[Federal Register: February 18, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 31)]
[Notices]
[Page 7584-7585]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr18fe09-23]

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Ochoco National Forest, Lookout Mountain Ranger District; Oregon;
Big Summit Allotment Management Plan EIS

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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

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SUMMARY: The Ochoco National Forest is preparing an environmental
impact statement (EIS) to analyze the effects of changing grazing
management in five grazing allotments on the Lookout Mountain Ranger
District. These five allotments are: Big Summit, Pringle, Brush Creek,
Lost Horse and North Fork. The proposed action will reauthorize term
grazing permits, make rangeland improvements, manage livestock use and
distribution to facilitate the improvement of riparian conditions,
including streambank stability, riparian vegetation, and water
temperature, and will conduct riparian restoration activities on some
streams in the project area. These actions are needed to achieve and
maintain consistency with the Ochoco National Forest Land and Resource
Management Plan, as amended.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received
by March 20, 2009. The draft environmental impact statement is expected
to be completed and available for public comment in July 2009. The
final environmental impact statement is expected to be completed in
September 2009.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Bill Queen, District Ranger,
Lookout Mountain District, Ochoco National Forest, 3160 NE Third
Street, Prineville, Oregon 97754. Alternately, electronic comments may
be sent to comments-pacificnorthwest-ochoco@fs.fed.us. Electronic
comments must be submitted as part of the actual e-mail message, or as
an attachment in plain text (.txt), Microsoft Word (.doc), rich text
format (.rtf), or portable document format (.pdf).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marcy Boehme, Project Leader, at 3160
NE Third Street, Prineville, Oregon 97754, or at (541) 416-6463, or by
e-mail at mboehme@fs.fed.us.

[[Page 7585]]

    Responsible Official: The responsible official will be Jeff Walter,
Forest Supervisor, Ochoco National Forest, 3160 NE Third Street,
Prineville, Oregon 97754.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Purpose and Need. The purpose of this proposal is to reauthorize
livestock grazing consistent with Forest Plan standards and guidelines.
There is a need to make range improvements and change livestock
management to move towards desired conditions for stream shade and bank
stability. Based on surveys many of the streams in the project area do
not meet the desired condition for shade or bank stability. Livestock
grazing is one of the factors that contribute to low levels of shade
and unstable stream banks. Active riparian restoration activities will
facilitate the achievement of the desired condition.
    Proposed Action. The proposed action includes a variety of
management strategies and activities, including active management of
livestock, creation of riparian pastures, resting of some areas while
riparian resources improve, implementation of deferred rotation grazing
systems, implementation of rest rotation grazing systems, new water
developments, relocation or improvement of existing water developments,
creation of livestock exclosures around riparian areas and/or sensitive
plant locations, protection of heritage resources, planting of riparian
hardwoods, placing logs and rocks in and along stream channels,
protection of riparian vegetation and streambanks, and temporary and
permanent reductions in AUMs.
    Issues. Preliminary issues identified include the potential effect
of the proposed action on livestock grazing, on heritage resources, on
the North Fork Crooked River Wild & Scenic corridor, on sensitive
plants, and on the introduction and/or spread of invasive plants, as
well as the cumulative effects of the proposed action where associated
activities overlap with other management activities.
    Comment. Public comments about this proposal are requested in order
to assist in identifying issues, determine how to best manage the
resources, and to focus the analysis. Comments received to this notice,
including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered
part of the public record on this proposed action and will be available
for public inspection. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted
and considered; however, those who submit anonymous comments will not
have standing to appeal the subsequent decision under 36 CFR parts 215
and 217. Additionally, pursuant to 7 CFR 1.27(d), any person may
request the agency to withhold a submission from the public record by
showing how the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) permits such
confidentiality. Persons requesting such confidentiality should be
aware that, under FOIA, confidentiality may be granted in only very
limited circumstances, such as to protect trade secrets. The Forest
Service will inform the requester of the agency's decision regarding
the request for confidentiality, and where the request is denied, the
agency will return the submission and notify the requester that the
comments may be resubmitted with or without name and address within a
specified number of days.
    A draft EIS will be filed with the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and available for public review by July, 2009. The EPA will
publish a Notice of Availability (NOA) of the draft ETS in the Federal
Register. The final EIS is scheduled to be available September 2009.
The comment period on the draft EIS will be 45 days from the date the
EPA 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 draft EIS must structure their participation in the environmental
review of the proposal so that it is meaningful and alerts an agency to
the reviewer's 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 draft EIS stage but that are not
raised until after completion of the final EIS may be waived or
dismissed by the courts [City of Angoon v. Harris, 490 F. Supp. 1334,
1338 (E.D. 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 EIS.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft EJS 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 draft EIS of 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.
    In the final EIS, the Forest Service is required to respond to
substantive comments received during the comment period for the draft
EIS. The Forest Service is the lead agency and the responsible official
is the Forest Supervisor, Ochoco National Forest. The responsible
official will decide whether and how to reissue grazing permits in the
Big Summit, Pringle, Brush Creek, Lost Horse and North Fork allotments.
The responsible official will also decide how to mitigate impacts of
these actions and will determine when and how monitoring of effects
will take place.
    The Big Summit Allotment Management Plan decision and the reasons
for the decision will be documented in the record of decision. That
decision will be subject to Forest Service Appeal Regulations (35 CFR
Part 215).

    Dated: February 9, 2009.
William R. Queen,
District Ranger.
[FR Doc. E9-3275 Filed 2-17-09; 8:45 am]

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