[Federal Register: January 25, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 15)]
[Notices]               
[Page 3916-3917]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr25ja10-60]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLNVB00000.LF31020NW.JQ0000.LF.HF.JF500000; MO:4500008784; 10-08807; 
TAS:14X1125]

 
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Proposed 3-Bars Ecosystem and Landscape Restoration Project, Eureka 
County, NV

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.

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

SUMMARY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA), as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976 (FLPMA), as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), 
Battle Mountain District, Mount Lewis Field Office, Battle Mountain, 
Nevada, intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and 
by this notice is announcing the beginning of the scoping process to 
solicit public comments and identify issues.

DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process for the EIS. 
Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until February 24, 2010. 
The date(s) and location(s) of any scoping meetings will be announced 
at least 15 days in advance through local new media, newspapers and the 
BLM Web site at: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/battle_mountain_field.html. In order to be considered as part of the Draft EIS, all 
comments must be received prior to the close of the scoping period or 
15 days after the last public meeting, whichever is later. The BLM will 
provide additional opportunities for public participation upon 
publication of the Draft EIS.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on issues related to the proposed 3-
Bars Ecosystem and Landscape Restoration Project by the following 
methods:
     E-mail: 3bars_project@blm.gov.
     Fax: (775) 635-4034, Attention: 3-Bars Project Manager.
     Mail: BLM, Mount Lewis Field Office, Attn: 3-Bars Project 
Manager, 50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, NV 89820.
    Documents pertinent to this project may be examined at the Mount 
Lewis Field Office.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information and/or to have 
your name added to the mailing list, contact Donovan Walker, (775) 635-
4000, or e-mail: 3bars_project@blm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The BLM is proposing to conduct the 3-Bars 
Ecosystem and Landscape Restoration Project located primarily on public 
lands and on non-Federal lands where partnerships exist in Eureka 
County, Nevada. The project area encompasses approximately 724,000 
acres. Individual areas ranging from several acres to several thousand 
acres will be treated with a variety of methods including mechanical, 
fire, biological, chemical and physical, depending on specific project 
and resource management goals and desired outcomes. The project will be 
conducted in conformance with the Shoshone-Eureka Resource Management 
Plan (RMP) and Record of Decision approved February 26, 1986, and its 
subsequent amendments.
    The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant 
issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, 
including alternatives, and guide the process for developing the EIS. 
At present, the BLM has identified the following preliminary issues:
     Multiple key habitats within the sagebrush-steppe are 
declining and in need of restoration, maintenance or protection.
     Key species in multiple vegetative communities are 
declining as species diversity declines with ecological succession.
     Pinyon and juniper species are encroaching in native 
habitats and are expanding into adjacent, non-native habitats causing a 
net loss of important wildlife habitat and fragmentation.
     Greater than 70 percent of key wildlife habitats such as 
sage grouse, mule deer and Lahontan cutthroat trout (LCT) habitat are 
at a high, very high or extreme risk of catastrophic fire.
     Excessive fuel loadings are contributing to catastrophic 
fire potential. Hazardous fuel situations are caused by continuous 
closed canopy stands and excessive ladder fuels.
     Greater than 75 percent of riparian/wetland areas are not 
considered to be in Proper Functioning Condition.
     Less than optimal habitat conditions exist for LCT, a 
Federally listed ``threatened'' species currently occupying two 
streams.
     The project area has an active yearly fire occurrence and 
has had significant catastrophic fires in the recent past. 
Rehabilitation efforts have been less than fully successful as 
evidenced by cheatgrass monocultures in some wildfire scars.
     Range conditions have degraded and native plant 
communities have deteriorated as a result of past livestock management 
practices such as ``hot-season'' grazing or uneven livestock and wild 
horse distribution due to the lack of available water.
     Wild horse populations exceed appropriate management 
levels. The wild horses have poor body conditions as a result of excess 
numbers of wild horses in areas with degraded range conditions, limited 
water sources and restricted distribution. Permanent and temporary 
fences throughout two herd management areas hinder the free roaming 
abilities of wild horses.
     Permitted activities such as livestock grazing, mining and

[[Page 3917]]

exploration and recreational off-highway vehicle use contribute to 
habitat decline in the absence of active management, maintenance and 
restorative activities.
     The distribution and abundance of traditional/edible, 
medicinal plants is declining. There is a continued decrease in pinion 
tree vigor and pine nut production as stand densities increase.
     The unresolved eligibility status and ongoing degradation 
of the National Historic Pony Express Trail which bisects the 3-Bars 
Project Area, needs to be considered and mitigated appropriately in the 
EIS. These and other areas of prehistoric and historic use have not 
been fully recorded or analyzed within the project area.
    The BLM will use the NEPA commenting process to satisfy the public 
involvement requirements for Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470f) as provided for in 36 CFR 
800.2(d)(3). Native American Tribal consultations will be conducted in 
accordance with policy, and Tribal concerns will be given due 
consideration. Federal, State, and local agencies, as well as 
individuals, organizations or tribes that may be interested or affected 
by the BLM's decision on this project are invited to participate in the 
scoping process and, if eligible, may request or be requested by the 
BLM to participate as a cooperating agency.
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Douglas W. Furtado,
Field Manager, Mount Lewis Field Office.
[FR Doc. 2010-1335 Filed 1-22-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-HC-P