Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
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None of the wells in the project area would be used as a domestic water source. Each well would need to be accessed by large trucks to accomplish the well plugging operation.
Because it would be necessary to drive both National Forest System and abandoned roads with large trucks to plug the wells, these roads would need to be improved (clearing and grading with heavy equipment such as a dozer), drained, and hardened with gravel. Small diameter trees and shrubs growing on the roads would be removed. These improved roads would not be maintained for public motor vehicle use after the wells are plugged.
The use of the abandoned roads to access the wells would be temporary, and these roads would be closed following use. Road closure can include the removal of culverts, installation of berms, re-contouring, loosening of compacted soils, placement of woody debris from surrounding woodland, and planting with native trees, shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers. Where culverts are removed, large rocks or logs would be buried in the ground to provide vertical grade control, preventing erosional head-cuts, or waterfalls from forming and advancing upstream.
Restoration of approximately 2.5 miles of creek and floodplain: Restoration of sections of Sand Lick Fork and its tributaries would involve the use of heavy equipment, such as excavators and dozers, to relocate and reshape the floodplain and stream channel to a more natural condition. Native wildflowers, trees, and shrubs would be planted by hand. Erosion from head-cuts advancing up tributaries would be stopped. Where roads cross streams, the crossings would be designed to accommodate the passage of aquatic organisms.
An electric transmission line managed by East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Inc. follows Sand Lick Fork where the stream restoration is proposed. Trees would not be planted in the sections of right-of-way for the transmission line that overlap the floodplain for Sand Lick Fork to reduce the potential for outages. The utility company would continue to maintain the right-of-way and structures needed for the electric transmission line, as outlined in their special use authorization issued by the Forest Service for such activities.
A mixture of different types of wetlands would be established by using heavy equipment, such as an excavator. This mixture would provide for a variety of hydrologic conditions, which would increase the types of habitat for plants and animals.
Management of National Forest System roads and unauthorized roads: Proposed activities include decommissioning of 1.1 mile of NFSR 212, conversion of 0.6 miles of Powell County Road 212 to Forest Service maintenance, conversion of 3.1 miles of system roads open to highway legal vehicles to administrative use only (includes sections of NFSRs 212, 212A, 2045, 2120 and the section of county road to be transferred to Forest Service maintenance), conversion of 0.9 miles of system road from administrative use only to closed (includes NFSR 2120B and 2120C). Some of these system roads are severely eroded and in poor condition from intense use. The proposed status changes would occur following the completion of other restoration activities that are part of this proposed project.
For those roads where the proposed status is “Administrative Use,” the change would be accomplished by the installation of gates that would close the system road to public use. System roads to be managed for administrative use would be subject to periodic grading, addition of gravel, ditching, culvert cleaning, and replacement. For the system roads where the proposed status is “Closed”, the change would be accomplished by the installation of earthen berms and other barriers, such as guard rails. Erosion occurring on these roads would be controlled by installing culverts, dips, and spreading of gravel.
For system roads where the proposed status is “Decommissioned”, the change would be accomplished during stream and wetland restoration activities. Decommissioning may include culvert removal, addition of buried vertical grade control to stop head-cutting, loosening compacted soil, contouring, adding dips and large woody debris, restoring small wetlands, restoring ephemeral and intermittent stream sections affected by the road, and planting native trees, shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers. Heavy equipment, such as dozers and excavators, would be used to complete this work.
The unauthorized roads would be closed to public vehicle use during the implementation of this project with physical barriers such as gates, rocks, and berms, and by law enforcement action. These roads are temporarily needed for plugging oil wells, and they would be improved with grading and the addition of gravel prior to work commencing.
Unauthorized roads would be obliterated following the accomplishment of the other actions in this proposal. Obliteration may include culvert removal, addition of buried vertical grade control to stop head-cutting, loosening compacted soil, contouring, adding dips and large woody debris, restoring small wetlands, restoring ephemeral and intermittent stream sections affected by the road, and planting native trees, shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers. Heavy equipment, such as dozers and excavators, would be used to complete this work. Rock, soil, and trees from onsite and off-site may be used for these purposes.
The Responsible Official will be deciding to implement or not implement the proposed action or some modification of it that best meets the purpose and need for the project.
To implement the project the Forest Service will have to acquire a Section 401 Permit and a Floodplain Permit from the Kentucky Division of Water. Floodplain permit.
This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides thedevelopment of the environmental impact statement. In addition, members of the public who have in the past requested to be notified of projects of this type or who participated in the Natural Bridge Integrated Resource Management Strategy (IRMS) will be mailed (hardcopy or electronic depending upon their expressed preference) a project description of this proposed action. Also, documents related to this proposed action, including this NOT, will be published on the Forest Web page.
It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times and in such manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.
Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered, however.