[Federal Register: November 17, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 222)]
[Notices]               
[Page 67835-67836]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr17no08-39]                         

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Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

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[[Page 67835]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Kemmerer Ranger District, Bridger-Teton National Forest, WY; 
Kemmerer Grazing and Rangeland Vegetation Management Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

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SUMMARY: The Bridger-Teton National Forest will prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the effects of continued 
authorization of grazing on 15 sheep allotments on the Kemmerer Ranger 
District in southwest Wyoming. The project area encompasses 165,575 
acres of National Forest System lands within Lincoln County of western 
Wyoming. Most of the project area's east boundary is west of Commissary 
Ridge; the west boundary is Salt Creek. The center of the project area 
lies roughly 17 air miles northeast of Cokeville, Wyoming. The 
allotments included in the analysis are: Lower Salt Creek, Buckskin 
Knoll, Lake Alice, Smiths Fork, Aspen Springs, Basin Creek, Devil's 
Hole, Elk Creek, Green Knoll, Indian Creek, Lake Mountain, Pole Creek, 
Sams Allen Creek, South Fontenelle and Spruce Creek Allotments.
    The analysis contained in the EIS will be used by the Responsible 
Official to decide whether or not, and if so, how to authorize 
livestock grazing and manage rangeland vegetation within the project 
area.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by January 2, 2009. The draft environmental impact statement is 
expected in May of 2009 and the final environmental impact statement is 
expected in September of 2009.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Tracy Hollingshead, District 
Ranger, Kemmerer Ranger District, Bridger-Teton National Forest, 308 
U.S. Highway 189 North, Kemmerer, WY 83101. Send electronic mail to: 
comments-intermtn-bridger-teton_kemmerer@fs.fed.us and on the subject 
line put only ``Kemmerer Grazing Allotments.'' 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 respondent with 
standing to appeal the subsequent decision.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary Dean, Rangeland Management 
Specialist, Kemmerer Ranger District, 308 U.S. Highway 189 North, 
Kemmerer, WY 83101 (307-877-4415), gdean@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 a.m. and 8 
p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose of this analysis is to determine if continued livestock 
grazing is appropriate within the project area. If livestock grazing is 
re-authorized then the adaptive management strategies under which 
grazing would be managed to maintain or achieve desired conditions and 
meet Forest Plan objectives. Desired conditions are defined by the 
Bridger Teton Land and Resource Management Plan, Forest Service Manual, 
and applicable laws. This effort is undertaken to comply with the 1995 
Rescissions Act (Pub. L. 104-19).

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is to continue to authorize livestock grazing 
on 15 allotments within the project area with updated livestock grazing 
and rangeland vegetation management direction. Resource desired 
conditions are identified. Grazing practices addressing frequency of 
grazing and of rest from grazing will be guided by the amount and 
diversity of vegetation given the capability of soils, as well as 
indicators of soil quality such as amount of ground cover, sign of 
active erosion and healing of headcuts. Other Best Management Practices 
addressing the timing, duration, and in specific settings the 
intensity, of use are identified. Adaptive management is part of the 
proposed action. Identified are: Criteria to guide management, 
predetermined optional courses of action used to make adaptive changes 
in management over time, and the focused monitoring which provides the 
basis for adjusting management to attain desired resource conditions. 
One last element of rangeland vegetation management, non-structural 
improvements, is included. Allotment Management Plans will become part 
of a re-issued term grazing permit and contain the livestock grazing 
and rangeland vegetation management direction identified by the 
Responsible Official's decision.

Possible Alternatives

    To date the Bridger Teton National Forest has identified two 
alternatives to the proposed action: (A) No Domestic Livestock Grazing, 
and (B) Continuation Of Current Livestock Management. Alternative A 
would eliminate livestock grazing on the project area over the next 
five years. This alternative will demonstrate the effects of 
eliminating livestock grazing on the environment and more clearly 
illustrate the potential effects of implementing any grazing and 
rangeland vegetation management alternative. Alternative B would 
continue current grazing management practices including annual 
adjustments in authorized livestock numbers and season.

Responsible Official

    The official responsible for this proposed action is the Kemmerer 
District Ranger, Kemmerer Ranger District, Bridger-Teton National 
Forest, 308 U.S. Highway 189 North, Kemmerer, WY 83101.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The decision to be made, based on this analysis, is if livestock 
will be allowed to continue to graze on 15 allotments within the 
project area, and if so, under what management direction. The 
management direction would be either through implementation of the 
proposed action or a grazing alternative to the proposed action.

Preliminary Issues

    Preliminary issues associated with the proposed action include:

[[Page 67836]]

    (1) The amount and diversity of vegetation in some locations are 
less than the current capability of soils.
    (2) Sediment delivery to drainages supporting fisheries, and 
retention of precipitation on uplands, as evidenced by headcutting/
gullies and sign of active erosion.
    (3) Wildlife values within some aspen stands are minimized by a 
lack of diverse aspen age classes; in some locations the diversity of 
herbaceous and shrub species in the understory is also diminished.

Scoping Process

    The first formal opportunity to respond to the proposed action 
listed above is during the public scoping process (40 CFR 1501.7) which 
begins with the issuance of this Notice of Intent. Scoping letters will 
be sent to the forest mailing list of known interested parties and news 
releases will be made encouraging public to provide comments and input 
into the project. The scoping process will assist the forest in 
identifying specific issues to be addressed related to the purpose and 
need and the scope of the decision. Mail comments to the addresses 
given above. Ongoing information related to the proposed action and 
related analysis will be posted on the Bridger-Teton National Forest 
Web site http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/btnf.
    Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent 
Environmental Review: A draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) 
will be prepared for comment. The comment period on the DEIS will be 
for a period of 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 
a DEIS must structure their participation in the environmental review 
of the proposal so that it is meaningful and alerts an agency to the 
reviewers' 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 DEIS 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 (ED. 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 substantive comments 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 DEIS 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 DEIS 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: November 6, 2008.
Tracy Hollingshead,
District Ranger, Kemmerer Ranger District, Bridger-Teton National 
Forest.
[FR Doc. E8-27072 Filed 11-14-08; 8:45 am]

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