Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project

Press Release

For Immediate Release - April 3, 2000
News Contacts:  Brenda Lincoln, Portland, 503-808-2553
                        Andy Brunelle, Boise, 208-334-1770, Ext 128

PUBLIC SIGNIFICANTLY INFLUENCES

MANAGEMENT OF 63 MILLION ACRES IN WEST


(Boise, ID; Portland, OR) -- More than 83 thousand public comments significantly influenced the development of a proposed management strategy for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service-administered lands in four western states according to Martha Hahn, Idaho State Director for the BLM and Chairman of the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project's Executive Steering Committee.

"The Forest Service and BLM have been working together to explore ways that are more effective at ensuring the long-term sustainability of public land resources for present and future generations," Hahn said. "We have responded to the public's concerns and comments in the Supplemental Draft EIS."

The Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Supplemental Draft EIS), which outlines three management alternatives for 63 million acres of public land in eastern Oregon and Washington, Idaho and western Montana, is currently available for public review and comment. The Supplemental Draft EIS supplements the Eastside and Upper Columbia River Basin Draft EISs released in June, 1997.

"Of the three alternatives presented, Alternative S2 was identified as the preferred alternative because it provides the best strategy for protecting and restoring fish and wildlife habitats, improving the health of forests and rangelands, and providing a more predictable level of goods and services from public lands," said Hahn.

Partners in the development of this strategy include the National Marine Fisheries Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Public comments received on the Supplemental Draft EIS will be considered in the development of a Final EIS and Record of Decision which will amend 62 land use plans for the 32 National Forests and BLM administrative units within the project area. The Final EIS will also replace Forest Service and BLM interim strategies designed to ensure protection of anadromous and inland fish habitat and old forests while the Project's long-term strategies were being developed. The 90-day public comment period on the Supplemental Draft EIS ends July 6, 2000.

During the comment period, public meetings will be held throughout the project area:

April 18 - Salmon, Idaho; Salmon Valley Center, 200 Main Street

Walla Walla, Washington; Best Western Walla Walla Suites, 7 East Oak Street

April 19 - Missoula, Montana; Boone and Crocket Building, Old Milwaukee Depot, 250 Station Drive

April 20 - Kalispell, Montana; Cavanaughs Best Western Outlaw Inn, 1701 US Highway 93 South

April 24 - John Day, Oregon; Forest Supervisors Office, 431 Patterson Bridge Road

Libby, Montana; Libby City Hall, 952 East Spruce Street

April 25 - Lakeview, Oregon; BLM/Forest Service Interagency Office, 1300 South G Street

Couer D'Alene, Idaho; Couer D'Alene Inn and Conference Center, West 414 & Appleway

April 26 - Boise, Idaho; location to be announced

May 1 - Okanogan, Washington; Agriplex, 175 Rodeo Trail Road

May 2 - Colville, Washington; Colville Community College, 985 South Elm Street

May 3 - Bend, Oregon; Shilo Inn, North Highway 97, OB Riley Road

May 4 - Pocatello, Idaho; Cavanaughs Pocatello Hotel, 1555 Pocatello Creek Road

Written comments on the Supplemental Draft EIS will be accepted by mail at Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, P.O. Box 420, Boise, Idaho 83701-0420 or electronically at https://www.fs.fed.us/r6/icbemp/. For additional information and photos, a Supplemental Draft EIS Information Packet is posted at https://www.fs.fed.us/r6/icbemp/.

###