Lyons Creek Timber Sale by MontanaDocs

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									                        CHECKLIST ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

Project Name:           LYONS CREEK TIMBER SALE
Proposed
Implementation Date:    SEPTEMBER 15, 2008
Proponent:              DNRC – HELENA UNIT, 8001 NORTH MONTANA AVE., HELENA, MONTANA 59602
Location:               SECTIONS 16, 18 & 20, T14N, R5W
County:                 LEWIS & CLARK COUNTY, MONTANA



                                  I. TYPE AND PURPOSE OF ACTION


   A. Type of Action: Lyons Creek Timber Sale

       The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) is proposing a timber
       sale near the South Fork of Lyons Creek in Lewis & Clark County, Montana. DNRC proposes to
       cut approximately 2.5 MMBF of sawlog material from multiple units totaling ~490 acres. Noxious
       weed control and/or monitoring shall continue five years after harvesting has been completed.

       The proposed action could be implemented as early as September 15, 2008. Harvest units with
       extreme slope grades would be harvested using a helicopter logging system. Where slope grade
       and access is favorable, ground based and skyline equipment would be used as well.

       Due to limited access, fluctuating market conditions, and the limited supply of helicopter logging
       systems, this project could be split into various timber sales based on logging equipment
       requirements. The tractor/skyline portion of this timber sale would most likely be sold first, while
       the helicopter units would held until there is a market shift upward making this logging system
       more feasible.


   B. Purpose of Action:
         • The lands involved in this proposed project are held by the State of Montana in trust for
            the support of both the Common School Trust (Section 16, T14N, R5W) and the State
            Reform School Trust (Sections 18 and 20, T14N, R5W) as described above (Enabling
            Act of February 22, 1889; 1972 Montana Constitution, Article X, Section 11). The Board
            of Land Commissioners and the DNRC are required by law to administer these trust
            lands to produce the largest measures of reasonable and legitimate return over the long
            run for these beneficiary institutions (Section 77-1-202, MCA).
            On May 30th, 1996, the Department released the “Record of Decision” on the State
            Forest Lands Management Plan (SFLMP). The Board of Land Commissioners approved
            the SFLMP’s implementation on June 17, 1996. The SFLMP outlines DNRC’s
            philosophy for management of state forested Trust Lands.

               The Department shall manage lands involved in the project in accordance with the
               SFLMP, Forest Management Rules (Administrative Rules of Montana [ARM] 36.11.401
               through 456), and other applicable state laws and regulations.

                   Our premise is that the best way to produce long-term income for the trust is to
                   manage intensively for healthy and biologically diverse forests. Our understanding is
                   that a diverse forest is a dynamic forest that will produce the most reliable and

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                               highest long-term revenue stream. In the foreseeable future, timber management will
                               continue to be the DNRC’s primary source of revenue and primary tool for achieving
                               biodiversity objectives.1



            C. Goals and Objectives:

                In order to meet the trust mandate as well as the management philosophy goals adopted through
                programmatic review in the SFLMP, the DNRC has set the following specific project objectives:

                               1. Improve forest health/vigor. This would be accomplished by managing
                                  stand stocking levels, promoting regeneration, and salvaging Douglas-fir
                                  severely damaged by western spruce budworm.

                                        •    Indicator: Increase in ten year radial growth on residual overstory trees.
                                             A shift in age class and species diversity may also prove beneficial in
                                             reducing impacts associated with the WSB.

                               2. Generate revenue for the State Trust. Harvesting approximately 2.5 MMBF of
                                  Douglas-fir, ponderosa & lodgepole pine sawtimber would generate a net positive
                                  return to the State Trust.

                                        •    Indicator: Stumpage receipts to the DNRC in dollars.


                                                   II. PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

1.       PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT, AGENCIES, GROUPS OR INDIVIDUALS CONTACTED:
     Provide a brief chronology of the scoping and ongoing involvement for this project.



     1.1 History of Planning Process:

            A scoping letter was sent out August 30, 2006 to interested parties on the DNRC, Helena Unit
            “Timber Sale Scoping List” as well as landowners who own property adjacent to the proposed project
            area. The “Initial Proposal” letter briefly outlined project needs and objectives as well as existing
            landscape conditions.

            A legal notice was published in the Helena Independent Record on September 4th, 11th, and 15th,
            2006. Comments were to be directed to the DNRC Helena Unit office by October 1, 2006.

            Written comments were received from Tom Thompson, Chairman, Lewis & Clark County Weed
            District, and Gayle Joslin, Wildlife Biologist, Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks. Pertinent issues of
            concern have been addressed in the appropriate portions of this document. A complete listing of
            persons, groups, and agencies that received an initial proposal as well as written comments received
            in response are on file at the Helena Unit DNRC office located at 8001 North Montana Avenue,
            Helena, Montana 59602.


     1
         “State Forest Land Management Plan, Final Environmental Impact Statement, Record of Decision”, Montana Department Of
         Natural Resources And Conservation, May 30, 1996, p. ROD-1, ROD-2.


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     1.2 Issues Studied:

        DNRC carefully considers comments that are received by the public as an integral part of the scoping
        process. Through this process several issues have been identified by the public, and are listed
        below:

        1.2.1 Advanced defoliation of Douglas-fir by repeated outbreaks of western spruce budworm was
        also considered in the planning phase of this project. Field visits to discuss the severity of the
        infestation as well as to gather appropriate pre-sale stand information were conducted by Shawn
        Morgan, DNRC, Helena unit Forester, D.J. Bakken, DNRC, Helena Unit Manager, Brian Long, DNRC,
        Technical Services Supervisor, John Hogland, DNRC GIS Specialist, And Frank Sherman, DNRC
        Inventory Specialist.

        1.2.2 Imposing yearly harvest restrictions during Montana’s big game hunting season to would
        minimize conflict with block management users of adjacent private lands, and to increase vehicle
        safety along narrow access routes.

        1.2.3 The use of helicopters, ground based, and skyline yarding systems would be used to harvest
        timber within the proposed project area, minimizing the amount of road construction necessary.
        Residual tree damage as well as soil and landscape impacts should be minimized by using
        harvesting systems that are appropriate for varying slope grades. Roads constructed on State Trust
        Lands would be reclaimed after use. Reclamation would consist of removing drainage features when
        appropriate, out sloping road surface 10%-20%, and scattering debris on top to prevent motorized
        use. Roads may be gated to prevent unauthorized use, reduce impacts to the resource, and provide
        wildlife security during the harvesting operation.

        1.2.4 Loss of elk habitat security cover was identified as a concern due to the implementation of the
        proposed seed-tree and/or shelterwood harvest, re-construction of a road that has been closed for a
        long period of time, and the cumulative effects of existing timber harvesting operations in the area.

        1.2.5 Timber harvesting impacts to grizzly bear filling the gap between the Northern Continental
        Divide Ecosystem and the Yellowstone Ecosystem.

        1.2.6 Increased sediment delivery to Lyons Creek which is conducive to the spread and nurturing of
        whirling disease.

        1.2.7 Introduction and spread of noxious weeds along existing and constructed roads and the
        implementation of a monitoring program.




2.   OTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES WITH JURISDICTION, LIST OF PERMITS NEEDED:

     2.1 Smoke Monitoring Unit:

            In 1978, federal, state and local government agencies and the forest products industry formed the
            Montana State Airshed Group. Their purpose was to manage and limit the impacts of smoke
            generated from necessary prescribed burning. In 1990, agencies and companies in North Idaho


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            joined the Montana group on an operational basis to accomplish the same purposes. Agencies
            and companies from southern Idaho joined the group in 1999.

            Accumulation of smoke from controlled burning is limited through scientific monitoring of weather
            conditions and formal coordination of burns. Members submit a list of planned burns to the
            Monitoring Unit in Missoula, Montana. For each planned burn, information is provided describing
            the type of burn to be conducted, the number of acres, as well as the location and elevation at
            each site. Burns are reported by "Airshed", which are geographical areas with similar topography
            and weather patterns. The program coordinator and a meteorologist provide timely restriction
            messages for airsheds with planned burning.2

            Slash generated from the timber harvest would be lopped and scattered and/or tree length
            skidded to landing areas and burned by the DNRC to reduce wildfire risk, adhering to state
            standards, which are as follows:

                     “General Standard” as defined by Administrative Rule-36.11.222, Number 4, which
                     states: “Slash must be reduced such that a fire starting under conditions similar to a
                     standard day, as defined by the department’s HRA Manual, would burn with a flame
                     length of four feet or less, as calculated by the fire science BEHAVE model, or other fire
                     behavior model selected by the department”.

            Slash that would accumulate at the landing area would be piled and burned by the DNRC, Helena
            Unit Fire Crew after submitting a request and receiving approval to burn from the Smoke
            Monitoring Unit.


2.2 Streamside Management Zone Law:

            In 1991 Montana Legislature passed House Bill 731, known as the Streamside Management
            Zone (SMZ) Law (Sec.77-5-301 through 77-5-307, MCA). This law restricts forest practices
            within a 50-foot streamside management zone (SMZ) along each side of a stream, around lakes,
            or other bodies of water. The SMZ width can be extended for areas with steeper slopes (>35%
            slope = 100 feet) or adjacent wetlands. The law prohibits seven forest practices in the SMZs
            which are:

                •    Broadcast burning.

                •    The operation of wheeled or tracked vehicles except on established roads.

                •    The forest practice of clearcutting.

                •    The construction of roads except when necessary to cross a stream or wetland.

                •    The handling, storage, application, or disposal of hazardous or toxic materials in a
                     manner that pollutes streams, lakes, or wetlands, or that may cause damage or injury to
                     humans, land, animals, or plants.

                •    The side-casting of road material into the stream, lake, wetland, or watercourse.




2
    “Smoke Monitoring Unit”, Montana/Idaho State Airshed Group. Available at: http://www.smokemu.org


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              •   The deposit of slash in streams, lakes, or other water bodies.3


2.3 Temporary Right-Of-Way Deed/Permanent Easement:

    2.3.1 Temporary Right-Of-Way Deed

    Existing roads on property owned by Sieben Ranch would require a temporary right-of-way
    agreement.

    The Medicine Rock cut across roads is accessed via Sieben exit (exit #216 on I-15). These
    established roads travel for approximately 14 miles on Sieben Ranch property before entering State,
    and O’Connell-Anderson lands.

    The second road system that would be used is the Rattlesnake Road, which is currently receiving
    joint use by the State and Sieben Ranch for salvage harvesting operations. This established road
    system is entered off Lincoln Road and travels for approximately 10.4 miles on Sieben Ranch before
    it reaches State ownership.

    Connecting Lincoln Road and Rattlesnake Road is a narrow strip of property owned by Grady Ranch
    Company. This 800-foot segment of road would also require a temporary right-of-way agreement.

    2.3.2 Permanent Easement:

    The exchange of permanent easements is currently being sought by O’Connell-Anderson and the
    State. This document would allow use of 0.9 miles of existing road currently owned by O’Connell-
    Anderson. If the State was unable to obtain this easement prior to the selling of the proposed timber
    sale, a temporary right-of-way from O’Connell-Anderson would need to be obtained.


2.4 Weed Management:

    The Montana County Noxious Weed Control Law (MCA 7-2101 through -2153) was established in
    1948 to protect Montana from destructive noxious weeds. This act, amended in 1991, has
    established a set of criteria for the control and management of noxious weeds in Montana. Noxious
    weeds are defined by this act as being any exotic plant species which may render land unfit for
    agriculture, forestry, livestock, wildlife or other beneficial uses or that may harm native plant
    communities. Plants can be designated statewide noxious weeds by rule of the Department of
    Agriculture or county-wide noxious weeds by district weed boards following public notice of intent and
    a public hearing.

    The noxious weed control law establishes weed management districts throughout the state. These
    management districts are commonly called county weed control districts and are defined by the
    boundaries of the county. Currently, there are 56 weed control districts within Montana.

    After the establishment of a county weed management district, a county weed board is appointed by
    the county commissioners of each district to oversee responsibilities established by the noxious weed
    control law. A county weed board must consist of at least three members and no more than nine
    members, a majority of who must be agricultural landowners. County weed board members are
    considered public officers of the county, and may call upon the county attorney for legal advice and
    services.

3
 DNRC, “Guide to the Streamside Management Zone Laws and Rules,” DNRC Forestry Division, Service Forestry Bureau,
Missoula, Montana, 2002, 32p.


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            The County Noxious Weed Control Law commissions the county weed boards with three main
            responsibilities. They are:

                •    to develop and administer the district's noxious weed program,

                •    to establish management criteria for noxious weeds on all lands within the district,

                •    to make all efforts to develop and implement a noxious weed program covering all land within
                     the district owned or administered by a federal agency.4


3.       ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED:


     3.1 Introduction:

                The purpose of this section is to describe the alternatives, comparing them in terms of
                environmental impacts and achievement of project objectives. Alternatives were determined
                through scoping, identifying the issues of concern, input from Interdisciplinary Team (IDT)
                specialists, and guidance from resource management standards set forth in the “SFLMP” and
                “Administrative Rules”.


     3.2 Description of Alternatives:

                This section describes the activities of the No Action Alternative and all other Action Alternatives.

                3.2.1 No Action Alternative A: Deferred Harvest

                          3.2.1.1 Principle Actions: Alternative A

                          Timber harvesting would be deferred until a later entry. However, ongoing State Trust
                          Land permitted, licensed, and approved activities would continue as follows:

                               •    Livestock grazing - existing forest grazing lease #3072726 and #3072723
                                    would continue in the project area contributing $448.64 (64 AUM’s x $7.01)
                                    annually to the State Trust.

                               •    Fire suppression - human and naturally caused fires would be suppressed by
                                    the DNRC, volunteer fire departments, and other government agencies.

                               •    Hunting - deer, elk, bear, other big game hunting, as well as upland game bird
                                    hunting would continue according to the rules and regulations set forth by
                                    Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Beginning in 2004, purchase of a
                                    conservation license authorized use of accessible trust lands for hunting and
                                    fishing.

                               •    Public vehicle access - existing motorized access privileges, as well as
                                    limitations, would remain the same. Currently public access is allowed as

     4
         Ag / Extension Communications for Montana State University. Available at: http://www.montana.edu/wwwpb/pubs/mt9605.html


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               specified in the Block Management Area agreement for State Lands in the
               Medicine Rock and Lyons Creek vicinity.

           •   Hiking and other recreational uses - persons having a valid State Trust Land
               Recreational Use Permit are welcome to hike, pick chokecherries, or perform
               other outdoor activities on legally accessible portions of this acreage.

       3.2.1.2 Present Relevant Action Not Part of the Proposed Action:

       Current land uses as described above would continue on property owned by the State of
       Montana. Timber harvesting on Sieben Ranch Company lands would continue, as they
       are actively involved in forest management. No current timber management activity is
       taking place on BLM or U.S. Forest Service lands close to the project area.

       3.2.1.3 Reasonably Foreseeable Relevant Actions Not Part of the Proposed Action:

       U.S. Forest Service, BLM, and Private ownership would likely experience timber-
       harvesting activities during the next several decades.


3.2.2 Action Alternative B: Lyons Creek Helicopter Harvest:

       3.2.2.1 Principle Actions: Alternative B

       If Alternative “B” were selected for implementation, the following actions would occur:

               •   Proposed Management.
                   The proposed harvest would cut approximately 2.5 MMBF of Douglas-fir,
                   lodgepole and ponderosa pine sawtimber on multiple units scattered over
                   three sections, totaling approximately 487 acres.

                   Helicopter logging would be the primary harvesting system used in yarding
                   rough forest products (372acres); however tractor (34acres) and line-yarding
                   equipment (81acres) may be employed as well (Attachment “A”, Lyons Creek
                   Helicopter Timber Sale Proposal Map).

               •   Access Routes.
                   Access to proposed harvest units would be primarily from two existing roads
                   (Rattlesnake & Medicine Rock Cut-Across Roads), although some new
                   construction on private and State Trust Lands would be necessary as well.

                   The existing Medicine Rock Cut-Across Road, which is 15.3 miles in length,
                   would be used to access the sale area from the east. From the end of this
                   road, an additional 0.80 miles of new road construction would be necessary
                   to facilitate two helicopter landing areas, which reduce helicopter flight
                   distance.

                   Rattlesnake Road (10.42 miles), an existing route that approaches the crest
                   of Mitchell Mountain, would provide access from the west. New road
                   construction (4.48 miles) on private and State Trust Lands would be
                   necessary to enter the proposed harvest area and provide five additional
                   helicopter landing sites. Gates would be erected and placed at strategic
                   locations to prevent unauthorized use of this road system, and maintained


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                   throughout the entire length of the contract. After harvesting operations have
                   been completed, the portion of newly constructed road that is on State Trust
                   Lands would be abandoned. This would consist of out-sloping the roads
                   prism 15%-20%, removing a majority of the culvert crossings, and slashing
                   the roads surface with stumps/debris to prevent motorized vehicle use
                   (Attachment “A”, Wolf/Lyons Creek Timber Sale, Alternative “B” Map).

                   Access routes would be restricted yearly during Montana’s big game hunting
                   season to minimize conflict with block management users of adjacent private
                   lands, and to increase vehicle safety along narrow access routes.


               •   Weed Management.
                   Construction routes and existing roads would be inspected prior to harvest to
                   make sure that they are weed-seed free. If noxious weeds are found, they
                   would be chemically treated before project is begins. Road construction and
                   timber harvesting equipment would be pressure washed to make sure that
                   they are clean and free of weeds. Areas other than the main driving surface
                   that are disturbed through new road construction would be revegetated to
                   reduce the spread of noxious weeds.

                   Post-harvest weed management would consist of monitoring for noxious
                   weeds for a minimum of five years following timber harvesting. Spot weed
                   spraying would then be done if necessary. Prior to coming into the project
                   area, harvesting equipment would be required to be clean of noxious and
                   nuisance weeds.


3.2.3 Action Alternative C: Lyons Creek Tractor/Helicopter Harvest:

       3.2.3.1 Principle Actions: Alternative C

       If Alternative “C” were selected for implementation, the following actions would occur:

               •   Proposed Management.
                   The proposed harvest would cut approximately 2.5 MMBF of Douglas-fir,
                   lodgepole and ponderosa pine sawtimber on multiple units scattered over
                   three sections, totaling approximately 487 acres.

                   The reduction and relocation of access roads would result in a shift in harvest
                   methods. Tractor logging methods on slope grades less than 45% would
                   increase to about 126 acres. Line yarding terrain (slope grades grater than
                   45%) would decrease to 54 acres, while helicopter logging units would also
                   drop to approximately 307 acres (Attachment “B”, Wolf/Lyons Creek Timber
                   Sale, Alternative “C” Proposal Map). Current market conditions would need
                   to improve for helicopter logging to be economically feasible and included as
                   part of this harvest alternative, other wise it would be deferred indefinitely.

               •   Access Routes.
                   Access to proposed harvest units would be primarily from two existing roads
                   (Rattlesnake & Medicine Rock Cut-Across Roads), although some new
                   construction on private and State Trust Lands would be necessary as well.



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    The existing Medicine Rock Cut-Across Road, which is 15.3 miles in length,
    would be used to access the sale area from the east. From the end of this
    road, an additional 0.80 miles of new road construction would be necessary
    to facilitate two helicopter landing areas, which reduce helicopter flight
    distance.

    The existing Rattlesnake Road would be used for approximately 8.52 miles,
    stopping near the crest of Mitchell Mountain and the old “Oil Well Site”. To
    avoid pulling steep grades with semi truck traffic, a short portion of the
    existing Rattlesnake Road near the “Weather Station” would be abandoned.
    The new “Tower Road” would contour around the hill for approximately 1,818
    feet before connecting with an established ranch road near the oil well site.
    This modification should provide a safe approach to the sale area as well as
    a better driving surface for other ranch management activities. New road
    construction (“Ridge Road”) would once again begin in the saddle of section
    19 and travel north for a distance of 10,411 feet before ending in section 18.
    This road segment would facilitate harvest activities on both private and
    State lands, allowing for more conventional harvesting systems. Traveling
    southeast down the ridge from this road segment is the “Ground Based”
    (6,040 feet) and “Helicopter Based” (4,892 feet) roads. Due to current
    market conditions and the high cost associated with helicopter logging, the
    “Helicopter Based” portion of the proposed road system may be dropped. By
    doing so, a large culvert crossing would not be constructed, and
    thermal/hiding cover for elk would be maintained in section 29. Please see
    Attachment “B”, Wolf/Lyons Creek Timber Sale, Alternative “C” Map.

    Gates would be erected and placed at strategic locations to prevent
    unauthorized use of this road system, and maintained throughout the entire
    length of the contract. After harvesting operations have been completed, the
    portion of newly constructed road that is on State Trust Lands would be
    abandoned. This would consist of out-sloping the roads prism 15%-20%,
    removing a majority of the culvert crossings, and slashing the roads surface
    with stumps/debris to prevent motorized vehicle use.

    Access routes would be restricted yearly during Montana’s big game hunting
    season to minimize conflict with block management users of adjacent private
    lands, and to increase vehicle safety along narrow access routes.


•   Weed Management.
    Construction routes and existing roads would be inspected prior to harvest to
    make sure that they are weed-seed free. If noxious weeds are found, they
    would be chemically treated before project begins. Road construction and
    timber harvesting equipment would be pressure washed to make sure that
    they are clean and free of weeds. Areas other than the main driving surface
    that are disturbed through new road construction would be revegetated to
    reduce the spread of noxious weeds.

    Post-harvest weed management would consist of monitoring for noxious
    weeds for a minimum of five years following timber harvesting. Spot weed
    spraying would then be done if necessary. Prior to coming into the project
    area, harvesting equipment would be required to be clean of noxious and
    nuisance weeds.


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                                   III. IMPACTS ON THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
•        RESOURCES potentially impacted are listed on the form, followed by common issues that would be considered.
•        Explain POTENTIAL IMPACTS AND MITIGATIONS following each resource heading.
•        Enter “NONE” If no impacts are identified or the resource is not present.




4.       GEOLOGY AND SOIL QUALITY, STABILITY AND MOISTURE:
         Consider the presence of fragile, compactable or unstable soils. Identify unusual geologic features. Specify any special
         reclamation considerations. Identify any cumulative impacts to soils.


     Please see Attachment “E” of this document for information pertaining to geology and soil, which has
     been prepared by Jeff Schmalenberg, Soil Scientist, Forest Management Bureau, DNRC.


5.       WATER QUALITY, QUANTITY AND DISTRIBUTION:
         Identify important surface or groundwater resources. Consider the potential for violation of ambient water quality
         standards, drinking water maximum contaminant levels, or degradation of water quality. Identify cumulative effects to
         water resources.


     Please see Attachment “F” and Attachment “G” of this document for information pertaining to water
     quality, which has been prepared by Gary Frank, Resource Management Supervisor, DNRC, and Jim
     Bower, Fisheries Program Specialist, DNRC.



6.       AIR QUALITY:
         What pollutants or particulate would be produced? Identify air quality regulations or zones (e.g. Class I air shed) the
         project would influence. Identify cumulative effects to air quality.


     6.1 Air Quality:

            Air quality may be affected by burning slash that would accumulate as a result of the implementation
            of this proposed timber harvest (either action alternative). An ample amount of logging slash would
            remain on site however to provide for erosion control and nutrient recycling.

                 6.1.1 Montana / Idaho Airshed Group:

                 The DNRC, a member of the Montana / Idaho Airshed Group, is required to:

                     •    Minimize or prevent the accumulation of smoke in Montana to such degree as is
                          necessary to protect state and federal ambient air quality standards when prescribed
                          burning is necessary for the conduct of accepted forest practices such as hazard
                          reduction, regeneration and wildlife habitat improvement. The development of alternative
                          methods shall be encouraged when such methods are practical.5

                     •    Submit a plan and receive approval to burn, in Airshed 6, the slash that would
                          accumulate as a result of this project. Approval is dependent upon weather conditions
                          which prevent any direct, indirect or cumulative adverse effects to air quality.


     5
         “Smoke Monitoring Unit”, Montana/Idaho State Airshed Group. Available at: http://www.smokemu.org


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7. VEGETATION COVER, QUANTITY AND QUALITY:
   What changes would the action cause to vegetative communities? Consider rare plants or cover types that would be
   affected. Identify cumulative effects to vegetation.


  7.1 Rare Plants and Weeds:

      Consulting the Natural Heritage Program showed no rare or endangered plants within the proposed
      project area.


  7.2 Vegetative Cover Type Changes:

      The overall vegetative community of the surrounding ecosystem should not change dramatically due
      to the relatively small scope of this project. When applicable, opportunities to maintain or convert to
      either ponderosa or lodgepole pine should be a priority (when those are the Desired Future
      Condition). This would increase tree species diversity on the landscape while reducing the impacts of
      western spruce budworm.


  7.3 Vegetative Analysis:

      Montana Natural Resources Information System (NRIS), which is a clearinghouse for GIS databases
      and provides services to groups or individuals needing access to GIS technology, was used to determine
      current vegetative cover types as well as past timber harvest activity.

          7.3.1 Vegetative Analysis Area / Cover Types:

          The vegetative analysis area was established using property ownership maps that included a
          good number of State Trust Land parcels scattered throughout private property to provide an
          overview of past management practices. In all, the study area encompassed several townships
          in Lewis & Clark County, Montana and is approximately 66,343 acres.

          To determine current vegetative conditions on the landscape, air photo and topographic map
          coverage was evaluated in Arc GIS. The study area was broken into four vegetation classes
          which are; 1) high density forest, 2) low density forest, 3) open rangelands, and 4) past timber
          harvest areas. These cover type categories where digitized to determine acres (Attachment “C”).

          “Open rangelands” account for nearly 13,376 acres, or 20% of the study area with native grass
          being utilized by cattle for grazing. “Low density forest” is credited for 3% of the land base in the
          analysis area, or about 1,896 acres. “High density forest” is approximately 48,162 acres or 73%
          of the study area. “Past harvest” totals approximately 2,909 acres or 4% of the analysis area.

          Areas that have been harvested in the past contain varying levels of vegetation depending on the
          silvicultural prescription implemented. Prescription such as intermediate thinnings, shelterwood,
          and seed-tree cuts maintain varying levels of overstory timber to increase in growth, provide a
          micro environment that is conducive to establishing regeneration, and supply seed.

          7.3.2 Vegetative Analysis Area / State Trust Lands:

          Within the vegetative analysis area, approximately 17,445 acres or 26% of the land base is
          owned and managed by the State of Montana. To determine current tree stocking density and
          vegetative cover, the DNRC Stand Level Inventory was evaluated using Arc GIS. A number of


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       different categories for grouping vegetative density where determined by current stand conditions.
       Stands have been defined as; 1) poorly stocked, 2) medium stocked, 3) well stocked, 4) open
       range lands, and 5) timber harvest.

       Within the study area on State Trust Lands “open range” accounts for approximately 2,318 acres,
       or 13%. “Poorly” stocked stands total nearly 3,263 acres or about 19%, while “medium” stocked
       stands are credited for 28%, or approximately 4,896 acres. “Well” stocked stands number close
       to 6,103 acres or 35%. “Timber harvest” activity has taken place on approximately 865 acres, or
       5% of the State land base within the study area (Attachment “D”).

       Timber harvesting activity on State Trust Lands has not resulted in a deficiency of vegetative
       cover, as increased tree growth and/or the establishment of regeneration has taken place as a
       result of the implementation of silvicultural prescriptions. The proposed 487 acre Lyons Creek
       Sale would reduce the “well” stocked portion of the State analysis area by about 8%. Areas
       harvested would increase to approximately 1,355 acres or 8%, a net increase of 3%.


7.4 Old Growth:

   Information pertaining to old growth was derived from the following source: P. Green, J. Joy, D.
   Sirucek, A. Zack, B. Naumann, “Old-Growth Forest Types of The Northern Region”, USDA Forest
   Service, Northern Region, April, 1992, 43 p.

       7.4.1 Old Growth Definition:

       There is no single all-inclusive definition of old growth, as characteristics of old-growth vary by
       region, forest type, and local conditions. However, minimum levels of attributes common to old-
       growth forests have been used to define old-growth stands. Such attributes include stand age,
       the presence of large and sometimes decadent trees, multi-layered canopy structure, down logs
       and coarse woody debris, and snags. DNRC defines stands as old-growth based on the
       minimum characteristics described by Green et al. (1992).

       7.4.2 Old Growth Determination For Proposed Project:

       Green et al. (1992) define the minimum characteristics for East-Side Montana, Old Growth Type
       Code 2, Douglas-Fir cover type on warm to cool and dry to wet environments as:

               •   5 trees per acre 19 inches DBH or more
               •   Large trees 200 years old or more
               •   Basal area 60 ft2 per acre or more

       Stands within the proposed Lyons Creek Helicopter Timber Sale meet the minimum
       characteristics for old growth as defined above.

       Montana DNRC State Land Surface Management Rules and Policies that were adopted in June
       2005 outline management for old growth stands on State Trust Lands. Subsection 36.11.418
       defines the department’s management of old growth as:

                   The department shall manage old growth to meet biodiversity and fiduciary
                   objectives. The department shall consider the role of all stand age classes in the
                   maintenance of biodiversity when designing harvests and other activities. Stand age
                   distributions, including old growth, shall be evaluated and managed as described in
                   ARM 36.11.407 through 36.11.416 based on the patterns historically present on the
                   landscape as a result of natural disturbances. Amounts and distributions of all age

                                                  12
            classes will shift and change over time. No stands would be permanently deferred
            from management, although some stands may not be entered for relatively long time
            periods.
                (a) The department shall identify old growth that occurs in a project area. Old
                growth stands shall be managed to achieve biodiversity objectives, including
                possible harvest. The department shall consider site-specific concerns and other
                legal criteria regarding the harvest of old growth. Interdisciplinary teams shall
                work to meet overall objectives to generate revenue for the trust, while also
                meeting biodiversity goals across the landscape, which shall entail project-level
                harvesting decisions.

                (b) Designation of old growth set-asides, or networks, may be made as long as
                the trust secures full market value.

                (c) When managing old growth the department shall apply restoration,
                maintenance, or removal treatments consistent with the range of natural
                disturbances.

                        •   “Old growth restoration” means silvicultural treatments in old growth
                            stands designed to reduce stand risk to loss by natural disturbance
                            agents and return them to historic levels of stocking, and/or species
                            composition. Generally, it involves removal of shade tolerant
                            species, reductions in density, and retention of most large shade-
                            intolerant species. This type of treatment is applicable on sites that
                            historically would be characterized by frequent non-lethal fire
                            regimes.

                        •   When utilizing old growth maintenance treatments, the department
                            shall retain sufficient large live trees to meet the old growth definition
                            as defined in ARM 33.11.403. The department shall apply such
                            treatments on sites that historically had mixed severity fire regimes,
                            either relatively frequent or infrequent.          In some cases, the
                            department may apply these treatments to stand replacement
                            regimes when determined reasonable at the project level. The
                            department shall target shade tolerant species for removal and
                            reduce stand density. For residual stands, the department shall
                            incorporate canopy gaps of sufficient size to encourage regeneration
                            of shade-intolerant tree species. The department shall treat stands
                            with periodic re-entry at less frequent intervals than for restoration.
                            Density and representation of shade-tolerant species will be higher
                            than in restoration treatments. Fire shall be less frequently applied
                            than in restoration treatments. The department shall determine
                            specific prescriptions at the project level.

7.4.3 Old Growth Management:

Areas meeting old growth specifications would be managed with an emphasis towards
maintenance (36.11.418 Biodiversity - Old Growth Management, Section ii) due to the amount of
western spruce budworm and other damaging agents currently impacting this stand. This would
involve the reduction of tree density per acre, creation of canopy gaps to enhance natural
regeneration of shade-intolerant species, and where applicable maintaining a minimum of 5 trees
per acre that are larger than 19 inches. These large diameter trees will most likely be associated
with riparian habitat types which are more productive and can support greater tree growth.


                                           13
7.5 Insects and Disease:

   Douglas-fir: The western spruce budworm, Choristoneura Occidentalis Freeman is the most
   destructive defoliator of conifers in western North America. It occurs in the Rocky Mountains from
   Arizona and New Mexico northward into Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. In the
   Pacific Northwest it can be found in Oregon and Washington and in British Columbia and Alberta,
   Canada (Figure 1). Major outbreaks can last for more than a decade and impact millions of acres of
   forests. The five types of tree damage associated with budworm defoliation are growth loss, top-kill,
   deformity, reduced seed production, and tree mortality. Host trees that survive major budworm
   outbreaks in a weakened condition are often killed later by bark beetles.




   Indicators – Western Spruce Budworm: The most common host-tree species of the western
   spruce budworm are: Douglas-fir, grand fir, white fir, subalpine fir, corkbark fir, blue spruce,
   Engelmann spruce, white spruce, and western larch. Tree damage caused by western spruce
   budworm can be described as follows:

       Cones and seeds. - In addition to foliage, budworm larvae feed heavily on staminate flowers and
       developing cones of host trees. The resultant decline in seed production has a serious impact in
       seed orchards, seed production areas, and forest sites that are difficult to regenerate naturally.

       Regeneration. - The budworm also seriously affects regeneration-host trees usually less than 5
       feet tall and 1 to 2 inches in diameter. These young trees are especially vulnerable when growing
       beneath mature trees, since larvae disperse from the overstory and feed on the small trees
       below. Coniferous seedlings have relatively few needles and shoots and can be seriously
       deformed or killed by only a few larvae.

       Young stands. - As with regeneration, young stands are particularly vulnerable when growing
       beneath a canopy of overstory trees. In stands of Douglas-fir, true firs, and spruce, after 3 or
       more years of sustained larval feeding, many trees are almost entirely defoliated, and diameter
       and height growths are sharply reduced. Some trees are top-killed, which often results in stem
       deformity, multiple leaders, or the death of the entire tree. In young western larch stands,
       sustained larval feeding and severance of new shoots causes top deformity and can reduce
       height growth by as much as 25 to 30 percent. Severe defoliation and topkilling predispose young
       trees to secondary insects and wood-decaying fungi.



                                                  14
         Mature stands. - The greatest impact from budworm defoliation in mature stands is reduced
         growth, although repeated defoliation sometimes results in top-killing and tree mortality (Figure
         2). At times, larger, dominant trees are severely defoliated and top-killed, but do not die because
         the trees produce adventitious foliage throughout the length of the crown, allowing the trees to
         survive. In some mature stands, trees severely defoliated by the western spruce budworm may
         be predisposed to one or more species of tree-killing bark beetles, mainly the Douglas-fir beetle,
         Dendroctonus pseudotsugae Hopkins, and the fir engraver beetle, Scolytus ventralis LeConte.6




                                            Figure 2. Large Douglas-fir infested
                                             by the spruce budworm have thin
                                                       upper crowns.


         Douglas-fir growing near Flesher Pass, which is near the project area, (located on Montana State
         Highway 279, north of Canyon Creek, Montana) has been severely impacted by western spruce
         budworm for several years. Branch dieback, top-kill and tree mortality is apparent when driving
         through this area. Current weather as well as stand conditions throughout this area seem to favor
         a continuation of the western spruce budworm outbreak. Adjacent property managers are
         conducting salvage timber sales to capture the loss associated with this infestation, while trying to
         increase overall forest health and vigor.

         Indicators – Douglas-fir Beetle: Evidence that a tree has been successfully attacked is usually
         the reddish-brown boring dust found in bark crevices on the lower portion of the tree's bole or on
         the ground at its base. Wind and rain may remove the dust, however, and since attacks are often
         high on the bole, careful inspection may be required to determine if beetles are present. An
         occasionally evident sign of infestation may be a clear resin which has exuded from the upper
         level of attacks – typically 30 to 35 feet off the ground. These pitch streamers are often visible for
         a considerable distance. Streams of pitch lower on the bole may be evidence of unsuccessful
         attacks or other injury. As a rule, successful attacks can only be confirmed by removing sections
         of bark to reveal egg galleries, eggs, and/or developing brood.7




6 David G. Fellin, and Jerald E. Dewey, “Western Spruce Budworm”, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Forest Insect &
Disease Leaflet 53.
7
  “Douglas-Fir Beetle”, Forest Insect and Disease Identification and Management Training Manual. Available at:
http://www.barkbeetles.org


                                                              15
         Ponderosa Pine: Approximately two hundred insect species may affect ponderosa pine from its
         cone stage to maturity. Twenty-four are seed and cone insects, sixty affect seedlings and
         saplings, and one hundred and sixty affect pole or sawlog-sized trees.

         Bark Beetles, Dendroctonus and Ips are major killers of ponderosa pine in unmanaged stands. A
         long-term solution to beetle infestations may be to regulate stand density through timber
         harvesting. Maintaining dominant and codominant trees that are fairly uniformly spaced and
         removing smaller diameter or poorly formed trees could reduce mountain pine beetle numbers.

         Indicators – Mountain Pine beetle: Field evaluations can identify increased Mountain Pine
         Beetle activity. Indications of bark beetle activity include:

         •    Popcorn-shaped masses of resin, called "pitch tubes," on the trunk where beetle tunneling
              begins. Pitch tubes may be brown, pink or white.

         •    Boring dust in bark crevices and on the ground immediately adjacent to the tree base.

         •    Evidence of woodpecker feeding on trunk. Patches of bark are removed and bark flakes lie
              on the ground or snow below tree.

         •    Foliage turning yellowish to reddish throughout the entire tree crown. This usually occurs
              eight to 10 months after a successful Mountain Pine Beetle attack.

         •    Presence of live MPB (eggs, larvae, pupae and/or adults) as well as galleries under bark.
              This is the most certain indicator of infestation. A hatchet for removal of bark is needed to
              check trees correctly.

         •    Blue-stained sapwood. Check at more than one point around the tree's circumference.8


7.6 Proposed Silvicultural Management:

    7.6.1 Douglas-fir Silviculture: The theory of controlling the establishment, composition, constitution,
    and growth of forest represents an important option regarding the reduction of the adverse effects of
    pests and pathogens in forest ecosystems. Silvicultural treatments can result in an alteration of the
    forest substrate in such a manner that the population dynamics of insect pests, such as the western
    spruce budworm, will be adversely affected. Furthermore, these treatments provide the significant
    advantage of fostering productive and vigorous forests’ over the long-term.9

    Stand susceptibility to the western spruce budworm is affected by the interaction among regional
    climate, site climate, and tree and stand factors. Tree and stand factors include (i.e., shade tolerant
    or intolerant) species composition, degree of intraspecific genetic variation, stand vigor, stand density,
    height-class structure, stand maturity, and proximity to susceptible stands. Other than climatic
    factors, all these factors can be changed through silvicultural treatments.10

    A variation in the chemical make-up of Douglas-fir foliage plays a significant role in its susceptibility to
    western spruce budworm. As the current year’s foliage develops through the growing season the

8
  D.A. Leatherman, “Mountain Pine Beetle”, # 5.528, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.
Available at: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05528.html
9
  David M. Baumgartner, James E. Lotan, “Interior Douglas-Fir The Species And Its Management”, Symposium Proceedings,
February 27 – March 1, 1990, Spokane Washington, USA, p.115.
10
   David M. Baumgartner, James E. Lotan, “Interior Douglas-Fir The Species And Its Management”, Symposium Proceedings,
February 27 – March 1, 1990, Spokane Washington, USA, p.115.


                                                            16
     chemistry increases, while nutrition generally decreases. Tissue development changes in primary
     nutrition and secondary metabolites may be a major reason why budworms prefer younger foliage as
     compared to mature foliage. Trees also change the chemical structure of their foliage over time. The
     cause of this may be due to 1) shifts in carbon/nutrient balances within the trees due to abiotic
     differences among years, 2) foliage quality changes due to increased budworm populations, and/or 3)
     long-lived trees possessing a mechanism to alter or vary qualitatively and quantitatively defensive
     chemistry.11

     Drought or water stress often predisposes trees and stands to greater susceptibility and vulnerability
     to budworm outbreaks. Improper stocking levels on certain sites, “mismatches” between species and
     site, or too high population levels of insect pests and/or pathogens also effect the variation in foliage
     chemistry and thus susceptibility to infestations.12

     Some management practices of the 1900s have favored the development of stands that appear to be
     moisture, nutrient, and light stressed, and hence, have become highly susceptible to the western
     spruce budworm. For example, intensive fire prevention and reduced fire frequency have resulted in
     shade tolerant, budworm-susceptible conifer species becoming established over large areas. In
     addition, certain selective harvesting practices remove the vigorously growing trees leaving low vigor,
     suppressed, and shade tolerant trees. In general, it appears that these fire management and cutting
     practices of the past have increased forest and stand susceptibility to the budworm. Greater stand
     susceptibility has occurred because these practices have increased the biomass of shade-tolerant
     trees, favored low-vigor-trees, created multistoried canopies, increased stand density and therefore
     moisture and nutrient stress, increased the proportion of host to non-host, and resulted in host types
     growing over large expanses.13

     The following is a list of commonly recommended silvicultural practices that will result in healthy
     forest, habitats, and environments that are less favorable for the budworm. Potentially these
     practices should increase vigor of individual trees, increase the proportion of non-host to host thereby
     reducing foliage available to the budworm, diversify the surrounding stands, and decrease the
     adverse effects of light, moisture, and nutrient stress. In addition, these practices should not only
     effectively manage against insect pests but should increase tree vigor against pathogens. Increased
     tree vigor feeds back on the original investment thereby further enhancing resistance, productivity,
     and health of the stand.14

              Strive for stand diversity in species composition by favoring seral trees and removing or
              otherwise discriminating against the most shade-tolerant host species.

              Regulate stand density through appropriate release cuttings and thinnings to improve and
              maintain tree vigor and stand growth.

              Create and maintain even-aged stand structures by using even-aged regeneration systems,
              followed by periodic low and crown thinnings.

              Promptly remove all overstory trees once regeneration is established in seed-tree and
              shelterwood cuttings.

11
   David M. Baumgartner, James E. Lotan, “Interior Douglas-Fir The Species And Its Management”, Symposium Proceedings,
February 27 – March 1, 1990, Spokane Washington, USA, p.117.
12
   David M. Baumgartner, James E. Lotan, “Interior Douglas-Fir The Species And Its Management”, Symposium Proceedings,
February 27 – March 1, 1990, Spokane Washington, USA, p.118.
13
   David M. Baumgartner, James E. Lotan, “Interior Douglas-Fir The Species And Its Management”, Symposium Proceedings,
February 27 – March 1, 1990, Spokane Washington, USA, p.125.
14
   David M. Baumgartner, James E. Lotan, “Interior Douglas-Fir The Species And Its Management”, Symposium Proceedings,
February 27 – March 1, 1990, Spokane Washington, USA, p.125.


                                                            17
                 Improve stand vigor by removing diseased, heavily infested, or otherwise unhealthy trees in
                 all cuttings.

                 Capitalize on phenotypic and genetic resistance to budworm by selecting the most heavily
                 defoliated trees for removal. Retain the lightly defoliated trees for seed trees.

                 Regenerate host stands at or before biological maturity as indicated by the culmination of
                 annual growth.

                 Diversify the host forest by creating seral stands in homogenous areas of late successional or
                 climax stands.

       Current Conditions: The current multi storied stand, with at least two levels of regeneration
       developing beneath a nearly closed canopy, has promoted and supported a budworm infestation. As
       the budworm infestation develops in the overstory, vertically dispersing larvae have been intercepted
       by the understory. These understory layers provide food, shelter, and a moderate climate which
       promote budworm populations.

       Budworm defoliation has caused branch dieback and/or tree mortality and is currently quite prevalent
       in the Douglas-fir dominant portions of this stand. Pre-sale cruise information illustrates the
       significance of this impact as approximately 39% (66.11 trees/acre) of tree ≥5 inches in diameter
       have been damaged. In addition vertically dispersing budworm larva from the canopy above have
       rigorously impacted 71% (584 trees/acre) of the Douglas-fir regeneration.

       In some mature stands, trees severely defoliated by the western spruce budworm may be
       predisposed to one or more of the tree-killing bark beetles, mainly the Douglas-fir beetle, Hopkins,
       and the fir engraver beetle.15 Data indicates that the Douglas-fir beetle is already present in the stand
       with approximately 2.65 ft2 basal area/acre already infested. As expected the damaged trees are
       large in diameter.

       Harvest Prescription-Shelterwood: Douglas-fir stands that are mature and infested with western
       spruce budworm would be managed using an even-aged regeneration system. Implementation of a
       shelterwood harvest that retains 30 to 40 trees per acre would ameliorate temperature and moisture
       extremes in the openings created, provide large quantities of seed, and capture potential economic
       loss.

       It is anticipated that the average quadratic mean diameter (QMD) of the Douglas-fir overstory trees in
       the proposed shelterwood harvest units would increase from 12.4 to about 14 inches. Considering
       that there are approximately 35 trees per acre (TPA) in this diameter class, the residual basal area
       would be about 37 ft2 per acre.

                 BA per tree = .005454 (14)2 = 1.0689 ft2
                               (35 TPA) (1.0689 ft2) = 37 ft2 BA per acre

       Stocking and density levels within a stand can be determined using Reineke’s “Stand Density Index”
       (SDI). This index provides a means with which to measure site occupancy by converting the existing
       TPA and QMD to the number of TPA at a QMD of 10 inches. The SDI for a given stand then is
       expressed as the equivalent number of 10-inch trees per acre. The maximum SDI for Douglas-fir in
       eastern Montana is 436.16


15
     Forest Insect & Disease Leaflet 53, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service “Western Spruce Budworm”, p. 7.
16
     U.S. Forest Service, FSH 2409.17 “Silvicultural Practices Handbook”, R-1 Supplement 2409.17-94-1, January 26, 1994.


                                                                18
     If stand density were expressed as a percentage from 0-100%, it could be said that 1) when stand
     density is below 15% of the maximum, individual trees are growing at their utmost, and stand growth
     is increasing; 2) inter-tree competition begins at 15% of the maximum; 3) stands are fully stocked at
     35%; 4) stand growth is excellent from 30-55% of the maximum for stands east of the divide in
     Montana, and; 5) at ranges between 12.5-30% the stand is open enough that the establishment of
     regeneration would be expected. 17

     The SDI for the shelterwood portion of this stand would be approximately 13.7%. Canopy gaps
     created in the overstory should allow ample sunlight to reach the soil surface, creating a seedbed
     conducive to Douglas-fir regeneration. Continued growth in both bole diameter and crown
     development would be expected in the residual trees as well.

             SDI = (QMD / 10)1.6 x TPA

                     (14 / 10)1.6 = 1.713

                     1.713 x 35 TPA = 59.96

                     59.96 / 436 = .137 x 100 = 13.70%

     Pre-sale cruise data compiled over the project area shows that there are approximately 158.85 trees
     per acre (134.74 ft2 of basal area/acre). Of that, 12.44 trees per acre (21.58 ft2 of basal area/acre)
     have recently died, but are still merchantable. The western spruce budworm has damaged
     approximately 66.11 trees per acre (44.74 ft2 of basal area/acre), leaving 80.30 trees per acre (68.42
     ft2 of basal area/acre) from which to select reserve trees.

     Douglas-Fir left as reserves would be those that exhibit 1) full crowns, 2) pointed rather than flat
     topped crowns, 3) Crown ratios greater than 40%, 4) trees with good growth, and 5) those trees
     showing some resistance to the budworm. In addition several large-diameter, old growing Douglas-fir
     per acre would be retained to provide structural diversity and cavity nesting sites for wildlife.

     A majority of logging slash or down woody material would be left on the ground to provide shade for
     newly established Douglas-fir seedlings, which are susceptible to heat injury. This material provides
     additional shade without competing for soil moisture, reduces surface temperatures, and regulates
     seedling transpiration.

     Successful natural regeneration is thought to be the result of a chance combination of a good seed
     crop and favorable weather during the next growing season. Western spruce budworm, in
     combination with sporadic seed crops every 7-10 years, influences the amount of viable seed
     dispersed. As a result, regeneration occurs in waves over an extended period of time. 18 Past
     experience indicates that the establishment phase for Douglas-fir regeneration may take upwards of
     25 years. Once regeneration has been established and the stand is fully stocked, the overstory trees
     could be removed.

Wildlife Impacts: An increase in the demand for associated resources such as security cover for wildlife,
forage for livestock, and aesthetics, has added a new dimension to managing forests. Meeting the
objective of continuous forest cover through uneven-aged management is directly in conflict with the
even-aged strategies recommended above to decrease budworm susceptibility. By practicing uneven-

17
   Dr. Carl Fiedler and Rolan Becker, “Montana DNRC Uneven-Aged Management Short Course”, University of Montana Campus,
June 20-22, 2006.
18
   David M. Baumgartner, James E. Lotan, “Interior Douglas-Fir The Species And Its Management”, Symposium Proceedings,
February 27 – March 1, 1990, Spokane Washington, USA, p.196.


                                                          19
aged management in our Douglas-fir stands, we could in turn, wipe out the very objectives we are trying
to achieve. Western spruce budworm may delay and damage regeneration to the extent that it will never
meet or function as wildlife security cover.19

Creative implementation of even-aged methods could address wildlife issues meet the same objectives
by modifying shelterwood systems to manage for 1) more than one age class of Douglas-fir, 2) leaving
scattered old-growth to provide nesting cavities for animals and future recruitment of woody debris, 3)
protect established clumps of advanced regeneration and encourage the establishment of new seedlings
to maintain structural diversity and complexity of the stand, yet simplify it from its previous multistoried,
all-aged condition, 4) retain higher tree densities along stream channels to protect the watershed and
provide travel corridors for wildlife, and 5) disperse irregular shaped harvest units over the landscape to
maximize edge and enhance visual aesthetics.20

     7.6.2 Ponderosa Pine Silviculture: Portions of the proposed project area that are dominated by
     ponderosa pine would be managed through an even-aged shelterwood and/or seed-tree system, with
     reliance on natural regeneration. A new age class of ponderosa pine would develop from seedlings
     that germinate in the fully-exposed micro-environment, after removal of a good portion of the previous
     stand. The small number of reserve trees that have been left should provide seed, maintain structural
     diversity, and afford future woody debris. Instead of removing these residual seed trees after
     regeneration is established as is a common practice, they will be left in perpetuity. When appropriate,
     opportunities to enhance and expand ponderosa pine would be sought to maximize diversity on the
     landscape as well.

     7.6.3 Lodgepole Pine Silviculture: A very small percentage of the project area has a dominant
     timber type of lodgepole pine. Were it does exist in pure stands it would be managed through an
     even-aged method of clearcutting.

     Clearcutting has been the most widely accepted regeneration method in lodgepole pine forest. On
     the vast majority of sites, this method resembles the process that nature uses to convert old stands to
     young growth – wildfire. Clearcutting provides the best opportunity for utilization of the total wood
     resource, adequately prepares the site for regeneration via scarification, and is an effective tool
     against mountain pine beetle and dwarf mistletoe.21


7.7 Rare Plants and Weeds:

     Montana Natural Heritage Program was consulted to provide information on plant and animal species
     of concern in the vicinity of the project area. No vascular plant species of concern were identified by
     the Montana Natural Heritage Program for the project area.


8. TERRESTRIAL, AVIAN AND AQUATIC LIFE AND HABITATS:
     Consider substantial habitat values and use of the area by wildlife, birds or fish. Identify cumulative effects to fish
     and wildlife.




19
   David M. Baumgartner, James E. Lotan, “Interior Douglas-Fir The Species And Its Management”, Symposium Proceedings,
February 27 – March 1, 1990, Spokane Washington, USA, p.197.
20
   David M. Baumgartner, James E. Lotan, “Interior Douglas-Fir The Species And Its Management”, Symposium Proceedings,
February 27 – March 1, 1990, Spokane Washington, USA, p.197.
21
   David M. Baumgartner, Richard G. Krebill, James T. Arnott, Gordon F. Weetman, “Lodgepole Pine The Species And Its
Management”, Symposium Proceedings, May 8-10, 1984, Spokane Washington, USA, p.204.


                                                            20
8.1 Fish: The proposed timber harvest is expected to have a low risk of low adverse impacts to fish
habitats. See attached Appendix G (“Lyons Timber Sale – Fisheries Analysis) for a detailed fisheries
analysis of the proposed actions. Tree retention requirements as outlined in the SMZ Law will be
adhered to when cutting timber along all fish-bearing and non-fish bearing steam segments within and
adjacent to proposed harvest units.

8.2 Birds: Large sawlog-class Douglas-fir and Ponderosa Pine will remain after harvest to provide
nesting trees and for future snag recruitment. Implementation of the proposed alternative should have
minimal, if any, effect on avian species.


8.3 Animals: A variety of animals utilize the diverse habitat of the Lyons Creek watershed basin
including: deer, black bears, small mammals, and elk, among others. No direct, indirect or cumulative
adverse effects are anticipated from the implementation of the proposed timber sale.

Montana FWP expressed a concern that elk security cover may be adversely affected by the proposed
action as a result of new road constructions (3.11 miles) that would be necessary at the end of the
existing Rattlesnake Road. After a cooperative meeting between Montana FWP, DNRC, and adjacent
property owners, mitigation measures were agreed upon by the group as sufficient to mitigate this
concern. These measures include: 1) erecting temporary gate closures at strategic locations to prevent
unauthorized access; 2) abandonment of newly constructed roads after use on State Trust Lands; 3)
implementation of a helicopter yarding system on a majority of the harvest units within this drainage (in
order to reduce the overall length of new road construction that would be necessary), and; 4) access
restrictions during hunting seasons, primarily the general firearm hunting season..


9. UNIQUE, ENDANGERED, FRAGILE OR LIMITED ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES:
   Consider any federally listed threatened or endangered species or habitat identified in the project area.
   Determine effects to wetlands. Consider Sensitive Species or Species of special concern. Identify cumulative
   effects to these species and their habitat.


9.1 Issues Eliminated From Further Study ~ Montana Natural Heritage Program:

Montana Natural Heritage Program was contacted to provide threatened, endangered, and sensitive
species information for the project area. After review, a number of vertebrate animal species have been
identified in the proposed project area.

    9.1.1 Grizzly Bear ~ Ursus arctos

    Expected impacts:
    Because the proposed project is outside the recovery or occupied zone of the grizzly bear, adverse
    impacts to the Grizzly Bear are not expected.

    Habitat:
    In Montana, grizzlies primarily use meadows, seeps, riparian zones, mixed shrub fields, closed
    timber, open timber, sidehill parks, snow chutes, and alpine slabrock habitats. Habitat use is highly
    variable between areas, seasons, local populations, and individuals (Servheen 1983, Craighead
    1982, Aune 1984). Historically, the grizzly was primarily a plains species occurring in higher densities
    throughout most of eastern Montana.

    9.1.2 Canada Lynx ~ Lynx Canadensis

    Expected impacts:

                                                      21
Due to the large home range requirements of the Lynx and the comparatively small scope of the
proposed project, adverse effects are not expected.

Migration:
Canada lynx are non-migratory, but movements of 90 to 125 miles have been recorded between
Montana and Canada (Hash 1990). In other areas, long distance dispersal has been reported to
range from 103 to 616 kilometers (Saunders 1963, Nellis and Wetmore 1969, Brainerd 1985, Ward
1985, Brittell et al. 1989).

Habitat:
Canada lynx west of the Continental Divide generally occur in subalpine forests between 1,220 and
2,150 meters in stands composed of pure lodgepole pine but also mixed stands of subalpine fir,
lodgepole pine, Douglas-fir, grand fir, western larch and hardwoods (J. Squires pers. comm. 1999 in
Ruediger et al. 2000). In extreme northwestern Montana, primary vegetation may include cedar-
hemlock habitat types (Ruediger et al. 2000). East of the Continental Divide the subalpine forests
inhabited by lynx occur at higher elevations (1,650 to 2,400 meters) and are composed mostly of
subalpine fir. Secondary habitat is intermixed Englemann spruce and Douglas-fir habitat types where
lodgepole pine is a major seral species (Ruediger et al. 2000). Throughout their range, shrub-steppe
habitats may provide important linkage habitat between the primary habitats types described above
(Reudiger et al. 2000). Typical snow conditions are important factors for lynx, with lynx occurring
primarily in habitats that also receive relatively uniform and moderately deep snowfall amounts (total
annual snowfall of 100 to 127 centimeters) (Kelsall et al. 1977). Within these habitat types,
disturbances that create early successional stages such as fire, insect infestations, and timber
harvest, provide foraging habitat for lynx by creating forage and cover for snowshoe hares, although
older forests also provide habitats for snowshoe hares and lynx for longer periods of time than
disturbance created habitat.

Canada lynx avoid large openings but often hunt along edges in areas of dense cover (Ruediger et al.
2000). When inactive or birthing, they occupy dens typically in hollow trees, under stumps, or in thick
brush. Den sites tend to be in mature or old-growth stands with a high density of logs (Koehler 1990,
Koehler and Brittell 1990). These habitats must be near or adjacent to foraging habitat because the
hunting range of the female is reduced during this time.

In the South Fork Flathead, lynx were mostly located in fire-created, densely stocked young stands of
lodgepole pine where snowshoe hares were most abundant. No locations in open or semi-open areas
were observed (Koehler at al. 1979). In the Garnet Range, most were found in subalpine fir forest
(Smith 1984). Denning sites are found in mature and old-growth lodgepole pine, spruce, and
subalpine fir forests with a high density of logs (Koehler 1990, Koehler and Brittell 1990). Denning
stands need not be large (1 to 3 hectares) but several stands should be interconnected (Koehler and
Brittell 1990). Lynx require cover for stalking and security, and usually do not cross openings wider
than 100 meters (Koehler and Brittell 1990).

9.1.3 Wolverine ~ Gulo gulo

Expected impacts:
Wolverine habitat requirements are not common in the vicinity of the proposed timber sale, and
therefore adverse effects are not expected.


Habitat:
Wolverines are limited to alpine tundra, and boreal and mountain forests (primarily coniferous) in the
western mountains, especially large wilderness areas. However, dispersing individuals have been
found far outside of usual habitats. They are usually in areas with snow on the ground in winter.


                                               22
Riparian areas may be important winter habitat. When inactive, wolverines occupy dens in caves,
rock crevices, under fallen trees, in thickets, or similar sites.

In Montana, Hornocker and Hash (1981) found most wolverine use in medium to scattered timber,
while areas of dense, young timber were used least. Wolverines avoided clearcuts and burns,
crossing them rapidly and directly when they were entered at all. Hash (1987) reported wolverines in
the Northern Rocky Mountain region were associated with fir, pine, and larch. Aspen stands were
also used, as were cottonwoods in riparian areas. Ecotonal areas appeared to be important habitat
components (Hash 1987). Hatler (1989) believed wolverines are not dependant on any particular
vegetative habitat type. Banci (1986) reported "habitat requirements appear to be large, isolated
tracts of wilderness supporting a diverse prey base, rather than specific plant associations or
topography." South of the boreal forest, most habitat descriptions in the literature agree with Grove's
(1988) characterization of "large, mountainous, and essentially roadless areas."

9.1.4 Gray Wolf ~ Canis Iupus

Expected impacts:
Due to the transient nature and home range requirements of the Gray Wolf, negative impacts are not
expected from the implementation of the proposed harvest.

Migration:
This species is not migratory but may move seasonally following migrating ungulates within its
territory. Wolves also disperse widely. Male wolves in northwestern Montana can move an average of
113 km (70 miles) from their natal territory, and females 77 km (48 miles), before establishing a new
territory or joining an existing pack (Boyd and Pletscher 1999). Dispersal peaks twice per year; first in
January/February and second, in May/June (Boyd and Pletscher 1999). Some wolves are known to
have dispersed up to 805 km (500 miles). Dispersal has been documented from Canada, Idaho and
Wyoming to Montana. Montana wolves are also known to have dispersed to Canada, Idaho, and
Wyoming. Reports during the spring of 2008 indicate that a new pack may be forming in the vicinity
of Mitchell Mountain, in this project area. Standard contract language would provide the flexibility to
adjust project timing, if this pack does indeed form and use this area for denning at the future time
when a timber sale may take place.

Habitat:
The gray wolf exhibits no particular habitat preference except for the presence of native ungulates
within its territory on a year round basis. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, wolves usually occur in areas
with few roads and human disturbance (Thiel 1985, Mech et al. 1988, Mech 1989). Wolves
establishing new packs in Montana have demonstrated greater tolerance of human presence and
disturbance than previously thought characteristic of this species. They have established territories
where prey are more abundant at lower elevations than expected, especially in winter (Montana Fish,
Wildlife and Parks 2003).

9.1.5 Fisher ~ Martes pennanti

Expected impacts:
Implementation of timber harvest should provide habitat conditions more suitable to that required by
the fisher, moving away from a climax forest with little or no ground cover/vegetation.


Habitat:
Although they are primarily terrestrial, fishers are well adapted for climbing. When inactive, they
occupy dens in tree hollows, under logs, or in ground or rocky crevices, or they rest in branches of
conifers (in the warmer months). Fishers occur primarily in dense coniferous or mixed forests,
including early successional forests with dense overhead cover (Thomas et al. 1993). They

                                                23
   commonly use hardwood stands in summer but prefer coniferous or mixed forests in winter and avoid
   open areas. Optimal conditions for fishers are forest tracts of 245 acres or more, interconnected with
   other large areas of suitable habitat. A dense understory of conifers, shrubs and herbaceous cover is
   important in summer.

   Forest structure, which affects prey abundance and vulnerability and provides denning and resting
   sites for fishers, is probably more important than tree species composition (Buskirk and Powell 1994).
   Forest structure can be characterized by a diversity of tree shapes and sizes, understory vegetation,
   snags and fallen limbs and trees, and tree limbs close to the ground.

   Young are born in a den in a tree hollow (usually), or under a log or in a rocky crevice. Large snags
   (greater than 20 inches diameter at breast height) are important as maternal den sites (Thomas et al.
   1993).

9.2 Issues Eliminated From Further Study ~ Montana Administrative Rules:

Threatened, endangered, and sensitive species as outlined in the “Montana Administrative Rules” have
been eliminated from further study for the following reasons:

   9.2.1 Bald Eagle: Some potential transient use may occur but is not anticipated. Adverse impacts to
   the Bald Eagle or its habitat are not expected.

   9.2.2 Gray Wolf: Potential transient use by the gray wolf may occur within the proposed timber sale
   area. If den sites become established within the sale area, “Administrative Rules” and contractual
   requirements are in place to protect this species. See above section for more detailed information.


   9.2.3 Grizzly Bear: Several measures to protect the habitat and well being of grizzly bears have
   been considered even though the project area does not fall within the “recovery” or “occupied” zones
   of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. These mitigations have been included to address
   comments from the Montana FWP related to reported transient Grizzly use in this drainage.

       •   Cover retention along riparian zones would be maintained at a minimum of 50% of the trees
           equal to or greater than 8 inches dbh on each side of the stream or 10 trees per 100-foot
           segment, whichever is greater. This should provide travel corridors and vegetative screening
           cover for foraging bears.

       •   Seed-tree/shelterwood cutting units would be designed using topographic breaks in the
           landscape or the retention of vegetative screening cover at a distance generally not greater
           than 600 feet in at least one direction from any point in the unit, when practical. This should
           provide escape cover that is close in proximity until the Douglas-fir regeneration has been
           established well enough to provide cover of its own.

       •   Harvest units that are above 6,300 feet on slopes greater than 45% would be prohibited from
           harvest from April 1st through May 31st each year to reduce potential impacts to grizzly bears
           emerging from their dens.

       •   Temporary roads constructed on State Trust Lands would be reclaimed or gated after use to
           reduced potential conflicts with grizzly bears.

       •   Human food and other attractants would be stored in bear-resistant containers. Burnable
           attractants would not be buried, discarded, or burned in an open campfire.



                                                  24
   Additional information on the Grizzly Bear can be found listed above.

   9.2.4 Lynx: Due to the lack of existing lynx habitat within the project area and the implementation of
   safeguards to protect and establish future lynx habitat, adverse impacts to this species are not
   expected. See above section for more detailed information.


   9.2.5 Flammulated Owl: This species prefers seral ponderosa pine stands or secondarily Douglas-
   fir timber types where historical fire regimes occurred on the landscape. Favored stands are usually
   found on warm, dry slopes with basal areas of 35 to 80 ft.2/acre. Proposed harvest area
   characteristics at present do not match the favored habitat requirements of the Flammulated Owl.
   Implementation of action alternative may create habitat conditions that are desirable to the
   Flammulated Owl. Conflicts to this species are not expected.

   9.2.6 Black-Backed Woodpecker: There have been no recent burns within several miles of the
   project area to create suitable habitat for the Black-Backed Woodpeckers. The defoliation of
   Douglas-fir by Western Spruce Budworm may result in trees becoming stressed and thus more
   susceptible to secondary insect infestations. Wood-boring beetles could attack these trees, providing
   suitable forage for the Black-Backed Woodpecker.

   Because of the relatively small nature of this project, anticipated effects to the Black-Backed
   Woodpecker should be minimal.

   9.2.7 Pileated Woodpecker: Large diameter ponderosa pine, western larch, and black cottonwood
   are used for nesting cavities by the Pileated Woodpecker. If nesting sites become established within
   the sale area, “Administrative Rules” and contractual requirements are in place to protect this
   species. Conflicts with this woodpecker are not expected.

   9.2.8 Fisher: Suitable Fisher habitat is not found within the project area. See above section for more
   information on the Fisher.

   9.2.9 Northern Bog Lemming: The project area contains no suitable Lemming habitat.

   9.2.10 Peregrine Falcon: Nest sites or habitat suitable for the Peregrine Falcon are not found within
   the project area, therefore, negative effects are not expected.


10. HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES:
   Identify and determine effects to historical, archaeological or paleontological resources.


10.1 Historical and Archaeological Sites:

       A search of the statewide cultural resources database and the DNRC’s in-house files for the
       above referenced project areas has been conducted. No cultural resources have been identified
       within the proposed project area. Because of the degree of slope throughout the proposed sale
       area, an archaeological review is not recommended prior to commencement of timber harvest
       activities.




                                                         25
11. AESTHETICS:
    Determine if the project is located on a prominent topographic feature, or may be visible from populated or scenic
    areas. What level of noise, light or visual change would be produced? Identify cumulative effects to aesthetics.


11.1 Local Effects to Aesthetics:

    The location of the proposed Lyons Creek Timber Sale is somewhat isolated, accessed through
    Sieben Ranch Company and O’Connell-Anderson property. Because the scope and nature of this
    project is somewhat small, long lasting negative visual effects are not expected. The existing
    landform is rolling with the harvest area being located at mid slope on the mountainside.

    A variety in vegetation exists between Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine, and lodgepole pine within the
    project area. Harvest units would be irregular in shape and total approximately 487 acres. Slated for
    harvest are disease/damaged dominant and codominant as well as suppressed and intermediate
    Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine. Residual ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir should most likely be large
    in diameter and at a spacing that most resembles a seed tree harvest.


12. DEMANDS ON ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES OF LAND, WATER, AIR OR ENERGY:
    Determine the amount of limited resources the project would require. Identify other activities nearby that the
    project would affect. Identify cumulative effects to environmental resources.


    Demands on land, water, air or energy is not expected to increase in intensity as a result of timber
    harvesting on State Trust Lands.


13. OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTS PERTINENT TO THE AREA:
    List other studies, plans or projects on this tract. Determine cumulative impacts likely to occur as a result of
    current private, state or federal actions in the analysis area, and from future proposed state actions in the
    analysis area that are under MEPA review (scoped) or permitting review by any state agency.


13.1 DNRC Plans/Current Projects:

    State tract includes active Forest Grazing License producing 64 AUM’s annually. This activity would
    remain unchanged under both alternatives. Implementation of the action alternative would initiate a
    noxious weed management program by the DNRC. This spot spaying would concentrate on noxious
    and nuisance weeds, controlling them before and after timber harvesting.

13.2 Reciprocal Easement Exchange:

    A proposal for a reciprocal easement exchange between the State and the O’ Connell-Anderson
    properties is currently being evaluated. The Land Board has final decision authority on easements.
    This decision would be independent of any decision on the proposed timber sale.



                              IV. IMPACTS ON THE HUMAN POPULATION
•   RESOURCES potentially impacted are listed on the form, followed by common issues that would be considered.
•   Explain POTENTIAL IMPACTS AND MITIGATIONS following each resource heading.
•   Enter “NONE” If no impacts are identified or the resource is not present.




                                                          26
14. HUMAN HEALTH AND SAFETY:
   Identify any health and safety risks posed by the project.


   No adverse direct, indirect, or cumulative impacts are expected from the implementation of the
   project.


15. INDUSTRIAL, COMMERCIAL AND AGRICULTURE ACTIVITIES AND PRODUCTION:
   Identify how the project would add to or alter these activities.


   No adverse direct, indirect, or cumulative impacts are expected from the implementation of the
   project.


16. QUANTITY AND DISTRIBUTION OF EMPLOYMENT:
   Estimate the number of jobs the project would create, move or eliminate. Identify cumulative effects to the
   employment market.


   People are currently employed in the wood products industry in this region of Montana. No
   measurable direct, indirect, or cumulative impacts are expected on employment from the execution of
   this alternative action due to the relatively small DNRC timber sale program.


17. LOCAL AND STATE TAX BASE AND TAX REVENUES:
   Estimate tax revenue the project would create or eliminate. Identify cumulative effects to taxes and revenue.


   People are currently paying taxes on monies generated from the wood products industry in this region
   of Montana. No measurable direct, indirect, or cumulative impacts are expected on tax revenues
   from the execution of this alternative action due to the relatively small DNRC timber sale program.


18. DEMAND FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICES:
   Estimate increases in traffic and changes to traffic patterns. What changes would be needed to fire protection,
   police, schools, etc.? Identify cumulative effects of this and other projects on government services


   There should be no measurable direct, indirect, or cumulative impacts related to demand for
   government services due to the relatively small DNRC timber sale program, short term impacts to
   traffic, possible temporary addition of a few people to the area, and the lack of other timber sales on
   adjacent lands.


19. LOCALLY ADOPTED ENVIRONMENTAL PLANS AND GOALS:
   List State, County, City, USFS, BLM, Tribal, and other zoning or management plans, and identify how they would
   affect this project.


19.1 State Forest Land Management Plan:

   Refer to Section 1: “Type and Purpose of Action”, Part-B, “Purpose of Action”, of this document for
   reference to the “State Forest Land Management Plan” and Rules.


                                                          27
19.2 Conservation Easement:

   MFWP holds conservation easements on both the Sieben-Rattlesnake, and O’Connell-Lyons Creek
   properties. These easements are implemented to assure wildlife habitat and responsible hunter
   access.


20. ACCESS TO AND QUALITY OF RECREATIONAL AND WILDERNESS ACTIVITIES:
   Identify any wilderness or recreational areas nearby or access routes through this tract. Determine the effects of
   the project on recreational potential within the tract. Identify cumulative effects to recreational and wilderness
   activities.


20.1 Local Effects to Recreational Opportunities:

   Persons having a valid State Trust Land Recreational Use Permit are welcome to hike or perform
   other approved outdoor activities. Beginning in 2004, purchase of a conservation license authorized
   use of accessible Trust Lands for hunting and fishing. Implementation of the proposed alternative
   should have minimal effect on recreational opportunities. Access to these State Trust parcels is
   facilitated by BMA’s on the Sieben Ranch and O’Connell-Anderson properties.


21. DENSITY AND DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION AND HOUSING:
   Estimate population changes and additional housing the project would require. Identify cumulative effects to
   population and housing.


   There will be no measurable direct, indirect, or cumulative impacts related to population and housing
   due to the relatively small nature of the DNRC timber sale program. Personnel required to execute
   this project are currently employed in this region of Montana.


22. SOCIAL STRUCTURES AND MORES:
   Identify potential disruption of native or traditional lifestyles or communities.


   Not Applicable.


23. CULTURAL UNIQUENESS AND DIVERSITY:
   How would the action affect any unique quality of the area?


   Not Applicable.


24. OTHER APPROPRIATE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES:
   Estimate the return to the trust. Include appropriate economic analysis. Identify potential future uses for the
   analysis area other than existing management. Identify cumulative economic and social effects likely to occur as
   a result of the proposed action.


24.1 Economic Cost/Return Associated With Project:



                                                           28
    The action being proposed not only takes into consideration silvicultural and biological characteristics
    of managing this forested stand, but the economic viability of implementing such a project.

    An assessment of the economic and environmental differences between action alternatives are listed
    below. This comparison was based on major aspects of the project to determine which alternative
    may be most favorable.

    A shift in tractor operable and helicopter accessible ground is the primary difference between action
    alternatives when considering harvesting systems. Alternative “B” has approximately 34 acres that
    are on slopes suitable for tractor based logging and close to 372 acres that are available only to a
    helicopter yarding system. Alternative “C” dramatically reduces the amount of helicopter based acres
    (307) while increasing tractor available acres (126), due in part to the relocation of logging roads.

    Helicopter flight-line distances would decrease slightly in Alternative “C” with the average being 4,800
    feet. Favorable flight conditions from the harvest units to the landing areas would be expected in
    Alternative “C” as well due to down hill slope grades between 13% and 24%. (Attachment “H”, Lyons
    Creek Helicopter Flight Line Distance Map and Attachment “I”, Weighted Average - Flight Line
    Calculator).

    Estimated “stump to deck” logging cost are reduced from Alternative “B” to Alternative “C” by
    approximately $46,290.00 primarily because of the reduction of costs associated with helicopter
    logging. This should equate to an economically viable timber sale and increased stumpage rates to
    the State Trust.

    The amount of new road construction as well as existing road use would decrease from 30.27 miles
    in Alternative “B” to 28.76 miles in Alternative “C”. Overall road cost/foot would most likely decrease
    between Alternative “B” and “C” (estimated reduction from $0.58/ft. down to $0.31/ft.) due to the
    exclusion of a major culvert crossing and French-drain. (Attachment “J”, Proposed Harvest ~
    Comparison of Cumulative Effects, Lyons Creek Timber Sale).


24.2 Future Management Options:

    Implementation of this project should increase the managed forest base on State Trust Lands. This
    should most likely result in the production of a healthier forested stand that would bring in additional
    revenue to the Trust.

24.3 Current Activities:

    Grazing of State Trust Lands in this area currently brings in $448.64 per year. Some revenue
    percentage from the General Recreational Use License as well as the newly adopted Conservation
    License may also be attributed to this tract, although this revenue probably is quite small.

No negative direct, indirect, or cumulative economic or social effects are anticipated as a result of the
proposed action.


 EA Checklist         Name:      Shawn P. Morgan                               Date:    4/22/2008
 Prepared By:         Title:     Helena Unit Forester




                                                     29
                                      V. FINDING


25. ALTERNATIVE SELECTED:

I have selected alternative C. Alternative C will harvest approximately 2.5MMBF (split
into two separate Timber Sale offerings) from approximately 487 acres of Trust land.
The first Timber Sale offering will be for an area of tractor and line operable ground,
approximately 180 acres. A second offering, which will be dependent on market
conditions, would be for helicopter operable areas. The selected proposal uses a
combination of existing road systems, located primarily on private lands, and includes
new road construction on both private and Trust lands. On the State Trust lands, the
new roads will be closed by a combination of abandonment and reclamation.


26. SIGNIFICANCE OF POTENTIAL IMPACTS:

Numerous potential issues and concerns were examined as part of this Environmental
Assessment. Most of these have been shown to have no anticipated direct, indirect or
cumulative adverse effect. The one issue which was of most concern was road
construction into the previously un-roaded headwaters of the South Fork of Lyons
Creek. The concern centered around the effects to wildlife security, to a large extent,
the hunting season security of Elk. The adjacent private lands have Conservation
Easements held by the MT FWP, which have an objectives supporting wildlife and
hunting values. To address hunting season disturbance, and minimize travel risk on the
narrow roads, both of the action alternatives restrict timber harvest access (heavy
equipment and trucks) during the hunting seasons.

The new road in the upper portion of the project area would need to be in place for
approximately 4 years. To address access on the road during this period, strategically
located gates would be placed during hunting seasons. Following the forest
management actions, the roads on the State lands would be closed with out-sloping (for
drainage, not full obliteration) seeding and covering the route with rocks, stumps and
other native debris, to limit vehicular access, which is our DNRC definition of
abandonment. On some segments, the installed drainage features (culverts) would also
be removed, with the drainage way restored, which is our DNRC definition of
reclamation.

The significant difference between alternatives B and C are the road locations (and
lengths), and the accessibility of the various proposed harvest areas to either ground
based (tractor or line) harvesting systems, or helicopter yarding. Alternative B would
have ~372 acres of helicopter units, and ~115 acres of tractor/line units, while
alternative C would reduce the helicopter units to ~307 acres and increase tractor/line
units to ~180 acres. However, to locate roads for favorable flight path access and

                                           30
landing areas, alternative B used ~1.5 miles more road than alternative C and had, in
the end result, longer weighted average helicopter flight line distances. Through
extensive on-the-ground road location analysis, and negotiations for cooperative road
use with the adjacent land owners, the Department was able to develop alternative C.
By using less roads, alternative C will have less potential for effects to elk hunting
season security, and at the same time, by accessing increased acreage for tractor/line
based harvesting systems, the potential Trust income is enhanced.

I do not expect any significant direct, indirect or cumulative adverse effects to result
from the implementation of alternative C.

27. NEED FOR FURTHER ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS:


             EIS                   More Detailed EA       X   No Further Analysis


   EA Checklist         Name:       D.J. Bakken
   Approved By:
                        Title:      Helena Unit Manager

Signature:         /S/ Darrel J. Bakken                       Date:    7/28/2008




                                                  31
Attachment: “A”




     DS-252 Version 6-2003   32
Attachment: “B”




     DS-252 Version 6-2003   33
Attachment: “C”




       DS-252 Version 6-2003   34
Attachment: “D”




        DS-252 Version 6-2003   35
Attachment: “E”




         To:               DJ Bakken, Helena Unit Manager

         CC:               Gary Frank, Resource Program Supervisor, Forest Management Bureau
                           Shawn Morgan, Helena Unit Forester

         From:             Jeff Schmalenberg, Soil Scientist, Forest Management Bureau

         Subject:          Lyons Creek Timber Sale, Soils Report

         Date:             April 4, 2008



                                           Soil Resource Effects Analysis
                                             Lyons Creek Timber Sale
                                           T 14N R 5W Sec 16, 18, and 20

         Introduction

         This document contains the soil resource effects analysis for the South Fork Lyons Creek
         timber sale project area. The gross project area includes 1,890 acres within three State
         owned sections described by the legal land description listed above. Three proposed actions
         will be analyzed in this report. All action alternatives include harvesting approximately 2.5
         MMBF from 490 acres. Dependant upon the alternative selected, various logging systems
         would be employed to extract harvested timber and would include traditional ground based
         methods, skyline or cable systems and also helicopter yarding. Due to the use of various
         logging systems under each action alternative, the length of new road construction also varies
         between each alternative but is never higher then 5.28 miles of new road. This timber sale
         would also support the reclamation of three native crossing sites that have failed and are
         chronic sediment sources to the South Fork of Lyons Creek.

         Existing conditions and environmental effects, direct, indirect and cumulative, relating to the
         no action and both action alternatives will be addressed. The following is based on course
         filter screening and on-site evaluation of the project area by DNRC resource specialists in
         October of 2006 and May of 2007.

         Proposed Action Alternatives

         Please refer to section 3.0 of the Lyons Creek Timber Sale Checklist Environmental
         Assessment for full descriptions of all action alternatives including no action. The
         alternatives described in section 3.0 will be the actions analyzed for in the follow soils
         resource report.




         DS-252 Version 6-2003                          36
Potential Issues

Soils/Geology

Road construction and log landings can displace and compact soils and permanently change
the land use of these impacted areas from forest products to transportation.

Removal of both coarse and fine woody material off site during timber harvest operations
reduces nutrient inputs required for future forest stands and can affect the long term
productivity of the site.

Ground based harvest techniques can displace and compact soils, adversely affecting the
hydrologic function and long term productivity of the impacted area. Reduced infiltration
capacity of a soil can result in overland flow and off site erosion. This is typically localized
to skid trails and log landings.

Analysis Area

The analysis area for this project consists of the harvest units within the three State owned
sections and both State owned and private lands adjacent to the proposed new road
construction.

Analysis Methods

Methods for disclosing impacts include using general soil descriptions and the management
limitations of the landtype gained through field evaluation, the Lewis and Clark County Area
Soil Survey and professional judgment. Physical soil properties that were identified to
quantitatively describe management limitations and the risk of adverse affects from the
proposed action were soil texture, percent coarse fragments, plasticity index, liquid limit,
permeability, soil depth and Unified classification. The risk of adverse effects to soil
productivity from compaction, displacement, and erosion was then qualitatively assessed for
each alternative using these indicators and soil monitoring results from pervious DNRC
timber sales.

While the anticipated impacts from each alternative will disclose the direct/indirect effects,
the cumulative impacts will be the result of both previous and proposed activities along with
further management activities in the project area.

Affected Environment

Landscape / Morphology

The Lyons Creek Timber sale is located approximately 27 air miles northwest of Helena,
Montana and described by the legal description listed above. Positioned approximately 4.5



DS-252 Version 6-2003                          37
miles east of the continental divide, lands within the project area are tributary to the South
Fork of Lyons Creek which drains to Little Prickly Pear Creek and then onto the Missouri
river. The elevation of the project area ranges from 7,765 feet at ridge tops to approximately
4,440 feet where the South fork Lyons Creek leaves State lands resulting in 3,325 feet on
elevation range within the project area. The average annual precipitation for the project area
ranges from 19 to 31 inches (Daly, 1998) with approximately 55% falling during winter
months as snow.

The landscape of the project area is consistent with the unique physiography of the Rocky
Mountain Front which is typically dominated by a series of generally parallel north-south
trending ridges and valleys. This geologic structure is the result of overthrust faulting which
has folded and ruptured the sedimentary beds from which these mountains are formed, in
such a way that sections of the older limestones alternate with sections of younger shales and
sandstones (Lewis, 1998). The original geologic structure within the project area has been
extensively modified by glaciation in the Rockies, and most present landforms were shaped
or altered by both alpine and/or valley glacial processes along with other fluvial processes.
Slopes within the project area are described as generally planer to slightly concave with
Pleistocene terrace features adjacent to the S. Fork Lyons Creek. The average slope of the
project area is 49% while the average slope of the harvest units is slightly steeper at 53%.

The geologic formations within the project area consist of two units of Belt metasediments.
The Newland Limestone and Spokane Shale are products of shallow marine environments
and can be characterized as reddish gray siltites, argillites with thin interbeds of quartzites.
No unique or usual geologic features were observed during field reconnaissance.

Slope stability was ocularly assessed during field reconnaissance on multiple field reviews by
DNRC resource specialists. Ridgetop and upland areas within the numerous ephemeral
draws tributary to the South Fork of Lyons Creek showed no signs of slope instability and
were characterized by shallow, well drained soils on moderate slopes. Further down slope at
approximately 6,500’ in elevation, transient hillslope water exhibited surface expressions
through numerous springs and seeps adjacent to increasingly incised ephemeral channel
features. These areas of high runoff generating capacity created small, locally weak,
saturated zones of colluvium with minimal bearing capacity. No slope failures or tension
crack were observed within these localized seeps, but these areas were noted as sensitive
with poor engineering properties that require equipment restrictions.

Nine unique soil map units have been identified by the Lewis and Clark County Area Soil
Survey published in its original form in 1992 and later released digitally in 2006. These nine
map units encompass the 488 acres of harvest units and all areas within the right-of-way
adjacent to new road construction. The potential for adverse affects associated with the
forest practices outlined in the proposed action are presented for each map unit in Table 1.
Soil map units and there respective descriptions can be found in Table 2 in appendix II.

          Table 1; Management Implications for Project Area Map Units
    Map Unit            Compaction             Displacement                  Erosion
      40D                  N/A                      Low                       Low



DS-252 Version 6-2003                           38
         63F                           Low                             Moderate                               Moderate/High
         84F                           Low                             Moderate                                 Moderate
        190F                           Low                             Moderate                                 Moderate
        290F                           Low                               Low                                      Low
        593E                           Low                             Moderate                                 Moderate
        690F                           Low                               Low                                      Low
        793F                           Low                           Moderate/High                                Low
        963F                           Low                             Moderate                                   Low
 *Based upon slope, surface rock fragments; plasticity index, sand content, depth to water table, Unified classification and ponding
 potential.




Generally speaking, the soils within the project area are well drained with moderate
permeability yielding minimal, if any, overland flow in natural undisturbed conditions. Steep
slopes within the harvest units provide efficient hillslope drainage with transitory saturation
only present immediately after significant precipitation events or spring runoff. The highly
resistant colluvium parent material of the Belt Supergroup contributes a large volume of
coarse fragments to the soil profile making map units relatively resistant to compaction.
Shallow soils near ridgetops and upland areas and sensitive surface soils are most affected by
traditional ground based equipment and road construction through displacement.

Existing Condition

Past forest management within the S. Fork Lyons Creek project area have been limited to
minimal road construction, fire suppression and grazing under two forest grazing licenses.
All of these actions have had minimal effects to the soil resource within the project area and
has resulted in reference like conditions in many portions of the watershed. Adjacent to the
S. Fork of Lyons Creek located in the SE ¼ of section 16, three native stream crossing sites
using log stringers have failed and are currently delivering fill material to the stream system.
This, along with administration of the forest grazing licenses, is the only adverse direct
anthropogenic effects to the S. Fork Lyons Creek within the project area.

Fire suppression by State and Federal agencies and surrounding private land owners over the
past several decades has excluded fire from in the S. Fork of Lyons Creek ecosystem. This
has contributed to the abundant levels of coarse woody material on the forest floor available
for forest nutrition, moisture retention, and long-term productivity of the site. Ocular
assessments of coarse woody material made during field review of the project area coincided
with historically levels of coarse woody material and that recommended in the literature
(Graham et al., 1994).

Environmental Consequences

Direct and Indirect Effect of No Action

Under the no action alternative timber harvest would be deferred with the only management
activity in the project area being the administration of the two forest grazing licenses. The
potential for catastrophic wildfire could possible increase as insects and disease increase tree
mortality and fuel loading. The adverse effect of wildfire to the physical, chemical and


DS-252 Version 6-2003                                                  39
biological properties of soils has been well documented in the literature and would be a
potential effect under the no action alternative.

Direct and Indirect Effects of Alternative B

Under action alternative B, approximately 2.5 MMBF of Douglas-fir, lodgepole and
ponderosa pine would be helicopter harvested from 374 acres with lesser amounts of timber
being harvested using conventional ground-based equipment (35 acres) and skyline methods
(81 acres). Due to harvest method selected for the majority of the project area under this
alternative, minimal amounts of ground disturbance is expected in the helicopter harvest
units with a low potential of adverse effects.

Conventional ground based equipment would only be used adjacent to road right-of-ways
where local slopes are favorable to the method, which is typically less then 45%. In these
small, localized areas ground disturbance is expected. Through twenty years of post timber
sale soil monitoring conducted by DNRC (DNRC, 2005), it has been shown that if BMP’s
are properly implemented, ground disturbance can be limited to 15% or less of the harvest
unit. These BMP’s and site specific mitigations include soil moisture requirements, skid trail
spacing, seasonal restrictions and line corridor spacing. Given the small amount of treated
acres using tractor harvest methods and the implementation of BMP’s, the amount
detrimental ground disturbance would be minimal and the impact would be low.

Under Alternative B, approximately 5.28 miles of new road would be constructed primarily
on hillslopes in upland locations within the south Lyons Creek watershed. Of the 5.28 total
miles of new road, only 0.93 miles would be on DNRC lands. The land use of the areas
impacted by road construction would permanently be changed from timber production to
transportation. Under this alternative, approximately 4.5 acres of DNRC land would be taken
out of production assuming a forty foot right-of-way.

Removing significant volumes of coarse woody material from a forested ecosystem can
affect the long-term productivity of the site and nutrient needs for future forest stands.
Graham et al. (1994) published coarse woody material recommendations for specific habitat
types in northern Idaho and western Montana. This document culminates the best available
science and experimental results into these recommendations for maintaining the long-term
productivity of the site. To mitigate any adverse effects to site nutrition, site moisture
retention, and microbial habitat, 10-15 tons of coarse woody material is recommended to be
retained on site. If this mitigation is effectively implemented, no adverse direct or indirect
affects to site nutrition and productivity is expected.

Direct and Indirect Effects of Alternative C

Under action alternative C, approximately 2.5 MMBF of Douglas-fir, lodgepole and
ponderosa pine would be helicopter harvested from 307 acres and conventional ground-based
equipment used in a larger portion of the project area then alternative B totaling 126 acres.
Skyline and cable yarding methods would be used on 81 acres. Due to the increased acreage
of conventional ground based harvest methods, alternative C would have moderate effects on



DS-252 Version 6-2003                          40
soil resources through displacement and compaction. Monitoring of past DNRC timber sales
has shown that effective implementation of BMPs has contributed to maintaining soil
productive by restricting soil disturbance to less then 15% of a harvest unit. Based on the
soil types found in the project area, implementation of BMPs and other soil mitigations
(listed above in alternative B) incorporated into the timber sale contract, the direct and
indirect effects of alternative C would have a moderate level of detrimental impacts to the
soil resource.

Under Alternative C, approximately 5.18 miles of new road would be constructed primarily
on hillslopes in upland locations within the south Lyons Creek watershed. Of the 5.18 total
miles of new road, only 1.4 miles would be on DNRC lands. The land use of the areas
impacted by road construction would permanently be changed from timber production to
transportation. Under this alternative, approximately 6.8 acres of DNRC land would be taken
out of production assuming a forty foot right-of-way.

Removing significant volumes of coarse woody material from a forested ecosystem can
affect the long-term productivity of the site and nutrient needs for future forest stands.
Graham et al. (1994) published coarse woody material recommendations for specific habitat
types in northern Idaho and western Montana. This document culminates the best available
science and experimental results into these recommendations for maintaining the long-term
productivity of the site. To mitigate any adverse effects to site nutrition, site moisture
retention, and microbial habitat, 10-15 tons of coarse woody material is recommended to be
retained on site. If this mitigation is effectively implemented, no adverse direct or indirect
affects to site nutrition and productivity is expected.


Cumulative Effects of No Action

Cumulative effects of the no action alternative include changes to soil physical, biological
and chemical properties that are associated with changes to stand dynamics as dead and
dying douglas fir, lodgepole and ponderosa pine begin to collapse and be replaced. Very few
long term soil productivity studies have been conducted that directly address soil properties
as a result of changed stand dynamics, but it is assumed here that no adverse cumulative
effects would occur accept those associated with high severity wildfire.

The potential for timber harvest on surrounding private land is a possibility and at this time it
is unclear as to the land management goals of private lands surrounding the project area. The
effects of private land owner actions would have no impact to the soils resource on State
owned lands. The only foreseen impact could possible be changes to snow accumulation
patterns and increased wind velocities adjacent to ownership boundaries, possible effecting
windthrow where local wind speeds could increase through vegetation manipulation.

Cumulative Effects of the Action Alternatives B and C

Cumulative effects to the soil resource would be controlled by limiting the area of adverse
soil impacts to less than 20% of harvest units (DNRC, 1996) through implementation of



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BMPs, skid trail planning on tractor units and limiting operations to dry or frozen conditions.
No historical timber harvest has been documented within this section. Future harvest
opportunities would likely use the same road systems, skid trails and landing sites to reduce
additional cumulative impacts. Large woody debris would be retained at 10-15 tons per acre
for nutrient cycling, moisture retention and long-term soil productivity. If BMPs are
effectively implemented within ground based harvest units and as a result of the majority of
the proposed action employing helicopter harvest methods, the risk of unacceptable long-
term impacts to the soil resource and soil productivity would be low.

Both alternatives provide infrastructure in the form of roads which could be used in the
foreseeable future for harvesting timber on the private ranch lands surrounds the project area.
While these actions would not cumulatively effect State owned lands, soil disturbance would
likely be expected on any timber management project on these lands.




Literature Cited

Daly, 1998. Western U.S. Average Monthly or Annual Precipitation, 1961-90. Water and
   Climate Center of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Portland, OR.

DNRC, 1996. State Forest Land Management Plan. Montana Department of Natural
  Resources and Conservation. FEIS, Missoula, MT.

DNRC, 2004. DNRC Compiled Soils Monitoring Report On Timber Harvest Projects, 1988-
  2004. Missoula, MT.

Graham, R.T, A.E. Harvey, M.F. Jurgensen, T.B. Jain, J.R. Tonn, D.S. Page-Dumroese.
   1994. Managing Coarse Woody debris in Forests of the Rocky Mountains. USDA
   Forest Service Intermountain Research Station. INT-RP-477. September 1994.

Lewis, R.S., compiler, 1998, Geologic map of the Butte 1 x 2 degree quadrangle, Montana
   Bureau of Mines and Geology: Open File Report 363, 16 p., 1 sheet(s), 1:250,000.

USDA, NRCS. 2006. Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) database for the Lewis and Clark
   County Are, MT. USDA, NRCS. Fort Worth, TX
Appendix I; Maps




DS-252 Version 6-2003                         42
Appendix I; Maps and Figures




Figure 1; Soil map units within the Lyons Creek timber        Figure 2; Soil map units within the Lyons Creek timber
sale project area depicting new road locations for            sale project area depicting new road locations for
Alternative B.                                                Alternative C.




DS-252 Version 6-2003                                    43
Appendix II; Tables
Table 2; S. Fork Lyons Creek Timber Sale Soil Map Units and Descriptions

Map Unit                       Series Name              Acres                         Soil Description                              Taxonomic Class
                                                                  Exposures of argillite, limestone, and granite bedrock; Talus
  40D                    Rock Outcrop-Rubble Land        10                                   slopes                                         N/A
                                                                   Well drained, very channery loam. Located on mountain           Loamy-skeletal, mixed,
                                                         89     backslopes and shoulders derived from Argillite colluvium. Tolex   superactive, frigid Typic
   63F             Mocmont-Tolex Complex, 25-60%                  soils are shallow (<20in); Mocmont soils are deep (>60 in).           Haplustalfs

                                                                Same description as above but typically found on north faceing     Loamy-skeletal, mixed,
                                                         24        slopes and higher elevations soil temperature is lower.         superactive, frigid Typic
   84F                  Mocmont-Tolex, Cool, 25-60%                                                                                     Haplustalfs
                                                                Well drained, channery loam derived from Argilite colluvium on
                                                                mountain backslopes and footslopes. Shadow soils are deep          Loamy-skeletal, mixed,
                                                                        (>60 in) and Cowood soils are shallow (<20in).               superactive, Ustic,
  190F            Shadow-Cowood Complex, 25-60%         128.3                                                                          Eutrocryepts
                                                                 Well drained, very deep, channery loam derived from Argilite      Loamy-skeletal, mixed,
              Stemple-Tigeron Very Channery Loam, 30-            and Igneous colluvium on mountain slopes ranging in slope           superactive Typic
  290F                         60%                      116.9                           from 30-60%.                                    Palecryalfs
                                                                 Well drained, very channery loam. Liberg soils are very deep
                                                                (>60in) found on mountain backslopes derived from colluvium.
                                                                Cheadle soils are shallow (<20in) found on shoulder slopes with    Loamy-skeletal, mixed,
                                                                         Argilite or Igneous bedrock at shallow depths.              superactive Ustic
  593E        Libeg-Cheadle Outcrop Complex, 15-45%      3.0                                                                            Argicryolls

                                                                Similar description as Map Unit 290F only with Cowood soils as
                                                                a minor component to the complex (15%). Typically found dry,       Loamy-skeletal, mixed,
               Stemple-Tigeron-Cowood Very Channery                                                                                  superactive Typic
                                                                                  south facing mountain slopes.
  690F                   Loam, Dry, 30-60%              94.8                                                                            Palecryalfs

                                                                Cowood soils are shallow (10-20in), well drained, very channery
                                                                   loam derived from Argilites and Igneous parent material.
                                                                  Cowood composes approximately 70% of the complex with            Loamy-skeletal, mixed,
                                                                Argillite and limestone outcrops composing the remaining 30%.        superactive Lithic
  793F         Cowood-Rock Outcrop Complex, 25-60%       44                                                                            Eutrocryepts
                                                                  Complex composition included Tolex soils (45%), Mocmont
                                                                 soils (35%) and hard Argilite rock outcrops (20%). Tolex soils
                                                                    are shallow, well drained channery loams positioned on
                                                                  mountain shoulder slopes. Mocmont soils are well drained,        Loamy-skeletal, mixed,
             Tolex-Mocmont-Rock Outcrop Complex, 25-               deep channery loams. Both are derived from Argilite and         superactive, frigid Lithic
  963F                        60%                        13                        Igneous parent material.                             Haplustalfs




DS-252 Version 6-2003                                                44
Attachment: “F”




                                          South Lyons Helicopter Timber Sale
                                                  Watershed Report
                                                   G. Frank 6/15/07


           Affected Watersheds:

           All of the proposed harvest units are located on State Trust Lands administered by DNRC in
           Sections 16, 18 and 20 T14N R5W. The proposed harvest areas within these parcels are located
           entirely within the South Fork Lyon Creek watershed. The existing access roads to the proposed
           harvest areas are located within the Rattlesnake Creek, Sawmill Gulch, Big Mill Creek, Medicine
           Rock Creek, Lyons Creek and South Fork Lyons Creek watersheds. The proposed segments of
           new road construction are located within both the Big Mill Creek and the South Fork Lyon Creek
           watersheds.

           Lyons Creek is a perennial, fourth order, Class 1 stream (under the Montana SMZ Law) that is a
           tributary to Little Prickly Pear Creek in the Upper Missouri River Basin. Lyons Creek (including the
           South Fork of Lyons Creek) drains a watershed area of approximately 19,123 acres. Elevations in
           the watershed range from 3760 feet to 7700 feet. Average annual precipitation ranges from below
           20” per year near the mouth of Lyons Creek to over 30” per year in the headwaters of the drainage.
           The South Fork of Lyons Creek is a perennial, third order, Class 1 stream that drains a watershed
           area of approximately 4526 acres.

           The proposed harvest areas also contain several first and second order streams and ephemeral
           draws that are tributaries to the South Fork of Lyons Creek. These small drainage features contain
           ephemeral, intermittent and perennial reaches of stream channel that are considered Class 1, 2
           and 3 streams under the Montana SMZ Law.

           Medicine Rock Creek is a perennial, third order, Class 1 tributary to Little Prickly Pear Creek.
           Medicine Rock Creek drains a watershed area of approximately 5867 acres.

           Rattlesnake Creek is a perennial, third order, Class 1 tributary to Canyon Creek. Canyon Creek is
           a tributary to Little Prickly Pear Creek in the Upper Missouri River Basin. Some reaches of the
           mainstem of Rattlesnake Creek are likely to be seasonally intermittent during relatively dry years.
           Rattlesnake Creek drains a watershed area of approximately 3065 acres.

           Big Mill Creek is a perennial, third order, Class 1 stream that is also a tributary to Canyon Creek.
           This stream drains a watershed area of approximately 6,101 acres. Sawmill Gulch is a perennial,
           second order, Class 1 tributary to Big Mill Creek that drains a watershed area of approximately
           1987 acres.

           Storm intensity (amount of rainfall per unit of time) is an important consideration for the proposed
           project area. Summer convective thunderstorms commonly produce large amounts of rainfall over
           relatively short periods of time causing large amounts of overland flow, erosion and flooding. Peak
           flows were monitored in Lyons Creek from 1959 to 1975. The data collected during this period
           shows a high degree of variability in the magnitude of peak flows. A low peak discharge of 13
           cubic feet per second (cfs) was recorded in 1961, while a high of 580 cfs was recorded in 1975.
           This variability illustrates the low storage capacity of soils in the affected watersheds and the close
           relationship between runoff and high precipitation events that can occur in these watersheds.


           DS-252 Version 6-2003                             45
Existing Conditions of Affected Environment

Water Quality

This portion of the Missouri River basin, including the tributaries affected by the proposed timber sale
and described in this report, is classified as B-1 in the Montana Surface Water Quality Standards.
The B-1 classification is for multiple use waters suitable for domestic use after conventional
treatment, growth and propagation of cold-water fisheries, associated aquatic life and wildlife,
agricultural, and industrial uses. Among other criteria for B-1 waters, no increases are allowed
above naturally occurring concentrations of sediment, which will prove detrimental to fish or wildlife.
Naturally occurring includes conditions or materials present from runoff on developed land where
all reasonable land, soil, and water conservation practices have been applied. Reasonable
practices include methods, measures, or practices that protect present and reasonably anticipated
beneficial uses. The State has adopted Forestry Best Management Practices through its Nonpoint
Source Management Plan as the principle means of controlling nonpoint source pollution from
silvicultural activities.
None of the watershed potentially affected by the proposed timber sale has been identified as
being impaired streams on the 2006 Montana 303(d) list.

The primary concern with water quality within the affected watersheds is accelerated rates of
sediment delivery to streams from existing low standard roads. Existing road conditions within the
affected watershed have been inventoried and evaluated by DNRC numerous times in the recent
past. The existing roads in the Lyons Creek watershed were evaluated in 1990 during the
preparation of the Lyons Creek Timber Sale, in 1999 as part of a comprehensive watershed
inventory completed for the Wolf Creek and Lyons Creek watersheds, and in 2006 during field
surveys completed for this proposed timber sale.

The existing access route in Rattlesnake Creek and Sawmill Gulch were evaluated in 1991 for the
Sawmill Gulch Timbers Sale, in 2006 for the Rattlesnake Creek Timber Sale, and again in 2007
during field surveys completed for this proposed sale. The existing access route through Medicine
Rock Creek and Lyons Creek were evaluated in 1990 for the Lyons Creek Timber Sale and in
2006 during field surveys completed for this proposed sale.

Many segments of the existing roads located within the affected watersheds, including roads that
are to be used under the proposed timber sale for access and hauling, do not meet minimum
BMPs and are contributing direct sediment delivery to streams. All of the road segments that are
directly impacting water quality and are to be used under this proposal are located on private land.

One segment of the existing private access road in the South Fork of Lyons Creek is located within
the SMZ and contains three failed stream crossing constructed from earth fill and native logs.
These failed crossing sites as well as the poor location of this road pose both short-term and long-
term risks of sediment delivery to the South Fork of Lyons Creek. Several segments of the existing
private access road located in Medicine Rock Creek also do not meet minimum BMPs.

The lower ½ mile of the existing private access road in Rattlesnake Creek is located immediately
adjacent to the stream. Chronic direct delivery of sediment from road surface runoff occurs at
several locations along this segment of road. Additional road surface drainage features and
sediment filtration structures were recently installed under the DNRC Rattlesnake Creek Timber
Sale. These improvements are expected to prevent and minimize the short-term risk of direct
sediment delivery during DNRC’s use of this road system. The life-span and effectiveness of these



DS-252 Version 6-2003                             46
improvements is not expected to address long-term risks of sediment delivery from this road
system.

Cumulative Watershed Effects

Timber harvest and associated road construction activities can potentially affect the amount and
timing of water yield in a watershed. Water yields increase proportionately to the amount and
extent of canopy removal that occurs within a watershed. Removal of live trees reduces the
amount of water that is transpired leaving more water available for runoff. Timber harvest also
decreases the amount of tree canopy interception of rain and snow and also can alter snow pack
distribution and the timing of snowmelt, further increasing water yields. Higher water yields may
lead to increases in the amount and duration of peaks flows, which can result in channel instability,
accelerated streambank erosion and increased sediment loading and deposition.

A coarse filter analysis was completed for the affected watersheds to determine the potential for
cumulative watershed effects due to increase water yields, and increased magnitude and duration
of peak flows. The analysis areas used for the CWE coarse filter were the entire Lyons Creek
watershed (includes the South Fork) and the Upper Canyon Creek watershed. The coarse filter
analysis was completed using 1995 aerial photography. Ariel photos were used to determine road
densities and to estimate the amount of forested area that had been harvest during the recent past
(approximately 30 years). Harvest activities conducted after 1995 were included in the analysis
through field reconnaissance and by information provided by the vegetative analysis completed by
the DNRC Helena Unit.

Results of the cumulative watershed effects coarse filter indicate that it is very unlikely that there
are existing detrimental cumulative watershed effects due to increased water yields occurring in
any of the affected watersheds. The Lyons Creek watershed analysis area is 19,123 acres in size
and it includes the South Fork of Lyons Creek. Less than 5% of this watershed analysis area has
been harvested in the recent past. The Upper Canyon Creek watershed analysis area is
approximately 15,169 acres in size and it includes the Rattlesnake Creek, Sawmill Gulch and Big
Mill Creeks watersheds. Less than 5% of the analysis area within Upper Canyon Creek has been
harvested in the recent past.

The results of the vegetative analysis completed for the proposed project are similar to the results
of the watershed coarse filter and also support these conclusions. The vegetative analysis
indicates that rangelands account for nearly 13,376 acres, or 20% of the study area. Low density
forest is credited for 3% of the land base in the analysis area, or about 1,896 acres. High density
forest is approximately 48,162 acres or 73% of the study area. “Past harvest” totals approximately
2,909 acres or 4% of the analysis area. Detrimental cumulative watershed effects due to increased
water yields are not typically associated with the low levels of existing timber harvest demonstrated
by these two analyses. Therefore, a more detailed water yield analysis is not necessary.

Stream channels within the project area were also evaluated during a watershed inventory
completed by DNRC in 1999 and during field reviews completed for the proposed timber sale in
2006. The mainstream of the South Fork consist of primarily Rosgen B4 channel in the lower
reaches of the project area and Rosgen A2 and A3 channel types in the upper headwater reaches.
Active channel widths in the mainstream South Fork vary between 2-4 feet, while estimated
bankfull widths range from 2.5 to 5 feet. Stream channel stability was evaluated using the
Pfankuch method and rated as “good” on those reaches of the South Fork within the immediate
project area. The streambanks are covered with dense shrub component and forest stands with
no evidence of previous harvest. The upper reaches of the stream channel contain bedrock


DS-252 Version 6-2003                             47
features that control grades. The amount of in-channel large woody debris observed in the South
Fork was considered representative of an unmanaged watershed.

The proposed project area also contains several intermittent and perennial streams and ephemeral
draws that are tributaries to the South Fork of Lyons Creek. These streams contain reaches of A2,
A3, A4 and B4 channel types. Localized areas of channel instability are found on several of these
tributaries. These sites are associated with broad springs and sub-irrigated steep unstable side
slopes adjacent to these small drainages (see Soils Report).


ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS

No action
No direct, indirect or cumulative effects to water quality or quantity would be expected to result
from no action other than those described under Existing Conditions.

Action Alternative B Under action alternative B, approximately 2.5 MMBF of timber would be
helicopter harvested from 374 acres, 35 acres would be harvested and yarded using ground-based
equipment, and 81 acres would be harvested using skyline cable methods. Approximately 5.28
miles of new road would be constructed primarily on private ranch timberland adjacent to the State
parcels. Only 0.93 mile of the new road construction would be located on DNRC land.

Action Alternative C
Under action alternative C approximately 2.5 MMBF of timber would be harvest. As under
alternative B helicopter yarding would be used for most of the harvest area. However, under
alternative B ground based harvest would be used for a larger portion of the project area than used
under alternative B. Under alternative C helicopter harvest would occur on 307 acres, ground
based harvest would occur on 126 acres and cable harvest would occur on 81 acres. Under
alternative C approximately 5.18 miles of new road would be constructed of which 1.4 miles would
be on DNRC lands (see map of proposed alternative C on page 32.)

Cumulative Effects of Alternative B and C

Neither of the two proposed action alternatives would appreciable change the amount of total
harvest area in either of the two cumulative watershed effects analysis areas (Upper Canyon
Creek or Lyons Creek). The amount of timber harvest proposed in the Upper Canyon Creek
Watershed is limited to a small amount of right away clearing for access road construction
associated with alternative B. Under alternative B, less than 1 acre of harvest within this
watershed analysis area would be necessary for to construct this segment of road.

Under either of the proposed action alternatives only approximately 3% of the Lyons Creek
watershed would be harvested. The amount of total cumulative harvest within the watershed
would still below 8% of the watershed area. Detrimental cumulative watershed effects due to
increased water yields are not associated with these low levels of cumulative timber harvest. In
addition most of the trees that would be harvested under the proposal are infected with spruce
budworm. These trees are either dead, dying or heavily defoliated and subsequently these stands
will have very little influence on offsite water yields even if left unharvested. No cumulative
watershed effects due to increased water yields are anticipated under either of the proposed action
alternatives.




DS-252 Version 6-2003                           48
Direct and Indirect Effects of Alternative B and C
Timber harvest can potentially impact water quality by increasing the levels erosion and fine
sediment delivery to streams. Soil erosion and the subsequent potential for sediment delivery to
streams can be effectively avoided, minimized and/or mitigated by selecting the appropriate type of
harvest system and yarding method, restricting harvest operations to suitable season and
environmental conditions, and application of adequate buffer zones on streams and ephemeral
drainage features.

The proposed harvest area for both alternative B and C have been reviewed and evaluated in the
field by a DNRC hydrologist, fisheries biologist and soil scientist. Under both alternatives,
helicopter logging would be the primary harvest system used to yard logs to landing areas. All
SMZ harvest and harvest on steeper slopes would be conducted by helicopter yarding. The
proposed helicopter harvest operations are very low risk for erosion and subsequent sediment
delivery to streams. Under alternative B, tractor and cable yarding would be used for a relatively
small amount of the total harvest area. Alternative C include approximately 91 more acres of
ground-based harvest that were included as helicopter logging in alternative B.. However, the
additional areas to be logged by ground based equipment are located on moderate slopes, ridge
tops and away from streams, ephemeral draws, and potentially unstable slopes. The use of
primarily helicopter yarding, and the implementation of appropriate BMPs and other mitigation
measures will be used to reduce the risk and severity of soil erosion and potential sediment
delivery to streams and ephemeral drainage features. In addition, SMZs will be designed to
effectively buffer streams and other drainage features from harvests operations.

The primary risks to water quality that are associated with the proposed timber sale are roads,
especially roads located immediately adjacent to or crossing streams. Risks of erosion and
sediment delivery are highest when roads are located in areas with inadequate buffering between
streams and other drainage features, on erosive soils, or on steep and/or unstable slopes. A lack
of periodic maintenance and adequate surface drainage features, and use during wet periods or
conditions may also contribute to higher risk. The existing access roads and new road locations
proposed under both action alternatives B and C have been reviewed and inventoried by a DNRC
hydrologist, fisheries biologist and soil scientist. Existing and proposed road locations were
evaluated to determine both the existing and potential risk of erosion and sources of sediment
delivery to streams.

Access to the proposed harvest areas would utilize two existing road systems The Rattlesnake
road (10.38 miles) provides access to the top of the ridge crest in the SW portion of the project
area. The Medicine Rock Cut-Across/South Fork Lyons Creek Roads (15.49 miles) would be used
to access the sale area from the east adjacent to the mainstream of the South Fork of Lyons
Creek. Several segments of these existing roads do not meet BMPs. Several sites have been
identified where these existing road are contributing direct sediment delivery to streams or at high
risk of contributing to direct delivery. As noted in the “Existing Conditions” section of this report, the
problem road sites on the Rattlesnake Road have been addressed under the currently active
DNRC Rattlesnake Creek Timber Sale. The short-term improvements and mitigation measures
implemented under the Rattlesnake Creek Timber Sale would be maintained and upgraded as
necessary during the term of this proposed action.

Also under both of the proposed action alternatives a problematic segment of existing road that is
located immediately adjacent to the South Fork of Lyons Creek would be located upslope and out
of the SMZ. Three failed native material stream crossing sites that pose both short-term and long-
term risk of sediment delivery would also be reclaimed and stabilized under the proposal.



DS-252 Version 6-2003                               49
Under Alternative B, approximately 5.28 miles of total new road construction would be required to
access potential helicopter landing areas and to reduce flight distance. Approximately 4.35 miles
of the new road would be constructed from the end of the Rattlesnake road to access the SW ¼ of
State section 20. This new road would be located relatively high on the ridge dividing the South
Fork of Lyons from Big Mill Creek. The proposed road location is on moderate slopes and includes
several shallow ephemeral draw and swale features, but does not include any new stream
crossings. Approximately 0.93 miles of this road is located on State land. The portion of road
construction on the State ownership would be abandoned, slashed and seeded after the proposed
use. There is low risk of sediment delivery to streams associated with the new road construction
proposed under alternative B.


Under alternative C, approximately 5.18 miles of new road construction would be constructed from
the Rattlesnake road to access helicopter landing areas and tractor units in the SW ¼ of State
section 20 and the South ½ of the State ownership in Section 18. All of this proposed new road is
also located on moderate slopes near ridge tops and only includes shallow draw and swale
features. These road location do not include any new stream crossings. Approximately 1.4 miles
of this road is located on State land that would be abandoned, slashed and seeded after the
proposed use. There is low risk of sediment delivery to streams associated with the new road
construction proposed under alternative C.


Under both alternatives B and C, approximately 0.8 miles of new road would be constructed on
private and state land adjacent to the South Fork of Lyons Creek. This proposed road would
relocate an exiting segment of road up the hillside and out of the SMZ. The proposed road
includes a culvert crossing of a small unnamed perennial tributary to South Fork Lyons and a
relocated bridge crossing of the South Fork of Lyons Creek. Both of these proposed crossing sites
are located on gentle slopes where standard BMPs and stream crossing mitigation measures
should be effective in avoiding or minimizing risk of sediment delivery.

Relocation of the existing road out of the SMZ and reclamation of failed native bridge sites in South
Fork Lyons Creek is expected to reduce long-term risk to water quality and reduce existing impacts
to downstream beneficial uses. Maintenance of recent road improvements and mitigation
measures implemented during the Rattlesnake Creek Timber Sale are expected to continue to
protect and improve water quality in Rattlesnake Creek over the short-term (during the term of the
proposed action alternatives). The long-term risk of chronic sediment delivery to Rattlesnake
Creek will not be addressed by either of the proposed action alternatives.

Under both alternatives B and C, some short-term increases in low levels of sediment delivery to
Rattlesnake Creek, South Fork Lyons Creek, unnamed tributaries to South Fork Lyons Creek
and/or ephemeral draw bottoms may occur during and shortly after implementation of road
improvements, construction of sediment filters, installation of culverts and removal of failed native
bridges materials. However, application of BMPs, site specific design and mitigation measures are
expected to reduce erosion and potential sediment delivery to acceptable levels as defined under
the Montana Water Quality Standards. Acceptable levels are defined as those conditions
occurring where all reasonable land, soil and water conservation practices have been applied. No
direct, indirect or cumulative impacts to downstream beneficial uses in the South Fork of Lyons
Creek, Rattlesnake Creek, Medicine Rock Creek or other affected streams are anticipated under
implementation of either alternative B or C.




DS-252 Version 6-2003                            50
Attachment: “G”




                                       Lyons Helo’ Timber Sale – Fisheries Analysis

          Jim Bower – Fisheries Program Specialist, DNRC
          3 April 2008



          1        OBJECTIVE

          The purpose of this analysis is the assessment of impacts to fisheries affected by proposed forest
          management activities within the ‘Lyons Helo’ Timber Sale project area.


          1.1      INTRODUCTION

          The ‘Lyons Helo’ Timber Sale project area includes State Trust Lands within T14N R5W Sections 16, 18,
          and 20, which lie within the Lyons Creek drainage (6th code HUC number 100301011903.) Up to 490 acres
          of total harvest area is proposed through approximately 12 different harvest units within the project area.
          The project area also includes 2 primary haul routes that lie within the Little Prickly Pear Creek drainage (6th
          code HUC number 100301011904) and Lower Canyon Creek drainage (6th code HUC number
          100301011807.)

          Lyons and Canyon creeks adjacent to the project area are not identified on the 2006 Montana 303(d) lists as
          impaired streams. Little Prickly Pear Creek is listed as an impaired waterbody downstream of the project
          area and one of the access routes. This impaired reach of the river is described as not supporting aquatic
          life and cold water fisheries, and no probable sources of the impairment are associated with past, existing or
          proposed activities in the project area.

          The Little Prickly Pear Creek drainage adjacent to the project area, including the Lyons Creek and Canyon
          Creek watersheds, is classified as B-1 in the Montana Surface Water Quality Standards (ARM
          17.30.608(b)(i)). The B-1 classification is for multiple beneficial use waters including the growth and
          propagation of cold-water fisheries and associated aquatic life. Among other criteria for B-1 waters, a 1ºF
          maximum increase above naturally occurring water temperature is allowed within the range of 32ºF to 66ºF
          (0ºC to 18.9ºC), and no increases are allowed above naturally occurring concentrations of sediment or
          suspended sediment, which will harm or prove detrimental to fish or other wildlife. In regards to sediment,
          ‘naturally occurring’ includes conditions or materials present from runoff or percolation from developed land
          where all reasonable land, soil and water conservation practices have been applied (ARM 17.30.603(19)).
          Reasonable practices include methods, measures or practices that protect present and reasonably
          anticipated beneficial uses (ARM 17.30.603(24)). The State has adopted Forestry Best Management
          Practices (BMPs) through its Non-point Source Management Plan as the principle means of controlling non-
          point source pollution from silvicultural activities (Thomas et al 1990).


          1.2      FISHERIES ANALYSIS AREAS

          Three different analysis areas that contain distinct fisheries distributions were initially identified in order to
          evaluate the existing and potential impacts to fisheries connected to the project area. These analysis areas
          are the South and Main Lyons, Canyon Creek Tribs, and Little Prickly Pear Tribs watersheds (see Map 1).
          The initial analysis areas were chosen because they include (1) the watersheds of fish-bearing streams and
          (2) the proposed harvest units and/or associated haul routes that could have foreseeable measurable or
          detectable impacts to those fish-bearing streams. The analysis areas are delineated using 6th code HUC
          scale or smaller watershed boundaries.




          DS-252 Version 6-2003                                  51
Map 1 – Lyons Helo Timber Sale Project and Analysis Areas




DS-252 Version 6-2003                          52
1.3       SPECIES

Native fish species within the analysis areas include westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi)
and mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi). Introduced and non-native species known to persist within the analysis
areas are eastern brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and brown trout
(Salmo trutta).

Westslope cutthroat trout are listed as Class-A Montana Animal Species of Concern. A Class-A designation
is defined as a species or subspecies that has limited numbers and/or habitats both in Montana and
elsewhere in the North America and elimination from Montana would be a significant loss to the gene pool of
the species or subspecies ((Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), Montana Natural Heritage Program,
and Montana Chapter American Fisheries Society Rankings)). The Department of Natural Resources and
Conservation (DNRC) has also identified westslope cutthroat trout as a sensitive species ((Administrative
Rule of Montana (ARM) 36.11.436)).


1.4       FISHERIES ISSUES RAISED DURING SCOPING

Issues, in respect to this environmental analysis, are not specifically defined by either the Montana
Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) or the Council on Environmental Quality. For the purposes of this
environmental analysis, issues will be considered actual or perceived effects, risks, or hazards as a result of
the proposed alternatives.

Two written issues and one comment regarding fisheries resources were raised through public participation
during the scoping process. The two written issues are: (1) logging may cause stream sedimentation that
leads to the spread of whirling disease and (2) construction and maintenance of the South Fork Lyons Road
will cause stream sedimentation. The single comment is: the removal of a newly constructed section of the
South Fork Lyons Road will be necessary to preserve fish resources.

Issues raised internally include: the proposed actions may adversely affect fisheries habitat features,
including channel forms, stream temperature, and connectivity.


1.5       ANALYSIS METHODS

The existing conditions of fisheries habitat features will be described for each analysis unit under the
EXISTING CONDITIONS section of this analysis. The ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS section will compare
the existing conditions in each analysis area to the anticipated effects of the proposed No-Action and Action
Alternatives to determine the foreseeable impacts to associated fisheries habitat features.

Analysis methods are a function of the types and quality of data available for analysis, which varies among
the different analysis areas. The analyses may either be quantitative or qualitative. The best available data
for both populations and habitats will be presented separately for the South and Main Lyons, Canyon Creek
Tribs, and Little Prickly Pear Tribs analysis areas. In order to adequately address the issues raised in
Section 1.4 (Fisheries Issues Raised during Scoping) the existing conditions and foreseeable environmental
effects to fisheries in the analysis areas will be explored using the following outline of issues and subissues.
Sedimentation will be addressed through an analysis of effects to channel forms.

      −   Fisheries Habitat – Channel Forms
              o Fisheries Habitat – Sediment
              o Fisheries Habitat – Flow Regimes
              o Fisheries Habitat – Large Woody Debris
      −   Habitat – Stream Temperature
              o Fisheries Habitat – Stream Shading
      −   Habitat – Connectivity
      −   Existing Collective Impacts and Cumulative Effects



DS-252 Version 6-2003                                 53
2        ALTERNATIVES

See CHAPTER II – ALTERNATIVES in the LYONS HELO TIMBER SALE PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL
ANALYSIS for detailed information, specific mitigations, and road-management plans pertaining to the No-
Action and Action Alternatives.


2.1      PROPOSED ACTION ALTERNATIVES AND RELATED MITIGATIONS

The proposed Action Alternatives include approximately 12 harvest units primarily within the South and Main
Lyons analysis area (see Maps 2 and 3). Up to 490 acres of total harvest area is proposed within the
harvest units.

Fisheries-related resource mitigations that would be implemented with the proposed Action Alternative
include: (1) applying all applicable Forestry BMPs (including the SMZ Law and Rules) and Forest
Management Administrative Rules for fisheries, soils, and wetland riparian management zones (ARMs
36.11.425 and 36.11.426); (2) applying the SMZ Law and Rules to all non-fish-bearing streams and lakes,
and; (3) monitoring all road-stream crossings for sedimentation and deterioration of road prism.


2.2      ANALYSIS AREA DISMISSED FROM FURTHER ANALYSIS

After additional review and consideration of (1) the extent and location of the analysis areas, (2) the issues
raised during scoping, (3) the extent and location of the proposed harvest units and associated roads, and
(4) the fisheries related resource mitigations, the determination has been made that the assessment of
potential impacts to fisheries in the Little Prickly Pear Tribs analysis area does not need to occur any further
in this fisheries analysis. The rationale for this determination includes: (1) There are no fish-bearing streams
or lakes within this analysis area that are adjacent to the proposed haul route, and (2) there are no known
streams in the analysis area that would readily facilitate the delivery of measurable or detectable levels of
sediment or other materials from the proposed haul route to known fish-bearing streams or lakes. There are
not expected to be any potential adverse impacts associated with the proposed Action Alternative to the
fisheries habitat features of large woody debris, stream temperature, or stream shading in this analysis area.
In conclusion, there are not expected to be any foreseeable measurable or detectable direct, indirect, or
cumulative effects to fisheries resources in the Little Prickly Pear Tribs analysis area.


3        EXISTING CONDITIONS

In terms of the risk that an impact may occur, a low risk of an impact means that the impact is unlikely to
occur. A moderate risk of an impact means that the impact may or may not (50/50) occur. A high risk of an
impact means that the impact is likely to occur.

A very low impact means that the impact is unlikely to be detectable or measurable, and the impact is not
likely to be detrimental to the resource. A low impact means that the impact is likely to be detectable or
measurable, but the impact is not likely to be detrimental to the resource. A moderate impact means that
the impact is likely to be detectable or measurable, and the impact is likely to be moderately detrimental to
the resource. A high impact means that the impact is likely to be detectable or measurable, and the impact
is likely to be highly detrimental to the resource.




DS-252 Version 6-2003                                 54
Map 2 – Lyons Helo Timber Sale (ALTERNATIVE B) Proposed Harvest Units




DS-252 Version 6-2003                        55
Map 3 – Lyons Helo Timber Sale (ALTERNATIVE C) Proposed Harvest Units




DS-252 Version 6-2003                        56
3.1 SOUTH AND MAIN LYONS ANALYSIS AREA

The existing conditions of channel forms in fish-bearing reaches will be addressed by evaluating the
collective characteristics of sediment, flow regime, and large woody debris features. Considering stream
morphology and type, coarse filter surveys of the fish-bearing reaches have found that relative proportions of
substrates comprising stream channel forms appear to be representative of the expected ranges of
substrates that would be found in unmanaged watersheds. Due to the past failures of 3 native materials
bridges on South Fork Lyons Creek, the Soils and Hydrology Analyses have estimated that low to moderate
levels of road material are currently contributed to streams in the South and Main Lyons analysis area. The
Hydrology Analysis has also determined that there is no existing departure in flow regime in the analysis
area. The zone of recruitable large woody debris is defined in this project as the lateral distance from the
streambank to a point equal to the average site potential tree height at 100 years for dominant and co-
dominant tree species in the project area; in this case 92 feet. An analysis of the total area of recruitable
large woody debris to fish-bearing streams and the total area affected by past management activities (e.g.
any timber harvest, road construction) indicates that approximately 6.5 percent of the area of recruitable
large woody debris to fish-bearing streams has been impacted to some degree by past management
activities. Considering existing sediment conditions and road erosion, flow regime, and the extent of
potential impacts to large woody debris recruitment, a high risk of low impacts to channel forms occurs in the
analysis area.

Although many different variables affect the natural fluctuations and ranges of stream temperatures (e.g.
groundwater inflows, loss of flow, stream gradient, stream width to depth ratio, volume), stream shading is
the variable that typically has the greatest affect on stream temperatures in headwater streams and is also
the variable most likely affected by management activities. For practical purposes the zone of vegetation
that is considered to have the greatest affect on stream shading in headwater streams in the project area is
generally confined to the area within the lateral extent of the average site potential tree height; in this case 92
feet. An analysis of the total vegetation zone providing stream shading to all connected fish-bearing and
non-fish-bearing streams and the total area affected by past management activities (e.g. any timber harvest,
road construction) indicates that approximately 2.9 percent of the area of total vegetation zone providing
stream shading has been impacted to some degree by past management activities. Based on this simple
assessment, a low risk of very low impacts to stream temperatures likely exists in the analysis area.

Connectivity is the measure of fish passage or migration potential throughout a stream system. Four
intermittent, naturally occurring fish passage barriers are known to occur in the most upper fish-bearing
reaches of South Fork Lyons Creek. Nine road-stream crossings (8 bridges and 1 culvert) occur within the
analysis area, none of which have adverse impacts to fisheries connectivity. As adult fish are currently able
to migrate through all of the road-stream crossing sites and access all available habitat in the analysis area,
consequent impacts to spawning and various life stage expression are likely negligible.

Other related existing actions within the analysis area include general harvest, road maintenance, and site-
preparation activities associated with a timber harvest permit in T14N R5W Section 16 (approximately 13
acres) and occasional recreational fishing. These other related existing actions are considered to have a
general low impact to fisheries in the analysis area.

Considering a high risk of low impacts to channel forms, a low risk of very low impacts to stream
temperature, no impacts to connectivity, and a general low impact from other related actions, a low collective
impact to fisheries habitat features likely exists in the South and Main Lyons analysis area.




DS-252 Version 6-2003                                   57
3.2      CANYON CREEK TRIBS ANALYSIS AREA

The existing conditions of channel forms in fish-bearing reaches will be addressed by evaluating the
collective characteristics of sediment, flow regime, and large woody debris features. Considering stream
morphology and type, coarse filter surveys of the fish-bearing reaches have found that relative proportions of
substrates comprising stream channel forms appear to be representative of the expected ranges of
substrates that would be found in unmanaged watersheds. The Hydrology Analysis has determined that
road materials are currently contributed to several, lower stream reaches in the Canyon Creek Tribs analysis
area. The Hydrology Analysis has also determined that there is no existing departure in flow regime in the
analysis area. The zone of recruitable large woody debris is defined in this project as the lateral distance
from the streambank to a point equal to the average site potential tree height at 100 years for dominant and
co-dominant tree species in the project area; in this case 92 feet. An analysis of the total area of recruitable
large woody debris to fish-bearing streams and the total area affected by past management activities (e.g.
any timber harvest, road construction) indicates that approximately 2.8 percent of the area of recruitable
large woody debris to fish-bearing streams has been impacted to some degree by past management
activities. Considering existing sediment conditions and road erosion, flow regime, and the extent of
potential impacts to large woody debris recruitment, a high risk of low impacts to channel forms occurs in the
analysis area.

For practical purposes the zone of vegetation that is considered to have the greatest affect on stream
shading in headwater streams in the project area is generally confined to the area within the lateral extent of
the average site potential tree height; in this case 92 feet. An analysis of the total vegetation zone providing
stream shading to all connected fish-bearing and non-fish-bearing streams and the total area affected by
past management activities (e.g. any timber harvest, road construction) indicates that approximately 4.1
percent of the area of total vegetation zone providing stream shading has been impacted to some degree by
past management activities. Based on this simple assessment, a low risk of low impacts to stream
temperatures likely exists in the analysis area.

Eight road-stream crossings (2 bridges and 6 culverts) occur within the analysis area, some of which have
adverse impacts to fisheries connectivity. Adult fish are currently able to migrate through a limited number of
road-stream crossing sites and freely access 43 percent of the available habitat in the analysis area. The
consequent impacts to spawning and various life stage expressions are likely moderate.

Other related existing actions within the analysis area include general harvest, road maintenance, and site-
preparation activities associated with the Rattlesnake Timber Sale in T14N R6W Section 36 (approximately
165 acres), various private timber harvest, and occasional recreational fishing. These other related existing
actions are considered to have a general low impact to fisheries in the analysis area.

Considering a high risk of low impacts to channel forms, a low risk of low impacts to stream temperature,
moderate impacts to connectivity, and a general low impact from other related actions, a moderate collective
impact to fisheries habitat features likely exists in the Canyon Creek Tribs analysis area.


4        ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS

In terms of the risk that an impact may occur, a low risk of an impact means that the impact is unlikely to
occur. A moderate risk of an impact means that the impact may or may not (50/50) occur. A high risk of an
impact means that the impact is likely to occur.

A very low impact means that the impact is unlikely to be detectable or measurable, and the impact is not
likely to be detrimental to the resource. A low impact means that the impact is likely to be detectable or
measurable, but the impact is not likely to be detrimental to the resource. A moderate impact means that
the impact is likely to be detectable or measurable, and the impact is likely to be moderately detrimental to
the resource. A high impact means that the impact is likely to be detectable or measurable, and the impact
is likely to be highly detrimental to the resource.




DS-252 Version 6-2003                                 58
Cumulative impacts are those collective impacts on the human environment of the proposed action when
considered in conjunction with other past, present, and future actions related to the proposed action by
location or generic type (75-1-220, MCA). The potential cumulative impacts to fisheries in the analysis areas
are determined by assessing the collective anticipated direct and indirect impacts, other related existing
actions, and future actions affecting the fish-bearing streams.


4.1      SOUTH AND MAIN LYONS ANALYSIS AREA


4.1.1    NO-ACTION ALTERNATIVE

As a result of implementing the No-Action Alternative, no direct or indirect effects to fisheries resources
would occur in the South and Main Lyons analysis area beyond those described in the Existing Conditions.

Future related actions that are considered part of cumulative impacts are expected low impacts to stream
sediment due to adjacent road use for recreational and management purposes and occasional recreational
fishing. Other future related actions such as proposed timber sales have not been scoped within the analysis
area. Cumulative impacts are expected to be low beyond the collective anticipated impacts described in the
Existing Conditions.


4.1.2    ACTION ALTERNATIVES

Effects to channel forms in fish-bearing reaches will be addressed by evaluating the collective potential
impacts to sediment, flow regime, and large woody debris features. An increase in the proportion of fine
substrates is an impact that would be expected to adversely affect channel forms. Short-term and long-term
negligible or very minor impacts to substrates comprising stream channel forms may occur as a result of
adjacent riparian or upland harvest near fish-bearing and contributing non-fish-bearing streams. The
Hydrology Analysis has estimated that short-term, low levels of road material would be contributed to
streams in the South and Main Lyons analysis area as a result of both proposed Action Alternatives; long-
term levels of sedimentation are expected to be lower than those described in the Existing Conditions. The
Hydrology Analysis has also estimated that the average departure in flow regime is expected to be negligible
immediately following harvest for both Action Alternatives. An analysis of the proposed actions indicates that
an increase of approximately 4.9 percent of the total area of recruitable large woody debris to fish-bearing
streams would be moderately impacted by riparian harvest. Considering both negative and positive potential
effects to sediment conditions and road erosion, flow regime, and the extent of potential impacts to large
woody debris recruitment, a low risk of low impacts to channel forms is expected for both Action Alternatives
(beyond those described in the Existing Conditions).

An analysis of the proposed actions indicates that a net increase of approximately 6.0 percent of the area of
total vegetation zone providing shading to fish-bearing and contributing non-fish-bearing streams would be
moderately impacted by riparian harvest. As a result, a moderate risk of low impacts to stream temperatures
is expected to occur in the analysis area beyond those described in the Existing Conditions if either Action
Alternative is implemented.

One new bridge is expected to be installed on South Fork Lyons Creek within the project area. The
proposed actions will not affect fish passage at any road-stream crossings in the South and Main Lyons
analysis area. Therefore, no impacts to fisheries connectivity will occur beyond those described in the
Existing Conditions.

Future related actions that are considered part of cumulative impacts are expected very low impacts to
stream sediment due to adjacent road use for recreational and management purposes and occasional
recreational fishing. Other future related actions such as proposed timber sales have not been scoped within
the analysis area. Considering a low risk of low impacts to channel forms, a moderate risk of low impacts to
stream temperature, no impacts to connectivity, and a general very low impact from future related actions, a



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low risk of low cumulative impacts to fisheries habitat features is expected to occur for both Action
Alternatives (beyond the collective impacts described in the Existing Conditions).


4.2      CANYON CREEK TRIBS ANALYSIS AREA


4.2.1    NO-ACTION ALTERNATIVE

As a result of implementing the No-Action Alternative, no direct or indirect effects to fisheries resources
would occur in the Canyon Creek Tribs analysis area beyond those described in the Existing Conditions.

Cumulative effects as a result of implementing the No-Action Alternative are expected to be the same as
those described for the South and Main Lyons analysis area.


4.2.2    ACTION ALTERNATIVE

Effects to channel forms in fish-bearing reaches will be addressed by evaluating the collective potential
impacts to sediment, flow regime, and large woody debris features. An increase in the proportion of fine
substrates is an impact that would be expected to adversely affect channel forms. The Hydrology Analysis
has estimated that short-term levels of road material would be reduced to streams in the Canyon Creek Tribs
analysis area as a result of implementing either Action Alternative; long-term levels of sedimentation are
expected to be the same as those described in the Existing Conditions. Flow regime would not be affected
by the implementing either Action Alternative. Large woody debris would also not be affected by the
implementing either Action Alternative actions. Considering both negative and positive potential effects to
sediment conditions and road erosion, flow regime, and the extent of potential impacts to large woody debris
recruitment, a low risk of low impacts to channel forms is expected beyond those described in the Existing
Conditions.

Stream shading would not be affected by the proposed actions. As a result, no detectable or measurable
impacts to stream temperatures are expected to occur for both Action Alternatives in the analysis area
beyond those described in the Existing Conditions.

The proposed actions will not affect fish passage at any road-stream crossings in the Canyon Creek Tribs
analysis area. Therefore, no impacts to fisheries connectivity will occur for both Action Alternatives beyond
those described in the Existing Conditions.

Future related actions that are considered part of cumulative impacts are expected low impacts to stream
sediment due to adjacent road use for recreational and management purposes. Other future related actions
such as proposed timber sales have not been scoped within the analysis area. Considering a low risk of low
impacts to channel forms, no impacts to stream temperature, no impacts to connectivity, and a general low
impact from future related actions, a low risk of low cumulative impacts to fisheries habitat features is
expected to occur for both Action Alternatives beyond the collective impacts described in the Existing
Conditions.




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Attachment: “H”




          DS-252 Version 6-2003   61
Attachment: “I”




                                    Weighted Average ~ Flight line Calculator
                                                Lyons Creek Helicopter Sale


                           Alt. B

                              Unit      Acres    Distance             Slope Percentage
                           H~18a         125        6182                        7%↓
                           H~20a          30        8135                       15%↓
                           H~20b          30        7612                       20%↓
                           H~20c           3         627                       44%↑
                           H~20d           3        1145                       45% ↑
                           H~20e          13        4711                       16%↓
                           H~20f          66        3782                       24%↓
                           H~16a          38        4369                       21%↓
                           H~16b          34        2503                       16%↓
                           H~16c          30        3878                       13%↓
                           Total         372       4956.16                    Average




                           Alt. C

                              Unit      Acres    Distance             Slope Percentage
                           H~16a         38         4220                       21%↓
                           H~16b         34         2169                       16%↓
                           H~16c         30         3649                       13%↓
                           H~20a         30         7776                       16%↓
                           H~20b         30         7635                       19%↓
                           H~20c         11         6748                       17%↓
                           H~20d          3         6024                       15%↓
                           H~20e         30         5841                       17%↓
                           H~20f         29         5330                       15%↓
                           H~20g          5         4259                       14%↓
                           H~20h         66         3647                       24%↓
                           Total         306       4799.70                    Average




          DS-252 Version 6-2003                              62
Attachment: “J”




                              Proposed Harvest ~ Comparison of Cumulative Effects
                                           Lyons Creek Timber Sale


                                                               Alternative "B"                 Alternative "C"
                     Harvest Type:                                  Acres                            Acres
                     Tractor Logging                                  34                              126
                     Line Yarding                                     81                               54
                     Helicopter                                      372                              307
                                                     Totals:         487                              487

                     Alternative "B"
                     Stump to Deck ~ Logging Cost:                Cost / Acre      Acres             Total
                     Tractor Logging                               $918.00           34          $31,212.00
                     Line Yarding                                 $1,188.00          81          $96,228.00
                     Helicopter                                   $1,518.00         372         $564,696.00
                                                     Totals:                        487         $692,136.00

                     Alternative "C"
                     Stump to Deck ~ Logging Cost:                Cost / Acre      Acres             Total
                     Tractor Logging                               $918.00          126         $115,668.00
                     Line Yarding                                 $1,188.00          54          $64,152.00
                     Helicopter                                   $1,518.00         307         $466,026.00
                                                     Totals:                        487         $645,846.00

                                                               Alternative "B"                 Alternative "C"
                     Roads:                                         Miles                            Miles
                     Medicine Cut Across                            15.49                           15.49
                     Rattlesnake Road                               10.42                           9.33
                     Medicine New Const.                            0.83                            0.83
                     Ridge Top Road                                 0.00                            1.97
                     Original Road ~ Ground Based                   3.53                            1.14
                                                     Totals:        30.27                           28.76


                     Road Cost:                                   Total Cost      Cost / ft.       Total Feet
                     Alternative "B"                             $92,745.00       $0.58          159,825.60
                     Alternative "C"                             $46,350.00       $0.31          151,852.80


                     Flight Distance:                          Weighted Average                 Slope Percentage
                     Alternative "B"                               4,956                          7~45 (↓↑)
                     Alternative "C"                              47,99.70                        13~24 (↓)




          DS-252 Version 6-2003                                         63

								
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