[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 88 (Monday, May 7, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 26733-26734]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-10728]



[[Page 26733]]

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest; Evanston-Mountain View 
Ranger District; Utah; Smiths Fork Vegetation Restoration Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

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SUMMARY: The Evanston-Mountain View Ranger District of the Uinta-
Wasatch-Cache National Forest proposes to treat approximately 4,300 
acres of a variety of vegetation types within the 58,000-acre Smiths 
Fork project analysis area, located in Uinta County, Wyoming, and 
Summit County, Utah, approximately 25 miles southwest of Mountain View, 
Wyoming. Proposed treatment acivities include salvage clearcuts; 
sanitation salvage; and thin, pile, and burn. This proposal is being 
developed in direct response to the continuing mountain pine beetle 
epidemic in the area and its potential long-term impacts on the Smiths 
Fork area. The project is being undertaken under the auspices of the 
Healthy Forests Restoration Act (``HFRA'').

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by May 31, 2012. The draft environmental impact statement is expected 
in August 2012 and the final environmental impact statement is expected 
November 2012.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Smiths Fork Vegetation Restoration 
Project, Attn: Rick Schuler, P.O. Box 1880, Evanston, WY 82931. 
Comments can also be hand delivered Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 
4:30 p.m. at the following physical address: 1565 Highway 150, Suite A, 
Evanston, Wyoming. In addition, comments can be submitted 
electronically to: comments-intermtn-wasatch-cache-evanston-mtnview@fs.fed.us or submitted via facsimile to 307-783-8639.
    Reviewers should provide comments at such times and in such a way 
that they are useful to the agency's preparation of the EIS. Comments 
should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should 
clearly articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions. Submission 
of timely and specific comments can affect a reviewer's ability to 
participate in the objection process or judicial review.
    Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names 
and addresses of those who comment, will become part of the public 
record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be 
accepted and considered; however, anonymous comments will not provide 
the respondent with standing to participate in the objection process 
associated with this project under the HFRA or judicial review.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pete Gomben, Environmental 
Coordinator, at 801-236-3407.
    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) 
may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 
between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Purpose and Need for Action

    The HFRA recognizes healthy forests or forest health as an integral 
part of forest management. The proposed action responds directly to 
forest health objectives as described in the HFRA. The purpose of this 
project is to reduce the effects from current mountain pine beetle 
infestation in forested stands dominated by lodgepole pine trees and to 
reduce the susceptibility of vegetation to high-intensity wildfire and 
further mountain pine beetle attacks. The project is needed to: (1) 
Salvage forest products from, and manage stand densities on, forested 
lands classified as suitable for timber production to keep them 
positively contributing to the national forest's allowable sale 
quantity; (2) Reduce the effects of tree mortality associated with the 
mountain pine beetle epidemic to restore healthy ecological conditions 
and scenic quality; (3) Accelerate regeneration of forested stands 
killed by the mountain pine beetle; and (4) Manage hazardous fuel 
loading associated with the mountain pine beetle epidemic and salvage 
operations to minimize the potential for large, high intensity/high 
severity wildfires.
    This action responds to the goals and objectives outlined in the 
Wasatch-Cache National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan 
(``Forest Plan''), and helps move the project area towards desired 
conditions described in that plan.

Proposed Action

    The proposed project includes treatment of approximately 4,300 
acres of aspen and lodgepole communities using timber harvest, 
prescribed fire, and mechanical fuels treatments. Sanitation salvage 
would be used on approximately 1,730 acres, clearcuts would be used on 
approximately 1,241 acres, sanitation salvage with pile and burn would 
be used on approximately 76 acres, clearcut with pile and burn would be 
used on approximately 40 acres, roadside salvage would occur on 
approximately 695 acres, and approximately 514 acres would be undergo a 
thin, pile, and burn prescription.
    Proposed treatments are intended to reduce both the amount and 
continuity of woody fuels, to remove hazard trees, to harvest beetle-
killed or infested trees, and to create a mix of tree ages and species.
    The proposed action would retain habitat for sensitive and other 
species, such as northern goshawks, where needed. The proposed action 
is also expected to make improvements to visual quality. Treatments in 
the vicinity of private land would be intended to reduce the threat of 
wildfire to human life and property.
    Access to treatment units, as currently mapped, is anticipated to 
involve approximately 3.1 miles of new specified road construction, 
approximately 10.7 miles of temporary road construction, approximately 
6.7 miles of additional temporary road use on the existing road prism, 
and approximately 2.6 miles of road reconstruction. Approximately 3.8 
miles of easements through private land would be needed for access to 
units 4, 20, and 79.

Possible Alternatives

    In addition to the proposed action, a no action alternative will be 
considered. This alternative would continue current management without 
the actions of this proposal. Because this project is being analyzed 
via the HFRA, one additional alternative that addresses the purpose and 
need for the project may be developed in response to issues generated 
during the scoping process.

Responsible Official

    Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest forest supervisor.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The decision to be made is whether or not to implement vegetation 
restoration treatments in the Smiths Fork project area, and if so, to 
what degree and where.

Preliminary Issues

    Preliminary issues are the effects of treatments on wildlife 
habitat, and the effects of insect and disease outbreaks on current 
forest health.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental

[[Page 26734]]

impact statement. This project is not subject to the notice, comment, 
and appeal process found at 36 CFR part 215. Rather, it is subject to 
the predecisional administrative review process found at 36 CFR part 
218. This process provides the opportunity to resolve issues raised in 
an objection and identify potential solutions. Only persons who submit 
specific written comments on the proposed action during the 30-day 
comment period will be eligible to file an objection. This comment 
period represents the only opportunity for the public to comment on 
this proposal prior to the objection process. The opportunity to 
comment will end 30 days after a legal notice announcing the request 
for scoping comments is published in the Salt Lake Tribune, which is 
the newspaper of record.

     Dated: April 26, 2012.
Cheryl Probert,
Acting Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 2012-10728 Filed 5-4-12; 8:45 am]
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