Tree Planting and Scalping Treatments - Bureau of Land Management

Tree Planting and Scalping Treatments - Bureau of Land Management

DECISION RECORD & CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION REVEIW Project Name: Tree Planting and Scalping Treatments (DOI.BLM-OR-M060-2010-0015-CX) BLM Office: Ashland ...

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DECISION RECORD & CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION REVEIW Project Name: Tree Planting and Scalping Treatments (DOI.BLM-OR-M060-2010-0015-CX) BLM Office: Ashland Resource Area, Medford District. Contact Person: Bob Pasley @ (541) 618-2335 or Cynthia Maclaren @ (541) 618-2203 DESCRIPTION & LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED ACTION: The Ashland Resource Area of the Medford District BLM proposes two types of silviculture land treatments; (1) planting tree saplings and (2) radius scalping within six reforestation/plantation areas in the Ashland Resource Area. Conifer seedlings will be planted on a total of 84 acres and radius scalping will take place on 57 of those acres (Table 1). Radius scalping is a vegetation management treatment that clears (using a hoe) all non-wood vegetation (grasslherbaceous plants) down to mineral soil 2-3 foot around each seedling. Scalp treatments located in riparian reserves would have a scalp radius of no greater than 2 feet. The locations of the six reforestation areas to be treated are listed in Table 1. All silviculture treatments will be scheduled for completion March 1, 2010 - November 30, 2011. Planned Treatment Periods:

Tree Planting - March through June.

Radius Scalping - April through November.

Table 1. Silviculture Treatment Units Unit Name & No.

Key No.

Location (T IRIS)


Buck Springs #17




Tree Plant & 2-Foot Scalp


Burnt Pond #1




Tree Plant & 2-Foot Scalp

Fire Pit lilA"




Tree Plant & 3-Foot Scalp

Keno Road 119




Tree Plant Only

Bishop Creek Fire Ill"




Tree Plant & 2-Foot Scalp

Star Fire #21-2




Tree Plant & 2-Foot Scalp

Star Fire 1121-2




Tree Plant & 2-Foot Scalp



.. New Units

The following Project Design Features are required conditions ofthis project:

For the Protection a/Cultural Resources: • If during project implementation the contractor encounters or becomes aware of any objects or sites of cultural value on federal lands, such as historical or pre-historical ruins, graves, grave markers, or artifacts, the contractor shall immediately suspend all operations in the vicinity of the cultural value and notify the Contract Officer Representative (COR) so the site can be evaluated by a BLM archaeologist. For Watershed Protection (Soils, Water Quality, Hydrological Functions Riparian Reserves): • Suspend activities when the road surface is wet or during precipitation events or when resource damage is occurring. •

Restrict all vehicles to open and existing roads.

Fueling and re-fueling of any mechanized equipment (i.e. chainsaws and chainsaw augers) should be conducted 150 feet or more from any stream, spring, or wetland feature.

The following buffers as applied to scalping are recommended to reduce sediment delivery potential:

I . TahI e 2. No Treatment Bu ers orRad ius ScalPmg: I No Treatment Buffers (on each side of streams and I I Stream Type or Feature around water bodies1 Fish-bearing Perennial Intermittent (long-duration) Intermittent (short-duration) Dry draws Unstable and potentially unstable dry draws Unstable areas other than above Springs, seeps, wetlands, ponds

50 feet 50 feet 2S feet 25 feet 25 feet 25 feet Use buffer for associated water feature 25 feet

Justification for "No Effect" determination for Water Resources With the implementation of the PDF's outlined above, together with diligent administration of the contract, this project will have no effect on hydrology related processes because stream channels and riparian areas are being protected from ground disturbance, untreated buffers along streams and draws will ensure that sediment cannot be transported to streams from the treatment areas, and canopy cover will remain well above thresholds that could affect peak flows. Stream shading will not be affected by the project, so there will be no effect to stream temperatures. The project has some benefit to functioning of Riparian Management Areas (RMA's) by promoting conditions that may allow late seral conditions to develop more quickly in these areas.

PLAN CONFORMANCE The proposed action is in compliance with the 1995 Medford District Record of Decision and Resource Management Plan (RMP). The 1995 Medford District Resource Management Plan incorporated the Record of Decision for Amendments to Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Planning Documents Within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl and the Standards and Guidelines for Management of Habitat for Late-Successional and Old-Growth Forest Related Species Within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl (Northwest Forest Plan) (USDA and USDr 1994). The 1995 Medford District Resource Management Plan was later amended by the 2001 Record of Decision and Standards and Guidelines for Amendments to the Survey and Manage, Protection Buffer, and other Mitigation Measures Standards and Guidelines. On July 25, 2007, the Record of Decision To Remove the Survey and Manage Mitigation Measure Standards and Guidelines from Bureau of Land Management Resource Management Plans Within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl amended the 1995 Medford District Resource Management Plan by removing the Survey and Manage Mitigation Measure Standards and Guidelines. The proposed action is consistent with court orders relating to the Survey and Manage mitigation measure of the Northwest Forest Plan, as incorporated in the 1995 Medford District RMP. On December 17,2009, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington issued an order in Conservation Northwest, et al. v. Rey, et al., No. 08-1067 (W.D. Wash.) (Coughenour, J.), granting Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment and finding a variety ofNEPA violations in the BLM and USFS 2007 Record of Decision eliminating the Survey and Manage mitigation measure.

Previously, in 2006, the District Court (Judge Pechman) had invalidated the agencies' 2004 RODs eliminating Survey and Manage due to NEPA violations. Following the District Court's 2006 ruling, parties to the litigation entered into a stipulation agreement exempting certain categories of activities from the Survey and Manage standard (hereinafter "Pechman exemptions"). Following the December 17, 2009 District Court ruling, the Pechman exemptions are still in place. Judge Coughenour deferred issuing a remedy in his December 17, 2009 order until further proceedings, and did not enjoin the BLM from proceeding with projects. This project meets Exemption A of the Pechman Exemptions (October 11, 2006 Order), and therefore may still proceed even if the District Court sets aside or otherwise enjoins use of the 2007 Survey and Manage ROD since the Pechman exemptions would remain valid in such case.

CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION REVIEW Department of the Interior Regulations (43 CFR § 46.205(c» require that any action that is normally categorically excluded must be evaluated to detennine whether it meets any of the extraordinary circumstances listed in 43 CFR § 46.215. An action would meet one of the extraordinary circumstances if the action may: Yes


Categorical Exclusion Exception

( ) (X)

1. Have significant adverse effects on public health or safety.

( ) (X)

2. Have significant impacts on such natural resources and unique geographic characteristics as historic or cultural resource; park, recreation, or refuge lands; wilderness areas; wild or scenic rivers; national natural landmarks; sole or principal drinking water aquifers; prime fannlands; wetlands (Executive Order 11990); floodplains (Executive Order 11988); national monuments; migratory birds; and other ecologically significant or critical areas.

( ) (X)

3. Have highly controversial environmental effects or involve unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources [NEPA Section 102(2)(E)] not already decided in an approved land use plan.

( )(X)

4. Have highly uncertain and potentially significant environmental effects or unique or unknown environmental risks.

( )(X)

5. Establish a precedent for future action or represent a decision in principle about future actions with potentially significant environmental effects.

( )(X)

6. Have a direct relationship to other actions with individually insignificant, but significant cumulative environmental effects. (40 CFR 1508.7 and 1508.25(a)).

( )(X)

7. Have adverse effects on properties listed or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

( )(X)

8. Have significant impacts on species listed, or proposed to be listed, on the List of Endangered or Threatened Species, or have significant impacts on designated Critical Habitat for these species.

( )(X)

9. Violate a Federal law, or a State, local, or tribal law or requirement imposed for the protection of the environment.

( )(X)

10. Have disproportionate significant adverse impacts on low income or minority populations (Executive Order 12898).

( )(X)

11. Limit access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites on Federal lands by Indian religious practitioners or significantly adversely affect the physical integrity of such sacred sites (Executive Order 13007).

( )(X)

12. Contribute to the introduction, continued existence, or spread of noxious weeds or nonnative invasive species known to occur in the area or actions that may promote the introduction, growth, or expansion of the range of such species (Federal Noxious Weed Control Act and Executive Order 13112).

COMPLIANCE WITH NEPA In accordance with 43 CFR §§ 46.205 (c) and 46.215, the proposed action has been reviewed against the above twelve criteria, and I have detennined that none of the extraordinary circumstances described in 43 CFR § 46.205 (c) apply to this project. This project is categorically excluded from further documentation under the NEPA in accordance with the Department of the Interior Manual Section 516 OM 11.9 C (3) which states: "Seeding or reforestation oftimber sales or burn areas. Specific reforestation activities covered include: seedling planting...and spot scalping. "


Bob Pasley Prepared by

Lead Operations Forester/Silviculture Title

January 14, 2010 Date

Stephanie Larson Reviewed by

Assistant Environmental Coordinator Title

February 24, 20 10 Date

DECISION Based on this NEPA CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION REVIEW, I have determined that the proposed action involves no significant impact to the human environment and that no further environmental analysis is re uired. It i my decision to authorize the requested silviculture land treatments.


Date anager; Ashland Resource Area

ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW Notice of the forest management decision to be made on the action described in this categorical exclusion will be posted on the Medford District internet website. The action is subject to protest under 43 CFR 4.450-2. A decision in response to a protest is subject to appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals under 43 CFR part 4.