[Federal Register: February 22, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 34)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Bureau of Land Management
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement,
Westside Irrigation District Land Conveyance Project, Big Horn and
Washakie Counties, WY
AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS) and to conduct public scoping for the Westside
Irrigation District Land Conveyance Project, Big Horn and Washakie
SUMMARY: Public Law 106-485 (November 9, 2000; 114 Stat. 2199) directs
the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Land
Management (BLM), to convey all right, title, and interest (excluding
mineral interest) in a parcel of public land in Big Horn County and
Washakie County, Wyoming. The parcel of land to be conveyed comprises
approximately 16,500 acres. Conveyance is to be made to the Westside
Irrigation District at appraised value.
The sale to the District is to take place after "completion of an
environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act"
(NEPA) by the BLM. Under the provisions of Section 102(2)(C) of the
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the BLM announces its
intentions to prepare an EIS and to solicit public comments regarding
issues and resource information.
DATES: This notice extends the scoping process initiated July 23, 2004,
with a mailing of a scoping notice to Federal, State, and local
government agencies; interested organizations; and news media. The BLM
can best use public input if comments and resource information are
submitted within 30 days of publication of this notice in the Federal
Register. An updated scoping notice advising of the extended scoping
period will be distributed by mail on, or about, the date of the
publication of this notice.
The BLM conducted public meetings in Basin and Worland, Wyoming on
August 3-4, 2004, at which members of the public were provided
information on the project and the opportunity to submit comments. The
BLM will announce public meetings and other opportunities to submit
comments on this project at least 15 days prior to the event.
Announcements will be made through local news media and the Worland
Field Office's Web site: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/field_offices/Worland.html
ADDRESSES: Please send written comments, or questions, to BLM Worland
Field Office, P.O. Box 119, Worland, Wyoming 82401. Written comments or
resource information may also be hand-delivered to BLM Worland Field
Office, 101 S. 23rd, Worland, Wyoming 82401. Comments, or questions,
may also be sent electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. The
scoping notice and other information regarding this project are posted
on the Wyoming BLM Web site, at http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/wfodocs/westside.html .
Members of the public may examine documents pertinent to this
proposal by visiting the Worland Field Office during its business hours
(8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except holidays.
Your response is important and will be considered in the
environmental analysis process. If you do respond, we will keep you
informed of the availability of environmental documents that address
impacts that occur from this proposal. Please note that comments and
information submitted regarding this project including names, e-mail
addresses, and street addresses of the respondents will be available
for public review and disclosure at the above address. Individual
respondents may request confidentiality. If you wish to withhold your
name, email address, or street address from public review or from
disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, you must state this
prominently at the beginning of your written comment. Such requests
will be honored to the extent allowed by the law. All submissions from
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or
businesses, will be made available for public inspection in their
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Don Ogaard, Project Manager, BLM,
Worland Field Office, P.O. Box 119, Worland, Wyoming 82401. Mr. Ogaard
may also be reached by telephone at 307-347-5160.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Westside Irrigation District Land
Conveyance Project area is located in southern Big Horn County and
northern Washakie County. The southern end of the project area is
approximately 5 miles northwest of Worland, Wyoming. The area comprises
16,500 acres, in Townships 92 W., 92\1/2\ W., and 93 W.; Ranges 48 N.
and 49 N.
Following the conveyance of public lands to the District, the BLM
anticipates that the land would be re-sold to private individuals for
agricultural purposes in parcels no less than 160 acres per individual.
Individuals qualifying for purchase of the lands from the District
would be selected through a lottery. Successful individuals and the
lands they acquire would become members of the District. Lands would be
selected that are irrigable and that avoid impacts to wildlife,
recreation, sensitive environmental areas, and other land uses. The
District would make sufficient modifications in their irrigation
infrastructure to allow for irrigation of the selected parcels.
The law authorizing transfer of the land specifies that acreage may
be added to, or subtracted from, the original 16,500 acres to satisfy
any mitigation requirements resulting from the NEPA analysis. The law
further provides that proceeds from the sale are to be used ``for the
acquisition of land and interests in land in the Worland District of
the Bureau of Land Management that will benefit public recreation,
public access, fish and wildlife habitat, or cultural resources.''
The Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC) will be a co-lead
agency in the preparation of this EIS. The WWDC will use the document
in support of any future funding decisions should the Westside
Irrigation District file an application with the Commission for water
supply development assistance. Cooperating agencies identified to date
include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Big Horn and Washakie
Counties, through their respective boards of county commissioners.
BLM personnel, other agencies, and individuals have preliminarily
identified the following issues that will be addressed in the EIS:
Federally-listed Threatened, Endangered, Candidate and Sensitive
Species and their habitats; surface water resources; prehistoric and
historic cultural resources; social and economic effects to the local
communities; wildlife habitat and fisheries; nesting raptors; wetlands
and riparian areas; and recreation activities and opportunities, such
as hunting and fishing.
Dated: November 9, 2004.
Robert A. Bennett,
[FR Doc. 05-3297 Filed 2-18-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-22-P