Bitterroot National Forest, Stevensville Ranger District, Montana; Gold Butterfly Project, 26773-26774 [2017-11979]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 110 / Friday, June 9, 2017 / Notices would also provide the commenter with eligibility to object. Responsible Official Forest Supervisor, Superior National Forest. Nature of Decision To Be Made An Environmental Impact Statement for the Hi Lo Project will evaluate sitespecific issues, consider management alternatives, and analyze potential effects of the proposed action and alternatives. This analysis will include the project specific Forest Plan Amendment needed to conduct prescribed burning in the Wilderness. The scope of the project is limited to decisions concerning activities within the Hi Lo Project Area that meet the purpose and need. An Environmental Impact Statement will provide the responsible official with the information needed to decide which actions, if any, to approve. Preliminary Issues Issues identified during the original scoping period (August 2016) included prescribed burning in the Wilderness, harvesting within Forest Plan IRAs, blowdown, site-specific vegetation management, and associated temporary road construction. Permits or Licenses Required Easement or permission to cross nonfederal property may be needed to access some treatment units to implement Forest Service activities. mstockstill on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES Scoping Process This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the Environmental Impact Statement. This will be the initial scoping to include a project-level Forest Plan Amendment in the EIS. The previously scoped proposed action (August 2016) guided us to initiate an EIS and Forest Plan Amendment. 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; however, anonymous comments will not provide the Agency VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jun 08, 2017 Jkt 241001 with the ability to provide the respondent with subsequent environmental documents. Dated: May 26, 2017. Glenn P. Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2017–11980 Filed 6–8–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Bitterroot National Forest, Stevensville Ranger District, Montana; Gold Butterfly Project Forest Service, USDA. Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: The USDA Forest Service, Bitterroot National Forest will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Gold Butterfly project under the authorities in the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA) as amended by the Agricultural Act of 2014. The Gold Butterfly EIS will analyze and disclose the effects of treatments proposed on about 10,495 acres of national forest land in the Sapphire Mountains between the confluence of Gold Creek and Burnt Fork of the Bitterroot River to the north and Saint Clair Creek to the south. The Gold Butterfly project area is bounded on the west by the National Forest boundary with private land and on the east by the Stoney Mountain Inventoried Roadless Area (IRA). The Gold Butterfly project area is located about 10 miles southeast of Stevensville and seven miles east of Corvallis, Montana, in Ravalli County. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by July 10, 2017. The draft environmental impact statement is expected March 2018 and the final environmental impact statement is expected July 2018. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Tami Sabol, Stevensville District Ranger, 88 Main St., Stevensville, MT 59870. Comments may also be sent via email to comments-northern-bitterrootstevensville@fs.fed.us or via facsimile to 406–777–7423. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sara Grove, South Zone Interdisciplinary Team Leader, phone number 406–375– 2608 or email: sgrove@fs.fed.us or Marilyn Wildey, Hydrology Technician, phone number 406–363–7101 or email: mwildey@fs.fed.us. Their mailing address is: 1801 North 1st Street, Hamilton, MT 59840–3114. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 26773 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 Stevensville District Ranger proposes forest management on approximately 10,495 acres in the Gold Butterfly project area. The project is in the Sapphire Mountains on the Bitterroot National Forest (T.6N.R.18W. sec. 1–12, 16–20, 29, 30; T.6N.R.19W. sec. 1, 2, 10–15, 22–27; T.7N.R18W. sec. 2– 36,T.7; N.R.19W. sec. 1, 2, 11–14, 22– 27, 34–36; T.8N.R.18W. sec. 20, 21, 28– 34) about seven miles east of Corvallis, Montana in Ravalli County. Purpose and Need for Action Most of the project area considered for treatment is designated as part of the insect and disease treatment program (HFRA Title VI sec. 602). Forests in the project area are at moderate to high hazard for insects and diseases, such as western spruce budworm, Douglas-fir bark beetle, mountain pine beetle, and dwarf mistletoe. Current forest conditions provide opportunities to regenerate forest stands, modify forest structures to reduce insect and disease hazard, and research management strategies that perpetuate whitebark pine. In addition to improving forest resilience to disturbances, these treatments would provide a sustainable supply of timber and provide related employment opportunities. Terrain and road development in parts of the project area have created areas that contribute sediment to adjacent streams. These road sections typically end at a trailhead. Moving the trailhead to locations further from the streams and converting the roads to walking trails would reduce sediment in the streams and improve bull trout habitat. The purpose and need for the Gold Butterfly project is to: (1) Improve landscape resilience to disturbances (such as insects, diseases, and fire) by modifying forest structure and composition, and fuels; (2) provide timber products and related jobs; (3) reduce erosion sources in Willow Creek and Burnt Fork of the Bitterroot River watersheds to improve water quality and bull trout habitat; (4) restore or improve key habitat areas such as, meadows, aspen, and whitebark pine. Proposed Action Commercial timber harvest is proposed on about 7,711 acres, and noncommercial thinning on about 2,784 acres. In addition, most treatment units E:\FR\FM\09JNN1.SGM 09JNN1 mstockstill on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES 26774 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 110 / Friday, June 9, 2017 / Notices would be followed by some form of prescribed fire (pile burning, underburn). Approximately seven miles of permanent, national forest system road (NFSR) and 27 miles of temporary road will be needed to support timber haul from the project area. The new system roads would be closed and the temporary roads would be rehabilitated after harvest. The Stoney Mountain IRA is adjacent to the project area. No road construction is proposed in the IRA, however, prescribed burning and some timber harvest may occur. A plan amendment to the Bitterroot National Forest Plan may be required to provide a project-specific variance for four standards. The 2012 Planning Rule (36 CFR 219) requires notice of which substantive requirements of §§ 219.8 through 219.11 are likely to be related to the amendment. Suspension of the coarse woody debris amendment is likely related to the requirements for soils and soil productivity at § 219.8(a)(2)(ii). Suspension of the old growth standard is likely related to the requirement to maintain or restore key ecosystem characteristics a § 219.9(a)(2)(i). Suspension of the winter range thermal cover and elk habitat effectiveness standards are likely related to the consideration of habitat conditions for wildlife commonly used and enjoyed by the public at § 219.10(a)(5). The Forest Service proposes the following actions in the Gold Butterfly project area: (1) Harvest, thin, and prescribe burn units with Douglas-fir beetle, mountain pine beetle, western spruce budworm, or dwarf mistletoe, (2) harvest, thin, and prescribe burn natural meadows that are being colonized by trees, (3) harvest or thin conifers from declining aspen clones, (4) harvest, thin, or prescribe burn areas to improve conditions for whitebark pine, (5) close Burnt Fork Rd. at the Gold Creek campground and move the Gold Creek trailhead to the Gold Creek campground, (6) close NFSR 969A at the junction with NFSR 969 (Willow Creek Rd.), move the trailhead to the junction, and develop trailhead facilities, (7) construct specified and temporary roads to support timber removal from the forest, (8) upgrade road conditions on NFSR 364 and 969 with the application of best management practices, (9) build a crossing (temporary/permanent) where NFSR 13131 crosses North Fork of Willow Creek, (10) decommission NFSR 13111 from the junction with NFSR 364 where the road encroaches on Butterfly Creek and construct an alternative route away from the stream, and (11) decommission or store upland roads in VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jun 08, 2017 Jkt 241001 the Willow Creek watershed as decided in the Travel Plan, especially those roads that encroach on streams. Responsible Official Julie K. King, Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor, 1801 N. First, Hamilton, Montana 59840–3114 is the Forest Service official who will make the decision on the Gold Butterfly project. Nature of Decision To Be Made The Responsible Official will select the proposed action, an alternative to the proposed action (including the no action alternative), or modify the proposed action or alternatives to the proposed action. The decision may include an amendment to the Bitterroot National Forest Plan to provide a project-specific variance to four standards for coarse woody debris, winter range thermal cover, elk habitat effectiveness, and old growth. Preliminary Issues The number of crossings over streams and road segments directly adjacent to streams are preliminary issues the Forest Service identified in the project area. Timber haul on roads in these situations have the potential to increase the sediment load in the adjacent streams that may negatively affect sediment levels and bull trout habitat. Scoping Process This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. Other opportunities for public comment will occur through the scoping process at public meetings and field trips that will be announced in local newspapers, radio stations, and social media. A comment period will also be available on the draft EIS. Scoping comments that are helpful to the project analysis focus on resource conditions or potential resource conflicts specific to the project area. 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, however. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dated: April 25, 2017. Jeanne M. Higgins, Acting Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2017–11979 Filed 6–8–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Sunshine Act Meeting Notice United States Commission on Civil Rights. ACTION: Notice of Commission briefing and business meeting. AGENCY: Friday, June 16, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. EST. ADDRESSES: Place: National Place Building, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., 11th Floor, Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20245 (Entrance on F Street NW.). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Walch, phone: (202) 376–8371; TTY: (202) 376–8116; email: publicaffairs@usccr.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This business meeting is open to the public. There will also be a call-in line for individuals who desire to listen to the presentations. Call-in (listen only) information will be published closer to the meeting date, on the Commission’s Web site and social media pages. Hearing-impaired persons who will attend the briefing and require the services of a sign language interpreter should contact Pamela Dunston at (202) 376–8105 or at signlanguage@usccr.gov at least three business days before the scheduled date of the meeting. DATES: Meeting Agenda I. Approval of Agenda II. Business Meeting A. Discussion and Vote on FY 2018 Project Proposals • FY 2018 Statutory Enforcement Report • Other project proposals B. Discussion and Vote on FY 2019 Statutory Enforcement Report C. Discussion and Vote on Revised Schedule regarding the FY 2017 Statutory Enforcement Report on Municipal Fees D. Discussion and Vote on holding a telephonic business meeting on Friday June 23, 2017 on the following items: a. Discussion and Vote on the Municipal Fees report b. Discussion and Vote on the LGBT Workplace Discrimination report E. Discussion and Vote on Changing the November and December Commission Business Meeting E:\FR\FM\09JNN1.SGM 09JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 110 (Friday, June 9, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 26773-26774]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-11979]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Bitterroot National Forest, Stevensville Ranger District, 
Montana; Gold Butterfly Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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

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SUMMARY: The USDA Forest Service, Bitterroot National Forest will 
prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Gold 
Butterfly project under the authorities in the Healthy Forest 
Restoration Act (HFRA) as amended by the Agricultural Act of 2014. The 
Gold Butterfly EIS will analyze and disclose the effects of treatments 
proposed on about 10,495 acres of national forest land in the Sapphire 
Mountains between the confluence of Gold Creek and Burnt Fork of the 
Bitterroot River to the north and Saint Clair Creek to the south. The 
Gold Butterfly project area is bounded on the west by the National 
Forest boundary with private land and on the east by the Stoney 
Mountain Inventoried Roadless Area (IRA). The Gold Butterfly project 
area is located about 10 miles southeast of Stevensville and seven 
miles east of Corvallis, Montana, in Ravalli County.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by July 10, 2017. The draft environmental impact statement is expected 
March 2018 and the final environmental impact statement is expected 
July 2018.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Tami Sabol, Stevensville District 
Ranger, 88 Main St., Stevensville, MT 59870. Comments may also be sent 
via email to comments-northern-bitterroot-stevensville@fs.fed.us or via 
facsimile to 406-777-7423.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sara Grove, South Zone 
Interdisciplinary Team Leader, phone number 406-375-2608 or email: 
sgrove@fs.fed.us or Marilyn Wildey, Hydrology Technician, phone number 
406-363-7101 or email: mwildey@fs.fed.us. Their mailing address is: 
1801 North 1st Street, Hamilton, MT 59840-3114.
    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 Stevensville District Ranger proposes 
forest management on approximately 10,495 acres in the Gold Butterfly 
project area. The project is in the Sapphire Mountains on the 
Bitterroot National Forest (T.6N.R.18W. sec. 1-12, 16-20, 29, 30; 
T.6N.R.19W. sec. 1, 2, 10-15, 22-27; T.7N.R18W. sec. 2-36,T.7; N.R.19W. 
sec. 1, 2, 11-14, 22-27, 34-36; T.8N.R.18W. sec. 20, 21, 28-34) about 
seven miles east of Corvallis, Montana in Ravalli County.

Purpose and Need for Action

    Most of the project area considered for treatment is designated as 
part of the insect and disease treatment program (HFRA Title VI sec. 
602). Forests in the project area are at moderate to high hazard for 
insects and diseases, such as western spruce budworm, Douglas-fir bark 
beetle, mountain pine beetle, and dwarf mistletoe. Current forest 
conditions provide opportunities to regenerate forest stands, modify 
forest structures to reduce insect and disease hazard, and research 
management strategies that perpetuate whitebark pine. In addition to 
improving forest resilience to disturbances, these treatments would 
provide a sustainable supply of timber and provide related employment 
opportunities.
    Terrain and road development in parts of the project area have 
created areas that contribute sediment to adjacent streams. These road 
sections typically end at a trailhead. Moving the trailhead to 
locations further from the streams and converting the roads to walking 
trails would reduce sediment in the streams and improve bull trout 
habitat.
    The purpose and need for the Gold Butterfly project is to: (1) 
Improve landscape resilience to disturbances (such as insects, 
diseases, and fire) by modifying forest structure and composition, and 
fuels; (2) provide timber products and related jobs; (3) reduce erosion 
sources in Willow Creek and Burnt Fork of the Bitterroot River 
watersheds to improve water quality and bull trout habitat; (4) restore 
or improve key habitat areas such as, meadows, aspen, and whitebark 
pine.

Proposed Action

    Commercial timber harvest is proposed on about 7,711 acres, and 
non-commercial thinning on about 2,784 acres. In addition, most 
treatment units

[[Page 26774]]

would be followed by some form of prescribed fire (pile burning, 
underburn). Approximately seven miles of permanent, national forest 
system road (NFSR) and 27 miles of temporary road will be needed to 
support timber haul from the project area. The new system roads would 
be closed and the temporary roads would be rehabilitated after harvest.
    The Stoney Mountain IRA is adjacent to the project area. No road 
construction is proposed in the IRA, however, prescribed burning and 
some timber harvest may occur.
    A plan amendment to the Bitterroot National Forest Plan may be 
required to provide a project-specific variance for four standards. The 
2012 Planning Rule (36 CFR 219) requires notice of which substantive 
requirements of Sec. Sec.  219.8 through 219.11 are likely to be 
related to the amendment. Suspension of the coarse woody debris 
amendment is likely related to the requirements for soils and soil 
productivity at Sec.  219.8(a)(2)(ii). Suspension of the old growth 
standard is likely related to the requirement to maintain or restore 
key ecosystem characteristics a Sec.  219.9(a)(2)(i). Suspension of the 
winter range thermal cover and elk habitat effectiveness standards are 
likely related to the consideration of habitat conditions for wildlife 
commonly used and enjoyed by the public at Sec.  219.10(a)(5).
    The Forest Service proposes the following actions in the Gold 
Butterfly project area: (1) Harvest, thin, and prescribe burn units 
with Douglas-fir beetle, mountain pine beetle, western spruce budworm, 
or dwarf mistletoe, (2) harvest, thin, and prescribe burn natural 
meadows that are being colonized by trees, (3) harvest or thin conifers 
from declining aspen clones, (4) harvest, thin, or prescribe burn areas 
to improve conditions for whitebark pine, (5) close Burnt Fork Rd. at 
the Gold Creek campground and move the Gold Creek trailhead to the Gold 
Creek campground, (6) close NFSR 969A at the junction with NFSR 969 
(Willow Creek Rd.), move the trailhead to the junction, and develop 
trailhead facilities, (7) construct specified and temporary roads to 
support timber removal from the forest, (8) upgrade road conditions on 
NFSR 364 and 969 with the application of best management practices, (9) 
build a crossing (temporary/permanent) where NFSR 13131 crosses North 
Fork of Willow Creek, (10) decommission NFSR 13111 from the junction 
with NFSR 364 where the road encroaches on Butterfly Creek and 
construct an alternative route away from the stream, and (11) 
decommission or store upland roads in the Willow Creek watershed as 
decided in the Travel Plan, especially those roads that encroach on 
streams.

Responsible Official

    Julie K. King, Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor, 1801 N. 
First, Hamilton, Montana 59840-3114 is the Forest Service official who 
will make the decision on the Gold Butterfly project.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The Responsible Official will select the proposed action, an 
alternative to the proposed action (including the no action 
alternative), or modify the proposed action or alternatives to the 
proposed action. The decision may include an amendment to the 
Bitterroot National Forest Plan to provide a project-specific variance 
to four standards for coarse woody debris, winter range thermal cover, 
elk habitat effectiveness, and old growth.

Preliminary Issues

    The number of crossings over streams and road segments directly 
adjacent to streams are preliminary issues the Forest Service 
identified in the project area. Timber haul on roads in these 
situations have the potential to increase the sediment load in the 
adjacent streams that may negatively affect sediment levels and bull 
trout habitat.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. Other 
opportunities for public comment will occur through the scoping process 
at public meetings and field trips that will be announced in local 
newspapers, radio stations, and social media. A comment period will 
also be available on the draft EIS. Scoping comments that are helpful 
to the project analysis focus on resource conditions or potential 
resource conflicts specific to the project area.
    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, however.

    Dated: April 25, 2017.
Jeanne M. Higgins,
Acting Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System.
[FR Doc. 2017-11979 Filed 6-8-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3411-15-P