[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 212 (Friday, November 1, 2013)]
[Pages 65700-65701]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-26221]



Bureau of Land Management


Notice of Availability of the Utah Greater Sage-Grouse Draft Land 
Use Plan Amendments and Environmental Impact Statement

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) and U.S. 
Forest Service (USFS) have prepared a Utah Greater Sage-Grouse Draft 
Land Use Plan (LUP) Amendments and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 
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 LUP Amendments/EIS within 90 days 
following the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes notice 
of the Draft LUP Amendments/EIS in the Federal Register. The BLM and 
USFS 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: Interested parties may submit comments related to the Utah 
Greater Sage-Grouse Draft LUP Amendments/EIS by any of the following 
 Email: [email protected]
 Fax: 801-539-4074
 Mail: BLM--Greater Sage-Grouse EIS, 440 West 200 South, Suite 
500, Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1345

Copies of the Utah Greater Sage-Grouse Draft LUP Amendments/EIS are 
available at the BLM Utah State Office at the above address or on the 
Internet at: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/planning/SG_RMP_rev.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Quincy Bahr, Greater Sage-Grouse 
Project Manager/Environmental Coordinator, telephone 801-539-4122 or 
Tyler Ashcroft, Environmental Coordinator, telephone 801-539-4068. 
Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call 
the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave 
a message or question for the above individual. The FIRS is available 
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Replies are provided during normal 
business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The BLM prepared the Utah Greater Sage-
Grouse Draft LUP Amendments/EIS to address a range of alternatives 
focused on specific conservation measures across the Utah range of the 
Greater Sage-Grouse. This Draft LUP Amendments/EIS is one of 15 
separate planning efforts that are being undertaken as part of the BLM 
and USFS National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy. Since December 
2011, the BLM has invited 56 local, State, Federal, and tribal 
governments to participate as cooperating agencies (CA) in the Utah 
Greater Sage-Grouse Draft LUP Amendments/EIS. Twenty-six of the 
governments have participated as CAs including the USFS, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Resource Conservation Service, State 
of Utah, and the State of Wyoming.
    The Draft LUP Amendments/EIS proposes to amend the LUPs for the 
Vernal, Price, Richfield, Kanab, Grand Staircase-Escalante National 
Mounument, Cedar/Beaver/Garfield/Antimony, Pinyon, Warm Springs, House 
Range, Pony Express, Box Elder, Randolph, Park City, and Salt Lake 
District Isolated Tracts resource or planning areas. The Draft LUP 
Amendments/EIS will also be used to amend the LUPs for the Dixie, 
Fishlake, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache, Ashley, and Manti-La Sal National 
Forests. The current management decisions for resources are described 
in the following LUPs:

 Vernal Resource Management Plan (RMP) (2008)
 Price RMP (2008)
 Richfield RMP (2008)
 Kanab RMP (2008)
 Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Management Plan 
 Cedar/Beaver/Garfield/Antimony RMP (1986)
 Pinyon Management Framework Plan (MFP) (1978)
 Warm Springs RMP (1987)
 House Range RMP (1987)
 Pony Express RMP (1990)
 Box Elder RMP (1986)
 Randolph MFP (1980)
 Park City MFP (1975)
 Salt Lake District Isolated Tracts Planning Analysis (1985)
 Dixie National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) 
 Fishlake National Forest LRMP (1986)
 Uinta National Forest Revised Forest Plan (2003)
 Wasatch-Cache National Forest Revised Forest Plan (2003)
 Ashley National Forest LRMP (1986)
 Manti-La Sal National Forest LRMP (1986)
    The planning area includes approximately 48 million acres of BLM, 
National Park Service, USFS, Bureau of Reclamation, State, local, and 
private lands located in Utah. It consists of all lands in the State of 
Utah, minus Washington and San Juan counties and the portions of the 
Sawtooth National Forest located in Box Elder County. The planning area 
also includes portions of the Ashley and Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National 
Forests that extend into Wyoming. Within the planning area, the BLM and 
USFS administer approximately 3.3 million surface acres. The BLM also 
administers approximately 4 million acres of Federal subsurface mineral 
estate underlying occupied Greater Sage-Grouse habitat. Surface 
management decisions made as a result of this Draft LUP Amendment/EIS 
will apply only to the BLM-administered and National Forest System 
lands in the planning area. Through this land use planning process, the 
BLM and USFS will identify Greater Sage-Grouse preliminary priority 
management areas (PPMA) and preliminary general management areas 
    PPMAs are BLM-administered public lands or National Forest System 
lands identified as having the highest value to maintaining sustainable 
Greater Sage-Grouse populations. PGMAs are BLM-administered public 
lands or National Forest System lands that are not as biologically 
important as PPMAs. In addition to considering which lands will be 
managed as PPMAs and PGMAs, each alternative considers a unique set of 
objectives and management actions.
    The formal public scoping process for the Draft LUP Amendments/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 eight scoping open houses in January and February 2012. The 
BLM used comments received during public scoping to help identify 
planning issues that would direct the formulation of alternatives and 
frame the scope of

[[Page 65701]]

analysis for the Draft LUP Amendments/EIS. The public scoping process 
was also used to introduce the public to preliminary planning criteria, 
which set limits on the scope of the Draft LUP Amendment/EIS. Major 
issues considered in the Draft LUP Amendments/EIS include Greater Sage-
Grouse, energy and mineral development, lands and realty (including 
rights-of-way), wildfire, vegetation management (including invasive 
species and conifer encroachment), livestock grazing, recreation and 
travel management, and socioeconomics.
    The Draft LUP Amendments/EIS evaluates five alternatives in detail, 
including a No Action Alternative (Alternative A) and four action 
alternatives (Alternatives B, C, D, and E). Alternative A would retain 
the management goals, objectives, and direction specified in the 
current LUPs for each resource or planning area. Alternative B includes 
conservation measures from the Sage-Grouse National Technical Team 
Report. Alternative C includes conservation measures that various 
conservation groups submitted to the BLM during the public scoping 
process and includes proposed Areas of Critical Environmental Concern 
(ACEC). Alternative D includes conservation measures developed by the 
BLM Utah in coordination with the local USFWS and the USFS 
Intermountain Region (Region 4). Alternative E is based on the State of 
Utah's Conservation Plan for Greater Sage-Grouse in Utah and the State 
of Wyoming's Governor's Executive Order 2011-05 and 2013-3.
    The BLM and USFS have identified Alternative D as the preferred 
alternative. Identification of this alternative does not represent the 
final agency decision. The Proposed LUP Amendments/Final EIS may 
include objectives and actions contained in any of the alternatives 
analyzed in the Draft LUP Amendment/EIS.
    Pursuant to 43 CFR 1610.7-2(b), this notice announces a concurrent 
public comment period on proposed Areas of Critical Environmental 
Concern (ACEC). As part of this planning process, fifteen ACECs are 
proposed in Alternative C. The proposed Greater-Sage-Grouse ACECs 

 Three Corners/Browns Park--50,100 acres
 Diamond Mountain--110,300 acres
 Little Mountain/Halfway Hollow--60,700 acres
 Blue Mountain--18,900 acres
 Parker Mountain--201,800 acres
 Southern Mountain Valleys--105,300 acres
 Buckskin Valley--34,900 acres
 Black Mountains--256,800 acres
 Southern Great Basin--101,000 acres
 Sheep Creek Mountains--316,700 acres
 Ibapah--47,000 acres
 Box Elder/Grouse Creek--364,100 acres
 Rich County--166,600 acres

    Under Alternative C, the following management prescriptions would 
apply to all Greater Sage-Grouse habitat, within the proposed ACECs: 
Closed to new mineral leasing; unsuitable for new surface coal mining; 
closed to new mineral material disposal; recommended for withdrawal 
from mineral entry; designated as a right-of-way (ROW) exclusion area; 
and, unavailable for livestock grazing. Additionally, within the 
proposed ACECs, the following management would apply:
     Prioritize withdrawal from mineral location and make 
existing claims within the proposed ACECs subject to validity patent 
     Require Plans of Operations for any Notice-level locatable 
mineral development per 43 CFR 3809 regulations; and
     Prioritize the removal of un-needed infrastructure, 
including mining or ROW equipment, roads, range developments and 
    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 (7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m.), 
Monday through Friday, except holidays.
    Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other 
personal identifying information in any comments, be aware that the 
entire comment--including personal identifying information--may be made 
publicly available at any time. Requests to withhold personal 
identifying information from public review, may be submitted, but the 
BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.

    Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10, 43 CFR 1610.2.

Jenna Whitlock,
Associate State Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-26221 Filed 10-31-13; 8:45 am]