[Federal Register: October 16, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 201)]
[Notices]               
[Page 61396]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr16oc08-29]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests; Santa Rosa Ranger District; 
Martin Basin Rangeland Management Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; 
Corrected.

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SUMMARY: The Santa Rosa Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe 
National Forest will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on 
a proposal to authorize continued livestock grazing on National Forest 
System (NFS) lands within the boundaries administered by the Santa Rosa 
Ranger District. The Project Area is located in Humboldt County, 
Nevada.
    The preparation of this EIS is needed because the Record of 
Decision issued on June 2, 2006, for the Martin Basin Rangeland 
Management Project was appealed, and following review, the decision was 
reversed. A new EIS is being prepared to completely replace the Draft 
EIS released in 2004 and the Final EIS released in 2005.

DATES: The new Draft EIS is expected to be released for public review 
and comment in December of 2008 and the new Final EIS is expected to be 
released in February of 2009.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Jose Noriega, District Ranger, 
Santa Rosa Ranger District, 1200 East Winnemucca Blvd., Winnemucca, NV 
89445.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: For further information, mail 
correspondence to or contact Jose Noriega, District Ranger, Santa Rosa 
Ranger District, 1200 East Winnemucca Blvd., Winnemucca, NV 89445. The 
telephone number is: 775-623-5025, extension 5. E-mail address is: 
jnoriega@fs.fed.us.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Initiation of the Martin Basin Rangeland Project began in 2002 with 
the original Notice of Intent published in the Federal Register on 
December 30, 2002 (Vol. 67, Number 250). The Draft EIS was released in 
May of 2004 for a 135 day comment period. The Final EIS was released in 
June of 2005 and a 45 day comment period was also provided at that 
time. The Record of Decision for this project was issued on June 2, 
2006, by then Forest Supervisor, Robert L. Vaught.
    The Record of Decision for the Martin Basin Rangeland Project was 
appealed to the Intermountain Regional Forester. On September 6, 2006, 
the Regional Forester issued a decision on the appeal and remanded the 
decision back to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest for additional 
analysis.
    A Notice of Intent to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact 
Statement was published in the Federal Register on February 26, 2007 
(Vol. 72, Number 37). That NOI estimated that the Draft Supplemental 
EIS would be released for review and comment on April 2007 and the 
Final Supplemental EIS would be completed by July 2007. This Corrected 
NOI provides notice that a new EIS is being prepared instead of a 
supplement to the 2005 Final EIS. This notice also updates the 
estimated dates for release of the new Draft and Final EISs, and 
provides additional information on the Proposed Action and Possible 
Alternatives.

Proposed Action

    The Proposed Action, as outlined in the Final ETS released in 2005, 
will be refined and include additional details. Specifically, the 
Proposed Action would reduce the maximum utilization on forage to 45 
percent for riparian areas and 50 percent for uplands. It would also 
apply a set of proper use criteria (for example, utilization, 
streambank disturbance) to each allotment based on its ecological 
condition (functioning, functioning-at-risk, or non-functioning). The 
ecological condition of the allotments would continue to be evaluated 
through a long-term monitoring process. If long-term monitoring 
indicates the ecological condition of the allotment has changed, then 
the set of proper use criteria associated with that ecological 
condition would be applied to the allotment.

Possible Alternatives

    In addition to the Proposed Action, two additional alternatives 
have been identified from analysis in the EIS:
    1. Current Management Alternative: Continue current grazing 
management.
    2. No Grazing Alternative: Do not issue new grazing permits when 
existing permits expire.

Scoping Process

    The scoping period for this EIS was formally initiated in December 
of 2002 when the original Notice of Intent for this project was 
published in the Federal Register (December 30, 2002; volume 67, Number 
250).
    While no additional scoping periods are planned prior to the 
release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, those wishing to 
submit comments may do so at the address listed above for District 
Ranger Jose Noriega.

Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent 
Environmental Review

    A new Draft Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared for 
comment. The comment period on the new Draft EIS will be 45 days from 
the date that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes the 
Notice of Availability (NOA) in the Federal Register.
    It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times 
and in such a way that they are useful to the Agency's preparation of 
the EIS. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of 
the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer's 
concerns and contentions. The submission of timely and specific 
comments can affect a reviewer's ability to participate in subsequent 
administrative review or judicial review.
    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 participate in subsequent 
administrative review or judicial review.

(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 
1909.15, Section 22.3)

    Dated: September 19, 2008.
Edward C. Monnig,
Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. E8-24366 Filed 10-15-08; 8:45 am]

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