[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 68 (Friday, April 9, 1999)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17310-17311]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-8896]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Keystone-Quartz Ecosystem Management Project, Beaverhead-
Deerlodge National Forest, Beaverhead County, Montana

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice; intent to prepare environmental impact statement.

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SUMMARY: The Forest Service will prepare an environmental impact 
statement to document the analysis and disclose the environmental 
impacts of a proposed action to manipulate forest and range vegetation 
on about 1200 acres. This area lies at the northern end of the Pioneer 
Mountains, three miles south of Wise River, Montana.
    The proposed action would thin about 1042 acres of Douglas-fir 
forest to improve wildlife habitat, release about 85 acres of aspen/
shrub communities to restore wildlife habitat, thin about 21 acres of 
dense lodgepole pine to improve overall forest health, and restore 
about 43 acres of shrub/grass habitat that has been lost to conifer 
succession.

DATES: Initial comments concerning the scope of the analysis should be 
received in writing no later than April 26, 1999.

ADDRESSES: The responsible official is Cynthia A. Tencick, District 
Ranger, Wise River Ranger District, PO Box 100, Wise River, MT 59762. 
Send written comments to the responsible official.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Quinn, Interdisciplinary Team 
Leader, Wise River Ranger District, or phone: (406) 683-3900.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: About 65% of the Douglas-fir thinning will 
be done using slashing and prescribed fire, and 35% using wood product 
removal and prescribed fire. Aspen/shrub restoration will be done using 
commercial timber harvest. Lodgepole pine thinning will be done by the 
sale of fence materials. Shrub/grass restoration will be done using 
slashing and prescribed fire.
    The project area is located in the Keystone, Spring, Titan, Lime 
Kiln and Quartz Hill drainages (T1S, R11W, Sections 10, 11, 12 and 14; 
and T1S, R10W, Sections 16, 17, 20, 29 and 30). The scope of this 
proposal is limited to specific forest thinning, timber harvest, 
prescribed burning and other stand treatments, area improvements and 
related mitigation requirements lying within the affected area.
    Public participation is important to this analysis. Part of the 
goal of public involvement is to identify additional issues and to 
refine the general, tentative issues. A scoping notice describing the 
project was mailed to those who requested information on timber harvest 
and burning activities on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forests. 
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has been involved in 
the development of this proposal and will be consulted through the 
analysis and decision making process. The United States Fish and 
Wildlife Service will be consulted concerning effects to threatened and 
endangered species.
    Preliminary issues identified by Forest Service specialists include 
effects to vegetation, wildlife habitat, and the existing character of 
inventoried roadless areas. Timber harvest and

[[Page 17311]]

prescribed fire are proposed in Inventoried Roadless Area 1-010. No 
road building is proposed in an inventoried roadless area. The analysis 
will consider all reasonably foreseeable activities, including proposed 
actions on adjacent BLM lands.
    People may visit with Forest Service officials at any time during 
the analysis and prior to the decision. Two periods are specifically 
designated for comments on the analysis: (1) During the scoping process 
and (2) during the draft EIS period.
    During the scoping process, the Forest Service is seeking 
additional information and comments from Federal, State and local 
agencies and other individuals or organization who may be interested in 
or affected by the proposed action. The agency invites written comments 
and suggestions on this action, particularly in terms of identification 
of issues and alternative development.
    The draft EIS should be available for review in April, 1999. The 
final EIS is scheduled for completion in June, 1999.
    The comment period on the draft EIS will be 45 days from the date 
the Environmental Protection Agency publishes the notice of 
availability in the Federal Register.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft 
environmental impact statement should be as specific as possible. It is 
also helpful if comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the 
draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft 
environmental impact statement or the merits of the alternatives 
formulated and discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer 
to the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing 
the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at 
CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points.
    The responsible official who will make the decision on this 
proposal after considering comments and responses, environmental 
consequences discussed in the final EIS, and applicable laws, 
regulations, and policies. The decision and reasons for the decision 
will be documented in a Record of Decision.

    Dated: March 29, 1999.
Cynthia A. Tencick,
District Ranger.
[FR Doc. 99-8896 Filed 4-8-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-M