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Sunflower Cluster Grazing Authorization #56602

Commenting on This Project

Sunflower Grazing Authorization and Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project

Opportunity to Object to Draft Decision Notice

 

 

The Sunflower project area consists of three grazing allotments: Dry Corner, Sunflower and Wind Creek. On November 24, 2020, I notified the public that the Ochoco National Forest was providing a 30-day comment period on a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Sunflower AMP project. During that comment period, we received 10 responses expressing a range of concerns. In addition to providing a written response to the comments received, we used the comments to make some clarifications and corrections in the Final EA. We have now completed the Sunflower AMP EA and are issuing a Draft Decision Notice for a 45-day administrative review period (also known as the objection period).

The purpose of NEPA review and evaluation of livestock grazing reauthorization in the Sunflower Cluster is to meet the stipulations of the Rescission Act (1995) and ensure livestock grazing is managed in a manner that maintains or moves National Forest grazing allotments towards the objectives, desired conditions, standards and guidelines identified in the Ochoco National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan). This planning effort has also incorporated riparian restoration, thinning, and travel management for the purpose of improving wildlife habitat.

The EA analyzes two alternatives: Proposed Action and Alternative 1 (No Action). I am proposing to select the Proposed Action, as detailed in a Draft Decision Notice. The Proposed Action involves reauthorizing livestock grazing in the Sunflower allotment for up to 800 cow/calf pairs with a variable season of use from May 1-October 31 and target dates for grazing from June 1-September 15. Stocking levels would not exceed 3,427 AUMs. The Sunflower allotment would continue to consist of 51,530 acres but would be modified from eight pastures to 11 pastures (Cinnabar, Frazier, Frazier Creek, Hardscrabble, Murray, Murray Holding, Porcupine, Telephone, Telephone Holding, Wildcat, and Willow). The grazing system would be a rest rotation where one of the three early-season pastures (Cinnabar, Frazier, or Hardscrabble) would be rested every year. The Frazier Creek and Wildcat pastures would be grazed once in three years, with two years of consecutive rest. Active management of livestock would be required.

Fifty existing water developments and approximately 26.2 miles of fence would be scheduled for reconstruction, as needed. Eight new water developments and four miles of new fence would be constructed and scheduled for maintenance, as needed. Noncommercial thinning would occur on approximately 1,966 acres to improve forage conditions and to maintain old growth ponderosa pine. Approximately 1,564 acres may be thinned and piled with heavy equipment or by hand and 402 acres would be completed by chainsaw then hand piled. All piles would be burned. Stream restoration activities would occur on Begg, Columbus, and Cougar Creeks.

Project documents are located here including information on the administrative review (objection process):  https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=56602

Your comments are requested by 4/26/2021.

Documents



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