[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 140 (Monday, July 21, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 42313-42314]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-16585]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0073]


Sirex Woodwasp; Availability of an Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that an environmental assessment 
has been prepared by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
relative to a proposed biological control program for Sirex woodwasp. 
The environmental assessment documents our review and analysis of 
environmental impacts

[[Page 42314]]

associated with the proposed biological control program. We are making 
this environmental assessment available to the public for review and 
comment.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
August 20, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://
www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/
main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2008-0073 to submit or view comments and 
to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0073, Regulatory Analysis and 
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to 
Docket No. APHIS-2008-0073.
    Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on the 
environmental assessment in our reading room. The reading room is 
located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure 
someone is there to help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.
    Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its 
programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Lynn Evans-Goldner, Staff Officer, 
Emergency and Domestic Programs, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 137, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Sirex woodwasp (Sirex noctilio Fabricius [Hymenoptera: 
Siricidae]) is a member of the horntail wasp family native to Europe, 
Asia, and northern Africa, where it is generally considered to be a 
secondary pest. In its native range, it attacks pines, such as Austrian 
(Pinus nigra), maritime (P. pinaster), and Scotch (P. sylvestris) 
pines, almost exclusively. While stressed trees are most at risk, Sirex 
woodwasp can also attack and kill healthy trees. Adult wasps are strong 
fliers and can naturally disperse up to 25 miles, especially when aided 
by strong winds. Sirex woodwasp can survive transportation in infested 
materials, such as logs, that are moved long distances and then be 
capable of infesting new areas. Because Sirex woodwasp inhabits the 
sapwood and larvae tunnel deep into host trees, this pest is difficult 
to detect with inspection.
    Pines are the main hosts of Sirex woodwasp, which can complete its 
lifecycle on many species of pines. Thus far, in North America, jack 
pine (P. banksiana), red pine (P. resinosa), Scotch pine (P. 
sylvestris), and white pine (P. strobus) have served as hosts for Sirex 
woodwasp. In addition, Sirex woodwasp has been recorded on other 
conifers such as Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga spp.), fir (Abies spp.), 
larch (Larix spp.), and spruce (Picea spp.).
    The first detection of a breeding population of the Sirex woodwasp 
in the United States was in 2004 in Oswego County, NY. As a result of 
surveys conducted in 2005, 2006, and 2007 by State and Federal 
officials, the Sirex woodwasp has been detected in additional counties 
in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
    In an environmental assessment prepared in March 2007, APHIS 
considered a program to control Sirex woodwasp in New York and 
Pennsylvania, the only States where Sirex woodwasp had been detected at 
that time. The environmental assessment evaluated four alternatives: No 
action, a quarantine program, a biological control program, and a 
combination of quarantine and biological control (preferred action) in 
New York and Pennsylvania. A finding of no significant impact was 
signed on June 21, 2007, in which APHIS determined that the proposed 
program (including quarantine and biological control) identified as the 
preferred action would not have a significant impact on the quality of 
the human environment in those States. Since that time, Sirex woodwasp 
has been detected in additional States, and APHIS would like to 
implement a biological control program in those States. In addition, if 
Sirex woodwasp were detected in other States, APHIS would want to 
implement a biological control program in those States, as well. 
Therefore, this environmental assessment considers the potential 
effects on the quality of the human environment from implementing a 
program for control of Sirex woodwasp in all of the currently infested 
States and in surrounding States where Sirex woodwasp would most likely 
be detected if it were to spread.
    APHIS' review and analysis of the potential environmental impacts 
associated with this proposed biological control program are documented 
in detail in an environmental assessment entitled ``Proposed Program 
for the Control of the Woodwasp Sirex noctilio F. (Hymenoptera: 
Siricidae) in the Northeastern United States'' (May 2008). We are 
making this environmental assessment available to the public for review 
and comment. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
the date listed under the heading DATES at the beginning of this 
notice.
    The environmental assessment may be viewed on the Regulations.gov 
Web site or in our reading room (see ADDRESSES above for a link to 
Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the 
reading room). You may request paper copies of the environmental 
assessment by calling or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT. Please refer to the title of the environmental 
assessment when requesting copies.
    The environmental assessment has been prepared in accordance with: 
(1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on 
Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of 
NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA 
(7 CFR part 1), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 
372).

    Done in Washington, DC, this 15th day of July 2008.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E8-16585 Filed 7-18-08; 8:45 am]
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