[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 27 (Monday, February 10, 2014)]
[Pages 7694-7695]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-02801]



Bureau of Land Management


Notice of Intent To Prepare a Resource Management Plan and 
Associated Environmental Impact Statement for the Lewistown Field 
Office and a Portion of the Butte Field Office, Montana

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 
1976, as amended (FLPMA), and the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lewistown 
and Butte Field Offices intend to prepare a Resource Management Plan 
(RMP) with an associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 
RMP for BLM public lands and resources managed by the Lewistown Field 
Office, and a small portion of the Butte Field Office in northern Lewis 
and Clark County, Montana. Through this notice, public scoping is also 
being announced to solicit public comments and assist with the 
identification and development of planning issues. The RMP will replace 
the existing Headwaters Resource Area RMP, dated September 1984, and 
the Judith Resource Management Plan, dated 1994, as amended.

DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process for the RMP and 
associated EIS. Comments and resource information should be submitted 
to the BLM within 60 calendar days of publication of this notice in the 
Federal Register. A series of public scoping meetings will be held 
throughout the planning area. Meeting times and locations will be 
announced 15 days prior to each event through local news media, 
newsletters and the BLM Web site at: http://blm.gov/ngld.
    Formal scoping comments should be submitted prior to the close of 
the scoping period or 30 days after the last public scoping meeting, 
whichever is later. The BLM will provide additional opportunities for 
public participation upon publication of the Draft RMP/EIS.

ADDRESSES: Documents related to this proposal may be viewed at the 
Lewistown Field Office, 920 NE Main St., Lewistown, MT 59457, during 
regular business hours from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except holidays, or online at: http://blm.gov/ngld. Written 
public comments and input may be submitted by any of the following 
     Email: [email protected]
     Fax: 406-538-1904, Attention: Lewistown RMP
     Mail: BLM Lewistown Field Office, Attention:
    Lewistown RMP, 920 NE Main St., Lewistown, MT 59457

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Brunkhorst, RMP Project Manager, 
Lewistown Field Office, at 406-538-1981 or by email [email protected]. Contact Mr. Brunkhorst if you wish to be added 
to the mailing list.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This document provides notice that the BLM 
intends to prepare an RMP with an associated EIS, for the Lewistown 
Field Office and a portion of the Butte Field Office for public lands 
located in northern Lewis and Clark County. This notice also announces 
the beginning of the scoping process and seeks public input on issues, 
planning criteria, and nominations for Areas of Critical Environmental 
Concern (ACEC).
    The RMP/EIS will fulfill the needs and obligations set forth by 
FLPMA, NEPA, and BLM management policies. The area to be covered under 
the Lewistown RMP/EIS is located in the central part of Montana in 
Petroleum, Fergus, Judith Basin, Chouteau, Cascade, Meagher, Teton, 
Pondera, and northern Lewis and Clark counties. The Lewistown RMP 
planning area comprises approximately 654,025 acres of BLM-managed 
surface lands and 1,399,880 acres of BLM-administered Federal minerals.
    The BLM will work collaboratively with interested parties and 
cooperating agencies to identify the management decisions that are best 
suited to local, regional, tribal and national needs and concerns. The 
public scoping process will identify, develop, and refine planning 
issues and planning criteria, including an evaluation of the existing 
RMP, in the context of the needs and interests of the public. Planning 
issues and criteria will guide the planning process. Comments on issues 
and planning criteria may be submitted in writing to the BLM at any 
public scoping meeting or by using one of the methods listed above.
    Preliminary issues, management concerns and planning criteria have 
been identified by BLM personnel and other agencies. This information 
represents the BLM's knowledge to date regarding the existing issues 
and concerns with current land management. The preliminary issues that 
will be addressed in this planning effort include:
     Vegetation management (including noxious weeds and 
invasive species management);
     Fish and wildlife habitat;
     Special status species;
     Recreation and visitor services;
     Forest management;
     Fire management (including issues related to the wildland 
urban interface);
     Livestock grazing;
     Land tenure adjustment;
     Right-of-way corridors and land use authorizations;
     Minerals and energy development;
     Recreation management (including commercial special 
recreation permits);
     Travel management and access;
     Opportunities to identify areas for regional mitigation 
strategies; and
     Special management area designations, (including 
nominations for ACECs and comments specific to existing ACECs and other 
special designation areas).
    After public comments are gathered regarding issues the RMP/EIS 
should address, they will be placed in one of three categories:
    1. Issues to be resolved in the RMP/EIS;
    2. Issues to be resolved through policy or administrative action; 
    3. Issues beyond the scope of the RMP/EIS.
    Rationale will be provided in the RMP/EIS for each comment placed 
in category two or three. In addition to

[[Page 7695]]

these major issues, a number of management questions and concerns will 
be addressed in the RMP/EIS. The public is encouraged to help identify 
these questions and concerns during the scoping phase.
    The BLM will use an interdisciplinary approach to develop the RMP/
EIS in order to consider the variety of resource issues and concerns 
identified. Specialists with expertise in the following disciplines 
will be involved in the planning process, including but not limited to: 
Rangeland management; minerals and geology; wildland fire and fuels 
management; outdoor recreation; archaeology; paleontology; wildlife and 
fisheries; lands and realty; soil, water and air; global climate 
change; environmental justice, sociology, and economics.
    The following preliminary planning criteria have been proposed to 
guide development of the RMP/EIS, avoid unnecessary data collection and 
analyses, and ensure the RMP/EIS is tailored to the issues. Other 
criteria may be identified during the public scoping process. After 
gathering comments on preliminary planning criteria, the BLM will 
finalize the criteria and provide feedback to the public on the 
criteria to be used throughout the planning process. Some of the 
planning criteria that are under consideration include:
     The plan will be completed in compliance with FLPMA and 
all other applicable laws.
     The planning process will include an EIS that will comply 
with NEPA.
     The plan will establish new guidance and identify existing 
guidance upon which the BLM will rely in managing public lands within 
the Lewistown Field Office and the Butte Field Office (for the northern 
portion of Lewis and Clark County).
     The RMP/EIS will incorporate by reference the Standards 
for Rangeland Health and Guidelines for Livestock Grazing Management; 
the Off-Highway Vehicle EIS and Plan Amendment for Montana, North 
Dakota, and Portions of South Dakota; the Montana/Dakotas Statewide 
Fire Management Plan; Best Management Practices for Forestry in 
Montana; the Montana Streamside Management Zone Law and Rules, and the 
Vegetation Treatments Using Herbicides Final EIS.
     The RMP/EIS will incorporate by reference all prior 
Wilderness Study Area findings that affect public lands in the planning 
     The planning process will include early coordination and 
Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation meetings with the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service during the development of the plan.
     Native American consultation and coordination--the 
Blackfeet Indian Reservation is adjacent to the planning area (Pondera 
County). Also, other tribes will be contacted early during the scoping 
process to determine what level of participation they would like to 
have during the RMP process. Early consultation and close coordination 
will take place to ensure the tribes' needs are considered, analyzed, 
and the BLM fulfills its trust responsibilities.
     Early consultation will be conducted with the State 
Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) on any potential effect of the plan 
on cultural resources under provisions of the National Historic 
Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 470f) and under the 
National Programmatic Agreement. Relevant/interested tribal governments 
and the SHPO will be invited as cooperating agencies.
     The plan will result in determinations as required by 
special program and resource specific guidance as described in BLM 
Manual 6280--Management of National Scenic and Historic Trails and 
Trails under Study or Recommended as Suitable for Congressional 
     The plan will be consistent with BLM Handbook H-1624-1, 
Planning for Fluid Minerals (and/or updated manual/policy guidance).
     The RMP/EIS will be consistent with the interagency 
reference guide titled Reasonably Foreseeable Development Scenarios and 
Cumulative Effects Analysis developed by the Rocky Mountain Federal 
Leadership Forum on NEPA, Oil and Gas, and Air Quality.
     The plan will recognize the State's responsibility to 
manage wildlife populations, including uses such as hunting and 
fishing, within the planning area.
     To the extent possible, goals and objectives in the plan 
for plants and wildlife (including special status species) will 
incorporate or respond to goals and objectives from established 
recovery plans, conservation strategies, strategic plans, etc.
     Decisions in the plan will strive to be compatible with 
the existing plans and policies of adjacent local, State, tribal, and 
Federal agencies as long as the decisions are in conformance with legal 
mandates on management of public lands.
     The scope of analysis will be consistent with the level of 
analysis in approved plans and in accordance with Bureau-wide standards 
and program guidance.
     Geospatial data will be automated within a Geographic 
Information System to facilitate discussions of the affected 
environment, alternative formulation, analysis of environmental 
consequences, and display of the results.
     Resource allocations must be reasonable and achievable 
within available technological and budgetary constraints.
     Best management practices (BMPs) for oil and gas, road 
drainage, grazing, water quality BMPs for Montana forests, fire rehab, 
fire management, wind energy, power lines, and sage grouse conservation 
will be included in the Plan.
     The BLM will coordinate with the Lewis and Clark National 
Historic Trail, Nez Perce National Historic Trail and the Continental 
Divide National Scenic Trail Administrators during the land use 
planning process regarding the establishment of the National Trail 
Management Corridors.
    Respondents' comments, including names and street addresses, will 
be available for public review at the Lewistown Field Office during 
regular business hours 8:00 a.m.--4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except holidays, and may be published as part of the RMP/EIS. Before 
including your address, phone number, email address or other personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your 
entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be 
made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your 
comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public 
review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Formal 
scoping comments should be submitted within 60 days of publication of 
this notice in the Federal Register or 30 days after the last public 
scoping meeting, whichever is later. All submissions from organizations 
and businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives of organizations or businesses, will be available for 
public inspection in their entirety.

    Authority:  40 CFR 1501.7 and 43 CFR 1610.2

Katherine P. Kitchell,
Acting State Director.
[FR Doc. 2014-02801 Filed 2-7-14; 8:45 am]