[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 203 (Monday, October 20, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 62246-62247]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-24889]


========================================================================
Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 203 / Monday, October 20, 2008 / 
Notices

[[Page 62246]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0073]


Sirex Woodwasp; Availability of an Environmental Assessment and 
Finding of No Significant Impact

AGENCY:  Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:  Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY:  We are advising the public that a final environmental 
assessment and finding of no significant impact have 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 
associated with the proposed biological control program. Based on its 
finding of no significant impact, the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service has determined that an environmental impact 
statement need not be prepared.

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. In addition, the artificial spread of Sirex woodwasp 
can occur through the movement of infested host plant materials such as 
pine logs. Because Sirex woodwasp inhabits the sapwood and larvae 
tunnel deep into host trees, this pest is difficult to detect through 
visual inspection.
    Sirex woodwasp can complete its lifecycle on many pine species, 
which are the pest's primary hosts. 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. The first detection of a breeding population of the Sirex 
woodwasp in the United States occurred in 2004 in Oswego County, NY. As 
a result of ongoing surveys conducted by State and Federal officials 
since 2005, 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. APHIS issued a finding of no significant 
impact on June 21, 2007, which 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. If the pest is detected in other States in the future, 
APHIS would also want to implement a biological control program in 
those States, as well. APHIS therefore revised the environmental 
assessment in order to consider 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 the surrounding 
States where Sirex woodwasp would most likely be detected if it were to 
spread.
    On July 21, 2008, we published in the Federal Register (73 FR 
42313-42314, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0073) a notice \11\ in which we 
announced the availability for public review and comment of the revised 
environmental assessment, entitled ``Proposed Program for the Control 
of the Woodwasp Sirex noctilio F. (Hymenoptera: Siricidae) in the 
Northeastern United States'' (May 2008). APHIS received 18 comments on 
the revised environmental assessment. Of these, 17 were outside the 
scope of the environmental assessment; instead, they pertained to 
movement restrictions and economic impacts that may occur if APHIS were 
to impose Sirex-related movement conditions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ To view the notice, the environmental assessment, the 
finding of no significant impact, and the comments we received, go 
to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/
main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2008-0073 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The one comment that was relevant to the environmental assessment 
questioned the efficacy of the proposed environmental release of the 
parasitic nematode Beddingia siricidicola and is addressed in the 
August 2008 finding of no significant impact.
    In this document, we are advising the public of our decision and 
finding of no significant impact regarding a proposed program for the 
control of Sirex woodwasp. This decision is based upon the updated 
environmental assessment, entitled ``Proposed Program for the Control 
of the Woodwasp Sirex noctilio F. (Hymenoptera: Siricidae) in the 
Northeastern United States'' (August 2008).
    The final environmental assessment and finding of no significant 
impact 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 and finding of no significant 
impact 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

[[Page 62247]]

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 14th day of October 2008.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
 [FR Doc. E8-24889 Filed 10-17-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P