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					                  DECISION MEMO
                        for
DOG LAKE CAMPGROUND TREE VIGOR IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
                                   USDA Forest Service
                                 Pacific Northwest Region
                             Fremont-Winema National Forests
                                 Lakeview Ranger District
                                   Lake County, Oregon


 Introduction
 The Dog Lake Campground Tree Vigor Improvement Project is within the Dog Lake
 Subwatershed of the Drews Creek Watershed. The project area is approximately 25 miles
 southwest of Lakeview on the northwest shore of Dog Lake, and is specifically described as:
 T. 40 S., R. 17 E., section 22, W.M., Lake County, Oregon (refer to map).

 The Fremont National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, 1989 (Forest Plan)
 allocates this area to Management Area 7 (MA7), Special Management Areas and to
 Management Area 2 (MA2), Endangered and Threatened Species.

 The Forest Plan goals for MA7 are to provide an attractive, natural appearing forest character
 in areas that possess unique or special biological or physical characteristics. The Dog Lake
 site is to be managed for recreation uses to the extent compatible with wildlife habitat needs.

 The Forest Plan goals for this area of MA2 are to ensure sufficient habitat for bald eagles.
 Habitat is to be managed to provide abundant nesting/roosting sites, minimal disturbance
 from people, and abundant food supplies. Silvicultural prescriptions for timber management
 will be designed to enhance and perpetuate bald eagle habitat.

 Recent tree mortality has been occurring along the edge of Dog Lake. Ponderosa pine trees
 of all sizes have been affected, but most of the dead trees are 5.0 to 10.0 inches dbh (diameter
 at breast height). A visit to the site by a Regional Entomologist found evidence of bark
 beetles in numerous trees. The beetles take advantage of host trees that come under some
 form of stress. A likely agent of stress in this case could be the unusually high water
 associated with the raising of the Dog Lake dam in the mid-1980s. These factors, combined
 with high stocking levels, and the dry conditions experienced in the past two years have
 probably been sufficient to produce the observed tree mortality.

 The underlying need for the proposed action is for healthy forested stands in the Dog Lake
 Special Management Area.

 This action is proposed to meet the purposes of improving tree vigor, developing and
 maintaining large trees, reducing the fire hazard and providing for a safe recreational
 environment.



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Decision Memo                Dog Lake Campground Tree Vigor Improvement Project


   The Dog Lake Campground Tree Vigor Improvement Project also meets the Forest Plan
   goals and objectives to:

         Manage developed sites for the enjoyment of the recreating public while protecting
          the associated resources (Forest Plan pg. 113).
         Provide an attractive, natural-appearing forest character in areas that possess unique
          or special biological or physical characteristics (Forest Plan pg. 159).
         Manage the site to meet special recreation and wildlife habitat objectives (Forest Plan
          pg. 159).
         Provide recreation sites maintained to developed standards, ensuring they are sanitary
          and safe for public use (Forest Plan pg. 60).
         Provide for increases in or maintaining habitat quantity or quality of species that are
          listed as endangered or threatened at the state or federal level to insure population
          recovery (Forest Plan pg. 50).

   Project Description
   Lakeview Ranger District would implement understory tree thinning on approximately 20
   acres at Dog Lake Campground. Using the concept of inter-tree competition to develop size
   structure, the proposed action would be designed to use different spacing regimes over the
   area. Treatment will emphasize removal of suppressed, damaged and defective trees, while
   maintaining the best leave trees. Over time the area would develop the appearance of a three
   storied stand. The resulting slash would be piled for later burning, lopped, bucked and left
   on site, or a combination of the two methods. It is expected that activities would begin in
   summer of 2005.

   Project Specific Design and Resource Protection Measures:

   Trees within 25 feet of Dog Lake and/or any stream in the project area will be felled toward
   the lake or stream if possible and left onsite, in an undisturbed condition (no limbing,
   bucking, etc.).

   No trees will be felled that are below the ordinary high water mark of the lake or within 10
   feet of any stream channel.


   Public Involvement
   The Dog Lake Campground Tree Vigor Improvement Project proposal was presented to the
   public in a letter of April 13, 2004 mailed to 114 businesses, organizations, government
   agencies, Chairman and Natural Resource Departments of The Klamath Tribes, and
   individuals thought to be interested in projects on the Lakeview District. The proposed
   project was listed in the Forest’s Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA) and the scoping
   letter and proposed action statement were also available to the public on the Forest’s web
   site. Comments were also requested from local Forest Service resource specialist.




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Decision Memo                Dog Lake Campground Tree Vigor Improvement Project


   Responses to the public scoping for the Dog Lake Campground Tree Vigor Improvement
   Project included two letters from individuals in support of the proposal, and a letter from
   Oregon Natural Resources Council (ONRC) requesting consideration of several issues.

   One individual suggested planting additional trees in areas on both sides of the boat dock,
   that are outside of the proposed project area. This suggestion is beyond the scope of this
   proposed action, although it could be considered in the future.

   ONRC requested consideration of the natural role of beetles in these stands before removing
   trees based solely on their presence. ONRC agrees that the project area is likely outside the
   natural stocking levels, lending to increased likelihood of beetle damage, but believes this
   problem should be addressed based on the need to maintain forest health as a whole, not just
   because beetles are present. As stated previously, the underlying need for the proposed
   action is for healthy forested stands in the Dog Lake Special Management Area. An
   Entomologist visited the site and determined that beetles present included the western pine
   beetle (Dendroctonus brevicomis), the mountain pine beetle (D. ponderosae), the red
   turpentine beetle (D. valens) and the pine engraver (Ips pini), (Entomologist Site Visit to Dog
   Lake CG, Andris Eglitis, March 10, 2003). All of these beetles are native to our pine forests
   and are opportunists that take advantage of host trees that come under some form of strees.
   A likely agent of stress in this case could be the unusually high water associated with the
   raising of the Dog Lake dam. This factor combined with high stocking levels and the dry
   conditions we have experienced in the past few years have probably been sufficient to
   produce the tree mortality that was observed in the campground. The Entomologist agreed
   that stand densities appear to be fairly high throughout the campground, and that the area
   could benefit from a thinning treatment. The action is proposed to meet the purposes of
   improving tree vigor, developing and maintaining large trees, reducing the fire hazard and
   providing for a safe recreational environment in a designated campground.

   ONRC stated that they support thinning that enhances forest health and urged us to use
   variable density thinning for this project. The proposed action is designed to use different
   spacing regimes over the area, using the concept of inter-tree competition to develop size
   structure,. Treatment will emphasize removal of suppressed, damaged and defective trees,
   while maintaining the best leave trees. Over time the area would develop the appearance of a
   three storied stand.

   ONRC requested that the project include plans to provide snags and downed wood within the
   project area. The project is within a designated campground, where providing for a safe
   recreational environment is a primary objective. Maintaining snags that pose a safety hazard
   within a designated campground would be inconsistent with Forest Plan direction. The
   project will, however, provide for down wood by retaining those trees felled for safety
   reasons. The project is a non-commercial activity, with no intentions of offering the felled
   material for sell or removal. It should be noted that the surrounding forest areas do provide
   various quantities of snag habitat.




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Decision Memo                Dog Lake Campground Tree Vigor Improvement Project


   ONRC also commented that commercial harvest, road building and mining should be
   avoided in old growth forests. The project is not within an old growth forest and does not
   propose commercial harvest, road building or mining.

   Finally ONRC expressed concern that surveys be completed for special status species and
   that Riparian Management Objectives under INFISH be addressed. Biological
   Evaluations/Assessments have been completed for Proposed, Endangered, Threatened and
   Sensitive Species of plants, wildlife and fish and have provided for full consideration of
   potential effects to special status species. INFISH standards are incorporated in the design
   and implementation of the project activities. Please refer to the Findings section below.

   Decision
   After review of the analysis of the activities and their expected effects, and comments
   received during scoping, it is my decision to proceed with implementation of the thinning in
   the Dog Lake Campground Tree Vigor Improvement Project as described above.

   Design and resource protection measures will be implemented to protect the aquatic
   resources of Dog Lake and the associated stream channels. The thinning will provide for
   reduced competition and improved retention and vigor of the remaining trees in the
   campground. This will provide the best opportunity to develop and maintain large trees,
   reduce the fire hazard and allow for a safe recreational environment in the designated
   campground. The project meets the Forest Plan goals and objectives to provide an attractive,
   natural-appearing forest character in the scenic setting that exists at Dog Lake.

   Findings

   Plants
   No Proposed, Endangered, Threatened or Sensitive plant taxa or essential habitat are known
   from the project area. Therefore, no adverse effects or cumulative effects that could affect
   the viability of the species or cause a trend toward federal listing are expected.

   Wildlife
   The Southeast Zone Wildlife Biologist has prepared a Biological Evaluation/Assessment for
   Proposed, Endangered, Threatened and Sensitive Species (Ramsey 4/26/04).

   Conclusions:
   The following species have potential habitat or documented occurrences in the project area:
   Bald eagles, horned grebe, bufflehead, Gray flycatcher, northern leopard frog, and northwest
   pond turtle.

   Gray flycatcher would not have any habitat removed by implementation of the proposed
   project, but habitat may be altered or modified by removal of small trees. It is expected that
   the treated area would continue to provide the same quantity and quality of habitat for the
   gray flycatcher that is currently present. It is likely that if individuals are present during
   implementation that they would move, and return when conditions have moderated.




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Decision Memo                 Dog Lake Campground Tree Vigor Improvement Project


   Northern leopard frog and northwestern pond turtle would not have any habitat removed,
   altered, or modified, and individuals would not be directly harmed by the proposed project.
   There is no expected increase in sedimentation rates; therefore, there would be no indirect
   effects to these species.

   Bufflehead and horned grebes would not have any habitat removed, altered, or modified, and
   individuals would not be directly harmed by the proposed project. There is no expected
   increase in sedimentation rates; therefore, there would be no indirect effects to these species.

   Bald eagles would not be affected by implementation of the proposed project. The known
   nest site is greater than 1-mile from the proposed project. The stand improvement portion of
   the proposed project would remove smaller trees, and would not remove any potential
   habitat. The proposed project area is an existing recreational use area, and the work
   described would not significantly increase the amount of human use or noise in the area.
   Additionally, prey species would not be affected by implementation of the proposed project.

   Based upon the above rationale, this project will have no impact and is not likely to result in
   a trend to federal listing or loss of viability of any R6 sensitive species. This project will
   have no effect on any proposed, endangered, or threatened species or their critical habitat.

   Fisheries
   Forest Service Fisheries Biologist prepared a Biological Evaluation/Assessment for
   Proposed, Endangered, Threatened and Sensitive Species (Leal, 5/24/04).

   Conclusions:
   Redband trout; Goose Lake suckers are known to exist in Dog Lake.

   Reconnaissance confirmed stream classifications for intermittent channel in the project area
   and led to the protection/mitigation measures listed in the project design. The project is
   compliant with INFISH.

   No project-generated sediment is expected to reach any occupied TES fish habitat based on
   the protection measures listed above coupled with the minimal ground disturbance expected
   to result from the project. The amount of ground disturbance will be minimized based on all
   work being accomplished by hand. If any sediment were to reach occupied habitat, it would
   be in Dog Lake. Any project-generated sediment that reached Dog Lake would be at an
   immeasurable, negligible level based on the minimal ground disturbance and the
   Protection/Mitigation Measures associated with the project. Furthermore, if sediment did
   reach Dog Lake, it would be at low enough levels to allow fish to move away from affected
   areas if necessary. Dog Lake does not provide spawning habitat for either of the potentially
   affected TES species, so sediment deposition would not affect spawning habitat or success.

   Based on the above rationale, this project will have no effect on and is not likely to result in a
   trend toward federal listing or loss of viability of any R6 sensitive fish species. This project
   will have no effect on any proposed, endangered, or threatened species or their critical
   habitat.



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Decision Memo                 Dog Lake Campground Tree Vigor Improvement Project



   Cultural Resources
   Appropriate inventories have been completed and no historic or prehistoric sites were found.
   In the event that cultural resources are discovered during the course of the project, operations
   will be interrupted while measures are developed to allow the mitigation of any adverse
   effects resulting from project implementation. With this measure in use, the project should
   have no effect on significant cultural resources. Section 106 SHPO consultation was
   completed under the Programmatic Agreement among the United States Department of
   Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region (Region 6), The Advisory Council on
   Historic Preservation, and the Oregon State Historic Preservation Officer regarding Cultural
   Resource Management on National Forests in the State of Oregon dated June 2004, pursuant
   to stipulated Forest Archaeologist review dated December 15, 2004.

   Other Findings
   This action is consistent with the management direction, including standards and guidelines,
   as outlined in the Fremont National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan as
   amended, and the Final Environmental Impact Statement documenting the analysis for the
   Plan. No significant impact is expected on parkland, floodplains, wetlands, prime farmlands,
   wild and scenic rivers or ecologically critical areas. This action will comply with
   requirements of the Clean Water Act. There are no municipal watersheds, congressionally
   designated areas, inventoried roadless areas or Research Natural Areas present. There are no
   anticipated significant impacts on consumers, minority groups, American Indians, women or
   civil rights. There are no anticipated significant impacts to Treaty and trust responsibilities
   with the Klamath Tribes.

   There are no known significant indirect, cumulative, or unavoidable adverse effects on the
   environment. This action will not pose a significant threat to public health or safety.
   Implementation of this project meets the resource protection requirements of 36 CFR 219.17.

   Reasons for Categorically Excluding the Proposed Project
   No extraordinary circumstances exist that might cause the action to have significant effects;
   therefore, the action is categorically excluded from documentation in an environmental
   assessment or an environmental impact statement. Based on the environmental analysis and
   past experience, the effects of implementing this action will be of limited context and
   intensity and will result in little or no effects to either the physical or biological components
   of the environment.

   This activity is categorically excluded from an environmental assessment or environmental
   impact statement under Category 6 (FSH 1909.15, Section 31.2) “Timber stand and/or
   wildlife habitat improvement activities which do not include the use of herbicides or do not
   require more than one mile of low standard road construction”.

   Administrative Review (Appeals) and Implementation
   Pursuant to 36 CFR 215.4(a) this decision is not subject to requirements for Notice and
   Comment. This action falls within a category of actions that are not subject to administrative
   appeal (36 CFR 215.12(f)). This decision may be implemented immediately.



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Decision Memo                Dog Lake Campground Tree Vigor Improvement Project



   Contact
   For further information about this project, please contact Bill Patla, Forester, 541-947-6343,
   or Jody Perozzi, Interdisciplinary Team Leader, 541-353-2723, at the Lakeview Ranger
   District, 18049 Hwy 395 N., Lakeview, OR 97630.




   /s/Terry Sodorff___                                      _06/07/2005_
   TERRY SODORFF                                                    Date
   District Ranger
   Lakeview Ranger District




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