Coconino and Tonto National Forests; Arizona; Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive River Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, 85923-85924 [2016-28683]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 229 / Tuesday, November 29, 2016 / Notices States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA. How To File a Complaint of Discrimination To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http:// www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/ docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_ 12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative. Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email: Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250–9410, Fax: (202) 690–7442, Email: program.intake@ usda.gov. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TDD). Done at Washington, DC, on: November 22, 2016. Alfred V. Almanza, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2016–28611 Filed 11–28–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–DM–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Coconino and Tonto National Forests; Arizona; Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive River Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement Forest Service, USDA. Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: The Coconino and Tonto national forests are preparing a Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) for the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River, designated by Congress in 2009. Fossil Creek is located within the administrative boundaries of the Coconino and Tonto National Forests. Fossil Creek is the only intact perennial system with continuous flow without any water diversions in Arizona and is the only uninterrupted river system between the Verde River and the Mogollon Rim, spanning and connecting a number of biotic communities from upper Sonoran desert scrub through ponderosa pine forests. In response to the approximately 17-mile river Wild and Scenic River corridor designation, the Forest Service must establish a CRMP, in accordance with the Wild and asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:48 Nov 28, 2016 Jkt 241001 Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA), to provide detailed direction, implementation actions, and monitoring to protect or enhance outstandingly remarkable values (ORVs) of the Wild and Scenic River. Since full flows returned to Fossil Creek with the decommissioning of a historic hydropower dam in 2005, public use has dramatically increased. Impacts from recreational use have threatened the river’s water quality, free-flowing condition and its ORVs, potentially compromising their benefit and enjoyment by present and future generations. Planning for Fossil Creek has been ongoing for several years, and the environmental analysis for the Fossil Creek CRMP is being elevated from an environmental assessment (EA) to a more detailed environmental impact statement (EIS) in order to more fully analyze potential effects. The Forest Service has developed a proposed action and alternatives for future management of Fossil Creek through the CRMP. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by January 13, 2017. The draft environmental impact statement is expected in summer 2017, and the final environmental impact statement is expected in spring 2018. ADDRESSES: Send written comments via email to comments-southwesterncoconino-redrock@fs.fed.us (include ‘‘Fossil Creek CRMP’’ in the subject line); via mail to Coconino National Forest, Attention: Fossil Creek CRMP, P.O. Box 20429, Sedona, AZ 86341; via facsimile to (928) 203–7539; or in person at the Red Rock Ranger District Office, 8375 State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86351. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Marcos Roybal, Fossil Creek Project Coordinator, by email at maroybal@fs.fed.us or by phone at (928) 203–2915. For information about the project, including proposed alternatives and other project documents, visit http://tinyurl.com/FossilCreekCRMP. Hard copy documents may be requested from the phone number above. 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 The purpose of the project is to prepare a CRMP for the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River to meet the requirements of Section 3(d)(1) of the WSRA. The CRMP is needed to provide PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 85923 for the protection or enhancement of Fossil Creek’s water quality, freeflowing condition, and its ORVs, and to fulfill WSRA Section 3(b) requirements to establish river corridor boundaries and recreation and wild segment classifications. Since the decommissioning of a historic hydropower dam in 2005, public use dramatically increased as visitors sought to explore the heavily publicized Arizona landscape. Recreational use during the high-use season (June-September), for example, increased from an estimated 20,000 visitors in 2006 to approximately 80,000 visitors by 2013, with thousands turned away daily at the entrance barricades due to overcrowding. River values that need protection from impacts of recreational use include water quality, recreation, geology, Western Apache traditional and contemporary cultural values, and biological values (especially the high diversity of fish and wildlife species). Impacts have resulted from uncontrolled dispersed camping, creation of unapproved camp sites, creation of unplanned trail systems, excessive littering, and human waste near the creek. Monitoring since 2011 indicates there are increasing impacts to upland vegetation that is habitat for wildlife species; damage to heritage sites; and unsafe conditions for visitors, Forest Service personnel and emergency responders. In April 2016, an interim management reservation system was successfully implemented to reduce the daily capacity of visitors during the high-use season; this interim management reservation system will remain in place until the CRMP’s completion. Proposed Action The Coconino and Tonto National Forests propose to establish a CRMP to guide management of the designated 17mile Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River corridor and to protect or enhance the area’s outstandingly remarkable values. Within a range of alternatives, the proposed action is designated to include the most flexibility to increase capacity and recreation infrastructure— maximizing recreation opportunities in the future—while providing protection for sensitive river and tribal values at the same time through both a management plan and site-specific actions. Project actions would address recreation capacity, corridor access, recreation facilities, services, and public health and safety. During all or part of the year, a reservation system would manage visitor use by limiting the number of people at one time (PAOT) in the river E:\FR\FM\29NON1.SGM 29NON1 85924 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 229 / Tuesday, November 29, 2016 / Notices corridor. The initial PAOT in the river corridor would be set at the current 2016 reservation management level— approximately 154 vehicles and 780 PAOT, including administrative use. Over time, if appropriate, adaptive management would increase capacity to a permitted maximum of approximately 338 vehicles and 1,705 PAOT if infrastructure is built, management capacity allows, and visitor behavior promotes sustainable river value protection. The proposed action also includes the following potential elements: • Existing recreation sites would be expanded, particularly at the Irving site. • Additional trails would be developed to link recreation sites and provide a greater variety of opportunities for a different hiking levels. • A portion of Forest Road 708 would become a motorized trail. • A limited amount of camping would be allowed at designated sites. • Opportunities for outfitters/guides and concessionaries would be provided. • Limited or no waterplay would exist at some creek locations due to cultural or natural resource issues. • Some system routes would be closed or decommissioned, and other restoration actions would occur. The existing Coconino and Tonto Forest Plans would be programmatically amended under the 2012 Planning Rule to incorporate management direction for the Fossil Creek WSR corridor. The proposed amendments would add, replace, delete or revise (as needed) direction for the management of the Wild and Scenic River corridor. asabaliauskas on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Possible Alternatives A range of alternatives to the proposed action, including a no action alternative and three additional action alternatives, are being considered. The no action alternative (Alternative A) represents no change (a CRMP would not be established) and serves as the baseline for comparison of the effects of the action alternatives. The four action alternatives, which are based on extensive public engagement that has occurred since 2010, include: Alternative B (Enhanced Protections), Alternative C (Non-motorized Experience), Alternative D (Motorized Use and Refugia), and Alternative E (Long-term Adaptive Management— Proposed Action). More detailed descriptions of the proposed action and alternatives can be found online at http://tinyurl.com/FossilCreekCRMP or be requested through the contact information provided above. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:48 Nov 28, 2016 Jkt 241001 Lead and Cooperating Agencies Arizona Game and Fish Department has cooperating agency status in order to assist the Coconino and the Tonto National Forests in the preparation of the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River CRMP and EIS. Responsible Official Laura Jo West, the Forest Supervisor on the Coconino National Forest, is the responsible official. Nature of Decision To Be Made Given the purpose and need of the project, the Coconino Forest Supervisor will review the proposed action, other alternatives, and the effects analysis in the EIS in order to determine: (1) Which alternative, or combination of alternatives, should be implemented; (2) what actions will be taken to protect and enhance the river’s water quality, free-flowing condition and its ORVs, as required by WSRA; (3) the location and extent of infrastructure development, restoration activities, and changes in permitted visitor capacity; (4) the design features, mitigation measures and monitoring requirements; and, (5) consistency with the forest plans in place at the time of the decision and the need for amendments. Preliminary Issues Since 2010, public involvement regarding management of the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River has informed key issues and the alternatives that have been developed. Three key issues have arisen: (1) Recreation opportunities and recreational impacts on natural and cultural resources; (2) the level of recreation development; and (3) public health and safety. These issues form the basis for the alternatives presented in this Notice. Scoping Process This Notice of Intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. Several scoping meetings will be held, and interested parties should check the Fossil Creek CRMP Web page at http://tinyurl.com/ FossilCreekCRMP for dates and locations. This project is subject to the objection process pursuant to 36 CFR 218 and is not being authorized under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA). As such, those who provide specific written comments during designated comment periods in accordance with 36 CFR 218.5 will be eligible to participate in the objection process. Issues raised in objections must be based on previously submitted timely, specific written PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 comments regarding the proposed project unless new information arises after designated opportunities (36 CFR 218.7). Several previous scoping periods have occurred since 2010, and provide standing to object under 36 CFR 218 to those who commented during designated comment periods. It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times and in such manner that they are useful to the agency’s preparation of the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer’s concerns and contentions. Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered, but will not be eligible for objection per 36 CFR 218.5. Dated: November 22, 2016. Laura Jo West, Coconino National Forest Supervisor. [FR Doc. 2016–28683 Filed 11–28–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Business-Cooperative Service Notice of Solicitation of Applications for the Rural Energy for America Program for Federal Fiscal Year 2017; Correction Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice; correction. AGENCY: The Rural BusinessCooperative Service (the Agency) published a notice in the Federal Register of October 18, 2016, announcing the acceptance of applications for funds available under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. The 2014 Farm Bill provides funding for the program for FY 2017. This notice provides corrections to: Section III. Eligibility Information, subsection D. Cost Sharing or Matching, paragraph (2) to indicate that applicants that have been previously been awarded energy audit or renewable energy development assistance grants and have not expended 50 percent of those funds are considered a ‘‘risk’’ pursuant to 2 CFR 200.205; Section V. Application Review Information, subsection (B) Review and Selection Process, paragraphs (1)(a) through (d), and paragraph (3) SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\29NON1.SGM 29NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 229 (Tuesday, November 29, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 85923-85924]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-28683]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Coconino and Tonto National Forests; Arizona; Fossil Creek Wild 
and Scenic River Comprehensive River Management Plan and Environmental 
Impact Statement

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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

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

SUMMARY: The Coconino and Tonto national forests are preparing a 
Comprehensive River Management Plan (CRMP) for the Fossil Creek Wild 
and Scenic River, designated by Congress in 2009. Fossil Creek is 
located within the administrative boundaries of the Coconino and Tonto 
National Forests. Fossil Creek is the only intact perennial system with 
continuous flow without any water diversions in Arizona and is the only 
uninterrupted river system between the Verde River and the Mogollon 
Rim, spanning and connecting a number of biotic communities from upper 
Sonoran desert scrub through ponderosa pine forests. In response to the 
approximately 17-mile river Wild and Scenic River corridor designation, 
the Forest Service must establish a CRMP, in accordance with the Wild 
and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA), to provide detailed direction, 
implementation actions, and monitoring to protect or enhance 
outstandingly remarkable values (ORVs) of the Wild and Scenic River. 
Since full flows returned to Fossil Creek with the decommissioning of a 
historic hydropower dam in 2005, public use has dramatically increased. 
Impacts from recreational use have threatened the river's water 
quality, free-flowing condition and its ORVs, potentially compromising 
their benefit and enjoyment by present and future generations. Planning 
for Fossil Creek has been ongoing for several years, and the 
environmental analysis for the Fossil Creek CRMP is being elevated from 
an environmental assessment (EA) to a more detailed environmental 
impact statement (EIS) in order to more fully analyze potential 
effects. The Forest Service has developed a proposed action and 
alternatives for future management of Fossil Creek through the CRMP.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by January 13, 2017. The draft environmental impact statement is 
expected in summer 2017, and the final environmental impact statement 
is expected in spring 2018.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments via email to comments-southwestern-coconino-redrock@fs.fed.us (include ``Fossil Creek CRMP'' in the 
subject line); via mail to Coconino National Forest, Attention: Fossil 
Creek CRMP, P.O. Box 20429, Sedona, AZ 86341; via facsimile to (928) 
203-7539; or in person at the Red Rock Ranger District Office, 8375 
State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86351.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Contact Marcos Roybal, Fossil Creek 
Project Coordinator, by email at maroybal@fs.fed.us or by phone at 
(928) 203-2915. For information about the project, including proposed 
alternatives and other project documents, visit http://tinyurl.com/FossilCreekCRMP. Hard copy documents may be requested from the phone 
number above.
    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

    The purpose of the project is to prepare a CRMP for the Fossil 
Creek Wild and Scenic River to meet the requirements of Section 3(d)(1) 
of the WSRA. The CRMP is needed to provide for the protection or 
enhancement of Fossil Creek's water quality, free-flowing condition, 
and its ORVs, and to fulfill WSRA Section 3(b) requirements to 
establish river corridor boundaries and recreation and wild segment 
classifications.
    Since the decommissioning of a historic hydropower dam in 2005, 
public use dramatically increased as visitors sought to explore the 
heavily publicized Arizona landscape. Recreational use during the high-
use season (June-September), for example, increased from an estimated 
20,000 visitors in 2006 to approximately 80,000 visitors by 2013, with 
thousands turned away daily at the entrance barricades due to 
overcrowding. River values that need protection from impacts of 
recreational use include water quality, recreation, geology, Western 
Apache traditional and contemporary cultural values, and biological 
values (especially the high diversity of fish and wildlife species). 
Impacts have resulted from uncontrolled dispersed camping, creation of 
unapproved camp sites, creation of unplanned trail systems, excessive 
littering, and human waste near the creek. Monitoring since 2011 
indicates there are increasing impacts to upland vegetation that is 
habitat for wildlife species; damage to heritage sites; and unsafe 
conditions for visitors, Forest Service personnel and emergency 
responders. In April 2016, an interim management reservation system was 
successfully implemented to reduce the daily capacity of visitors 
during the high-use season; this interim management reservation system 
will remain in place until the CRMP's completion.

Proposed Action

    The Coconino and Tonto National Forests propose to establish a CRMP 
to guide management of the designated 17-mile Fossil Creek Wild and 
Scenic River corridor and to protect or enhance the area's 
outstandingly remarkable values. Within a range of alternatives, the 
proposed action is designated to include the most flexibility to 
increase capacity and recreation infrastructure--maximizing recreation 
opportunities in the future--while providing protection for sensitive 
river and tribal values at the same time through both a management plan 
and site-specific actions. Project actions would address recreation 
capacity, corridor access, recreation facilities, services, and public 
health and safety.
    During all or part of the year, a reservation system would manage 
visitor use by limiting the number of people at one time (PAOT) in the 
river

[[Page 85924]]

corridor. The initial PAOT in the river corridor would be set at the 
current 2016 reservation management level--approximately 154 vehicles 
and 780 PAOT, including administrative use. Over time, if appropriate, 
adaptive management would increase capacity to a permitted maximum of 
approximately 338 vehicles and 1,705 PAOT if infrastructure is built, 
management capacity allows, and visitor behavior promotes sustainable 
river value protection. The proposed action also includes the following 
potential elements:
     Existing recreation sites would be expanded, particularly 
at the Irving site.
     Additional trails would be developed to link recreation 
sites and provide a greater variety of opportunities for a different 
hiking levels.
     A portion of Forest Road 708 would become a motorized 
trail.
     A limited amount of camping would be allowed at designated 
sites.
     Opportunities for outfitters/guides and concessionaries 
would be provided.
     Limited or no waterplay would exist at some creek 
locations due to cultural or natural resource issues.
     Some system routes would be closed or decommissioned, and 
other restoration actions would occur.
    The existing Coconino and Tonto Forest Plans would be 
programmatically amended under the 2012 Planning Rule to incorporate 
management direction for the Fossil Creek WSR corridor. The proposed 
amendments would add, replace, delete or revise (as needed) direction 
for the management of the Wild and Scenic River corridor.

Possible Alternatives

    A range of alternatives to the proposed action, including a no 
action alternative and three additional action alternatives, are being 
considered. The no action alternative (Alternative A) represents no 
change (a CRMP would not be established) and serves as the baseline for 
comparison of the effects of the action alternatives. The four action 
alternatives, which are based on extensive public engagement that has 
occurred since 2010, include: Alternative B (Enhanced Protections), 
Alternative C (Non-motorized Experience), Alternative D (Motorized Use 
and Refugia), and Alternative E (Long-term Adaptive Management--
Proposed Action). More detailed descriptions of the proposed action and 
alternatives can be found online at http://tinyurl.com/FossilCreekCRMP 
or be requested through the contact information provided above.

Lead and Cooperating Agencies

    Arizona Game and Fish Department has cooperating agency status in 
order to assist the Coconino and the Tonto National Forests in the 
preparation of the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River CRMP and EIS.

Responsible Official

    Laura Jo West, the Forest Supervisor on the Coconino National 
Forest, is the responsible official.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    Given the purpose and need of the project, the Coconino Forest 
Supervisor will review the proposed action, other alternatives, and the 
effects analysis in the EIS in order to determine: (1) Which 
alternative, or combination of alternatives, should be implemented; (2) 
what actions will be taken to protect and enhance the river's water 
quality, free-flowing condition and its ORVs, as required by WSRA; (3) 
the location and extent of infrastructure development, restoration 
activities, and changes in permitted visitor capacity; (4) the design 
features, mitigation measures and monitoring requirements; and, (5) 
consistency with the forest plans in place at the time of the decision 
and the need for amendments.

Preliminary Issues

    Since 2010, public involvement regarding management of the Fossil 
Creek Wild and Scenic River has informed key issues and the 
alternatives that have been developed. Three key issues have arisen: 
(1) Recreation opportunities and recreational impacts on natural and 
cultural resources; (2) the level of recreation development; and (3) 
public health and safety. These issues form the basis for the 
alternatives presented in this Notice.

Scoping Process

    This Notice of Intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. Several scoping 
meetings will be held, and interested parties should check the Fossil 
Creek CRMP Web page at http://tinyurl.com/FossilCreekCRMP for dates and 
locations.
    This project is subject to the objection process pursuant to 36 CFR 
218 and is not being authorized under the Healthy Forest Restoration 
Act (HFRA). As such, those who provide specific written comments during 
designated comment periods in accordance with 36 CFR 218.5 will be 
eligible to participate in the objection process. Issues raised in 
objections must be based on previously submitted timely, specific 
written comments regarding the proposed project unless new information 
arises after designated opportunities (36 CFR 218.7). Several previous 
scoping periods have occurred since 2010, and provide standing to 
object under 36 CFR 218 to those who commented during designated 
comment periods.
    It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times 
and in such manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of 
the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be 
provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly 
articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.
    Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names 
and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record 
for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be 
accepted and considered, but will not be eligible for objection per 36 
CFR 218.5.

    Dated: November 22, 2016.
Laura Jo West,
Coconino National Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 2016-28683 Filed 11-28-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3411-15-P