[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 159 (Monday, August 18, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 48721-48722]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-19453]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Dixie, Fishlake, and Manti-La Sal National Forests; Utah; 
Initiation of Forest Plan Assessment Process

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of initiating the forest plan assessment process to 
determine whether a forest plan amendment is needed regarding livestock 
grazing for the Dixie, Fishlake, and Manti-La Sal National Forests.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service, is 
initiating a forest plan amendment process pursuant to 36 CFR 219 
(``Planning Rule'') for the Forest Land Management Plans (forest plans) 
for the Dixie, Fishlake, and Manti-La Sal National Forests, beginning 
with an assessment of current forest plan direction for managing 
livestock grazing as it relates to specific ecological conditions in 
riparian, aquatic, and sagebrush-grassland ecosystems. Interested 
parties are invited to contribute information to be used in the 
preliminary identification of the need for changing the forest plans. 
The appropriate National Environmental

[[Page 48722]]

Policy Act (NEPA) analysis processes will be initiated if the result of 
the assessment indicates that an amendment may be needed.

DATES: Comments or submissions for the assessment for the preliminary 
identification of a need for changing the forest plans of the Dixie, 
Fishlake, and Manti-La Sal National Forests will be most helpful if 
received by 45 days of publication of this notice. Based on the 
assessment, the three national forests will together or separately 
initiate the appropriate NEPA process, including proposing needs for 
change for forest plan amendments. The projected completion date for 
the assessment is early fall 2014.

ADDRESSES: To contribute information or comments to the process, 
electronic submissions should be addressed to: 
grazingassessment@fs.fed.us. Written comments should be addressed to 
Attn: John Zapell, Fishlake National Forest, 115 E 900 N., Richfield, 
UT 84701, or via fax: 435-896-9347.
    All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are 
placed in the project record, which will be maintained at the Fishlake 
National Forest Supervisor's Office. All comments will be available for 
public inspection.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shirley Frank, Interdisciplinary Team 
Leader, TEAMS, Forest Service at 559-920-6358 or safrank@fs.fed.us; or 
contact John Zapell, Public Affairs Officer, Fishlake National Forest 
at 435-896-1070 or jzapell@fs.fed.us.
    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) 
may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 
between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to the National Forest Management 
Act of 1976, the Dixie, Fishlake, and Manti-La Sal National Forests are 
managed under the direction included in their respective land and 
resource management plans (``forest plans''). Under the Planning Rule, 
plan amendments should be used to keep forest plans current and help 
units adapt to new information or changing conditions. Plan amendments 
are to be based on a preliminary identification of the needs to change 
the plan. The preliminary identification of the need to change the plan 
may be based on a new assessment; a monitoring report; or other 
documentation of new information, changed conditions, or changed 
circumstances.
    Because of numerous issues and conflicting views surrounding 
livestock grazing the forests conducted an initial review to identify 
what if any changes in resource conditions have occurred since the 
forest plans were established in 1986. The team was asked to identify 
resource concerns, determining whether they might be related to 
livestock management and what, if anything, in the forest plans' 
direction could be related to those resource concerns. The initial 
review indicates that ecological conditions in riparian, aquatic, and 
sagebrush-grassland ecosystems are not progressing toward sustaining 
the multiple use of these ecosystem's renewable resources in perpetuity 
while maintaining the long-term health and productivity of the land. 
Specific resource concerns were identified for riparian vegetation, 
lakes, ponds, springs, and wetlands, physical stream channel habitat 
and sagebrush grasslands. The review was based on monitoring 
information, observed changed conditions, and new scientific 
information.
    Concerns were also identified that existing forest plans do not 
have clear measurable desired conditions and descriptions for riparian, 
aquatic, and sagebrush grassland areas, especially in relation to use 
for domestic livestock grazing. Where desired conditions are described, 
they may not be effective at sustaining the natural resources, may 
conflict with other direction, or may not be supported by current 
scientific information. For further information, the initial review 
document is available by request and is posted on the Fishlake National 
Forest Web site at http://go.usa.gov/NnHQ.
    Because the initial review also indicated that the management 
direction in the forest plans may be a contributing factor, we, the 
Forest Supervisor of the Dixie National Forest and the Forest 
Supervisor of the Fishlake and Manti-LaSal National Forests, have 
determined that an assessment is needed for the preliminary 
identification of the need for changing the forest plans to address the 
above concerns. Because livestock grazing management was identified as 
a contributing factor to the ecological conditions, this assessment 
will also focus on the relationship of livestock grazing management to 
riparian vegetation, groundwater-dependent ecosystems, physical stream 
channel habitat, and sagebrush grassland ecosystems. Due to the 
commonality of concerns across the three forests, this assessment is 
being undertaken for all three forest plans.
    The purpose of the assessment is to evaluate rapidly the existing 
information on the ecological conditions of riparian vegetation, 
groundwater-dependent ecosystems, physical stream channel habitat, and 
sagebrush grassland areas; the use of these areas for domestic 
livestock grazing; and the relationship of the ecological conditions of 
these areas to forest plan direction. The assessments will facilitate 
building common understanding of that information to identify 
preliminary needs for changing the forest plans.
    With this notice, the agency invites other governments, 
nongovernmental parties, and the public to contribute to the assessment 
development. The intent of public engagement during development of the 
assessment is to identify as much relevant information as possible to 
inform the preliminary identification of the need to change the forest 
plans and, if needed, the subsequent plan amendment development 
process. Contributors are encouraged to share material about existing 
conditions and trends of the ecological conditions of concern, as well 
as about social, economic, and ecological values relevant to the 
specified ecological conditions and the use of these ecosystems for 
livestock grazing management.
    For efficiency and effectiveness, the assessment is being conducted 
for all three national forests because of similarities in their 
resources. We encourage contribution of information relating to the 
three-forest scale, individual forest-scale, as well as beyond the 
forest if related to the management of livestock grazing on the forest. 
Each plan is unique to the needs of the people and communities being 
served. The result of the assessment may be the preliminary 
identification of needs for change applicable to one, two, or all three 
forest plans.
    To contribute to the process, see the ADDRESS section above. Or 
contact John Zapell, Public Affairs Officer, Fishlake National Forest 
at 435-896-1070 or jzapell@fs.fed.us. Or contact Shirley Frank, 
Interdisciplinary Team Leader and Environmental Coordinator, TEAMS, 
Forest Service at 559-920-6358 or safrank@fs.fed.us.

    Dated: August 7, 2014.
Allen Rowley,
Fishlake Forest Supervisor and Acting Manti-La Sal Supervisor.
     Dated: August 7, 2014.
Angelita S. Bulletts,
Dixie Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 2014-19453 Filed 8-15-14; 8:45 am]
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