Criteria for Selecting a Preferred Alternative
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Only a few comments focused on criteria for selecting a preferred alternative. However, the Scoping Comment Analysis Team agreed that criteria were inferred in many of the comments. Following are the six preliminary planning criteria listed in the Notice of Intent published in the Federal Register along with the Scoping Comment Analysis Team’s analysis of comments relating to each criterion.
- Quality of habitats created. Many comments support this criterion, especially for endangered species.
- Impacts on water quality limited streams. Water quality is often mentioned as an important criterion, but few comments focus on “water quality limited streams.”
- Amount of timber produced.
Many scoping comments said a sustained flow of timber is important. Fewer comments mention a given amount of timber is important.
- Cost of implementation, both in effort and dollars.This was seldom mentioned in the scoping comments.
- Contributions to community economic stability This criterion was often mentioned, although many different methods are given for attaining and measuring community economic stability. Western Oregon counties that commented expressed concern about the economic impact on their budgets and services.
These criteria will be carried forward by the planning team an incorporated into more detailed criteria for selecting a preferred alternative. (See “Planning Criteria and State Director Guidance.")
Other Substantive Comments
- Comments demonstrated a difference of opinion about interpretation of the O&C Act and whether or not the Northwest Forest Plan and the existing BLM RMPs comply with the O&C Act.
- The revised RMPs should consider existing cooperative relationships with partners, watershed councils, advisory groups, communities, and neighboring landowners. The BLM should address how existing agreements with these various groups will be honored.
- Concerns were expressed about the RMP revision process, including preparation of one environmental impact statement for the six Resource Management Plans and how BLM was complying with National Environmental Policy Act requirements.
- Suggestions were made to maintain Adaptive Management Areas and fully implement their intent for innovation and testing.
- A need was expressed to maintain existing Areas of Critical Environmental Concern and to designate new areas (including some areas without roads). Some comments contain supporting documentation for specific areas of high conservation concern.
Other comments made in the scoping comments suggest that the analysis should consider the following:
- Cumulative effects (including actions on private and state lands)
- Necessary funding/personnel to implement the RMPs monitoring
- Climate change, as it affects habitat and fuels
- Vegetative management (use of chemical herbicides and fire retardant)
- Special management areas
- Warm water fish species
- New data on species populations
- A focus on recreation and management/maintenance of roads