[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 212 (Friday, November 1, 2013)]
[Pages 65703-65705]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-26260]



Bureau of Land Management

[LLID9310000 L16100000.DP0000. LXSISGST0000]

Notice of Availability of the Idaho and Southwestern Montana 
Greater Sage-Grouse Draft Land Use Plan Amendments and Draft 
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 the Forest 
Service (USFS) have prepared a Draft Land Use Plan (LUP) Amendments and 
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for managing Greater Sage-
Grouse (GRSG) in the Idaho and Southwestern Montana sub-region, and by 
this notice are announcing the opening of the comment period.

DATES: To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM and the USFS 
must receive written comments on the Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS 
within 90 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency 
publishes notice of the Draft LUP Amendments/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 Idaho and 
Southwestern Montana Greater Sage-Grouse Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS 
by any of the following methods:
     Email: blm_id_swmt_sagegrouse_eis@blm.gov.
     Fax: 208-373-3805.
     Mail: BLM--Greater Sage-grouse EIS, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, 
Boise ID 83709.
    Copies of the Idaho and Southwestern Montana Greater Sage-Grouse 
Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS are available at the BLM Idaho State 
Office, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Boise ID 83709, or online at: http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/prog/nepa_register/sage-grouse_rmp_revision.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brent Ralston, the Idaho and 
Southwestern Montana Sub Regional Project Lead, telephone 208-373-3812; 
see address above; email bralston@blm.gov. Persons who use a

[[Page 65704]]

telecommunications device 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 and the Forest Service prepared the 
Idaho and Southwestern Montana Greater Sage-Grouse Draft LUP Amendments 
and Draft EIS to address a range of alternatives focused on specific 
conservation measures across the Idaho and Southwestern Montana range 
of the GRSG. This Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS is one of 15 separate 
planning efforts that are being undertaken as part of the BLM and 
Forest Service National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy. The 
Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS proposes to amend the LUPs for field 
offices on BLM and National Forest lands within the Idaho and southwest 
Montana sub-region boundaries. The current management decisions for 
resources are described in the following resource management plans 
(RMPs)/land resource management plans (LRMPs):

Bruneau Management Framework Plan (MFP)
Burley FO, ID 1985 Cassia Resource Management Plan (RMP)
Burley FO, ID 1982 Twin Falls MFP
Challis FO, ID 1999 Challis RMP
Dillon FO, MT 2006 Dillon RMP
Four Rivers FO, ID 1988 Cascade RMP
Four Rivers FO, ID 1983 Kuna RMP
Four Rivers FO, ID 2008 Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation 
Area (NCA) RMP
Jarbidge FO, ID 1987 Jarbidge RMP
Owyhee FO, ID 1999 Owyhee RMP
Pocatello FO, ID 2012 Pocatello RMP
Salmon FO, ID 1987 Lemhi RMP
Shoshone FO, ID 2006 Craters of the Moon National Monument RMP
Shoshone FO, ID 1975 Magic MFP
Shoshone FO, ID 1981 Sun Valley MFP
Shoshone Field Office (FO), ID 1980 Bennett Hills/Timmerman Hills MFP
Shoshone and Burley FOs, ID 1985 Monument RMP
Upper Snake FO, ID 1981 Little Lost-Birch Creek MFP
Upper Snake FO, ID 1985 Medicine Lodge RMP
Upper Snake FO, ID 1981 Big Desert MFP
Upper Snake FO, ID 1983 Big Lost MFP
Forest Service
Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF, MT 2009 Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest 
(NF) Plan
Boise NF, ID 2003 Boise NF Plan
Caribou-Targhee NF, ID 2002 Curlew National Grassland Management Plan
Caribou-Targhee NF, ID 2003 Caribou NF Revised Forest Plan
Caribou-Targhee NF, ID 1997 Targhee NF Plan
Salmon-Challis NF, ID 1987 Challis NF Plan
Salmon-Challis NF, ID 1988 Salmon NF Plan
Sawtooth NF, ID, UT 2003 Sawtooth NF Revised Forest Plan

    The planning area includes approximately 49.1 million acres of BLM, 
National Park Service, USFS, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, State, local, 
and private lands located in Idaho and Southwestern Montana, in 34 
counties: Ada, Adams, Bear Lake, Bingham, Blaine, Bonneville, Butte, 
Camas, Caribou, Cassia, Clark, Custer, Elmore, Fremont, Gem, Gooding, 
Jefferson, Jerome, Lemhi, Lincoln, Madison, Minidoka, Oneida Owyhee, 
Payette, Power, Twin Falls, Washington, Montana (MT), Beaverhead Deer 
Lodge (MT), Gallatin (MT), Madison (MT), Silver Bow (MT), and Box Elder 
(UT). Within the decision area, the BLM and the Forest Service 
administer approximately 12.7 million acres of public lands and 17.4 
million acres of National Forest System Land, providing approximately 
9.3 and 1.9 million acres of GRSG habitat, respectively. Surface 
management decisions made as a result of this Draft LUP Amendments/
Draft EIS will apply only to BLM and USFS-administered lands in the 
decision area. The decision area for most program decisions is defined 
as those BLM and USFS-administered lands and Federal mineral estate 
within two categories of habitat:
     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.

In addition, one alternative considered identifies off-highway vehicle 
decisions for all Idaho BLM-administered lands within the planning 
    The formal public scoping process for the 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 six 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 LUP Amendments/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 LUP Amendments/Draft EIS.
    Major issues considered in the Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS 
include special status species management (GRSG specifically), 
wildfire, invasive species, infrastructure and human disturbance.
    The Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS evaluates six alternatives in 
detail, including the No Action Alternative (Alternative A) and five 
action alternatives (Alternatives B, C, D, E and F). Alternatives D and 
E have been identified as co-Preferred Alternatives for the purposes of 
public comment and review. Identification of these alternatives, 
however, does not represent final agency direction, and the Proposed 
LUP Amendments/Final EIS may reflect changes or adjustments from 
information received during public comment, from new information, or 
from changes in BLM policies or priorities. The Proposed LUP 
Amendments/Final EIS may include objectives and actions described in 
the other analyzed alternatives as well.
    Alternative A would retain the current management goals, 
objectives, and direction specified in the current LUPs for each field 
office and National Forest. Alternative B includes conservation 
measures from the Sage-Grouse National Technical Team Report. 
Alternative C includes conservation measures submitted to the BLM by 
conservation groups. Alternative D includes the Idaho and Southwestern 
Montana subregional alternative formulated by the BLM and USFS. 
Alternative E was taken from alternatives developed by the Idaho and 
Utah Governor's Offices. Alternative F includes measures submitted to 
the BLM by various conservation groups.
    Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) and USFS Zoological 
Areas are among the special designations under consideration within the 
range of alternatives. ACECs have been proposed in Alternatives C and F 
to protect GRSG habitat. There are 53 existing ACECs within the 
planning area containing approximately 325,000 acres of GRSG habitat. 
None of these ACECs have been identified as having Greater Sage-Grouse 
as a relevant and important value. The existing ACEC designations would 
be carried forward in alternatives B, D and E without change.
    Pursuant to 43 CFR 1610.7-2(b), this notice announces a concurrent 
public comment period on proposed ACECs.

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Alternative C includes a proposal for four new ACECs encompassing 
approximately 4.2 million acres. Alternative F includes two proposals 
for new ACECs: (1) 17 new ACECs and 12 Zoological Areas encompassing 
11.1 million acres; and (2) 18 new ACECs and 12 USFS Zoological Areas 
encompassing 2.5 million acres. These proposed ACECs/Zoological Areas 
would include the following resource use limitations if they were 
formally designated:
    Closed to fluid mineral leasing; designated as a right-of-way 
exclusion area; closed to livestock grazing; allow vegetation 
treatments only for the benefit of GRSG; and recommended for withdrawal 
from mineral entry.
    Pertinent information regarding all proposed ACECs including 
values, resource use limitations, and acreages are available at the 
following Web site:
    http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/prog/nepa_register/sage-grouse_rmp_revision.html. There are no new ACECs proposed within either of the co-
Preferred Alternatives. 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.

Timothy M. Murphy,
Acting BLM Idaho State Director.
Jamie E. Connell,
BLM Montana State Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-26260 Filed 10-31-13; 8:45 a.m.]