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UFWDA Community Forum  |  Regional Focus - News and Local Events  |  Northwest  |  Topic: Id - Corralled Bear, Clearwater National Forest, Latah County, NOI for EIS « previous next »
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Todd Ockert
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« on: August 02, 2007, 06:55:26 pm »

[Federal Register: July 26, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 143)]
[Notices]               
[Page 41051-41052]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr26jy07-20]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

 
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

PROJECT: Corralled Bear, Clearwater National Forest, Latah County, ID.

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

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

SUMMARY: The USDA, Forest Service, will prepare an Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS) to disclose the environmental effects of timber
harvest, prescribed fire, fuels reduction, watershed restoration, and
access management activities in the Corralled Bear project area on the
Palouse Ranger District of the Clearwater National Forest. The
Corralled Bear project area is located north of the towns of Deary and
Helmer within the East Fork of Big Bear Creek and Corral Creek
drainages, approximately 21 air-miles northeast of the town of Moscow,
Idaho.

DATES: This project was previously scoped in March 2006, and the
comments received will be included in the documentation for the EIS. A
45-day public comment period will follow the release of the draft
environmental impact statement (DEIS) that is expected in September
2007. The final environmental impact statement (FEIS) and Record of
Decision (ROD) is expected in February 2008.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Corralled Bear project area contains
approximately 11,318 acres, which is all National Forest lands except
for 160 acres of private land. The project area is located in portions
of T40N, R1W; T40N, R2W; T41N, R1W; and T41N, R2W, Boise Meridian,
Latah County, Idaho. The proposed actions would occur on National
Forest lands and are all outside the boundaries of any inventoried
roadless area or any areas considered for inclusion to the National
Wilderness System as recommended by the Clearwater National Forest Plan
or by any past or present legislative wilderness proposals.
    Purpose and Need for Action is to: (1) Promote stand productivity,
restore vegetative successional stages to reflect historical patch
sizes and locations, and restore blister rust resistant white pine; (2)
reduce fuel buildup in stands where fire suppression has interrupted
the short-return fire interval and resulted in unnaturally high amounts
of fuel and overgrown understory, and create a more defensible space to
control wildfire on Forest Service land adjacent to private property;
(3) reduce long-term sedimentation to streams caused by existing
unsurfaced roads, and stabilize stream banks made unstable by motorized
vehicles, cattle trailing, and channelization (historic railroad
grades); (4) update fish/water quality standards for Corral Creek in
Appendix K of the Clearwater Forest Plan to better meet the Clean Water
Act standards supporting fisheries and reflect better information

[[Page 41052]]

on fisheries collected in stream surveys; and (5) provide for a
reasonable level of off-highway vehicle (OHV) access, reduce user
conflicts, and provide the necessary resource protection required by
law, regulation, and good stewardship practices.
    The Proposed Action would consist of timber harvest on about 812
acres, using improvement cuts, commercial thinning, and regeneration
harvest methods. Some regeneration harvests could create openings
exceeding 40 acres in size; however, all harvest will retain some
healthy trees and replacement snags for structural diversity. Road
activities associated with the timber sales would include
reconstructing about 2.4 miles of existing roads and constructing 3.6
miles of temporary road (to be decommissioned after harvest activity).
About 8.6 miles of open roads would be treated on each side to reduce
fuel concentrations and ladder fuels. Watershed improvements would
include 8.2 miles of road decommissioning, putting 14.4 miles of
existing roads into intermittent stored service (self-maintaining), and
installation of a rocked cattle crossing. Access management would
consist of designating existing suitable OHV routes for future use and
managing area roads and trails based on a Roads Analysis. Other
components of the proposed action include designating areas to be
managed for old growth and making a Forest Plan Amendment to raise the
fish/water quality standards on Corrall Creek to incorporate better
information on fish and their habitat.
    Possible Alternatives the Forest Service will consider include the
``no action '' alternative in which none of the proposed activities
would be implemented. Additional alternatives being considered include
an alternative that does not build any new roads, an alternative that
does not create any openings by utilizing only intermediate (non-
regeneration) type harvests like thinnings and improvement cuts, an
alternative that promotes patch placement for maximum wildlife and
biological benefits, an alternative that does not include a Forest Plan
Amendment to increase the fish and water standard for Corral Creek, and
an alternative that only includes activities that would help stabilize
watershed conditions, such as road obliteration, stream bank
stabilization and OHV use management.
    The Scoping Process was initiated with the release of a Scoping
Letter on March 29, 2006. Comments received as a result of that effort
will be included in the documentation for the EIS. Additional public
input will be solicited following the release of the DEIS. This
proposal also includes six openings greater than 40 acres in size that
would be created by timber harvest. A 60-day public review of the
proposed openings will be initiated by public notice in the newspaper
of record.
    Preliminary Issues that could be affected by proposed activities
include: Access management, air quality, economic feasibility, fish
habitat, heritage resources, sensitive and management indicator species
of wildlife, sensitive plants, snag habitat, soil productivity, spread
of noxious weeds, tribal treaty rights, and water quality. Issues
expected not to be affected by the proposal include impacts of grazing,
old growth habitat, risk of landslides, and threatened and endangered
wildlife and plant species. Issues identified through previous scoping
and found to be outside the scope of the project or not consistent with
Forest Plan standards include using prescribed fire instead of timber
harvest for vegetative treatments within the E1 management area and
evaluating cattle grazing laws.
    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
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
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 statement.
    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)

    The Responsible Official for this project is the Forest Supervisor
of the Clearwater National Forest, 12730 Highway 12, Orofino, ID 83544.
The Responsible Official will decide if the proposed project will be
implemented and will document the decision and reasons for the decision
in a Record of Decision. That decision will be subject to Forest
Service Appeal Regulations. The responsibility for preparing the DEIS
and FEIS has been delegated to Kara Chadwick, District Ranger, Palouse
Ranger District.

ADDRESSES:  Written comments and suggestions concerning this project
should be sent to: Kara Chadwick, District Ranger, Palouse Ranger
District, 1700 Highway 6, Potlatch, ID 83855 or e-mailed to:
comments-northern-clearwater-palouse@fs.fed.us.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tam White; Project Leader, North Fork
Ranger District, at: twhite@fs.fed.us or phone: (208) 476-4541.

    Dated: July 19, 2007.
Thomas K. Reilly,
Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 07-3653 Filed 7-25-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-11-M
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