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to disclose the potential environmental effects of implementing resilience treatments on National Forest System lands within the project area. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by September 26, 2016. The draft environmental impact statement is expected in April 2017 and the final environmental impact statement is expected in October 2017. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to BHRL Project, Black Hills National Forest, 1019 North 5th Street, Custer, SD 57730, or via facsimile to 605–673– 9350, c/o BHRL Project. Written comments also may be hand-delivered to the above address between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mountain time, Monday through Friday except federal holidays. Comments may also be submitted electronically at http://tinyurl.com/ BHRLProjectComment. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rhonda O’Byrne, Project Manager, at 605–642–4622. 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. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose and Need for Action Since 1997, the Black Hills National Forest has experienced epidemic levels of mountain pine beetle infestation. Beetles have infested and killed trees on approximately 215,000 acres. In some areas, there are very few live, mature pine remaining. In others, the beetles only attacked pockets of trees, or very few trees. The Forest Service and its partners have responded to the epidemic by reducing stand susceptibility to beetle infestation, recovering the value of some infested trees, protecting recreation areas, and decreasing fuel build-up in some areas. The epidemic now appears to be slowing in most parts of the forest, but the beetles have left behind a changed landscape. Much of the forest is more open. The distribution of pine forest structure has moved away from desired conditions. The Black Hills National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (‘‘Forest Plan’’) sets these desired conditions. They are a critical part of maintaining a landscape that provides diverse habitat and is resilient to disturbance. Pine forest structure objectives apply to most of the National Forest. The current condition of some structural stages is inconsistent with the desired condition. Over time, the open and young forest structures resulting from the infestation are likely to develop characteristics that will decrease the forest’s resilience to insect infestation, wildfire, and other disturbances. In the newly open stands, natural reforestation is occurring as pine seedlings become established. Ponderosa pine regenerates prolifically in the Black Hills, and often there are so many small trees that they become crowded and must compete for limited resources. Growth slows, stems remain thin, and heavy snow can result in widespread damage. There is a need to manage these new stands to prevent stagnation and allow transition to other structural stages. Mountain pine beetles most often infest dense pine stands. As a result of the epidemic, acreage of mature, moderately dense pine stands has decreased below Forest Plan objective levels. Mature, dense pine stands are still slightly above objective levels, though most of them are concentrated in a few areas that experienced less beetle infestation. There is a need to increase mature, moderately dense pine stands and maintain mature, dense pine stands. Late succession pine forests in the Black Hills provide habitat diversity and enhance scenery. There are fewer late succession stands than desired, and E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1 asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 165 / Thursday, August 25, 2016 / Notices there is a need to maintain and enhance old stands to work toward meeting this objective. The beetle infestation also has resulted in hazardous fuels in the form of dead trees. The trees usually fall within a few years of being infested and can pile up and cause uncharacteristically high fuel loadings. These fuels are unlikely to ignite easily, but if they do catch fire they can burn intensely, damaging soils and causing problems for firefighters. In addition, the dead trees pose an increased hazard to public health and safety, infrastructure, and communities. There is a need to reduce this hazard, especially near populated areas and critical infrastructure. Mature ponderosa pine are often resistant to fire, especially if there is some space between trees or if they have had periodic exposure to low-level fire. Small pine trees are not resistant to fire, and dense patches can allow a fire to spread both vertically and horizontally. There is a need to thin out these small trees to prevent development of a fire hazard. Historically, fire was a major force shaping the composition and distribution of Black Hills plant communities and ecological processes. Fire suppression over the last 140 years has altered plant communities and allowed fuels to accumulate, especially in less accessible areas. There is a need to use prescribed fire to efficiently reduce fuel buildup while providing the ecosystem benefits of a disturbance process that native species evolved with. Ponderosa pine covers most of the Black Hills. Other tree species and grasslands diversify habitat and scenery while increasing ecosystem resilience to disturbance. Hardwood trees such as aspen and oak are resistant to fire and to the insects that infest pine. Aspen stands recover quickly from disturbance. Over time, however, these areas can become overgrown with conifers. This encroachment can cause old hardwood stands and grasslands to lose vigor and gradually disappear. There is a need to maintain and perpetuate these ecosystem components. In response to these needs, the Forest Service is proposing actions to move landscape-level vegetation conditions in the project area toward objectives of the Forest Plan in order to increase ecosystem resilience to insect infestation and other natural disturbances, contribute to public safety and the local economy, and reduce risk of wildfire to landscapes and communities. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Aug 24, 2016 Jkt 238001 The Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board has agreed to serve as the formal collaborator for this project under HFRA authority. Proposed Action The proposed action addresses the purpose and need through a combination of forest vegetation management actions. Activities would start in approximately 2018 and continue for up to 10 years. Where heavy down fuels or dense stands of small pine exist adjacent to residential areas, main access roads, major power lines, and other developments or infrastructure, the project would reduce fire hazard by thinning, chipping, piling, or otherwise removing or rearranging fuels. Work would focus on priority areas. Where slopes are too steep for other types of treatment, the project would burn pockets of hazardous fuels. These activities would occur on 3,000 to 7,000 acres annually. Fuel reduction work would include cutting of standing beetle-killed trees that could fall and block main access roads. The project proposes prescribed burning on up to 10,000 acres per year, primarily in the southern half of the Black Hills. The project would cut encroaching pine from areas of hardwoods and grasslands. Pine removal from aspen would take place on up to 6,000 acres. Pine removal from oak stands would take place on up to 3,000 acres. Pine would be cut from encroached grasslands on up to 5,600 acres. Regeneration of declining aspen stands would occur on up to 5,000 acres. Currently, approximately 43 percent of project area pine stands consist of open, mature forest, while the objective is 25 percent. The project proposes to convert some of these mature stands to young stands by removing some or all of the mature trees if there are enough pine seedlings and saplings to make a new stand. This may occur on up to a total of about 100,000 acres out of the total 300,000 acres of open, mature pine forest. The intent of this project is not to create very large areas of forest that is all alike. Therefore, the project would include limits on the maximum contiguous acreage of any one forest condition that could be created. Existing roads provide access to most of the potential treatment stands. To conduct proposed activities in areas without existing roads, it may be necessary to construct up to 15 miles of permanent roads and 44 miles of temporary roads. The project would conduct fuel treatments in some of the remaining mature, dense pine stands. Because the PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 58471 objective is to increase moderately dense mature forest, mature trees in these stands would generally not be cut. There would be exceptions, such as removing beetle-infested trees or thinning to reduce hazardous fuels adjacent to homes. The forest is below objectives for late succession forest. In some stands that are nearing late succession conditions, especially those with open canopies, the project would thin or burn understory vegetation to enhance late succession characteristics and increase stand resilience. Removing some of the small trees in young stands (precommercial thinning) increases the vigor of the remaining saplings and prevents stagnation. The project would precommercially thin up to 25,000 acres per year. Connected actions include road improvement, non-native invasive weed treatment, and other activities. The proposed action includes design features and mitigation necessary to ensure project compliance with directives, regulations, and Forest Plan standards and guidelines. Go to http:// tinyurl.com/BHRLProject for more detailed information and maps of the project area and proposed treatments. Forest Plan Amendments If necessary to meet the project’s purpose and need, the Forest Service may need to amend the Forest Plan in regard to reducing fuel loading by removing logging slash in certain areas. Responsible Official Mark Van Every, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor. Nature of Decision To Be Made This proposed action is a proposal, not a decision. The Forest Supervisor of the Black Hills National Forest will decide whether to implement the action as proposed, whether to take no action at this time, or whether to implement any alternatives that are analyzed. The Forest Supervisor will also decide whether to amend the Forest Plan if necessary to implement the decision. Preliminary Issues Anticipated issues include effects on threatened, endangered, and sensitive species, changes to scenery, and the unique fire hazards posed by fallen trees and regenerating stands. Scoping Process This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. It is important that reviewers provide their comments at E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1 58472 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 165 / Thursday, August 25, 2016 / Notices 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. Dated: August 15, 2016. Jim Zornes, Acting Forest Supervisor. [FR Doc. 2016–20382 Filed 8–24–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B–55–2016] asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 281—Miami, Florida; Notification of Proposed Production Activity Carrier InterAmerica Corporation (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning Systems); Miami, Florida Miami-Dade County, grantee of FTZ 281, submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the FTZ Board on behalf of Carrier InterAmerica Corporation (Carrier), located in Miami, Florida. The notification conforming to the requirements of the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR 400.22) was received on August 5, 2016. The Carrier facility is located within Site 3 of FTZ 281. The facility is used to combine and segregate mini-split and multi-split type heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Pursuant to 15 CFR 400.14(b), FTZ activity would be limited to the specific foreign-status materials and components and specific finished products described in the submitted notification (as described below) and subsequently authorized by the FTZ Board. Production under FTZ procedures could exempt Carrier from customs duty payments on the foreign-status components used in export production. On its domestic sales, Carrier would be able to choose the duty rates during customs entry procedures that apply to mini-split and multi-split type HVAC systems and their component evaporator and condensing units (duty rates range from 1% to 2.2%) for the foreign-status inputs noted below. Customs duties also VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Aug 24, 2016 Jkt 238001 could possibly be deferred or reduced on foreign-status production equipment. The components and materials sourced from abroad include: Mini-split type HVAC systems, evaporator units and condensing units (duty rates range from 1% to 2.2%). Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the Board’s Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is October 4, 2016. A copy of the notification will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230–0002, and in the ‘‘Reading Room’’ section of the Board’s Web site, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz. For further information, contact Diane Finver at Diane.Finver@trade.gov or (202) 482–1367. Dated: August 18, 2016. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary. [FR Doc. 2016–20327 Filed 8–24–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security President’s Export Council Subcommittee on Export Administration; Notice of Partially Closed Meeting The President’s Export Council Subcommittee on Export Administration (PECSEA) will meet on September 15, 2016, 10:00 a.m., at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Herbert C. Hoover Building, Room 3884, 14th Street between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues NW., Washington, DC The PECSEA provides advice on matters pertinent to those portions of the Export Administration Act, as amended, that deal with United States policies of encouraging trade with all countries with which the United States has diplomatic or trading relations and of controlling trade for national security and foreign policy reasons. Agenda Frm 00005 Closed Session 9. Discussion of matters determined to be exempt from the provisions relating to public meetings found in 5 U.S.C. app. 2 §§ 10(a)(1) and 10(a)(3). The open session will be accessible via teleconference to 25 participants on a first come, first served basis. To join the conference, submit inquiries to Ms. Yvette Springer at Yvette.Springer@bis.doc.gov no later than September 8, 2016. A limited number of seats will be available for the public session. Reservations are not accepted. To the extent that time permits, members of the public may present oral statements to the Committee. The public may submit written statements at any time before or after the meeting. However, to facilitate the distribution of public presentation materials to the Committee members, the Committee suggests that presenters forward the public presentation materials prior to the meeting to Ms. Springer via email. The Assistant Secretary for Administration, with the concurrence of the delegate of the General Counsel, formally determined on March 9, 2016, pursuant to Section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. app. 2 § (10)(d)), that the portion of the meeting dealing with predecisional changes to the Commerce Control List and U.S. export control policies shall be exempt from the provisions relating to public meetings found in 5 U.S.C. app. 2 §§ 10(a)(1) and 10(a)(3). The remaining portions of the meeting will be open to the public. For more information, call Yvette Springer at (202) 482–2813. Dated: August 18, 2016. Kevin J. Wolf, Assistant Secretary for Export Administration. [FR Doc. 2016–20335 Filed 8–24–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–JT–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Open Session 1. Opening remarks by the Chairman and Vice Chairman. 2. Opening remarks by the Bureau of Industry and Security. 3. Export Control Reform Update. 4. Presentation of papers or comments by the Public. PO 00000 5. Discussion of Reexport Technical Advisory Committee 6. Single Form Update 7. Subcommittee Updates 8. Discussion of Topics for Next Administration Action Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 International Trade Administration President’s Export Council: Meeting of the President’s Export Council International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 165 (Thursday, August 25, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 58470-58472]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-20382]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota and Wyoming, Black 
Hills Resilient Landscapes Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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

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

SUMMARY: The Forest Service is proposing forest resilience management 
actions on portions of approximately 1,098,000 acres of National Forest 
System lands managed by the Black Hills National Forest.
    The project area consists of lands within the treatment areas 
designated on the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota and 
Wyoming under the authority of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act 
(HFRA, 16 U.S.C. 6591). The Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project 
will be carried out in accordance with HFRA title VI, section 602(d)--
Insect and Disease Infestation.
    Since 1997, the Black Hills National Forest has experienced 
epidemic levels of mountain pine beetle infestation. The epidemic now 
appears to be slowing in most parts of the forest, but the infestation 
has left behind a changed landscape. Action is needed to address 
accumulations of fuels, undesirable distribution of forest structures, 
and other conditions that may decrease the forest's resilience to 
disturbance.
    The purpose of the project is to move landscape-level vegetation 
conditions in the project area toward objectives of the Black Hills 
National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, as amended, in order 
to increase ecosystem resilience to insect infestation and other 
natural disturbances, contribute to public safety and the local 
economy, and reduce risk of wildfire to landscapes and communities.
    The Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
to disclose the potential environmental effects of implementing 
resilience treatments on National Forest System lands within the 
project area.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by September 26, 2016. The draft environmental impact statement is 
expected in April 2017 and the final environmental impact statement is 
expected in October 2017.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to BHRL Project, Black Hills National 
Forest, 1019 North 5th Street, Custer, SD 57730, or via facsimile to 
605-673-9350, c/o BHRL Project. Written comments also may be hand-
delivered to the above address between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mountain 
time, Monday through Friday except federal holidays. Comments may also 
be submitted electronically at http://tinyurl.com/BHRLProjectComment.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rhonda O'Byrne, Project Manager, at 
605-642-4622. 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

    Since 1997, the Black Hills National Forest has experienced 
epidemic levels of mountain pine beetle infestation. Beetles have 
infested and killed trees on approximately 215,000 acres. In some 
areas, there are very few live, mature pine remaining. In others, the 
beetles only attacked pockets of trees, or very few trees. The Forest 
Service and its partners have responded to the epidemic by reducing 
stand susceptibility to beetle infestation, recovering the value of 
some infested trees, protecting recreation areas, and decreasing fuel 
build-up in some areas.
    The epidemic now appears to be slowing in most parts of the forest, 
but the beetles have left behind a changed landscape. Much of the 
forest is more open. The distribution of pine forest structure has 
moved away from desired conditions. The Black Hills National Forest 
Land and Resource Management Plan (``Forest Plan'') sets these desired 
conditions. They are a critical part of maintaining a landscape that 
provides diverse habitat and is resilient to disturbance.
    Pine forest structure objectives apply to most of the National 
Forest. The current condition of some structural stages is inconsistent 
with the desired condition. Over time, the open and young forest 
structures resulting from the infestation are likely to develop 
characteristics that will decrease the forest's resilience to insect 
infestation, wildfire, and other disturbances. In the newly open 
stands, natural reforestation is occurring as pine seedlings become 
established. Ponderosa pine regenerates prolifically in the Black 
Hills, and often there are so many small trees that they become crowded 
and must compete for limited resources. Growth slows, stems remain 
thin, and heavy snow can result in widespread damage. There is a need 
to manage these new stands to prevent stagnation and allow transition 
to other structural stages.
    Mountain pine beetles most often infest dense pine stands. As a 
result of the epidemic, acreage of mature, moderately dense pine stands 
has decreased below Forest Plan objective levels. Mature, dense pine 
stands are still slightly above objective levels, though most of them 
are concentrated in a few areas that experienced less beetle 
infestation. There is a need to increase mature, moderately dense pine 
stands and maintain mature, dense pine stands. Late succession pine 
forests in the Black Hills provide habitat diversity and enhance 
scenery. There are fewer late succession stands than desired, and

[[Page 58471]]

there is a need to maintain and enhance old stands to work toward 
meeting this objective.
    The beetle infestation also has resulted in hazardous fuels in the 
form of dead trees. The trees usually fall within a few years of being 
infested and can pile up and cause uncharacteristically high fuel 
loadings. These fuels are unlikely to ignite easily, but if they do 
catch fire they can burn intensely, damaging soils and causing problems 
for firefighters. In addition, the dead trees pose an increased hazard 
to public health and safety, infrastructure, and communities. There is 
a need to reduce this hazard, especially near populated areas and 
critical infrastructure.
    Mature ponderosa pine are often resistant to fire, especially if 
there is some space between trees or if they have had periodic exposure 
to low-level fire. Small pine trees are not resistant to fire, and 
dense patches can allow a fire to spread both vertically and 
horizontally. There is a need to thin out these small trees to prevent 
development of a fire hazard. Historically, fire was a major force 
shaping the composition and distribution of Black Hills plant 
communities and ecological processes. Fire suppression over the last 
140 years has altered plant communities and allowed fuels to 
accumulate, especially in less accessible areas. There is a need to use 
prescribed fire to efficiently reduce fuel buildup while providing the 
ecosystem benefits of a disturbance process that native species evolved 
with.
    Ponderosa pine covers most of the Black Hills. Other tree species 
and grasslands diversify habitat and scenery while increasing ecosystem 
resilience to disturbance. Hardwood trees such as aspen and oak are 
resistant to fire and to the insects that infest pine. Aspen stands 
recover quickly from disturbance. Over time, however, these areas can 
become overgrown with conifers. This encroachment can cause old 
hardwood stands and grasslands to lose vigor and gradually disappear. 
There is a need to maintain and perpetuate these ecosystem components.
    In response to these needs, the Forest Service is proposing actions 
to move landscape-level vegetation conditions in the project area 
toward objectives of the Forest Plan in order to increase ecosystem 
resilience to insect infestation and other natural disturbances, 
contribute to public safety and the local economy, and reduce risk of 
wildfire to landscapes and communities.
    The Black Hills National Forest Advisory Board has agreed to serve 
as the formal collaborator for this project under HFRA authority.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action addresses the purpose and need through a 
combination of forest vegetation management actions. Activities would 
start in approximately 2018 and continue for up to 10 years.
    Where heavy down fuels or dense stands of small pine exist adjacent 
to residential areas, main access roads, major power lines, and other 
developments or infrastructure, the project would reduce fire hazard by 
thinning, chipping, piling, or otherwise removing or rearranging fuels. 
Work would focus on priority areas. Where slopes are too steep for 
other types of treatment, the project would burn pockets of hazardous 
fuels. These activities would occur on 3,000 to 7,000 acres annually. 
Fuel reduction work would include cutting of standing beetle-killed 
trees that could fall and block main access roads. The project proposes 
prescribed burning on up to 10,000 acres per year, primarily in the 
southern half of the Black Hills.
    The project would cut encroaching pine from areas of hardwoods and 
grasslands. Pine removal from aspen would take place on up to 6,000 
acres. Pine removal from oak stands would take place on up to 3,000 
acres. Pine would be cut from encroached grasslands on up to 5,600 
acres. Regeneration of declining aspen stands would occur on up to 
5,000 acres.
    Currently, approximately 43 percent of project area pine stands 
consist of open, mature forest, while the objective is 25 percent. The 
project proposes to convert some of these mature stands to young stands 
by removing some or all of the mature trees if there are enough pine 
seedlings and saplings to make a new stand. This may occur on up to a 
total of about 100,000 acres out of the total 300,000 acres of open, 
mature pine forest. The intent of this project is not to create very 
large areas of forest that is all alike. Therefore, the project would 
include limits on the maximum contiguous acreage of any one forest 
condition that could be created.
    Existing roads provide access to most of the potential treatment 
stands. To conduct proposed activities in areas without existing roads, 
it may be necessary to construct up to 15 miles of permanent roads and 
44 miles of temporary roads.
    The project would conduct fuel treatments in some of the remaining 
mature, dense pine stands. Because the objective is to increase 
moderately dense mature forest, mature trees in these stands would 
generally not be cut. There would be exceptions, such as removing 
beetle-infested trees or thinning to reduce hazardous fuels adjacent to 
homes.
    The forest is below objectives for late succession forest. In some 
stands that are nearing late succession conditions, especially those 
with open canopies, the project would thin or burn understory 
vegetation to enhance late succession characteristics and increase 
stand resilience.
    Removing some of the small trees in young stands (precommercial 
thinning) increases the vigor of the remaining saplings and prevents 
stagnation. The project would precommercially thin up to 25,000 acres 
per year.
    Connected actions include road improvement, non-native invasive 
weed treatment, and other activities. The proposed action includes 
design features and mitigation necessary to ensure project compliance 
with directives, regulations, and Forest Plan standards and guidelines. 
Go to http://tinyurl.com/BHRLProject for more detailed information and 
maps of the project area and proposed treatments.

Forest Plan Amendments

    If necessary to meet the project's purpose and need, the Forest 
Service may need to amend the Forest Plan in regard to reducing fuel 
loading by removing logging slash in certain areas.

Responsible Official

    Mark Van Every, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    This proposed action is a proposal, not a decision. The Forest 
Supervisor of the Black Hills National Forest will decide whether to 
implement the action as proposed, whether to take no action at this 
time, or whether to implement any alternatives that are analyzed. The 
Forest Supervisor will also decide whether to amend the Forest Plan if 
necessary to implement the decision.

Preliminary Issues

    Anticipated issues include effects on threatened, endangered, and 
sensitive species, changes to scenery, and the unique fire hazards 
posed by fallen trees and regenerating stands.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. It is important 
that reviewers provide their comments at

[[Page 58472]]

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.

    Dated: August 15, 2016.
Jim Zornes,
Acting Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 2016-20382 Filed 8-24-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-11-P