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E-M:/ Hiawatha Forest Management notice

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

Today's federal register.....

[Federal Register: January 30, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 20)]
[Page 5497-5498]
 From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]


Forest Service

Hiawatha National Forest; Michigan; Niagara EIS

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.
ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.


SUMMARY: The East Administrative Unit of the Hiawatha National Forest
intends to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to disclose
the environmental consequences of a vegetation and transportation
management project. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for the
purpose of and need for the action.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received
by February 17, 2008. The draft environmental impact statement is
expected October 2008 and the final environmental impact statement is
expected March 2009.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Lyn Hyslop, Niagara Team Leader;
St. Ignace Ranger District; W1900 W US-2; St. Ignace, Michigan 49781.
Send electronic comments to <A HREF="mailto:comments-eastern-hiawatha-st-ignace@fs.fed.us";>
    For further information, mail correspondence to Lyn Hyslop, Niagara
Team Leader; St. Ignace Ranger District; W1900 W US-2; St. Ignace,
Michigan 49781. See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for
information on how to send electronic comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lyn Hyslop, Niagara Team Leader; St.
Ignace Ranger District; (906) 643-7900. See address above under
ADDRESSES. Copies of documents may be requested at the same address.
Another means of obtaining information is to visit the Hiawatha
National Forest webpage at <A HREF="http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hiawatha/planning.htm";>


Purpose of and Need for Action

    The purpose of and need for the project is to:
    ? Ensure fully stocked stands of desired forest cover types
identified in the vegetation composition and size goals for management
areas 2.3 and 8.3, and provide commercial wood products (Forest Plan,
pp. 3-10 and 3-42).
    ? Provide a safe and efficient transportation system for managing
the National Forest and providing appropriate access to non-federal land.
    ? Provide within-stand diversity by increasing white pine
and hemlock in stands missing this component.
    ? Reduce the susceptibility of the Niagara area to insect
and disease outbreaks.

Proposed Action

    To move the project area toward the desired conditions shown in the
Hiawatha National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, the
Hiawatha National Forest would during this decade: (1) Clearcut on 189
acres, (2) clearcut--salvage mortality on 416 acres, (3) shelterwood
cut with reserves on 650 acres, (4) seed-tree cut with reserves on 62
acres, (5) overstory removal cut with reserves on 219 acres, (6)
single-tree selection cut on 4,154 acres, (7) commercial thin on 879
acres, (8) site preparation for natural regeneration on 4,487 acres,
(9) mechanical site preparation for natural regeneration on 409 acres,
(10) full planting on 219 acres, (11) construct 4 miles of new system
roads, (12) construct 6 miles of temporary roads, (13) add 2 miles of
unclassified roads to the National Forest System, (14) close 2

[[Page 5498]]

miles of existing roads, (15) decommission 18 miles of roads, (16)
construct 19 permanent log landings, and (17) construct 20 temporary
log landings. The total treatment area is 6,569 acres.

Responsible Official

    Stevan J. Christiansen, District Ranger; St. Ignace Ranger
District; W1900 W US-2; St. Ignace, Michigan 49781.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The decision to be made is whether or not to manage the vegetation
on any or all of the 6,569 acres by harvesting, and; whether or not to
manage the transportation system through construction of temporary and
permanent roads and log landings, addition of unclassified roads, and
road closures and decommissioning.

Scoping Process

    The St. Ignace Ranger District proposes to scope for information by
contacting persons and organizations on the Hiawatha's mailing list and
landowners within or adjacent to the project area. In addition a legal
notice will be posted in the local newspapers. An open house is also
scheduled for January 30, 2008 at the St. Ignace District office at the
address listed above, from 5-8 p.m. This present solicitation is for
comments on this Notice of Intent and the scoping materials available
elsewhere, such as on the Hiawatha National Forest webpage.

Preliminary Issues

    Preliminary or potential issues have been identified from
experience with similar projects.
    (1) Timber harvesting may adversely impact wildlife species
requiring early succession habitat.
    (2) Timber harvesting may adversely impact wildlife species
requiring late succession habitat.
    (3) Closing and decommissioning roads could reduce the amount of
legal motorized vehicle activity and could increase the amount of
illegal motorized vehicle activity.
    (4) Closing and decommissioning roads could result in adverse
effects to soils, riparian areas and wetlands, wildlife, and plants.
    (5) Timber harvesting and road building may adversely impact Canada
lynx or Hart's tongue fern.
    (6) The karst topography and its dependent above-ground and below-
ground resources may be impacted by the area's ability to produce
valuable timber products.


    Information is available electronically on the Hiawatha National
Forest webpage: <A HREF="http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hiawatha/planning.htm";>http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hiawatha/planning.htm</A>
click on ``Niagara''. Send electronic comments to: <A HREF="mailto:comments-eastern-hiawatha-st-ignace@fs.fed.us";>
comments-eastern-hiawatha-st-ignace@fs.fed.us</A>. When submitting
electronic comments, please reference the Niagara Project on the subject
line. In addition, include your name, mailing address, and whether you
would like a CD or paper copy of the draft EIS.

Comment Requested

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process which guides
the development of the environmental impact statement. Comments are
most valuable if they are within the scope of the proposed action,
specific to the proposed action, have a direct relationship to the
proposed action, and include supporting reasons for consideration in
the environmental impact statement and any subsequent decisions.
Comments will be used to identify relevant issues, display
environmental effects, or develop a range of reasonable alternatives to
the proposed action. Any referenced scientific literature should be
accompanied by a complete copy of the literature, and rationale as to
its pertinence to the Niagara Project.
    Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent
Environmental Review: A draft environmental impact statement will be
prepared for comment. The comment period on the draft environmental
impact statement will be 45 days from the date the Environmental
Protection Agency publishes the notice of availability in the Federal
    The Forest Service believes, at this early stage, it is important
to give reviewers notice of several court rulings related to public
participation in the environmental review process. First, reviewers of
draft environmental impact statements must structure their
participation in the environmental review of the proposal so that it is
meaningful and alerts an agency to the reviewer's position and
contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519,
553 (1978). Also, environmental objections that could be raised at the
draft environmental impact statement stage but that are not raised
until after completion of the final environmental impact statement may
be waived or dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d
1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490
F. Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D. Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings,
it is very important that those interested in this proposed action
participate by the close of the 45 day comment period so that
substantive comments and objections are made available to the Forest
Service at a time when it can meaningfully consider them and respond to
them in the final environmental impact statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft
environmental impact statement should be as specific as possible. It is
also helpful if comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the
draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft
environmental impact statement or the merits of the alternatives
formulated and discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer
to the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing
the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at
40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points.
    Comments received, including the names and addresses of those who
comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposal
and will be available for public inspection.

(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook
1909.15, Section 21)

    Dated: January 23, 2008.
Stevan J. Christiansen,
District Ranger.
[FR Doc. E8-1607 Filed 1-29-08; 8:45 am]


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