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Willamette National Forest, Detroit Ranger District, Oregon; Hwy 46 Project

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Willamette National Forest, Detroit Ranger District, Oregon; Hwy 46 Project

Grady McMahan
Department of Agriculture
9 March 2016

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 46 (Wednesday, March 9, 2016)]
[Pages 12446-12447]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-05257]

                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.


Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 46 / Wednesday, March 9, 2016 / 

[[Page 12446]]


Forest Service

Willamette National Forest, Detroit Ranger District, Oregon; Hwy 
46 Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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


SUMMARY: The Hwy 46 Project is proposed to improve stand growth, 
diversity and structure; move stand structure from an overabundance of 
mid seral stands to increase both early and late seral stand structure 
within the watershed; reduce hazardous fuels; restore sugar pine and 
encourage sugar pine regeneration; treat powerline visuals; restore 
riparian and meadow habitats; and restore hydrologic processes in the 
Short Lake area. This project would also provide a sustainable yield of 
timber for commercial products to local and regional economies. 
Treatments would occur on about 4054 acres. Commercial harvest 
activities on approximately 3576 acres include commercial thinning, 
sugar pine restoration, and early seral creation through gaps and 
variable retention regeneration harvest. Fuels reduction activities, 
understory habitat enhancement treatments and meadow restoration are 
proposed on approximately 480 acres. Road work would be part of the 
actions associated with the proposed activities and would include road 
maintenance/reconstruction on 119 miles, approximately 9.3 miles of 
temporary roads, and the rerouting of FS Rd 46-059.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by April 25, 2016. The draft environmental impact statement is expected 
June 2017 and the final environmental impact statement is expected 
December 2017.

ADDRESSES: Scoping comments can be submitted electronically through 
https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/Commentinput?project=47109. Send written comments to HC 73, Box 320, 
Mill City, OR 97360, or via facsimile to 503-854-4239.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lyn Medley (Project Team Leader) at 
the Detroit Ranger District, (503) 854-4228, lmedley@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.


Purpose and Need for Action

    The Hwy 46 project area is approximately 31,295 acres, located in 
the Breitenbush Watershed. Forest Road 46 (Hwy 46), the Breitenbush 
River and a powerline bisect the project area. Within the project area 
trees are competing for sunlight, water and nutrients causing reduced 
tree growth and vigor. There is an oversupply of mid-seral stands, 
moving the seral distribution away from historic levels and limiting 
stand structure and species diversity across the landscape. This is the 
northern most extent of Sugar pine, past management and the exclusion 
of fire on the landscape has threatened this population of Sugar pine. 
The Breitenbush community is located within the project area, and the 
watershed is popular with recreationists.
    The purpose of this project is to improve stand growth, diversity 
and structure and move stand structure from an overabundance of mid 
seral stands to increase early and late seral stand structure in the 
watershed, and to diversify wildlife habitat in the watershed; 
strategically reduce hazardous fuels; restore sugar pine stands to 
encourage sugar pine regeneration; treat powerline visuals; restore 
riparian habitats, meadows, and hydrologic processes in the project 
area; and provide forest products to the local economy.

Proposed Action

    The Hwy 46 project proposes the following activities:
    1. Commercially harvest about 3576 acres of second growth forests 
(managed and fire regenerated stands). This includes: 3328 acres of 
commercial thinning, approximately 132 acres of gaps (0.5-3 acres in 
size), approximately 65 acres of dominate tree release gaps (0.5 acres 
or less), and 51 acres of variable retention regeneration harvest. 
Included in these acres are approximately 430 acres of sugar pine 
restoration and 117 acres of visual treatments along the powerline. The 
51 acres of variable retention regeneration harvest will be replanted 
with an appropriate mix of seedlings following harvest. Sugar pine 
seedlings will be planted in the sugar pine restoration units. The gaps 
will be replanted as needed with appropriate conifer seedlings.
    2. Construction of approximately 5.1 miles of temporary spur roads, 
and reconstruction of approximately 4.2 miles of spur roads to access 
timber harvest units. The spur roads would be decommissioned by 
ripping, water-barring, and re-establishing drainage, and then seeded 
after harvest activities to minimize soil erosion and maintain water 
    3. Road maintenance and reconstruction activities on about 119 
miles of existing forest system roads within the planning area. 
Maintenance and reconstruction needs vary by road, but include 
brushing, reconditioning of roadways and ditches, replacing culverts, 
and cut slope repair. Road work will help provide for user and public 
safety and meet Forest Plan objectives.
    4. Reroute FS Rd 46-059 road to restore hydrologic processes in the 
Short Lake area. The existing road would be decommissioned.
    5. Hazardous fuel reduction treatments to reduce both existing fuel 
loadings and logging slash as a result of harvest will be planned to 
bring stands to levels within Forest Plan standards and guidelines. 
Proposed treatments include broadcast burning, machine piling, burning 
of landings, hand piling and chipping. This includes fuel reduction 
treatments on approximately 223 acres to reduce wildfire risks to the 
Breitenbush Community and roadside areas.
    6. Understory habitat enhancements to increase species and 
structural diversity on approximately 222 acres.

[[Page 12447]]

These treatments include meadow restoration and enhancement; 
noncommercial thinning of trees and shrubs less than 7 inches diameter 
at breast height (DBH), pruning and planting.
    7. Recreation related activities include visual treatment of the 
powerline corridor, enhancement of Short Lake area and around Fox Creek 
    8. Thinning and fuels treatments will occur on approximately 802 
acres of Riparian Reserves outside of riparian buffers to accelerate 
and/or improve Aquatic Conservation Strategy Objectives (ACSOs). 
Additional Riparian Reserve treatments could occur on up to 50 acres 
within buffers, including diversity thinning in plantations, wood 
placement in creeks and cutting and leaving conifers in areas of 
hardwoods to encourage hardwood growth. All treatments will be designed 
to accelerate and/or improve ACSOs.

Responsible Official

    Detroit District Ranger.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    Given the purpose and need, the scope of the decision to be made by 
the responsible official will be as follows:
     Do the proposed actions comply with all applicable laws 
governing Forest Service actions?
     Do the proposed actions comply with the applicable 
standards and guidelines found in the Willamette Land and Resource 
Management Plan (LRMP)?
     Does the Environmental Impact Statement have sufficient 
site-specific environmental analysis to make an informed decision?
     Do the proposed actions meet the purpose and need for 
    With these assurances the responsible official must decide:
     Whether or not to select the proposed action or one of any 
other potential alternatives that may be developed, and what, if any, 
additional actions should be required.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement.
    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 scoping comment period and should 
clearly articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.
    We are interested in your comments on the following questions:
     Are there alternative ways to meet the purpose of the 
project other than the proposed action we offer, which you would like 
the Forest Service to consider and analyze?
     Is there any information about the project area, which you 
believe is important in the context of the proposed activities that you 
would like the Forest Service to consider?
     What specifically are the potential effects of this 
proposal that you are particularly concerned about? For example, rather 
than simply stating that you would like a change in a proposed activity 
or that you would not like an activity to take place, it is most 
helpful to understand why you desire this. What are your underlying 
concerns with an activity or action; what are the effects from the 
activity that concern you?
    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.

    Dated: February 29, 2016.
Grady McMahan,
District Ranger.
[FR Doc. 2016-05257 Filed 3-8-16; 8:45 am]

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