[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 48 (Tuesday, March 12, 2013)]
[Pages 15681-15682]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-05574]



Forest Service

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Dillon Ranger District; 
Montana; Birch, Willow, Lost Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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


SUMMARY: The Birch, Willow, Lost Project proposes to treat vegetation 
communities in the four sub-watersheds that cover the project area. The 
scope of the project is limited to those portions of the four sub-
watersheds covered by the project area boundary. This project is not a 
general management plan for the watersheds, nor is it a programmatic 
environmental analysis for vegetation communities.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis will be most 
helpful if received by April 11, 2013. The draft environmental impact 
statement is expected October of 2013 and the final environmental 
impact statement is expected March of 2014.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Attention Alex Dunn, Beaverhead-
Deerlodge National Forest, 420 Barrett St., Dillon, MT 59725, and 
weekdays 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for hand delivery. Comments may also be 
sent via email to: comments-northern-beaverhead-deerlodge@fs.fed.us in 
one of the following formats: Word (.doc or .docx), rich text format 
(.rtf), text (.txt), and/or hypertext markup language (.html). Please 
make sure to put BWL Project in the subject line. Comments may also be 
sent via facsimile to: Attention Alex Dunn, BWL Project 406-683-3886. 
For all forms of comment, make sure to include your name, physical 
address, phone number, and a subject title of BWL Project.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Alex Dunn, Forest Environmental 
Coordinator at (406) 683-3864 or via email at adunn@fs.fed.us. 
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.


Purpose and Need for Action

    This action is being undertaken to contribute to the achievement of 
the following Beaverhead-Deerlodge Land and Resource Management Plan 
(Forest Plan) Objectives for vegetation within the project area: Aspen 
Component--Increase the aspen component within Lodgepole pine and other 
vegetation types, on 67,000 acres (Forest Plan pg. 44). Grassland/
Shrubland/Riparian--Reduce conifer encroachment on 74,000 acres of 
riparian areas, shrublands, and grasslands (Forest Plan pg. 44). 
Resiliency--Reduce forest density in the large size classes of dry 
forest communities to maintain or improve resilient forest conditions 
(Forest Plan pg. 43). Whitebark Pine/Sub-Alpine Fir Type--Promote 
regeneration of Whitebark Pine on approximately 45,000 acres, largely 
through the use of fire (Forest Plan pg. 43). This project is needed 
because there is a difference between the existing condition and the 
desired condition for the above vegetation types in the project area.

Proposed Action

    The responsible official proposes to:

--Treat a total of 13,282 acres of the 59,133 acres within the project 
area, in five dominant vegetation types in 133 Units in the project 
area. A total of 1,237 acres of Aspen would be treated through 
mechanical, commercial, burning, lop and scattering, and/or 
mastication. A total of 3,440 acres of Douglas-Fir would be treated 
through commercial thin, mastication, and/or burning. A total of 1,883 
acres of Mountain Mahogany would be treated through lop and scatter 
and/or mastication. A total of 6,292 acres of Shrub-Grasslands would be 
treated through lop and scatter, burning/slashing, and/or mastication. 
A total of 430 acres of Mid and High Elevation Mixed Conifer would be 
modified through slashing with chainsaws, and/or burning. Planting 
limber pine may occur on about 100 acres due to the majority of seed-
bearing limber pine trees being dead from mountain pine beetle. The 
extent of planting would be assessed after the prescribed burning is 
--Recondition and/or spot reconstruction of a total of 13.3 miles on 
five roads within the project area. Forest Road (FR) 7487 (Farlin 
Gulch) would have 1.7 miles Reconditioned/Spot Reconstructed. FR 98 
(Birch Creek) would have 3.7 miles Reconditioned/Spot Reconstructed. FR 
1211 (Gorge Creek) would have 1.1 miles Reconditioned/Spot 
Reconstructed. FR 7476 (Lower Willow Creek) would have 1.7 miles Spot 
Reconstructed. FR 8200 (Willow Creek) would have 5.1 miles 
Reconditioned/Spot Reconstructed.
--Construct one temporary road, aproximately one-half mile long.
--Use approximately 14 miles of existing system road and less than one 
mile of non-system route as haul routes.
--Implement additional actions on several system routes including 
replacement of 5 culverts, addition of one culvert, replacement of 2 
fords with culverts, and hardening/armoring of 2 stream crossings.
--Treat units in Aspen, Douglas-Fir, Sagebrush-Grassland, Mountain 
Mahogany, and High-Elevation Mixed Conifer in approximately 2,821 acres 
in two Inventoried Roadless Area (IRA's), Call Mountain and East 
Pioneer. Treatments would include lop and scatter, slashing, pile 
burning, jackpot burning, underburning, ``daylighting'' with chainsaws, 
and mastication. All the trees to be cut

[[Page 15682]]

would be generally small-diameter trees. No commercial recovery of any 
by-products of these treatments is proposed in the IRA's. One 
replacement of a ford with a culvert would also occur in the Call 
Mountain IRA.
--Treat two units, one Aspen and one High-Elevation Mixed Conifer, 
totaling 46.8 acres in the Torrey Mountain Recommended Wilderness. The 
Aspen would be treated with lop and scatter and the High-Elevation 
Mixed Conifer would be treated with daylighting of the Whitebark Pine 
with chainsaws only.

Possible Alternatives

    1--No Action Alternative. Under this alternative there would be no 
treatment of the vegetation communities. Roads would not be 
reconditioned or reconstructed, and no culverts or fords would be 
replaced. Many of the proposed units will continue to have encroachment 
from conifers, decreased age class diversity, poor vigor, and higher 
susceptibility to insect and disease such as mountain pine beetle and 
blister rust.

Responsible Official

    The Dillon District Ranger will be the responsible official.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The decision to be made is whether to implement the proposed 
action, another alternative, or a combination of the alternatives.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. The project 
scoping map, as well as other project documents, can be viewed on the 
BDNF Web site at the following address: http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/bdnf/landmanagement/projects. Hard copies may also be viewed 
at the Dillon District office in Dillon, MT or can be mailed upon 
request. To request hard or CD copies please contact Alex Dunn at (406) 
683-3864 or adunn@fs.fed.us. It is important that reviewers provide 
their comments at such times and in such a manner that they are useful 
to the agency's preparation of the environmental impact statement. 
Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the 
comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer's concerns 
and contentions. Comments received in response to this solicitation, 
including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the 
public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously 
will be accepted and considered, however anonymous comments will not 
provide the Agency with the ability to provide the responder with 
subsequent environmental documentation.

    Dated: March 5, 2013.
Cole Mayn,
Acting Dillon District Ranger.
[FR Doc. 2013-05574 Filed 3-11-13; 8:45 am]