Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names andaddresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for thisproposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted andconsidered; however, anonymous comments will not provide the respondent withstanding to appeal the subsequent decision.
Separate RODs for revised Forest Plans were issuedin July 2003 for the Boise, Payette, and Sawtooth NFs. The RODs implementedAlternative 7, as identified in the single 2003 final EIS that disclosed theenvironmental effects of the seven alternatives. Forest Implementation of thethree revised Forest Plans began in September 2003.
On September 14, 2007, the Forest Service published an NOT to prepare an EISto disclose the environmental effects of proposed nonsignificant amendments tothe three SWIE 2003 Forest Plans (
This vegetative baseline update and integration into the WCS analysisprocesses will be completed in the winter of 2009 and incorporated into thedraft EIS for the forested biological community, to be released spring 2009, along with important new information concerning wildlife species and theirhabitat relationships. Consequently, this NOT is being corrected to reflect adelay of more than a year in filing the draft EIS, which was originallyexpected to be available in mid- to late-winter 2008 (FSH 1909.15, 21.2).
The September 14, 2007, NOT identified that all habitats across majorbiological communities on each of the three NFs would be addressed in a singleenvironmental analysis. However, because the WCS and related amendments mustaddress many species and associated habitats and, therefore, be extremelycomplex, the amendment process has now been divided into four phases, eachwith an individual environmental impact statement. The first phase willaddress the forested biological community, with subsequent phases slated toaddress rangeland; unique combinations of rangeland and forest; andriparian/wetland biological communities. This corrected NOT, which reflectsthe change in the approach to the amendment process, has been prepared for theEIS addressing the forested biological community in the first phase.
To address this need, each Forest Plan included a wildlife objective, WIOB03, to prioritize wildlife habitat to be restored at a mid- or Forest-scale, usinginformation from sources such as species habitat models and fine scaleanalyses. The WCS currently being developed includes a prioritizationframework for implementation of this forest plan direction that managers canuse to help focus limited resources and funds for restoration on areas mostimportant to species of concern.
WCS assessments completed to date indicate that most species of concernassociated with the forested biological community are linked to habitats foundin late-seral multi- or singlestoried montane and lower montane forests, including in some cases “old forest” habitat. Historically, these habitatscontained an abundance of large diameter trees and snags (20 inches diameterat breast height [d.b.h.]) with cavities important to species nesting, foraging or both.
Preliminary findings suggest there has been an overall reduction in theabundance of large trees and snags across most habitats, and the subsequentquality of these habitats, over the last 100 years. Of particular concern isthe
There is a need to reconsider Forest Plan direction in response to newinformation and changed resource conditions:
• Forestwide and management area objectives need to consider the WCS habitatprioritization framework currently being developed.
• Management prescription MPC 5.2 allocations may need to be reallocated tomanagement prescriptions with desired conditions consistent with habitatconservation, maintenance and restoration.
• Forest plan standards and guidelines pertaining to large tree-dominatedhabitat (
• There is a need to evaluate whether Forest Plan direction should be addedthat specifically addresses conservation of the subset of large tree-dominatedhabitat in lower montane forests called “old forest” habitat.
Impacts resulting from increases in human occupancy and use in priorityhabitat areas for species of concern need to be considered.
(1) Develop a Forest Plan Wildlife Conservation Strategy (WCS) that providesthe information needed to improve Forest Plan strategies in a way that focuseslimited funds and resources toward the highest priority habitats and speciesof concern, while minimizing threats to those species or habitats;
(2) Determine if amendments to Forest Plan management direction and/or othercomponents of the three Forest Plans are needed to reflect findings andpriorities identified in the WCS; and
(3) Update the wildlife assessments pertaining to 36 CFR 219.19 (1982), asneeded, to reflect findings in updated analyses supporting the WCS, as well asoutcomes anticipated from implementing the amended Forest Plans.
Beginning in December 2008, information about and status updates of thisamendment process will be available on the Web site,
It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times and insuch manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of the EIS.Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the commentperiod and should clearly articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.The submission of timely and specific comments can affect a reviewer's abilityto participate in subsequent administrative appeal or judicial review.