Frequently Asked Questions and Answers: SET 2

Compiled October 1997

Outline of Topics

Public Involvement
EIS Documents - General Questions
Desired Ranges of Future Conditions (DRFCs)
Preferred Alternative
Future Revisions and Monitoring
Coordination, Collaboration
Reviews and Analyses
Economic Resiliency
Soils/Coarse Woody Debris
Air Quality
Water, Aquatics
Rangelands, Noxious Weeds
Terrestrial Species
Roads and Unroaded/Roadless Areas
Federal Trust Responsibilities/Tribal Rights and Interests

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers: SET 2


The Draft EISs and the scientific documents emphasize how various smaller scales (subwatersheds, watersheds, etc.) fit within the larger context of the interior Columbia Basin system. Why don't they also expand beyond the project area, placing it within an even larger context that includes Canada (which contains the headwaters of the Columbia River), the Yellowstone region (which contains the headwaters of the Snake River), parts of the Columbia Basin system west of the Cascades, the ocean (where salmon spend most of their lives), dams, social and economic influences from outside the region, etc.? The Scientific Assessment included both the Canadian and the Yellowstone portions of the interior Columbia Basin ecosystem in gathering and analyzing data, to provide the big picture needed to develop the EISs. However, the EISs necessarily exclude Canada from any management direction since the Forest Service and BLM have no jurisdiction there. Forest Service-administered lands in the Yellowstone portion of the ecosystem were excluded from management decisions resulting from the UCRB EIS to avoid implementing direction for the National Forests of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem on a piecemeal basis. This is discussed in UCRB Chapter 1, page 1-2.

The portion of the Columbia River Basin west of the Cascade Mountains is covered by the Northwest Forest Plan, adopted in 1994; with such a recent strategy adopted for Federal forests west of the Cascades, there was no need to revisit the decisions there. Both the Scientific Assessment and the Draft EISs contain information on the regional economy, much of which is driven by factors outside of Federal land management. Impacts on anadromous salmon and steelhead off Federal lands (such as from dams, harvest, and hatcheries) are also disclosed.


How does politics play into this EIS process, and how much will politics influence the final management decisions? The Draft EISs display the consequences of any decisions that might be made in the Record of Decision (ROD). To the extent that elected officials represent the people who are the owners of the public lands, politics has a role to play in the decision to be made. However, the level and nature of political influence on the funding or fate of the project is not in the control of agency managers.

You say that many outcomes from this project won't be achieved for some 50-100 years. How will you ensure long-term commitment to implementation so that decisions made here aren't reversed in a few years when personnel and politics have changed? We expect that the basin-wide decisions made through this process will not be modified substantially by future management decisions. Rather, the intent is for the ICBEMP decisions to set the stage for and provide the bigger picture for future plan revisions and resource management decisions, so that no individual National Forest or BLM District will face the need to start all over again when personnel or politics do change. However, management plans such as this one usually are expected to have an active "life" of about 10 years. This allows the agencies to be flexible and to respond to changing needs and public interests. So local implementation may shift over time, adjusting both the outcomes and the expectations from this plan as needed.

How will the broad-scale information and decisions from the ICBEMP project be applied at the local level? How will local decisions be made? The ICBEMP Record of Decision will summarize overall goals and objectives for managing lands in the project area administered by the Forest Service or the BLM. The decision will provide the ecological context for more local decisions such as Forest Service and BLM land and resource management plans. The relevant parts of the selected alternative will become a part of these plans and will guide project decision-making until the plans undergo revision. When those local plans are revised, they are expected to use the goals, desired ranges of future conditions, objectives, and standards from the selected final alternative identified in the ICBEMP Record of Decision.

How will the ICBEMP decisions affect private, State, or tribal lands? The decisions to be made through this project will apply only to 72 million acres of Forest Service- or BLM-administered lands in the project area. This is shown on maps 1-1 and 1-2 in Chapter 1 of the Draft EISs. No decisions are being made for private, State, tribal, or other lands. Adjacent landowners may benefit indirectly from better controls on noxious weeds and less severe forest fires. The introduction to Chapter 4 in the Draft EISs contains further discussion on Cumulative Effects on Non-Federal Lands.

Will comments from small communities weigh as much comments as from large communities? Do the comments have more weight going to the team or executives? Or should I write my representatives? Comments will be considered based on their content and substance rather than by where they come from. We anticipate that we will receive comments from all over the nation, from both large and small communities. Comments will be organized by their respective areas of concerns (for example, aquatics, roads, timber harvest, wilderness) and addressed during the content analysis process. If a person chooses to send comments to executives, representatives, or other officials, copies of the comments should be sent to the EIS Team. This will ensure that the comments are entered promptly into the public record and are available as the EIS Team develops the Final EIS.
EIS DOCUMENTS - general questions

Without considering economics, which alternative would result in the greatest environmental health? Figures EC1-EC10 in Chapter 3 of the Draft EISs provide a comparative ranking for different measures or evaluation criteria of ecosystem health other than economics. The alternatives rank differently for each measure. Alternative 4 ranks highest for forest health and natural disturbance processes, amount of watershed and riparian restoration acres, short-term and long-term landscape health, improved habitat outcomes for certain wildlife species based on snags and downed wood standards, improvement of habitat for bald eagles, and long-term environmental risk reduction. Other alternatives rank higher for other specific elements of environmental health. Overall, the preferred alternative (Alternative 4) would provide greater resilience to stresses such as wildfire, insects and disease, and noxious weeds; it is most responsive to rangeland health issues and needs; and it is one of the highest ranked in improving aquatic and riparian health.
2-8 What is meant by the term "sustainable"? Two definitions of sustainability are used in the Draft EISs: (1) meeting the needs of the present without compromising the abilities of future generations to meet their needs (this includes producing goods and services over the long term without impairing the productivity of the land); and (2) the yield of a natural resource that can be produced continually at a given intensity of management.
2-9 What do you mean by "restore" and "restoration"? By "restoration" we generally mean holistic actions taken to modify an ecosystem to achieve desired, healthy, and functioning conditions and processes. It refers to the process of enabling the system to resume its resiliency to disturbances. In the alternatives we also use the term "Restore" to refer specifically to a particular management emphasis (R) in which a variety of management activities are used to move ecosystems to desired conditions and processes, generally in areas of moderate to low ecological integrity. A detailed discussion of what the term "restoration" is intended to convey in these documents can be found in Chapter 3, page 3-6, of the Draft EISs.
2-10 Can you please clarify the concept of scale? It's confusing to jump back and forth between "subbasin" and "watershed" and "basin". Watersheds and ecosystems can be considered on a variety of scales ranging from as large as a continent to as small as a pond. In the EISs, we deal mainly with broader scales of: "basin" (around 9 million acres, such as the Salmon River basin), "subbasin" (around 800,000 to a million acres, such as the South Fork of the Salmon River or the Upper Grand Ronde River basins), "watershed" (around 50,000 to 100,000 acres, such as the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River or the McIntyre Creek watersheds), and "subwatershed" (around 20,000 acres, such as the Profile Creek subwatershed). (The term "basin" also sometimes is used in a general sense to refer to the project area.) These categories are hierarchical, with smaller ones nested within larger ones.
2-11 Can the maps be redone at a larger scale so they are more readable? Not easily. The data used to generate the maps are available on our web site under the Spatial Data section. You may download the data to your own system and generate new maps at a size you may find more readable. Project staff will not be able to generate larger maps on request.
2-12 The Association of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (AFSEEE) came up with an alternative to address ecosystem health. It appears as if the EIS Team did not consider their proposal seriously. Why not? The EIS Team carefully reviewed AFSEEE's alternative and incorporated many of their suggestions into Alternative 7. The entire AFSEEE alternative could not be incorporated because it was incomplete; for example, it did not address rangelands, socio-economics, or tribal issues fully. Some of the specific elements within AFSEEE's alternative did not get incorporated into Alternative 7 or any of the other alternatives because they would not meet the Purpose and Need for the project (particularly the social and economic need) and therefore would not achieve the goals and objectives for the project.
2-13 Why were archeological sites and resources not mentioned? In general, archeological resources can be identified and effects on them evaluated best at the fine scale, during a site-specific analysis process. Given the broad-scale nature of the ICBEMP project, specific archeological resources and sites were not discussed in this EIS. However, all applicable laws, policy, and guidelines would be followed during the implementation of this plan and subsequent site-specific projects. Please see Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Set 1, #1-38, for an overview of the broad scale vs. local knowledge of the landscape.
2-14 Treatment of mining is only cursory. How will that be addressed between draft and final? As with archeological resources discussed in 2-13 above, specific mineral resources (and mining) can be identified and effects on them evaluated best at the fine scale, during a site-specific analysis process. Therefore the project did not address mining beyond a brief analysis. The Draft EISs do contain several standards related to minerals management and aquatic ecosystem restoration; see table 3-5, AQ-S16 through AQ-S23. Appendix 2-3, Mineral Resources, of the Eastside Draft EIS discusses known and likely deposits and projected developments for the project area. All applicable laws, policy, and guidelines would be followed during the implementation of this plan and subsequent site-specific projects.
2-15 It seems that all alternatives have reserves; is this true? All the alternatives at a minimum would maintain currently designated wilderness areas, research natural areas, wilderness study areas, wild and scenic river corridors, and the like. These formal areas are already set aside for minimal human influence and would function more or less like reserves. Such existing "reserve" areas would not be altered under Alternatives 1-6. Alternative 7 would design additional large reserves and corridors, which would be selected specifically for representation of plant and wildlife species and are intended to reduce risks to ecological integrity and viable populations.
2-16 These EISs appear to be written for technicians/scientists. How can people understand what you're trying to say? We recognize the complexity, and at times difficulty, of reading these documents. But we also recognize the complexity of the project itself. We have tried and will continue to try to make the EIS as readable as possible. But the EIS has to give enough precise and detailed information for the project decision makers to fully understand the effects of the proposed alternatives. The document also has to be technical enough to be used accurately by Forest Service and BLM field staff when they try to carry out the goals, objectives, and standards of the plan. A more readable summary of the Draft EIS, called Considering All Things, was provided for those whose needs do not include the level of technical information provided in the full Draft EIS. A short video, Weighing the Options, also is available upon request; this was part of the project teleconference in July 1997. You may request this or a video of the complete teleconference from either project office. Work will be done on the Final EIS to improve its readability.
2-17 Why did the Scientific Assessment use Ecological Reporting Units (ERUs) instead of some more familiar map unit such as the province? How were ERUs determined? The Science Integration Team (SIT) and the EIS team recognized the need to subdivide the project area into geographic areas or provinces to report results of the Scientific Assessment. The SIT decided to use the term "ecological reporting unit" to avoid confusion with other definitions, uses, and intents of the term "province". ERUs were identified and delineated through an integrated exercise across disciplines within the SIT. Three primary map "themes" were delineated: One theme emphasized terrestrial ecosystem components, one emphasized human uses of ecosystem components, and one emphasized aquatic ecosystem components. The three map themes were integrated along watershed boundaries to create a final ERU map with 13 mapping units. The ERUs were used extensively in describing biophysical environments, characterizing ecological processes, discussing effects of management activities and observed trends from past management, and in identifying landscape management opportunities. Complete details of the identification and delineation of ERUs can be found in the Scientific Assessment.
2-18 How was "social resiliency" or "community resiliency" determined? Social resiliency in terms of communities was based on four factors: economic well-being, community leadership, civic infrastructure, and amenities. The measure of socio-economic resiliency includes lifestyle diversity.
2-19 How will the terrestrial species assessment be applied to managing "species as a whole" compared to managing by individual indicator species? Ecosystem management is a "coarse-filter" approach to species conservation. It attempts to manage species by maintaining or restoring the patterns and processes of an ecosystem. The assumption is that if you maintain a properly patterned and functioning ecosystem, then you should be able to maintain viable populations of species that have evolved to live under those conditions. Data from the entire Scientific Assessment (not just that related specifically to wildlife) will be used to develop ecosystem management programs to maintain or restore "species as a whole."

The coarse-filter approach, however, is not guaranteed to be successful all the time. Species vary in their distribution, ecology, and behavior, and we have altered ecosystems and populations in some areas sufficiently that restoration of species viability may require special considerations or an additional "fine-filter" approach. The terrestrial science assessment data and reports, the viability analyses done for the Draft EISs, and the habitat mapping being developed for the Final EISs all can be used to develop fine-filter approaches to species conservation. Then specific information on species distribution and habitat, species viability, and species function could be linked to coarse-filter landscape data to more effectively maintain or restore species through management.

2-20 The Science Team wrote Chapter 4; what type of review was done on it? Did the EIS team review and approve what the Science Team wrote? The Science Team did not write Chapter 4 (Environmental Consequences). The Science Team provided the necessary scientific data for the EIS Team to prepare Chapter 4. The EIS Team in turn incorporated these data, as well as other information provided by field staff on project area national forests, BLM districts, and others (such as counties and States), to develop Chapter 4.
2-21 How will you reconcile the conflict between certain DRFCs for more open stands, and the need for wildlife cover for species such as elk? Conditions providing cover for elk and other wildlife will still be present on the landscape, because an ecosystem management approach attempts to provide habitat for a wide variety of species. In some instances, elk hiding cover may be reduced in some areas while young forests are thinned. However, this would not happen in all places across the landscape at the same time. In other cases, looking at the long term, thermal cover may be improved through tree management that promotes large trees with large crowns, which will intercept snowfall. There may be temporary changes in how landscapes are used by many species, including elk.
2-22 Aggressive/active management in the past created the current conditions, so why are you recommending Alternative 4, which calls for increased aggressive management? Alternative 4 is designed to aggressively restore ecosystem health through active management using an integrated ecosystem management approach based on sound scientific information. The consistent, collaborative, science-based direction expected to result from Alternative 4 is quite different from the previous management approach under which each individual National Forest and BLM District made independent management decisions that did not necessarily take the overall picture into account. Alternative 4 reduces the risks of wildfires to life, property, and resources values, and it actively addresses other resource issues. By actively restoring and maintaining ecosystems, this alternative contributes to the social and economic well-being of communities as well.
2-23 Generally, how do the alternatives compare with regard to cost of implementation? Do the costs imply that additional funding will be needed over and above present agency budgets? The alternatives differ in their implementation costs. Specific information is reported in table 4-65, in Chapter 4 of the Draft EISs. This table shows that the general ranking of alternatives with regard to cost for all management activities would be, from highest cost to lowest cost: for the Eastside planning area--Alternative 4, 5, 6, 3, 1, 2, 7; for the UCRB planning area--Alternative 5, 4, 3, 6, 1, 7, 2. Additional costs for fire suppression, research, and administrative costs, as well as costs to other Federal agencies, will be developed prior to release of the Final EISs. For implementation of many of the alternatives, increased funds over current budget would be necessary.
2-24 What has this project cost to date, and how much more is it going to cost just to get to a decision? By September 30, 1997, the Forest Service and the BLM will have spent $35 million. Much of that cost was for developing credible scientific databases to address a very complex set of natural resource management issues. Other cost factors included developing two Draft EISs, and an intensive public involvement process. Developing the Final EIS and Record of Decision (ROD) will cost an additional estimated $5 million. But the ROD will amend up to 74 Forest Service and BLM land-use plans, covering approximately 72 million acres of public lands. On a per-acre basis, the cost of the ICBEMP project development is very low compared to having each National Forest and BLM District separately amend their existing land use plans (which would cost some $23 million).
2-25 Much land, such as riparian zones 1 and 2, are removed from the timber base, but the only money available to do treatments generally comes from timber dollars. There won't be great enthusiasm to use timber dollars for riparian restoration if those acres can't be counted as part of the timber base. Where will the money come from for riparian restoration? Revenue generated from timber harvest is not restricted from being spent for activities on "non-timber" land (places that are not classified as "suitable" for timber harvest, such as riparian areas) or for other resource needs. Even under current policy and regulation, timber harvest doesn't have to happen within the riparian area itself for timber dollars to be made available for riparian restoration. That would continue to be true under ICBEMP direction. If no timber harvest revenue is available, then appropriated funds for fisheries and other restoration activities could be spent for riparian restoration needs.
Future Revisions and Monitoring
2-26 How does this plan link with BLM and Forest Service revisions of their 74 different resource management plans in the project area? Will each revision have to start from ground zero, with the risk that everything in the ICBEMP plan gets tossed out? Public interest and fiscal restraint demand that the revision planning process that takes place on the 74 administrative units in the project area use decisions made by the ICBEMP to the maximum extent possible. We expect that the Scientific Assessment, the Final EIS, and the Record of Decision will heavily influence the development of future plan revisions. Overall, we do not expect that the basic intent of the direction established to address basin-wide issues will be modified by future plan revisions. The goal of revisions will be to amend this direction as appropriate to varying site-specific conditions rather than to start all over again.
2-27 What other items will revised plans need to address? Revisions will need to address land allocations, timber suitability, wilderness recommendations, and other factors that the ICBEMP EIS does not address. ICBEMP broad-scale information and decisions will need to be made more site-specific for the local scale. Revision efforts also will provide a way to refine certain ICBEMP standards that are intended to be used only until local standards are developed to meet regional goals and objectives using local information. Revisions will allow the total management direction package to be integrated. And revisions will provide the analysis needed to address monitoring and evaluation needs.
2-28 How are various partners such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service going to handle the increased workload when consultation takes so much of their time already? How will tribal consultation efforts be made more effective? A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be drawn up between the partners, which should create a better understanding of what's expected of each other, where partnering can be improved, and how various agency and tribal time lines can mesh better. The MOU should help streamline procedures so that less time will be needed for individual consultations.
2-29 Will the acres on the maps that delineate where Ecosystem Analysis at the Watershed Scale (EAWS) is required be expanded in the Final EIS to include bull trout? Yes. For Alternative 4 the proposed listing of bull trout increases the acreage where Ecosystem Analysis at a Watershed Scale (EAWS) is required, and the map will be modified to reflect this.
2-30 This process looks like it will halt existing planning until many layers of additional analysis are completed (such as subbasin reviews and ecosystem analysis). How will you avoid "analysis paralysis" so that planning is not disrupted and economic and social needs of people can be supported? The subbasin reviews are intended to take only 2-3 weeks (see table 3-5, EM-O3 in the Draft EISs). Also, not all lands need to have subbasin reviews done at the same time (an average of one third per year is called for, and activities can continue in the meantime on the other two thirds of the area). We do not expect this review to significantly delay on-the-ground projects. Ecosystem Analysis at the Watershed Scale (EAWS) is a more intensive process that could take 1-4 months to complete, depending on the numbers and kinds of issues (see EM-O4). However, in many cases much of this work has already begun, and existing information can be used to build upon and speed the process along. Furthermore, we expect that these analyses will support numerous other projects within the watersheds that otherwise would have required more time-consuming individual analyses. We are examining ways to streamline the processes and still meet their intent.
2-31 As information for subbasins and watersheds is increased through analysis, will a central, accessible database be maintained to reflect new information? All data collected for the ICBEMP are being shared with the public and other agencies. This information can be obtained from the project Internet web site beginning in Fall 1997, or from the office in Walla Walla, Washington. To date, no decisions have been made as to what data need to be updated and maintained for implementation of the EIS or for monitoring.
2-32 What will be the economic impacts on agency recreation budgets and the recreation industry of reducing roads and doing restoration? Funding for various program budgets will depend on congressional appropriations and local decisions, and can't be reliably predicted at the scale of this EIS. However, the preferred alternative (Alternative 4) does contain direction (objective HU-O11 in table 3-5) to identify opportunities to provide public access for recreation purposes consistent with maintaining or achieving desired terrestrial, aquatic, and riparian conditions. General trends for Alternative 4 suggest that there could be a small reduction in dispersed roaded recreation caused by road density reductions and some reduced opportunity for water-based recreation because of potential access restrictions associated with standards AQ-S24 through AQ-S28. Recreation measures are compared across the alternatives on table 4-50, and discussed on page 4-170 in the EISs. However, the analysis doesn't fully capture the effects on recreation, in part because of the scale of analysis and in part because there's not good data to support a comprehensive effects analysis. We are looking at ways to improve the analysis for the Final EIS.
Economic Resiliency
2-33 What are the specific effects on people in local communities who depend on timber and forage for their livelihoods and who depend on PILT payments (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) for their schools? The effects on local economies vary by alternative and by the situation in each community. Information on local effects is limited in the Draft EISs because the strategies apply at a broad scale. How those strategies are carried out is left to local managers. However, the project did examine the characteristics and conditions of nearly 400 small rural communities. Additional information is being worked on and will be disclosed through the ICBEMP effort.

The Forest Service and BLM make payments to local governments to compensate them for the non-taxable status of the Federal lands in their jurisdiction. Generally these payments include PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) payments based on acreage and population, plus additional revenue-sharing if revenues exceed a certain threshold. The PILT payment is basically fixed and would not change regardless of timber harvest or grazing levels. However, the extra money from revenue-sharing is important to some counties; we have identified those counties within the project area that have in the past received payments in excess of PILT that would be most affected (see map 4-2). As individual Forest Service or BLM land-use plans are amended or revised in the future, additional local economic impacts will be analyzed and disclosed.

2-34 Will ranching, logging, mining, and other traditional-use industries be allowed to continue as "business as usual"? Both the Forest Service and BLM are multiple-use agencies for which management priorities include meeting people's needs for uses, products, services, and values from both forests and rangelands, within the limits of ecological integrity, health, and diversity. The alternatives proposed in the Draft EISs contain direction regarding livestock and timber management and minerals/mining activities on public lands. No type of business or industry would be deliberately eliminated on public lands by direction resulting from this EIS. However, in order to meet objectives, some reasonable changes may be required in the way operations are carried out on lands administered by the BLM or Forest Service within the ICBEMP project area.
2-35 How were "isolated timber-dependent communities" identified? Determining resource dependency generally relates to two factors: (1) the size of the community, and (2) the percent of employment associated with timber harvest and processing. In 1987, the Forest Service identified communities thought to be dependent on National Forest System timber. ICBEMP economists and social scientists reexamined the original criteria for listing communities in the context of new information. They further identified 19 "isolated timber-dependent communities" thought to be most dependent on Forest Service System timber sales. For a more detailed discussion of how resource-dependent communities were determined, see Chapter 2 of the Draft EISs (UCRB page 2-192, Eastside page 2-197).
2-36 Before prescribed burning takes place, will there be a priority to harvest marketable products commercially? Harvest of commercially marketable products will be considered, but it must be consistent with objectives, standards, and any other legal requirements. Some existing land use designations, such as congressionally designated wilderness areas, would not be appropriate for considering commercial harvest.
2-37 If we want coarse wood for organic matter in soil, wouldn't shrub and herbaceous roots do the same thing? Aren't there other ways to restore soil productivity? Herbaceous roots and shrubs, which are smaller in size than coarse wood, do help restore soils. But these finer materials are more susceptible to being consumed by fire. Furthermore, where soils have developed with a range of fine and coarse wood, a variety of sizes of organic matter need to be represented to ensure nutrient supply through time and to achieve effective restoration. The goal is to have both fine and coarse organic material present in a combination appropriate for the ecosystem.
2-38 How will you reconcile conflicts between prescribed burning and air quality considerations? Objective PE-O5 in table 3-5 of the Draft EISs requires compliance with all Federal, State, and local air pollution requirements. Standard PE-S4 provides key points to be covered in any environmental analysis conducted for the use of prescribed fire. Air quality modeling used for the project indicates that the particulate emissions from prescribed burning alone should not cause widespread exceedences of air quality standards. For a relative assessment of the impacts from wildfire and prescribed fire, see UCRB pages 4-22 through 4-27, Eastside pages 4-23 through 4-28.
2-39 The BLM already implements Proper Function Condition (PFC). Will the Forest Service also be implementing PFC? Yes. This comes directly from the Chief of the Forest Service, to start first on rangelands and then on forestlands. PFC is defined and discussed in Chapter 2 of the Draft EISs (UCRB 2-121, Eastside 2-131). In Chapter 3, standard AQ-S12 presents direction regarding the use of PFC in grazing management to achieve aquatic, riparian, and terrestrial objectives.
2-40 Objective AQ-O13 (to maintain water quality) seems to limit Forest Service and BLM responsibility to improve water to situations where those agencies' management is causing the problem. How will you determine whose actions put a stream over the limit/threshold to become "impaired"? Mandates of the Clean Water Act establish the EPA as administrator and States as implementors of the Act. The States designated the Forest Service and BLM to manage the requirements of the Clean Water Act on lands they administer, but primacy in implementing the Clean Water Act is retained by the States. The EPA has final approval of State water quality standards and has responsibility for other Clean Water Act mandates.
2-41 Who determines or designates Riparian Conservation Areas (RCAs)? Under the Preferred Alternative (Alternative 4), an interdisciplinary team composed of technical specialists would provide recommendations on RCA widths based on information from ecosystem analysis at the watershed scale and site-specific NEPA analysis.
2-42 Using historical (pre-dams) information is giving a false impression of what is recoverable for aquatic species. Why aren't you displaying potential range based on current dams and blockages? Why aren't you addressing how to remove dams? The extent and loss of historical salmon habitat is important to understand the broad-scale changes in currently available habitat. Without comparing changes in habitat, it would not be possible to evaluate the importance of remaining habitat. Also, some habitats that are currently inaccessible because of dams or blockage could potentially become available to salmon again in the future through advancements in technology or changes in social desires; therefore, it is important to include these areas in a map of potential range. However, the management or removal of dams located off Forest Service- or BLM-administered lands is outside the jurisdiction of the Forest and the BLM and outside the scope of these EISs.
2-43 How is old-growth forest protection considered in these Draft EISs? The term "old growth" was not used as an ecological descriptor, and the Draft EISs do not state objectives for "old growth." The EISs do use "mature" and "old" multi-story and single story structural stages to refer to mature and old forest conditions. Because old multi-story and old single-story structural stages may or may not contain the various characteristics sometimes associated with "old growth," there is not, nor was there intended to be, a direct correlation between the two in these Draft EISs.

A description of the characteristics of mature and old multi-story and single-story structural stages can be found in the Forestlands sections of Chapter 2 in both Draft EISs. In table 3-5, objectives TS-O6, TS-O8, TS-O10 and standard TS-S11, TS-S13, TS-S17, and TS-S19 provide direction for management of these forest structural stages. Effects on various forest structural stages are presented in the Forestlands section of Chapter 4 in the Draft EISs. Implications for wildlife associated with various structural stages are discussed in the Terrestrial Species section of Chapter 4.

2-44 Why do you emphasize big trees? Big trees are important because they provide habitat for wildlife species both inside the tree (that is, cavity nesters) and in the crown and understory. Big trees produce more diversity of vegetation in the forest than younger, more uniform trees. Large trees also are important from a landscape disturbance perspective, because they are resistant to natural disturbance, especially fire. In the absence of heavy fuel loading and fuel ladders, big trees can survive fire and in that way reduce the severe potential effects of what might otherwise be a stand-replacing fire that kills most of the trees. After a fire, big trees can provide live cover and a future source of seed for growing new trees. Large trees make better snags, coarse woody debris, and coarse wood in streams because they last much longer and provide an internal environment that can't be found in small diameter wood for invertebrates, microorganisms, and other animals. Another reason to produce large trees is the desire for high quality lumber and large dimension wood products.
2-45 Do native plants play an important role in the restoration processes identified in the range portion of the action alternatives? Yes. Native plants play an integral part in the restoration process. Restoring or maintaining biodiversity and productivity of native plant communities is the specific focus of objectives TS-O1 and TS-O4 and standards TS-S1, TS-S5, and TS-S6. Maintaining or improving habitat for native plant and animal species is a key feature of several other objectives and standards in the Terrestrial Strategies section of table 3-5. Objective TI-O3 in the Federal Trust Responsibilities and Tribal Rights and Interests section specifically calls for recognition of native plant communities as traditional resources that are important to tribes and as an essential component of treaty-reserved gathering rights. Standard TI-S6 calls for programs to restore and maintain native plant communities.
2-46 How are you defining a "noxious" weed? A noxious weed is a plant species designated by Federal or State law as generally possessing certain characteristics: aggressive and difficult to manage, parasitic, a carrier or host of serious insects or disease, or non-native, new, or not common to the United States. According to the Federal Noxious Weed Act, a noxious weed is one that causes disease or has other adverse effects on humans or their environment and therefore is detrimental to the agriculture and commerce of the United States and to the public health.
2-47 How will noxious and exotic weeds be controlled? Weeds will be controlled by a variety of treatments, including mechanical, biological, and chemical actions. The Draft EISs contain direction for managing and controlling noxious weeds in a consistent, basin-wide manner with interagency involvement; see table 3-5, objectives TS-O4 and TS-O5 and standards TS-S5 through TS-S10.
2-48 For noxious weed implementation, will we be modifying the Integrated Weed Management Mediated Agreement, which limits the use of chemicals? Integrated Weed Management (IWM) focuses on the use of agreements among various landowners to use the most effective combination of techniques to control noxious weeds. IWM doesn't specifically limit the use of herbicides but emphasizes the use of the most appropriate and effective tool for the particular problem. Some of the weeds respond only to specific chemicals, and chemical use in these cases is already allowed under the Mediated Agreement.
2-49 Why are you emphasizing juniper and woody species removal rather than burning and livestock removal? We need some shrub cover for snow catchment, soil stability, and wildlife habitat; this is lost with complete removal. Also, there's not much money in juniper fuelwood, posts, etc., so the expense of removal can't be justified. The Draft EISs don't promote complete removal of woody species from all rangelands. The objectives and standards emphasize treatment of western juniper and other woody species (such as ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, Wyoming big sagebrush, and mountain big sagebrush) primarily on sites where these species have moved in and increased in density to the point where the types and abundance of grasses, forbs, and other shrubs have declined or are declining. The intent in treating woody species is (1) to prevent further loss of plant and wildlife diversity and (2) to try to get the woody species on rangelands better synchronized with fire frequencies and levels of grazing pressure that are more typical for various sites. This will help us maintain a better balance of grasslands, shrublands, and woodlands on the landscape and help provide a more sustainable level of livestock forage.

Prescribed burning and cutting are two other techniques suggested in the EISs for control of woody species. Science findings for livestock grazing that will help prevent future woody species density problems can be found in the Scientific Assessment. We intend to integrate these science findings into guidelines in the Final EIS.

2-50 Why aren't the goshawk and the spotted frog included on table 4-41? Table 4-41 includes only those species that showed more than 20 points in Habitat Outcome 5 (indicating that habitat is very scarce throughout the area with little or no possibility of interactions among local populations, strong potential for extirpations, and little likelihood of recolonization). Habitat outcomes are discussed in the EIS, Chapter 4/Terrestrial Species Methodology. Neither northern goshawk nor spotted frog met this essential criterion for listing on table 4-41. Tables 3 and 7 in Appendix K (UCRB)/Appendix 4-2 (Eastside), display the outcomes for these species by alternative.
2-51 Why aren't deer and elk listed on table 4-41? These are of great interest to tribes and others. What will the impacts be to deer and elk habitat? Table 4-41 could include only species selected by the Science Integration Team for analysis. Plants and animals selected for analysis met the following criteria: (1) showed evidence of habitat declines, OR (2) had declines in specific habitat features (such as snags), OR (3) had documented population declines, AND (4) were sufficiently widespread to be analyzed at the broad scale of this project. Deer and elk were not selected for analysis because they are considered secure under all of the alternatives, are common or abundant in most areas, and are habitat generalists (meaning they are not necessarily tied to specific habitat features).
2-52 How are roadless areas being considered in these Draft EISs? Decisions from these EISs will be based on ecosystem function and social and economic needs, not necessarily on administrative boundaries such as "roadless" areas. Direction generally would apply where appropriate to the conditions but would not be explicitly defined for inventoried or non-inventoried roadless areas. However, some direction in the Draft EISs would apply specifically to these types of places. The overall management strategy for Alternative 4 incorporates existing areas with special designations-- such as wilderness, research natural areas, wild and scenic river corridors, and areas of critical environmental concern. Under the design of Alternative 7 (UCRB page 3-51, Eastside page 3-50 and Appendix 3-3), management actions in unroaded areas greater than 1,000 acres would be the same as in large reserves. There is additional direction for minimizing increases in road densities in certain areas that could be considered unroaded (where road densities are currently "none" or "very low"); see, for example, RM-S15 in table 3-5.
2-53 What is the "Federal trust responsibility" talked about in the Draft EISs? The Federal trust responsibility referred to is the legal responsibility to Indian tribes resulting from promises made in treaties, executive orders, and agreements. The primary focus of the Federal Government trust responsibility is the protection of Indian tribes' natural resources on reservations, and the treaty rights and interests that tribes reserved on off-reservation lands. The Federal trust responsibility compels agencies to conduct their activities consistent with obligations set forth in treaties and statutes. The Federal trust responsibility is discussed in Chapter 2 of the Draft EISs, UCRB page 2-211, Eastside page 2-216, and in the appendix volume (UCRB Appendix C; Eastside Appendix 1-2).
2-54 What was the role of tribes in developing the Draft EISs? The 22 tribes that reside within and/or have rights and interests in the project area were involved to varying degrees and at varying times in the development of the Draft EISs, as were other government entities such as States, counties, and Federal regulatory agencies. All of the tribes provided at least informal feedback upon request and made significant contributions to the process. Most will be engaging in formal consultation and providing comments on the Draft EIS. Selection of the final strategy will involve discussion and collaboration with our intergovernmental partners, including American Indian tribes. The EIS describes and anticipates an important role for tribes in implementing the final strategy.
2-55 How can tribes be sure that the agencies will implement standards, particularly with regard to grazing, especially if sufficient funding is not obtained? Will tribes be involved with these local implementation decisions? Standards and objectives describe sideboards and intent for activities such as grazing. AQ-S12 is the primary standard that addresses grazing, and several other standards address collaborative approaches to local decisions and implementation that specifically include tribal involvement. Several places in the Draft EISs (including chapters 2 and 3 and the Implementation Appendix) address the concern of inadequate funding or accountability. These places convey the basic message that even under reduced funding, we will not selectively drop some standards or objectives in favor of others, but rather will adjust the rate of implementation. See also Frequently Asked Q&As Set 1, #1-36.
2-56 Why was the "Spirit of the Salmon" restoration plan dismissed? We did not dismiss the tribal restoration plan (Wy-Kan-Ush-Mi Wa-Kish-Wit). Information from this plan was used and there are components of it within the Draft EISs. This can be most readily found in Alternative 7 and in the Appendix entitled "Direction for RCAs and RMOs," which is applicable to all alternatives. We have been provided with many plans and found it difficult, if not impossible, to reflect each one in its entirety in the Draft EISs. We will continue to work with involved tribes and the various tribal restoration plans between Draft and Final EIS.
2-57 What do you mean by "harvestable," and how will harvestable resources be assured for tribes? "Harvestable" as defined in the EIS Glossary refers to a population of plants or animals that is self-sustaining and capable of producing a dependable harvest annually to meet spiritual, cultural, subsistence, and commercial needs. Objectives in table 3-5 are intended to specifically address the Federal Government's responsibilities to restore and/or maintain habitat conditions at or above a level capable of supporting healthy, sustainable, and usable species and resources (HA-O1) and productive and diverse plant and animal populations and communities to meet social needs (HA-O2). These would apply not only to tribes but to all citizens and users of these lands. Resources of special interest or treaty reserved rights vary by tribe, and would be specifically addressed at the local level, with appropriate government-to-government consultation. The Draft EISs provide overall direction regarding management of habitats for harvestable resources (objectives TI-O1, HA-O1, HA-O2, RM-O2, and standards TI-S1, RM-S1, among others). The Implementation Appendix also addresses this issue.
2-58 How will National Forests and BLM Districts be held accountable for monitoring? National Forests and BLM Districts will do their own monitoring, but in a new way that includes coordinating with each other and looking at the bigger picture. Objective AM-O2 and standards AM-S3 through AM-S7 in table 3-5 of the Draft EISs discuss how monitoring and evaluation are to be conducted. An Implementation Team is working on a monitoring framework or basic strategy, but their recommendations will be at a larger scale than individual Forests or Districts. An objective and several standards (A-O1, A-S1 through A-S4) have been included to ensure that Forest Service and BLM line officers are held accountable for implementing the plan as described, including monitoring.