Craig and Thorne Bay Ranger Districts, Tongass National Forest, Alaska; Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project Environmental Impact Statement, 31284-31287 [2017-14138]

Download as PDF 31284 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 128 / Thursday, July 6, 2017 / Notices Recreation RAC Coordinator, by phone at 541–860–8048, or by email at jwilson08@fs.fed.us. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of the meeting is to further a discussion on regional recreation fee pricing consistency. The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less at the Friday portion of the meeting starting at 2:00 p.m. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should request in writing by September 25, 2017, to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the Recreation RAC may file written statements with the Committee’s staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and time requests to make oral comments must be sent to Joanna Wilson, Eastern Region Recreation RAC Coordinator, 855 South Skylake Drive, Woodland Hills, Utah 84653; or by email to jwilson08@fs.fed.us. Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices, or other reasonable accommodation. For access to the facility or proceedings, please contact the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis. Dated: June 12, 2017. Glenn Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2017–14134 Filed 7–5–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Forest Service Craig and Thorne Bay Ranger Districts, Tongass National Forest, Alaska; Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project Environmental Impact Statement Forest Service, USDA. Corrected Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. AGENCY: ACTION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:13 Jul 05, 2017 Jkt 241001 The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to propose a variety of projects for multiple resource benefits at a landscape level to implement over the course of 10 to 15 years. Both the Craig and Thorne Bay Ranger Districts encompass Prince of Wales Island (POW) and surrounding islands, which serves as the project area for the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis (POW LLA) Project. Our intention is that this project will be a highly collaborative process involving the public at all stages throughout the development of this analysis. A Notice of Intent (NOI) for this project was first published in the Federal Register (81 FR 86320) on November 30, 2016. This Corrected NOI has been prepared to provide a more detailed description of the proposed action developed using comments from the public and stakeholders. DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by August 7, 2017. The publication date of this Corrected NOI in the Federal Register is the exclusive means for calculating the comment period for this scoping opportunity. If the comment period ends on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday, comments will be accepted until the end of the next Federal working day (11:59 p.m.). The POW LLA Project is an activity implementing the forest plan and is subject to 36 CFR 218, Subparts A and B. Only individuals or entities who submit timely and specific written comments about this proposed project or activity during this or another public comment period established by the Responsible Official will be eligible to file an objection. Comments submitted previously will be considered in the analysis. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected in January of 2018 and the Final Environmental Impact Statement is expected in July of 2018. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Thorne Bay Ranger District, at P.O. Box 19001, Thorne Bay, AK 99919. Comments may also be submitted electronically at https://cara.ecosystemmanagement.org/Public/ CommentInput?project=50337, or via facsimile to (907) 828–3309. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matthew Anderson, District Ranger, Craig and Thorne Bay Ranger Districts, at 504 9th Street, Craig, AK 99921, by telephone at (907) 826–3271; or Delilah Brigham, Project Leader, at 1312 Federal Way, Thorne Bay, AK 99919, by telephone at (907) 828–3232. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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 POW LLA Project is to improve forest ecosystem health on Craig and Thorne Bay Ranger Districts, help support community resiliency, and provide economic development through an integrated approach to meet multiple resource objectives. There is a need to provide a sustainable level of forest products to contribute to the economic viability of Prince of Wales communities. There is also a need to help maintain the expertise and infrastructure of the timber industry to integrate timber harvest with restoration opportunities in a sustainable manner that meets multiple economic, forest, and watershed objectives. There is a need for young-growth forests to produce future desired resource values, products, services, and forest health conditions that sustain the diversity and productivity of forested ecosystems. Timber stand establishment and timber stand improvement activities (such as planting and precommercial thinning) that enhance early seral forests are necessary to achieve this. There is a need for restoration activities in some watersheds to reestablish self-sustaining habitats that promote viable fish, wildlife, and plant populations. This would contribute to subsistence values and the continued traditional and cultural uses by residents of Prince of Wales and surrounding islands. There is a need to maintain existing recreation opportunities on POW and surrounding islands for residents, as well as to expand opportunities for growth in the recreation and tourism business sector. A sustainable recreation program in terms of operations and maintenance is needed in order to maintain infrastructure to an acceptable level. There is a need to support improved telecommunications in local communities. Proposed Action The proposed action was developed with input from an independentlyformed, broadly-based collaborative group as well as from public comments. During initial scoping and through this collaborative process, the Forest Service received suggestions for a wide array of site-specific projects and management E:\FR\FM\06JYN1.SGM 06JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 128 / Thursday, July 6, 2017 / Notices sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES strategies. The projects and management strategies fell within four broad categories: Vegetation management, watershed improvement and restoration, sustainable recreation management, and associated actions. For both the proposed action and other action alternatives, the Forest Service is developing ‘‘Activity Cards’’ that present potential activities being considered within the project area, though without specific locations. These are meant to describe major aspects of an activity and provide initial guidelines on how it would be implemented, and can be viewed on the project Web page (see Scoping Process section below for web address). Each ground-disturbing activity discussed below in this proposed action, and following in potential alternatives, has an activity card corresponding to that activity, whether site-specific or not. Activity cards should be reviewed for more information on land management activities. Vegetation Management Vegetation management activities include: Old-growth commercial harvest, young-growth commercial harvest, young-growth precommercial thinning treatments, timber stand establishment (e.g., tree seedling planting), and wildlife habitat improvement treatments. The Forest Service proposes to commercially harvest an average of 25 MMBF (million board feet; volume measurement) of old-growth timber annually from suitable timber lands within the project area during the first 5 years of implementation (years 2019 through 2023), and an average of 15 MMBF of old-growth timber annually during the next five year period (years 2024 through 2028). In year 2029, 10 years after initial implementation, an evaluation of availability of old-growth timber within the project area would occur before additional old-growth harvest levels would be set, to ensure there will be harvestable old-growth timber available for local mills beyond the 15-year timeline of this project. The Forest Service proposes to commercially harvest from suitable lands, as defined under the 2016 Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan Ammendment, an average of 8 MMBF annually of young growth over a five-year period beginning in year 2022 and ending in 2026. In year 2027, the young-growth harvest level would be advanced to an average of 15 MMBF annually through year 2031. Young growth harvested under this proposal would occur in stands that generally have not reached 95 percent of VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:13 Jul 05, 2017 Jkt 241001 culmination of mean annual increment. Stands proposed for rotational harvest (even-aged and two-aged management) will, however, have generally reached a level of growth where at least 50 percent of the total volume occurs in trees with a merchantable height suitable to produce two 36-foot logs. The Forest Service would take into consideration various projects and strategies that were proposed through public input including: Limit oldgrowth harvest around communities to maintain deer habitat and winter range, prioritize young-growth treatments to promote deer habitat, and maintain existing and create new wildlife travelways and wildlife trees for a variety of wildlife species. Commercial harvests would utilize various prescriptions and logging systems, and would provide material to local mill operators through large sale, small sale, salvage sale, and microsale programs. Harvested trees would generally be removed without the limbs and tops attached. However, the limbs, tops, and cull material could potentially be utilized as biomass, or other products. The Forest Service proposes to precommercially thin approximately 4,500 acres of young-growth stands annually utilizing various prescriptions to achieve desired conditions for the stands. The Forest Service would take into consideration prioritizing younggrowth treatments in high-value deer winter habitat (south facing lowelevation stands). Slash treatments could occur in stands that are thinned for wildlife habitat improvement objectives. The Forest Service may interplant tree seedlings within selected harvest units to enhance species composition if postharvest evaluation determines that artificial reforestation is beneficial. Seed may be sourced by cone collection, for the purposes of tree seedling generation. The Forest Service would consider establishing or encouraging native plant nurseries that can produce seedlings and other native plant materials for reforestation, reclamation, and habitat improvement projects. Watershed Improvement and Restoration Treatments Proposed watershed improvement and restoration activities on National Forest System land within the project area include: Fish habitat restoration, fish habitat improvements, aquatic organism passage and fish habitat connectivity, karst systems improvement, and invasive plant management. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 31285 Fish Habitat Restoration: The Forest Service proposes to utilize various treatment options to restore hydrologic function in fish streams or lakes that may include the following: 108 Creek, 142F Creek, Alder Creek, Big Salt Lake, Buster Creek, Camp Creek, Chuck Creek, Coffman Creek, Deer Creek, Dog (Chum) Creek, Dolores Creek, Eagle Creek, Flicker Creek, Hatchery Creek, Hydaburg River, Inlet Creek, Klawock Lake, Logjam Creek, Luck Lake, Maybeso Creek, Port Saint Nicholas Creek, Ratz Creek, Red Bay Creek, Reynolds Creek, Rio Beaver, Sal Creek, Salt Chuck, Saltery Creek, Shaheen Creek, Slide Creek, Slow Creek, Snug Creek, Thorne River, Turn Creek, and Yatuk Creek, as well as complete restoration treatments on Harris River, Staney Creek, and Twelvemile Arm. Other streams that have not been listed may be considered for restoration if the Forest Service determines that the fish habitat and or hydrological condition have degraded due to past management practices. The Forest Service would consider opportunities for interpretive signs within restored watersheds for public education. Fisheries Habitat Improvement: The Forest Service proposes to enact various methods to improve fish habitat in the following lakes and streams: Control Creek/Balls Lake, Devil Lake, Eek Lake, Hessa Lake, Hunter Lake, Karta River, Klekas Lake, Little Klekas Lake, Manhattan Creek, Nichols Lake, Rio Roberts, Sarkar Creek, and Welcome Lake. Aquatic Organism Passage and Fish Habitat Connectivity: Stream-crossings within the project area that do not allow for fish and aquatic organism passage at all flows, referred to as ‘‘red pipes,’’ would be replaced with appropriate structures or removed with other road restoration treatments. Karst Systems Improvement: Karst systems that have been impacted from past management would be improved by removing blockages to restore natural water flows into karst features. Younggrowth stands adjacent to impaired karst systems may be thinned to increase precipitation throughfall to increase spring flow and to flush accumulated sediment. Invasive Plant Management: The Forest Service proposes to utilize manual and mechanical treatments, as part of an integrated pest management approach, to eradicate or control existing and new infestations of nonnative, invasive plants. Sustainable Recreation Management Proposed recreation activities on National Forest System lands include E:\FR\FM\06JYN1.SGM 06JYN1 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES 31286 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 128 / Thursday, July 6, 2017 / Notices maintenance of all existing recreation facilities, as well as improvements to some existing facilities and construction of new facilities. Proposals received through public comment included cabins and three-sided shelters; a variety of trails; campsites and campgrounds; access and enhancements for kayaking, canoeing, and boating; creating interpretive sites; creating winter recreation opportunities; day use sites; and further development of existing recreation areas. Outhouse facilities may be necessary to accompany certain proposed recreation sites. A wide array of locations were suggested; the proposed action is not limited to but will consider the following locations associated with these activities. Three-sided shelters and/or cabins were proposed at or near Canoe Point, the Palisades, Fern Point, Point Gertrudis, Eagle Island in Sea Otter Sound, near Hydaburg, near South POW Wilderness, Mable Bay, Jackson Island, Hunter’s Bay, the log transfer facility in Port Refugio, Sal Creek, Cape Ulitka, Little Vera Beach, Arena Cove, and in an alpine area for winter recreation. Trails proposed included walking, hiking, bicycling, mountain biking, for off-highway vehicle use, and interpretive, and may be new trails or improvements to existing ones. The locations suggested are Luck Creek; Honker Divide Trail; Harris River trail ´ system including connecting Gandlaay ´ Haanaa Creek and Harris River interpretive sites, and a hut-to-hut trail system; Deweyville; Rio Beaver (also known as 8 1⁄2 mile Thorne Bay Road); Rio Roberts Fish Pass; Sunnahae; Sarkar canoe route and portages; Suemez Island; ‘‘Rabbit Ears—ORV Trail’’ near Coffman Cove; from Roller Bay to Cape Ulitka; from Port San Antonio to Little Vera Beach; from Port Refugio to Arena Cove; through old-growth forests; and along roads that can be converted to trails. Campsites were suggested around Luck Lake, and a campground with RV parking was suggested for near the community of Hydaburg. The comments to develop sea kayak routes also included developing access points for canoes and kayaks at both fresh and saltwater locations. Comments for new boat launches and/or docks to enhance saltwater access included Calder Bay, Port Refugio, and Port San Antonio. There was a suggestion to improve signage and maintenance of the Salt Chuck Mine site, and interest in creating an archaeology kiosk and interpretive site. Winter recreation opportunities with access to the snow line were suggested for Upper Steelhead, One VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:13 Jul 05, 2017 Jkt 241001 Duck, Barron Mountain, Baird Peak, Sunnahae, West Ridge near Polk Inlet, ridge lines east of the North Thorne drainage, and near Control Lake. A picnic day-use area was proposed for near Neck Lake. Existing recreation areas were proposed for further development, improvement, and/or maintenance, as follows. The El Capitan area could be developed further to include a cabin, day use area, and campground, and improvements could be made to the dock, boat ramp, and at the marine transfer facility or ‘‘spit’’ area. Ratz Harbor area improvements could include a high-water ramp or boat launch, picnic area, primitive camp site, or a three-sided shelter. The Memorial Beach area could be improved with better signage and a loop trail through the old-growth forest to the east. It was requested that the Karta Cabin and trail receive more maintenance. The greater Control Lake area, including Control Lake Cabin, Balls Lake, Eagles Nest Campground, and the Cutthroat Road could be expanded and better connected as a recreational complex. Finally, to support input from local youth, the Forest Service would entertain proposals to permit a day use area on the island for uses such as paint ball, archery, and other youth activities. Associated Actions A number of activities associated with implementing the various proposed management activities would be necessary, in addition to some associated actions which were proposed through public input and comments. Associated actions were divided into two categories: Infrastructure actions and non-infrastructure actions. Infrastructure actions include: Road maintenance and use; management of system and temporary roads, including construction, maintainance, and potentially storage or decommissioning after project implementation (potential maintenance level changes may occur); use and development of new and existing rock pits (for both road needs and personal use); reconstruction and maintenance of marine access facilities and log transfer facilities; and infrastructure to access and establish telecommunication sites. Noninfrastructure actions include: Site preparation, hazard tree removal, wildlife-proof garbage can installation and maintenance, brushing and brush disposal, and viewshed improvement. Possible Alternatives Other alternatives will be more fully developed based on public comments received to the original NOI published PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 November 30, 2016, from public comments received to this Corrected NOI, and from internal Forest Service considerations. For example, alternatives may include decommissioning recreation infrastructure that are expensive to maintain and receive minimal use to match maintenance capacity; a low range of old-growth harvest may be designed to support the local small-mill industry; treatments such as prescribed burning to improve understory for wildlife; an integrated pest management strategy that includes the use of herbicides for treatment of non-native, invasive plants; restrictions on vegetation treatments (logging) north of Forest Road 20 and in the vicinity of Point Baker and Port Protection to preserve watershed, visual, and other values on the north end of POW; and incorporation of actions recommended in the ‘‘Interagency Wolf Habitat Management Program’’ plan for Game Management Unit 2 (https:// www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_ DOCUMENTS/fseprd537975.pdf). In addition, early youth engagement in this process identified several potential recreation related ideas which may be incorporated into one or all of the action alternatives if possible. A no-action alternative, which represents no change and serves as the baseline for the comparison among the action alternatives, will be analyzed as well. Comments we receive to this Corrected NOI may identify additional alternative components. Responsible Official The Responsible Official for the decision on this project is M. Earl Stewart, Forest Supervisor, Tongass National Forest, Federal Building, 648 Mission Street, Ketchikan, Alaska, 99901. Nature of Decision To Be Made Given the purpose and need of the project, the Forest Supervisor will review the no action, the proposed action, other alternatives, and the environmental consequences in order to make decisions including the following: (1) Whether to select the proposed action or another alternative; (2) the locations, design, and scheduling of commercial and precommercial timber treatments, restoration activities, habitat improvements, road construction and reconstruction, and improvements to recreation opportunities; (3) mitigation measures and monitoring requirements; and (4) whether there may be a significant restriction of subsistence uses. No Forest Plan Amendments are anticipated with this decision. E:\FR\FM\06JYN1.SGM 06JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 128 / Thursday, July 6, 2017 / Notices Permits or Licenses Required All necessary permits would be obtained prior to project implementation, and may include the following: (1) State of Alaska, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (APDES): • General permit for Log Transfer Facilities in Alaska; • Review Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan; • Certification of Compliance with Alaska Water Quality Standards (401 Certification) Chapter 20; • Storm Water Discharge Permit/ National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System review (Section 402 of the Clean Water Act); • Solid Waste Disposal Permit; (2) U.S. Army Corp of Engineers: • Approval of discharge of dredged or fill material into the waters of the United States under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act; • Approval of the construction of structures or work in navigable waters of the United States under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899; (3) State of Alaska, Division of Natural Resources (DNR): • Authorization for occupancy and use of tidelands and submerged lands. (4) State of Alaska, Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) • Fish Habitat Permit and Concurrence (Title 16) sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Scoping Process 18:13 Jul 05, 2017 Dated: June 15, 2017. Cynthia D. West, Acting Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2017–14138 Filed 7–5–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Lassen County Resource Advisory Committee Jkt 241001 Forest Service, USDA. Notice of meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: This Corrected Notice of Intent initiates a scoping period, which guides additional development of the environmental impact statement. The Forest Service will be seeking information, comments, and assistance from Tribal Governments; Federal, State, and local agencies; and individuals and organizations interested in or affected by the proposed activities. There will also be ample public involvement on Prince of Wales Island, including: public meetings held in various communities, subsistence hearings, information posted in public places and in local publications such as the Island Post, and from the Prince of Wales Landscape Assessment Team, a collaborative group independently formed to provide widely based proposals to be considered by the U.S. Forest Service in the POW LLA Project development and analysis process. Project information and updates, meeting notices, and documents will be provided throughout the process on the project Web page at https:// www.fs.usda.gov/goto/tongass/powlla. VerDate Sep<11>2014 Individuals may also provide comments and sign up for an electronic mailing list at that site. 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 with the ability to provide the respondent with subsequent environmental documents. The Lassen County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Susanville, CA. The RAC is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (the Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the RAC is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with the Act. RAC information can be found at the following Web site: https:// www.fs.usda.gov/main/lassen/ workingtogether/advisorycommittees. DATES: The meeting will be held on August 31, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All RAC meetings are subject to cancellation. For status of meeting prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Lassen National Forest (NF) Supervisor’s Office, Caribour SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 31287 Conference Room, 2550 Riverside Drive, Susanville, California. Written comments may be submitted as described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at The Lassen NF Supervisor’s Office. Please call ahead to facilitate entry into the building. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matthew Boisseau, RAC Designated Federal Officer, by phone at 530–768– 4109 or via email at mboisseau@ fs.fed.us. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. The purpose of the meeting is to review and recommend project proposals; details at the following Web site: https:// www.fs.usda.gov/main/lassen/ workingtogether/advisorycommittees. The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements in support of their projects. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should request in writing by August 25, 2017, to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the RAC may file written statements with the RAC staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and requests for time for oral comments must be sent to Matthew Boisseau, RAC Desiganted Federal Officer, 2550 Riverside Drive, Susanville, California 96130; by email to mboisseau@fs.fed.us or via facsimile to 530–252- 6463. Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices, or other reasonable accommodation. For access to the facility or proceedings, please contact the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: June 12, 2017. Glenn Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2017–14136 Filed 7–5–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P E:\FR\FM\06JYN1.SGM 06JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 128 (Thursday, July 6, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31284-31287]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-14138]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Craig and Thorne Bay Ranger Districts, Tongass National Forest, 
Alaska; Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project Environmental 
Impact Statement

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Corrected Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service will 
prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to propose a variety of 
projects for multiple resource benefits at a landscape level to 
implement over the course of 10 to 15 years. Both the Craig and Thorne 
Bay Ranger Districts encompass Prince of Wales Island (POW) and 
surrounding islands, which serves as the project area for the Prince of 
Wales Landscape Level Analysis (POW LLA) Project. Our intention is that 
this project will be a highly collaborative process involving the 
public at all stages throughout the development of this analysis. A 
Notice of Intent (NOI) for this project was first published in the 
Federal Register (81 FR 86320) on November 30, 2016. This Corrected NOI 
has been prepared to provide a more detailed description of the 
proposed action developed using comments from the public and 
stakeholders.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by August 7, 2017. The publication date of this Corrected NOI in the 
Federal Register is the exclusive means for calculating the comment 
period for this scoping opportunity. If the comment period ends on a 
Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday, comments will be accepted until 
the end of the next Federal working day (11:59 p.m.). The POW LLA 
Project is an activity implementing the forest plan and is subject to 
36 CFR 218, Subparts A and B. Only individuals or entities who submit 
timely and specific written comments about this proposed project or 
activity during this or another public comment period established by 
the Responsible Official will be eligible to file an objection. 
Comments submitted previously will be considered in the analysis. The 
Draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected in January of 2018 and 
the Final Environmental Impact Statement is expected in July of 2018.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Thorne Bay Ranger District, at P.O. 
Box 19001, Thorne Bay, AK 99919. Comments may also be submitted 
electronically at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?project=50337, or via facsimile to (907) 828-3309.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matthew Anderson, District Ranger, 
Craig and Thorne Bay Ranger Districts, at 504 9th Street, Craig, AK 
99921, by telephone at (907) 826-3271; or Delilah Brigham, Project 
Leader, at 1312 Federal Way, Thorne Bay, AK 99919, by telephone at 
(907) 828-3232.
    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 POW LLA Project is to improve forest ecosystem 
health on Craig and Thorne Bay Ranger Districts, help support community 
resiliency, and provide economic development through an integrated 
approach to meet multiple resource objectives.
    There is a need to provide a sustainable level of forest products 
to contribute to the economic viability of Prince of Wales communities. 
There is also a need to help maintain the expertise and infrastructure 
of the timber industry to integrate timber harvest with restoration 
opportunities in a sustainable manner that meets multiple economic, 
forest, and watershed objectives.
    There is a need for young-growth forests to produce future desired 
resource values, products, services, and forest health conditions that 
sustain the diversity and productivity of forested ecosystems. Timber 
stand establishment and timber stand improvement activities (such as 
planting and precommercial thinning) that enhance early seral forests 
are necessary to achieve this.
    There is a need for restoration activities in some watersheds to 
reestablish self-sustaining habitats that promote viable fish, 
wildlife, and plant populations. This would contribute to subsistence 
values and the continued traditional and cultural uses by residents of 
Prince of Wales and surrounding islands.
    There is a need to maintain existing recreation opportunities on 
POW and surrounding islands for residents, as well as to expand 
opportunities for growth in the recreation and tourism business sector. 
A sustainable recreation program in terms of operations and maintenance 
is needed in order to maintain infrastructure to an acceptable level.
    There is a need to support improved telecommunications in local 
communities.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action was developed with input from an independently-
formed, broadly-based collaborative group as well as from public 
comments. During initial scoping and through this collaborative 
process, the Forest Service received suggestions for a wide array of 
site-specific projects and management

[[Page 31285]]

strategies. The projects and management strategies fell within four 
broad categories: Vegetation management, watershed improvement and 
restoration, sustainable recreation management, and associated actions. 
For both the proposed action and other action alternatives, the Forest 
Service is developing ``Activity Cards'' that present potential 
activities being considered within the project area, though without 
specific locations. These are meant to describe major aspects of an 
activity and provide initial guidelines on how it would be implemented, 
and can be viewed on the project Web page (see Scoping Process section 
below for web address). Each ground-disturbing activity discussed below 
in this proposed action, and following in potential alternatives, has 
an activity card corresponding to that activity, whether site-specific 
or not. Activity cards should be reviewed for more information on land 
management activities.

Vegetation Management

    Vegetation management activities include: Old-growth commercial 
harvest, young-growth commercial harvest, young-growth precommercial 
thinning treatments, timber stand establishment (e.g., tree seedling 
planting), and wildlife habitat improvement treatments.
    The Forest Service proposes to commercially harvest an average of 
25 MMBF (million board feet; volume measurement) of old-growth timber 
annually from suitable timber lands within the project area during the 
first 5 years of implementation (years 2019 through 2023), and an 
average of 15 MMBF of old-growth timber annually during the next five 
year period (years 2024 through 2028). In year 2029, 10 years after 
initial implementation, an evaluation of availability of old-growth 
timber within the project area would occur before additional old-growth 
harvest levels would be set, to ensure there will be harvestable old-
growth timber available for local mills beyond the 15-year timeline of 
this project.
    The Forest Service proposes to commercially harvest from suitable 
lands, as defined under the 2016 Tongass Land and Resource Management 
Plan Ammendment, an average of 8 MMBF annually of young growth over a 
five-year period beginning in year 2022 and ending in 2026. In year 
2027, the young-growth harvest level would be advanced to an average of 
15 MMBF annually through year 2031. Young growth harvested under this 
proposal would occur in stands that generally have not reached 95 
percent of culmination of mean annual increment. Stands proposed for 
rotational harvest (even-aged and two-aged management) will, however, 
have generally reached a level of growth where at least 50 percent of 
the total volume occurs in trees with a merchantable height suitable to 
produce two 36-foot logs.
    The Forest Service would take into consideration various projects 
and strategies that were proposed through public input including: Limit 
old-growth harvest around communities to maintain deer habitat and 
winter range, prioritize young-growth treatments to promote deer 
habitat, and maintain existing and create new wildlife travelways and 
wildlife trees for a variety of wildlife species.
    Commercial harvests would utilize various prescriptions and logging 
systems, and would provide material to local mill operators through 
large sale, small sale, salvage sale, and microsale programs. Harvested 
trees would generally be removed without the limbs and tops attached. 
However, the limbs, tops, and cull material could potentially be 
utilized as biomass, or other products.
    The Forest Service proposes to precommercially thin approximately 
4,500 acres of young-growth stands annually utilizing various 
prescriptions to achieve desired conditions for the stands. The Forest 
Service would take into consideration prioritizing young-growth 
treatments in high-value deer winter habitat (south facing low-
elevation stands). Slash treatments could occur in stands that are 
thinned for wildlife habitat improvement objectives.
    The Forest Service may interplant tree seedlings within selected 
harvest units to enhance species composition if post-harvest evaluation 
determines that artificial reforestation is beneficial. Seed may be 
sourced by cone collection, for the purposes of tree seedling 
generation. The Forest Service would consider establishing or 
encouraging native plant nurseries that can produce seedlings and other 
native plant materials for reforestation, reclamation, and habitat 
improvement projects.

Watershed Improvement and Restoration Treatments

    Proposed watershed improvement and restoration activities on 
National Forest System land within the project area include: Fish 
habitat restoration, fish habitat improvements, aquatic organism 
passage and fish habitat connectivity, karst systems improvement, and 
invasive plant management.
    Fish Habitat Restoration: The Forest Service proposes to utilize 
various treatment options to restore hydrologic function in fish 
streams or lakes that may include the following: 108 Creek, 142F Creek, 
Alder Creek, Big Salt Lake, Buster Creek, Camp Creek, Chuck Creek, 
Coffman Creek, Deer Creek, Dog (Chum) Creek, Dolores Creek, Eagle 
Creek, Flicker Creek, Hatchery Creek, Hydaburg River, Inlet Creek, 
Klawock Lake, Logjam Creek, Luck Lake, Maybeso Creek, Port Saint 
Nicholas Creek, Ratz Creek, Red Bay Creek, Reynolds Creek, Rio Beaver, 
Sal Creek, Salt Chuck, Saltery Creek, Shaheen Creek, Slide Creek, Slow 
Creek, Snug Creek, Thorne River, Turn Creek, and Yatuk Creek, as well 
as complete restoration treatments on Harris River, Staney Creek, and 
Twelvemile Arm. Other streams that have not been listed may be 
considered for restoration if the Forest Service determines that the 
fish habitat and or hydrological condition have degraded due to past 
management practices. The Forest Service would consider opportunities 
for interpretive signs within restored watersheds for public education.
    Fisheries Habitat Improvement: The Forest Service proposes to enact 
various methods to improve fish habitat in the following lakes and 
streams: Control Creek/Balls Lake, Devil Lake, Eek Lake, Hessa Lake, 
Hunter Lake, Karta River, Klekas Lake, Little Klekas Lake, Manhattan 
Creek, Nichols Lake, Rio Roberts, Sarkar Creek, and Welcome Lake.
    Aquatic Organism Passage and Fish Habitat Connectivity: Stream-
crossings within the project area that do not allow for fish and 
aquatic organism passage at all flows, referred to as ``red pipes,'' 
would be replaced with appropriate structures or removed with other 
road restoration treatments.
    Karst Systems Improvement: Karst systems that have been impacted 
from past management would be improved by removing blockages to restore 
natural water flows into karst features. Young-growth stands adjacent 
to impaired karst systems may be thinned to increase precipitation 
throughfall to increase spring flow and to flush accumulated sediment.
    Invasive Plant Management: The Forest Service proposes to utilize 
manual and mechanical treatments, as part of an integrated pest 
management approach, to eradicate or control existing and new 
infestations of non-native, invasive plants.

Sustainable Recreation Management

    Proposed recreation activities on National Forest System lands 
include

[[Page 31286]]

maintenance of all existing recreation facilities, as well as 
improvements to some existing facilities and construction of new 
facilities. Proposals received through public comment included cabins 
and three-sided shelters; a variety of trails; campsites and 
campgrounds; access and enhancements for kayaking, canoeing, and 
boating; creating interpretive sites; creating winter recreation 
opportunities; day use sites; and further development of existing 
recreation areas. Outhouse facilities may be necessary to accompany 
certain proposed recreation sites. A wide array of locations were 
suggested; the proposed action is not limited to but will consider the 
following locations associated with these activities.
    Three-sided shelters and/or cabins were proposed at or near Canoe 
Point, the Palisades, Fern Point, Point Gertrudis, Eagle Island in Sea 
Otter Sound, near Hydaburg, near South POW Wilderness, Mable Bay, 
Jackson Island, Hunter's Bay, the log transfer facility in Port 
Refugio, Sal Creek, Cape Ulitka, Little Vera Beach, Arena Cove, and in 
an alpine area for winter recreation.
    Trails proposed included walking, hiking, bicycling, mountain 
biking, for off-highway vehicle use, and interpretive, and may be new 
trails or improvements to existing ones. The locations suggested are 
Luck Creek; Honker Divide Trail; Harris River trail system including 
connecting Gandl[aacute]ay H[aacute]anaa Creek and Harris River 
interpretive sites, and a hut-to-hut trail system; Deweyville; Rio 
Beaver (also known as 8 \1/2\ mile Thorne Bay Road); Rio Roberts Fish 
Pass; Sunnahae; Sarkar canoe route and portages; Suemez Island; 
``Rabbit Ears--ORV Trail'' near Coffman Cove; from Roller Bay to Cape 
Ulitka; from Port San Antonio to Little Vera Beach; from Port Refugio 
to Arena Cove; through old-growth forests; and along roads that can be 
converted to trails.
    Campsites were suggested around Luck Lake, and a campground with RV 
parking was suggested for near the community of Hydaburg. The comments 
to develop sea kayak routes also included developing access points for 
canoes and kayaks at both fresh and saltwater locations. Comments for 
new boat launches and/or docks to enhance saltwater access included 
Calder Bay, Port Refugio, and Port San Antonio. There was a suggestion 
to improve signage and maintenance of the Salt Chuck Mine site, and 
interest in creating an archaeology kiosk and interpretive site. Winter 
recreation opportunities with access to the snow line were suggested 
for Upper Steelhead, One Duck, Barron Mountain, Baird Peak, Sunnahae, 
West Ridge near Polk Inlet, ridge lines east of the North Thorne 
drainage, and near Control Lake. A picnic day-use area was proposed for 
near Neck Lake.
    Existing recreation areas were proposed for further development, 
improvement, and/or maintenance, as follows. The El Capitan area could 
be developed further to include a cabin, day use area, and campground, 
and improvements could be made to the dock, boat ramp, and at the 
marine transfer facility or ``spit'' area. Ratz Harbor area 
improvements could include a high-water ramp or boat launch, picnic 
area, primitive camp site, or a three-sided shelter. The Memorial Beach 
area could be improved with better signage and a loop trail through the 
old-growth forest to the east. It was requested that the Karta Cabin 
and trail receive more maintenance. The greater Control Lake area, 
including Control Lake Cabin, Balls Lake, Eagles Nest Campground, and 
the Cutthroat Road could be expanded and better connected as a 
recreational complex.
    Finally, to support input from local youth, the Forest Service 
would entertain proposals to permit a day use area on the island for 
uses such as paint ball, archery, and other youth activities.

Associated Actions

    A number of activities associated with implementing the various 
proposed management activities would be necessary, in addition to some 
associated actions which were proposed through public input and 
comments. Associated actions were divided into two categories: 
Infrastructure actions and non-infrastructure actions. Infrastructure 
actions include: Road maintenance and use; management of system and 
temporary roads, including construction, maintainance, and potentially 
storage or decommissioning after project implementation (potential 
maintenance level changes may occur); use and development of new and 
existing rock pits (for both road needs and personal use); 
reconstruction and maintenance of marine access facilities and log 
transfer facilities; and infrastructure to access and establish 
telecommunication sites. Non-infrastructure actions include: Site 
preparation, hazard tree removal, wildlife-proof garbage can 
installation and maintenance, brushing and brush disposal, and viewshed 
improvement.

Possible Alternatives

    Other alternatives will be more fully developed based on public 
comments received to the original NOI published November 30, 2016, from 
public comments received to this Corrected NOI, and from internal 
Forest Service considerations. For example, alternatives may include 
decommissioning recreation infrastructure that are expensive to 
maintain and receive minimal use to match maintenance capacity; a low 
range of old-growth harvest may be designed to support the local small-
mill industry; treatments such as prescribed burning to improve 
understory for wildlife; an integrated pest management strategy that 
includes the use of herbicides for treatment of non-native, invasive 
plants; restrictions on vegetation treatments (logging) north of Forest 
Road 20 and in the vicinity of Point Baker and Port Protection to 
preserve watershed, visual, and other values on the north end of POW; 
and incorporation of actions recommended in the ``Interagency Wolf 
Habitat Management Program'' plan for Game Management Unit 2 (https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd537975.pdf). In addition, 
early youth engagement in this process identified several potential 
recreation related ideas which may be incorporated into one or all of 
the action alternatives if possible. A no-action alternative, which 
represents no change and serves as the baseline for the comparison 
among the action alternatives, will be analyzed as well. Comments we 
receive to this Corrected NOI may identify additional alternative 
components.

Responsible Official

    The Responsible Official for the decision on this project is M. 
Earl Stewart, Forest Supervisor, Tongass National Forest, Federal 
Building, 648 Mission Street, Ketchikan, Alaska, 99901.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    Given the purpose and need of the project, the Forest Supervisor 
will review the no action, the proposed action, other alternatives, and 
the environmental consequences in order to make decisions including the 
following: (1) Whether to select the proposed action or another 
alternative; (2) the locations, design, and scheduling of commercial 
and precommercial timber treatments, restoration activities, habitat 
improvements, road construction and reconstruction, and improvements to 
recreation opportunities; (3) mitigation measures and monitoring 
requirements; and (4) whether there may be a significant restriction of 
subsistence uses. No Forest Plan Amendments are anticipated with this 
decision.

[[Page 31287]]

Permits or Licenses Required

    All necessary permits would be obtained prior to project 
implementation, and may include the following:
    (1) State of Alaska, Department of Environmental Conservation 
(DEC), Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (APDES):
     General permit for Log Transfer Facilities in Alaska;
     Review Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan;
     Certification of Compliance with Alaska Water Quality 
Standards (401 Certification) Chapter 20;
     Storm Water Discharge Permit/National Pollutant Discharge 
Elimination System review (Section 402 of the Clean Water Act);
     Solid Waste Disposal Permit;
    (2) U.S. Army Corp of Engineers:
     Approval of discharge of dredged or fill material into the 
waters of the United States under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act;
     Approval of the construction of structures or work in 
navigable waters of the United States under Section 10 of the Rivers 
and Harbors Act of 1899;
    (3) State of Alaska, Division of Natural Resources (DNR):
     Authorization for occupancy and use of tidelands and 
submerged lands.
    (4) State of Alaska, Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G)
     Fish Habitat Permit and Concurrence (Title 16)

Scoping Process

    This Corrected Notice of Intent initiates a scoping period, which 
guides additional development of the environmental impact statement. 
The Forest Service will be seeking information, comments, and 
assistance from Tribal Governments; Federal, State, and local agencies; 
and individuals and organizations interested in or affected by the 
proposed activities. There will also be ample public involvement on 
Prince of Wales Island, including: public meetings held in various 
communities, subsistence hearings, information posted in public places 
and in local publications such as the Island Post, and from the Prince 
of Wales Landscape Assessment Team, a collaborative group independently 
formed to provide widely based proposals to be considered by the U.S. 
Forest Service in the POW LLA Project development and analysis process. 
Project information and updates, meeting notices, and documents will be 
provided throughout the process on the project Web page at https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/tongass/powlla. Individuals may also provide 
comments and sign up for an electronic mailing list at that site.
    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 with the ability to provide the respondent with subsequent 
environmental documents.

    Dated: June 15, 2017.
Cynthia D. West,
Acting Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System.
[FR Doc. 2017-14138 Filed 7-5-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3411-15-P