Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The dates and locations for the public scoping workshops are:
1. February 23, 2009, 7 - 9 p.m., Best Western, 1010 S Hwy 95, Riggins, ID 83549.
2. February 24, 2009, 7 - 9 p.m., Nez Perce National Forest, Supervisor's Office, 104 Airport Road, Grangeville, ID 83530.
3. February 25, 2009, 7 - 9 p.m., Clearwater National Forest, Supervisor's Office, 12730 Highway 12, Orofino, ID 83544.
4. February 26, 2009, 7 - 9 p.m., Idaho Fish and Game, 3316 16th St., Lewiston, ID 83501.
5. March 3, 2009, 7 - 9 p.m., Forest Service's Public Lands Center (Hwy 93 S), 1206 S. Challis St., Salmon, ID 83467.
Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538) and implementing regulations prohibit the taking of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. The term “take” is defined under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)) as harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. “Harm” is further defined by FWS regulation to include significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, and sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). NMFS' definition of “harm” includes significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures fish or wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, spawning, migrating, rearing, and sheltering (50 CFR 222.102). Although Section 9 prohibits the taking of listed species, the ESA provides opportunities for authorized take if specified conditions are met.
The State of Idaho is seeking to enter into an Agreement with the Services as part of a settlement agreement resulting from the Snake River Basin Adjudication (SRBA). The Snake River Water Rights Act of 2004 directs the heads of Federal agencies to execute and perform all actions necessary to carry out the terms of the SRBA settlement agreement, which are set forth in a document entitled “Mediator's Term Sheet.” The Term Sheet includes a provision for the negotiation of a Cooperative Agreement under Section 6 of the ESA to address forest management activities on State and private lands in the Salmon and Clearwater River basins that may affect federally listed fish species. The Term Sheet identifies specific forest management prescriptions for inclusion in the Cooperative Agreement and directs that the Agreement “not vary materially” from those prescriptions. The Term Sheet prescriptions thus form the basis for the State's proposed forest management program. However, the Services must determine that the State's proposed program is consistent with the standards and requirements contained in the ESA prior to entering in the Agreement. If the Services determine that the State's proposed program does not meet the requirements of the ESA, then the Services either will not sign the Agreement or will work with the State to modify the proposed program so that it does meet the standards of the ESA. The Term Sheet and the State's Program document can be viewed at
The Services are considering entering into an Agreement with the State of Idaho for the purpose of implementing a conservation program for salmon, steelhead, and bull trout as part of the Idaho Forestry Program. Under the proposed Agreement, the State of Idaho is seeking incidental take coverage for five listed fish species: (1) the Snake River sockeye salmon (
The Agreement would apply to State and private forest lands in the Salmon River and Clearwater River basins. The need for this action is: (1) to fulfill the Services' duties under the Snake River Water Rights Act of 2004; (2) to provide
The Idaho Forestry Program includes the following forest management activities: timber harvest, stand improvement, prescribed fire, site preparation and tree planting, road construction, road reconstruction, road maintenance, and road abandonment. To minimize the impacts of these activities on listed fish species and their habitat, the Idaho Forestry Program also includes riparian- and road-related conservation measures. The riparian measures would regulate timber harvest and road-building adjacent to streams. The road measures would regulate road maintenance, road upgrades, road construction, and other aspects of road management. Key conservation measures would include Riparian Protection Zones adjacent to fish-bearing streams and the elimination of major sources of sediment delivery to streams from the existing forest road system on enrolled lands.
The term of the proposed Agreement for the Idaho Forestry Program is 30 years (as specified in the Term Sheet) and would cover forest management activities on up to 1.5 million acres of land, located mostly in the Clearwater River Basin but also scattered throughout the Salmon River Basin. Throughout the 30-year period, the Services must annually reconfirm that the Idaho Forestry Program is an adequate and active program for the conservation of listed species.
The Term Sheet expressly directs the Services to comply with the procedural requirements of NEPA in conjunction with the proposed Agreement. NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321
The EIS will identify potentially significant direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on land use, air quality, water quality, water resources, socioeconomics, and other environmental issues that could occur with implementation of the proposed action and alternatives.
The Services have identified the following preliminary alternatives for public evaluation during the scoping period:
The Services may also consider alternatives that provide for greater restrictions on forest management activities than the proposed Idaho Forestry Program and alternatives that provide fewer restrictions on forest management activities than the Idaho Forestry Program. Additional project alternatives may be developed based on input received during the public scoping process.
The primary purpose of the scoping process is for the public to assist the Services in developing the EIS by identifying important issues and alternatives related to the proposed action. The scoping workshops will allocate time for presentations by the Services and the State of Idaho, followed by informal questions, comments, and discussions.
Written and verbal comments from interested parties are welcome to ensure that the full range of issues related to the environmental and social effects of implementing the Idaho Forestry Program under the Agreement are identified. All comments and materials received, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and may be released to the public.
Comments and materials received will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the offices listed in the
The Services request that public comments be specific. In particular, we request information regarding: direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts that implementation of the proposed Idaho Forestry Program or other alternatives could have on listed species and their habitats; possible alternatives; potential adaptive management and/or monitoring provisions; funding issues; existing environmental conditions in the project area; other plans or projects that might be relevant to this proposed project; acreage that should be covered; specific species that should or should not be covered; specific landforms that should or should not be included in the analyses; and minimization and mitigation measures. The Services estimate that the draft EIS will be available for public review in the winter of 2010.
The environmental review of this project will be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the NEPA of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321
Persons needing reasonable accommodation to attend and participate in one of the public meetings should contact Ken Troyer (see