[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 60 (Thursday, March 30, 2017)]
[Pages 15686-15687]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-06273]



Forest Service

Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Idaho; John Wood Forest 
Management Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.


SUMMARY: The Soda Springs Ranger District proposes to conduct forest 
vegetation management activities and road work in a 5,590-acre project 
area within the Wood Canyon and Johnson Creek drainages located in the 
Caribou-Targhee National Forest, approximately six miles east of Soda 
Springs, Idaho. The project area has a forest vegetation management 
emphasis designated in the Caribou Revised Forest Plan (RFP) (2003). 
Overall, the landscape in which the project area is located has been 
identified as being outside of desired conditions outlined in the RFP 
with respect to forest structure and species composition.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by May 1, 2017. The draft environmental impact statement is expected 
August 2017 and the final environmental impact statement is expected 
October 2017.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Soda Springs Ranger District, 410 
East Hooper Avenue, Soda Springs, ID 83276. Comments may also be sent 
via email to [email protected] 
or via facsimile to (208) 547-2235.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wayne Beck, Project Leader, (208) 847-
8941. A public scoping letter with more details is posted on the forest 
Web site (https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/ctnf/landmanagement/ 
projects). In addition, a copy of the Caribou RFP is available on the 
forest Web site (https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/ctnf/landmanagement/planning).
    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.


Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose of the project proposal is to improve the overall 
composition, health and resilience of the forest within the project 
area, utilize and improve timber resources, and improve the Forest 
transportation system.
    The project proposal is needed because a fire regime condition 
class assessment of the forested landscape indicated that the landscape 
qualifies as Condition Class 2. This means that the vegetation 
composition, structure and fuels have moderate departure from the 
natural regime and predispose the system to risk of loss of key 
ecosystem components. Also, the project area is within a Caribou RFP 
5.2 prescription area. The emphasis in this prescription area is on 
scheduled wood-fiber production, timber growth and yield, while 
maintaining or restoring forested ecosystems (RFP at 4-71). This 
prescription area also sets the following guidelines: [p]ractices to 
prevent or control natural disturbances, such as insects and disease 
losses and wildfire, are emphasized. (RFP at 4-72) and where aspen 
exists, it should be maintained or enhanced as a component through 
restoration treatments (RFP at 4-72). Many of the stands in the project 
area that were previously harvested are becoming overly dense, which 
impacts growth and yield and increases risk to forest pests such as the 
western spruce budworm. Finally, there is a need to address the poor 
condition and resource concerns of the existing transportation system 
within the project area.

Proposed Action

    A combination of vegetation management activities would occur on 
approximately 760 acres. More specifically, approximately 395 acres are 
proposed for selection harvest, which would require approximately 1.6 
miles of temporary road construction to facilitate the harvest. 
Additionally, approximately 365 acres are proposed for non-harvest 
stand-tending treatments (pre-commercial thinning, piling, pile 
burning, jackpot burning and chopping).
    Several different types of road work are also proposed. The road 
work is proposed to meet transportation system needs for timber 
removal, resource needs, and public safety. It is proposed to 
reconstruct and improve the condition of approximately 5.1 miles of 
roads within the project area. This would include activities such as 
blading and shaping the road bed, spot graveling, culvert replacements, 
and other minor repairs. Approximately, 2.3 miles of road has been 
identified as needing to be relocated to address resource concerns. 
These roads will be located in the same general area, but large 
portions will be moved to a new foot print. Additionally, it is 
proposed to construct Road 574 in a more sustainable location (1.6 
miles new construction), obliterate the previous location along with 
several other short segments of road (2.1 miles), and close 0.3 miles. 
Development of a gravel pit within the project area is also be 

Possible Alternatives

    The Forest Service would develop alternatives to the proposed 
action based on internal and public scoping comments and analyze any 
viable alternatives in a draft environmental impact statement.

Responsible Official

    Soda Springs District Ranger, Bryan K. Fuell, is the responsible 

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The decisions to be made include whether to implement the proposed 
action, as designed; whether there are other alternatives capable of 
satisfying the purpose and need; and whether any mitigation measures or 
monitoring is required to implement the proposed action or 
alternatives. These decisions would be made in the record of decision, 
which would be issued following the publication of a final 
environmental impact statement and completion of the Forest Service 
objection process (36 CFR part 218, subparts A and B).

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. At this time, no 
public meeting will be held. This decision may be reconsidered 
depending on the outcome of scoping. In addition to this notice of 
intent, a legal notice will be published in the Idaho State Journal, 
newspaper of

[[Page 15687]]

record, to ensure wide distribution of this notice.
    It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times 
and in such manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of 
the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be 
provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly 
articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions. Per 36 CFR 218, 
only those who provide specific written comments regarding the proposed 
project or activity will be eligible to file an objection. Comments 
received in response to this solicitation, including names and 
addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for 
this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted 
and considered, however, anonymous comments will not provide the Agency 
with the ability to provide the respondent with subsequent 
environmental documents.
    An additional opportunity for public participation will occur 
during the public comment period on the draft environmental impact 
statement, which will be initiated by the publication of a notice of 
availability in the Federal Register.

    Dated: March 22, 2017.
Jeanne M. Higgins,
Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System.
[FR Doc. 2017-06273 Filed 3-29-17; 8:45 am]