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 September 7, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 172)]
[Page 53249-53250]

Notice of Intent To Prepare Resource Management Plan Revisions
and an Associated Environmental Impact Statement for Six Western Oregon
Districts of the Bureau of Land Management

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: This document provides notice that the BLM intends to revise
six Resource Management Plans (RMP) with a single associated
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Coos Bay District, Eugene
District, Medford District, Roseburg District, Salem District, and the
Klamath Falls Resource Area of the Lakeview District (planning area).

DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process. Comments on
the scope of the plan revisions, including issues or concerns that
should be considered, must be submitted in writing to the address
listed below by October 21, 2005. Dates and locations for public
meetings or other events will be announced through mailings, the local
news media, newsletters, and the BLM internet site at least 15 days
prior to any event. These plan revisions are scheduled to be complete
in 2008.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be addressed to: BLM, Attn: Western
Oregon Planning Revision (OR-930.1), P.O. Box 2965, Portland, OR 97208.
In addition, the BLM intends to provide a Web site for the public to
use to submit electronic comments. When the Web site is available, more
information will be posted at http://www.or.blm.gov
=linklog&to=http://www.or.blm.gov> .

    All public comments, including names and mailing addresses of
respondents, may be published as part of the EIS. Individual
respondents may request confidentiality. If you wish to withhold your
name or street address from public review or from disclosure under the
Freedom of Information Act, please state this prominently at the
beginning of your written correspondence. The BLM will honor such
requests to the extent allowed by law. All submissions from
organizations and businesses, and from individuals identifying
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or
businesses, will be available to the public in their entirety.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Individuals, organizations, and
government agencies wishing more information or to have their name
placed on an electronic or postal mailing list are urged to register on
the Web site (when it is available; see above), or by sending a request
to the Portland address above, or by contacting Alan Hoffmeister,
Western Oregon Planning Revision Public Outreach Coordinator, at (503)
808-6629 or at alan_hoffmeister@or.blm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The planning area for the RMPs includes
approximately 2,550,000 acres of public land and 69,000 acres of split-
estate, where the lands only involve the Federal mineral estate.
    The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 requires the
development, maintenance, and revision of land use plans. The vast
majority of the public lands in the planning area are Revested Oregon
and California Railroad (O&C) lands, or Coos Bay Wagon Road (CBWR)
lands, and are managed under the statutory authority of the Oregon and
California Revested Railroad Lands Act of 1937 (O&C Act, Pub. L. 75-
405). Preparation of the RMPs and EIS will conform to the above land
management laws and will also comply with other Federal laws such as
the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and the National
Environmental Policy Act. Additionally, plan revisions will follow
Federal regulations and BLM management policies.
    Congress, in 1866, established a land grant to promote the
completion of the Oregon and California Railroad from Portland, Oregon,
to San Francisco, California. In 1916, Congress revested, or brought
back into Federal ownership, the title to approximately 2.2 million
acres of land deeded to the Oregon and California Railroad after the
company violated the terms of the land grant. Congress also revested
about 93,000 acres of CBWR lands due to similar circumstances in 1919.
The O&C Act of 1937 placed management jurisdiction of these lands under
the United States Department of the Interior and directed that timber
thereon be managed for permanent forest production using the principle
of sustained yield. The benefits of sustained yield forest management,
as described in the O&C Act, are a permanent source of timber,
protection of watersheds, regulation of streamflow, and a contribution
to the stability of local communities and timber industries and
recreation facilities. The O&C Act also required that 50 percent of the
revenue generated for management of the lands be returned to the 18
counties that contained revested lands.
    The Northwest Forest Plan was completed in 1994 and provided
direction to achieve the following five goals: (1) Never forget human
and economic dimensions of the issues; (2) Protect the long-term health
of forests, wildlife, and waterways; (3) Focus on scientifically sound,
ecologically credible, and legally responsible strategies and
implementation; (4) Produce a predictable and sustainable level of
timber sales and nontimber resources; and (5) Ensure that Federal
agencies work together.
    All of the BLM districts have current RMPs that were completed in
1995. These 1995 RMPs incorporated the land use allocations and
Standards and Guidelines from the Northwest Forest Plan. They also
included decisions on other issues or programs such as land tenure,
off-highway vehicles, etc. The RMPs provide guidance for all activities
that occur on BLM-administered lands. The BLM will continue to manage
these lands in accordance with the existing RMPs until the revised RMPs
are completed and a Record of Decision is signed.
    After the 1995 RMPs were completed, the American Forest Resource
Council (AFRC) and others filed a lawsuit against the Secretaries of
Agriculture and the Interior alleging that the Record of Decision for
the Northwest Forest Plan violated the O&C Act and numerous other laws.
The Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the AFRC,
and the Association of O&C Counties agreed to settle this lawsuit in
August of 2003. The settlement agreement requires the BLM, contingent
on funding, to revise the current RMPs and consider at least one
alternative that will not create any reserves on O&C lands except as
required to avoid jeopardy to species listed as threatened or
endangered under the Endangered Species Act or adverse modification to
critical habitat for such species.
    The revisions to the existing RMPs will answer the question
regarding how the BLM should manage the O&C lands to achieve the O&C
Act requirement of permanent forest production [as interpreted by the
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit] while complying
with applicable laws such as

[[Page 53250]]

the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.
    Through a public participation process, the BLM will work
collaboratively with interested parties to identify which management
direction is best suited to manage the O&C lands as described in the
O&C Act and other provisions of laws considering local, regional, and
national interests. The first step in this process is formal public
scoping to help identify planning issues and provide for public comment
on the proposed planning criteria.


    The BLM has identified the following preliminary planning issues. A
planning issue is identified as a ``matter of controversy or dispute
over resource management activities or land use that is well-defined or
topically discrete and entails alternatives between which to choose''
(H-1601-1 III.A.3). These preliminary issues are not final and may be
refined or augmented based on public participation and comments
received during scoping.
    Vegetation--How should BLM-administered forest lands be
managed, both temporally and spatially, to provide a sustainable supply
of wood and other forest products mandated by the O&C Act while meeting
applicable laws and regulations?
    Habitat--How should the O&C lands be managed to contribute
to the conservation of species consistent with the Endangered Species
    Watershed management and water quality--How should BLM
lands be managed to contribute to meeting the Clean Water Act and the
Safe Drinking Water Act?
    Wildland fire and fuels--How should BLM-administered land
be managed to reduce the risk of wildfires and integrate fire back into
the ecosystem?



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