Notice of Intent To Prepare Two Great-Basin-Wide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statements to Reduce the Threat of Wildfire and Support Rangeland Productivity, 60759-60761 [2017-27595]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 245 / Friday, December 22, 2017 / Notices application for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). Lennar Corporation (Applicant) is requesting a 15-year ITP for take of the sand skink. We request public comments on the permit application and accompanying proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP), as well as on our preliminary determination that the plan qualifies as low-effect under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). To make this determination, we used our environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, which are also available for review. DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by January 22, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments and request copies of the application, HCP, environmental action statement, or low-effect screening form by any one of the following methods: Email: northflorida@fws.gov. Use ‘‘Attn: Permit number TE50490C–0’’ as your subject line. Fax: Field Supervisor, (904) 731–3191, ‘‘Attn: Permit number TE50490C–0.’’ U.S. mail: Field Supervisor, Jacksonville Ecological Services Field Office Attn: Permit number TE50490C–0, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 7915 Baymeadows Way, Suite 200, Jacksonville, FL 32256. In-person: You may deliver comments during regular business hours at the office address listed above under U.S. Mail. You may inspect the application, HCP, environmental action statement, or low-effect screening form by appointment during normal business hours at the same address. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Erin M. Gawera, telephone: (904) 731–3121; email: erin_gawera@fws.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Background Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and our implementing Federal regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR part 17 prohibit the ‘‘take’’ of fish or wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. Take of listed fish or wildlife is defined under the ESA as ‘‘to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct’’ (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). However, under limited circumstances, we issue permits to authorize incidental take—i.e., take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:59 Dec 21, 2017 Jkt 244001 Regulations governing incidental take permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, respectively. The ESA’s take prohibitions do not apply to federally listed plants on private lands unless such take would violate State law. In addition to meeting other criteria, an incidental take permit’s proposed actions must not jeopardize the existence of federally listed fish, wildlife, or plants. Applicant’s Proposal Lennar Corporation is requesting to take of approximately .31 acres (ac) of occupied sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi) foraging and sheltering habitat incidental to construction of a residential development. The 38.44-ac project site is identified with parcel identification number 05–24–27–0000– 00–001 and located within section 5, Township 24 South, Range 27 East in Orange County, Florida. The project also includes the clearing, infrastructure building, and landscaping associated with constructing a residential development. The Applicant proposes to mitigate for the take of the threatened sand skink by purchasing 0.62 mitigation credits within The Backbone Conservation Bank or another Serviceapproved sand skink conservation bank. 60759 Public Comments If you wish to comment on the permit application, HCP, or associated documents, you may submit comments by any one of the methods listed above in ADDRESSES. Public Availability of Comments Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority We provide this notice under section 10 of the ESA and NEPA regulation 40 CFR 1506.6. Jay B. Herrington, Field Supervisor, Jacksonville Field Office, Southeast Region. [FR Doc. 2017–27601 Filed 12–21–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Our Preliminary Determination Bureau of Land Management We have determined that the Applicant’s proposal, including the proposed mitigation and minimization measures, would have minor or negligible effects on the species covered in the HCP. Therefore, we have determined that the ITP for this project is ‘‘low effect’’ and qualifies for categorical exclusion under NEPA, as provided by 43 CFR 46.205 and 46.210. A low-effect HCP is one involving (1) minor or negligible effects on federally listed or candidate species and their habitats, and (2) minor or negligible effects on other environmental values or resources. [17XL LLID930000 L11100000.DF0000 LXSGPL000000 4500103385] Next Steps We will evaluate the HCP and comments we receive to determine whether the ITP application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the ESA. We will also evaluate whether issuance of the ITP complies with section 7 of the ESA by conducting an intra-Service consultation. We will use the results of this consultation, in combination with the above findings, in our final analysis to determine whether or not to issue the ITP. If the requirements are met, we will issue ITP number TE50490C–0 to the Applicant. PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Notice of Intent To Prepare Two GreatBasin-Wide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statements to Reduce the Threat of Wildfire and Support Rangeland Productivity Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) intends to prepare two programmatic Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) for BLM Districts in the Great Basin region. By this Notice BLM is announcing the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public comments and identify issues to be addressed in the environmental analyses. SUMMARY: This Notice initiates the public scoping process for the two programmatic EISs. Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until February 20, 2018. The date(s) and DATES: E:\FR\FM\22DEN1.SGM 22DEN1 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES 60760 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 245 / Friday, December 22, 2017 / Notices location(s) of any scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days in advance through local media, newspapers and the BLM website at: https://go.usa.gov/xnQcG. In order for comments to be considered for the draft programmatic EISs, all comments must be received prior to the close of the 60day scoping period or 15 days after the last public meeting, whichever is later. We will provide additional opportunities for public participation upon publication of the draft programmatic EISs. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the programmatic EISs by any of the following methods: • Website: https://go.usa.gov/xnQcG. • Email: GRSG_PEIS@blm.gov. • Fax: 208–373–3805. • Mail: Jonathan Beck, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Boise, ID 83709. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathan Beck, Project Manager Boise Support Team, telephone 208–373– 3841; address 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Boise ID 83709; email jmbeck@blm.gov. Contact Mr. Beck to add your name to our mailing list. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact the above individual. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with Mr. Beck. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The BLM is proposing to develop two programmatic EISs: (1) Fuel Breaks Programmatic EIS and (2) Fuels Reduction and Rangeland Restoration Programmatic EIS. One EIS will analyze potential effects of constructing fuel breaks and the other EIS will analyze potential effects of reducing fuel loading, and restoring rangeland productivity within the Great Basin region, which includes portions of the states of Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, California, Utah, and Washington. Both projects would protect and conserve natural habitats from loss resulting from wildfires and the spread of invasive species. Although these proposals are similar, they have different purposes. The purpose of the Fuel Breaks Programmatic EIS is the protection of life and property and to reduce the threat and size of wildfires on western rangelands. The purpose of the Fuels Reduction and Rangeland Restoration Programmatic EIS is to restore the rangelands habitat so they provide multiple use opportunities for all user groups and habitat for the hundreds of plants and animals that define this iconic landscape. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:59 Dec 21, 2017 Jkt 244001 The BLM is proposing to prepare these analyses concurrently to gain efficiencies in scoping and effects analyses. The goal of these programmatic EISs is to analyze the region-wide and cumulative impacts of the proposed actions and to gain efficiencies in subsequent National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyses required for individual projects. Purpose The programmatic EISs would expedite the development, enhancement, maintenance and utilization of fuel breaks, fuels reduction, and rangeland restoration for the protection, recovery, and conservation of natural western habitats in the Great Basin region. The projects would reduce the threat of habitat loss from fires and restore habitat to maintain the rangeland’s productivity and support the western lifestyle. Fuel breaks act as fire-anchor points and firefighter staging areas; provide protection of ongoing and pending habitat restoration projects; and assist in quicker and earlier fire suppression response times, thereby reducing wildfire risk, aiding in the protection of human life and property, protecting taxpayer investment in habitat restoration projects, and improving western landscapes by offering multiple use opportunities. The restoration will replace invasive species with native habitat, decreasing the continuous cover of annual grasses that fuel large wildfires. Need Large-scale wildfires have increased significantly throughout the western United States in recent years, particularly in sagebrush-steppe ecosystems, resulting in the widespread loss of sagebrush-steppe vegetation. These wildfires are largely a result of continuous fuel loading, caused by widespread increases in invasive annual grasses and very large areas of continuous sagebrush cover. In the last decade, fires have exceeded 100,000 acres on a regular basis, and the number of areas that burn again before habitat can establish has increased. These largescale wildfires, with very high to extreme burning conditions, have resulted in increased numbers of injuries and deaths among wildland firefighters and increased destruction of private property and habitat loss for a variety of species. Wildfires have resulted in widespread impacts to healthy sage-lands quality, and have hampered BLM’s ability to maintain productive lands. These large-scale, PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 repeated wildfires facilitate the spread of invasive annual grasses, further reducing rangeland quality and availability, thereby adversely affecting sagebrush-recovery rates or, in some instances, preventing recovery altogether. In warm, dry settings, sagebrush-steppe usually takes, at a minimum, many decades to recover, even where invasive annual grasses or other invasive plant species do not become dominant. Invasive species and conifer encroachment can be exacerbated as a result of wildfires in sagebrush ecosystems, resulting in an increased risk of wildfires (positive feedback loop). By compartmentalizing desirable vegetation and providing safer access for firefighters, fuel breaks aid in decreasing potential habitat loss from wildfires, protecting habitat restoration areas, and combatting the spread of invasive species, i.e., decreasing or eliminating this positive feedback loop. By restoring native habitat, invasive species that are helping to fuel these unnaturally large fires will be reduced or removed, making the rangelands more resistant to future wildfires. The programmatic EISs, once implemented, will provide for increased firefighter safety in the event of wildfires and faster response times to wildfires. They will also assist in the maintenance, protection and restoration of the iconic sagebrush western landscape. The programmatic EISs will provide a mechanism for the BLM to streamline any future NEPA processes pertaining to fuel breaks, fuels reduction, and rangeland restoration proposals in the Great Basin region. Scoping and Preliminary Issues The public scoping process is conducted to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, including alternatives, and guide the process for developing the programmatic EISs. At present, the BLM has identified the following preliminary issues: 1. Fuel break construction and associated road improvement for firefighter access could increase human activity in remote areas and introduce noxious and invasive weeds and increase the incidence of human-caused wildfires. 2. Fuel break construction could remove or alter sagebrush habitat, rendering it unusable for some species. 3. Fuel break construction on either side of existing roads may create movement barriers to small-sized wildlife species by reducing hiding cover. E:\FR\FM\22DEN1.SGM 22DEN1 sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 245 / Friday, December 22, 2017 / Notices 4. Fuel break construction in highly resistant and resilient habitats may not be necessary because those sites are less likely to burn or will respond favorably to natural regeneration. 5. After habitat restoration treatments, historic uses such as livestock grazing and recreation activities may be temporarily halted until the treatment becomes established and objectives are met. 6. Fuel reduction treatments in pinyon/juniper could disrupt traditional tribal use of these sites. 7. The use of non-native species in fuel breaks could affect listed species and affect species composition in adjacent native plant communities. Project design features would be used to minimize impacts to rangelands, sensitive species habitat, cultural sites and watersheds, and to limit introduction and spread of noxious and invasive weeds. The BLM will use and coordinate the NEPA scoping process to help fulfill the public involvement requirements under the National Historic Preservation Act (54 U.S.C. 306108) as provided in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). The information about historic and cultural resources within the area potentially affected by the proposed action will assist the BLM in identifying and evaluating impacts to such resources. The BLM will consult with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other policies. Tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and potential impacts to cultural resources, will be given due consideration. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with Tribes and other stakeholders that may be interested in or affected by the proposed fuel break, fuel reduction, and rangeland restoration programmatic proposals that the BLM is evaluating, are invited to participate in the scoping process and, if eligible, may request or be requested by the BLM to participate in the development of the environmental analysis as a cooperating agency. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:59 Dec 21, 2017 Jkt 244001 Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7. Timothy M. Murphy, BLM Idaho State Director. [FR Doc. 2017–27595 Filed 12–21–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–AK–P INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [Investigation No. 337–TA–1010] Certain Semiconductor Devices, Semiconductor Device Packages, and Products Containing Same; Termination of Investigation on the Basis of Settlement U.S. International Trade Commission. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission has determined in the above-captioned investigation to grant a motion to terminate the investigation on the basis of settlement, resulting in termination of the investigation in its entirety. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sidney A. Rosenzweig, Esq., Office of the General Counsel, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 708–2532. Copies of non-confidential documents filed in connection with this investigation are or will be available for inspection during official business hours (8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.) in the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436, telephone (202) 205–2000. General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its internet server at https://www.usitc.gov. The public record for this investigation may be viewed on the Commission’s electronic docket (EDIS) at https:// edis.usitc.gov. Hearing-impaired persons are advised that information on this matter can be obtained by contacting the Commission’s TDD terminal on (202) 205–1810. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Commission instituted this investigation on June 24, 2016, based on a complaint filed on behalf of Tessera Technologies, Inc.; Tessera, Inc.; and Invensas Corporation, all of San Jose, California (collectively, ‘‘Tessera’’). 81 FR 41344 (Jun. 24, 2016). The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, 19 U.S.C. 1337, by reason of infringement of certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,856,007 (‘‘the ’007 patent’’); U.S. PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 60761 Patent No. 6,849,946 (‘‘the ’946 patent’’); and U.S. Patent No. 6,133,136 (‘‘the ’136 patent’’). The notice of investigation names 24 respondents. Those respondents are Broadcom Limited of Singapore, and Broadcom Corporation of Irvine, California (collectively, ‘‘Broadcom’’), as well 22 other manufacturers and importers of products containing Broadcom’s semiconductor devices: Avago Technologies Limited of Singapore, and Avago Technologies U.S. Inc. of San Jose, California (collectively, ‘‘Avago’’); Arista Networks, Inc. of Santa Clara, California; ARRIS International plc, ARRIS Group, Inc., ARRIS Solutions, Inc., ARRIS Enterprises, and Pace Ltd., all of Suwanee, Georgia, as well as Pace Americas LLC and Pace USA LLC, both of Boca Raton, Florida, and ARRIS Technology, Inc. of Horsham, Pennsylvania (collectively ‘‘ARRIS’’); ASUSTek Computer, Inc. of Taipei, Taiwan, and ASUS Computer International of Fremont, California (collectively, ‘‘ASUS’’); Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC, and Comcast Business Communications, LLC, each of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (collectively, ‘‘Comcast’’); HTC Corporation of Taoyuan, Taiwan, and HTC America Inc. of Bellevue, Washington (collectively, ‘‘HTC’’); NETGEAR, Inc. of San Jose, California; Technicolor S.A. of Issy-LesMoulineaux, France, as well as Technicolor USA, Inc. and Technicolor Connected Home USA LLC, both of Indianapolis, Indiana (collectively, ‘‘Technicolor’’). The Office of Unfair Import Investigations is not participating in the investigation. Earlier in Commission proceedings, Avago was terminated from the investigation. Order No. 70 (Feb. 27, 2017), not reviewed, Notice (Mar. 27, 2017). In addition, certain accused products were adjudicated not to infringe the ’007 patent. Order No. 77 (Mar. 15, 2017), reviewed and affirmed with modifications, Notice (Apr. 14, 2017). Certain asserted claims have been withdrawn from the investigation. Order No. 82 (Mar. 22, 2017), not reviewed, Notice (Apr. 21, 2017). On June 30, 2017, the ALJ issued the final initial determination (‘‘final ID’’). The final ID finds a violation of section 337 as to claims 16, 17, 20, and 22 of the ’946 patent. Final ID at 262. The final ID finds that for claims 1, 2, 11, 12, 16, 24–26, and 34 of the ’136 patent, the claims are infringed, and not invalid, but that the existence of a domestic industry was not shown. Id. at 262–63. For the ’007 patent, the final ID finds that infringement was shown only as to E:\FR\FM\22DEN1.SGM 22DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 245 (Friday, December 22, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 60759-60761]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-27595]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[17XL LLID930000 L11100000.DF0000 LXSGPL000000 4500103385]


Notice of Intent To Prepare Two Great-Basin-Wide Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statements to Reduce the Threat of Wildfire and 
Support Rangeland Productivity

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976, as amended (FLPMA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 
intends to prepare two programmatic Environmental Impact Statements 
(EISs) for BLM Districts in the Great Basin region. By this Notice BLM 
is announcing the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public 
comments and identify issues to be addressed in the environmental 
analyses.

DATES: This Notice initiates the public scoping process for the two 
programmatic EISs. Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until 
February 20, 2018. The date(s) and

[[Page 60760]]

location(s) of any scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days 
in advance through local media, newspapers and the BLM website at: 
https://go.usa.gov/xnQcG. In order for comments to be considered for 
the draft programmatic EISs, all comments must be received prior to the 
close of the 60-day scoping period or 15 days after the last public 
meeting, whichever is later. We will provide additional opportunities 
for public participation upon publication of the draft programmatic 
EISs.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the programmatic EISs by 
any of the following methods:
     Website: https://go.usa.gov/xnQcG.
     Email: [email protected].
     Fax: 208-373-3805.
     Mail: Jonathan Beck, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Boise, ID 83709.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathan Beck, Project Manager Boise 
Support Team, telephone 208-373-3841; address 1387 S. Vinnell Way, 
Boise ID 83709; email [email protected]. Contact Mr. Beck to add your name 
to our mailing list. Persons who use a telecommunications device for 
the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-
8339 to contact the above individual. The FRS is available 24 hours a 
day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with Mr. Beck. You 
will receive a reply during normal business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The BLM is proposing to develop two 
programmatic EISs: (1) Fuel Breaks Programmatic EIS and (2) Fuels 
Reduction and Rangeland Restoration Programmatic EIS. One EIS will 
analyze potential effects of constructing fuel breaks and the other EIS 
will analyze potential effects of reducing fuel loading, and restoring 
rangeland productivity within the Great Basin region, which includes 
portions of the states of Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, California, Utah, and 
Washington.
    Both projects would protect and conserve natural habitats from loss 
resulting from wildfires and the spread of invasive species. Although 
these proposals are similar, they have different purposes. The purpose 
of the Fuel Breaks Programmatic EIS is the protection of life and 
property and to reduce the threat and size of wildfires on western 
rangelands. The purpose of the Fuels Reduction and Rangeland 
Restoration Programmatic EIS is to restore the rangelands habitat so 
they provide multiple use opportunities for all user groups and habitat 
for the hundreds of plants and animals that define this iconic 
landscape.
    The BLM is proposing to prepare these analyses concurrently to gain 
efficiencies in scoping and effects analyses. The goal of these 
programmatic EISs is to analyze the region-wide and cumulative impacts 
of the proposed actions and to gain efficiencies in subsequent National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyses required for individual 
projects.

Purpose

    The programmatic EISs would expedite the development, enhancement, 
maintenance and utilization of fuel breaks, fuels reduction, and 
rangeland restoration for the protection, recovery, and conservation of 
natural western habitats in the Great Basin region. The projects would 
reduce the threat of habitat loss from fires and restore habitat to 
maintain the rangeland's productivity and support the western 
lifestyle. Fuel breaks act as fire-anchor points and firefighter 
staging areas; provide protection of ongoing and pending habitat 
restoration projects; and assist in quicker and earlier fire 
suppression response times, thereby reducing wildfire risk, aiding in 
the protection of human life and property, protecting taxpayer 
investment in habitat restoration projects, and improving western 
landscapes by offering multiple use opportunities. The restoration will 
replace invasive species with native habitat, decreasing the continuous 
cover of annual grasses that fuel large wildfires.

Need

    Large-scale wildfires have increased significantly throughout the 
western United States in recent years, particularly in sagebrush-steppe 
ecosystems, resulting in the widespread loss of sagebrush-steppe 
vegetation. These wildfires are largely a result of continuous fuel 
loading, caused by widespread increases in invasive annual grasses and 
very large areas of continuous sagebrush cover. In the last decade, 
fires have exceeded 100,000 acres on a regular basis, and the number of 
areas that burn again before habitat can establish has increased. These 
large-scale wildfires, with very high to extreme burning conditions, 
have resulted in increased numbers of injuries and deaths among 
wildland firefighters and increased destruction of private property and 
habitat loss for a variety of species. Wildfires have resulted in 
widespread impacts to healthy sage-lands quality, and have hampered 
BLM's ability to maintain productive lands. These large-scale, repeated 
wildfires facilitate the spread of invasive annual grasses, further 
reducing rangeland quality and availability, thereby adversely 
affecting sagebrush-recovery rates or, in some instances, preventing 
recovery altogether. In warm, dry settings, sagebrush-steppe usually 
takes, at a minimum, many decades to recover, even where invasive 
annual grasses or other invasive plant species do not become dominant. 
Invasive species and conifer encroachment can be exacerbated as a 
result of wildfires in sagebrush ecosystems, resulting in an increased 
risk of wildfires (positive feedback loop). By compartmentalizing 
desirable vegetation and providing safer access for firefighters, fuel 
breaks aid in decreasing potential habitat loss from wildfires, 
protecting habitat restoration areas, and combatting the spread of 
invasive species, i.e., decreasing or eliminating this positive 
feedback loop. By restoring native habitat, invasive species that are 
helping to fuel these unnaturally large fires will be reduced or 
removed, making the rangelands more resistant to future wildfires.
    The programmatic EISs, once implemented, will provide for increased 
firefighter safety in the event of wildfires and faster response times 
to wildfires. They will also assist in the maintenance, protection and 
restoration of the iconic sagebrush western landscape.
    The programmatic EISs will provide a mechanism for the BLM to 
streamline any future NEPA processes pertaining to fuel breaks, fuels 
reduction, and rangeland restoration proposals in the Great Basin 
region.

Scoping and Preliminary Issues

    The public scoping process is conducted to determine relevant 
issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, 
including alternatives, and guide the process for developing the 
programmatic EISs. At present, the BLM has identified the following 
preliminary issues:
    1. Fuel break construction and associated road improvement for 
firefighter access could increase human activity in remote areas and 
introduce noxious and invasive weeds and increase the incidence of 
human-caused wildfires.
    2. Fuel break construction could remove or alter sagebrush habitat, 
rendering it unusable for some species.
    3. Fuel break construction on either side of existing roads may 
create movement barriers to small-sized wildlife species by reducing 
hiding cover.

[[Page 60761]]

    4. Fuel break construction in highly resistant and resilient 
habitats may not be necessary because those sites are less likely to 
burn or will respond favorably to natural regeneration.
    5. After habitat restoration treatments, historic uses such as 
livestock grazing and recreation activities may be temporarily halted 
until the treatment becomes established and objectives are met.
    6. Fuel reduction treatments in pinyon/juniper could disrupt 
traditional tribal use of these sites.
    7. The use of non-native species in fuel breaks could affect listed 
species and affect species composition in adjacent native plant 
communities.
    Project design features would be used to minimize impacts to 
rangelands, sensitive species habitat, cultural sites and watersheds, 
and to limit introduction and spread of noxious and invasive weeds.
    The BLM will use and coordinate the NEPA scoping process to help 
fulfill the public involvement requirements under the National Historic 
Preservation Act (54 U.S.C. 306108) as provided in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). 
The information about historic and cultural resources within the area 
potentially affected by the proposed action will assist the BLM in 
identifying and evaluating impacts to such resources.
    The BLM will consult with Indian tribes on a government-to-
government basis in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other 
policies. Tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and 
potential impacts to cultural resources, will be given due 
consideration. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with Tribes 
and other stakeholders that may be interested in or affected by the 
proposed fuel break, fuel reduction, and rangeland restoration 
programmatic proposals that the BLM is evaluating, are invited to 
participate in the scoping process and, if eligible, may request or be 
requested by the BLM to participate in the development of the 
environmental analysis as a cooperating agency.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Authority:  40 CFR 1501.7.

Timothy M. Murphy,
BLM Idaho State Director.
[FR Doc. 2017-27595 Filed 12-21-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-AK-P