Kootenai National Forest: Lincoln County; Montana; Starry Goat Project EIS, 78107-78108 [2016-26821]

Download as PDF 78107 Notices Federal Register Vol. 81, No. 215 Monday, November 7, 2016 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Kootenai National Forest: Lincoln County; Montana; Starry Goat Project EIS 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, prescribed burning, watershed and recreation improvement activities. Access management changes and other design features are included to protect resources and facilitate management activities. The project is located in the Callahan planning subunit on the Three Rivers Ranger District, Kootenai National Forest, Lincoln County, Montana, near Troy, Montana. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by December 7, 2016. The draft environmental impact statement is expected in June 2017 and the final environmental impact statement is expected in December 2017. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Kirsten Kaiser, District Ranger, Three Rivers Ranger District, 12858 U.S. Highway 2, Troy, MT 59935. Comments may be submitted online at https:// cara.ecosystemmanagement.org/ Public//CommentInput?Project=49837, or by email to: comments-northernkootenai-three-rivers@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to 406–295–7410. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Miles Friend, Project Team Leader, Three Rivers Ranger District, 12858 U.S. Highway 2, Troy, MT 59935. Phone: (406) 295–4693. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:02 Nov 04, 2016 Jkt 241001 Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Starry Goat project area is immediately west of Troy, Montana, and runs from the Kootenai River west to the boundary between the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests. The project area encompasses approximately 90,776 acres (48,471 acres in Montana; 42,305 acres in Idaho, all administered by the Kootenai National Forest). Callahan Creek, Brush Creek, Ruby Creek, and Star Creek are the major drainages in the project area; all flowing into the Kootenai River at the project area boundary. The legal description includes Townships 30,31, and 32 North, Ranges 33 and 34 West, Lincoln County, Montana; and Townships 58, 59, 60, and 61 North, Ranges 2 and 3 East, Bonner and Boundary County, Idaho. Purpose and Need for Action The purpose and need for this project is to: (1) Promote resilient vegetation conditions by managing towards the 2015 Forest Plan desired conditions for landscape-level vegetation patterns, structure, patch size, fuel loading, and species composition; (2) maintain or improve hydrologic connectivity, water quality and native aquatic species habitat; (3) improve big game winter range conditions and promote forage opportunities while maintaining secure habitat for wildlife; (4) provide a variety of wood products to the American public, and contribute to the local economy by generating jobs and income; (5) maintain and improve the recreation opportunities in the project area; (6) reduce the potential for high intensity wildfire while promoting desirable fire behavior characteristics and fuel conditions. Proposed Action The proposed action includes timber harvest and associated fuels treatments, prescribed burning, recreation improvements and watershed work to address the purpose and need. The proposed action includes: (1) Approximately 1,550 acres of regeneration harvest and 553 acres of intermediate harvest. These treatments would be accomplished through 1,846 acres of tractor harvest and 257 acres of skyline harvest. Pre-commercial PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 thinning (PCT) is proposed on 395 acres within the project area. Approximately 132 acres of the proposed PCT would occur within the Callahan Lynx Analysis Unit (LAU) and treatment would be consistent with Forest Plan standard FW–STD–WL–01. Pruning may occur along with PCT or by itself. There are 17 units proposed that would create or contribute to 14 different openings larger than 40 acres. This action requires a 60 day public review and Regional Forester approval (FSM 2471.1). This document serves as the beginning of the 60 day comment period. The largest of these treatment units would be approximately 231 acres in size. Treatments are proposed within old growth stands in the drier habitat types in Douglas-fir/ponderosa pine dominated stands to contribute to their stand resistance and resiliency (FW– GDL–VEG–01). Approximately 136 acres of harvest treatments are proposed within old growth and 113 acres of treatment within recruitment potential old growth. There would be 3,351 acres of fuels treatments proposed within oldgrowth stands or portions of those stands. (2) In an effort to return fire to the landscape and to promote wildlife foraging opportunities approximately 9,950 acres of prescribed burning is being proposed. Approximately 3,458 acres in the WUI are proposed for burning. Approximately 5,870 acres of this burning will occur in the Inventoried Roadless Areas of which 3,248 acres is in Idaho and 2,622 acres is in Montana. (3) Implementation of best management practice (BMP) work and road maintenance work would be implemented on Forest Service timber haul roads. Approximately 54 miles of National Forest System road (NFSR) would be improved to meet State BMPs for water quality. (4) Approximately 12.6 miles of active road storage, 4.95 miles of active decommissioning, and 5.1 miles of passive decommissioning would be done on roads not currently open for public motorized travel. Roads identified in the Travel Analysis as needed for long-term management of NFS lands would be put into intermittent stored service (storage). Roads identified as not needed for future management would be decommissioned. Both storage and E:\FR\FM\07NON1.SGM 07NON1 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES 78108 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 215 / Monday, November 7, 2016 / Notices decommissioning could have a range of treatments including simple barrier installation (passive treatment) where watershed impacts are not likely, to active treatments ranging from removing culverts to full recontouring where risks to watersheds are high. Non-motorized access would be facilitated with improved tread on road segments identified by the public as important for use. In addition, there are three sites with proposed watershed actions on existing roads including: Callahan sediment trap improvement on NFSR 414, Raymond Creek bridge removal, and Goat Creek road culvert upgrade. (5) The district is proposing fuel mitigation and roadside thinning to facilitate fuels reduction, safe ingress and egress for the public in case of a wildland fire and road maintenance within the project area. Approximately 779 acres of thinning and 78 acres of road maintenance are proposed along only the Forest Service roads open to yearlong motorized use. (6) Proposed Starry Goat activities would impact approximately 1,372 acres of existing grizzly bear core, nearly all of which is associated with harvest access and haul on currently barriered roads. A minor access management change at the top of Smith Mountain also contributes to this total. Gated roads that could be barriered to provide the necessary in-kind replacement of core have been identified. These roads currently do not allow for public motorized use during the bear year. Once these road are barriered and placed into core, no motorized use could occur on these roads during the bear year including administrative use. (7) Proposed Recreation Improvements include the Threemile Mountain Bike Flow Trail and the McConnell Snowshoe Trail. The bike trail system consists of both a descent oriented ‘‘Flow Trail’’ and a ‘‘CrossCountry Bike’’ style loop. The ‘‘Flow trail’’ would consist of approximately 7 miles of new construction. The ‘‘CrossCountry Bike loop’’ would consist of approximately 6 miles of new trail construction and would be pursued as time and funding permits. The McConnell Snowshoe Trail includes approximately 4 miles of new construction. (8) The Star Creek Quarry, North Fork 7 Mile Quarry, Three Mile Quarry and Airport Garvel Pit are proposed for free use rock picking where the public would be able to get a personal use permit (∼2 tons per permit). The District proposes to increase the Airport Pit by approximately 3 acres and the North Fork 7 Mile Quarry by approximately 1 acre over the life of the pits. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:02 Nov 04, 2016 Jkt 241001 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 U.S. 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. I have delegated the responsibility for preparing the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and final environmental impact statement (FEIS) to the District Ranger, Three Rivers Ranger District. 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 decisions: (1) Whether to implement timber harvest and associated fuel reduction treatments, prescribed burning, watershed work, and recreation improvements, including the design features and potential mitigation measures to protect resources; and if so, how much, and at what specific locations. (2) 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. Preliminary project monitoring needs identified include effectiveness of BMP work. A project-specific monitorng plan will be developed. Preliminary Issues Initial analysis by the interdisciplinary team has brought forward an issue that may affect the design of the project. (1) There are 17 harvest units that would contribute to 14 openings larger than 40 acres. This action requires a 60 day public review and Regional Forester approval (FSM 2471.1). This document serves as the beginning of the 60 day public review period. PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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. There are several collaborative groups in the area that the interdisciplinary team will interact with during the analysis. 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. A more detailed scoping letter is available on request as well as on the Kootenai National Forest projects page located here: http:// www.fs.usda.gov/projects/kootenai/ landmanagement/projects. 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. Dated: October 31, 2016. Christopher S. Savage, Forest Supervisor. [FR Doc. 2016–26821 Filed 11–4–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Notice Corrected Date of Public Meeting of the Indiana Advisory Committee; Correction Commission on Civil Rights. Notice; correction. AGENCY: ACTION: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights published a document in the Federal Register of October 3, 2016, concerning the announcement of a meeting on November 15, 2016. The document contained incorrect dates. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melissa Wojnaroski, 312–353–8311. SUMMARY: Correction In the Federal Register of October 3, 2016, in FR Doc. 2016–23729, correct the SUMMARY and DATES captions to read: SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules E:\FR\FM\07NON1.SGM 07NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 215 (Monday, November 7, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 78107-78108]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-26821]


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

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

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


Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 215 / Monday, November 7, 2016 / 
Notices

[[Page 78107]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Kootenai National Forest: Lincoln County; Montana; Starry Goat 
Project EIS

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, prescribed burning, 
watershed and recreation improvement activities. Access management 
changes and other design features are included to protect resources and 
facilitate management activities. The project is located in the 
Callahan planning subunit on the Three Rivers Ranger District, Kootenai 
National Forest, Lincoln County, Montana, near Troy, Montana.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by December 7, 2016. The draft environmental impact statement is 
expected in June 2017 and the final environmental impact statement is 
expected in December 2017.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Kirsten Kaiser, District Ranger, 
Three Rivers Ranger District, 12858 U.S. Highway 2, Troy, MT 59935. 
Comments may be submitted online at https://cara.ecosystemmanagement.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=49837, or by 
email to: comments-northern-kootenai-three-rivers@fs.fed.us, or via 
facsimile to 406-295-7410.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Miles Friend, Project Team Leader, 
Three Rivers Ranger District, 12858 U.S. Highway 2, Troy, MT 59935. 
Phone: (406) 295-4693. 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: The Starry Goat project area is immediately 
west of Troy, Montana, and runs from the Kootenai River west to the 
boundary between the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests. The 
project area encompasses approximately 90,776 acres (48,471 acres in 
Montana; 42,305 acres in Idaho, all administered by the Kootenai 
National Forest). Callahan Creek, Brush Creek, Ruby Creek, and Star 
Creek are the major drainages in the project area; all flowing into the 
Kootenai River at the project area boundary. The legal description 
includes Townships 30,31, and 32 North, Ranges 33 and 34 West, Lincoln 
County, Montana; and Townships 58, 59, 60, and 61 North, Ranges 2 and 3 
East, Bonner and Boundary County, Idaho.

Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose and need for this project is to: (1) Promote resilient 
vegetation conditions by managing towards the 2015 Forest Plan desired 
conditions for landscape-level vegetation patterns, structure, patch 
size, fuel loading, and species composition; (2) maintain or improve 
hydrologic connectivity, water quality and native aquatic species 
habitat; (3) improve big game winter range conditions and promote 
forage opportunities while maintaining secure habitat for wildlife; (4) 
provide a variety of wood products to the American public, and 
contribute to the local economy by generating jobs and income; (5) 
maintain and improve the recreation opportunities in the project area; 
(6) reduce the potential for high intensity wildfire while promoting 
desirable fire behavior characteristics and fuel conditions.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action includes timber harvest and associated fuels 
treatments, prescribed burning, recreation improvements and watershed 
work to address the purpose and need. The proposed action includes:
    (1) Approximately 1,550 acres of regeneration harvest and 553 acres 
of intermediate harvest. These treatments would be accomplished through 
1,846 acres of tractor harvest and 257 acres of skyline harvest. Pre-
commercial thinning (PCT) is proposed on 395 acres within the project 
area. Approximately 132 acres of the proposed PCT would occur within 
the Callahan Lynx Analysis Unit (LAU) and treatment would be consistent 
with Forest Plan standard FW-STD-WL-01. Pruning may occur along with 
PCT or by itself. There are 17 units proposed that would create or 
contribute to 14 different openings larger than 40 acres. This action 
requires a 60 day public review and Regional Forester approval (FSM 
2471.1). This document serves as the beginning of the 60 day comment 
period. The largest of these treatment units would be approximately 231 
acres in size. Treatments are proposed within old growth stands in the 
drier habitat types in Douglas-fir/ponderosa pine dominated stands to 
contribute to their stand resistance and resiliency (FW-GDL-VEG-01). 
Approximately 136 acres of harvest treatments are proposed within old 
growth and 113 acres of treatment within recruitment potential old 
growth. There would be 3,351 acres of fuels treatments proposed within 
old-growth stands or portions of those stands.
    (2) In an effort to return fire to the landscape and to promote 
wildlife foraging opportunities approximately 9,950 acres of prescribed 
burning is being proposed. Approximately 3,458 acres in the WUI are 
proposed for burning. Approximately 5,870 acres of this burning will 
occur in the Inventoried Roadless Areas of which 3,248 acres is in 
Idaho and 2,622 acres is in Montana.
    (3) Implementation of best management practice (BMP) work and road 
maintenance work would be implemented on Forest Service timber haul 
roads. Approximately 54 miles of National Forest System road (NFSR) 
would be improved to meet State BMPs for water quality.
    (4) Approximately 12.6 miles of active road storage, 4.95 miles of 
active decommissioning, and 5.1 miles of passive decommissioning would 
be done on roads not currently open for public motorized travel. Roads 
identified in the Travel Analysis as needed for long-term management of 
NFS lands would be put into intermittent stored service (storage). 
Roads identified as not needed for future management would be 
decommissioned. Both storage and

[[Page 78108]]

decommissioning could have a range of treatments including simple 
barrier installation (passive treatment) where watershed impacts are 
not likely, to active treatments ranging from removing culverts to full 
recontouring where risks to watersheds are high. Non-motorized access 
would be facilitated with improved tread on road segments identified by 
the public as important for use. In addition, there are three sites 
with proposed watershed actions on existing roads including: Callahan 
sediment trap improvement on NFSR 414, Raymond Creek bridge removal, 
and Goat Creek road culvert upgrade.
    (5) The district is proposing fuel mitigation and roadside thinning 
to facilitate fuels reduction, safe ingress and egress for the public 
in case of a wildland fire and road maintenance within the project 
area. Approximately 779 acres of thinning and 78 acres of road 
maintenance are proposed along only the Forest Service roads open to 
yearlong motorized use.
    (6) Proposed Starry Goat activities would impact approximately 
1,372 acres of existing grizzly bear core, nearly all of which is 
associated with harvest access and haul on currently barriered roads. A 
minor access management change at the top of Smith Mountain also 
contributes to this total. Gated roads that could be barriered to 
provide the necessary in-kind replacement of core have been identified. 
These roads currently do not allow for public motorized use during the 
bear year. Once these road are barriered and placed into core, no 
motorized use could occur on these roads during the bear year including 
administrative use.
    (7) Proposed Recreation Improvements include the Threemile Mountain 
Bike Flow Trail and the McConnell Snowshoe Trail. The bike trail system 
consists of both a descent oriented ``Flow Trail'' and a ``Cross-
Country Bike'' style loop. The ``Flow trail'' would consist of 
approximately 7 miles of new construction. The ``Cross-Country Bike 
loop'' would consist of approximately 6 miles of new trail construction 
and would be pursued as time and funding permits. The McConnell 
Snowshoe Trail includes approximately 4 miles of new construction.
    (8) The Star Creek Quarry, North Fork 7 Mile Quarry, Three Mile 
Quarry and Airport Garvel Pit are proposed for free use rock picking 
where the public would be able to get a personal use permit (~2 tons 
per permit). The District proposes to increase the Airport Pit by 
approximately 3 acres and the North Fork 7 Mile Quarry by approximately 
1 acre over the life of the pits.

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 U.S. 
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. I have delegated the responsibility 
for preparing the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and final 
environmental impact statement (FEIS) to the District Ranger, Three 
Rivers Ranger District.

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 decisions:
    (1) Whether to implement timber harvest and associated fuel 
reduction treatments, prescribed burning, watershed work, and 
recreation improvements, including the design features and potential 
mitigation measures to protect resources; and if so, how much, and at 
what specific locations.
    (2) 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. Preliminary project monitoring needs identified include 
effectiveness of BMP work. A project-specific monitorng plan will be 
developed.

Preliminary Issues

    Initial analysis by the interdisciplinary team has brought forward 
an issue that may affect the design of the project.
    (1) There are 17 harvest units that would contribute to 14 openings 
larger than 40 acres. This action requires a 60 day public review and 
Regional Forester approval (FSM 2471.1). This document serves as the 
beginning of the 60 day public review period.

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. There are several collaborative 
groups in the area that the interdisciplinary team will interact with 
during the analysis.
    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. A more detailed 
scoping letter is available on request as well as on the Kootenai 
National Forest projects page located here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/kootenai/landmanagement/projects.
    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.

    Dated: October 31, 2016.
Christopher S. Savage,
Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 2016-26821 Filed 11-4-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3411-15-P