DECISION MEMO Perry-Spencer Rural Telephone Cooperative. Old State

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DECISION MEMO Perry-Spencer Rural Telephone Cooperative. Old State Powered By Docstoc
					                                                DECISION MEMO
                                   Perry-Spencer Rural Telephone Cooperative.
                                           Old State Road 37 Corridor
                                      USDA Forest Service, Eastern Region,
                                             Hoosier National Forest
                                             Tell City Ranger District
                                              Perry County, Indiana
                                    (Sections 2, 11, and 23 of T4S, R2W and
                                       Sections 2, 11, and 22 of T5S, R2W)

I.       DECISION

       A. Description of Decision
       My decision is to issue a right-of-way permit to Perry Spencer Rural Telephone Cooperative
       (Perry-Spencer RTC) to bury an inner duct tube and fiber optic line. The permit will be issued
       under the Forest Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) as Amended October 21, 1976.
       The tube and line are to be buried along old State Road 37 between the St. Marks substation
       and St. Croix across four segments of National Forest System (NFS) land. The attached maps
       (4) display the location of my decision. Existing lines (telephone line, fiber optic, and water) are
       buried within the road clearing limits. An aerial electric distribution line also runs the length of
       this road. This project crosses federal, county, state and private lands. My decision only
       applies to the federal land.

       We will issue a special use authorization that meets the requirements of the application and
       USDA Forest Service regulations. Those regulations require the applicant to: submit an
       operation and maintenance plan that complies with the decision requirements, pay any
       necessary fees, post any necessary bonds, and secure any state or Federal permits or
       authorizations required by law.

       It is also my decision that a special use fee will not be charged for this special use permit since
       Perry-Spencer RTC, a telephone cooperative, qualifies for a fee waiver in accordance with
       Code of Federal Regulations Title 36 part 251, section 57(b)(1).

       B. Purpose of Decision
       The existing phone line and fiber optic lines between St. Marks exchange and St. Croix, Indiana
       serve Perry Central High School and Branchville Correction Center. Current phone and internet
       use exceeds capacity. The new fiber optic line, which will use the existing corridor, will meet
       current and anticipated future use.


II. REASONS FOR CATEGORICALLY EXCLUDING THE DECISION

       Decisions may be categorically excluded from documentation in an environmental impact
       statement or environmental assessment when they are within one of the categories identified in
       7 CFR part 1b.3 or 36 CFR 220.6 and there are no extraordinary circumstances related to the
       decision that may result in a significant individual or cumulative effect on the quality of the
       human environment.

       I have concluded that this decision is appropriately categorically excluded from documentation
       in an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment as it is a routine activity
       within a category of exclusion and there are no extraordinary circumstances related to the
       decision that may result in a significant individual or cumulative effect on the quality of the

     Decision Memo – Project: Perry-Spencer RTC
     Page 1
  human environment. My conclusion is based on information presented in this document and
  the entirety of the record.

  A. Category of Exclusion
  The project is within the exclusion category 36 CFR 220.6(e)(2) that includes “Additional
  construction or reconstruction of existing telephone or utility lines in a designated corridor.”

  B.   Relationship to Extraordinary Circumstances
  There are seven resource conditions that need to be considered in determining whether
  extraordinary circumstances related to the proposed action warrant further analysis and
  documentation in an EA or an ESI as listed in 36 CFR 220.6(b). The mere presence of one or
  more of these resource conditions does not preclude use of a categorical exclusion. The
  degree of the potential effect of a proposed action on these resource conditions determines
  whether extraordinary circumstances exist.

  1. Federally Listed Threatened or Endangered Species or Designated Critical Habitat,
     Species Proposed for Federal Listing or Proposed Critical Habitat, or Forest Service
     Sensitive Species
     It was determined that this decision will have ‘no effect’ on listed species. No critical habitat
     has been designated on the Hoosier National Forest (the Forest) for any listed species. No
     trees will be removed and ground disturbance will occur only within the cleared highway
     ROW. “Based on a review of the information you provided, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
     Service has no objections to the project as currently proposed (Pruitt 2009). Forest Service
     biologist Amanda Kunzmann concluded, “…the proposed project would produce no habitat
     alterations that would in any manner impact Regional Forester’s sensitive species or
     management indicator species.”

  2. Floodplains, Wetlands, or Municipal Watersheds
     The area affected is along old State Road 37. The road crosses several intermittent and
     perennial streams. The water crossings are protected by either bridges or culverts. On at
     least three occasions, trenching for utility installation has been successfully completed on
     this utility corridor with no impact to floodplains, wetlands, or municipal watersheds. There
     are two municipal watersheds on the forest, the nearest being Patoka Lake. This project is
     not in either municipal watershed, so there will be no impact on municipal watersheds.
     Furthermore, the applicant has provided a State of Indiana permit. It addresses mitigation
     needs for protection of water, fish and wildlife (Buffington 2009). I believe the state
     prescribed mitigation measures may be applied to federal, state, county, and private lands
     with excellent results.

  3. Congressionally Designated Areas
     Wilderness: This decision does not affect wilderness. The Forest Plan identifies wilderness
     on the Forest as Management Area 5.1 (Forest Plan, p. 3-34). The project is located in
     Management Area 2.8 (Forest Plan, p. 3-28). The closest wilderness, Charles C. Deam
     Wilderness, is 54 miles north of the project area. This decision, with impacts limited to the
     immediate area of the highway and utility corridor, will not affect the wilderness.

       Wilderness Study Areas
       There are no wilderness study areas on the Forest. This decision will not affect wilderness
       study areas.

       National Recreation Areas
       There are no national recreation areas on the Forest. This decision will not affect national

Decision Memo – Project: Perry-Spencer RTC
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      recreation areas.

  4. Inventoried Roadless Areas
     There are no inventoried roadless areas (RARE II or Forest Plan) on the Forest. This
     decision will not affect inventoried roadless areas.

  5. Research Natural Areas -
     There are no research natural areas in the decision area (Forest Plan FEIS, p. 3-45).
     Pioneer Mothers Research Natural Area is 25 miles from the project. This decision, with
     impacts limited to the immediate area of activity, will not affect research natural areas.

6.    American Indians and Alaska Native Religious or Cultural Sites –
      Additionally, the Federal government has trust responsibilities to Tribes under a
      government-to-government relationship to ensure that the Tribes’ reserved rights are
      protected. Consultation with tribes helps ensure that these trust responsibilities are met.
      No tribal concerns were identified for this project.

  7. Archaeological Sites, or Historic Properties or Areas -
     Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires Federal agencies to take into
     account the effect of a project on any district, site, building, structure, or object that is
     included in, or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Section 106
     of the National Historic Preservation Act also requires Federal agencies to afford the
     Advisory Council on Historic Preservation a reasonable opportunity to comment. The
     Archaeological Resources Protection Act covers the discovery and protection of historic
     properties (prehistoric and historic) that are excavated or discovered on Federal lands. It
     affords lawful protection of archaeological resources and sites that are on public and Indian
     lands. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act covers the discovery
     and protection of Native American human remains and objects that are excavated or
     discovered in Federal lands. It encourages avoidance of archaeological sites that contain
     burials or portions of sites that contain graves through “in situ” preservation, but may
     encompass other actions to preserve these remains and items. This decision complies with
     the cited acts. A ‘no properties affected’ determination was made. The Applicant received
     a letter from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) concerning this “no affect”
     finding in a letter (Glass 2009). Forest Archeologist Krieger concurred (Krieger 2009).

      No other extraordinary circumstances related to the project were identified.


III. PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT

     Perry-Spencer RTC mailed a letter to 172 family or business customers along this route to
     inform them of the project. This letter was dated June11, 2009. Mid-State Consultants stated
     that no comments or concerns were received as of June 22, 2009 (Krueger 2009).

IV. FINDINGS REQUIRED BY AND/OR RELATED TO OTHER LAWS AND REGULATIONS

      My decision will comply with all applicable laws and regulations. I have summarized some
      pertinent ones below.

      A. Federal Land Policy and Management Act
      This act allows the granting of easements or road use permits across NFS lands. The
      regulations at 36 CFR 251 guide the issuance of permits, leases, and easements under this

Decision Memo – Project: Perry-Spencer RTC
Page 3
        act. Permits, leases, and easements are granted across NFS lands when the need for such
        is consistent with planned uses and USDA Forest Service policy and regulations. This
        decision is consistent with this act.

        B. Forest Plan Consistency (National Forest Management Act)
        This act requires the development of long-range land and resource management plans
        (forest plans). In compliance with the act, the Hoosier developed a revised land and
        resource management plan (the Forest Plan), approved in January 2006. The act requires
        all projects and activities to be consistent with the Forest Plan. In connection with the
        project, Forest employees reviewed the Forest Plan, which provides guidance for all natural
        resource management activities on the Forest. This decision is responsive to guiding
        direction contained in the Forest Plan, as summarized in Section I of this document and
        consistent with the standards and guidelines contained in the Forest Plan on page 3-23:
        Special Uses and Utility Corridors.

        C. Endangered Species Act
        See Section II, Item B1 of this document.

        D. Sensitive Species (USDA Forest Service Manual 2670)
        This manual direction requires analysis of potential impacts to sensitive species, those
        species for which the Regional Forester has identified population viability is a concern. This
        decision will have “no impact” on sensitive species (Kunsmann 2009).

       E. Clean Water Act
       The intent of this act is to restore and maintain the integrity of waters. The USDA Forest
        Service complies with this act through the use of Best Management Practices. Additionally,
        the project does not affect rivers or streams. This decision incorporates Best Management
        Practices to ensure protection of soil and water resources. The February 1998 edition of
        the Forestry Best Management Practices Field Guide is on file at both Tell City and Bedford
        offices.

        F. Wetlands (Executive Order 11990)
        See Section II, Item B2 of this document.

        H. Floodplains (Executive Order 11988)
        See Section II, Item B2 of this document.

        I. Federal Cave Resources Protection Act
        This purpose of this act is to secure, protect, preserve, and maintain significant caves, to the
        extent practical. Site features and field review substantiate that no caves are in the decision
        area. This decision will not affect any known cave resources.

        J. National Historic Preservation Act
        See Section II, Item B7 of this document.

        K. Archaeological Resources Protection Act
        See Section II, Item B7 of this document.

        L. Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
        See Section II, Item B6 of this document.

        M. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

Decision Memo – Project: Perry-Spencer RTC
Page 4
        See Section II, Item B3 of this document.

        N. Environmental Justice (Executive Order 12898)
        This order requires consideration of whether projects would disproportionately impact
        minority or low-income populations. This decision complies with this act. Public
        involvement occurred for this project, the results of which I have considered in this decision-
        making. Public involvement did not identify any adversely impacted local minority or low-
        income populations. This decision is not expected to adversely impact minority or low-
        income populations.

        O. National Environmental Policy Act
        This act requires public involvement and consideration of potential environmental effects.
        The entirety of documentation for this decision supports compliance with this act.


V. ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW OR APPEAL OPPORTUNITIES

        This decision is not subject to administrative review or appeal pursuant to 36 CFR 215 and
        the Earth Island Institute v. Ruthenbeck Ruling of October 19, 2005. This decision is not
        subject to a higher level of administrative review or appeal pursuant to 36 CFR 215.12(f).

VI. IMPLEMENTATION DATE

        This decision may be implemented immediately.

VII. CONTACT PERSON

        For additional information concerning this decision, contact Tom Krueger, forester at Tell
        City Ranger District; address: 248 15th Street, Tell City, IN 47586. Fax: 812-547-6144;
        e-mail: tkrueger@fs.fed.us. Additional information about this decision can be found on the
        internet at www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier/projects.htm.


VIII.    SIGNATURE AND DATE

        My decision is based on a review of the record, which shows consideration of relevant
        scientific information, including responsible opposing views and, as appropriate, the
        acknowledgement of incomplete or unavailable information, scientific uncertainty, and risk.
        My decision implements the Hoosier National Forest’s Forest Plan. As required by NFMA
        section 1604(i), I find this project to be consistent with the Plan.

        I have concluded that this decision may be categorically excluded from documentation in an
        environmental impact statement or environmental assessment because it is within one of
        the categories identified in 36 CFR 220.6, and there are no extraordinary circumstances
        present. I base my conclusion on information presented in this document and the entirety of
        the planning record.



         Anne Carey                                                   7/14/2009
        ______________________________                             ____________________
        District Ranger                                                      Date

Decision Memo – Project: Perry-Spencer RTC
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REFERENCES CITED

Glass, James A. 2009. SHPO letter to Thomas Schultz of RW Engineers, LLC (agent for Perry-
   Spencer RTC) with cultural reconnaissance report finding of no effect on Heritage Resources.
   On file with: District Ranger, Tell City Ranger District, 248 15th St. Tell City, IN 47586.

Krieger, Angie. 2009. Concurrence with SHPO and finding no effect on cultural resources memo
    dated July 9, 2009. On file with District Ranger, Tell City Ranger District, 248 15th St. Tell
    City, IN 47586

Krueger, Thomas. 2009. Memo dated June 22, 2009 of personal conversation with Suzanne
   Mortensen of Mid-State Consultants on notification letter and receiving no public comments
   on the project. On file with District Ranger, Tell City Ranger District, 248 15th St. Tell City, IN
   47586.

Kunzmann, Amanda. 2009. Biological evaluation of no effect memo dated June 16, 2009. On file
   with District Ranger, Tell City Ranger District, 248 15th St. Tell City, IN 47586.

Pruitt, Scott E. 2009. US Fish and Wildlife Service letter dated April 2, 2009 to Thomas Schultz of
   RW Engineers, LLC (agent for Perry-Spencer RTC) with finding of no effect on threatened
   and endangered species. On file with: District Ranger, Tell City Ranger District, 248 15th St.
   Tell City, IN 47586.



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activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex,
marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information,
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assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities
who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print,
audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To
file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence
Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382
(TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.




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