[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 77 (Friday, April 20, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 23747-23749]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-9502]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLORP0000.16100000.DQ0000 LXSS053H0000 HAG10-0234]


Notice of Availability of the Proposed John Day Basin Resource 
Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement, Oregon.

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the Bureau 
of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a Proposed Resource Management 
Plan (RMP)/Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the John Day 
Basin planning area and by this notice is announcing its availability.

DATES: The BLM planning regulations state that any person who meets the 
conditions as described in the regulations may protest the BLM's 
Proposed RMP/Final EIS. A person who meets the conditions and files a 
protest must file the protest within 30 days of the date that the 
Environmental

[[Page 23748]]

Protection Agency publishes its notice in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the John Day Basin Proposed RMP/Final EIS have 
been sent to affected Federal, State, and local government agencies and 
to other stakeholders, organizations, agencies and interested parties 
on the John Day Basin Resource Management Plan (RMP) mailing list. 
Copies of the Proposed RMP/Final EIS are available for public 
inspection at the Prineville Field Office during regular business hours 
(7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays) at 
3050 NE 3rd Street, Prineville, Oregon 97754. Interested persons may 
also review the Proposed RMP/Final EIS on the Internet at http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/prineville/plans/johndayrmp/jdbdocuments.php.
    All protests must be in writing and mailed to one of the following 
addresses:
    Regular Mail: Director (210), Attn: Brenda Hudgens-Williamsm, P.O. 
Box 71383, Washington, DC 20024-1383.
    Overnight Mail: Director (210), Attn: Brenda Hudgens-Williams, 20 M 
Street SE., Room 2134LM, Washington, DC 20003.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information, contact Monte 
Kuk, John Day Basin RMP Project Leader, BLM Prineville Field Office, 
3050 NE 3rd Street, Prineville, Oregon 97754; telephone (541) 416-6700; 
email John_Day_Basin_RMP@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 parts of 
Sherman, Gilliam, Morrow, Umatilla, Grant, Wheeler, Jefferson, and 
Wasco Counties in the State of Oregon, covering 456,000 acres of BLM-
managed public land. Prior to this plan, the public land in this area 
was managed under three RMPs, which were completed in the 1980s: John 
Day RMP (Record of Decision signed 1985), Two Rivers RMP (1986), and 
Baker RMP (1989). The John Day RMP was amended in 1995. In 2001, the 
John Day River Plan amended portions of all three RMPs. New information 
and changed circumstances are cause for the BLM to update these plans. 
Changed circumstances include, but are not limited to: Acquisition of 
44,000 acres along North Fork John Day River, congressional designation 
of the Spring Basin Wilderness, heightened public interest in BLM 
management actions, increasing demand for recreation activities on 
public lands, and expanded scientific knowledge and information 
pertaining to the conservation of aquatic species.
    In February 2006, the BLM published a Notice of Intent to prepare 
an EIS and initiate revision/amendment of the existing RMPs. In March 
2006, the BLM hosted five public open houses across the planning area 
and in Portland, Oregon, to solicit public input on the issues to be 
addressed. The BLM published results of public input and an Analysis of 
the Management Situation in December 2006, followed by four public open 
houses across the planning area to solicit input on criteria to be used 
in development of alternatives. Throughout the planning process the BLM 
maintained updated wilderness characteristics inventories for all lands 
outside of areas designated as Wilderness or Wilderness Study Areas 
(WSA) to determine lands with wilderness characteristics (LWCs) in the 
planning area. After publication of the Draft RMP in October 2008, the 
BLM hosted a series of open houses throughout Oregon to present 
proposed actions in the Draft RMP and gather public comment. Public 
comments were accepted from October 30, 2008, to January 29, 2009. 
Comments were submitted via U.S. mail, direct email, email generated 
from the planning Web page, orally at open houses, and via telephone.
    The BLM also met regularly with the John Day/Snake Resource 
Advisory Council and with representatives of local, State, and other 
Federal government agencies, as well as tribal governments. 
Additionally, the BLM maintained a public Web site and mailed periodic 
newsletters with information on the plan's status.
    Comments on the Draft RMP/Draft EIS received from the public, John 
Day/Snake Resource Advisory Council, John Day Basin RMP Cooperating 
Agencies, and internal BLM review were considered and incorporated as 
appropriate into the proposed plan. Public comments resulted in the 
addition of clarifying text, but did not significantly change proposed 
land use plan decisions.
    The Proposed RMP/Final EIS analyzes five alternatives. Alternative 
1 (no action) would continue the current management goals, objectives, 
and direction specified in the existing RMPs. Alternative 2 (Proposed 
Resource Management Plan) would provide a mix of recreational 
opportunities, economic opportunities, and resource protection. Changes 
from Alternative 1 to 2 include:
    (a) Development of an interim road system and a process for 
developing a final transportation plan;
    (b) A reduction in areas ``open'' for motorized use off of roads;
    (c) Synthesized management direction to achieve forest and upland 
health goals while providing for timber and forage production and 
wildfire prevention;
    (d) Management direction for the North Fork John Day River lands 
that, in accordance with the land acquisition legislation, protects 
native fish, wildlife habitat, and public recreation;
    (e) Addition of an integrated strategy to address fish, water 
quality, and water quantity together;
    (f) Provides management protection of wilderness characteristics on 
19,442 of the 35,457 acres identified as Lands with Wilderness 
Characteristics, and a determination that management for other resource 
considerations is more appropriate on the remaining 16,015 acres;
    (g) Use of ``appropriate response'' rather than full suppression of 
all wildfires;
    (h) A process for addressing permit/lease relinquishment for 
grazing allotments; and
    (i) Wild and Scenic River suitability recommendation for 37 miles 
of the North Fork River.
    Alternatives 3, 4, and 5 are similar to Alternative 2 in most 
instances, but provide variation in the amount of roadway open for 
motorized travel, the number of areas open to off-road motorized use, 
the amount of LWC protected, the number and classifications of river 
segments deemed suitable for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic 
River System, and the number of acres where livestock grazing is 
permitted.
    The BLM Proposed RMP (Alternative 2) and Alternatives 3, 4, and 5 
(the Action Alternatives) propose immediate designation of five new 
Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC), totaling 62,407 acres. 
This total includes the 1,153-acre expansion of the existing Horn Butte 
ACEC.
    The largest of the new proposed ACECs is the 38,168-acre John Day 
Paleontological ACEC that would complement the adjacent John Day Fossil 
Beds National Monument and partially overlap the existing Sutton 
Mountain WSA. Resource use limitations associated with designation of 
this ACEC where it overlaps the WSA would include closure to salable, 
locatable and leasable minerals, a No Surface Occupancy (NSO) 
stipulation

[[Page 23749]]

for energy and communication site development, exclusion from rights-
of-way, management to Visual Resource Management Class II (VRM II) 
standards, and limiting vehicle use to designated roads and trails. Use 
limitations associated with this ACEC where it does not overlap with 
the Sutton Mountain WSA would be similar except for an NSO stipulation 
for mineral leasing, and other special stipulations for developments 
for energy, communication sites, and rights-of-way. Other proposed 
ACECs include the 6,639-acre Black Canyon RNA/ACEC, which would protect 
several sensitive plants and unique plant communities. Use limitations 
for this proposed ACEC include exclusion of livestock grazing, closure 
to off-highway motorized vehicles, an NSO stipulation for mineral 
leasing, closure to salable mineral, energy and communication site 
development, and exclusion of rights-of-way. The proposed plan would 
also add 1,153 acres to the existing 5,999-acre Horn Butte ACEC to 
protect Washington ground squirrel habitat. Use limitations for the 
expanded Horn Butte ACEC include management to VRM II standards, 
prohibition of mechanical noxious weed control in Fourmile Canyon, an 
NSO stipulation for mineral leasing, closure to salable minerals and 
energy and communication site development, and exclusion of rights-of-
way. Also proposed is the addition of the North Fork John Day River 
(16,837 acres), Armstrong Canyon (3,885 acres) and Ferry Canyon (2,364 
acres) ACECs to protect visual resource values. Use limitations include 
management to VRM II standards, NSO stipulation for mineral leasing, 
closure to communication site development, and exclusion of rights-of-
way. The proposed plan also eliminates the existing Spanish Gulch ACEC 
(333 acres). In the event that Congress releases any of the three WSAs 
along the lower John Day River (Lower John Day, North Pole Ridge, and 
Thirtymile) from WSA status, the released lands would be designated as 
ACECs to preserve scenic and other values. Use limitations would 
include management to VRM II standards, NSO stipulation for mineral 
leasing and closure to salable minerals, closure to energy and 
communication site development, and exclusion of rights-of-way (except 
for the existing PGE pipeline right-of-way). For more detailed 
information on each ACEC proposal, see the Special Designations section 
in the Proposed RMP/Final EIS.
    Instructions for filing a protest with the Director of the BLM 
regarding the Proposed RMP/Final EIS may be found in the ``Dear 
Reader'' letter of the John Day Basin Proposed RMP/Final EIS and at 43 
CFR 1610.5-2. Emailed and faxed protests will not be accepted as valid 
protests unless the protesting party also provides the original letter 
by either regular or overnight mail postmarked by the close of the 
protest period. Under these conditions, the BLM will consider the 
emailed or faxed protest as an advanced copy and it will receive full 
consideration. If you wish to provide the BLM with such advance 
notification, please direct faxed protests to the attention of the BLM 
protest coordinator at 202-912-7212, and emails to Brenda_Hudgens_Williams@blm.gov. All protests, including the follow-up letter to 
emails or faxes, must be in writing and mailed to the appropriate 
address as set forth in the ADDRESSES section above.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your protest, you should be 
aware that your entire protest--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your letter 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 and 1506.10 43 CFR 1610.2 and 1610.5.

Edward W. Shepard,
State Director, Oregon/Washington.
[FR Doc. 2012-9502 Filed 4-19-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-33-P