[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 159 (Friday, August 16, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 50088-50089]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-19837]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLCON00000 L16100000.DP0000]


Notice of Availability of the Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-
Grouse Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement for the Northwest Colorado District

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, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a 
Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-Grouse Draft Resource Management Plan 
(RMP) Amendment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 
Northwest Colorado District (NWD) 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 Amendment/Draft EIS within 90 days 
following the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes notice 
of the Draft RMP Amendment/Draft 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 Northwest Colorado 
Greater Sage-Grouse Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS by any of the 
following methods:
     Web site: https://www.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/lup/lup_register.do.
     Email: blm_co_nw_sage_grouse@blm.gov.
     Fax: 970-244-3083.
     Mail: BLM--Greater Sage Grouse EIS, 2815 H Road, Grand 
Junction, CO 81506.
    Copies of the NWD Greater Sage-Grouse Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS 
are available at the NWD Office at the above address or on the Web site 
at: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/BLM_Programs/wildlife/sage-grouse.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Erin Jones, NWD NEPA Coordinator, 
telephone 970-244-3008; see address above; email erjones@blm.gov. 
Persons who use a telecommunications device

[[Page 50089]]

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 BLM prepared the Northwest Colorado 
Greater Sage-Grouse Draft RMP Amendment and Draft EIS to address a 
range of alternatives focused on specific conservation measures across 
the Northwest Colorado range of the Greater Sage-Grouse (GRSG). This 
Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS is one of 15 separate planning efforts 
that are being undertaken as part of the BLM's and U.S. Forest 
Service's National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy. The Draft RMP 
Amendment/Draft EIS proposes to amend the RMPs for the Colorado River 
Valley, Grand Junction, Kremmling, Little Snake, and White River field 
offices, as well as the Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) for 
the Routt National Forest. The current management decisions for 
resources are described in the following RMPs/LRMPs:

 Glenwood Springs RMP (1984)
 Grand Junction RMP (1987)
 Kremmling RMP (1984)
 Little Snake RMP (2011)
 White River RMP (1997)
 Routt National Forest LRMP (1997)

    The planning area includes approximately 8 million acres of BLM, 
National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 
State, local, and private lands located in northwestern Colorado, in 10 
counties (Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Larimer, Mesa, Moffat, Rio 
Blanco, Routt, and Summit). Within the decision area, the BLM and U.S. 
Forest Service administer approximately 1.6 million surface acres and 
2.7 million acres of Federal oil and gas mineral (subsurface) estate. 
Surface management decisions made as a result of this Draft RMP 
Amendment/Draft EIS will apply only to the BLM and U.S. Forest Service-
administered lands in the decision area. The decision area is defined 
as those BLM and U.S. Forest Service-administered lands and Federal 
mineral estate within three categories of habitat identified by 
Colorado Parks and Wildlife:
     Preliminary Priority Habitat (PPH)--Areas identified as 
having the highest conservation value to maintaining sustainable GRSG 
populations; include breeding, late brood-rearing and winter 
concentration areas.
     Preliminary General Habitat (PGH)--Areas of seasonal or 
year-round habitat outside of priority habitat.
     Linkage/Connectivity Habitat--Areas identified as broader 
regions of connectivity important to facilitate the movement of GRSG 
and maintain ecological processes.
    The formal public scoping process for the RMP Amendment/EIS began 
on December 9, 2011, with the publication of a Notice of Intent in the 
Federal Register (76 FR 77008), and ended on March 23, 2012. The BLM 
held four scoping open houses in January and February 2012. The BLM 
used public scoping comments to help identify planning issues that 
directed the formulation of alternatives and framed the scope of 
analysis in the Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS. The scoping process was 
also used to introduce the public to preliminary planning criteria, 
which set limits on the scope of the Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS.
    Major issues considered in the Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS 
include special status species management (GRSG specifically), energy 
development, lands and realty (including transmission), and livestock 
grazing.
    The Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS evaluates four alternatives in 
detail, including the No Action Alternative (Alternative A) and three 
action alternatives (Alternatives B, C and D). The BLM identified 
Alternative D as the preferred alternative. Identification of this 
alternative, however, does not represent final agency direction, and 
the Proposed RMP Amendment may reflect changes or adjustments based on 
information received during public comment, from new information, or 
from changes in BLM policies or priorities. The Proposed RMP may 
include objectives and actions described in the other analyzed 
alternatives or otherwise within the spectrum of alternatives analyzed.
    Alternative A would retain the current management goals, 
objectives, and direction specified in the current RMPs for each field 
office and the LRMP for the Routt National Forest. Alternative B 
includes conservation measures from the Sage-grouse National Technical 
Team Report. Alternative C includes conservation measures various 
conservation groups submitted to the BLM. Alternative D includes 
conservation measures the BLM developed with the cooperating agencies.
    Pursuant to 43 CFR 1610.7-2(b), this notice announces a concurrent 
public comment period on proposed Areas of Critical Environmental 
Concern (ACEC). One ACEC is proposed in Alternative C. The Sage-grouse 
Habitat ACEC (approximately 910,000 acres) would include the following 
resource use limitations if it were formally designated:
    Close to fluid mineral leasing; designate as a Right-of-Way 
exclusion area; close to livestock grazing; allow vegetation treatments 
only for the benefit of GRSG; and recommend for withdrawal from mineral 
entry.
    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.

Helen M. Hankins,
BLM Colorado State Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-19837 Filed 8-15-13; 8:45 am]
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