FOREST SERVICE HANDBOOK

VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON

AUGUST 1989

TITLE 1009.15 - ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

GIFFORD PINCHOT SUPPLEMENT NO. 3

POSTING NOTICE. Supplements to this title are numbered consecutively. Check the last transmittal received for this title to see that the above supplement number is in sequence. If not, order intervening supplement at once on form 1100-6. Do not post this supplement until the missing one(s) is received and posted. After posting retain this transmittal until the next supplement to this title is received. Place it at the front of the title.

Number of Sheets

Page Code Superseded New

11.4 -- 1

12.5 1 -

21 -- 1

23.1 1 -

23.1--2 & 23.4 1 -

24--1 1 -

30.4 --- 1

31.1--1 thru --5 -- 3

32.5 -- 1

33.4 -- 1

52--1 & --2 - -- 1

53 --- 1

Digest: Defines the Forest NEPA review process and further explains the various steps in the NEPA process.

ROBERT W. WILLIAMS

Forest Supervisor

11.4

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

CHAPTER 10 - SCOPING

11.4 - Determine If Existing Documents Address the Proposed Action. Where appropriate, scoping shall focus on areas where higher level plans do not relate to actual on-the-ground conditions.

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21

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

CHAPTER 20 - ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS

21 - Keep The Public Informed . The 5-year sale program must identify proposed sales that may involve wetlands and floodplains.

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30.4

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

CHAPTER 30 - ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS AND RELATED DOCUMENTS

30.4 - Responsibility

2. Generally, a proponent of a project such as a hydropower facility or ski area expansion shall be required to conduct the environmental analysis and provide the assessment for review and approval by the Forest. The Forest has the responsibility to provide NEPA guidance. Small proposals by individuals for water systems, TV antenna, etc., shall usually be prepared by the Forest Service.

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31.1--1

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

CHAPTER 30 - ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS AND RELATED DOCUMENTS

31.1 - Content. Required content for an environmental assessment is as stated in the Parent Text. Affected environment, if not adequately discussed in higher order plans, should be discussed under the Purpose and Need Section.

The EA appendix should contain only that information necessary for the responsible official to make a decision. Everything that does not go in the NEPA document should be placed in an analysis file. Exhibit 1 shows suggested items that can be included. Many of the items listed would not be pertinent for non-timber sale projects.

The analysis file should be circulated with the environmental assessment or be available for review upon request.

Exhibit 2 should function as a guide for the preparation of a NEPA document.

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31.1--2

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

CHAPTER 30 - ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS AND RELATED DOCUMENTS

EXHIBIT 1

ANALYSIS FILE

1. Affected Environment (optional - can go here or in the EA document, depending on the significance of the activity)

a. Description

b. Specialist Descriptions and Input

c. Pertinent Maps

2. Record of ICO's Considered During Scoping Process That Did Not Become Drivers for Alternatives

3. Evaluation of Alternatives/Evaluation Criteria

a. Records of Evaluation Such as KT or PMS Sheets

b. Records on Economic Analysis

c. Others

4. Documentation of Consultation With Others and All Correspondence Concerning the Project. (Include all sources. Don't forget all pertinent conversations others, like District specialists and SO personnel, have had with people outside the Forest Service.) Example of sources:

a. State Resource Departments

b. Public

c. Adjacent Landowners

d. Industrial Representatives

e. Special Interest Groups

f. Others

5. Maps

a. Vicinity

b. Geological

c. Silviculture

d. Management Direction

6. Transportation Plan and RMO's

7. Log Plan

8. Silviculture Prescription

9. Fuels Prescription

10.T&E Survey

11.Management Strategies

12.Subunit Comments/Reply

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31.1--3

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

CHAPTER 30 - ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS AND RELATED DOCUMENTS

EXHIBIT 2

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

CHECKLIST

Monument/District______________ Project Name___________________________

Responsible Official__________________________Decision Date_____________

Prepared By_______________EA Date________ Reviewed By__________________

I. ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

A. REQUIRED ELEMENTS

1. Purpose and Need

a. Are the objectives and purpose stated clearly? (What is the decision that needs to be made and why the decision has to be made?) ______________________________________

b. Was this document tiered to a higher level EIS?________

c. Was the need for site-specific data recognized? (Project EA's are site specific documents - this should be stated.) ______________________

d. Was scoping done to determine ICO's? __________________

e. Is the summary of scoping displayed? __________________

2. Alternatives, Including the Proposed Action

a. Are the standards from higher level plans identified in the formulation of alternatives? ________

b. Was the no-action alternative considered? _____________

c. Is each alternative described in equal depth? _________

d. Is enough specific information (e.g., mitigation measures) given for the responsible official to make a decision? ___________________________ __

e. Is the assummed effectiveness displayed and experience referenced? ___________________________

f. Was an adequate range of alternatives developed? (If all ICO's are not addressed, an adequate range was not developed.) ______________________

g. Were the alternatives shown in comparative form as to how they respond to the major ICO's? _______

h. Does the comparison identify a recommended alternative or display reasons why the recommended alternative is recommended? (It should not.) ________________________

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ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK 31.1--4

CHAPTER 30 - ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS AND RELATED DOCUMENTS

EXHIBIT 2 -- Continued

3. Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action and Alternatives

a. Are the following impacts displayed for all alternatives, including the no change alternative?

(1) Outputs (resource amounts)? _______________________

(2) Environmental changes and duration for:

(a) Physical setting (land, water, air)? __________

(b) Biological (plants and animals)? _____________

(c) Economic (PNW, benefit/cost)? _________________

(d) Social (recreation, life style opportunities)?_________________________

(3) Have indirect, cumulative, and unavoidable effects been included? _______

(4) Have irreversible and irretrievable commitment of resources been identified? ______

(5) Have short-term uses versus long-term productivity been discussed? ______

(6) Have the following items been discussed?:

(a) Consumers ______________________________

(b) Minority Groups ________________________

(c) Women __________________________________

(d) Civil Rights ____________________________

(e) American Indian Rights (inc. AIRFA) _____

(f) Prime Farmland _________________________

(g) Forestland _____________________________

(h) Rangeland ______________________________

(i) Floodplains and Wetlands* ______________

(j) Cultural Resources _____________________

(k) T&E Species ____________________________

* If any effects on wetlands or floodplains are shown, Executive Order 11988 and 11990 and the implementation process identified in FSM 2527 must be followed.

b. Have the effects of implementing each of the various alternatives been described in equal depth? ____

c. Are the impacts described consistent with the comparsion of alternatives from Item 2c of the outline?

4 .List of Agencies and Persons Consulted

a. Have out-service agencies such as State Fish and Game, SHPO, etc., been listed? ____________

b. Have persons such as contactors, permittees, interest group leaders, etc., been listed? _________

c. Have adjacent landowners been contacted? (Is the contact listed?) __________

d. Was the public contacted regarding this project? (e.g., public meetings) _____

e. Is a summary of public comments included? _____________

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31.1--5

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

CHAPTER 30 - ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS AND RELATED DOCUMENTS

EXHIBIT 2 -- Continued

B. NONREQUIRED ELEMENTS

1. Affected Environment

a. Is the description no longer than necessary for reader understanding of the setting and impacts that are related to the decision being made? ___________________

2. Evaluation Criteria/Decision Criteria

a. Are the evaluation criteria/decision criteria terms used only in the analysis file? (If in the EA, they should be removed.) __________________________

3. Other (cover page, summary, table of contents, index, appendix)

a. List other content sections (chapters) and compare to CEQ

Regulations, 40 CFR 1501.10-18. ______________________________

C. OTHER

1. Was the EA depth and content appropriate to the action proposed: _________________________

2. Can ICO's be tracked through alternatives, environmental impacts and decision notice? (use the following check list)

Issue, Concern, :Alternatives: :Env. Impacts: :Decision

or Opportunity : : : : Notice

(Purpose/need) : 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : : 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 :(rec. alt)_

: : : : : : : : : : :

: : : : : : : : : : :

: : : : : : : : : : :

: : : : : : : : : : :

: : : : : : : : : : :

: : : : : : : : : : :

: : : : : : : : : : :

: : : : : : : : : : :

: : : : : : : : : : :

II. & III.Refer to GP Supplement 33.1 and 33.2 for information on the Decision Notice and FONSI.

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32.5

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

CHAPTER 30 - ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS AND RELATED DOCUMENTS

32.5 - Supplements, Corrections, and Revisions.

1. Correction may be handled by pen and ink changes in the EA document (for ones with Subunit responsibility) or a Letter of Correction submitted to the responsible official for signature.

Example 1: Change in logging system, unit boundary, etc., that in no way affect the decision.

Example 2: The addition of a mitigation measure (not previously noted in the EA) to protect a resource concern.

2. Supplements. Supplements are appropriate when the original decision or part of the original decision is changed. This requires a supplement noting changes to the EA and a revised Decision Notice. Cumulative effects must also be addressed. The supplement and Decison Notice need to be reviewed through the normal Gifford Pinchot process.

Example: A unit is dropped from a timber sale because of the discovery of a T&E plant, Spotted Owl, etc. This changes the decision made on the number of units, volume to harvest, and acreage affected.

3. Revision. A revision is necessary when there are changes to the original issues and thus the alternatives. This effects the decision made. The project must be reanalyzed and the EA basicly rewritten and sent for review and approval to the responsible official.

Example: New issue is brought up and found to be a critical one which will drive the creation of a new alternative(s).

FSH 8/86 GP SUPP NO. 3

33.4

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

CHAPTER 30 - ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS AND RELATED DOCUMENTS

33.1 - Decision Notice . The Decision Notice states the decision made and the rationale for making it. The Decision Notice should:

1. State the proposed action.

2. State the decision made.

3. Describe and identify the preferred alternative.

4. State the rationale for the selection of the preferred alternative and how the alternative reponds to the issues, concerns, and opportunities.

5. Briefly summarize the alternatives not selected and state why they were not selected.

6. State any appeal rights.

7. State when the decision will be implemented.

The Decision Notice and FONSI will usually be a single document.

When an EA requires a supplement, a new Decision Notice must be written, but the FONSI would remain unchanged unless the supplement showed a finding of significant impact and thus required an Environmental Impact Statement.

33.2 - Finding of No Significant Impact. The Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) document is issued with the Decision Notice. The FONSI should:

1. Clearly state that the action is not a major Federal action and will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment.

2. List the factors that were considered in making the determination that an EIS was not required.

3. Clearly state that an EIS is not required.

33.4 - Distribution of Decision Documents. The public and government agencies shall be given an opportunity to review proposed projects involving floodplains and wetlands. This shall be accomplished by publishing the Decision Notice and FONSI in the local newspaper(s) and by mailings to the local county planning agency, if the proposed project is located adjacent to or may affect private, county, or state lands, and the Washington State Departments of Ecology, Game, and if applicable, Fisheries. If individuals or organizations have expressed interest in a particular project, they also must be placed on the mailing list. Mailings shall be carried out by the persons responsible for the Decision Notice and FONSI.

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52--1

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

CHAPTER 50 - IMPLEMENTATION AND MONITORING

52 - Implementing Decisions Based on Environmental Impact Statements. The implementation plan is a document or file separate from the EA that covers specific details for the implementation of the decision made in the Decision Notice. An implementation plan should carry out the objectives of the EA while remaining within the scope of the EA. (See Exhibit 1 for examples of information that can be included in the file.)

For those projects involving engineering, a copy of the approved EA shall be sent to the appropriate Engineering Zone.

Prior to initiating road location or unit layout, a joint review of the EA should be scheduled for the ID team, transportation planner, and presale representative to ensure common understanding of project intent and awareness of management requirements, constraints, and mitigation measures.

A joint review of the timber sale report by the assigned Timber Sale Officer, Engineering Representative, and Presale Representative should be made to ensure all required items have been incorporated into the final sale package.

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52--2

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

CHAPTER 50 - IMPLEMENTATION AND MONITORING

Exhibit 1

IMPLENTATATION PLAN/FILE

Items which may be included in an implementation plan might be:

1. Marking guides, including special paint color requirements, specific unit marking requirements, and snag recruitment marking recommendations.

2. Final silvicultural prescriptions.

3. Specific instructions for dealing with resource concerns. For example, T&E plant, a stream buffer, cave entrance, etc.

4. Road location maps.

5. Logging systems maps.

6. Design narratives (for developed recreation sites).

7. Habitat prescriptions (fuels).

FSH 8/86 GP SUPP NO. 3

53

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND PROCEDURES HANDBOOK

CHAPTER 50 - IMPLEMENTATION AND MONITORING

53 - Monitoring. The following guidelines should be followed for timber sale projects. For projects other than timber sales, a similar approach should be identified in the planning process to ensure that actions called for in the approved environmental assessment are included in final project plans and contract documents.

1. It is a functional responsibility at the field level to ensure that functional monitoring activities required by the EA (water quality, CRM, etc.) are scheduled on a timely basis. If compliance with EA monitoring requirements is not possible, it is also their responsibility to amend the EA, documenting the reasons preventing monitoring and providing alternative approaches to fulfill the purpose and need for which the monitoring was identified.

2. As a part of the final inspection, the Forest Service Representative should check final results against project objectives and required mitigation actions. An on-the-ground review by the ID team should be conducted for at least one project per year on each Subunit.

3. The Gifford Pinchot timber sale audit process described in FSM 2403 must be part of the monitoring process.

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