[Federal Register: April 30, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 82)]
[Notices]               
[Page 21203-21205]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr30ap07-34]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Wild and Scenic River Suitability Study for National Forest 
System Lands in Utah; Ashley, Dixie, Fishlake, Manti-La Sal, Uinta, and 
Wasatch-Cache National Forests; Utah

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a legislative environmental impact 
statement.

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SUMMARY: The Forest Service, in cooperation with the State of Utah, 
will prepare a draft and final legislative environmental impact 
statement (LEIS) to complete the process for giving consideration to 
potential national wild, scenic, and recreational river areas on the 
National Forests in Utah under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Portions 
of those National Forests extend into Colorado and Wyoming, and those 
areas will be included in the study. The Forest Service has evaluated 
river segments on these National Forests to determine which ones meet 
criteria for eligibility for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic 
Rivers System. The purpose of the LEIS is to determine which eligible 
river segments are suitable for inclusion in the National Wild and 
Scenic Rivers System. More information including: the full text of the 
proposal, a list of eligible river segments by county and forest, and a 
map showing eligible river segments is posted on the web at: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/rivers/
.

    The Forest Service invites written comments and suggestions on the 
suitability of eligible river segements for designation as wild, 
scenic, or recreational rivers. The Forest Service gives notice of the 
environmental analysis and determinations that will occur as a result 
of this study so that interested and affected people are aware of how 
they may participate and contribute to the final determination of 
suitability for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers 
System.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis will be most 
useful if submitted on or before June 30, 2007. The draft legislative 
environmental impact statement is expected in November 2007 and the 
final legislative environmental impact statement is expected to be 
completed by the summer of 2008.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments concerning the suitability of the 
river segments to: Catherine Kahlow, USFS WSR Team Leader, Attention: 
WSR, P.O. Box 68, Kamas, UT 84036. Comments can also be hand delivered 
Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm at: 50 East Center Street in 
Kamas, Utah. In addition, comments can be submitted electronically to: 
r4_utah_rivers@fs.fed.us on or before June 30, 2007.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Visit the website for up-to-date 
information at: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/rivers/ or contact Catherine 

Kahlow, USFS WSR Team Leader (see previous address information). For 
information regarding meetings or media inquiries contact: Loyal Clark, 
USFS Public Affairs Officer (Northern Utah) at (801) 342-5117 or Kenton 
Call, USFS Public Affairs Officer (Southern Utah) at (435) 865-3730.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose and Need for Action

    This Forest Service proposes to complete the process for 
considering potential national wild, scenic, and recreational river 
areas on the National Forest System lands in Utah under the Wild and 
Scenic Rivers Act. The purpose of and need for this study is to assess 
whether or not eligible river segments should be recommended to 
Congress for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

Proposed Action

    The Forest Service is proposing to conduct an environmental 
analysis to complete the process for considering potential national 
wild, scenic, and recreational river areas on the National Forests in 
Utah under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. This action is conducted 
pursuant to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 (Public Law 90-542) 
and complies with the National

[[Page 21204]]

Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969.
    The final record of decision may also include amendments to the 
Land and Resource Management Plans for the Utah National Forests to 
provide direction for management of river segments determined to be 
suitable for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
    Background: Over the past decade, National Forests in Utah have 
evaluated river segments on the National Forest for potential 
eligibility for designation under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers 
System. The majority of the eligibility inventory and tentative 
classification took place during forest land and resource management 
plan revision processes. However, eight river segments on the Dixie 
National Forest were analyzed in conjunction with the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument 
Management Plan.
    In order to be eligible, a river segment must be free-flowing and 
must possess at least one outstandingly remarkable value. River 
segments determined to be eligible were assigned a potential 
classification as wild, scenic, or recreational based on the level of 
development and access along the river corridor.
    Forest Supervisors proposed interim direction for the management of 
activities and uses that have the potential to affect the outstandingly 
remarkable values and/or the wild, scenic, or recreational 
classification of the eligible river segments until such a time that 
the suitability studies are completed and a new management emphasis is 
developed.
    The eligibility process has largely been completed for all National 
Forests in Utah. The purpose of this study is to further evaluate the 
suitability of eligible river segements for inclusion in the National 
Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
    A suitability study is the final administrative step before a 
recommendation is made to Congress. Evaluation of suitability will 
provide an opportunity to determine if it will be appropriate to pursue 
Congressional designation for specific river segments. The Forest 
Service and State of Utah will consider, but not be limited to, the 
following: ``worthy additions'' to the National System; tradeoffs in 
management scenarios other than designation; land ownership status; 
existing and potential uses of that segment; interest expressed by the 
public, and tribal, Federal, State, and local agencies; estimated costs 
for management and protection of identified outstandingly remarkable 
values; ability of agency to manage and/or protect the river; and, 
historical and existing uses which could be affected. The Wild and 
Scenic Rivers Team will evaluate the suitability of the eligible river 
segments together in one analysis to maintain consistency and to 
complete the work efficiently.

Possible Alternatives

    A range of alternatives will be considered. The range of 
alternatives will include, as required be NEPA, a no action alternative 
that does not recommend any eligible river segment for designation into 
the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and may include an 
alternative that recommends designation of all eligible rivers (All 
Suitable). Additional alternatives may be developed from information 
analyzed during the suitability study, including public comments 
received during the scoping process.

Cooperating Agencies

    The State of Utah is a Cooperating Agency.

Responsible Officials

    Kevin B. Elliott, Ashley National Forest, 355 North Vernal Avenue, 
Vernal, Utah 84078;
    Rob MacWhorter, Dixie National Forest, 1789 North Wedgewood Lane, 
Cedar City, Utah 84720;
    Mary C. Erickson, Fishlake National Forest, 115 East 900 North, 
Richfield, Utah 84701;
    Alice B. Carlton, Manti-La Sal National Forest, 599 West Price 
River Dr., Price, Utah 84501;
    Brian A. Ferebee, Uinta National Forest, 88 West 100 North, Provo, 
Utah 84601;
    Faye L. Krueger, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, 125 South State 
Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84138.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The record of decision will answer the following question: Which, 
if any, of the eligible river segments under consideration should be 
recommended to the Congress of the United States for inclusion in the 
National Wild and Scenic Rivers System?

Scoping Process

    Public participation is especially important at several points in 
the study process. The first is the scoping process. The Forest Service 
is seeking information and comments from Federal, State, and local 
agencies, Tribes, organizations, and individuals who may be interested 
in or affected by the proposed action. Public input will be considered 
during preparation of the Draft LEIS.
    Scoping meetings will be held around the State of Utah and in 
Paradox, Colorado and Lyman, Wyoming during May and June of 2007. For a 
list of meeting dates and locations, please check the WSR Web site at: 
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/rivers.


Comment Requested

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. This suitability 
study is driven by suitability factors that will shape the analysis of 
each river segment. These suitability factors are used to identify and 
evaluate the trade-offs between competing uses and need for potential 
designation of these rivers to the Wild and Scenic River System. 
Suitability factors are noted on the website at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/rivers.
 Comment on the application of existing suitability factors, 

additional factors for the agency to consider, potential alternatives 
to analyze and other related specific comments is requested.

Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent 
Environmental Review

    A draft environmental impact statement will be prepared for 
comment. The comment period on the draft environmental impact statement 
will be 45 days from the date the Environmental Protection Agency 
publishes the notice of availability in the Federal Register.
    The Forest Service believes, at this early stage, it is important 
to give reviewers notice of several court rulings related to public 
participation in the environmental review process. First, reviewers of 
draft environmental impact statements must structure their 
participation in the environmental review of the proposal so that it is 
meaningful and alerts an agency to the reviewer's position and 
contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 
553 (1978). Also, environmental objections that could be raised at the 
draft environmental impact statement stage but that are not raised 
until after completion of the final environmental impact statement may 
be waived or dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 
1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490 
F. Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D. Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings, 
it is very important that those interested in this proposed action 
participate by the close of the 45 day comment period so that comments

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and objections are made available to the Forest Service at a time when 
it can meaningfully consider them and respond to them in the final 
environmental impact statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft 
environmental impact statement should be as specific as possible. It is 
also helpful if comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the 
draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft 
environmental impact statement or the merits of the alternatives 
formulated and discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer 
to the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing 
the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at 
40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points.
    Comments received, including the names and addresses of those who 
comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposal 
and will be available for public inspection.

(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 
1909.15, Section 21)

    Dated: April 24, 2007.
Faye L. Krueger,
Wasatch-Cache Forest Supervisor.
 [FR Doc. E7-8149 Filed 4-27-07; 8:45 am]

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