Ochoco, Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman National Forests; Oregon and Washington; Blue Mountains Forest Resiliency Project
The Ochoco, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests, are proposing forest restoration and fuels reduction on portions of approximately 1,270,000 acres of National Forest System lands. The project area consists of selected watersheds amounting to 200,000 acres on the Ochoco, 520,000 acres on the Umatilla, and 550,000 acres on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. Proposed thinning and prescribed fire treatments encompass approximately 580,000 acres across the three National Forests. The project area lies within the Blue Mountain ecoregion in northeast Oregon and southeast Washington, encompasses portions of thirteen counties, and includes shared boundaries with private, tribal, state and other federal lands. Studies of historical forest conditions can be used to help inform natural ranges of variation in forest structure, composition and density, which are assumed to be resilient to disturbance and change. Fire suppression and past timber management practices in dry forests have increased the abundance of closed-canopied forest stands dominated by smaller diameter, young trees than were present historically. Increased canopy closure has also reduced the amount of forest openings and early seral habitat. Fire suppression has also caused expansion of conifers into aspen stands and historically non-forested areas. Denser forests combined with drought conditions in recent years have contributed to a record number of wildfires, and less resilient forest conditions. There is a need to reduce fuels and move forests to a more resilient structure, composition, density, and pattern. The purpose of the project is to enhance landscape and species resilience to future wildfire by restoring forests to their natural (historical) range of variation, reduce the risk of wildfire to high value resources both on and adjacent to National Forest System lands, and provide a diversity of economic opportunities and commodities. The USDA Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to disclose the potential environmental effects of implementing restoration treatments on National Forest System lands within the project area.
Environmental Impact Statement; Introduction of the Products of Biotechnology
We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) plans to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement in connection with potential changes to the regulations regarding the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release of certain genetically engineered organisms. This notice identifies reasonable alternatives and potential issues to be evaluated in the environmental impact statement and requests public comments to further define the scope of the alternatives and environmental impacts and issues for APHIS to consider.