[Federal Register: July 31, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 146)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Black Hills National Forest, Hell Canon Ranger District, Custer,
South Dakota--Norbeck Wildlife Project
AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.
ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.
SUMMARY: This project proposes to implement wildlife habitat
improvements on about 6,049 acres within the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve
on the Hell Canyon Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest.
In addition, the project proposes to conduct prescribed burning on
7,391 acres of the Black Elk Wilderness. This project will analyze
effects of these treatments within the constraints of the Black Hills
National Forest Revised Land and Resource Management Plan (BHNF LRMP),
DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis should be received
within 30 days after publication of this notice in the Federal
Register. The draft environmental impact statement is expected in
March, 2008 and the final environmental impact statement is expected
ADDRESSES: Send writhen comments to Michael Lloyd, District Ranger,
Hell Canyon Ranger District, 330 Mt. Rushmore Rod., Custer, South
Dakota 57730. Comment may also be submitted by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
. with ``Norbeck'' as
subject. Electronic comments must be submitted in word (.doc), RichText
(.rtf), or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alice Allen, Project Coordinator,
Blacks Hills National Forest, Hell Canyon Ranger District, at 330 Mt.
Rushmore Rd., Custer, South Dakota 57730, phone (605) 673-4853.
Purpose and Need for Action: The purpose for the proposed action is
to benefit ``game animals and birds'' by improving habitat conditions
in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve. In addition, there is a need to
protect these habitats for game animals and birds in Norbeck from a
wildfire escaping from the Black Elk Wilderness. The EIS will determine
current conditions, analyze environmental consequences of habitat
improvements on those conditions, and assist the decision maker in
selecting management/monitoring strategies consistent with meeting
desired conditions in the BHNF LRMP, including the goals for
``Management Areas 5.4A--Norbeck Wildlife Preserve'' and ``Management
Area 1.1A--Black Elk Wilderness''. The Forest Service seeks to provide
high quality habitat for ``game animals and birds'' in accordance with
the Norbeck Organic Act of June 5, 1920.
Proposed Action: The Norbeck Wildlife Project proposes to manage
vegetation to benefit game animals and birds on about 6,049 acres
within the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve. The project also proposes to use
prescribed fire on 7,391 acres of the Black Elk Wilderness to help
protect these habitats from wildfire escaping from the wilderness. The
Forest Service will evaluate, analyze and determine the effects of the
proposed treatments on Norbeck focus species (Griebel, Burns and Deisch
2007) including mountain goat, bighorn sheep, elk, white-tailed deer,
turkey, bluebird, golden-crowned kinglet, brown creeper, ruffed grouse,
song sparrow, northern goshawk and black-backed woodpecker.
Possible Alternatives: The No Action alternative would not
authorize habitat improvements of any type on any portion of the
project area at this time. Other alternatives may be developed in
response to public comments.
Responsible Official: The Responsible Official for this project is
Michael D. Lloyd, District Ranger, Hell Canyon Ranger District, Black
Hills National Forest, 330 Mt. Rushmore Rd., Custer, South Dakota.
Nature of Decision to be Made: The Forest Service will evaluate the
proposed action and alternatives. After reviewing the proposed action,
the alternatives, the environmental analysis, and considering public
comment, the District Ranger will reach a decision that is in
accordance with the purpose and need for this project. The decision
will include, but not be limited to:
(1) Whether or not to undertake vegetative treatments to improve
habitat conditions for game animals and birds in Norbeck Wildlife
(2) Whether or not to undertake prescribed burning in the Black Elk
Wilderness to protect these habitats from fire escaping from the
(3) If so, what actions are appropriate and under what conditions
actions will take place.
Public Comment: This notice of intent initiates the scoping process
which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. The
District desires to involve interested parties in identifying issues
related to habitat management for game animals and birds. Comments will
help the planning team identify key issues and opportunities to develop
habitat improvements, monitoring strategies, and alternatives.
Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent
Environmental Review: A draft environmental impact statement will be
prepared for comment. The comment period on the draft environmental
impact statement will be 45 days from the date the Environmental
Protection Agency publishes the notice of availability in the Federal
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
draft environmental impact statements 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 environmental impact statement 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
To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft
environmental impact statement 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
environmental impact statement 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 24, 2007.
[FR Doc. 07-3710 Filed 7-30-07; 8:45 am]
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