Pirate 4x4 banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

Premium Member
1,008 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
[Federal Register: August 30, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 168)]
[Page 50096-50098]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Forest Service

Plumas National Forest, Feather River Ranger District, CA; Flea

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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


SUMMARY: The USDA Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact
statement to disclose the environmental effects resulting from
construction of fuel breaks known as defensible fuel profile zones
(DFPZs); harvest and reforestation of timber stands; restoration and
enhancement of aquatic and riparian habitat; improvement of wildlife
habitat and long term watershed condition; underburning to improve the
health of unique plant communities; and road construction,
reconstruction, and decommissioning.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received
within 30 days of the publication of this notice in the Federal
Register. The draft environmental impact statement is expected by
January 2008, and the final environmental impact statement is expected
by April 2008.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Karen Hayden, District Ranger,
Plumas National Forest, Feather River Ranger District, 875 Mitchell
Ave, Oroville, CA 95965. Comments may be (1) Mailed to the Responsible
Official; (2) hand-delivered between the hours of 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.,
Monday through Friday, excluding holidays; (3) faxed to (530) 532-1210;
or (4) electronically mailed

[[Page 50097]]

to: [email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Zarlengo, Project Leader, Feather
River Ranger District, 875 Mitchell Avenue, Oroville, CA 95965, or call
(530) 532-8932.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Flea Project area is located within the
Feather River Ranger District of the Plumas National Forest in Butte
County. Encompassing approximately 11,000 acres, the project area is
located north and east of Paradise, from De Sabla in the northwest to
Jorbo Gap in the southeast, and north and west of Mayaro and North Fork
of the Feather River in the northeast. Treatment units range in
elevation from 1,600 to 4,300 feet above sea level. Communities in and
near the project area include Paradise, Magalia, DeSabla, Yankee Hill,
Concow, Pulga and Mayaro.
The Flea Project is proposed as part of a broad resource management
program to promote the ecological health of lands and economic health
and stability of communities in the northern Sierra Nevada under the
authority of the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery
Act (HFQLG Act).

Purpose and Need for Action

The Forest Service has identified the following project objectives:
(1) Protect communities and forest ecosystems from high-intensity
wildfires; (2) promote a healthy all-aged, multistoried, fire-resilient
forest; (3) contribute to the stability and economic health of
communities; (4) promote the health of unique plant communities; (5)
promote healthy aquatic and riparian ecosystems, and improve long term
watershed condition; and (6) improve wildlife habitat.

Proposed Action

To achieve project objectives, the Forest Service proposes to
construct approximately 2,007 acres of fuelbreaks known as Defensible
Fuel Profile Zones (DFPZ). A DFPZ is a strategically located strip of
land approximately \1/2\ mile in width on which fuels, both living and
dead, have been modified in order to reduce the potential for sustained
crown fire and to allow fire suppression personnel a safer location
from which to take action against a wildfire. The DFPZs in the Flea
Project would be part of a larger, strategic system of DFPZs on the
Plumas National Forest, adjacent private lands, and other national
Proposed DFPZs are generally located on ridges, along roads, or
adjacent to private property within wildland urban interface with tree
crowns spaced at a distance that reduces the potential for crown fire
spread (generally 40 percent canopy cover). DFPZs would be constructed
through mechanically thinning and biomass removal on approximately 671
acres, mastication on approximately 456 acres, underburning on
approximately 447 acres, and hand cutting, piling, and burning on
approximately 433 acres.
The Forest Service proposes to harvest up to 5 million board feet
of timber from group selection units (228 acres), and DFPZ mechanical
thinning units (546 acres). Group selection involves harvest of trees
less than 30-inches in diameter from small (0.5 to 2 acres) groups.
Over time, this would create an uneven-aged (all-aged) forest made up
of a mosaic of small groups of same-aged trees.
Use of existing and temporary roads would be needed to access group
selection and DFPZ treatment areas. An estimated 13.4 miles of existing
road would be reconstructed with 0.45 additional miles of new
classified road construction and 4.5 miles of new temporary spur
construction. An estimated 9.5 miles of system roads would be
decommissioned or closed by various methods, such as ripping and
seeding, re-contouring, and installing barriers. Future use of all
other roads and user-developed OHV routes in the Flea Project area
would be determined by the Plumas National Forest's travel management
process. Improve the health of serpentine plant communities through the
use of prescribed fire. Underburn approximately 100 acres included as
DFPZ treatment.
Aquatic and riparian restoration projects include restoring and
enhancing aquatic, native plant, and riparian habitat and improving
long term watershed condition by decommissioning 9.5 miles of system
roads, replacing or upgrading three culverts to restore aquatic species
passage to approximately 5 miles of upstream habitat; and stabilizing
stream channels and banks.
Habitat for northern goshawk would be improved by enhancing tree
growth and health, and by creating a more desirable open understory on
84 acres included as DFPZ treatment.

Responsible Official

Karen L. Hayden, District Ranger, 875 Mitchell Ave., Oroville, CA
95965 is the Responsible Official. The Forest Service intends to use
Stewardship contracting authority to apply the value from timber
harvest to offset costs of fuel treatments.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

The Responsible Official will decide whether to implement this
proposal, an alternative design that moves the project area towards the
desired conditions, or not to implement any project at this time.

Scoping Process

Public questions and comments regarding this proposal are an
integral part of this environmental analysis process. Comments will be
used to identify issues and develop alternatives to the proposed
action. To assist the Forest service in identifying and considering
issues and concerns related to the proposed actions, comments should be
as specific as possible.
Information about the proposed action will be mailed to the
adjacent landowners, as well as to those people and organizations that
have indicated a specific interest in the project, to Native American
entities, and federal, state, and local agencies. The public will be
notified of any meetings regarding this proposal by mailings and press
releases sent to local newspapers and media. A community meeting in the
project area is planned for January 2008, although specific information
is not available at this time.

Preliminary Issues

The following preliminary issues have been identified for this
proposal: (a) Impacts of ground disturbing activities on watershed
condition, (b) impacts of activities on highly erodible soils, (c)
economic feasibility of the project due to high treatment and
regeneration costs, and (d) impacts of activities on habitat used by
the California spotted owl and northern goshawk. Continued analysis
will determine the relevance of these preliminary issues. Additional
issues may be identified during the scoping process.

Permits or Licenses Required

No federal permits, licenses, or entitlements are necessary to
implement the proposed project. State requirements, based on federal
laws, and administered by the County Agricultural Commissioner for air
quality management will be followed. These requirements include burning
only on permissive burn days or receiving a special variance prior to
ignition. Smoke permits are required from the Northern Sierra and
Feather River Air Quality Management Districts (AQMD) prior to any
understory or pile burning. Timber Harvest Activity Waivers are
required from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.

[[Page 50098]]

Comment Requested

This notice of intent initiates the scoping process which guides
the development of the environmental impact statement. The public is
encouraged to take part in the process and is encouraged to visit with
Forest Service officials at any time during the analysis and prior to
the decision. The Forest Service will be seeking information, comments,
and assistance from Federal, State, and local agencies and other
individuals or organizations that may be interested in, or affected by,
the proposed vegetation management activities.
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 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 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.

Dated: August 21, 2007.
Karen L. Hayden,
District Ranger.
[FR Doc. 07-4253 Filed 8-29-07; 8:45 am]

1 - 2 of 2 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.