[Federal Register: March 12, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 47)]
[Notices]               
[Page 10709-10710]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr12mr09-24]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Galena Project, Malheur National Forest, Grant County, OR

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The USDA Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact 
statement (EIS) to disclose environmental effects on a proposed action 
to improve forest health and reduce the fire hazard within the Vinegar 
Creek and Little Boulder/Deerhorn Creek subwatersheds. The Galena 
Project planning area, located approximately 2 miles west of Bates, 
Oregon, encompasses approximately 38,200 acres of National Forest 
System Lands administered by the Blue Mountain Ranger District, Malheur 
National Forest.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by April 13, 2009. The draft environmental impact statement is expected 
August, 2009 and the final environmental impact statement is expected 
December, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to the Responsible Official, Doug 
Gochnour, Forest Supervisor, Malheur National Forest, 431 Patterson 
Bridge Road, P.O. Box 909, John Day, Oregon 97845. Comments may also be 
sent via e-mail to comments-pacificnorthwest-malheur@fs.fed.us or via 
facsimile to 541-575-3002.
    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: Eric Wunz, Project Manager, Malheur 
National Forest, 431 Patterson Bridge Road, P.O. Box 909, John Day, 
Oregon, telephone 541-575-3167, e-mail ewunz@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 and need of the Galena project is to improve the forest 
health and reduce the fire hazard within the Vinegar Creek and Little 
Boulder/Deerhorn Creek subwatersheds.

Proposed Action

    This action includes precommercial thinning on approximately 2,800 
acres, commercial harvest on approximately 6,900 acres, and 
underburning on approximately 24,000 acres. Harvest methods would 
include ground-based and skyline logging systems. Several roads are to 
be relocated out of riparian areas, resulting in new road construction 
in some locations. Other road activities include maintenance and 
reconstruction of existing roads, opening and re-closing existing 
closed roads, and building short temporary roads that are to be 
decommisioned after use. No commercial harvest or road construction is 
proposed within Appendix C Inventoried Dixie Butte and Vinegar Hill-
Indian Rock Roadless Areas. Two Forest Plan amendments would be 
included that would allow reduction of satisfactory cover on 128 acres 
in the warm dry forest type and to add additional designated and 
replacement old growth stands to meet current Forest Plan standards.

Possible Alternatives

    Alternatives will include the proposed action, no action, and 
additional alternatives that respond to issues generated during the 
scoping process. The agency will give notice of the full environmental 
analysis and decision-making process to interested and affected people 
may participate and contribute to the final decision.

Responsible Official and Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The Responsible Official is Doug Gochnour, Forest Supervisor of the

[[Page 10710]]

Malheur National Forest, 431 Patterson Bridge Road, P.O. Box 909, John 
Day, OR 97845. The Responsible Official will decide if the proposed 
project will be implemented and will document the decision and reasons 
for the decision in a Record of Decision. That decision will be subject 
to Forest Service Appeal Regulations. The responsibility for preparing 
the DEIS and FEIS has been delegated to Brooks Smith, District Ranger, 
Blue Mountain Ranger District.

Preliminary Issues

    Preliminary issues identified include the potential effect of the 
proposed action on: Soils, water quality and fish habitat, snags and 
down wood, disturbance to cultural resources, potential for noxious 
weed expansion, threatened, endangered and sensitive aquatic, 
terrestrial and plant species, potential loss of economic value of 
trees damaged by insects or wildfire, and the safety and use of the 
area by public and land managers.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. Public 
participation will be especially important at several points during the 
analysis, beginning with the scoping process (40 CFR 1501.7). Initial 
scoping began with the project listed in the 2009 Winter Edition of the 
Malheur National Forest's Schedule of Proposed Actions. A Public 
meeting has been planned for April 8, 2009 to discuss the project. 
Also, correspondence with tribes, government agencies, organizations, 
and individuals who have indicated their interest will be conducted.
    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 6, 2009.
Doug Gochnour,
Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. E9-5364 Filed 3-11-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-11-P