Proposed Seasonal Closures to Protect Nesting Raptors, CA

By Kirsten Winter, Cleveland National Forest Biologist

*This is a new scoping effort, and a new comment period has been started. Comments will be accepted until April 16, 2007. For letter writing tips, please visit: www.accessfund.org/display/page/AA/54

The Cleveland National Forest (Cleveland NF) is proposing seasonal area closures to protect golden eagles and prairie falcons at three locations.

The Cleveland NF is initiating the scoping process under the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970. Scoping is the means by which the Forest Service identifies the important environmental and social issues to be considered in developing and analyzing a proposed action. Your site-specific comments are requested to help us identify relevant issues, evaluate the proposed action, and develop possible alternatives.

The proposed seasonal area closures were initially proposed for NEPA analysis under a categorical exclusion, as summarized in a scoping letter dated December 11, 2006, and sent to local user groups. Based on public input and a further refinement of the proposed action, the Cleveland NF has chosen to undertake an environmental assessment to analyze the proposed action. The public will have 30 days to provide responses to this scoping letter. The Cleveland NF will then prepare an environmental assessment.

The public will have 30 days to comment on the analysis contained in the environmental assessment. The proposed action may be modified based on scientifically and legally sound information that is received during any of the comment periods. After considering the comments received on the environmental assessment, the Cleveland NF will make a decision.

All comments submitted in response to the December 11, 2006 scoping letter will be retained in the project file for the current proposed action. These comments will be considered during analysis and do not need to be resubmitted.

For more detailed information, including the scoping letter and maps describing the proposed action, please see the Cleveland National Forest website at www.fs.fed.us/r5/cleveland/projects/projects/seasonal-closures/index.shtml