Author Topic: Lewistown Field Office Greater Sage-Grouse Draft Land Use Plan Amendments  (Read 2004 times)

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Notice of Availability of the Lewistown Field Office Greater
Sage-Grouse Draft Land Use Plan Amendments and Draft Environmental
Impact Statement, Montana

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of
1969, as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of
1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a
Lewistown Field Office (LFO) Greater Sage-Grouse (GRSG) Draft Resource
Management Plan (RMP) Amendment and Draft Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS) for the LFO and by this notice is announcing the
opening of the comment period.

DATES: To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM must receive
written comments on the Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS within 90 days
following the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes notice
of the Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS in the Federal Register. The BLM
will announce future meetings or hearings and any other public
participation activities at least 15 days in advance through public
notices, media releases, and/or mailings.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the LFO GRSG Draft RMP
Amendment/Draft EIS by any of the following methods:
     Web site:
     Fax: 406-538-1904
     Mail: BLM--Greater Sage-Grouse EIS, 920 Northeast Main
St., Lewistown, MT 59457
    Copies of the LFO GRSG Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS are available
at the LFO at the above address or on the Web site at:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Adam Carr, Project Lead, telephone
406-538-1913; see address above; email Persons who use a
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above
individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is

[[Page 67187]]

available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question
with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal
business hours.

Amendment/Draft EIS to address a range of alternatives focused on
specific conservation measures across the LFO range of the GRSG. This
Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS is one of 15 separate planning efforts
undertaken as part of the BLM's and United States Forest Service's
(USFS) National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy. The Draft RMP
Amendment/Draft EIS proposes to amend the RMPs for the LFO. The current
management decisions for resources are described in the following RMPs:

 Judith RMP (1994)
 Headwaters RMP (1984)

    The planning area includes approximately 7.3 million acres of BLM,
USFS, State, local, and private lands located in central Montana, in
five counties (Petroleum, Fergus, Judith Basin, Chouteau and Meagher).
Within the planning area, the BLM administers approximately 593,995
surface acres and 1,113,841 acres of Federal mineral (subsurface)
estate. Management decisions made as a result of this Draft RMP
Amendment/Draft EIS will apply only to the BLM-administered lands and
Federal mineral estate within two categories of habitat identified in
cooperation with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks:
     Preliminary Priority Habitat (PPH)--Areas identified as
having the highest conservation value to maintaining sustainable GRSG
populations; include breeding, late brood-rearing and winter
concentration areas (233,219 surface acres; 281,748 acres of Federal
mineral estate).
     Preliminary General Habitat (PGH)--Areas of seasonal or
year-round habitat outside of priority habitat (112,341 surface acres;
175,848 acres of Federal mineral estate).
    The formal public scoping process for the RMP Amendment/EIS began
on December 9, 2011, with the publication of a Notice of Intent in the
Federal Register (76 FR 77008). Another notice was published in the
Federal Register to extend the scoping period until March 19, 2012. The
BLM held a scoping open house on January 10, 2012. The BLM used public
scoping comments to help identify planning issues that directed the
formulation of alternatives and framed the scope of analysis in the
Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS. The scoping process was also used to
introduce the public to preliminary planning criteria, which set limits
on the scope of the Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS.
    Issues considered in the Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS include GRSG
habitat, energy and mineral development, recreation, travel management,
rights-of-way including transmission, livestock grazing, wildland fire
management, vegetation management, drought and climate change, special
designations, fish and wildlife, socioeconomics and environmental
justice, and agricultural conversion.
    The Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS evaluates four alternatives in
detail, including the No Action Alternative (Alternative A) and three
action alternatives (Alternatives B, C and D). The BLM identified
Alternative D as the preferred alternative.
Identification of this
alternative, however, does not represent final agency direction, and
the Proposed RMP Amendment may reflect changes or adjustments based on
information received during the public comment period, from new
information, or from changes in BLM policies or priorities. The
Proposed RMP Amendment may include objectives and actions described in
the other analyzed alternatives or otherwise within the spectrum of
alternatives analyzed.
    Alternative A would retain the current management goals,
objectives, and direction specified in the current RMPs for the LFO.
Alternative B includes conservation measures from the Sage-Grouse
National Technical Team Report. Alternative C includes conservation
measures various conservation groups submitted to the BLM. Alternative
D includes conservation measures the BLM developed with the cooperating
    Pursuant to 43 CFR 1610.7-2(b), this notice announces a concurrent
public comment period on proposed Areas of Critical Environmental
Concern (ACEC). One ACEC is proposed in Alternative C. The Sage-Grouse
Habitat ACEC (approximately 96,000 acres) would include the following
resource use limitations if it were formally designated:
    Designate as a Right-of-Way exclusion area; close to livestock
grazing; allow vegetation treatments only for the benefit of GRSG; and
recommend for withdrawal from mineral entry.
    Please note that public comments and information submitted
including names, street addresses and email addresses of persons who
submit comments will be available for public review and disclosure at
the above address during regular business hours (7:30 a.m. to 4:30
p.m.), Monday through Friday, except holidays.
    Before including your address, phone number, email 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.

    Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10, 43 CFR 1610.2.

Katherine P. Kitchell,
Acting State Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-26867 Filed 11-7-13; 8:45 am]

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