News Release

For Release: May 7, 2008
Contact: Jeff Fontana (BLM) (530) 252-5332; Rob Jeffers, Modoc NF (530) 233-8713       
CA-N-08-53

Agencies Release Sage-Steppe Restoration EIS

A final environmental impact statement (FEIS) evaluating strategies for restoration of sagebrush steppe ecosystems in a wide area of northeast California and far northwest Nevada is now available.
 
The FEIS for the Sage Steppe Ecosystem Restoration Strategy was developed by the Modoc National Forest (MNF), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Modoc County. It focuses on restoring the diversity of vegetation on sagebrush-steppe ecosystems that have been impacted by expanding stands of Western juniper trees.  The management strategy applies to more than six million acres of public and private lands in parts of Modoc, Lassen, eastern Shasta and eastern Siskiyou counties in California and extreme northwest Washoe County in Nevada.
 
Copies of the document have been mailed to requesters.  It is also available online at the Modoc National Forest website, www.fs.fed.us/r5/modoc; and at the BLM Alturas Field Office website, www.blm.gov/ca/alturas.

Printed and compact disc copies are available by contacting the Modoc National Forest, 800 W. 12th St., Alturas, CA  96101, or by contacting Project Lead Rob Jeffers (530) 233-8816, email: rgjeffers@fs.fed.us
 
The BLM plans to issue a record of decision (ROD) this summer.  The MNF will either issue a ROD or incorporate the analysis into an upcoming Forest Plan revision. The FEIS provides broad environmental analysis for restoration projects.  Site specific impacts of each project would be analyzed under provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
 
The FEIS analyzes a preferred alternative and several alternatives, all designed to restore sage-steppe areas.

Many of these landscapes, once consisting of mosaics of grass, brush and juniper, have become dominated by juniper trees.  In some areas the trees have crowded out all other plants, leaving bare ground in the areas beneath the trees.  Proposed treatments would remove young junipers to allow the return of a more diverse mix of grass and brush species. Some juniper removed during the projects may be made available for renewable energy production.

The restoration strategy would guide decision making by the Modoc National Forest and the BLM over the next 50 years.  The proposal would not direct activities on private land, but would provide conservation measures that could be adopted by interested landowners.

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