[Federal Register: April 7, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 65)]
[Notices]               
[Page 15693-15694]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr07ap09-18]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Bighorn National Forest; Wyoming; Livestock Grazing and 
Vegetation Management EIS; Livestock Grazing and Vegetation Management 
on Six Geographic Areas on the Tongue, Medicine Wheel/Paintrock, and 
Powder River Ranger Districts, Bighorn National Forest, Sheridan, 
Johnson, Washakie, and Big Horn Counties, WY

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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

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SUMMARY: The USDA, Forest Service, will prepare an environmental impact 
statement (EIS) to implement vegetation management strategies on forty 
three (43) domestic livestock grazing allotments, which will result in 
development of new allotment management plans (AMPs). On portions of 
the analysis area, fuel management in forested and sagebrush/grassland 
communities is being analyzed. The agency gives notice of the full 
environmental analysis and decision-making process so that interested 
and affected people are aware of how they may participate in the 
process and contribute to the final decision.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by May 7, 2009. Based on past actions of this type, the Responsible 
Official has determined that an environmental impact statement will be 
prepared for this project. The draft environmental impact statement is 
expected January 2010 and the final environmental impact statement is 
expected September 2010.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to William T. Bass, Bighorn National 
Forest Supervisor, 2013 Eastside Second Street, Sheridan, Wyoming 
82801. Comments may also be sent via e-mail to comments-
bighorn@fs.fed.us or via facsimile to 307-674-2668.
    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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurie Walters-Clark, 
Interdisciplinary Team Leader, Bighorn National Forest, phone (307) 
674-2627.
    Individuals who use telecommuni- cation 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: This NOI corrects two past notices: Beaver 
Creek NOI (5/16/07) and Goose Creek NOI (5/29/08). These allotments are 
being included in this analysis. All comments received on Beaver Creek 
or Goose Creek will be retained for this analysis.
    The 43 allotments to be analyzed are located in the Shell Creek, 
Paintrock Creek, Goose Creek, Little Bighorn River, Piney Creek/Rock 
Creek, and Tensleep geographic areas as mapped by the 2005 Bighorn 
National Forest Revised Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest 
Plan). Only National Forest System lands (NFS) within the Bighorn 
National Forest will be considered in the proposal. The purpose of the 
analysis is to determine if livestock grazing will continue on the 
analysis area. If the decision is to continue livestock grazing, 
management strategies outlining how livestock are to graze will be 
developed to assure implementation of Forest Plan management direction. 
The analysis will consider actions that continue to improve trends in 
vegetation, watershed conditions, and ecological sustainability 
relative to livestock grazing and fire and fuel management within the 
allotments. Management actions are proposed to be implementated 
beginning in the year 2011. The Forest Plan identified livestock 
grazing as an appropriate use and made initial determinations for lands 
capable and suitable for grazing by domestic livestock. The Forest Plan 
also identified fuel management activities as appropriate, where needed 
to maintain or restore ecosystem health.
    The 43 allotments involved are: Antelope Ridge Sheep and Goat, 
Bear/Crystal Creek Sheep and Goat, Beaver Creek Sheep and Goat, Finger 
Creek Cattle and Horse, Grouse Creek Sheep and Goat, Hunt Mountain 
Sheep and Goat, Little Horn Sheep and Goat, Red Canyon Cattle and 
Horse, Red Canyon Sheep and Goat, Sunlight Mesa Cattle and Horse, 
Whaley Creek Sheep and Goat, Wiley-Sundown Cattle and Horse, Matthews 
Ridge Cattle and Horse, South Park Cattle and Horse, Big Goose Cattle 
and Horse, Little Goose Cattle and Horse, Little Goose Canyon Cattle 
and Horse, Walker Prairie Cattle and Horse, Rapid Creek Cattle and 
Horse, Stull Lakes Cattle and Horse, Tourist Horse Special Use Permit, 
Fisher Mountain Cattle and Horse, Little Horn Cattle and Horse, Red 
Springs Cattle and Horse, Sage Basin Cattle and Horse, Wyoming Gulch 
Cattle and Horse, Dry Fork Ridge Cattle and Horse, Lake Creek Cattle 
and Horse, Lower Dry Fork Cattle and Horse, West Pass Cattle and Horse, 
Rock Creek Cattle and Horse, Baby Wagon Sheep and Goat, Dry Tensleep 
Cattle and Horse, Garnet Creek Sheep and Goat, Hazelton Sheep and Goat, 
Leigh Creek Sheep and Goat, McLain Lake Sheep and Goat, Monument Cattle 
and Horse, North Canyon Cattle and Horse, South Canyon Cattle and 
Horse, Tensleep Canyon Cattle and Horse, Upper Meadows Sheep and Goat, 
and Willow Sheep and Goat. The proposed fire and fuel management 
actions all occur within the above allotment boundaries.

[[Page 15694]]

Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose of this project is to determine if livestock grazing 
will continue to be authorized on the allotments, and if it is to 
continue, how to best utilize adaptive management strategies to 
maintain or achieve desired conditions and meet forest plan objectives. 
Livestock grazing is currently occurring on most of the allotments 
under existing allotment management plans (AMPs) and through direction 
provided in the Annual Operating Instructions (AOI).

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is to continue livestock grazing using adaptive 
management strategies to meet or move toward meeting Forest Plan and 
allotment-specific desired conditions. This may include changing 
livestock management strategies as well as construction of additional 
range improvements (fences and water developments). The proposed action 
also includes the use of various fuel management methods within 
portions of some allotments.

Possible Alternatives

    Two additional alternatives have been identified to date: (1) No 
action; remove livestock grazing from these allotments and no 
additional fire and fuel management actions over what are already 
approved, and (2) No change; continuance of current management 
strategies.

Responsible Official

    The District Rangers that administer the term grazing permis are 
the responsible officials. They are: Clarke McClung, Tongue Ranger 
District, Bighorn National Forest, 2013 Eastside 2nd Street, Sheridan, 
Wyoming 82801, Dave Sisk, Medicine Wheel/Paintrock Ranger District, 604 
East Main Street, Lovell, Wyoming 82431, and Mark Booth, Powder River 
Ranger District, 1415 Fort Street, Buffalo, Wyoming 82834.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The Responsible Officials will consider the results of the analysis 
and its finding and then document the final decision in one or more 
Records of Decision (ROD). The decisions will determine whether or not 
to authorize livestock grazing, adaptive management strategies, design 
criteria, monitoring and fuel management activities on all, part, or 
none of the allotments, and if so, what adaptive management design 
criteria, adaptive options, and monitoring will be implemented so as to 
meet or move toward meeting the desired conditions in the defined 
timeframe.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent continues the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. A scoping 
document for this project is planned to be available March 2009.
    It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times 
and in such manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of 
the environmental impact statement. 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 appeal or judicial review.

    Dated: March 27, 2009.
William T. Bass,
Forest Supervisor.
 [FR Doc. E9-7558 Filed 4-6-09; 8:45 am]

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