[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 47 (Friday, March 9, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 14414-14416]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-5641]


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 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLORE00000 L63500000.DO0000.LXSS021H0000.HAG11-XXXX]


Notice of Intent To Revise Resource Management Plans and an 
Associated Environmental Impact Statement for Six Western Oregon 
Districts of the Bureau of Land Management

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.

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SUMMARY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 
1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Oregon State 
Office, Portland, Oregon, intends to revise six Resource Management 
Plans (RMPs) with a single associated Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) for the Western Oregon Planning Area and by this notice is 
announcing the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public 
comments and identify issues. The Western Oregon Planning Area consists 
of the Coos Bay District, Eugene District, Medford District, Roseburg 
District, Salem District, and the Klamath Falls Resource Area of the 
Lakeview District. Although this document identifies the scale of 
planning as six RMPs with a single EIS, public input is being sought on 
whether a different approach to scale--such as by district, region, or 
type of forest--should be considered.

DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process for the RMP and 
associated EIS. Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until 
June 7, 2012. The BLM has not yet scheduled public meetings for this 
plan revision. The date(s) and location(s) of any scoping meetings will 
be announced at least 15 days in advance through local media, 
newspapers, and the BLM Web site at: http://www.blm.gov/or/plans/. In 
order to be included in the Draft EIS, all comments must be received 
prior to the close of the 90-day scoping period or 30 days after the 
last public meeting, whichever is later. The BLM will provide 
additional opportunities for public participation and comment upon 
publication of the Draft EIS.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria 
related to the Western Oregon RMPs/EIS by any of the following methods:
     Web site: http://www.blm.gov/or/plans.
     Email: BLM_OR_Forestry_Plan@blm.gov.
     Fax: 503-808-6333.
     Mail: P.O. Box 2965, Portland, Oregon 97208.

Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the Oregon 
State Office, Public Room, 333 SW. 1st Avenue, Portland, OR 97204.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: And/or to have your name added to our 
mailing list, contact Michael Campbell, Western Oregon RMP Outreach 
Coordinator, telephone 503-808-6031; address P.O. Box 2965, Portland, 
Oregon 97208; email BLM_OR_Forestry_Plan@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: This document provides notice that the BLM 
State Office, Portland, Oregon, intends to revise six RMPs with an 
associated EIS for the Western Oregon Planning Area, announces the 
beginning of the scoping process, and seeks public input on issues and 
planning criteria. The purpose of the public scoping process is to 
determine the scope of issues to be addressed by the environmental 
analysis, including alternatives, and the significant issues related to 
the planning process. The planning area for the RMPs includes 
approximately 2,550,000 acres of BLM-administered lands and 69,000 
acres of split-estate, where the BLM only manages the Federal mineral 
estate.
    The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) requires 
the development, maintenance, and revision of land use plans. The vast 
majority of the BLM-administered lands in the planning area are 
Revested Oregon and California Railroad (O&C) lands, or Reconveyed Coos 
Bay Wagon Road (CBWR) lands, and are managed under the statutory 
authority of the Oregon and California Revested Railroad Lands Act of 
1937 (O&C Act, Pub. L. 75-405) and FLPMA (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.). 
Preparation of the RMPs and EIS will conform to the above land 
management laws and will also comply with other Federal laws, 
including, but not limited to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the 
Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. Congress, 
in 1866, established a land grant to promote the completion of the 
Oregon and California Railroad from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco, 
California. In 1916, Congress revested, or brought back into Federal 
ownership, the title to approximately 2.2 million acres of land deeded 
to the Oregon and California Railroad after the company violated the 
terms of the land grant. Congress revested about 93,000 acres of Coos 
Bay Wagon Road lands to the United States due to similar circumstances 
in 1919. The O&C Act of 1937 placed management jurisdiction of these 
lands under the United States Department of the Interior.
    In 1994, the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture (USDA) 
adopted the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) to provide coordinated 
management direction for the lands administered by the BLM and the 
USDA's Forest Service and to adopt complimentary approaches of other 
Federal agencies within the range of the northern spotted owl. The NWFP 
included a coordinated, comprehensive ecosystem management strategy, 
the purpose of which was to meet dual needs: The need for long-term 
health of forest habitat and the need for a steady supply of forest 
products.
    The six western Oregon BLM districts completed RMPs in 1995 that 
incorporated the land use allocations and Standards and Guidelines from 
the NWFP. In 2008, the BLM completed RMP revisions for the six western 
Oregon districts. Pending litigation seeks vacatur of the 2008 RMPs. 
The BLM intends to revise its RMPs notwithstanding the pending 
litigation.
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a revised recovery 
plan for the northern spotted owl on June 28, 2011. The plan contains 
recommendations for retaining and restoring owl habitat in Federal, 
State and private forestland. The FWS anticipates revising its critical 
habitat designation for the northern spotted owl and issuing a proposed 
rule in February 2012.
    The FWS completed a recovery plan for the marbled murrelet in 1997 
and revised its critical habitat for the marbled murrelet in October 
2011. On August 22, 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service adopted a final ESA recovery 
plan for upper

[[Page 14415]]

Willamette Chinook salmon and steelhead.
    The revisions to the existing RMPs will determine how the BLM will 
actively manage BLM-administered lands in western Oregon to further 
recovery of threatened and endangered species, provide clean water, 
restore fire-adapted ecosystems, produce a sustained yield of timber 
products, and provide for recreation opportunities.
    Through the public participation process, the BLM will work with 
interested parties to identify the most appropriate management 
direction for BLM-administered lands in western Oregon in accordance 
with the provisions of relevant laws and considering local, regional, 
and national interests. The first step in this process is formal public 
scoping which will help identify planning issues and provide an 
opportunity to receive public comment on the scope of planning, and 
proposed planning criteria.
    Planning issues are disputes or controversies about existing and 
potential land and resource allocations, levels of resource use, 
production, and related management practices. Issues include resource 
use, development, and protection opportunities for consideration in the 
preparation of RMPs. These issues may stem from new information or 
changed circumstances, and the need to reassess the appropriate mix of 
allowable uses. In considering these issues, the BLM is seeking to 
explore how its discretion under the various laws that guide resource 
management will be exercised with regard to the intensity and frequency 
of forest management at a landscape scale to meet a sustainable supply 
of forest products, recovery of listed species, and watershed 
management on BLM-administered lands suitable for timber harvest. 
Planning issues will be addressed in the alternatives set forth in the 
RMP/EIS. The BLM has identified the following preliminary planning 
issues which may be refined as a result of future public participation 
opportunities, collaborative efforts, and comments received during 
scoping:
     Vegetation--How should BLM-administered lands be managed, 
both temporally and spatially, to provide a sustainable supply of wood 
and other forest products that contribute to the economic stability of 
communities?
     Habitat--How should the BLM-administered lands be managed 
to contribute to the recovery of threatened and endangered species and 
provide for other rare and little known late-successional associated 
species?
     Watershed management and water quality--How should BLM-
administered lands be managed to contribute to restoring and 
maintaining the chemical physical and biological integrity of the 
Nation's waters, as well as to a safe drinking water supply?
     Wildland fire and fuels--How should BLM-administered lands 
be managed to reduce the risk of wildfires to communities and integrate 
fire back into the ecosystem?
     Economics and Community Support--How should BLM-
administered-lands be managed to contribute to local economies?
     Off-highway vehicle management and public access--How 
should the BLM-administered lands be managed to meet the demand for 
off-highway vehicle use while protecting other resources and recreation 
uses? How should transportation networks to and across the BLM-
administered lands be evaluated?
    The BLM has also identified preliminary planning criteria to guide 
the development of the RMPs. These criteria may be modified or other 
criteria identified after the public scoping process. The public is 
invited to comment on the following preliminary planning criteria:
     Lands addressed in the RMP will be public lands (including 
split estate lands) administered by the BLM;
     The BLM will protect resources in accordance with FLPMA 
and other applicable laws and regulations;
     The BLM will examine options for the scope and scale of 
the plan revisions for the six western Oregon districts including, but 
not limited to a singular RMP, district-by-district RMPs, or wet versus 
dry forests RMPs;
     The BLM will consider and coordinate land use plan 
decisions to be consistent with existing plans and policies of local, 
state, Federal, and tribal agencies to the extent those plans and 
policies are consistent with the purposes, policies, and programs of 
Federal laws and regulations;
     The BLM will consider applicable recovery actions 
contained in the FWS and NOAA Fisheries Service recovery plans and will 
also consider critical habitat for threatened and endangered species;
     The BLM will consider how to manage BLM-administered lands 
that contain wilderness characteristics;
     Where existing planning decisions are still valid, those 
decisions may remain unchanged and incorporated into the new RMP;
     The plans will recognize valid existing rights;
     The BLM will consider withholding lands with important 
resource values and/or significant levels of investment from mineral 
leasing and withdrawing lands from mineral location
     Native American tribal consultations will be conducted in 
accordance with policy and tribal concerns will be given due 
consideration. The planning process will include the consideration of 
any impacts on Indian trust assets;
     Alternatives will be designed to meet the purpose and need 
for the plan, resolve planning issues, and comply with existing laws.
    You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria in writing 
to the BLM at any public scoping meeting, or you may submit them to the 
BLM using one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section above. To 
be most helpful, you should submit comments by the close of the 90-day 
scoping period or within 30 days after the last public meeting, 
whichever is later. 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 may 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. The minutes and list of attendees for each 
scoping meeting will be available to the public and open for 30 days 
after the meeting to any participant who wishes to clarify the views he 
or she expressed. The BLM will evaluate identified issues to be 
addressed in the plan and will place them into one of three categories:
    1. Issues to be resolved in the plan;
    2. Issues to be resolved through policy or administrative action; 
or
    3. Issues beyond the scope of this plan.
    The BLM will provide an explanation in the Draft RMP/Draft EIS as 
to the disposition of proposed issues. The public is also encouraged to 
help identify any management questions and concerns that should be 
addressed in the plan. The BLM will work collaboratively with 
interested parties to identify the management decisions that are best 
suited to local, regional, and national needs and concerns.
    The BLM will use an interdisciplinary approach to develop the plan 
in order to consider the variety of resource issues and concerns 
identified. Specialists with expertise in the following disciplines 
will be involved in the planning process: Timber, wildlife and 
fisheries, economics, botany, climate change/carbon sequestration, 
lands and realty, hydrology, soils, cultural

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(including tribal), archeology, recreation, fire and fuels management, 
energy, roads, grazing and wild horses, and geographic information 
systems.
    As part of this RMP process, the BLM will analyze areas for 
potential designation as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) 
in accordance with 43 CFR 1610.7-2. Public nominations for potential 
ACECs to be considered in these revisions must be made by June 7, 2012.

Edward W. Shepard,
State Director, Oregon/Washington, Bureau of Land Management.
[FR Doc. 2012-5641 Filed 3-8-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-33-P