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Dear Interested Public:

On November 25, 1998, the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (the Agencies) filed a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the Federal Register.  During the four years since the Record of Decision (ROD) was published, the Agencies have acquired considerable information about species' abundance and survey feasibility which prompted consideration of adjustments to the Survey and Manage and Protection Buffer provisions. The Agencies have begun a process to determine a course of action to revise the Survey and Manage and Protection Buffer standards and guidelines to increase the efficiency and consistency of these mitigation measures.

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 (ROD, pp. E-12 - E-13).  The ROD anticipated that, as experience was gained in the implementation of this mitigation measure, the agencies would need to make changes in Survey and Manage provisions, including changing the schedule, moving a species from one survey strategy to another, or dropping this mitigation requirement for any species whose status is determined to be more secure than originally projected (ROD, p. 37). There is a need to clarify the process by which the Agencies make changes to the Survey and Manage provisions.

As stated in the Northwest Forest Plan, our goal is to continue the current Survey and Manage strategy on Federal lands -- a combination of managing known sites and increasing our information base through surveys -- but making the process more efficient and consistent.   At this initial stage, the Agencies' proposed action is to:

  • revise Survey and Manage standards and guidelines and survey strategy classifications of species; make the standards and guidelines clearer and more easily understood;
  • discontinue the Protection Buffer standards and guidelines and cover those species under the Survey and Manage standards and guidelines;
  • provide a detailed process and clearer criteria for making changes to species' status in response to new information; and
  • recategorize some Survey and Manage species through an initial use of the above process.

This initial proposed action may be refined or modified based on scoping from within the Agencies and from the public.  The Agencies are tentatively planning to consider a range of alternatives that would include no action (i.e., making no changes or clarifications to the current mitigation strategy) and mitigation strategies with varying emphasis on surveying to gain new information and managing occupied sites.

We are preparing an EIS to analyze the effects of the proposed action and alternatives.  We expect to release the Draft EIS for public review in April 1999.  In the 90 days following release of the Draft EIS, we will accept your comments on the proposed action and alternatives and our assessment of the effects.   A final EIS will be prepared and the decision regarding this action will be made approximately October 1999.

Interested individuals and representatives of organizations, agencies, and state, local, and tribal governments are invited to provide information, concerns, or suggestions to the EIS Team.  To be most useful in the formulation of this proposed action and alternative, these comments should be received by January 22, 1999.  Comments should be mailed to:  Bill Torgersen (SM), Bureau of Land Management, Oregon State Office, P.O. Box 2965, Portland, Oregon 97208.  For further information about this proposal or if you wish to be added to our mailing list please contact Cynthia Henchell at (503)808-2493 or (503)808-2490, or visit our web site at http://www.or.blm.gov/nwfp.htm.

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Last Updated:  January 04, 2005 11:56 PM