Author Topic: Wy - Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.  (Read 1245 times)

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[Federal Register: July 23, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 140)]
[Page 40111-40112]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



Forest Service

Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming, Long Term Special Use
Authorization for Wyoming Game and Fish Commission To Use National
Forest Land for Their Winter Elk Management Programs

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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


SUMMARY: The Bridger-Teton National Forest has received a request from
the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission (WGFC) to continue to use certain
facilities on tracts of NFS lands to conduct their elk winter feeding
and related management programs. The proposed action is to issue the
WGFC a Special Use Authorization for the proposed uses of NFS land.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be postmarked
by September 17, 2007. The draft environmental impact statement is
expected in January of 2008 and the final environmental impact
statement is expected in May of 2008.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Carole ``Kniffy'' Hamilton, Forest
Supervisor, Bridger-Teton National Forest, P.O. Box 1888, Jackson, WY
83001. Send electronic mail to:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Greg Clark, District Ranger, Big Piney
Ranger District, P.O. Box 218, Big Piney, WY 83113 (307-276-5810).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: WGFC is the agency responsible for
management of wildlife in the State of Wyoming. WGFC has constructed
structures and utilized segments of land on the

[[Page 40112]]

Bridger-Teton National Forest for more than 50 years to conduct their
winter elk management programs. This use of NFS land has been
authorized in the past by the issuance of permits. The WGFC has
requested long term authorization to continue this established use.

Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose and need for action is to respond to the WGFC request
for long term Special Use Permits. The Special Use Permits would
authorize the proposed intermittent occupancy and use of specified
lands for activities associated with their winter elk management

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is to authorize the continued use of NFS lands
by the WGFC for corrals, sheds, chutes, and feeding grounds associated
with their ongoing winter elk management program. The specific areas
addressed in this action include the following sites:
    (1) Fish Creek.
    (2) Pritchard Creek (Dog Creek).
    (3) Muddy Canyon.
    (4) Fall Creek.
    (5) Alkali Creek.
    (6) Upper Green River.
    (7) Patrol Cabin.

Possible Alternatives

    Three preliminary alternatives have been identified: (1) The no
action alternative--no Special Use Authorization would be issued, (2)
The proposed action--issuance of authorization to the WGFC, and (3)
authorization of the proposed use with modifications.

Lead and Cooperating Agencies

    The Forest Service is the lead agency. WGFC is a cooperating

Responsible Official

    The responsible forest officer for this proposed action is Carole
``Kniffy'' Hamilton, Forest Supervisor, Bridger-Teton National Forest,
340 N. Cache, P.O. Box 1888, Jackson, WY 83001.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The decision to be made is whether or not to authorize, in whole or
in part, use of specific NFS lands by the WGFC for corrals, sheds,
chutes, and feeding grounds associated with their ongoing elk feeding
and management program.

Scoping Process

    The first formal opportunity to respond to the proposed action
listed above is during the public scoping process (40 CFR 1501.7) which
begins with the issuance of this Notice of Intent. Scoping letters will
be sent to the forest mailing list of known interested parties, and
public meetings will be scheduled in Jackson and Pinedale, WY. The time
and place for those meetings will be published in the local papers and
posted on the forest Web site. The scoping process will assist the
forest in identifying specific issues to be addressed related to the
purpose and need and the scope of the decision. Mail comments to the
addresses given above for further information. Ongoing information
related to the proposed action and related analysis will be posted on
the Bridger-Teton National Forest Web site

Preliminary Issues

    Preliminary issues associated with the proposed action include:
    (1) Concentrated use of the specified areas by elk could affect
local habitat due to heavy browsing of willows and other shrubs.
    (2) Concentrated use of the specified areas during warmer spring
days could impact soils due to trampling on the area.
    (3) Importing of hay would increase the possibility of introducing
noxious weeds.

Permits or Licenses Required

    If the decision is to authorize the WGFC to occupy and use National
Forest System lands, it will be done through the issuance of a Special
Use Authorization. (36 CFR part 251 subpart B)

Comment Requested

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process which guides
the development of the environmental impact statement.
    Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent
Environmental Review: A draft environmental impact statement (DEIS)
will be prepared for comment. The comment period on the DEIS will be
for a period of 45 days from the date the Environmental Protection
Agency 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 DEIS 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 DEIS stage but that are not raised until after
completion of the final environmental impact statement may be waived or
dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 1016, 1022
(9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. 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
environmental impact statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the DEIS 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 DEIS or 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. Comments received, including the names and
addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public
record on this proposal and will be available for public inspection.

(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook
1909.15, Section 21)

     Dated: July 12, 2007.
Carole ``Kniffy'' Hamilton,
Forest Supervisor, Bridger-Teton National Forest. 6
 [FR Doc. E7-14152 Filed 7-20-07; 8:45 am]

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