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UFWDA Community Forum  |  Regional Focus - News and Local Events  |  Northwest  |  Topic: Mt - Watershed on the Gallatin National Forest and City of Bozeman Lands, MT « previous next »
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Author Topic: Mt - Watershed on the Gallatin National Forest and City of Bozeman Lands, MT  (Read 440 times)
Todd Ockert
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« on: August 12, 2007, 09:23:18 am »

[Federal Register: August 13, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 155)]
[Notices]               
[Page 45217-45218]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr13au07-28]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Fuel Reduction Activities Within the City of Bozeman's Municipal
Watershed on the Gallatin National Forest and City of Bozeman Lands, MT
Gallatin National Forest; Gallatin County, MT

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Revised notice; intent to prepare environmental impact
statement. The original notice was published in the Federal Register/
Vol. 70, No. 200, October 18, 2005/notices, pages 60488-60489.

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

SUMMARY: On October 18, 2005, the USDA Forest Service announced its
intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to disclose
the environmental effects of a proposed fuels reduction project in the
municipal watershed of the City of Bozeman, Montana. This Revised
Notice is being published because the projected date of June, 2006 for
filing the Draft EIS with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) was not met and the Draft EIS is now expected to be filed in
September of 2007.
    The project's purpose and need is to begin reducing the potential
severity and extent of future wildland fires in the Bozeman and Hyalite
Municipal Watersheds, begin creating vegetation and fuel conditions
that will reduce the risk of excess sediment and ash reaching the
municipal water treatment plant in the event of a severe wildland fire,
begin creating vegetation and fuel conditions that will provide for
firefighter and public safety by modifying potential fire behavior, and
reduce fuel conditions in the wildland/urban interface (WUI). A range
of 3 to 5 alternatives are targeted for consideration in this planning
process.

DATES: Initial comments on this proposal were received by November 11,
2005.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be sent to Jim Devitt, Gallatin
National Forest Supervisors Office, P.O. Box 130, Bozeman, Montana
59771-0130.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Devitt, Bozeman Municipal
Watershed Project Interdisciplinary Team Leader, Gallatin National
Forest Supervisors Office, (406) 587-6749.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The need of this project, as identified by
the Gallatin National Forest and the City of Bozeman, is to maintain a
high-quality, long term, and predictable water supply for Bozeman area
residents. The Bozeman Municipal Watershed analysis area is a landscape
dominated by steep canyons and timbered slopes. The two drainages are
very popular and receive heavy use for outdoor recreation activities
such as pleasure driving, hiking, biking, camping, picnicking, fishing,
and hunting, to name a few. The Bozeman Municipal Water project will
apply to portions of National Forest System Lands and City of Bozeman
land within the Bozeman and Hyalite Watersheds. There are several homes
and sub-divisions within one half mile of the forest boundary or within
the WUI. Fire simulation models showed that a large fire started in
either Bozeman Creek or Hyalite Creek could easily burn into the
adjacent drainage, resulting in a situation where both major sources of
city water supply are simultaneously impacted. The Forest Service and
City of Bozeman believe it is timely to begin addressing this project's
purpose. The purpose and need for this project would be achieved by:
(1) Partial harvesting and thinning in about 2,200 acres of mature
timber stands. Ground based, skyline, and helicopter harvest systems
would be used to implement this harvest and thinning.
    (2) Mechanical cutting and piling of younger, small diameter trees
on about 1,150 acres. Hand piling would be used in some places.
    (3) Prescribed burning in the thinned stands after harvest or
cutting.
    (4) Broadcast burning in less dense stands of timber.
    To facilitate public comment, the Forest Service prepared a scoping
document. This document identified one possible set of treatment
options and can be viewed on the Gallatin National Forest Web site at
http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/gallatin. A copy can also be obtained by calling or

writing the contact person identified above.
    The Draft EIS was originally expected to be filed with the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and available for public review
in June of 2006. That time period was not met and the Draft EIS is now
expected to be filed with the EPA in September of 2007. At that time,
the EPA will publish a Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS in the
Federal Register. The comment period on the Draft EIS is estimated to
be 45 days from the date the EPA's notice of availability appears in
the Federal Register. The Final EIS is scheduled for completion in the
spring of 2008.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues,
comments should be specific to concerns associated with fuel reduction
activities within a municipal watershed. 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 structuring comments.
    The Forest Service believes, at this 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 during comment periods provided so that substantive
comments and objections are made available to the Forest Service at a
time when they can meaningfully consider them. To assist the Forest
Service in identifying and considering issues, comments should be
specific to concerns associated with the management of roads and trails
on the Gallatin National Forest. 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 structuring comments.

[[Page 45218]]

    I am the responsible official for this Environmental Impact
Statement and the ultimate decision for a Bozeman Watershed Project. My
address is Forest Supervisor, Gallatin National Forest, P.O. Box 130,
Federal Building, Bozeman, MT 59771.

    Dated: August 3, 2007.
John Allen,
Deputy Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 07-3922 Filed 8-10-07; 8:45 am]

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