INTERIOR COLUMBIA BASIN ECOSYSTEM
THE LEADING EDGE
JUNE 2, 1997
"I have always believed strongly in the vision of this Project. As I return to the Umatilla National Forest, the thing I will miss most is the people I've worked with for almost 4 years. These folks have worked as well as any team I've ever been associated with."
On, May 8, Bureau of Land Management Idaho State Director, Martha Hahn announced the selection of Susan Giannettino as the new Project Manager of the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. Giannettino will lead the Project based in Boise, Idaho. Hahn also announced that Geoff Middaugh will serve as the Deputy Project Manager from the Project's office in Walla Walla, Washington. Giannettino and Middaugh are expected to begin their new project leadership roles in June.
"We are excited about having Susan and Geoff take over the leadership of this very important project as we publish the Eastside and Upper Columbia River Basin Draft Environmental Impact Statements," said Hahn, who chairs the Project's Executive Steering Committee.
Giannettino replaces Jim May who has served as Acting Project Manager in Boise since January. Jeff Blackwood hands his position as Walla Walla's Project Manager over to Middaugh after almost 4 years leading the Project. Blackwood returns to his position as Forest Supervisor of the Umatilla National Forest.
"We know that Susan and Geoff will work collaboratively with our partners and the public through the upcoming formal public comment period to assure their issues, concerns, and needs are addressed when the Final Environmental Impact Statements and Record of Decision are released in 1998," said Hahn.
Giannettino is currently a Strategic Analyst with the Intermountain Region of the Forest Service. She began her career as a Social Scientist in the Northern Region where she also served as a Public Affairs Officer, Planning Staff Officer, and District Ranger. In 1989 she transferred to the Intermountain Region as the Deputy Forest Supervisor and later, Forest Supervisor of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
She was involved in the early stages of the Project as Special Projects Assistant to the Regional Forester prior to her current position. She holds a B.A. degree in Anthropology and History from the University of Montana and M.A. and Ph.C. degrees in Anthropology from the University of Washington.
Middaugh has served as Associate District Manager of BLM's Vale District since 1990. His career includes assignments as Program Analyst in Washington, D.C., and BLM's New Mexico State Office and as an Outdoor Recreation Planner in California and Utah. He received a B.S. degree in Forestry from the University of Missouri and a M.S. degree in Natural Resources from Utah State University. Middaugh has been involved with the Project since 1994 in his current role as a land manager for approximately 5 million acres of BLM-administered lands that will be affected by the Eastside EIS.
The Eastside and Upper Columbia River Basin Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEISs) are now available to the public. The first mailing of the long-awaited documents from the printer to the public began on Friday, May 30. Those individuals and organizations on the project mailing list who requested one or both of the EISs should be receiving their requested copies shortly. Those who requested copies of the Evaluation of the EIS Alternatives by the Science Integration Team will also be receiving copies of that publication some time later in June.
Two additional documents designed to complement the DEISs are also being distributed: Considering All Things - Summary of the Draft Environmental Impact Statements and The Highlighted Scientific Findings. These two documents were developed to assist people in assimilating the scientific findings and the DEIS alternatives in an easy to read manner. Those who receive either or both of the DEISs will also receive these two documents.
Release of the two Draft Environmental Impact Statements will be formally announced with a Notice of Availability filed by the Environmental Protection Agency in the Federal Register. At that time, the 120-day formal public comment period will begin. Comments will be accepted through early October.
Public comments will be essential to molding a final management strategy for the interior Columbia River Basin and portions of the Klamath and Great Basins. These are DRAFT EISs and the final documents will reflect public comments provided during the 120-day comment period. There will be many opportunities to ask questions and give comments about these documents over the next few months. Future public involvement activities will be outlined in upcoming editions of this newsletter.
Over the past several months the project's home page has been updated to include information and documents released and available for review. Press releases, newsletters, briefing papers, announcements, are all posted on the home page as soon as they can be converted to an appropriate format.
The home page will also host three of the Project's formal documents. At this time "A Framework for Ecosystem Management in the Interior Columbia Basin, and portions of the Klamath and Great Basins" is available on the home page. Project staff are working on converting both the Eastside and Upper Columbia River Basin Draft Environmental Impact Statements to an electronic format that can be posted, read, and downloaded from the home page. That process should be completed by mid-June. The homepage address is: https://www.fs.fed.us/r6/icbemp/.
Public involvement has been an important part of this project since its inception. The Project Charter, signed by the Chief of the Forest Service and the Director of BLM in January of 1994 instructed the team to use an open public process for development of a scientifically sound, ecosystem-based strategy for management of National Forest and BLM administered lands within the interior Columbia River Basin and portions of the Klamath and Great Basins.
Public comments and input have played a significant role in helping to shape the issues and the alternatives of these two DEISs. Over 100 public meetings have taken place throughout the project area since 1994 and many mutual benefits have been gained from hearing different perspectives, sharing data, and information. Input has been received from many individuals, interest groups, federal, state, and local governments and agencies, and American Indian Tribes. This input, combined with science and management information was used to construct the seven alternatives in the two Draft EISs. These alternatives now set the stage for a full public discussion of future public land management within the project area.
The release of the Draft EISs is where the formal public dialogue and comment begins. We want to know what you think. What are your concerns? What do you feel would work best? Are there parts of different alternatives you feel would work? This is your opportunity to tell us what you think. Comments will be accepted through early October.
Upcoming activities and public involvement opportunities are being planned by local Forest Service and BLM offices throughout the project area. These will take place in many locations in different formats, such as:
On the evening of July 9 over sixty communities in the project area will participate in a satellite teleconference to introduce people to the Draft EISs. The project team will provide information on how to work through the rather large Draft EIS documents which deal with many complex issues. How the scientific information was used in the development of the Draft EISs and how the seven alternatives were subjected to an independent evaluation by the Science Integration Team.
Opportunities for discussing the seven alternatives will be provided. This will be the first step leading to additional public involvement opportunities throughout the summer.
LOCAL PUBLIC MEETINGS:
Meetings will be scheduled in communities throughout the project area during July and August. These meetings will be formatted to meet local needs and concerns and will range from traditional public meetings to informal open houses. Roundtable discussions and field trips are being planned in some areas. Many opportunities to discuss the full range of alternatives and ask questions will be provided. Local land managers will lead these meetings and provide local perspectives.
WRITTEN PUBLIC COMMENTS:
Your written comments will be most helpful if they are specific, mention particular pages or chapters where appropriate, and address one or more of the following:
ELECTRONIC PUBLIC COMMENTS:
For those people who have stepped into cyberspace with a passion, public comments will also be accepted through the Project's website. As with all written comments submitted, the more specific they are the more helpful they will be.
A comment form will be provided within the "Environmental Documents" portion of the home page for individuals interested in submitting comments using electronic mail via the website. Individuals can complete the form and just click on "submit" directly from the homepage.
These Draft EISs and the Preferred Alternative are just the starting point for public debate on how 72 million acres of federal lands in seven states will be managed. The project area contains 10% of the BLM-administered lands in the nation and 25 percent of the country's national forest lands. People are concerned with how an area this large will be managed. Now is the time to voice those concerns through the many upcoming public involvement opportunities. Mutual understanding and support is necessary for successful implementation of the final strategy.
The following documents describing the draft management strategies for the interior Columbia River Basin and portions of the Klamath and Great Basins are now available. If you previously requested copies of either Environmental Impact Statement, they should arrive in your mailbox soon.
If you do not receive a copy by June 20 and would like to request one you may call the project offices in either Walla Walla, Washington at 509-522-4030 or Boise, Idaho at 208-334-1770 to request the documents below or print and complete this insert sheet and mail it back to one of the project offices.
___ Check here if you would like to receive "Considering All Things - Summary of the Draft Environmental Impact Statements." (60 pages, mailed to entire project mailing list 5/97).
___ Check here if you would like to receive "Eastside Draft Environmental Impact Statement." (2 volumes, 1300 pages, mailed 5/97 to those who requested copies).
___ Check here if you would like to receive "Upper Columbia River Basin Draft Environmental Impact Statement." (2 volumes, 1300 pages, mailed 5/97 to those who requested copies).
___ Check here if you would like to be removed from our mailing list.
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The following science documents are now available or will be soon. If you would like to request copies you may call the Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station at 503-326-5648 or print and complete this insert sheet and mail to Publications Distribution, PNW Research Station, P.O. Box 3890, Portland, Oregon 97208.
___ Check here if you would like to receive PNW-GTR-374 "A Framework for Ecosystem Management in the Interior Columbia Basin, and Portions of the Klamath and Great Basins." (70 pages, mailed 10/96 to entire project mailing list).
___ Check here if you would like to receive PNW-GTR-404 "Highlighted Scientific Findings of the Interior Basin Ecosystem Management Project." (50 pages, mailed to entire project mailing list 6/97).
___ Check here if you would like to receive PNW-GTR-385 "Status of the Interior Columbia Basin - Summary of Scientific Findings." (150 pages, mailed 11/96 to entire project mailing list).
___ Check here if you would like to receive PNW-GTR-382 "Integrated Scientific Assessment for Ecosystem Management in the Interior Columbia Basin, and Portions of the Klamath and Great Basin." (300 pages, mailed 11/96 to those who requested copies).
___ Check here if you would like to receive PNW-GTR-406 "Evaluation of the EIS Alternatives by the Science Integration Team." (2 volumes, 1100 pages, TO BE MAILED to those who have requested it 6/97).
___ Check here if you would like to receive PNW-GTR-405 "An Assessment of Ecosystem Components in the Interior Columbia Basin, and Portions of the Klamath and Great Basins." (AKA Staff Area Reports) (3 volumes, 1800 pages TO BE MAILED to those who have requested it 7/97).
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