[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 228 (Tuesday, November 26, 2013)]
[Pages 70571-70573]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-28295]



Bureau of Land Management


Notice of Availability of the Oregon 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, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 
1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared 
Oregon Greater Sage-Grouse Draft Land Use Plan (LUP) Amendments and a 
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Oregon Sub-Region 
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/Draft EIS within 90 days 
following the date that 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

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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 Oregon Greater Sage-
Grouse Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS by any of the following methods:
     Web site: http://on.doi.gov/1ewEQRc.
     Email: blm_or_so_gsg_planning_comments@blm.gov.
     Fax: 503-808-6021.
     Mail: BLM--Greater Sage-Grouse EIS, 1220 SW 3rd Avenue, 
Portland, OR 97204.
    Copies of the Oregon Greater Sage-Grouse Draft LUP Amendments/Draft 
EIS are available at the Oregon State Office at the above address or on 
the Web site at: http://www.blm.gov/or/energy/opportunity/sagebrush.php.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joan Suther, Oregon Sub-Regional 
Greater Sage-Grouse Project Manager, telephone 541-573-4445; see 
address above; email jsuther@blm.gov. 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 BLM prepared the Oregon Greater Sage-
Grouse Draft LUP Amendments and Draft EIS to address a range of 
alternatives focused on specific conservation measures across the 
Oregon range of the Greater Sage-Grouse (GRSG). The Draft LUP 
Amendments/Draft EIS is one of 15 separate planning efforts that are 
being undertaken as part of the BLM's and the U.S. Forest Service's 
National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy. The Draft LUP 
Amendments/Draft EIS propose to amend the LUPs for the Vale, Burns, 
Prineville, and Lakeview District Offices. The current management 
decisions for resources are described in the following LUPs:

 Andrews 2005
 Baker 1989
 Brothers LaPine (east) 1989
 Lakeview 2003
 Southeastern Oregon 2002
 Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area 
 Three Rivers 1992
 Upper Deschutes 2005

    Within the decision area, the BLM administers approximately 10 
million acres of sage-grouse habitat. Surface management decisions made 
as a result of the Draft LUP Amendments/Draft EIS will apply only to 
the BLM-administered lands in the decision area. The decision area is 
defined as those BLM-administered lands within two categories of 
habitat identified by the BLM in coordination with the Oregon 
Department of Fish and Wildlife:
     Preliminary Priority Habitat (PPH)--Areas identified as 
having the highest conservation value for 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.
    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 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), energy 
and mineral development, lands and realty (including transmission), 
vegetation management, and livestock grazing. The Draft LUP Amendments/
Draft EIS evaluate six alternatives in detail, including the No Action 
Alternative (Alternative A) and five action alternatives (Alternatives 
B, C, D, E, and F). The BLM 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, on other new information, or onchanges in BLM 
policies or priorities. The proposed LUP amendments/Final EIS may 
include objectives and actions described in the other analyzed 
alternatives or that are otherwise within the spectrum of alternatives 
analyzed. Alternative A would retain the current management goals, 
objectives, and direction specified in the current LUPs for each field 
office. Alternative B includes conservation measures from the Greater 
Sage-Grouse National Technical Team Report. Alternative C includes 
conservation measures that various conservation groups submitted to the 
BLM and includes the removal of grazing in currently occupied habitat. 
Alternative C also includes proposed designation of an Area of Critical 
Environmental Concern (ACEC). Alternative D includes conservation 
measures the BLM developed with the cooperating agencies. Alternative E 
is based on recommendations included in the Oregon Department of Fish & 
Wildlife Sage-Grouse Conservation and Assessment Strategy (2011), which 
includes an emphasis on protecting Core Areas with no development 
permissible in Greater Sage-Grouse habitat with evidence of Greater 
Sage-Grouse presence for major surface disturbing activities.
    Alternative F analyzes other management recommendations submitted 
by conservation groups and includes reduced grazing in currently 
occupied habitat. Alternative F also includes proposed designation of 
an ACEC. Pursuant to 43 CFR 1610.7-2(b), this notice announces a 
concurrent public comment period on proposed ACECs. One ACEC is 
proposed in Alternative C. The Sage-Grouse Habitat ACEC would cover 
approximately 4,547,043 acres of Greater Sage-Grouse habitat. Another 
ACEC proposal is found in Alternative F. This Sage-Grouse Habitat ACEC 
proposal would include 17 ACECs covering approximately 4,040,202 acres 
of Greater Sage-Grouse habitat. The proposed ACECs within Alternative C 
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; allowance of 
vegetation treatments only for the benefit of GRSG; and recommended for 
withdrawal from mineral entry. The proposed ACECs within Alternative F 
would include similar resource use limitations as presented in 
Alternative C, except that these proposed ACECs would have reduced 
livestock grazing levels and not be fully closed. Also, under 
Alternative F, ACEC resource use limitations would only apply to areas 
that are proposed to be managed for priority Greater Sage-Grouse 
habitat. In addition, Alternative D proposes sage-grouse conservation 
measures on a subset of existing ACECs containing more than 20 percent 
or 50 percent preliminary general management area sage-grouse habitat.
    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

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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

Jerome E. Perez,
State Director, Oregon/Washington.
[FR Doc. 2013-28295 Filed 11-25-13; 8:45 am]