[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 227 (Friday, November 25, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 72718-72719]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-30212]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLORV05000 L16100000.DO0000 LX.SS.054H0000.HAG11-0127]


Notice of Availability of the Draft Baker Resource Management 
Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, Oregon/Washington

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA), as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976 (FLPMA), as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has 
prepared a Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) for the Baker Resource Area of the BLM Vale 
District and, by this notice, is announcing the opening of the comment 
period.

DATES: To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM must receive 
written comments on the Draft RMP/EIS within 90 days following the date 
the Environmental Protection Agency publishes this notice of the Draft 
RMP/EIS in the Federal Register. The BLM will announce future meetings 
or hearings and any other public participation activities at least 15 
days in advance through public notices, media releases, and/or 
mailings.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Draft Baker RMP/EIS 
by any of the following methods:
     Web site: http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/vale/plans/bakerrmp/contact.php.
     Email: BakerRMP@blm.gov.
     Fax: (541) 523-1965.
     Mail: Bureau of Land Management, Baker Field Office, P.O. 
Box 947, Baker City, Oregon 97814.
    Copies of the Draft RMP/EIS are available in the Baker Field Office 
at the above address or may be viewed at: http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/vale/plans/bakerrmp/index.php.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Allison Kuehl, RMP Team Leader, at 
(541) 523-1931 or Ted Davis, BLM Baker Field Manager, at (541) 523-1431 
at the above mailing address or via email at BakerRMP@blm.gov. Persons 
who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the 
Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-(800) 877-8339 to contact 
the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is 
available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question 
with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal 
business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Planning Area is located in Baker, 
Malheur, Union, Wallowa, Morrow, and Umatilla Counties in Oregon and in 
Asotin County, Washington. This planning activity encompasses 
approximately 428,425 acres of public lands. The RMP will fulfill the 
needs and obligations set forth by NEPA, FLPMA, and BLM management 
policies. This Baker RMP/EIS will revise the existing Baker RMP of 1989 
and provide the Baker Field Office with an updated framework in which 
to administer public lands. This RMP/EIS addresses new issues, changes 
in resource conditions, and changes in resource management practices 
since the Baker RMP of 1989.
    The Draft RMP/EIS was developed through a collaborative planning

[[Page 72719]]

process. Formal scoping for public comments began with the publication 
of the Notice of Intent, a legal document notifying the public and any 
affected agencies of the intent to revise the 1989 RMP and prepare an 
EIS. The notice includes draft planning criteria for review and was 
published in the Federal Register on January 15, 2008 (73 FR 2520). 
Public scoping meetings and comment solicitation began on June 25, 
2008, and ended on August 31, 2008.
    Scoping events included open houses in nine communities, attendance 
at local government meetings in six communities, a mailing of 1,188 
letters soliciting written comments, a Web site, plus meetings and 
conversations with various Federal and State government agencies. All 
Tribes with lands or with interest in lands within the BLM Baker Field 
Office Planning Area were invited to participate in the planning 
process. Three Tribes responded to the BLM's offer, and scoping 
presentations were made to those Tribes. Consultation with these Tribal 
governments will be ongoing.
    The information obtained from the scoping process was used to 
define the relevant issues that are addressed in a range of alternative 
management actions, the environmental impacts of which are analyzed in 
the Draft EIS. Based on the scoping comments received and their 
subsequent analysis and evaluation, four major planning issues were 
identified as being within the scope of the BLM Baker Field Office 
Draft RMP/EIS.
     Issue 1: Landscape Health/Land Use--How should the diverse 
landscapes and resources within the Planning Area be managed?
     Issue 2: Renewable Energy Development--How should the BLM 
Baker Field Office manage renewable energy development?
     Issue 3: Transportation and Access--How should the BLM 
Baker Field Office manage transportation and access?
     Issue 4: Livestock Grazing--How will livestock grazing on 
public lands be addressed?
    All four issues center on the larger question of just how much 
resource use and human activity is acceptable, while still providing 
the mandated level of resource protection.
    In addition to the existing no-action alternative, five action 
alternatives and one sub-alternative were developed to respond to these 
key issues. The alternatives also address the following: Vegetation and 
soils, fire management, water quality/aquatic resources/fisheries, 
wildlife, recreation, visual resources, minerals, lands and realty, 
special management areas, climate change, lands with wilderness 
characteristics, and Tribal-government and community interests.
    Special management areas considered in the Draft RMP/EIS include 
wild and scenic rivers, wilderness study areas, areas of critical 
environmental concern (ACEC), research natural areas (RNA), national 
historic trails, backcountry byways, and lands with wilderness 
characteristics. The BLM Baker Field Office intends to apply 
appropriate management to these areas to protect the values and 
resources for which they were designated. The BLM Baker Field Office 
considered carrying forward or dropping current administrative 
designations (i.e., ACECs and RNAs), depending on whether or not they 
still meet the criteria for which they were originally designated. 
Additional areas were nominated for designation as ACECs and those that 
met relevance and importance criteria and merit special management are 
proposed for designation in the Draft RMP/EIS. The BLM Baker Field 
Office conducted an inventory of rivers and streams to determine 
eligibility and suitability for inclusion into the National Wild and 
Scenic Rivers System for designation by Congress and drafted interim 
management prescriptions for the waterway segment determined 
``suitable'' in the planning process. Wilderness-character inventory 
maintenance was completed for the Decision Area. This inventory 
identified lands with wilderness characteristics on 3,380 acres 
contiguous with BLM Wilderness Study Areas and 9,843 acres adjacent to 
U.S. Forest Service potential Wilderness Areas. The Draft EIS considers 
a range of management alternatives for these lands with wilderness 
characteristics.
    Following the close of the public review and comment period, public 
comments will be used to revise the BLM Baker Field Office Draft RMP/
EIS in preparation for its release to the public as the BLM Baker Field 
Office Proposed RMP and Final EIS. The BLM will respond to each 
substantive comment by making appropriate revisions to the document or 
by explaining why a comment did not warrant a change. Notice of the 
availability of the Proposed RMP and Final EIS will be posted in the 
Federal Register.
    Please note that public comments and information submitted 
including names, street addresses, and email addresses of persons who 
submit comments will be available for public review and disclosure at 
the above address during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), 
Monday through Friday, except holidays.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

     Authority:  40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10, 43 CFR 1610.2.

Edward W. Shepard,
State Director, Oregon/Washington.
[FR Doc. 2011-30212 Filed 11-23-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-33-P