[Federal Register: January 20, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 12)]
[Notices]               
[Page 3195-3196]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr20ja10-29]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Ochoco National Forest, Lookout Mountain Ranger District; Oregon; 
Mill Creek; Allotment Management Plans 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 four grazing allotments on the Lookout Mountain Ranger 
District. These four allotments are: Cox, Craig, Mill Creek, and Old 
Dry Creek. The proposed action will reauthorize term grazing permits, 
make rangeland improvements, improve transitory range condition, 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

[[Page 3196]]

Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, as amended.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by February 19, 2010. The draft environmental impact statement is 
expected to be completed and available for public comment in June 2010. 
The final environmental impact statement is expected to be completed in 
September 2010.

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: Tory Kurtz, Project Leader, at 3160 
NE. Third Street, Prineville, Oregon 97754, or at (541) 416-6500, or by 
e-mail at tlkurtz@fs.fed.us.
    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, resting of some areas while riparian resources improve, 
implementation of deferred rotation grazing systems, new water 
developments, relocation or improvement of existing water developments, 
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 reductions in AUMs.
    Issues. Preliminary issues identified include the potential effect 
of the proposed action on livestock grazing, on heritage resources, on 
fisheries, 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 June, 2010. The EPA will 
publish a Notice of Availability (NOA) of the draft EIS in the Federal 
Register. The final EIS is scheduled to be available September, 2010.
    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 EIS 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 
Cox, Craig, Mill Creek and Old Dry Creek 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 Mill Creek Allotment Management Plans 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: January 12, 2010.
William R. Queen,
District Ranger.
[FR Doc. 2010-811 Filed 1-19-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-M