Examples of How Issues Not Analyzed Can Be Treated in a NEPA Document
The following examples include issues that were considered but not analyzed and the rationale for not analyzing them. This analysis can be included in either the administrative record or in the EA or EIS itself. The decision on whether to include the issues and rationale in the document itself, in an appendix or in the administrative record is at the discretion of the decision-maker and depends on the level of complexity and controversy, and how the issue was raised (either internally or externally).
ISSUES CONSIDERED BUT NOT ANALYZED
What are the effects of timber harvest and associated activities on Off-Highway Vehicle use?
The effects of road closures on off-highway vehicle (OHV) use patterns and management was considered but not selected for analysis because it is beyond the scope of this EA. Effects of road closures on OHVs will be addressed in the environmental assessment for the Upper Lake Creek Recreation Area Management Plan (RAMP) which is expected to be issued by July 2004.
What are the effects of timber harvest and associated activities on sensitive soils?
The effects of yarding techniques on sensitive soils was an issue considered but not selected for analysis because Best Management Practices (BMPs) that limit yarding techniques on sensitive soils to cable and aerial yarding would be employed under each alternative. This would eliminate the possibility that yarding operations would not attain compaction standards as described in the Eugene RMP.
What are the effects of timber harvest and associated activities on Special Status Plants?
Under all alternatives, site-specific botanical surveys would be conducted during the design phase of individual projects prior to implementation. If any Special Status Plants are found, they would be managed in accordance with land use objectives and Special Status Species management policies at the time of implementation. Therefore, no additional analysis of this issue is necessary.
What are the effects of timber harvest and associated activities to marbled murrelets and Bald Eagles?
The effects of timber harvest and associated activities on marbled murrelets and bald eagles were considered but not analyzed for several reasons. No nesting habitat for either species would be harvested under any alternative. Seasonal restrictions would be required under all action alternatives to avoid disturbance to nesting murrelets on adjacent lands during harvest or haul activities. If any nesting eagles are found in the vicinity, seasonal restrictions would be implemented, if necessary to avoid any disturbance to this species from project activities. No incidental take for either species would occur due to harvest or haul activities associated with any of the action alternatives.
Issues Considered but Eliminated from Further Analysis
The following issues (Areas of Critical Environmental Concern and Natural Areas, Invasive Species/Noxious Weeds, and Wastes) were identified by BLM staff as potential issues of concern. These issues are addressed in this section.
Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) and Natural Areas
ACECs and Natural Areas were not identified as a potentially-impacted resource in any field office except Moab. In the Moab Field Office, the "Apache Cave" location along SR-279 is within the Highway 279/Shafer Basin Long Canyon ACEC. The Fisher Towers locations are within the Fisher Towers Natural Area. Surface disturbing activities are not allowed in ACECs or Natural Areas within the Moab Field Office (Approved Moab RMP, 2008). However, the proposed filming in these locations does not involve surface disturbing activities (see definition of surface disturbing activities in Appendix A, page A-1 in Moab RMP, 2008). Therefore, the filming is not considered a surface disturbing activity that would impact the ACEC or Natural Area.
Invasive Species/Noxious Weeds
Two sources of invasive plant species and/or noxious weeds that could be introduced to or spread on the public lands are filming equipment and horses/camels. This issue is not analyzed in the EA since the film permit will have stipulations that require the company to (1) power wash all vehicles (such as cranes) that will be outside the base camps and/or off road, (2) power wash all used tundra mats that will be utilized at film sites and off-road access to film sites where required (Aoolian Plain, Mislead and Caravan), and (3)feed horses/camels pellets and/or certified weed-free hay two days prior to entering BLM lands and for the duration of the filming project on BLM lands.
The filming operation would utilize gasoline and other fuels to power its equipment. Stipulations and safety measures built into the Proposed Action (see Appendix G) mitigate the risk of any wastes being spilled on public lands. If accidents occur, clean up procedures would be undertaken by the Company.