United States
Department of 
Agriculture
Forest 
Service
R-5/6
United States
Department of
Interior
Bureau of Land 
Management
OR/WA/CA

Reply Refer To: FS: 2670/BLM: 1736-PFP(931)P Date: December 3, 1999

FS-Memorandum
Subject:

Release of Survey and Manage Draft SEIS; 90-day Comment Period Ends March 3, 2000

To: Interested Public

This letter announces the release of the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Amendment to the Survey and Manage, Protection Buffer, and Other Mitigating Measures Standards and Guidelines, issued by the USDA Forest Service, and the USDI Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Agencies).  The 90-day comment period begins on December 3, 1999, and closes on March 3, 2000.

The Draft SEIS supplements the Final SEIS on Management of Habitat for Late-Successional and Old-Growth Forest Related Species Within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl, commonly known as the Northwest Forest Plan. This Draft SEIS amends the Survey and Manage, Protection Buffer, and three other mitigating measures adopted in the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Northwest Forest Plan, signed in April, 1994.  It analyzes alternatives for revision of the mitigating measures to increase their effectiveness, efficiency, and consistency, while meeting the species- protection goals set forth in the ROD.

The Northwest Forest Plan stated that the standards and guidelines must have the flexibility to adapt and respond to new information and that an adaptive management process would be implemented to maximize the benefits and efficiency of the standards and guidelines. The ROD anticipated that, as experience was gained in the implementation of this mitigation measure, the Agencies would need to make changes in the Survey and Manage provisions.  This Draft SEIS analyzes alternatives to accomplish necessary changes, and clarifies the adaptive-management process prescribed in the ROD.

During the five years since the ROD was signed, the Agencies have acquired considerable information about species abundance and survey feasibility, which prompted consideration of adjustments in the mitigation measures listed above.

In November 1998, the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management filed a Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS in the Federal Register. The purpose and need of the supplemental EIS is to modify the Survey and Manage and related mitigation measures to:

- better identify the protections needed for the 414 included species,
- clarify language,
- eliminate inconsistent and redundant direction, and
- establish a process that responds to new information,

while continuing to meet the underlying needs in the Northwest Forest Plan.


Interested Public Page 2

The Draft SEIS, now released for your review and comment, describes and analyzes three action alternatives and the no-action alternative (continue with the current standards and guidelines) for meeting the purpose and need.  Alternative 1 is the Agencies preferred alternative.  Your comments on the alternatives and our assessment of the effects will be considered when the decisionmakers select an alternative for implementation.  To be most useful, comments should be specific, responsive to the issues within the scope of the decision, and substantive.  As you realize, this is not a voting process or an opinion poll, but an effort to take a hard look at the effects that the alternative may have on the human environment.

Comments may be mailed to the address provided in the Draft SEIS, or E-mailed.  The 90-day public comment period closes March 3, 2000.

Comments and any other new information will be analyzed and incorporated into a Final SEIS, and a decision will be issued in a Record of Decision in the summer of 2000.

Thank you for your involvement and interest in this process.

For further information, contact Hugh Snook, BLM Oregon State Office, P.O. Box 2965, Portland, OR 97208.

Sincerely,

JAMES SCHULER
Survey and Manage Coordinator
USDA Forest Service R6 PNW Regional Office