[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 212 (Friday, November 1, 2013)]
[Pages 65701-65703]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-26261]



Bureau of Land Management

[LLNV930000. L11100000.DS0000. LXSISGST0000.13X; 13-08807; MO 

Notice of Availability of the Nevada and Northeastern California 
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 U.S. 
Forest Service (USFS) have prepared a Nevada and Northeastern 
California Sub-region Greater Sage-Grouse Draft Land Use Plan (LUP) 
Amendments and Draft 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 and USFS 
must receive written comments on the Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS 
within 90 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency 
publishes its notice of the Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS in the 
Federal Register. The BLM and USFS will announce future workshops and 
any other public participation activities at least 15 days in advance 
through public notices, media releases, and/or mailings.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments related to the Nevada and 
Northeastern California Sub-region Greater Sage-Grouse Draft LUP 
Amendments/Draft EIS by any of the following methods:
     Web site: http://on.doi.gov/14ZD3Rb.
     Email: [email protected].
     Mail: BLM--Greater Sage Grouse EIS, Attn: Joe Tague, 1340 
Financial Blvd. Reno, NV 89502.
    Copies of the Nevada and Northeastern California Sub-region Greater 
Sage-Grouse Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS are available on the Web at: 
Copies are also available at BLM and USFS offices throughout the 
subregion. For a list of these offices, please see SUPPLEMENTARY 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joe Tague, Project Manager, telephone 

[[Page 65702]]

861-6712; email [email protected]. Persons who use a 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 Nevada and Northeastern California Sub-
region Greater Sage-Grouse Draft LUP Amendments and Draft EIS addresses 
a range of alternatives focused on specific conservation measures 
across the range of the Greater Sage-Grouse (GRSG) in the sub-region. 
This Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS is one of 15 separate planning 
efforts that are being undertaken as part of the BLM's and USFS's 
National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy. The Draft LUP 
Amendments/Draft EIS proposes to amend the following Resource 
Management Plans (RMP)/Land Resource Management Plans (LRMP):

 Alturas RMP (2008)
 Eagle Lake RMP (2008)
 Surprise RMP (2008)
 Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National 
Conservation Area RMP (2004)
 Carson City Consolidated RMP (2001)
 Elko RMP (1987)
 Ely RMP (2008)
 Shoshone-Eureka RMP (1986)
 Tonopah RMP (1997)
 Wells RMP (1985)
 Winnemucca RMP (revision in progress)
 Humboldt National Forest LRMP (1986)
 Toiyabe National Forest LRMP (1986)
    The planning area covers all or portions of 16 counties in Nevada 
and portions of 7 counties in northeastern California. Lands within the 
planning area include a mix of private, Federal and State lands. The 
decision area includes approximately 17 million acres of GRSG habitat 
administered by the BLM or USFS. The LUP amendments will be limited to 
making land use planning decisions specific to the conservation of 
Greater Sage-Grouse and their habitat. Through this land use planning 
process, the BLM and USFS will identify Greater Sage-Grouse preliminary 
priority management areas (PPMAs) and preliminary general management 
areas (PGMAs).
    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 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 
and USFS held seven scoping open houses in January 2012. The agencies 
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.
    Major issues considered in the Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS 
include special status species management (GRSG specifically), fire and 
invasive species, energy development, lands and realty (including 
transmission), and livestock grazing.
    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). The BLM and the 
USFS identified Alternative D as the preferred alternative. 
Identification of this alternative, however, does not represent final 
agency direction, and the Proposed LUP Amendments/Final EIS may reflect 
changes or adjustments based on information received during public 
comment, from new information, or from changes in BLM or USFS policies 
or priorities. The Proposed LUP/Final EIS may include objectives and 
actions described in the other analyzed alternatives or otherwise 
within the spectrum of the analyzed alternatives.
    Alternative A (No Action) continues current management direction 
under existing planning documents for all 11 field offices involved in 
the planning effort, plus the Humboldt and Toiyabe National Forests.
    Alternative B analyzes management actions outlined in the National 
Technical Team's (NTT) Report. Conservation measures under Alternative 
B are focused primarily on priority habitat areas that have the highest 
conservation value to maintaining or increasing GRSG populations. These 
conservation measures include such protections as right-of-way (ROW) 
exclusions and a fluid mineral leasing closure.
    Alternative C reduces or eliminates many of the uses on public 
lands, including livestock grazing. The alternative provides for a 
series of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) throughout 
the planning area for conservation of the Greater Sage-Grouse.
    Alternative D, the Sub-regional alternative, incorporates local 
adjustments to the NTT Report which were developed with cooperating 
agencies. The purpose is to provide a balanced level of protection, 
restoration, enhancement and use of resources and services to meet 
ongoing programs and land uses. Conservation measures under Alternative 
D are focused on both Preliminary Priority Habitat (PPH) and 
Preliminary General Habitat (PGH) areas.
    Alternative E (Nevada Governor's alternative) analyzes State-
proposed conservation strategies. As part of their alternative 
submission, States provided the BLM with geographic information system 
data depicting their preferred PPH and PGH areas, conservation measures 
that should be applied to these areas, and rationale as to why their 
measures deviate from those outlined in the NTT Report.
    Alternative F emphasizes the conservation actions that reduce many 
current land uses, such as mineral development, ROWs and other uses. 
The alternative provides for a series of ACECs throughout the planning 
area for conservation of the Greater Sage-Grouse.
    Pursuant to 43 CFR 1610.7-2(b), this notice announces a concurrent 
public comment period on proposed ACECs. There are 32 ACECs proposed in 
Alternative C and 9 ACECs in Alternative F totaling approximately 13.6 
million acres.
    The GRSG habitat ACECs in Alternative C include: Black Rock, 
Buffalo/Skedaddle, Butte/Buck/White Pine, Clan Alpine, Cortez; 
Desatoya, Desert, East Valley, Fish Creek, Gollaher, Islands, Lincoln, 
Lone Willow, Massacre, Monitor, North Fork, O'Neil Basin, Pine Forest, 
Reese River, Ruby Valley, Santa Rosa, Schell/Antelope, Shoshone, Snake, 
South Fork, Spring/Snake Valley, Steptoe/Cave, Three Bar, Toiyabe, 
Tuscarora, Virginia and Vya, totaling approximately 12.2 million acres. 
The following management prescriptions would apply to these areas: 
Close to livestock grazing during lek, nesting and winter periods; 
prohibit industrial wind and wind farm construction in the ACEC or 
within 5-10 miles of the boundary; prohibit industrial solar projects 
within ACECs; recommend a mineral withdrawl from Preliminary Priority 
Sage-Grouse Management Areas (PPMA) and targeted restoration habitat; 
require features to enhance GRSG habitat security in existing ROW 
corridors and create

[[Page 65703]]

avoidance areas for new ROWs and communication and other towers; 
protect Native American traditional and cultural sites and uses; retain 
all public lands in ACECs in Federal ownership; prioritize acquisition 
of private lands in ACECs over easements; minimize herbicide use; close 
ACECs to oil, gas and geothermal leasing; allow locatable and 
nonlocatable mineral development in nonhabitat areas; prohibit use of 
helicopters within the ACEC to manage wild horse populations.
    The GRSG ACECs in Alternative F include: Bates Mountain, Cortez 
range, Fish Creek Mountains, Little Fish Lake Valley, Monitor, Monitor 
Valley, Reese River, Roberts Mountain and Telegraph Mountain, totaling 
approximately 1.4 million acres. The following management prescriptions 
would apply to these areas: Close the areas to cross country vehicle 
travel; limit motorized and mechanized travel to designated routes and 
prohibit new routes within 4 miles of leks or within PPMAs; seasonally 
prohibit camping and nonmotorized recreation within 4 miles of active 
leks; allow only Special Recreation Permits that have demonstrated 
beneficial or neutral effects on PPMAs; include exclusion areas for new 
ROWs in PPMAs; include avoidance areas for new ROWs in PPMA and 
Preliminary General Management Areas (PGMA); retain PPMAs in the ACECs 
in Federal ownership; prioritize acquisition of private lands in ACECs 
over easements; allow for vegetative management to be consistent with 
composition and structure in achieving habitat objectives; allow for 
seasonal and timing restrictions in livetock grazing within ACECs; 
permanently retire grazing permits as opportunitiy arises; manage 
riparian areas and wetlands to meet proper functioning condition and 
maintain a component of perennial forbes with diverse species richness 
and productivity relative to site potential; prohibit new water 
developments for diversion from springs or seeps within PPMA and PGMAs; 
close to oil, gas, geothermal leasing within PPMA and within 4 miles of 
active leks; allow geophysical exploration outside PPMAs using 
helicopter-portable drilling methods only and in accordance with 
seasonal timing and other restrictions; not use Catergorical Exclusion 
to resolve Section 390 resource conflicts in PPMAs and design and 
implement fuels treatments with emphasis on protecting existing 
sagebrush ecosystem.
    Copies of the Nevada and Northeastern California Sub-region Greater 
Sage-Grouse Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS are available at the 
following BLM and USFS offices throughout the subregion:


 BLM State Office, 1340 Financial Blvd., Reno
 BLM Winnemucca District Office, 5100 E. Winnemucca Blvd., 
 BLM Ely District Office, 702 North Industrial Way, HC 33 Box 
33500, Ely
 BLM Elko District Office, 3900 E. Idaho Street, Elko
 BLM Carson City District Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson 
 Battle Mountain District Office, 50 Bastian Road, Battle 
 Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, 1200 Franklin Way, Sparks


 BLM State Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1623, Sacramento
 Alturas Field Office, 708 W. 12th Street, Alturas
 Eagle Lake Field Office, 2950 Riverside Drive, Susanville
 Surprise Field Office, 602 Cressler Street, Cedarville

    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.

Amy Lueders,
BLM Nevada State Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-26261 Filed 10-31-13; 8:45 am]