[Federal Register: March 19, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 53)]
[Notices]               
[Page 13253-13254]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr19mr10-36]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Plan Revision for Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Alpine, El 
Dorado, and Placer Counties, CA; Douglas and Washoe Counties, and 
Carson City, NV

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to revise the forest plan.

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SUMMARY: As directed by the National Forest Management Act, the USDA 
Forest Service is preparing the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit 
(referred to as the LTBMU) revised land management plan (forest plan) 
and will also prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for this 
revised plan. This notice briefly describes the nature of the decision 
to be made, the need for change, and information concerning public 
participation. It also provides estimated dates for filing the EIS and 
the names and addresses of the responsible agency official and the 
individuals who can provide additional information. Finally, this 
notice briefly describes the applicable planning rule and how work done 
on the plan revision under the 2008 planning rule will be used or 
modified for completing this plan revision.
    The revised forest plan will supersede the forest plan previously 
approved by the Regional Forester on Dec. 2, 1988. The current forest 
plan has been amended ten times since its approval, including the 
Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment (January 2004). This amended Plan 
remains in effect until the revision takes effect.

DATES: Comments concerning the need for change provided in this notice 
will be most useful in the development of the draft revised forest plan 
and draft environmental impact statement if received by April 30, 2010. 
The agency expects to release a draft revised forest plan and draft EIS 
for formal comment by fall, 2010 and a final revised forest plan and 
final EIS by summer, 2011. Public meetings to gather additional input 
on potential alternatives to the proposed action are scheduled for 
spring, 2010. The dates, times, and locations of these meetings will be 
sent to members of the plan revision notification list and posted on 
the LTBMU Web site: http://fs.usda.gov/ltbmu.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to LTBMU Forest Plan Revision Team, 35 
College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. Comments may also be sent 
via: e-mail, comments-pacificsouthwest-ltbmu@fs.fed.us (subject line: 
Forest Plan Revision), or facsimile: (530) 543-2693.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert King, Forest Plan Revision Team 
Leader, 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. (530) 543-2600. 
Information regarding this revision is also available at the LTBMU Plan 
Revision Web page, http://fs.usda.gov/ltbmu; select Land & Resources 
Management, and then Planning. Individuals who use telecommunication 
devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay 
Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time 
Monday through Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Name and Address of the Responsible Official

    Randy Moore, Regional Forester, Pacific Southwest Region, 1323 Club 
Drive, Vallejo, CA 94592.

Nature of the Decision To Be Made

    The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is preparing an EIS to revise 
the current forest plan. The EIS process is meant to inform the 
Regional Forester's decision about which alternative best meets the 
need for quality land management under the sustainable multiple-use 
management concept as required by the National Forest Management Act 
and the Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act. This concept seeks to meet 
the diverse needs of people while protecting the forests' resources.
    The revised forest plan will describe the strategic intent of 
managing the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit into the next 10 to 15 
years, and will address the need for change described below. The 
revised forest plan will provide management direction in the form of 
goals (desired conditions), objectives, suitability determinations, 
standards, guidelines, and a monitoring plan. It may also make new 
special area recommendations for wilderness, research natural areas, 
and other special areas.
    As important as the decisions to be made, is the identification of 
the types of decisions that will not be made within the revised forest 
plan. The authorization of project-level activities on the unit is not 
a decision made in the forest plan, but occurs through subsequent 
project specific decision-making. The designation of routes and trails 
are not considered during plan revision, but are addressed in separate 
planning processes on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Some 
issues, although important, are beyond the authority or control of the 
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit or the Forest Service and will not be 
considered. In addition, some decisions and determinations, such as 
wild and scenic river suitability determinations, have been 
accomplished through a separate process.

Need for Change

    According to the National Forest Management Act, forest plans are 
to be revised on a 10 to 15 year cycle. The need to revise the current 
forest plan are (1) the forest plan is greater than 20 years old, and 
(2) since the forest plan was approved in 1988, there have been changes 
in economic, social, and ecological conditions, new policies and 
priorities, and new information based on monitoring and scientific 
research. The need for change in the current forest plan has been 
identified through extensive collaboration with partner land management 
agencies, the public and intra-agency coordination.
    The plan revision need for change is organized into three forest 
plan revision themes: (1) Restoration of Watersheds and Aquatic 
Habitats, (2) Management of Hazardous Fuels, Forest Health and 
Terrestrial Habitat, and (3) Adapting to Changing Recreation Trends. 
The need for change document, the ``CER'' (Nov 2006) is available 
online at: http://fs.usda.gov/ltbmu; select Land & Resources 
Management, and then Projects. A hard copy may be obtained by 
contacting the LTBMU Forest Plan Revision Team.

[[Page 13254]]

Public Involvement

    Extensive public involvement and collaboration has already 
occurred. The LTBMU began the forest plan revision process in late 
2004. Many of these activities were conducted in a collaborative inter-
agency process called Pathway 2007 (Pathway), in cooperation with three 
other key Lake Tahoe Basin agencies: The Tahoe Regional Planning 
Agency, California's Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and 
the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.
    Pathway activities included 5 public visioning workshops, a series 
of phone surveys, 8 focus group meetings, 12 community place-based 
workshops and more than 40 Pathway Forum stakeholder group meetings.
    More recent public involvement focused on a series of five 
workshops covering further topics of interest specific to forest 
health, wildlife habitat and fuels reduction; fuels reduction and water 
quality; and recreation opportunities.
    This input, along with science-based evaluations, was used to 
determine the need for change identified above and will be incorporated 
into developing the draft plan and draft EIS. Additional meetings, 
correspondence, news releases, and other tools will be utilized periods 
to gather feedback from the public, forest employees, tribal 
governments, federal and state agencies, and local governments.
    The LTBMU will continue regular and meaningful consultation and 
collaboration with tribal nations on a government-to-government basis. 
The agency will work with tribal governments to address issues 
concerning Indian tribal self government and sovereignty, natural and 
cultural resources held in trust, Indian tribal treaty and Executive 
order rights, and any issues that significantly or uniquely affect 
their communities.
    The LTBMU desires to continue collaborative efforts with members of 
the public, who are interested in forest management, as well as federal 
and state agencies, local governments, and private organizations. 
Public meetings to gather input on potential alternatives to the 
proposed action are scheduled for spring, 2010. The dates, times, and 
locations of these meetings will be posted on the forests' Web site: 
http://fs.usda.gov/ltbmu.
    The information gathered at these meetings, as well as other 
feedback, will be used to inform the draft EIS. At this time, the LTBMU 
is seeking focused input on the need for change and feedback: Did we 
miss any substantive issues or concerns? It is important that reviewers 
provide their comments at such times and in such a way that they are 
useful to the agency's preparation of the revised forest plan and the 
EIS. Therefore, comments on the need for change will be most valuable 
if received by April 30, 2010 and should clearly articulate the 
reviewer's concerns. The submission of timely and specific comments can 
affect a reviewer's ability to participate in subsequent administrative 
or judicial review. At this time, we anticipate using the 2000 planning 
rule pre-decisional objection process (36 CFR 219.32) for 
administrative review. Comments received in response to this 
solicitation, including the names and addresses of those who comment 
will be part of the public record. Comments submitted anonymously will 
be accepted and considered.

Applicable Planning Rule

    Preparation of the revised forest plan was underway when the 2008 
National Forest System land management planning rule (planning rule) 
was enjoined on June 30, 2009, by the United States District Court for 
the Northern District of California (Citizens for Better Forestry v. 
United States Department of Agriculture, No. C 08-1927 CW [N.D. Cal. 
June 30, 2009]). The Department of Agriculture has determined that the 
2000 Planning Rule is once again in effect. The 2000 Planning Rule's 
transition provisions (36 CFR 219.35) --amended in 2002 and 2003, and 
clarified by interpretative rules issued in 2001 and 2004-- allow use 
of the provisions of the planning rule in effect prior to the effective 
date of the 2000 Rule (November 9, 2000), commonly called the 1982 
Planning Rule, to amend or revise forest plans. The Lake Tahoe Basin 
Management Unit has elected to use the provisions of the 1982 Planning 
Rule, including the requirement to prepare an EIS, to complete its plan 
revision.
    The plan revision effort was formally initiated on Feb. 5, 2007 
with the publication of the Notice of Intent (FR Vol. 72, No. 23, p. 
5264), and the availability of the ``Comprehensive Evaluation Report 
(CER)'' and request for public and partner agency comments specific to 
the unit's need for change.
    Development of the Proposed Plan was halted on March 30, 2007, with 
the injunction of 2005 Planning Rule. The 2008 Planning Rule (36 CFR 
Part 219) was implemented on April 21, 2008, allowing the plan revision 
process to be resumed. The LTBMU formally resumed development of the 
Proposed Plan with the publication of the Notice of Adjustment on June 
2, 2008 (FR Vol. 73, No. 106, p. 31429), and continuation of revised 
Plan content and public collaboration, prior to the court injunction of 
the 2008 Planning Rule on June 30, 2009.
    Although the 2008 planning rule is no longer in effect, information 
and data gathered prior to the court's injunction is still useful for 
completing the Plan revision using the provisions of the 1982 planning 
rule. As necessary or appropriate, this material will be further 
adjusted as part of the planning process.

(Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1600-1614; 36 CFR 219.35)

    Dated: March 15, 2010.
Eliseo Ilano,
Deputy Forest Supervisor, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
[FR Doc. 2010-6030 Filed 3-18-10; 8:45 am]
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