U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
EMS TRANSMISSION 02/07/2006
Instruction Memorandum No. 2006-084
To: All SDs (except ESO) and Center Directors
From: Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject: Instructions for Internal BLM Review of Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Environmental Report (DER) DD: 02/10/2006
Program Area: Rangeland Improvements, Vegetation Treatments, Abandoned Mined Lands, Fire and Hazardous Fuels Reduction, Emergency Stabilization and Restoration, Conservation and Restoration Treatments, Threatened and Endangered Species, Wildlife Habitat and Noxious Weeds/Invasive Species.
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) contains instructions for internal review by BLM Field/State offices for the National Vegetation Treatments Draft Programmatic EIS (DEIS) and Environmental Report (DER). Initial review of the DEIS and DER was the responsibility of Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) members. Initial review included the core team and team leads in development and technical review of the DEIS prepared by the contractor (ENSR International).
Future IDT meetings and content analysis may be scheduled in the winter/spring of 2006 and will include assisting in comment analysis and response development. The IDT travel expenses will be covered by the project; however, salary is to be provided by the home office as agreed at the February 2001 Executive Leadership Team meeting when this project was discussed and approved. Attachment 1 is the listing of current IDT members and points of contact (POC) within the States. If identified IDT members or State POCs have left their position, it is the responsibility of the State to identify a replacement. The IDT members should arrange their schedules and plan to attend any IDT meetings to work on the Final EIS (FEIS). Meeting dates will be set following the receipt and compilation of comments. Specific time commitments of the IDT members vary by area of expertise and level of involvement. Some individuals have had less than a ½ work-month annual workload, up to about two work-months annually for those extensively involved.
Background: The purpose of the National Vegetation EIS is to update and consolidate four vegetation treatment EIS analysis documents dating between 1986 and 1991. The DEIS and DER was released to the public on November 10, 2005.
The BLM published two documents: DEIS and a DER. The DEIS focuses on the use of herbicides to manage vegetation and contains several decision areas: (1) Approving the use of new herbicide formulations on public lands, (2) deciding which currently-approved herbicides should be used on public lands, (3) deciding on a protocol to follow to add new EPA-registered chemical formulations to the BLM list of approved herbicides; and (4) identifying which best management practices should be used with all applications of herbicides and other types of vegetation treatment methods (mechanical, fire, biological control, etc). The DER focuses on the use of other treatment methods (mechanical, manual, and biological control methods and use of prescribed fire) to manage vegetation. Both documents will provide valuable impact analysis that can be incorporated by reference in site-specific analyses conducted at the land use and activity planning levels, alleviating some of the associated workload.
The BLM held 10 hearings in nine western States and Washington, D.C., beginning November 28, 2005, and ending December 13, 2005. The BLM has briefed many external groups and coordinated with the Alaska Fire Service (AFS).
The BLM has initiated formal Section 7 Consultation with the FWS and NOAA Fisheries. The BLM has also prepared reports as part of consultation with Native Americans and cultural resources.
Policy/Action: Internal review of the DEIS and DER by BLM state and field office staff is requested by February 10, 2006. Comments should include factual corrections, identifying errors or where inaccurate or contradictory information exists in the DEIS or DER. Also include clarification of information and if possible, provide sources of information for the IDT to review and to assist the contractor in preparing the Final EIS and ER. The intent of internal review is not to rewrite or research new information, but to improve the quality of the document for the Final EIS and ER. Comments should be consolidated by each state point of contact and sent to Brian Amme, NV-930 Project Manager.
The individuals listed on Attachment 1 are identified as IDT members and will remain IDT members for the duration of this project. This is a priority BLM project and the selected individuals and their supervisors should make this a priority task for FY 2006. State Directors and Field Managers are asked to support their staff’s participation on the IDT and so reflect this assignment in Employee Performance Appraisal Plan.
Timeframe: This IM is effective upon receipt.
Budget Impact: The effect of this IM on the budget is minimal.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None.
Coordination: Preparation of this IM was coordinated with WO 210, WO 220, WO 230, and the Office of Fire and Aviation.
Contact: If you have any questions regarding this IM, please contact the EIS co-team leads, Brian Amme (NS0), Project Manager at 775-861-6645, or Gina Ramos, Co-Team Lead (WO 220) at 202‑452‑5084.