[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 188 (Friday, September 27, 2013)]
[Pages 59713-59714]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-23485]



Bureau of Land Management

[LLMT923000 L16100000.DP0000]

Notice of Availability of the North Dakota Greater Sage-Grouse 
Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment and Draft Environmental Impact 

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability.


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 
North Dakota Greater Sage-Grouse (GRSG) Draft Resource Management Plan 
(RMP) Amendment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 
North Dakota Field Office 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 
after the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes its 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 North Dakota GRSG 
Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS by any of the following methods:
     Web site: http://www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/fo/north_dakota_field.html.
     Email: blm_mt_nd_sage_grouse@blm.gov.
     Fax: 406-896-5293.
     Mail: BLM--North Dakota Greater Sage-Grouse EIS, 5001 
Southgate Drive, Billings MT 59101.
    Copies of the North Dakota GRSG Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS are 
available at the North Dakota Field Office at: 99 23rd Ave. W., 
Dickinson, ND, or on the Web site at: http://www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/fo/north_dakota_field.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ruth Miller, Team Lead, telephone 406-
896-5023; see address and email above. Persons who use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-253-4093 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 North Dakota GRSG Draft 
RMP Amendment and Draft EIS to address a range of alternatives focused 
on specific conservation measures across the North Dakota range of the 
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 (USFS) National GRSG Planning Strategy. The Draft RMP 

[[Page 59714]]

Draft EIS proposes to amend the North Dakota RMP. The current 
management decisions for resources are described in the North Dakota 
RMP (1988).
    The planning area includes approximately 963,017 acres of BLM, 
USFS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State, and private lands located 
in southwestern North Dakota, in three counties (Bowman, Slope, and 
Golden Valley). Within the decision area, the BLM administers 
approximately 33,030 surface acres and 396,053 acres of Federal mineral 
(subsurface) estate. Surface management decisions made as a result of 
this Draft RMP Amendment/Draft EIS will apply only to the BLM-
administered lands in the decision area. The decision area is defined 
as those BLM-administered lands and Federal mineral estate within the 
Planning Area, which includes two categories of habitat identified by 
the BLM and North Dakota Game and Fish (NDG&F):
     Preliminary Priority Habitat (PPH)--Areas identified as 
having the highest conservation value to maintaining sustainable GRSG 
populations; includes all leks in North Dakota.
     Preliminary General Habitat (PGH)--Areas of historic sage-
grouse habitat, which still has some use by sage-grouse.
    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 one scoping open house in North Dakota in January 2011. 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 
    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 RMP. 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 32,900 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;
     Reduce livestock grazing;
     No roads constructed within 4 miles of a lek;
     Allow vegetation treatments only for the benefit of GRSG; 
     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.

Theresa M. Hanley,
Acting BLM Montana/Dakotas State Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-23485 Filed 9-26-13; 8:45 am]