[Federal Register: June 8, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 110)]
[Page 31851-31853]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Bureau of Land Management


Notice of Availability of the Draft Resource Management Plan and 
Environmental Impact Statement for the Butte Field Office, Montana

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA), and under the authority of the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), a Draft Resource Management Plan and 
Environmental Impact Statement (DRMP/EIS) has been prepared for public 
lands and resources administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) 
Butte Field Office in Montana.

DATES: The 90-day public comment period will begin the date the 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes their Notice of 
Availability (NOA) in the Federal Register. Public meetings to gather 
comments on the draft will be held in Montana at the following 
locations during the public comment period: Boulder, Bozeman, Butte, 
Divide, Helena, and Townsend. Comments on the DRMP/EIS must be received 
on or before the end of the comment period at the address listed below. 
Public meetings and any other public involvement activities will be 
announced at least 15 days in advance through public notices, media 
news releases, newsletter mailings, and on the Butte RMP Web site at 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods 
below. Your name and mailing address must be submitted as part of your 
     E-mail: MT_Butte_RMP@blm.gov.
     Fax: (406) 533-7660
     Mail or hand-deliver to: Butte RMP Team, BLM Butte Field 
Office, 106 North Parkmont, Butte, Montana 59701.

(406) 533-7645.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Butte Field Office RMP planning area is 
located in southwestern Montana in Beaverhead, Broadwater, Deerlodge, 
Gallatin, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Park, and Silver Bow Counties. 
The planning area contains approximately 302,000 acres of public 
surface estate and approximately 678,000 acres of federal mineral 
estate administered by the Butte Field Office. The DRMP/EIS focuses on 
the principles of multiple use and sustained yield as prescribed by 
Section 202 of the FLPMA.
    The public involvement and collaboration process included 
invitations to Federal agencies and tribal and local governments to 
become cooperating agencies. None of the Federal agencies or 
governments have participated as cooperating agencies. Public scoping 
included six public meetings in communities throughout the planning 
area (January 2004), six additional public meetings specifically 
focused on site-specific travel planning issues (November/December 
2004), two additional public meetings to scope the Proposed Planning 
Scenario (a preliminary draft proposal of management) in June 2005, ten 
briefings to specific organizations/county governments on the Proposed 
Planning Scenario (June/July 2005), and release of reports on Wild and 
Scenic River (WSR) and Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) 
findings. Community-

[[Page 31852]]

based working groups sponsored by the Lewis and Clark County Commission 
helped develop travel management planning alternatives for three travel 
planning areas in Lewis and Clark County.
    The DRMP/EIS considers and analyzes four alternatives (A-D), 
including the No Action, or Continuation of Current Management 
Alternative. These alternatives were developed based on the BLM's 
planning team expertise, public input, and community-based working 
group recommendations for three site-specific travel plans. The 
alternatives provide for an array of alternative land use allocations 
and variable levels of commodity production and resource protection and 
restoration. Alternative B is the BLM's Preferred Alternative, which 
emphasizes moderate levels of resource protection, use, and 
restoration. After comments are reviewed and any pertinent adjustments 
made, a Proposed RMP and Final Environmental Impact Statement is 
expected to be available in 2008.
    The issues addressed in the formulation of alternatives include 
vegetation management (including commodity uses associated with 
livestock grazing and forest products), wildlife and special status 
species habitat management, travel management, recreation, and special 
designations such as ACECs and WSRs. In all alternatives, ACECs have 
been proposed to protect relevant and important values. These potential 
ACECs, their values, acreages, and summaries of use limitations are 
listed in the table below. More detailed information on the management 
of the five potential ACECs and analysis of impacts is described within 
the DRMP/EIS. Restrictions would only occur to the degree necessary to 
prevent degradation of relevant and important values for which an area 
is designated.

     Acres of BLM-Managed Surace Estate Proposed To Be Managed as Acecs by Alternative in the Butte DRMP/EIS
                                                         Alternative B
 ACEC values and use limitations     Alternative A        (Preferred)        Alternative C       Alternative D
Sleeping Giant:
    Values: high scenic quality,  11,679 acres......  11,679 acres......  11,679 acres......  11,679 acres.
     diverse upland and aquatic
     habitat, primitive/
     unconfined recreation.
    Limitations: Exclude
     motorized vehicle use.
     Exclude timber harvest.
     Exclude firewood cutting.
     Exclude ROWs. Exclude
     outfitter/guide hunting
     permits. Restrict livestock
     grazing along Missouri
     River shoreline. No Surface
     Occupancy allowed for oil
     and gas leasing.
Elkhorn Mountains:
    Values: cultural resources,   N/A...............  53,349 acres......  67,665 acres......  3,595 acres.
     diverse upland and aquatic
     habitat, unique national
     management area.
    Limitations: Manage to
     sustain full range of
     potential biological
     diversity and ecosystem
     processes. Exclude R&PP
     actions. Exclude timber
     salvage unless beneficial
     to ACEC values or needed
     for human safety. Emphasize
     non-motorized recreation.
     No Surface Occupancy
     allowed for oil and gas
     leasing in the Muskrat
     Creek watershed.
Humbug Spires:
    Values: high scenic quality,  N/A...............  8,374 acres.......  8,374 acres.......  8,374 acres.
     diverse upland and aquatic
     habitat, primitive/
     unconfined recreation.
    Limitations: Exclude R&PP
     actions. Exclude outfitter
     camping w/in 200 feet of
     existing trail. Close
     outfitter rock climbing on
     spires with active raptor
     nests. Exclude new roads or
     motorized trails. Exclude
     timber harvest. No Surface
     Occupancy allowed for oil
     and gas leasing.
Spokane Creek:
    Values: important sport-fish  N/A...............  14 acres..........  14 acres..........  N/A.
     spawning stream.
    Limitations: Exclude new
     road construction. Exclude
     R&PP actions. Exclude ROWs.
     No Surface Occupancy
     allowed for oil and gas
Ringing Rocks:
    Values: unique geological     N/A...............  160 acres.........  160 acres.........  N/A.
    Limitations: Exclude salable
     mineral removal. Exclude
     R&PP actions. Exclude ROWs.
     No Surface Occupancy
     allowed for oil and gas

    Other key management concerns addressed in the plan include mineral 
development, oil and gas leasing, rights-of-way and utility corridor 
designations, and renewable energy. Comments and information submitted 
on the DRMP/EIS, including names, email addresses, and street addresses 
of respondents, will be available for public review and disclosure at 
the above address. The BLM will not accept anonymous comments. Before 
including your address, phone number, e-mail 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.

[[Page 31853]]

    Dated: February 23, 2007.

    Editorial Note: This document was received at the Office of the 
Federal Register on June, 1, 2007.
Randy D. Heuscher,
Acting State Director.
 [FR Doc. E7-10887 Filed 6-7-07; 8:45 am]