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					United States   Environmental
Department of
Agriculture
                Assessment
Forest
Service

June 2006       Dominion Exploration and Production
                3-well Project

                NE ¼ of Section 7 T15S, R6E, SLB&M, Sanpete County, Utah
                SW ¼ of Section 28 T14S, R6E, SLB&M, Sanpete County, Utah
                NE ¼ of Section 6 T16S, R6E, SLB&M, Emery County, Utah

                Responsible Official Lead Agency:      Alice B. Carlton,
                                                       Forest Supervisor
                                                       USDA Forest Service
                                                       Intermountain Region
                                                       Manti-La Sal National Forest
                                                       599 West Price River Drive
                                                       Price, Utah 84501

                Responsible Official Cooperating Agency: Bureau of Land Management
                                                         Richfield Field Office
                                                         150 E. 900 North
                                                         Richfield, Utah 84701
                                                         435-896-1500

                                                       Bureau of Land Management
                                                       Moab Field Office
                                                       82 East Dogwood Avenue
                                                       Moab, Utah 84532
                                                       435-259-210


                For Further Information Contact:       Tom Lloyd, District Geologist
                                                       Manti-La Sal National Forest
                                                       Ferron/Price Ranger District
                                                       115 West Canyon Road
                                                       P.O. Box 310
                                                       Ferron, Utah 84523
                                                       435-636-3596
                                                       twlloyd@fs.fed.us
Dominion Exploration and Production                                             Environmental Assessment
3-well Project                                                                                 June 2006




    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and 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, political beliefs,
    reprisal, or because all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public 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 to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.,
    Washington, D.C. 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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Dominion Exploration and Production
3-well Project                                                                                           Draft Environmental Assessment



                                                        Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 5
   1.1 Document Structure ..................................................................................................................... 5
   1.2 Background .................................................................................................................................. 5
   1.3 Purpose and Need for Action ....................................................................................................... 7
   1.4 Proposal in Brief .......................................................................................................................... 7
   1.5 Decision Framework and Authorities .......................................................................................... 8
   1.6 Public Involvement ...................................................................................................................... 8
   1.7 Issues............................................................................................................................................ 8
     1.7.1 Issues to be Analyzed in Detail ............................................................................................. 9
     1.7.2 Issues Considered but Dismissed from Detailed Analysis .................................................. 10
2.0 Alternatives, Including the Proposed Action.................................................................................. 12
   2.1 Alternatives Considered and Analyzed in Detail ....................................................................... 12
     2.1.1 Alternative 1—No Action ................................................................................................... 12
     2.1.2 Alternative 2—Proposed Action with Best Management Practices .................................... 12
     2.1.3 Alternative 3- Proposed Action with Best Management Practices and Additional Design
     Features ........................................................................................................................................ 23
   2.2 Comparison of Alternatives ....................................................................................................... 26
3.0 Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences ............................................................. 28
   3.1 General Discussion of Oil and Gas Activity on the Forest ........................................................ 28
   3.2 Inventoried Roadless Areas and Visual Resources .................................................................... 29
     3.2.1 Existing Conditions ............................................................................................................. 29
     3.2.2 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 1 (No Action)............................................... 33
     3.2.3 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 2 (Proposed Action with Best Management
     Practices) ...................................................................................................................................... 33
     3.2.4 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 3 (Proposed Action with Best Management
     Practices and Additional Design Features)................................................................................... 35
   3.3 Recreation Resources ................................................................................................................. 38
     3.3.1 Existing Conditions ............................................................................................................. 38
     3.3.2 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 1 (No Action)............................................... 40
     3.3.3 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 2 (Proposed Action with Best Management
     Practices) ...................................................................................................................................... 40
     3.3.4 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 3 (Proposed Action with Best Management
     Practices and Additional Design Features)................................................................................... 43
   3.4 Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat..................................................................................................... 43
     3.4.1 Existing Conditions ............................................................................................................. 43
     3.4.2 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 1 (No Action)............................................... 47
     3.4.3 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 2 (Proposed Action with Best Management
     Practices) ...................................................................................................................................... 47
     3.4.4 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 3 (Proposed Action with Best Management
     Practices and Additional Design Features)................................................................................... 53
4.0 Consultation and Coordination....................................................................................................... 55
   4.1 Interdisciplinary Team Members ............................................................................................... 55
5.0 References ...................................................................................................................................... 56
6.0 Glossary.......................................................................................................................................... 57




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3-well Project                                                                                                        June 2006



                                          List of Tables and Figures

Table 1. Comparison of Impacts of Alternatives by Evaluation Criteria............................................. 26
Table 2. Summary of Impact Determinations for Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Wildlife.... 27
Table 3 Threatened or Endangered Species Fully Analyzed in BE/BA .............................................. 44
Table 4 Sensitive Species Fully Analyzed in BE/BA .......................................................................... 45

Figure 1. General Project Area Including all Three Well Sites ............................................................. 6
Figure 2. Skyline Unit 1-6 Drill Pad Site............................................................................................ 13
Figure 3. Skyline Unit 1-6 Map .......................................................................................................... 14
Figure 4. Skyline Unit 8-7 Drill Pad Site............................................................................................. 15
Figure 5. Skyline Unit 8-7 Map ........................................................................................................... 16
Figure 6. Skyline Unit 14-28 Drill Pad Site......................................................................................... 17
Figure 7. Skyline Unit 14-28 Map ...................................................................................................... 18




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3-well Project                                                   Draft Environmental Assessment




1.0 Introduction
1.1 Document Structure
The MLNF and BLM have prepared this EA in compliance with the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA) and other relevant Federal and State laws and regulations. This EA
discloses the direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts that would result from
the proposed action and alternatives. This EA analyzes impacts from activities specific to oil
and gas exploration and production. The document is organized into four parts:
• Introduction: This section includes information on the history of the project proposal, the
purpose of and need for the project, and the Agency’s proposal for achieving that purpose and
need. This section also details how the Forest Service informed the public of the proposal and
how the public responded.
• Comparison of Alternatives, including the Proposed Action: This section provides a
detailed description of the agency’s proposed action as well as alternative methods for
achieving the stated purpose. These alternatives were developed based on key issues raised
internally, by the public or by other agencies. This discussion also includes possible Design
Features. Finally, this section provides a summary table comparing the environmental
consequences associated with each alternative.
• Environmental Consequences: This section describes the environmental effects of
implementing the proposed action and other alternatives. This analysis is organized along key
issues. Within each section, the affected environment is described first, followed by the
effects of the no action alternative. This provides a baseline for the subsequent evaluation and
comparison of the other alternatives.
• Agencies and Persons Consulted: This section provides a list of preparers and agencies
consulted during the development of the environmental assessment.
• Appendices: The appendices provide detailed information to support the analyses
presented in the environmental assessment.
Additional documentation, including more detailed analyses of project-area resources, may
be found in the project planning record located at the Ferron/Price Ranger District Office in
Ferron, Utah.

1.2 Background
Initially Dominion Exploration and Production, Inc. (Dominion) submitted Notices of
Staking (NOS) proposing 12 wells within the National Forest boundary. On-site inspections
by company and Forest Service personnel were made to 11 of the proposed well sites on July
17 and 18, 2005, to develop a drilling proposal that would meet the rights and requirements
of the lease, meet Forest Plan objectives and direction, and minimize effects to other
resources. As an outcome of these inspections, three wells were proposed by Dominion
including: Skyline Unit 1-6 in the Potters Ponds area (Figure 2), Skyline Unit 8-7 (Figure 4),



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Dominion Exploration and Production                                 Environmental Assessment
3-well Project                                                                     June 2006


and Skyline Unit 14-28 in the Rolfson Reservoir area (Figure 6). Multiple on-site
interdisciplinary team (IDT) meetings were then held during late summer and early fall 2005
with company officials and Forest Service specialists to identify potential issues and ways to
mitigate effects by proposing Best Management Practices (BMPs) to be included in the
Surface Use Plan of Operations (SUPOs). The original 12 NOSs have not been withdrawn;
therefore there could be further development in the future. Any future development would
depend on whether economic quantities of gas are found in the wells proposed in this project.
Any future proposals would require additional analysis.
The general project area (Figure 1) includes the three well sites (approximately 3.0 acres
each); the segments of the roads that would be reconstructed, improved and/or constructed;
and the other NFS roads that would be maintained or otherwise used for project access and
the proposed pipeline routes.
Figure 1. General Project Area Including all Three Well Sites




Dominion submitted three separate Applications for Permit to Drill (APD) to the BLM on
October 17, 2005 proposing to drill three gas exploration wells located within Federal Oil
and Gas Leases UTU-77263, UTU-78415, and UTU-77262 respectively. The leases were
issued by BLM on August 1, 1998, July 1, 1999 and July 1, 1998 respectively.
A list of general Forest Service requirements was compiled and presented to the operator at
the on-site review. These requirements were considered by the operator when preparing the


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3-well Project                                                  Draft Environmental Assessment


SUPOs as part of the APDs. The list is contained in the project record at the Ferron Ranger
District. The APDs contain detailed information about the location of the proposed wells and
construction and operation activities, including pipeline installation if wells prove to be
productive. Included are detailed maps and photos of the proposed drill sites, the drilling
plans, and the SUPOs. The drilling plans describe down-hole drilling operations. The SUPOs
describe and contain plans for surface occupancy including proposed access, pad plans,
timing of operations, proposed reclamation, and measures to be taken by the proponent to
mitigate effects. Leases and APDs can be found in the project record at the Ferron/Price
Ranger District.
This EA analyzes impacts from activities specific to oil and gas exploration and production,
and is tiered to the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision
(ROD) for the 1986 Manti-La Sal National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan
(LRMP; USDA Forest Service 1986), as amended by the 1994 ROD for Oil and Gas Leasing
on Lands Administered by the Manti-La Sal National Forest (O&G FEIS; USDA Forest
Service 1994). The O&G FEIS forecasts the rate and extent of oil and gas exploration and
development activity for the years 1991 through 2006 on lands administered by the MLNF.
This forecast was based on historic drilling activity and success correlated with economic
trends and the geologic environment.
Because this EA tiers to the O&G FEIS, some analysis of impacts from the proposed action
and alternatives is tied to the Huntington Canyon oil and gas analysis area that was studied in
the FEIS, and which includes the Dominion units proposed in this project.

1.3 Purpose and Need for Action
The Forest Service’s purpose and need is to review and evaluate the environmental impacts
of the proponent’s proposal in accordance with Forest Plan management direction (LRMP p.
III-12). Analysis and documentation under the provisions and procedures of NEPA is needed
to disclose to the public the effects of the proponent’s proposed operations and to provide
information needed to make the required decision. The decision must be consistent with the
rights granted by the oil and gas leases and Forest Plan direction.

1.4 Proposal in Brief
The proposed action is to authorize the proponent Dominion occupancy of NFS lands, to
reconstruct NFS roads and construct temporary access roads, construct drill pads, drill three
exploratory wells and if necessary to construct pipelines to carry found gas. Authorization to
drill would be granted by approval of the APDs by BLM. Authorization for occupancy would
be granted by the Forest Service approving the SUPOs contained in the APDs. A Forest
Service Road-Use Permit (RUP) would also be needed to authorize commercial use of the
NFS roads. These proposed activities would be consistent with the lease rights, applicable
laws and regulations, and Forest Plan direction. These authorizations would enable Dominion
to explore for and economically recover any available gas reserves within their Federal leases
and are consistent with BLM and Forest Service direction to provide the opportunity to
recover leasable minerals on NFS lands.



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Dominion Exploration and Production                                   Environmental Assessment
3-well Project                                                                       June 2006


Under the proposed action, the APDs, SUPOs, and the proposed road construction and
reconstruction would be approved with the requirement that BMPs imposed by the Forest
Service be implemented to mitigate possible effects. The action proposed by the Forest
Service to meet the purpose and need has three components: authorization for access routes,
authorization for occupancy to drill three natural gas exploratory wells, and authorization to
install necessary production facilities and pipelines from wells that are found to be
productive. Dominion is proposing the project be completed during the 2006 field season.

1.5 Decision Framework and Authorities
The BLM responsible official must decide whether to approve the APDs under authority of
the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended, and 43 CFR 3100.
The Forest Supervisor must decide whether to approve the SUPOs and whether to concur
with approval of the APDs by BLM. Approval of the SUPOs may contain measures for the
protection of non-mineral resources and minimize effects consistent with Forest Plan
direction. Authority for these decisions is provided under the Federal Oil and Gas Leasing
Reform Act of 1987 and implementing regulations contained in 36 CFR Subpart E. In
addition, the Forest Supervisor must decide whether to authorize reconstruction of NFS roads
through issuance of a RUP under authority of the National Forest Roads and Trails Act of
1964.
The decisions of the responsible officials must be consistent with the rights granted to the
lessee by the Federal Oil and Gas Lease, as restricted by lease stipulations, operating
standards required in the applicable regulations, applicable laws and regulations for the
protection of the public and natural resources, and Forest Plan direction.

1.6 Public Involvement
The proposal was provided to the public and other agencies for comment during a 30-day
comment period. A letter was prepared and sent to interested parties on the Agency’s mailing
list on November 2, 2005. A Legal Notice of Proposed Action and Opportunity to Comment
was prepared, and published in three newspapers of record, the Sun Advocate on November
1, 2005, the Emery County Progress on November 1, 2005, and the Sanpete Messenger on
November 2, 2005.
After compiling comments from internal scoping, the public, other agencies, and tribes, the
interdisciplinary team developed a list of issues to address in this EA.

1.7 Issues
The following issues, identified through project scoping, will be addressed in the EA. They
will be used to focus data collection and the analysis process. The evaluation criteria will be
used to quantify impacts and compare alternatives. The issues have been identified as either
key or non-key. Impacts related to key issues are fully disclosed. Non-key issues represent
concerns that are resolved through minor modifications to the proposal, project design
features, or management direction (i.e., laws, regulations, policies, Forest Plan guidelines,


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Dominion Exploration and Production
3-well Project                                                     Draft Environmental Assessment


etc). Other concerns were expressed through the scoping process, and the Forest Service has
considered these as well. A record of their consideration and disposition can be found in
Appendix A.

1.7.1 Issues to be Analyzed in Detail

1. Impacts to Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRA) and the undeveloped character of IRAs.
Construction of a temporary access road for Skyline Unit #1-6 could affect the undeveloped
character of the Bulger-Black Canyon IRA. Construction of a temporary access road to Unit
#8-7 could affect the undeveloped character of the Rolfson-Staker IRA.
Evaluation Criteria:
    •   Changes to natural integrity, apparent naturalness, remoteness or solitude,
        opportunities for primitive recreation, special features, and manageability.
    •   Miles of road construction/reconstruction within the IRAs; area (acres) and percent of
        roadless areas affected.
    •   Changes to Visual Quality Objectives (VQOs).
2. Impacts to Recreation and from changes in recreation use patterns.
Improvement including gravel surfacing of NFS Roads 50150 (Skyline Drive), 50271
(Potters Canyon), and 50269 (Rolfson Reservoir) for drilling operations could attract
additional visitors to the area and could result in changes to the traditional uses of the area.
NFS Road 50014 (Millers Flat Road) is groomed in the winter as a snowmobile trail. If
drilling operations extend into the winter during the periods of snowpack and snowmobile
use, plowing of the road and traffic could interfere with this recreation use.
Evaluation Criteria:
    •   Changes in number of days of visitor use.
    •   Changes in types of recreation.
3. Impacts to wildlife, wildlife habitat, and habitat quality.
Access improvement including gravel surfacing of temporary access roads for drilling
operations could attract additional visitors to the area and could negatively impact flora and
fauna.
Evaluation Criteria:
    •   Acres of disturbance within elk calving habitat
    •   Acres of disturbance in big game summer range.
    •   Acres of disturbance in migratory bird habitat.
    •   Acres of disturbance in goshawk habitat.




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Dominion Exploration and Production                                   Environmental Assessment
3-well Project                                                                       June 2006



1.7.2 Issues Considered but Dismissed from Detailed Analysis
1. Construction and drilling operations could impact surface water quality. Drilling
operations could impact ground water.
Rationale for Dismissal: The proposed well pads are located away from perennial streams.
Industry BMPs, soil and water conservation practices (SWCPs), and other site-specific
practices would be followed during construction and operations to minimize effects on water
quality. The reserve pit would be appropriately lined to prevent infiltration into the
substratum. The reserve pit on the pad would be designed to be an adequate capacity, based
on the anticipated drilling conditions. Dominion would also take appropriate measures to
prevent overflow of the reserve pit. Thus impacts from reserve pit fluids (e.g. spills and
leaks) would be unlikely due to the use of a protective impermeable liner, and the design of
the pit’s capacity to accommodate all anticipated drilling events and storm events. A
temporary bridge over Potters Creek is proposed. Aggregate surfacing of reconstructed or
newly constructed roads would improve water quality and reduce erosion.
The well casing is designed to protect ground water resources. Blow-out preventer equipment
would be installed on the casing head and tested to ensure control of borehole pressures and
fluids. This equipment along with the drilling mud prevents unexpected out flow of borehole
fluids onto the surface of the well pad. All fluids from the borehole are discharged into the
reserve pit and contained in that pit. Surface and other casing would be set with cement to
prevent migration of borehole fluids, including the migration of ground water between
aquifers, if present. The casing also prevents contamination of any fresh water aquifers that
could be penetrated into the borehole and isolates productive hydrocarbon zones from fresh
water aquifers.
Well drilling operations must conform to Onshore Order 2, Drilling Operations, and
conformance to that order adequately protects groundwater resources if penetrated. A
condition of approval would be attached as a mitigation measure that if usable quality water
is penetrated in the subsurface, the cement program as reviewed by a BLM petroleum
engineer would protect such an aquifer. Additionally, special cement logging equipment
would be required to verify the adequacy of the cementing program.
No other mineral resources would be affected. The drilling program is designed to adequately
protect other minerals including coal. There are no existing federal or state coal leases in the
area of the proposed wells. No Lease By Application is being proposed or likely in the future.
2. Construction, drilling and pipeline construction could impact riparian, aquatic, or
wetland habitats.
Rationale for Dismissal: The proposed well pads are located away from riparian, aquatic, and
wetland habitats. The proposed crossing of Potters Creek would minimize channel
disturbance and provide for aquatic passage. The proposed pipelines generally avoid stream
crossings, riparian areas and wetlands. In areas where avoidance is not possible, already
disturbed areas, such as existing roads or pipeline alignments would be used to reduce
disturbance. The pipeline would not be buried in some areas to prevent impacts to wetland
hydrology caused by digging. Industry BMPs, SWCPs, and other site-specific practices
would be followed during construction and operations to minimize effects.




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3-well Project                                                   Draft Environmental Assessment


3. Top soil and vegetation would be removed in areas of proposed construction.
Rationale for Dismissal: Industry BMPs, SWCPs, and other site-specific practices would be
followed during construction and operations to minimize adverse effects. During
construction, top soil would be salvaged to its full depth, properly stored and protected for
future reclamation. Reclamation practices would generally follow those in the Practical
Guide to Reclamation in Utah, developed by the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining.
4. Construction activities could impact cultural sites.
Rationale for Dismissal: Cultural resource surveys were conducted by AIA Archeological
Consultants. A previously-recorded, archeologically significant cultural resource site is
located on both sides of NFS Road 50271. There would be no adverse effect to the site
because no construction activity would occur within the cultural site boundary. The site
would be monitored by a professional archeologist to ensure that no construction activity
would take place within the site boundary. No other cultural resource sites were found within
the analysis area. The State Historic Preservation Officer and Tribal governments have been
consulted and have concurred with a determination of “no historic properties affected”, based
on the mitigations specified above. Concurrence letters are located in the project file.
 5. Construction and operational activities could impact geologic hazards such as land
slides and unstable slopes in the area.
Rationale for Dismissal: The only potential geologic hazard area identified is the slide area
located approximately 2.7 miles south of Highway 31on Skyline Drive. The road would be
engineered to stabilize it from future slides and allow for safer vehicle passage. Other
proposed roads and pads are not being proposed in steep or unstable areas.
6. Disturbance of existing vegetation and use of heavy equipment from other areas
could result in the introduction and establishment of noxious weeds.
Rationale for Dismissal: Requirements that vehicles and equipment be cleaned before
entering the Forest and noxious weed control requirements in the stipulations would
adequately mitigate this issue. On-site monitoring for noxious weeds and eradication would
be required of the Proponent.
7. The increased heavy traffic related to move-in and move-out of the drill rig and
drilling operations on already heavily-used National Forest System Roads could
temporarily increase the potential for accidents and decrease the quality of motorized
recreational use including the production of excessive fugitive dust during dry times.
Rationale for Dismissal: Increased traffic control including signs on improved roads with
appropriate turn outs would mitigate safety concerns. These roads would be designed to the
standard needed to accommodate expected public and project traffic and would be consistent
with Forest Plan direction. Dust suppression would be required on affected roads.
8. Improvement and gravel surfacing of NFS Roads 50150 (Skyline Drive), 50271
(Potters Ponds), and 50269 (Rolfson Reservoir) for drilling operations could attract
additional visitors to the area resulting in decreased manageability of livestock herding.
The proposed construction could decrease forage for grazing animals.
Rationale for Dismissal: The area size of reduced forage (pads and new roads) translated into
sheep numbers are not significant enough to initiate reductions. It is anticipated that


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3-well Project                                                                       June 2006


improved roads would increase visitor use. Increased visitor use could make managing sheep
herds more difficult due to herds being more prone to scatter while grazing along the roads
and potential for increased mortality. Effects of increased visitor use and grazing would be
monitored. If it is determined that forage available for grazing has been affected, sheep
numbers would be reduced to sustain good forage production.
9. Drilling and production operations could be a concern to public health and safety.
Some geologic formations contain hydrogen-sulfide (H2S), a poisonous gas. When
drilling an oil and gas well, H2S bearing zones could be penetrated, and the borehole
could be a pathway for the release of H2S at the surface.
Rationale for dismissal: Safety related to H2S is regulated by OSHA and the procedures for
protecting against the release of H2S are addressed in the federal oil and gas onshore orders.
The drilling program is reviewed by a BLM petroleum engineer and geologist for technical
adequacy of mud system, blow out preventer equipment, and casing. The subject wells are
not anticipated to penetrate high-pressure zones and are not expected to contain H2S in
concentrations that would affect health and safety.

2.0 Alternatives, Including the Proposed Action
2.1 Alternatives Considered and Analyzed in Detail
This chapter describes and compares the alternatives considered for the Dominion Project,
and includes a description of each alternative considered. This section also presents the
alternatives in comparative form, sharply defining the differences between each alternative to
provide a clear basis for choice by the decision maker and the public.

2.1.1 Alternative 1—No Action

Under the no action alternative, current management plans would continue to guide
management of the project area. The APDs and SUPOs would not be approved, and no road
improvements would be implemented.
This alternative would not involve changes to the environment, does not meet the purpose
and need for action, nor is it consistent with rights granted by the oil and gas leases. This
alternative is analyzed in detail as a basis for comparison of other alternatives.

2.1.2 Alternative 2—Proposed Action with Best Management Practices
Under the proposed action, the APDs, SUPOs, and the proposed road construction and
reconstruction would be approved with BMPs implemented to mitigate effects. The action
proposed by the Forest Service to meet the purpose and need has three components: (1)
authorization for access routes, (2) authorization for occupancy to drill three natural gas
exploratory wells, and (3) authorization to install pipeline to transport gas from wells found
to be productive. These components of the proposed action are detailed below.
1) Authorization for access routes to the three proposed drill sites: The Forest Service
would authorize commercial use of NFS roads to provide improved access to Dominion’s


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proposed well sites, subject to terms and conditions. The temporary access roads would be
authorized as part of the SUPOs.
Access to the Skyline Unit 1-6 site would require reconstruction of about 1.9 miles of NFS
Road 50271 from Potters Campground to Potters Canyon and construction of about 0.5 mile
of temporary access road to the drill pad. A temporary bridge is proposed where the
temporary access road would cross Potters Creek. Approximately 0.1 miles (0.2 disturbed
acres) of reconstructed NFS Road 50271 would be within the Bulger-Black Canyon IRA.
Approximately 0.45 miles of the 0.5 mile drill pad temporary access road would be
constructed within the Bulger-Black Canyon IRA (Figure 3). This temporary road would
disturb approximately 2.1 acres, causing 1.9 acres disturbance within the Bulger-Black
Canyon IRA .


Figure 2. Skyline Unit 1-6 Drill Pad Site




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Dominion Exploration and Production   Environmental Assessment
3-well Project                                       June 2006


Figure 3. Skyline Unit 1-6 Map




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3-well Project                                                Draft Environmental Assessment


Access to the Skyline Unit 8-7 site would require reconstruction of about 6.5 miles of NFS
Road 50150 from State Road 31 south to the drill pad temporary access road, and
construction of about 0.8 mile of temporary access road to the drill pad. The temporary
access road would be constructed within the Rolfson-Staker IRA (Figure 5). Approximately
2.5 acres of ground would be disturbed.


Figure 4. Skyline Unit 8-7 Drill Pad Site




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Dominion Exploration and Production   Environmental Assessment
3-well Project                                       June 2006


Figure 5. Skyline Unit 8-7 Map




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3-well Project                                                 Draft Environmental Assessment


Access to the Skyline Unit 14-28 site would require reconstruction and aggregate surfacing
of about 0.8 mile of NFS Road 50269 toward Rolfson Reservoir, and construction of about
0.6 mile of temporary access road to the drill pad (Figure 7). Approximately 5.3 acres of
ground would be disturbed. Temporary access roads would be reclaimed when no longer
needed. This would involve removal of the four to eight inches of gravel and placing it at a
location to be determined by Forest Service and Dominion staff. All installed culverts would
be removed. The road would then be “ripped” with a bulldozer or grader, re-contoured,
covered with topsoil, and re-seeded with a Forest Service recommended weed-free seed mix.
Access to the road would be blocked for at least one growing season to prevent public use
and allow the seed to germinate and grow. The reclamation process would take
approximately two weeks, and the areas would be monitored to assure reclamation standards
are achieved.
Figure 6. Skyline Unit 14-28 Drill Pad Site




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Dominion Exploration and Production   Environmental Assessment
3-well Project                                       June 2006


Figure 7. Skyline Unit 14-28 Map




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Dominion Exploration and Production
3-well Project                                                  Draft Environmental Assessment


2) Authorization for Occupancy to Drill: The Forest Service would authorize occupancy of
NFS land to construct temporary access roads, drill pads and drill three natural gas
exploration wells, according to the SUPOs, and consistent with the Federal Oil and Gas
Leases. Drill pads for all three sites would measure about 270 by 355 feet and would disturb
approximately 3.0 acres each.
Diversion ditches would be constructed around the disturbed area to prevent surface water
from entering the disturbed areas and to capture sediment. A reserve pit would be constructed
and lined with an impermeable membrane to prevent groundwater contamination during
drilling operations. The pad would be sloped to drain all precipitation and fluids to the
reserve pit and constructed with an 18-inch high berm around the perimeter to contain all
fluids and materials and prevent release to the adjacent undisturbed areas. Sediment
containment structures would be constructed along the toe of the fill slopes to prevent
sediment releases. Upon well completion, all contaminated pad materials and the contents of
the reserve pit would be removed to an approved, licensed site; the pit would then be
backfilled with clean subsoil.
Productive well sites would be partially reclaimed, which would include downsizing the site
and reseeding disturbed areas with an approved seed mix. A production facilities design
would be submitted and approved by the Forest Service prior to installation. Non-productive
well sites would be completely reclaimed, which would include returning the pad to
approximate original contour, redistributing salvaged topsoil, seeding with an approved seed
mix, and fencing of the reclaimed area to prevent use until required reclamation and re-
vegetation standards are achieved.
3) Authorization to install pipeline from productive wells: The Forest Service would
authorize Dominion to construct pipelines from productive wells to Questar’s gathering
pipeline which runs from the Flat Canyon/Indian Creek gas field in the Cottonwood Canyon
and East Mountain areas. Construction of a Right-of-Way (ROW) would be necessary if
pipelines are laid. During construction of any ROW, all non-commercial timber and shrubs
would be scattered or mulched along the sides of the clearing, where clearing of trees and/or
shrubs is necessary. Some of the vegetation would be maintained to aid in later reclamation
and closing access to OHV travel. At locations where the pipelines would be buried, the
ROW would first be cleared of vegetation and graded to provide a smooth and even work
area to facilitate the movement of equipment and personnel along the ROW.
The proposed pipelines to the three wells would either be placed on the surface or buried,
based on discussions with the Forest Service. Portions of the pipeline from Skyline Unit 1-6
would be placed on the surface, whereas other sections would be buried. The pipeline from
Skyline Unit 8-7 is proposed as a cross-country surface pipeline. The pipeline from Skyline
Unit 14-28 is proposed as a buried pipeline.
Surface pipelines would be placed on the ground, without removing any vegetation except
for trees, thereby reducing surface disturbance. Dominion would install the pipeline on the
surface by welding many joints into long lengths on the temporary access roads or on the
well site, dragging the long lengths into position and then completing a final welding pass to
join the long lengths together. Conventional welding technology would be used.
Buried pipelines would require a trencher or backhoe to be used to excavate an 18-inch wide
ditch. In rocky areas or locations where the pipeline changes direction, an excavator could


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be used. The ditch would be excavated to a depth sufficient to provide at least 42 inches of
cover on the pipeline. The pipe gang and welding crews would align the pipe and weld the
segments above the trench. The pipe string would then be stored on skids until lowered into
the ditch. Side booms would be used to lower the pipe into the ditch. In rocky areas, the
trench would be padded with sand or soil using a padding machine which separates rocks
from unsatisfactory padding materials. After the pipe is placed in the ditch, a motor grader
would be used to push the soil back into the ditch.
Construction at road crossings would be treated differently than the rest of the pipeline. To
minimize the time a trench would be open, the road crossings would be constructed
separately (cut the trench, lay the pipe, weld if required, and then cover) so as to work
continuously and not interrupt traffic too long. Notification of the construction at road
crossings would be given at least 24 hours in advance. The open cut roads would be
backfilled and compacted to ensure the integrity of the road.
Operation and maintenance of the pipeline ROW would include routine patrolling and
inspection by personnel on foot or in vehicles to check for problems, such as erosion, poor
ROW condition, unauthorized encroachment, and any other condition that could cause a
safety hazard or require preventive maintenance. If unauthorized encroachment is identified,
steps to prevent this use and mitigate any damage would be taken as soon as possible.
Reclamation for surface pipeline construction would require only minor reclamation. Areas
of incidental disturbance by trucks, heavy equipment, and foot traffic would be reclaimed to
the specifications of the Forest Service utilizing hand tools and a forest service approved seed
mix. General practices of reclamation for buried pipelines include backfilling, leveling, and
re-contouring. Stockpiled topsoil would be spread over the disturbed area and then reseeded
using a certified weed-free grass seed mixture. Appropriate measures would be taken to
prevent erosion through the use of diversion terraces, rip-rap, matting, and water bars.
Abandonment at the end of a well’s productive life would initiate final reclamation
implementation. Each well would be plugged according to Forest Service standards and all
surface equipment and facilities removed. Surface pipeline would be removed from the forest
and buried pipelines would be flushed and plugged at both ends and left in place.
Reclamation of the land would include returning the location and road to approximate
original contour, re-vegetating the sites, and blocking the roads with slash, rock and logs.
Mulching and matting may be utilized on steep cuts and side hills. A surface reclamation
bond would be required by the Forest Service for road reclamation. The bond would be in
place prior to construction activities and remain active for two growing seasons following
reclamation.
The proposed Skyline Unit 1-6 well site is located in Section 6, T16S, R6E at an elevation
of approximately 9,400 feet. If the well should prove productive, a 2.48 mile pipeline would
be constructed and run north and northeast to the tie-in point at the existing four-inch Questar
pipeline (Figure 3). The proposed pipeline would parallel NFS Road 52208 for most of its
length to avoid the heavily used Potters Pond recreation area. Approximately 500 feet would
be buried, beginning 100 feet south of the existing power line corridor, and continuing across
Potters Canyon Road and then along the north side of the road to the east line of Section 31.
Approximately 4,200 feet would be buried from the top of a minor slope to the tie-in point
with the Questar Pipeline. The pipeline would span Jordan Creek adjacent to the proposed


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span structure that would support the road. Barriers would be installed to keep people from
playing on the pipeline.
Because of the length of the pipeline three staging areas are proposed, in addition to the well
pad and temporary access road, which would also be used for staging. The staging areas
would be cleared of trees but would not be cleared of under-story vegetation and would not
be graded or leveled. Each staging area would be 100’x100’ in dimension and centered
(Figure 3).
Proponent committed mitigation measures for Skyline Unit 1-6 relevant to pipeline
installation include:
•   Approximately 36% of the pipeline would be buried to minimize visual impacts.
•   Commercial timber removed from proposed ROW would be utilized for reclamation and
    to preclude OHV use in the area.
•   Vegetation and topsoil would not be removed from the staging areas to minimize
    potential vegetation and erosion impacts.
•   The pipeline would be designed and constructed to avoid impacts to wetland areas.
•   In forested areas at this location, the width of the ROW will be limited to 20 feet instead
    of the typical 40 feet, where possible.
•   Best Management Practices (BMPs) would be applied to pipeline construction activities.
 The proposed Skyline Unit 8-7 well site is located at an elevation greater than 10,000 feet.
A 1.9 mile surface pipeline would run from Section 8, Township 15S, Range 6E to connect to
the Questar 6-inch pipeline in Section 16, T15S, R6E (Figure 5). Approximately 6,500 feet
of the proposed 8-inch pipeline would be new construction, while 3,550 feet of an existing
pipeline would be upgraded. The ROW for the pipeline would be 40-feet wide and would
result in the removal of spruce and fir trees within that corridor. It is anticipated that trees
would be removed for a width of 20 feet or less, though isolated areas may exist that would
require a wider tree removal area (up to 40 feet).
Three staging areas are proposed, in addition to the well pad, which would also be used for
staging. The staging areas would be cleared of trees but would not be cleared of under-story
vegetation and would not be graded or leveled. Each staging area would be 100’x100’.
Proponent committed mitigation measures for Skyline Unit 8-7 relevant to pipeline
installation include:
•   Commercial timber removed from proposed ROW would be utilized for reclamation and
    to preclude OHV use in the area.
•   In forested areas the width of the ROW would be limited to 20 feet instead of the typical
    40 feet, where possible.
•   To minimize use of heavy equipment, Dominion would use ATVs for pipeline
    construction where possible.
•   In order to minimize the number of trips to transport pipe, most welding and stringing of
    the pipeline would occur on the temporary access road and well pad.


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•    Best Management Practices (BMPs) would be applied to all pipeline construction
     activities.
The proposed Skyline Unit 14-28 well site is located in Section 28, T14S, R6E at an
elevation of approximately 8,600 feet. The proposed eight-inch buried pipeline would tie in
with the existing six-inch Questar pipeline (Figure 7). The 1.37-mile pipeline would be
placed within the proposed and existing road, with the exception of the last 450 feet of the
pipeline, which would run cross-country to connect to the Questar pipeline. A 40-foot ROW
is proposed for the buried pipeline. One 100’x100’ staging area is proposed at the intersection
of the proposed road with the existing road.
Proponent committed mitigation measures for Skyline Unit 14-28 relevant to pipeline
installation include:
•    Dominion would bury the pipeline to avoid visual impacts to recreational users.
•    Best Management Practices (BMPs) would be applied to pipeline construction activities.


2.1.2.1 Best Management Practices
The following BMPs, proposed in the SUPOs, were developed by Forest Service and
Dominion staffs to minimize some of the potential impacts caused by the proposed action.
These BMPs would be required as conditions of approval for Alternatives 2 and 3, and are
detailed below.
•    Roads would be designed to minimize erosion and drain properly. This would include
     ditches, culverts, drain dips, curve widening and turnouts. Four inches of aggregate (eight
     inches if project use is beyond the dry operating season) would be required on all project
     roads. Twelve inches of aggregate would be required on drill pad surfaces. Topsoil would
     be salvaged and redistributed on cut and fill slopes along the improved system roads and
     along new temporary roads should the wells become production wells.
•    Silt fencing or other approved sediment control structures would be installed at the base
     of drill pad fill slopes, at the base of road fill slopes adjacent to stream courses and
     wetlands, around topsoil stockpiles, and in other locations as needed.
•    Minimize the potential for spread of noxious weeds by requiring equipment to be clean
     prior to entering the forest, and requiring aggregate sources to be free of noxious weeds.
•    Monitoring of disturbed and adjacent areas for noxious weeds would be conducted and
     outbreaks eliminated.
•    Disturbed areas would be seeded with an appropriate weed-free seed mix during the same
     season as disturbance occurs.
•    Drill pads would drain into a mud pit.
•    New temporary access roads and pipelines would be routed away from riparian and
     wetland areas.
•    The slide area on Skyline would be stabilized and potential for future erosion and sliding
     would be minimized.


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Dominion Exploration and Production
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•   Signage and inter-visible turnouts along the public roads would be provided as needed for
    public safety.

2.1.3 Alternative 3- Proposed Action with Best Management Practices
and Additional Design Features
Under Alternative 3 the APDs and SUPOs would be approved and proposed access routes
would be authorized as in Alternative 2. This alternative would require Dominion to
implement additional Design Features, listed as follows, to further reduce impacts to
recreation, wildlife, soils, wetlands, riparian and range resources.
2.1.3.1 Additional Design Features
The following Design Features were developed in response to internal concerns about
possible direct and indirect impacts of the proposal. They were developed to further reduce
possible impacts of the proposed action. These measures are in addition to the above BMPs,
and are a condition of approval for Alternative 3.
Applicable to Skyline Unit #1-6 (Potters Ponds):
•   A turn-around point for vehicles towing trailers would be constructed at the end of road
    improvement work on the Potters Canyon Road.
•   A Forest Service gate with dual lock capability would be installed with barriers each side
    to keep unauthorized motorized vehicles off the temporary access road. Appropriate
    signage would also be installed. The gate would be kept locked at all times.
•   Four campsite locations would be designed and constructed along the improved road, and
    a short spur road of less than 150 feet would be graveled into these locations. The area of
    acceptable motorized use would be defined with barrier rocks, log and block fencing, and
    signage.
•   Hazardous dead spruce trees would be removed from along the reconstructed road, the
    temporary access road, and the well pad to a width as wide as the average height of
    standing trees. Trees would be removed and properly disposed of either under contract or
    by Dominion.
•   Additional aggregate surfacing would be applied through Potters Ponds campground as
    needed for road maintenance. Magnesium chloride would be applied to the road surface
    during construction and drilling operations to control dust.
•   Snowmobile crossing points would be established and signed at key locations, if drilling
    operations extend into the winter season with subsequent plowing of the Millers Flat
    Road.
•   The well would be monitored remotely by telemetry if it went into production. Routine
    maintenance activities would occur over snow.
•   Snow removal to access the well would be authorized only in an emergency, defined as
    serious damage to the environment or serious economic consequences to the well
    operation, and would be determined under joint BLM/FS consultations.




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Dominion Exploration and Production                                   Environmental Assessment
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•    Upon reclamation of the well pad and road, recoverable aggregate could either be
     removed from NFS lands or reapplied on NFS Road 50271 and to the dispersed camping
     areas east of Potters Ponds.
•    If gas is discovered, pipeline would be installed above ground on the upper side of the
     road and would be placed approximately 25 feet away from the road edge. The pipeline
     would be buried under the power lines and NFS Road 50271, and would continue above
     ground on the north side of NFS Road 52208.
Applicable to Skyline Unit #8-7:
•    A turn-around point for vehicles towing trailers would be constructed at the end of road
     improvement work on South Skyline Drive and would be located approximately 200 feet
     south of the proposed temporary access road.
•    A Forest Service gate with dual locking capability would be installed with barriers on
     both sides to keep unauthorized motorized vehicles off the temporary access road.
     Appropriate signage would also be installed. The gate would be kept locked at all times.
•    Four campsite locations would be defined along the improved road, and a short spur road
     of less than 150 feet would be graveled into these locations. The area of acceptable
     motorized use would be defined with barrier rocks, log and block fencing, and signage.
•    Illegal ATV routes originating off the reconstructed portion South Skyline Drive would
     be closed with barriers. Appropriate signage would be installed.
•    A barrier consisting of either log and block or boulders with signage would be installed at
     Forest Trail #5384 near the drill pad if the well goes into production and a pipeline is
     needed. Reclamation would require removal of the pipeline and closing the trail with
     water bars and signage.
•    A gate would be installed at the junction of South Skyline Drive near U31 to provide a
     seasonal closure of the road during the spring snowmelt period.
•    Signage would be installed to warn snowmobile users of plowed conditions if drilling
     operations extend into the winter season with subsequent plowing of South Skyline
     Drive.
•    The well would be monitored remotely by telemetry if it goes into production. Routine
     maintenance activities would occur over snow.
•    Snow removal to access the well would be authorized only in an emergency, defined as
     serious damage to the environment or serious economic consequences to the well
     operation, and would be determined under joint BLM/Forest Service consultations.
•    Upon reclamation of the well pad and temporary access road, recoverable aggregate can
     either be removed from NFS lands or reapplied northward on Skyline Drive, at the
     discretion of Dominion staff.
•    If gas is discovered, a pipeline would be installed above ground on Trail #5384, as shown
     in Figure 5. The pipeline would be installed in a manner that would avoid resource
     damage. Forest Service staff would require a detailed design document from Dominion
     demonstrating mitigation of resource impacts prior to pipeline construction.


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3-well Project                                                   Draft Environmental Assessment


•   When well is no longer economic, Dominion would remove the pipeline and reclaim the
    temporary access road and pad to Forest Service specifications.
Applicable to Skyline Unit#14-28 (Rolfson):
•   A turn-around point for vehicles towing trailers would be constructed near the junction of
    the temporary access road and Rolfson Reservoir road.
•   A Forest Service gate with dual locking capability would be installed with barriers on
    both sides to keep unauthorized motorized vehicles off the temporary access road. This
    would be designed to allow ATV access onto the trail system. Appropriate signage would
    also be installed. The gate would be kept locked at all times.
•   A 100 foot graveled road spur would be constructed into Campsite #42 to accommodate
    increased Dispersed use (Figure 7).
•   Snowmobile crossing points and signage would be installed at key locations, if drilling
    operations extend into the winter season with subsequent plowing of Miller Flat Road.
•   If the well goes into production, it would be monitored remotely through telemetry if it
    goes into production. Routine maintenance activities would occur over snow.
•   Snow removal to access the well would be authorized only in an emergency, defined as
    serious damage to the environment or serious economic consequences to the well
    operation and would be determined under joint BLM/Forest Service consultations.
•   Upon reclamation of the well pad and temporary access road, recoverable aggregate can
    either be removed from NFS lands or applied southward on Rolfson Canyon Road to a
    depth of 4 inches, at the discretion of Dominion staff.
•   The pipeline dust control would be provided during construction and drilling operations
    from U31 to the construction area of the road or drill pad.
•   If gas is discovered, the pipeline must be installed within the road prism to avoid impacts
    to visual resources and to avoid introduction of noxious weeds.
Applicable to All Units:
•   Appropriate signage would be installed in the area warning visitors about conditions.
•   Potentially suitable goshawk habitat near proposed drill sites would be surveyed prior to
    project activity at the sites. All active nests would be protected with a 0.5-mile buffer
    between March 1 and August 15, and a 30-acre buffer between August 16 and September
    30. Project construction would not be authorized during elk calving period from May 1
    to July 5 in fawning and calving habitat.
•   Fugitive dust from project traffic would be properly controlled along NFS roads and
    temporary access roads.
•   If pipelines are needed, the following restrictions would apply: (1) in order to protect elk
    calving habitat, pipelines would not be installed in suitable calving habitat between May
    1 and July 5; (2) in order to protect goshawks and goshawk habitat, all suitable goshawk
    habitat would be surveyed prior to installation, and active nests would be protected with a
    0.5 mile buffer between March 1 and August 15, and with a 30 acre buffer extending until


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     September 30; (3) a pipeline corridor would not be constructed through suitable goshawk
     habitat; (4) in order to protect three-toed woodpeckers, pipelines would not be installed
     in suitable three-toed woodpecker habitat until after July 5.
•    Surface reclamation of the drill pads and temporary access road must be completed
     within 1 year of well abandonment. All production equipment, including the pipeline
     must be removed from NFS lands and properly disposed.

2.2 Comparison of Alternatives
Table 1. Comparison of Impacts of Alternatives by Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criterion          Alternative 1   Alternative 2 – Proposed Action            Alternative 3 –
   for Key Issue               No Action                                                Proposed Action
                                                                                         with Additional
                                                                                        Design Features
Changes to natural           No new direct,   Non-motorized recreation could           Same as for Alternative
integrity, apparent          indirect or      increase slightly. Impacts to natural    2.
naturalness, remoteness      cumulative       integrity would be minor and short-
or solitude, opportunities   impacts          term in both IRAs. Short-term impact
for primitive recreation,                     on apparent naturalness due to
special features, and                         increased noise and activity.
manageability                                 Remoteness or solitude would be
                                              diminished near the temporary
                                              access roads and pads during
                                              construction. Some opportunities for
                                              primitive recreation would be slightly
                                              affected, especially during the
                                              construction phase No impact on
                                              special features in the IRAs.
                                              Manageability of the Rolfson-Staker
                                              IRA would be affected by the
                                              improvement to Skyline Drive. Road
                                              improvements could lead to
                                              increased recreational use and
                                              changes in the types of recreation.
Miles of road construction   No new direct,   In Bulger-Black Canyon IRA 0.4 mile      Same as for Alternative
and reconstruction within    indirect or      road work and 6.91 acres                 2.
the IRAs. Area (acres)       cumulative       disturbance. Percent of IRA affected
and percent of IRAs          impacts          would be almost immeasurable. In
affected                                      Rolfson-Staker IRA 0.75 mile road
                                              work and 14.37 acres disturbance.
                                              Percent of IRA affected would be
                                              almost immeasurable.
Changes to Visual            No new direct,   Unit 1-6 would not be consistent with    Same as for Alternative
Quality Objectives           indirect or      VQO if pipeline constructed. No          2.
                             cumulative       change in VQO for unit 8-7. Unit 14-
                             impacts          28 would not be consistent with VQO
                                              over the short-term, but would In the
                                              long term, when the operation would
                                              end and the site and road restored.
Increased number of          No new direct,   Camping use is projected to increase     Increase in PAOTs
days of visitor use          indirect or      to as many as 100 People at One          would be less along
                             cumulative       Time (PAOT’s) per day along South        South Skyline and
                             impacts          Skyline, and to 50 PAOT’s per day        above Potters Ponds
                                              above Potters Ponds. Occupancy of        due to better control of
                                              site #42 would double as would           recreational activities.



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                                                   primitive campsite use near Rolfson          Impact at site #42
                                                   Reservoir.                                   would be less.
Changes in types of            No new direct,      Recreation activity would move               Types of recreation
recreation                     indirect or         toward more back-country camping,            would remain as it is
                               cumulative          more OHV activity and need for more          currently due to better
                               impacts             development at easy access sites.            control of activities.
Acres of disturbance           No new direct,      There would be no disturbance within         Same as for Alternative
within elk calving habitat     indirect or         elk calving habitat.                         2.
                               cumulative
                               impacts
Acres of disturbance in        No new direct,      Avoidance area would be                      Same as for Alternative
big game summer range          indirect or         approximately 4,751 acres.                   2.
                               cumulative
                               impacts
Acres of disturbance in        No new direct,      None.                                        None.
priority migratory bird        indirect or
species habitat                cumulative
                               impacts
Acres of disturbance in        No new direct,      Avoidance area would be                      There would be no
goshawk habitat                indirect or         approximately 250 acres.                     disturbance area for
                               cumulative                                                       this alternative.
                               impacts


Table 2. Summary of Impact Determinations for Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Wildlife

         Species                 Alternative 1 –         Alternative 2 –                Alternative 3 – Proposed
                                   No Action            Proposed Action                  Action with Additional
                                                                                            Design Features
Bald eagle (Threatened)          No Effect           May affect, but not likely        May affect, but not likely to
                                                     to adversely affect               adversely affect
Canada lynx (Threatened)         No Effect           No Effect                         No Effect
Bonytail, humpback chub,         No Effect           No Effect                         No Effect
Colorado pikeminnow,
razorback sucker
(Endangered)
Spotted bat, Townsend’s          No Impact           No Impact                         No Impact
big-eared bat (Sensitive)
Greater sage grouse              No Impact           No Impact                         No Impact
(Sensitive)
Northern goshawk                 No Impact           May impact individuals or         May impact individuals or
(Sensitive)                                          habitat, but would not            habitat, but would not likely
                                                     likely contribute to a trend      contribute to a trend toward
                                                     toward Federal listing or         Federal listing or cause a loss of
                                                     cause a loss of viability to      viability to the population
                                                     the population
Peregrine falcon (Sensitive)     No Impact           May impact individuals or         May impact individuals or
                                                     habitat, but would not            habitat, but would not likely
                                                     likely contribute to a trend      contribute to a trend toward
                                                     toward Federal listing or         Federal listing or cause a loss of
                                                     cause a loss of viability to      viability to the population
                                                     the population
Three-toed woodpecker            No Impact           May impact individuals or         May impact individuals or
(Sensitive)                                          habitat, but would not            habitat, but would not likely
                                                     likely contribute to a trend      contribute to a trend toward
                                                     toward Federal listing or         Federal listing or cause a loss of
                                                     cause a loss of viability to      viability to the population
                                                     the population



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Dominion Exploration and Production                                     Environmental Assessment
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3.0 Affected Environment and Environmental
Consequences
This section describes the environments of the affected project area and the potential changes
to those environments due to implementation of the alternatives. It also presents the scientific
and analytical basis for comparison of alternatives presented in Section 2.1.
This chapter presents a general discussion of oil and gas activity on the MLNF to provide
context for evaluation of impacts. Following the general discussion of oil and gas activity,
this chapter is organized as follows:
3.2   Inventoried Roadless Areas and Visual Resources
3.3   Recreation Resources
3.4    Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat

3.1 General Discussion of Oil and Gas Activity on the Forest
Prior to 1990, a total of 81 wells had been drilled on the MLNF. Of the 81 wells drilled, 59
were exploration wells (including wildcats and outposts), and 22 were production wells.
From 1991 to present, an additional 11 wells were drilled. This includes four coal bed
methane wells of which two were drilled conventionally and two were directionally on drill
pads. Peak activity on the Forest occurred within three periods: 1952 through 1957, 1964
through 1967, and 1980 through 1984. Only one well was drilled within the period 1969
through 1977. The peak years for activity on the Forest were 1953, 1954, 1956, 1957, and
1981. The highest annual peaks were 11 wells in 1953 and 10 wells in 1981. Cumulatively,
92 wells have been drilled on the Forest, and of these, only six are currently producing.
The Manti Division has received the most drilling activity because of its high potential. It is
likely that drilling activity will continue to concentrate on areas with the highest potential for
making a discovery. The northern part of the Manti Division includes 4 existing gas fields; 3
primarily natural gas, and 1 carbon dioxide. The 3 natural gas fields (Indian Creek/Flat
Canyon, Clear Creek, and Joes Valley) produce from the Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone and
Ferron Sandstone. Faulted anticlines provide closure. The Indian Canyon/Flat Canyon and
Clear Creek fields continue to produce whereas the Joes Valley field is plugged and
abandoned.
The unexplored areas of the northern part of the Manti Division consist of geologic terrain
essentially the same as those already producing. Therefore, the northern part of the Manti
Division has high potential and is the most likely area on the Forest to experience drilling and
a new discovery. Expected depths for potential reserves range from 4,000 to 8,000 feet.
The O&G FEIS forecasted that a total of 70 oil and gas wells (43 exploration and 27
production) would be drilled Forest-wide from 1991 to 2006 – annual drilling activity of 5
wells per year, based on historic drilling activity, economic trends, industry interest, and
geology. Based on this forecast, the Forest developed a Reasonably Foreseeable
Development Scenario (RFDS) for each oil and gas analysis area, including wildcat wells
used to find new fields and non-producing field development wells used to find the limit of
an existing field (step-out or outpost wells). At the end of the analysis period (2006), the


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Forest Service predicted a cumulative total of 151 wells Forest-wide, consisting of 102
exploration wells and 49 production wells.
Presently, 17 new wells have been proposed Forest-wide. Of these, 4 have been approved but
not drilled. If the proposed 17 wells were drilled, the reasonably foreseeable cumulative
number of wells on the Forest would reach 105. The Forest has analyzed the cumulative
impacts of up to 151 wells in the O&G FEIS through 2006. It is not anticipated that 151
wells will be drilled by the end of 2006.
The O&G FEIS divided the Forest into 19 distinct oil and gas analysis areas, to tie oil and
gas development and the associated impacts to specific land areas. The propose wells are
within the Cottonwood the Huntington Canyon oil and gas analysis areas.
The O&G FEIS predicted that in the Huntington Canyon oil and gas analysis area would
have as many as 30 wells. Of the 30 wells anticipated for the analysis period, two have been
drilled.
It is possible that the proposed wells could produce commercial quantities of natural gas. In
this event, the total number of drilled and producing wells in the analysis area would remain
substantially smaller than predicted in the O&G FEIS. Implementation of this alternative
would increase oil and gas exploration activity on the Forest, but would not elevate the
amount of oil and gas activity to levels that exceed the RFDS of the O&G FEIS.

3.2 Inventoried Roadless Areas and Visual Resources
The analysis of roadless areas is divided into roadless attributes and visual quality. Visual
quality was not identified as a key issue during the public involvement phase; however, it
was listed as one of several measures for Issue 1: Impacts to Inventoried Roadless Areas and
the undeveloped character of roadless areas.

3.2.1 Existing Conditions

IRAs are generally areas of at least 5,000 acres that are substantially natural, without
development or maintained roads. However, IRAs often contain developments and roads, as
is the case with both IRAs in the project area. Some IRAs allow development and road
construction activities to occur, which is the case with the affected areas of both IRAs in the
project area.
The Rolfson-Staker and Bulger-Black Canyon IRAs lie within the Wasatch Plateau
subsection which is characterized by plateau tops, glaciated ridges and canyons, North Horn
formation shales, spruce-alpine fir, forbs, and high mountain brush. Current uses in the
Rolfson-Staker IRA include three grazing allotments, 8.4 miles of non-motorized trail, and
approximately 95% of the IRA has been leased for oil and gas development.
Current uses in the Bulger-Black canyon IRA include eight grazing allotments, 14.4 miles of
motorized trail, 9.2 miles of non-motorized trail, and approximately 69% of the IRA has been
leased for oil and gas development. The southern portion of the IRA contains motorized uses;
this is the area of the proposed project location. The Reeder Canyon Trail, a portion of the
Arapeen Trail System, is popular among local OHV users. The proposed project is near the



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Potters Ponds developed recreation site, which is extensively utilized during the summer
months for camping and fishing.
Skyline Unit #8-7 is located within the 6,412 acre Rolfson-Staker IRA. Within the IRA,
ground disturbances of approximately 14.4 acres from well site development, temporary
access road construction, and pipeline construction are proposed on the southwest end
(Figure 5). The affected segment of the Rolfson-Staker IRA is designated as RNG (range
management) under the LRMP. Forest plan management direction does not restrict road
construction for management activities.
Skyline Unit #1-6 is located within the 25,290 acre Bulger-Black Canyon IRA. Within the
IRA, ground disturbances of approximately 7.5 acres would occur from proposed well site
development, temporary access road construction, and pipeline construction (Figure 3). The
affected portion of the Bulger-Black Canyon IRA is under management prescription RNG
(emphasis on production of forage) under the LRMP. Forest plan management direction does
not restrict road construction for management activities.
Roadless Attributes
The qualitative elements of IRAs are compared using six attributes: (1) natural integrity, (2)
apparent naturalness, (3) remoteness or solitude, (4) opportunities for primitive recreation,
(5) special features, and (6) manageability. The degree to which each roadless area achieves
each of these characteristics corresponds to the area's condition. Sources used to prepare this
discussion of affected environment include the Manti-La Sal National Forest Roadless Area
Review and Evaluation (RARE II) Analysis (1978); and Roadless Areas, A Briefing Guide
(1984) used for forest planning. These are the elements that are analyzed and documented in
this section.
There are nine additional roadless characteristics identified in the Roadless Area
Conservation Rule (USDA Forest Service 2000). These are: (1) soil, water and air resources,
(2) sources of public drinking water, (3) diversity of plant and animal communities, (4)
habitat for TES and species dependent on large undisturbed areas of land, (5) primitive and
semi-primitive classes of recreation, (6) reference landscapes for research study or
interpretation, (7) landscape character and integrity, (8) traditional cultural properties and
sacred sites, and (9) other locally unique characteristics.
Impacts to these characteristics have been analyzed and documented in the appropriate
specialist reports contained in the project record (Vanderbilt and Foster 2006, Nelson 2006,
Broadbear 2006, Dodt-Ellis 2006, Ellis 2006).
Natural integrity is a measure that includes the extent to which long-term ecological
processes are intact and operating. Impacts to natural integrity are measured by the presence
and magnitude of human-induced change to an area. This change includes physical
developments as well as activity in the area.
Natural integrity of the Rolfson-Staker and Bulger-Black Canyon IRAs varies. The long-term
ecological processes within the inventoried roadless areas appear to be generally functioning.
A relatively high percentage of insect-infested spruce and fir trees are found within the upper
regions of the IRAs, extending down onto the canyon slopes. A history of fire suppression
has also affected the natural integrity of portions of the IRAs, and as a result, artificially
heavy fuel loads have increased the potential for stand-replacing fire in some places. Historic


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and current uses have altered the natural integrity of the Bulger-Black Canyon IRA through
grazing, roads, logging, and a 345KV power transmission line. However, much of the area
still appears natural.
Natural gas exploration, timber harvest, recreational activity, and livestock grazing activities
have altered the areas so that they have lost some of their natural appearance and, as a result,
the natural integrity of the areas has been degraded. Non-motorized recreation activities
commonly occur, including camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, fishing,
hiking, climbing, cross- country skiing, and natural feature and wildlife viewing. Non-
motorized trails are found within the IRAs. Campsites are all primitive in nature and
primarily used during the fall hunting season. There are also sheepherder camps in the areas.
Within the Rolfson-Staker IRA erosion control terracing was done in Rolfson, Jordan, and
Seeley Canyons. Vegetation management projects have been completed in the areas, and
there are reclaimed gas well drill pads and above-ground gas pipelines in all drainages.
Apparent naturalness, a measure of importance of visitor perception of human impacts, is
an indicator of whether an area appears natural to most people who are using the area.
Consistent with all other roadless areas located on the Manti Division, the Rolfson-Staker
and Bulger-Black Canyon IRAs have been used extensively for grazing. Livestock use occurs
throughout the IRAs. There are fence and water developments that require periodic
maintenance and probable reconstruction every 20 years. The Rolfson-Staker IRA is bounded
for most of its length by two major NFS roads which detract from the apparent naturalness of
the IRA.
Remoteness is the perceived condition of being secluded, inaccessible, and “out of the way.”
Elements that contribute to remoteness include topography, vegetative screening, distance
from human impacts, distance from the sights and sounds of man, and difficulty of travel.
Remoteness would be considered qualitatively low in the project area. Within the IRAs, the
feeling of remoteness in the deep canyons is qualitatively moderate, but from the ridgelines,
one would be able to view other developments at a distance of 0.5 to approximately 4 miles.
Along the Miller Flat Road and Skyline Drive, the feeling of remoteness would be quite low.
A considerable amount of recreation activity takes place in these areas, and they are affected
year-round by human activities.
Solitude is a personal, subjective value defined as isolation from the sights, sounds, and
presence of others, and the developments of man. A primitive recreation experience includes
the opportunity to experience solitude, a sense of remoteness, closeness to nature, serenity,
and spirit of adventure.
Opportunity for solitude in the IRAs is similar to remoteness. The feeling of solitude would
be greater in the deep canyons than on the ridgelines.
Primitive recreation is recreation in an unmodified natural environment of large size where
interaction between users is very low and evidence of other users is minimal.
Special Features in the IRAs include scenic quality cultural values glacial pothole ponds and
wetlands. The eastern boundary of the Bulger-Black Canyon IRA is located at the base of a
large plateau, upon which most of the IRA is situated. It overlooks Joes Valley and East
Mountain, and the overall scenic quality of the area strengthens its roadless attributes.
Cultural values are present, with known sites on the top of the plateau. It is likely that


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paleontological values are present underground in the same Cretaceous age formations that
have yielded fossils on other parts of the Forest. Special features within the Rolfson-Staker
IRA include glacial pothole ponds and wetlands.
Manageability of the Bulger-Black Canyon IRA as roadless is good on the northern
segment. The IRA is a fairly large tract of land of 23,255 acres. Because the plateau divides
the majority of the IRA from easy eastern access, it is very manageable. Unauthorized off
highway vehicle (OHV) access is limited by the rugged terrain on the east and west sides.
Visual Quality

Forest Management Goals – Forest Plan
General direction for visuals in the Forest Plan states: “Maintain, enhance and/or rehabilitate
visual resources to the planned Visual Quality Objective (VQO).” (p. III-2.)
Characteristic Landscape
The characteristic landscape consists of long, high elevation ridges that trend in a north-south
direction and comprise the Wasatch Plateau. An extensive fault valley or graben developed
between the mountain ridges; this is known as Joes Valley. The fault valley extends northerly
toward Millers Flat, Huntington, and Cleveland Reservoirs and southerly towards the
southern boundary of the MLNF. Elevations range from approximately 7,000 feet in Joes
Valley to over 10,000 feet along the ridge tops.
The ridges are covered with large patches of aspen, spruce, and fir. Small meadows can be
found near the heads of side draws. Coniferous stands are in various stages of insect-related
mortality. Slopes are generally steep, and sagebrush is found along the lower slopes where it
interfaces with the patches of conifers and aspen. Sagebrush is dominant, with interspersed
pinyon/juniper and spruce in the Joes Valley area.
Manmade developments are generally located along the road system and private lands within
the valley areas, and consist of vacation homes, developed forest roads, ATV trails, livestock
fences, corrals, a pressurized gas line, and a power transmission line. Historic timber harvest
and fire activity is evident. Scenic integrity is fairly consistent, although there are some
conifer stands showing high insect related mortality.
Visual Quality Objectives
Skyline Unit #1-6: The existing roadway and a portion of the proposed pipeline and
temporary access road are located within an area of partial retention VQO; the VQO of
modification surrounds this area. The partial retention VQO states that management activities
may be evident but should remain visually subordinate to the characteristic landscape. The
modification VQO states that management activities may visually dominate the original
characteristic landscape but should utilize naturally established form, line, color, and texture.
Skyline Unit #8-7: The VQOs for this project area are partial retention and modification.
The proposed site is located within the middle ground view zone from Skyline Drive. The
proposal for Skyline Unit #8-7 is consistent with the partial retention VQO, based on the
proposed site orientation. The pipeline would not be easily viewed from any vantage points
because it will be masked by vegetation for most of its length and therefore would be
consistent with the partial retention VQO.


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Skyline Unit #14-28: The VQO for this area is partial retention. The proposed project is
situated in the middle ground view from Rolfson Reservoir, but is not readily visible from the
north. The proposed project is not compatible with the partial retention VQO in the short-
term but potential visual impacts could be minimized by applying BMPs and additional
design features.

3.2.2 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 1 (No Action)

Direct and Indirect Effects
There would be no change in roadless attributes, visual conditions, or wilderness
characteristics under this alternative. Therefore, there would be no direct or indirect effects.
Cumulative Effects
There would be no direct or indirect effects; therefore no cumulative effects would be
possible.

3.2.3 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 2 (Proposed Action
with Best Management Practices)

Direct and Indirect Effects

Roadless Attributes
Natural Integrity: Non-motorized recreation activities including camping, horseback riding,
mountain biking, hunting, fishing, hiking, climbing, cross-country skiing, and wildlife
viewing would be anticipated to increase slightly as a result of improved access. Direct and
indirect effects to natural integrity in both IRAs would be of minor intensity and short-term
duration in both IRAs. Although there would be some short-term impacts to the natural
integrity of both IRAs due to construction activity and road work, the entire area would
eventually be reclaimed; therefore there should not be any long-term or significant effects to
the natural integrity of either the Rolfson-Staker or Bulger-Black Canyon IRA.
Apparent naturalness: The presence of the proposed wells and an increase in activity would
affect the apparent naturalness of both IRAs over the short-term. This would occur during
mobilization, drilling, and demobilization. The potential effect would not extend far beyond
the site itself, because of the topographic variation in the project area.
Over the long-term, the effect on apparent naturalness depends on whether the wells produce
commercial quantities of natural gas. If no gas is produced, the sites would be fully
reclaimed, and impacts would be negligible. If gas is produced, long-term production from
the sites is possible. Production from the exploration hole would result in the long-term
installation of small field equipment such as compressors and tanks, but exploration-related
traffic and activity at the site would decrease substantially.
Remoteness and solitude: Much of both IRAs would remain remote. The proposed project
area would eventually be reclaimed; this attribute would be affected during the construction
phase and if the well goes into production. Opportunities for solitude within the major


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portion of both IRAs would remain unchanged by the proposed project. Solitude would be
diminished near the temporary access roads and well pads during the construction phase;
increased opportunities would be available if the wells are reclaimed or go into production.
An increase in PAOTs on improved roads would decrease solitude on the roads.
Opportunities for primitive recreation: Some opportunities for primitive recreation would
be slightly affected, especially during the construction phase
Special features: Implementation of the proposed action would not affect or alter any known
special features in the IRAs.
Manageability: Implementation of the proposed action would have a minimal effect on the
manageability of the IRAs. Increased recreation would be anticipated over the long term
along the northeastern border of the Bulger-Black Canyon IRA, where project roads would
be improved. However, these impacts would not likely affect the Forest Service’s ability to
manage the IRA. Manageability of the Rolfson-Staker IRA would be affected by the
improvement to Skyline Drive. The improvements could lead to increased recreational use
and changes in the types of recreation.
Visual Quality
Skyline Unit 1-6: The temporary access road and well pad construction would affect some
stands of aspen, spruce and fir. The major portion of the spruce and fir stands is dead from
insect infestation. The existing low standard roadway parallels a 345 KV power transmission
line. The temporary access road and pipeline would cross beneath the power line. The
proposed developments are in a deep canyon and would not be seen from areas of public
concentration. The existing roadway passes next to Potters Ponds and the developed
campground, which are popular destinations throughout the summer and fall months.
Construction traffic would pass near the ponds and could pose an impact during construction
and drilling operations.
The proposed pipeline would be buried underneath the existing roadway and power line and
would be laid aboveground, in the vegetation adjacent to the constructed temporary access
road. The pipeline would be placed aboveground, on the uphill side of FSR 50271, where it
would be partially masked by existing vegetation. It would then follow the alignment of FSR
52208, where it would be placed aboveground in the wetlands area and then buried for
approximately one mile to its intersection with the existing Questar pipeline.
The overall proposal for Skyline Unit #1-6 is consistent with the modification and partial
retention VQOs. The partial retention VQO would be met completely once the well pad,
temporary access road, and pipeline are reclaimed.
Skyline Unit 8-7: The well pad would be located within a slight depression on a high
elevation ridge, and could be seen from nearby Skyline Drive, a National Forest Scenic
Byway. Facilities supporting the drilling operations, such as the derrick, pump, structures,
buildings, vehicles and equipment as well as potential production facilities, could be seen
from Skyline Drive and other distant vantage points on mountain overlooks. The drilling
operation would be scheduled for a relatively short duration, between 4 to 6 weeks, and
would have a temporary impact on visual quality. Production facilities could be put in place
if the well proves to be economical. The pipeline would be located in a steep draw, oriented
away from Skyline Drive and other points of public interest.


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Skyline Unit 14-28: This well location is proposed to be located on a short finger ridge
approximately ½ mile north of Rolfson Reservoir. From the well location, the northeastern
view is approximately one mile to Cleveland Reservoir and beyond that to State Highway 31
(the Huntington and Eccles National Scenic Byway). The proposed pipeline would be buried
within the roadway to the existing above ground Questar pipeline, one mile to the east near
the Miller Flat Road.
The well pad would be a relatively flat surface on an overlooking ridge, and could not be
seen from the nearby Huntington Reservoir and National Scenic Byway to the north. The fill
section for the drill pad and temporary access road would be visible from Rolfson Reservoir
and from several campsites in the Lake Canyon area. Facilities supporting the drilling
operations, such as the derrick, pump, structures, buildings, vehicles and equipment, could be
seen from Huntington Reservoir, the National Scenic Byway, Rolfson Reservoir, several
campsites in the Lake Canyon area, and other distant vantage points on mountain overlooks.
The drilling operation would be scheduled for a relatively short duration, approximately 4 to
6 weeks, and would have a temporary impact on visual quality.
The temporary access road would cut diagonally across a sagebrush covered hillside to gain
access to the well pad, in direct view from Rolfson Reservoir. The road cut and fill would
remain on the hillside throughout the project duration. The proposal would be consistent
with the partial retention VQO for the relatively flat well pad, due to its location on the
elevated ridge. The short-term pad development phase would include facilities, such as a drill
rig, that would not be consistent with the partial retention VQO.
The temporary access road would be visible from Rolfson Reservoir and to the many OHV
riders using the trails in the Lake Canyon area throughout the duration of the project. In the
long term, when the operation ends and the site and road are reclaimed, the partial retention
VQO would be met.
Cumulative Effects
Cumulative effects could include increased short-term traffic loads on NFS roads from other
management activities scheduled during the same time period. Short-term visual effects
would include heavy traffic loads and dust, particularly during the construction phase for
Forest visitors in the area. Additional short-term visual effects could include a decrease in
consistency with partial retention VQOs

3.2.4 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 3 (Proposed Action
with Best Management Practices and Additional Design Features)

Direct and Indirect Effects

Roadless Attributes

Natural Integrity: Non-motorized recreation activities including camping, horseback riding,
mountain biking, hunting, fishing, hiking, climbing, cross-country skiing, and wildlife
viewing would be anticipated to increase slightly as a result of improved access. Direct and
indirect effects to natural integrity in both IRAs would be of minor intensity and short-term



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Dominion Exploration and Production                                    Environmental Assessment
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duration in both IRAs. Although there would be some short-term impacts to the natural
integrity of both IRAs due to construction activity and road work, the entire area would
eventually be reclaimed; therefore, there should not be any long-term or significant effects to
the natural integrity of either the Rolfson-Staker or Bulger-Black Canyon IRAs.
Apparent naturalness: The presence of the proposed wells, and an increase in activity,
would affect the apparent naturalness of both IRAs over the short-term. This would occur
during mobilization, drilling, and demobilization. This effect would not extend far beyond
the site itself, because of the topographic variation in the project area. Over the long-term, the
effect on apparent naturalness depends on whether the wells produce commercial quantities
of natural gas. If no gas is produced, the sites would be fully reclaimed, and impacts would
be negligible.
If gas is produced, long-term production from the sites is possible. Production activities
would result in the long-term installation of small field equipment such as compressors and
tanks, but exploration-related traffic and activity at the site would decrease substantially. The
compressor, in particular, would cause an increase in noise levels in the immediate area. An
additional design feature to minimize this potential impact could include insulated housing
for the equipment and partial burial or construction of high earthen berms around the
compressor that could aid in noise abatement.
Remoteness and solitude: Much of both IRAs would remain remote. The proposed project
area would eventually be reclaimed; this attribute would be affected during the construction
phase and if the well goes into production. Opportunities for solitude within the major
portion of both IRAs would remain unchanged by the proposed project. Solitude would be
diminished near the temporary access roads and well pads during the construction phase;
increased opportunities would be available if the wells are reclaimed or go into production.
An increase in PAOTs on improved roads would decrease solitude on the roads.
Opportunities for primitive recreation: Some opportunities for primitive recreation will be
slightly affected, especially during the construction phase
Special features: Implementation of the proposed action would not affect or alter any known
special features in the IRAs.
Manageability: Implementation of the proposed action would have a minimal effect on the
manageability of the IRAs. Increased recreation would be anticipated over the long term
along the northeastern border of the Bulger-Black Canyon IRA, where project roads would
be improved. However, these impacts would not likely affect the Forest Service’s ability to
manage the IRA. Manageability of the Rolfson-Staker IRA would be affected by the
improvement to Skyline Drive. The improvements could lead to increased recreational use
and changes in the types of recreation.
Visual Quality
Skyline Unit 1-6: The temporary access road and well pad construction would affect some
stands of aspen, spruce and fir. The major portion of the spruce and fir stands is dead from
insect infestation. The existing low standard roadway parallels a 345 KV power transmission
line. The temporary access road and pipeline would cross beneath the power line. The
proposed developments are in a deep canyon and would not be seen from areas of public
concentration. The existing roadway passes next to Potters Ponds and the developed


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Dominion Exploration and Production
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campground, which are popular destinations throughout the summer and fall months.
Construction traffic would pass near the ponds and could pose an impact during construction
and drilling operations. An additional design feature to minimize potential impacts to this
recreation site could be the use of dust abatement measures and traffic control devices in the
pond and campground areas.
The proposed pipeline would be buried underneath the existing roadway and power line and
would be laid aboveground in the vegetation adjacent to the constructed temporary access
road. The pipeline would be placed aboveground, on the uphill side of FSR 50271, where it
would be partially masked by existing vegetation. It would then follow the alignment of FSR
52208, where it would be placed aboveground adjacent to the wetland area and then buried
for approximately one mile to its intersection with the existing Questar pipeline.
The overall proposal for Skyline Unit #1-6 is consistent with the modification and partial
retention VQOs. The proposed temporary access road and pipeline would not be visible from
the major Forest roads. Additional design features to minimize potential impacts to the VQOs
could include masking with vegetation, coating the pipeline with a landscape-compatible
color and texture, placing the pipeline on the uphill side of the road where it would be less
visible, painting potential production facilities a color that would blend into the characteristic
landscape, and burial of the pipeline in specified locations.
Skyline Unit 8-7: The well pad would be located within a slight depression on a high
elevation ridge, and could be seen from the nearby Skyline Drive, a National Forest Scenic
Byway. Facilities supporting the drilling operations, such as the derrick, pump, structures,
buildings, vehicles and equipment as well as potential production facilities, could be seen
from Skyline Drive and other distant vantage points on mountain overlooks. The drilling
operation would be scheduled for a relatively short duration, between 4 to 6 weeks and would
have a temporary impact on visual quality. The pipeline would be located in a steep draw,
oriented away from Skyline Drive and other points of public interest. Additional design
features to minimize potential impacts to the VQOs could include masking the pipeline with
vegetation, coating the pipeline with a landscape-compatible color and texture, and painting
potential production facilities a color that would blend into the characteristic landscape.
Production facilities could be put in place if the well proves to be economical. Production
from the site could result in the long-term installation of small field equipment such as
compressors and tanks, but exploration-related traffic and activity at the site would decrease
substantially. The compressor, in particular, would cause an increase in noise levels in the
immediate area. Additional design feature to minimize this potential impact could include
insulated housing for the equipment and partial burial or construction of high earthen berms
around the compressor that could aid in noise abatement.
 Skyline Unit 14-28: This well location is proposed to be located on a short finger ridge
approximately ½ mile north of Rolfson Reservoir. From the well location, the northeastern
view is approximately one mile to Cleveland Reservoir and beyond that to State Highway 31,
(the Huntington and Eccles National Scenic Byway). The proposed pipeline would be buried
within the roadway from the well pad to the existing above-ground Questar pipeline, 1 mile
to the east near the Miller Flat Road.
The well pad would be a relatively flat surface on an overlooking ridge, and could not be
seen from the nearby Huntington Reservoir and National Scenic Byway to the north. The fill


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Dominion Exploration and Production                                  Environmental Assessment
3-well Project                                                                      June 2006


section for the drill pad and temporary access road would be visible from Rolfson Reservoir
and from several campsites in the Lake Canyon area. Facilities supporting the drilling
operations, such as the derrick, pump, structures, buildings, vehicles and equipment, could be
seen from Huntington Reservoir, the National Scenic Byway, Rolfson Reservoir, several
campsites in the Lake Canyon area and other distant vantage points on mountain overlooks.
The drilling operation would be scheduled for a relatively short duration, approximately 4 to
6 weeks, and would have a temporary impact on visual quality.
If the well proves to be economical, production facilities would be put in place. Production
from the site could result in the long-term installation of small field equipment such as
compressors and tanks, but exploration-related traffic and activity at the site would decrease
substantially. The compressor, in particular, would cause an increase in noise levels in the
immediate area. Additional design feature to minimize this potential impact could include
insulated housing for the equipment and partial burial or construction of high earthen berms
around the compressor that could aid in noise abatement. The well pad would be down-sized
and partially reclaimed during the production phase. A design feature that would minimize
potential visual impacts from the fill slope of the well pad and temporary access road could
include re-vegetation of these areas to help them blend into the background landscape.
The temporary access road would cut diagonally across a sagebrush covered hillside to gain
access to the well pad, in direct view from Rolfson Reservoir. The road cut and scar would
remain on the hillside throughout the project duration. The proposal would be consistent
with the partial retention VQO for the relatively flat well pad, due to its proximity on the
elevated bench. The short-term pad development phase would include facilities that would
not be consistent with the partial retention VQO. The temporary access road would be
visible from Rolfson Reservoir and to the many OHV riders using the trails in the Lake
Canyon area throughout the duration of the project. In the long term, when the operation ends
and the site and road are reclaimed, the partial retention VQO would be met.
Cumulative Effects
Cumulative effects could include increased short-term traffic loads on NFS roads from other
management activities scheduled during the same time period. Short-term visual effects
would include heavy traffic loads and dust, particularly during the construction phase.
Additional short-term visual effects could include a decrease in consistency with partial
retention VQOs; however, BMPs and additional design features could minimize impacts.

3.3 Recreation Resources
3.3.1 Existing Conditions

Skyline Unit 1-6: The Recreational Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) classification at the
proposed well site and along the proposed access route is Roaded Natural Appearing.
Immediately to the south of the site is a semi-primitive non-motorized area.
The proposed temporary access road would improve approximately 1.9 miles of NFS Road
50271 which provides access to Potters Ponds Campground and on to South Skyline Drive.
This route is also part of the Arapeen OHV Trail System (Route 51) and receives use
throughout the normal camping season (June through October). As is typical elsewhere on


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the Manti Division, recreational use is heaviest over weekends. Arapeen Trail 57 intersects
with NFS Road 50271 about 1 mile north of Potters Ponds and 0.25 miles northeast of the
well site. Current estimated use of Arapeen Routes 51 and 57 is 60 PAOTs per day, Friday
through Sunday each weekend and 10 PAOTs per day Monday through Thursday. There are
no non-motorized trails in the immediate area of the well site.
Winter use is mostly by snowmobile enthusiasts exploring the area from the groomed Miller
Flat Road.
Camping at the 19 campsites at Potters Ponds, fishing at the two ponds, and ATV riding in
the area is heavy and constitute the primary recreation uses of the area. Some equestrian use
also occurs from Potters Ponds with riders commonly passing nearby the proposed well site
in Bacon Rind Canyon.
Skyline Unit 8-7: ROS is semi-primitive motorized at the proposed well site. The temporary
access road utilizing South Skyline Drive from U31 passes through Roaded Natural ROS.
Jordan Canyon Trail 5062, a non-motorized trail is located approximately 1.0 mile south of
the proposed well site.
Motorized recreation, primarily four-wheel drive and ATV use, is the predominant activity
along this section of South Skyline Drive from July through October. This route is also
popular with mountain bicyclists. Unauthorized ATV incursions into the semi-primitive non-
motorized areas both east and west of South Skyline Drive are evident.
Winter use along this segment of South Skyline Drive is mostly snowmobile use with
heaviest concentrations of riders on weekends from mid-December through mid-April.
Light dispersed camping occurs along this section of South Skyline Drive. Current estimated
camping use along this route is estimated at 10 PAOTs per day, Friday through Sunday each
weekend from mid-July through October, and 2 PAOTs per day Monday through Thursday.
Skyline Unit 14-28: The ROS is semi-primitive motorized at the proposed well site. The
temporary access road from the Miller Flat Road passes largely through Roaded Natural ROS
to the proposed well site.
The proposed temporary access road would improve NFS Road 50269 to Rolfson Reservoir
for approximately 0.8 mile and then diverge west and north from this route to the well site.
The new temporary access road would intersect Arapeen Trail 10 in two locations. This is a
multiple use trail which receives heavy motorized use from June thru October. Over 4200
riders traveled this section of trail #10 during the 2005 season. Non-motorized Forest Trail #
5383 begins directly west of the proposed access route; this trail receives light use each
season.
Winter recreation consists primarily of heavy snowmobile use. The nearby Miller Flat Road
is groomed in the winter by Utah State Parks and Recreation for winter recreation access.
Some backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing also occurs in this area
facilitated by nearby Utah Highway 31.
Camping use is high in the area with over 50 campsites located within 1 mile of the well site.
Approximately 8,000 visitor days are attributed to these campsites from June through
October 2005, with heaviest concentrations on weekends.



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Dominion Exploration and Production                                  Environmental Assessment
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A grazing permit cabin is located about 0.5 miles north of the proposed well site. This cabin
is occupied sporadically throughout the summer and fall seasons by the grazing permittee
and family.

3.3.2 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 1 (No Action)

Direct and Indirect Effects
There would be no change in conditions under this alternative.
Cumulative Effects
There would be no direct or indirect effects; therefore no cumulative effects would be
possible.

3.3.3 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 2 (Proposed Action
with Best Management Practices)

Direct and Indirect Effects
Skyline Unit 1-6: Under either action alternative, the project would include improving NFS
Road 50271 (Potters Canyon Road) for 1.9 miles to a point where it would intersect with the
0.5 mile new temporary access road to the well site. Reconstruction of Potters Canyon Road
would consist of widening the road to a 14-foot wide travel way with inter-visible turnouts.
The road would be surfaced with crushed aggregate and would have improved drainage.
This level of road improvement has demonstrably increased recreation traffic in other areas
of the north zone of the forest. Miller Flat Road, 12-Mile Road, and Ferron Canyon Road are
a few examples. The temporary access road would be constructed to a 12 foot wide travel
way with turnouts and curve widening. The road would be surfaced with crushed aggregate
and would have improved drainage. A gate would be installed on the temporary road at the
intersection with Potters Canyon Road and the road would only be open to permitted and
administrative users.
Given the existing heavy recreational use at Potters Ponds already, this road improvement
can be expected to: (1) attract campers further up the Potters Canyon road in order to avoid
the fees at Potters Ponds Campground (2) attract campers who are seeking a more secluded
location for their camp trailers (3) provide alternative campsites when those at Potters Ponds
have filled and (4) result in campers being unable to turn around when reaching the end of
road improvement and encountering four-wheel drive road conditions. A few campers who
previously opted for a more primitive camping experience over the current rough road would
likely be displaced.
Vehicles pulling camp trailers, ATV trailers, and horse trailers can be expected to use the
improved road, preferring shaded level camping spots along or near the improved road. This
may result in a long-term effect to surrounding vegetation, and may also result in creation of
new campsites and expansion of previous sites under and near large dead spruce trees. Over
half of these users can be expected to bring OHVs with them, with riding taking place in the
immediate vicinity of campsites, and on nearby routes of the Arapeen Trail System.




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Visitors to Potters Ponds can be expected to be adversely affected during drilling operations
by increased traffic through the campground. The road through the campground already
becomes a dust problem in the summer months and drilling traffic can be expected to
exacerbate this problem and introduce more noise. Noise from drilling operations may also
be audible at Potters Ponds.
Winter access and use would probably not be affected by the project unless the road is
plowed during the winter. If this was to occur, winter use would be adversely affected,
especially snowmobile use along the groomed Miller Flat Road.
Skyline Unit 8-7: Under either action alternative, the project would include improving NFS
Road 50150 (South Skyline Drive) for approximately 6.6 miles where it would intersect with
the 0.7 mile new temporary access road to the well site. Reconstruction of Skyline Drive
would consist of widening the road to a 14-foot wide travel way with inter-visible turnouts
and curve widening. The road would be surfaced with crushed aggregate and would have
improved drainage. This level of road improvement has demonstrably increased traffic,
recreation use levels, and changed the character of use in other areas of the forest as already
mentioned. The temporary access road would be constructed to a 12 foot wide travel way
with turnouts and curve widening. The road would be surfaced with crushed aggregate and
would have improved drainage. A gate would be installed on the temporary road at the
intersection with Skyline Drive and the road would only be open to permitted and
administrative users.
South Skyline Drive is currently recommended for high clearance four-wheel drive vehicles
in this section. Improvement of this road can be expected to: (1) attract campers in passenger
cars as well as vehicles towing camp trailers and other equipment onto this route and (2)
result in some vehicles being unable to turn around when reaching the end of road
improvement and encountering four-wheel drive road conditions. A few campers who
previously opted for a more primitive camping experience over the current rough road would
likely be displaced.
Camping use is projected to increase to approximately 100 PAOTs per day, Friday through
Sunday each weekend and 20 PAOTs per day Monday through Thursday once road
improvements are made (these are anecdotal estimates given by recreations specialist). These
levels can be expected to increase over time. In addition, sightseers can be expected to use
this road to experience the splendid views, wildlife, and wildflowers. Campers will prefer
level spots along or near the improved road to camp in. This increased people presence may
have long term impact to vegetation and soils near the road and may eventually result in the
requirement for restroom facilities.
Many who choose to camp in the area can be expected to bring OHVs with them, with riding
taking place in the immediate vicinity of campsites, along South Skyline Drive, and onto
illegal user-created trails currently evident off of Skyline Drive. Pioneering of additional
illegal user-created trails is probable.
Forest Trail #5384 would essentially be obliterated from its junction with Skyline Drive to
the well site by new road construction. This trail receives light use and due to restricted
access at its eastern terminus it is recommended for closure and rehabilitation.




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Winter access and use would probably not be affected by the project unless plowing of the
road occurs during the winter months. This would be extremely difficult given the constant
prevailing winds along this section of South Skyline Drive. If this was to occur, snowmobile
use along this route would be adversely affected.
Skyline Unit 14-28: Under either action alternative, the project would include improving
NFS Road 50269 (Rolfson Canyon Road) for approximately 0.8 miles to a point where it
would intersect with the 0.6 mile new temporary access road. Reconstruction of Rolfson
Canyon Road would consist of widening the road to a 14-foot wide travel way with inter-
visible turnouts and curve widening. The road would be surfaced with crushed aggregate and
would have improved drainage. This level of road improvement has demonstrably increased
traffic, recreation use levels, and changed the character of use in other areas of the forest as
already mentioned. The temporary access road would be constructed to a 12 foot wide travel
way with turnouts and curve widening. The road would be surfaced with crushed aggregate
and would have improved drainage. A gate would be installed on the temporary road at the
intersection with Skyline Drive and the road would only be open to permitted and
administrative users.
Given the existing heavy recreational use in the Lake Canyon area, road improvement can be
expected to: (1) attract campers further up the Rolfson Canyon Road and increase use of the
primitive campsites south of Rolfson Reservoir, (2) increase use of Lake Canyon Campsite
42 which is currently accessed by the Rolfson Canyon Road, and (3) result in campers being
unable to turn around when reaching the end of road improvement and encountering four-
wheel drive road conditions.
Arapeen Trail 10 experiences heavy use throughout the camping season because it connects
many attractions in the Lake Canyon recreation site. Road construction and use should
accommodate continued public use of this trail both during drilling operations and while
under a production scenario. To do otherwise would result in a major adverse impact to
visitors.
Visitor camping experience is expected to be adversely affected by noise during drilling
operations and dust from increased traffic on the Miller Flat Road. These effects would occur
in campsites located nearest the well site, near the road, and at the grazing permittee cabin.
The semi-primitive motorized ROS experience at the well site would be temporarily moved
towards a Roaded Natural experience level during drilling operations and would remain
Roaded Natural if the well goes into production.
Winter access and use would not be affected by the project unless plowing of the Miller Flat
Road occurs during a winter operational period. If this was to occur, all forms of winter use
would be adversely affected, especially snowmobile use of the groomed U31 to Joes Valley
route.
Cumulative Effects
Alternative 2 would result in uncontrolled expansion of recreation use in the project area.
User created motorized trails would receive more use and additional routes would be created.
Dispersed campsites would appear in locations favored by visitors with little regard for their
impact to associated resources.




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3.3.4 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 3 (Proposed Action
with Best Management Practices and Additional Design Features)

Direct and Indirect Effects
Impacts would be similar to Alternative 2; no permanent change to the ROS would be
anticipated. However, the nature and level of use of the project area would be better
controlled by the placement of barriers and the decommissioning of user-created trails.
Barriers would be placed strategically within the project area to confine unauthorized OHV
use. The barriers would also help to confine dispersed camping activity. Alternative 3,
therefore, would have beneficial environmental impacts throughout the project area, and
would minimize the adverse impacts caused by unauthorized OHV use and dispersed
recreation. However, this alternative would confine recreational activity, and some dispersed
recreation sites may be made unavailable for vehicle access.
Cumulative Effects
Alternative 3 would reduce the overall intensity of recreation-caused impacts. User-created
motorized trails would be obliterated and reclaimed, leading to a cumulative reduction in the
area. In addition, current access that occurs throughout the area would be better controlled.
Therefore, although increased traffic and use would be anticipated, recreation would be better
contained in the project area, and impacts would be more localized than at present.
Under both Alternatives 2 and 3, improvement of these roads should be viewed as a
permanent action, with no likelihood that they would ever be returned to their present high
clearance condition. This road work moves the project area irreversibly towards a more
developed Roaded Natural (RN) setting and experience level. More visitors will use these
areas resulting in more evidence of the sights and sounds of humans, more interactions
between visitors, and a heightened need for managerial restrictions.

3.4 Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat
Although there was a specific key issue pertaining to wildlife brought forward during internal
and public scoping, impact analysis for wildlife and wildlife habitat covers a broader range of
species and habitats. Laws, regulations and Agency policies require analysis of impacts to
threatened, endangered, proposed and sensitive (TEPS) species, and management indicator
species (MIS) when planning site specific projects. The environmental consequences section
is organized by first a more detailed discussion of impacts to wildlife related to the evaluation
criteria for key issue 3 identified in Chapter 1, followed by less detailed discussions of other
wildlife species of concern. A fully detailed discussion of impacts to wildlife is found in the
biological evaluation/biological assessment (BE/BA) (Nelson 2006a) and wildlife report
(Nelson 2006b) contained in the project record.

3.4.1 Existing Conditions

Threatened, Endangered or Proposed Species
Endangered species are species that have been identified, and listed in the Federal Register,
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) as being in danger of extinction throughout


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all or a significant portion of their range. Threatened species are species that have been
identified, and listed in the Federal Register, by the Service as likely to become an
endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of
their range. Threatened or endangered species are also commonly referred to as “listed
species”.
Wildlife and fish species designated as threatened or endangered by the Service that could
occur in Emery and/or Sanpete Counties, Utah were initially considered for impact analysis
in the BE/BA. Threatened or endangered species that are not likely to occur in, and do not
have suitable habitat in or near areas where surface disturbance is being proposed were not
considered further in the BE/BA. There are no proposed wildlife or fish species identified
for Emery or Sanpete Counties. Threatened or endangered species that were brought forward
for full impact analysis and their probability of occurring in the analysis area are listed in
Table 3.
Habitat in the analysis area that has the potential to support threatened or endangered species
is limited. There is no suitable breeding habitat for any listed species. Bald eagles have been
seen on the Forest near Joe’s Valley Reservoir and in lower Huntington Canyon during late
fall and early winter prior to freeze over. There are small ponds and reservoirs near two of
the proposed drill sites; however bald eagles have not been seen at these water bodies. There
are no bald eagle nests located on MLNF lands, and bald eagle foraging in the Forest is
limited. There have been no documented bald eagle occurrences in or near the proposed
project area.
There are no breeding populations of lynx in the Forest, and the Forest does not provide
sufficient habitat to support a breeding population. Dispersing lynx could travel through the
proposed project area; however survey and sighting records indicate that lynx occur only
very rarely in the forest.

Table 3 Threatened or Endangered Species Fully Analyzed in BE/BA

     Species       Species Status                          Occurrence Information
Bald Eagle        Threatened          A bald eagle pair has been known to nest in Emery County off the
(Haliaeetus                           Forest approximately 30 miles from the proposed project. A 1997
leucocephalus)                        study (Boschen 1997) indicated that the pair did not forage on the
                                      Forest, but at lower elevations. No bald eagle occurrences have been
                                      documented in or near the project area; however they could occur
                                      there.
Canada Lynx       Threatened          Lynx are primarily forest dwellers; den sites occur in mature forest
(Lynx                                 stands with large woody debris. Foraging habitat extends into early
canadensis)                           successional stands with high stem densities which support relatively
                                      high densities of snowshoe hare. Throughout North America, lynx
                                      distribution is coincident with snow shoe hare occurrences (Aubry et
                                      al. 2000). There are documented lynx occurrences in non-forested
                                      areas; however these occurrences are associated with transient
                                      individuals during exploratory movements.
Bonytail          Endangered          Historically, the bonytail existed in warm water reaches of larger rivers
(Gila elegans)                        in the Colorado River Basin; it is considered to be adapted to pools
                                      and eddies of mainstream rivers. It has been extirpated from most of
                                      its historic range. Currently, a small number of wild adults exist in
                                      Lake Mohave in the Lower Colorado River Basin, and there are small
                                      numbers of wild individuals in the Green River and in subbasins of the
                                      Upper Colorado River Basin (USDI 2002a). Water within the Colorado



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                                        River drainage would be used during project implementation.
Humpback Chub     Endangered            The humpback chub is restricted to deep, swift mainstem and large
(Gila cypha)                            tributaries in relatively inaccessible canyons of the Colorado River
                                        Basin. Adults require eddies and sheltered shorelines in streams that
                                        maintain high spring flows that flush sediments from spawning areas
                                        and form clean gravel deposits. Young require low-velocity shoreline
                                        habitats. Currently, there are six known extant populations, which are
                                        located in the Upper Colorado River, Yampa River and Little Colorado
                                        River (USDI 2002b). Water within the Colorado River drainage would
                                        be used during project implementation.
Colorado          Endangered            The Colorado pikeminnow is endemic to the Colorado River Basin,
Pikeminnow                              historically extending from the Green River in Wyoming to the Gulf of
(Ptychocheilus                          California; it was widespread and abundant in warm-water rivers and
lucius)                                 tributaries. It is a long-distance migrator (hundreds of kilometers to
                                        and from spawning areas). Adults require deep pool and eddie
                                        habitats in streams that have high spring flows. Currently, in Utah this
                                        species occurs in the Green River from Lodore Canyon to the
                                        confluence of the Colorado River (USDI 2002c). Water within the
                                        Colorado River drainage would be used during project implementation.
Razorback         Endangered            Historically the razorback sucker was widely distributed in warm-water
Sucker                                  reaches of the Colorado River and its tributaries from Wyoming to
(Xyrauchen                              Mexico. Adults require deep pools, eddies and backwaters in spring;
texanus)                                shallow water associated with sandbars in summer; and low velocity
                                        pools and eddies in winter. Young require quiet, warm, shallow water
                                        found at tributary mouths, and in coves or shorelines in reservoirs.
                                        Currently, within the Upper Colorado River Basin this species is only
                                        found in small numbers in the middle Green River, between the
                                        confluence of the Duchesne and Yampa rivers, and in the lower
                                        reaches of those two tributaries (USDI 2002d). Water within the
                                        Colorado River drainage would be used during project implementation.



Sensitive Species
Sensitive species are species that are recognized by the Regional Forester as needing special
management attention to prevent them from becoming threatened or endangered.
Table 4 lists the sensitive wildlife species for the Intermountain Region that could occur on
the Manti Division of the forest, and that were brought forward for full impact analysis based
on occurring or having suitable habitat in or near the proposed project area.
Habitat that has the potential to support populations of sensitive species is limited in the
analysis area. There is no suitable breeding habitat for sensitive bat species; habitat for these
species is limited to potential foraging habitat. There is no breeding habitat for peregrine
falcon or greater sage grouse, and a very limited amount of suitable breeding habitat for
goshawk and three-toed woodpecker is available. Three-toed woodpeckers have been
detected in the proposed project area. Their abundance in the area is probably due to the
beetle infestation in the spruce/fir stands on East Mountain.

Table 4 Sensitive Species Fully Analyzed in BE/BA

       Species                                        Occurrence Information
Spotted Bat (Euderma       The spotted bat is likely found throughout Utah, and is known to use a variety of
maculatum)                 vegetation types in the State at elevations ranging from approximately 2,700 to
                           9,200 feet, including riparian, desert shrub, spruce/fir, ponderosa pine, montane
                           forests and meadows (Oliver 2000). Spotted bats roost alone in rock crevices high
                           up on steep cliff faces. There are no suitable roost sites near areas where proposed



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                           project activity would occur; however there is potentially suitable foraging habitat
                           near where project activity would occur.
Townsend’s Big-eared       In Utah, Townsend’s big-eared bats roost and hibernate in caves and mines; they
Bat (Plecotus townsendii   also roost (but not hibernate) in buildings (Oliver 2000). These bats use juniper/pine
pallescens)                forests, shrub/steppe grasslands, deciduous and mixed conifer forests. There are
                           no suitable roost sites near areas where proposed project activity would occur;
                           however there is potentially suitable foraging habitat near where project activity
                           would occur.
Greater Sage grouse        Sage grouse are generally found where there are large tracts of sage brush habitat
(Centrocercus              with a diverse and substantial understory of native grasses and forbs or in areas
urophasianus)              where there is a mosaic of sagebrush, grasslands, and aspen. Wet meadows,
                           springs, seeps, or other green areas within sagebrush shrublands are generally
                           needed for the early brood-rearing period. One of the proposed temporary access
                           roads would pass through sagebrush habitat.
Northern Goshawk           Goshawks generally forage in fairly dense (generally greater than 40 percent
(Accipiter gentiles)       canopy cover) conifer or conifer/aspen forests in Utah, and they nest in even denser
                           stands (generally greater than 60 percent canopy cover). There is potentially
                           suitable goshawk habitat near portions of areas where project activity would occur.
Peregrine Falcon (Falco    Peregrine falcons may travel more than 18 miles from the nest site to hunt for food,
peregrinus)                however average foraging distance from the eyrie extents out to 10 miles, with 80
                           percent of peregrine falcon foraging occurring within a mile of the nest. The nearest
                           known peregrine falcon eyrie is located approximately 17 miles from the project
                           area. There is no suitable peregrine falcon nesting habitat in or near areas where
                           project activity would occur.
Three-toed woodpecker      Three-toed woodpeckers are found in northern coniferous and mixed forest types up
(Picoides tridactylus)     to 9,000 feet elevation. Forests containing spruce, grand fir, ponderosa pine,
                           tamarack, and lodgepole pine are used. Nests may be found in spruce, tamarack,
                           pine, cedar, and aspen trees. No drill sites are proposed within suitable three-toed
                           woodpecker habitat; however proposed pipeline routes pass through suitable
                           habitat.



Management Indicator Species
Management Indicator Species (MIS) are species identified at the Forest-planning level that
could indicate changes in forest habitats resulting from management actions. The potential
impacts to these species resulting from management actions are analyzed at the project level.
Wildlife species identified as MIS by the MLNF are listed below. All MIS were brought
forward for full impact analysis.
•    Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus canadensis)
•    Mule Deer (Odocoilus hemionus)
•    Northern Goshawk (also a Region 4 sensitive species. Analysis include in project BE
     (Nelson 2006a).
•    Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
•    Macroinvertebrates (aquatic Insects)
Priority Migratory Birds
Migratory bird conventions obligate Federal agencies to conserve migratory birds and their
habitats. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act has implemented these conventions in the United
States, and Executive Order 13186 ensures that environmental analyses of Federal actions



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required by NEPA or other established environmental review processes evaluate the effects of
actions on migratory birds, with emphasis on species of concern.
The Utah Partners in Flight Avian Conservation Strategy identifies 20 non-game migratory
land birds as priority species. Eleven of these species could be expected to occur on the
Ferron/Price Ranger District of the Manti-La Sal National Forest. The project wildlife report
(Nelson 2006b) lists those species, their habitat associations, and their consideration in the
document. Species brought forward for impact analysis are Brewer’s sparrow (Spizella
breweri breweri) and broad-tailed hummingbird (Selasphorus platycercus).

3.4.2 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 1 (No Action)

Direct and Indirect Effects
Under Alternative 1, the proposed project would have no potential to impact any TEPS,
sensitive or MIS species.
Cumulative Effects
Since there would be no impacts under Alternative 1, no cumulative effects would be
possible.

3.4.3 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 2 (Proposed Action
with Best Management Practices)

Elk calving habitat and big game summer range:
Direct effects:
The project area is used seasonally by elk as summer range during late spring, summer, and
early fall, and much of this area provides suitable elk calving habitat. Elk calving habitat
would be protected with a seasonal buffer extending from May 1 to July 5; no project
construction would occur in or near elk calving habitat during this buffer period.
The proposed drill pad sites and temporary access roads are not located in elk calving habitat;
however two of the proposed pipeline routes pass through calving habitat.
The proposed project would not likely directly effect elk calving or elk calving habitat.
Construction occurring outside the elk calving period could create a disturbance area within
areas used as summer range by elk. Direct effects could include avoidance along roads and at
drill pad sites during construction. Studies have shown elk disturbance or avoidance areas
along roadways to vary from 0.25 to 1.8 miles; the avoidance area depends on the amount
and kind of traffic, quality of road, and density of cover adjacent to the road (Thomas and
Toweill 1982). In general the disturbance area for elk could be expected to average
approximately 0.5 miles from roadways that are being used. Total avoidance area along
improved roads, temporary access roads and drill pads would be approximately 7,329 acres.
Holes would not be drilled simultaneously. Therefore disturbance would not occur over the
total avoidance area concurrently, which would allow big game displaced from a project
related avoidance area where project activity is occurring to areas where project activity is



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not occurring. The maximum avoidance area in any one time frame for the project would be
approximately 4,751 acres.
Indirect effects:
Approximately 9.3 miles of existing NFS roads would be improved. These road
improvements could attract more recreational users, which would increase disturbance within
areas used as summer range by elk. The avoidance areas associated with indirect effects
would partially overlap the avoidance areas described for direct effects above. The potential
increased recreational use would not increase the disturbance area along existing roads;
however if recreational use increases along the improved roads, the amount of disturbance
could increase. A change in vehicular traffic use patterns along the improved roads could
offset the potential increase in traffic. For example, if “closed vehicle” traffic increases but
the ATV traffic decreases, the disturbance caused by higher traffic flows could be offset by
the change in traffic use along the routes.
Recreational use along portions of the routes proposed for improvement is not controlled or
contained within the road prism. In an attempt to contain uncontrolled recreational use along
existing roads that would be improved; rocks, log and block fencing, and signs would be
installed to control and contain recreational use. Temporary access roads to the drill pad sites
would be gated, locked and closed to public vehicular use. The project’s potential indirect
impacts could be offset by a change in traffic use pattern, and measures to control and
contain recreation use (described in the Project Design and Mitigation Measures section of
the report) along the improved routes.
Cumulative Effects
The area of analysis for big game encompasses approximately 107,000 acres. The area is
bounded on the north by Fairview Lakes private property, State Highway 264, and Electric
Lake; it is bounded on the East by State Highway 31, on the south by Flat Canyon, Trail
Mountain and Middle Mountain, and on the west by the Forest boundary. The proposed
project would not increase the disturbance area along improved existing forest system roads
within the analysis area, but the amount of disturbance along existing NFS roads proposed
for improvement would increase during construction and drilling activities. In addition, there
would be disturbance along temporary access road and at drill sites during construction and
drilling.
The elk avoidance area created by project activity could be as large as approximately 4,751
acres during any one period. This avoidance area created by the proposed project would add
cumulatively with recreation and other uses along the Miller Flat Road corridor extending
from Highway 31 to Middle Mountain, and along Highway 31 extending from Electric Lake
to the Fairview Lakes overlook. During heavy use, the stretch of Miller Flat Road in the
analysis area could create an elk avoidance area of approximately 8,252 acres; and the stretch
of Highway 31 could create an avoidance area of 6,076 acres. The total cumulative elk
avoidance area in the analysis area could be as high as 19,079 acres; almost 18 percent of the
analysis area. However, elk calving would be protected with a seasonal buffer, elk calving
habitat would not be adversely impacted, and the project would occur within an area used by
elk as summer range, which is not limiting in the forest (winter range is the limiting factor in
areas used by big game). Therefore, the proposed project is not expected to appreciably
adversely impact the elk population on the Wasatch Plateau.


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Migratory bird habitat:
The area does not likely provide prime breeding habitat for the Brewer’s sparrow; therefore,
it is not likely that the proposed project would directly or indirectly impact the species.
The proposed drill pads, temporary access roads and road improvements would not adversely
impact broad-tailed hummingbird breeding habitat. The proposed pipeline route for Skyline
Unit #1-6 (Potters) well passes through potentially suitable habitat. However, a pipeline
corridor would not be constructed through suitable broad-tailed hummingbird breeding
habitat, and the pipeline would not be installed within potentially suitable habitat between
May 1 and July 5. Therefore, the proposed project would not likely appreciably directly or
indirectly impact the broad-tailed hummingbird.
Goshawk habitat:
Direct effects:
There are no drill pads or new temporary access roads proposed within suitable goshawk
habitat. However, there is potentially suitable goshawk habitat near two of the proposed drill
pads, and two of the proposed pipeline routes pass through suitable habitat. Potentially
suitable goshawk habitat in or near areas where proposed project activity would occur would
be surveyed prior to that activity occurring. All active goshawk nests would be protected
from project activity with seasonal buffers during the courting, nesting and fledgling periods.
Therefore under Alternatives 2 and 3, there would be no measurable direct effects to
goshawks or their habitat.
Indirect effects:
Proposed temporary access roads total 1.8 miles, which would include the following
temporary access roads for each of the drill sites: 0.5 miles (Potters); 0.6 miles (Rolfson); and
0.7 miles (Skyline). The proposed routes for these roads do not pass through suitable
goshawk habitat, and in order to insure that the temporary access roads do not introduce
increased recreational use into areas that extend beyond the temporary access roads, the roads
would be gated, locked and not open to public use. Therefore, construction of temporary
access roads would not likely indirectly impact the goshawk or its habitat.
The proposed drill pad sites are not located in suitable goshawk habitat; however there is
potentially suitable habitat near two of the proposed sites (Potters and Rolfson). Suitable
habitat near the pad sites would be surveyed prior to pad construction, and active nests would
be protected with buffers as stated above. Therefore, construction of the proposed drill pads
would not likely indirectly impact the goshawk or its habitat.
Road improvements along approximately 9.3 miles of existing NFS roads are proposed for
each drill site as follows: 1.9 miles of NFS Road 50271 for Skyline Unit #1-6 (Potters); 0.8
miles of NFS Road 50269 for Unit #14-28 (Rolfson); and 6.6 miles of NFS Road 50150 for
Unit #8-7 (Skyline). Improved roads would likely attract more recreational users to these
areas. None of these road improvements would occur in suitable goshawk habitat; however
road improvements in the Potters Ponds area would provide improved recreation access near
potentially suitable goshawk habitat, which may introduce increased recreation use near
potentially suitable goshawk habitat. Dispersed recreation and camping currently occur
along the Potters Road which is designated for improvement. Under Alternative 2, current
recreational use would remain uncontrolled, and no measures would be implemented to


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contain the expected increase in recreational use along improved roads. Therefore under
Alternative 2, proposed project actions could lead to an increase in uncontrolled recreational
use near suitable goshawk habitat. Indirect impacts could include an increase in uncontrolled
recreational use within up to approximately 250 acres of potentially suitable goshawk habitat,
which would reduce the value of the habitat to goshawks.
Three-toed woodpecker:
Direct effects:
Proposed drill pad construction, temporary access road construction and road improvements
would not occur in suitable three-toed woodpecker habitat. However, two of the proposed
pipeline routes pass through suitable three-toed woodpecker habitat. Pipelines would be laid
on the surface and a pipeline corridor would not be constructed through suitable three-toed
woodpecker habitat. Direct impacts to the three-toed woodpecker could include flushing
birds from local areas as the pipe is being laid. Approximately 1.6 miles of the proposed
pipeline route for the Skyline Unit #1-6 drill site passes through potentially suitable three-
toed woodpecker habitat, and approximately 1.2 miles of the proposed pipeline route for the
Skyline Unit #8-7 passes through potentially suitable three-toed woodpecker habitat.
Disturbance during the installation of the pipeline could be expected to extend out 100 feet
from where the pipe is being laid. If the Skyline Unit #1-6 well proves to be productive and
a pipeline is laid, potential disturbance within three-toed woodpecker habitat would total
approximately 39 acres. If the Skyline Unit #8-7 well proves productive and a pipeline is
laid, potential disturbance within three-toed woodpecker habitat would total approximately
29 acres. The pipeline would not be installed during the breeding season; therefore the
project’s potential to directly impact the three-toed woodpecker would not be appreciable.
Indirect effects:
Road improvements along approximately 9.3 miles of existing NFS roads are proposed for
each drill site as follows: 1.9 miles of NFS Road 50271 for Skyline Unit #1-6; 0.8 miles of
NFS Road 50269 for Skyline Unit #14-28; and 6.6 miles of NFS Road 50150 for Skyline
Unit #8-7. Improved roads would likely attract more recreational users to these areas. None
of these road improvements would occur in areas where there is suitable three-toed
woodpecker habitat; however road improvements in the Potters area would provide improved
recreation access near potentially suitable three-toed woodpecker habitat, which may
introduce increased recreation use near potentially suitable habitat. Dispersed recreation and
camping currently occurs along the Potters Road which is designated for improvement.
Under Alternative 2, current recreational use would remain uncontrolled, and no measures
would be implemented to contain the expected increase in recreational use along improved
roads. Therefore under Alternative 2, proposed project actions could lead to an increase in
uncontrolled recreational use near suitable three-toed woodpecker habitat. Indirect impacts
could include an increase in uncontrolled recreational use within approximately 250 acres of
potentially suitable three-toed woodpecker habitat, which could reduce the value of the
habitat to three-toed woodpeckers.
Threatened or endangered species:
There have been no documented bald eagle occurrences in or near the proposed project area,
so any occurrence would be rare. The project would not impact landscape features that could



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provide suitable bald eagle habitat. Therefore, the proposed project would not likely directly
or indirectly impact the bald eagle.
There are no breeding populations of lynx on the Forest, and the Forest does not provide
sufficient habitat to support a breeding population. Dispersing lynx could travel through the
proposed project area; however survey and sighting records indicate that lynx occur very
rarely on the Forest. Therefore, the proposed project would not likely directly or indirectly
impact the lynx.
There are no listed fish species located in streams in the forest or in streams directly fed by
runoff from the forest. However, the proposed project does occur within the Colorado River
drainage. Water used for the proposed project would be obtained through a temporary change
of water use of an existing Huntington Cleveland Irrigation Water Right. The project would
use a total of approximately 4.0 acre-feet of water, and would be taken from the Huntington-
Cleveland feeder canal. Since the proposed project would not directly affect fish populations
or habitat, and water that would be used for the project would be taken through a temporary
change of an existing water right, the project would not directly or indirectly impact any fish
species.
Sensitive species:
Under Alternative 2 and 3, the proposed project’s potential to impact the spotted bat,
Townsend’s big eared bat, greater sage grouse and peregrine falcon, would be similar.
Potential impacts of the proposed project under Alternative 2 or 3 would be somewhat
different for the goshawk and three-toed woodpecker.
There is potentially suitable spotted bat foraging habitat near the project area; however the
proposed project would not appreciably adversely impact potentially suitable foraging
habitat, and there are no cliff faces that would provide suitable spotted bat roost habitat in or
near the project area. Therefore, the project would not likely have measurable direct or
indirect impacts on the spotted bat.
There is potentially suitable Townsend’s big-eared bat foraging habitat in the project area;
however, the proposed project would not appreciably adversely impact potentially suitable
foraging habitat, and there are no caves, mines or other structures that would provide suitable
roost habitat for the bat. Therefore, the project would not likely have measurable impacts on
this species.
One of the proposed temporary access roads and drill sites (Rolfson Skyline Unit #14-28) are
located in sagebrush habitat. This sagebrush habitat is located at roughly 9,000 feet elevation
in an area where snow pack often lasts through June. No evidence of sage grouse use was
found in the area; therefore, it is not likely that the proposed project would directly or
indirectly impact the species.
Peregrine falcons may travel more than 18 miles from the nest site to hunt for food, however
average foraging distance from the eyrie extends out to 10 miles, with 80 percent of
peregrine falcon foraging occurring within a mile of the nest. There are no suitable peregrine
falcon nest sites in or near the proposed project area. The nearest known peregrine falcon
eyrie is located approximately 17 miles from the proposed project site. Therefore direct or
indirect impacts on the peregrine falcon are unlikely to occur.



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Management Indicator Species:
The proposed drill pads are located away from riparian, aquatic and wetland habitats.
Impacts to surface water would be minimized through the use of BMPs, SWCPs, and site-
specific controls during construction and operation. Aggregate surfacing of reconstructed
roads would reduce erosion and improve water quality. Aggregate surfaces and surface water
control measures at pad sites and along temporary access roads would maintain water quality.
Proposed pipelines avoid stream crossings, riparian areas and wetlands where possible; and
in areas where avoidance is not feasible, already disturbed areas such as existing roads or
trails would be used. The one temporary access road stream crossing would use a temporary
bridge design that would not change stream morphology, would minimize channel
disturbance, and would provide uninhibited aquatic passage. Therefore, there is not likely to
be any direct or indirect impacts to macroinvertebrates.
There are no golden eagle nest sites in or near areas where project activity would occur, and
there are no cliffs that would provide suitable cliff nesting habitat for golden eagles in the
area. Therefore, breeding/nesting activity would not be directly affected. There is suitable
foraging habitat in the vicinity of two of the proposed drill sites. Direct impacts could include
displacing foraging golden eagles from the avoidance areas for the two drill holes. The holes
would not be drilled simultaneously; therefore the maximum avoidance area during any one
time would be approximately 1,136 acres.
Possible impacts to mule deer could include avoidance along roads and at drill pad sites
during construction. The maximum avoidance area at any one time frame for the project
would be approximately 1,136 acres. Road improvements could attract more recreational
users, which would increase disturbance within areas used as summer range by mule deer.
Cumulative Effects
Other past, present or reasonably foreseeable future management actions that could add
cumulatively to the potential impacts of the proposed project within golden eagle foraging
habitat could include the Lake Vegetation Management Project and recreation along
transportation corridors. These activities could add cumulatively to each of the proposed
drill sites as follows.
The disturbance/avoidance area (approximately 1,136 acres) for Skyline Unit #8-7 would
occur primarily along an existing transportation corridor along Skyline Drive, which is used
for recreation. Unauthorized OHV routes along the section of Skyline Drive proposed for
improvement would be closed and rehabilitated, and this section of Skyline Drive would be
gated and locked during the spring and early summer snowmelt period. The Lake Project
would not appreciably impact currently existing golden eagle foraging habitat; however,
since golden eagles prefer to forage in open habitats, the Lake project would likely provide
improved golden eagle foraging habitat over the short/mid term within approximately 820
acres. Recreation would not appreciably extend the potential impact area for this drill site.
Project activity on Skyline Unit #14-28 could create a disturbance/avoidance area of
approximately 204 acres. Recreation along transportation corridors that could add
cumulatively to the potential impacts of this proposed drill site within golden eagle foraging
habitat total approximately 2.5 miles, which could create a disturbance/avoidance area of
approximately 404 acres. The Lake Vegetation Management Project would not appreciably



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impact currently existing golden eagle foraging habitat; however since golden eagles prefer
to forage in open habitats, the Lake Project would likely provide improved golden eagle
foraging habitat over the short/mid term within approximately 820 acres. Therefore, the
cumulative impacts of the proposed Dominion Project with past, present and reasonably
foreseeable future actions would not likely appreciably affect the golden eagle population on
the Wasatch Plateau.
Since the proposed project would not likely appreciably directly or indirectly impact
macroinvertebrates, broad-tailed hummingbird or Brewer’s sparrow, no cumulative affects
would accrue to these species.

3.4.4 Environmental Consequences of Alternative 3 (Proposed Action
with Best Management Practices and Additional Design Features)

Direct and Indirect Effects

Elk calving habitat:
Impacts to elk calving habitat would be the same as under Alternative 2.
Big game summer range:
Impacts to big game summer range would be the same as under Alternative 2.
Migratory bird habitat:
Impacts to migratory bird habitat would be the same as under Alternative 2.
Goshawk habitat:
Direct effects: Potential direct effects would be the same as in Alternative 2.
Indirect effects: The proposed temporary access roads do not pass through suitable goshawk
habitat, and in order to insure that the temporary access roads do not introduce increased
recreational use into areas that extend beyond the temporary access roads, the roads would be
gated, locked and not open to public use. Therefore, construction of temporary access roads
would not likely indirectly impact the goshawk or its habitat.
The proposed drill pad sites are not located in suitable goshawk habitat; however there is
potentially suitable habitat near two of the proposed sites (Potters and Rolfson). Suitable
habitat near the pad sites would be surveyed prior to pad construction, and active nests would
be protected with buffers as stated above. Therefore, construction of the proposed drill pads
would not likely indirectly impact the goshawk or its habitat.
Road improvements along approximately 9.3 miles of existing NFS roads are proposed for
each drill site as follows: 1.9 miles of NFS Road 50271 for Skyline Unit #1-6; 0.8 miles of
NFS Road 50269 for Skyline Unit #14-28; and 6.6 miles of NFS Road 50150 for Skyline
Unit #8-7. Improved roads would likely attract more recreational users to these areas. None
of these road improvements would occur in areas where there is suitable goshawk habitat;
however road improvements in the Potters Ponds area would provide improved recreation
access near potentially suitable goshawk habitat, which may introduce increased recreation
use within potentially suitable habitat. Dispersed recreation and camping currently occur


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along the Potters Road which is designated for improvement. Under Alternative 3, rock or
log and block barriers would be used to control recreation use along the improved routes, and
to contain the currently uncontrolled camping within designated camp sites. Measures to
contain currently uncontrolled Dispersed recreation near potentially suitable goshawk habitat
could offset the potential adverse impacts of increased recreation use along improved roads.
Therefore under Alternative 3, the proposed project’s potential to indirectly impact the
goshawk or its habitat would be minimal.
Three-toed woodpecker:
Indirect effects:
The proposed drill pad sites and temporary access roads are not located in suitable three-toed
woodpecker habitat. In order to insure that the temporary access roads do not introduce
increased recreational use into areas that extend beyond the temporary access roads, the roads
would be gated, locked and not open to public use. Therefore, construction of temporary
access roads and drill pads would not likely indirectly impact the three-toed woodpecker or
its habitat.
Road improvements along approximately 9.3 miles of existing NFS roads are proposed for
each drill site as follows: 1.9 miles of NFS Road 50271 for Skyline Unit #1-6; 0.8 miles of
NFS Road 50269 for Skyline Unit #14-28; and 6.6 miles of NFS Road 50150 for Skyline
Unit #8-7. Improved roads would likely attract more recreational users to these areas. None
of these road improvements would occur in areas where there is suitable three-toed
woodpecker habitat; however road improvements in the Potters area would provide improved
recreation access near potentially suitable three-toed woodpecker habitat, which may
introduce increased recreation use near potentially suitable habitat. Dispersed recreation and
camping currently occur along the Potters Road which is designated for improvement. Under
Alternative 3, rock or log and block barriers would be used to control recreation use along
the improved routes, and to contain the currently uncontrolled camping within designated
camp sites. Measures to contain currently uncontrolled Dispersed recreation near potentially
suitable three-toed woodpecker habitat could offset the potential adverse impacts of increased
recreation use along improved roads. Therefore under Alternative 3, the proposed project’s
potential to indirectly impact the three-toed woodpecker or its habitat would be minimal.
Threatened or endangered species:
Potential impacts would be the same as under Alternative 2.
Sensitive species:
Potential impacts would be the same as under Alternative 2.
Management Indicator Species:
Potential impacts would be the same as under Alternative 2.
Cumulative Effects
Project design and Design Features under Alternative 3 would reduce the proposed project’s
potential to directly or indirectly impact the goshawk and three-toed woodpecker. The
project would not appreciably directly or indirectly impact the goshawk; therefore
cumulative affects would not accrue to this species.


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4.0 Consultation and Coordination
Forest Service staff worked closely with BLM both at the State Office and Richfield Field
Office and the Moab Field Office to assure that various issues were identified and addressed
during project development.
Informal consultation pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act was completed,
which included water depletion for this project. A letter of concurrence was received from the
Service on February 27, 2006 for not likely to affect bald eagle. The Service’s concurrence
letter is contained in the project record.
The State Historic Preservation Officer was consulted and has concurred with a
determination of “no historic properties affected”, based on the design features incorporated
in the project. Copies of the reports were sent to tribal governments for their review and
comment.

4.1 Interdisciplinary Team Members

Specialist                            Specialty                 Position
Tom Lloyd                             Geologist                 ID Team Leader
Don Wilcox                            Transportation            Team Member
Katherine Foster                      Hydrology                 Team Member
Terry Nelson                          Wildlife Biology          Team Member
Matt Maccariello                      Range                     Team Member
Bill Broadbear                        Recreation                Team Member
Cathy Dodt-Ellis                      Minerals                  Team Member
Bruce Ellis                           Cultural Resources        Consultant
Michael Davis                         NEPA                      Consultant
Brent Hanchett                        Landscape Architect       Consultant




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5.0 References
Aubry, K.B., G.M. Koehler, and J.R. Squires. 2000. Ecology of Canada lynx in southern
     boreal forests; in Ruggiero et al.’s Ecology and Conservation of Lynx in the United
     States, 1999. University Press of Colorado. Denver, Colorado.
Boschen, Nelson.1997. Bald Eagles in Southeast Utah: 1997 Nesting Season. Bureau of
     Land Management, Moab Field Office, Moab, Utah.
Nelson, T. 2006a. Biological Evaluation and Biological Assessment for the Dominion Energy
     (3) Well Gas/Oil Exploration Drilling Project, FY 2006. Ferron/Price Ranger District,
     Ferron, Utah.
Nelson, T. 2006b. Wildlife Resources Report for the Dominion Energy (3) Well Gas/Oil
     Exploration Drilling Project, FY 2006. Ferron/Price Ranger District, Ferron, Utah.
Oliver, G.V. 2000. The Bats of Utah: A Literature Review. Utah Division of Wildlife
      Resources, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Thomas, J.W., and D.E. Toweill.1982.Elk of North America: Ecology and Management.
    Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Pa.
USDI Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002a. Bonytail (Gila elegans) Recovery Goals:
    Amendment and Supplement to the Bonytail Chub Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and
    Wildlife Service, Mountain-Prairie Region (6), Denver, Colorado.
USDI Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002b. Humpback Chub (Gila cypha) Recovery Goals:
    Amendment and Supplement to the Humback Chub Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and
    Wildlife Service, Mountain-Prairie Region (6), Denver, Colorado.
USDI Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002c. Colorado Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius)
    Recovery Goals: Amendment and Supplement to the Colorado Squawfish Recovery
    Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mountain-Prairie Region (6), Denver, Colorado.
USDI Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002d. Razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) Recovery
    Goals: Amendment and Supplement to the Razorback Sucker Recovery Plan.U.S.
    Fish and Wildlife Service, Mountain-Prairie Region (6), Denver, Colorado.
USDA Forest Service. 1986. Manti-La Sal National Forest Land and Resource
    Management Plan: Manti LaSal National Forest, Price, Utah.
USDA Forest Service. 1994. Final Environmental Impact Statement for Oil and Gas
    Development on the Manti LaSal National Forest. Manti LaSal National Forest, Price,
    Utah.
USDA Forest Service. 2000. Final Environmental Impact Statemen: Forest Service Roadless
    Area Conservation: USDA Forest Service, Washington D.C.




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6.0 Glossary
Affected Environment: Surface resources (including social and economic elements) within
or adjacent to a geographic area that could potentially be affected by proposed activities. The
environment of the area to be affected by the alternatives under consideration.

Allotment: See Range Allotment.

Alternative: A combination of management prescriptions applied in specific amounts and
locations to achieve a desired management emphasis as expressed in goals and objectives.
One of several policies, plans, or projects proposed for decision making. One alternative need
not substitute for another in all respects.

Analysis Area, Oil and Gas: Individual subdivision of the forest, based on watersheds, for
which the impacts from oil and gas leasing were analyzed and displayed.

Application for Permit to Drill (APD): The application submitted to the BLM by a
lessee/operator proposing to drill on a Federal oil and gas lease with a description of where,
when, and how the well would be drilled. It also contains the SUPO that includes information
of the pad design, surface operations, and provisions for protecting resources. (See Surface
Use Plan of Operations [SUPO]). The APD is subject to approval by the BLM prior to
drilling operations under authority of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended, and
Federal Regulations 43 CFR 3100. The SUPO is subject to approval by the Surface
Management Agency prior to commencement of surface operations.

Animal Unit Month (AUM): The amount of forage necessary to sustain one cow and one
calf, or its equivalent, for one month.

Aquatic Ecosystem: All organisms in a water-based community plus the associated
environmental factors.

Aquatic Wildlife or Species: Animal species that inhabit and/or depend on the aquatic
ecosystems for their life processes.

Big Game Winter Range: The area available to and used by big game through the winter
season.

Big Game: Larger species of hoofed, protected, wildlife that are hunted such as elk, deer, and
moose.

Biological Assessment (BA): A document that discloses potential effects to Threatened,
Endangered, and Candidate plant and animal species and consistency with the Endangered
Species Act relative to a proposed action.

Biological Diversity: The diversity or numbers of species that collectively represent the
living plants and animals within a local, regional, or continental landscape.


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Biological Evaluation (BE): A document that discloses effects to Forest Service Sensitive
plant and animal species relative to a proposed action.

Best Management Practices (BMPs): A forestry practice, or combination of practices,
determined by a state to be the most effective means of preventing or reducing the amount of
nonpoint source pollution in order to protect streams and water quality. Some BMPs are
defined by the State's Forest Practices Acts and their accompanying rules and regulations.

Browse: That part of the current leaf and twig growth of shrubs, wood vines, and trees
available for animal consumption.

Buffer Zone: A strip of undisturbed vegetation that retards the flow of runoff water, causing
deposition of transported sediment and reducing sedimentation in the receiving stream.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM): The U.S. Department of the Interior agency
responsible for managing most Federal government subsurface minerals. It has surface-
management responsibility for Federal lands designated under the Federal Land Policy and
Management Act of 1976.

Calving and Fawning Areas: Optimum elk calving areas are on slopes of 30 to 40 percent
containing small flat benches (or if no benches are available, then on slopes less than 30
percent and less steep than the average slope in the general area) in the ecotone between
aspen/conifer and meadows or sagebrush/grassland within about 600 meters of water
(Skovlin 1983). Optimum mule deer fawning sites are in the ecotone between low
shrubs/small trees and taller tree cover on slopes near succulent forage (meadows) on slopes
less than 30 percent and within 600 meters of water.

Casing: Steel pipe placed in an oil or gas well to prevent the hole from caving.

Classified Road: A road wholly or partially within or adjacent to NFS lands that are
determined to be needed for long-term motor vehicle access, including state roads, county
roads, privately owned roads, NFS roads, and other roads authorized by the Forest Service
(36 CFR 212.1, FSM 7705—Transportation System).

Cultural Resources Inventory: A survey of existing conditions and data.

Cultural Resources: Those fragile and nonrenewable remains of human activity, occupation,
or endeavor reflected in districts, sites, structures, buildings, objects, artifacts, ruins, works of
art, architecture, and natural features that were of importance in human events.

Cumulative Impact: The impact on the environment which results from the incremental
impact of the action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future
actions regardless of what agency (Federal or non-Federal) or person undertakes such other
actions. Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor, but collectively significant
actions taking place over a period of time.



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Developed Recreation Sites: Relatively small, distinctly defined areas where facilities are
provided for concentrated public use (i.e., campgrounds, picnic areas, and swimming areas).

Developed Recreation: Man-made recreational developments such as campgrounds, picnic
grounds, resorts, ski areas, and trailheads.

Discovery Well: A well discovering oil or gas in a pool previously unknown and
unproductive.

Dispersed Recreation: That portion of outdoor recreation use that occurs outside of
developed sites in the unroaded and roaded Forest environment (i.e., hunting, backpacking,
and camping).

Displacement: As applied to wildlife, forced shifts in the patterns of wildlife use either in
location or timing.

Distance Zone: The divisions of a landscape being viewed. Three zones are used to describe
a landscape: foreground, middleground, background.

Dry Hole: A term used by the oil and gas industry to describe an exploration drill hole that is
not capable of economic production of oil or gas.

Duration: The length of time the management activity and its impacts will be taking place.

Ecosystem: All organisms in a community plus the associated environmental factors.

Effects: As described below; also see Impacts.

       Direct Effects - Caused by the action and occur at the same time and place.

        Indirect Effects - Caused by the action later in time or farther removed in distance but
still reasonably foreseeable. Indirect effects may include growth inducing effects and other
effects related to induced changes in the pattern of land use, population density or growth
rate, and related effects on air and water and other natural systems, including ecosystems.

Endangered Species: See Threatened and Endangered species.

Environmental Analysis: An analysis of alternative actions and their predictable short and
long-term environmental effects that include physical, biological, economic, social, and
environmental design factors and their interactions.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS): A formal public document prepared to analyze the
impacts on the environment of the proposed project or action and released for comment and
review. An EIS must meet the requirements of NEPA, CEQ guidelines, and directives of the
agency responsible for the proposed project or action. It includes a brief discussion of the



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need for the proposal, alternatives considered, environmental impact of the proposed action
and alternatives, and a list of agencies and individuals consulted; it is prepared by the
responsible Federal agency consistent with 40 CFR 1508.9.

Erosion: (1) The wearing away of the land surface by running water, wind, ice, or other
geological agents including such processes as gravitational creep; or (2) Detachment and
movement of soil or rock fragments by water, wind, ice, or gravity.

Exotic: Foreign, not native

Exploration Well: A well drilled in the area where there is no oil or gas production. Same as
a “wildcat” well.

Fauna: Species of the animal kingdom.

Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA): Public Law 94-579
established public land policy; to establish guidelines for its administration; to protect for the
management, protection, development, and enhancement of the public lands; and for other
purposes.

Federal Lands: Lands owned by the United States, without references to how the lands were
acquired or what Federal agency administers the land, including surface estate, mineral
estate, and coal estate, but excluding lands held by the United States in trust for Indians,
Aleuts, or Eskimos.

Floodplain: The lowland and relatively flat area adjoining inland waters including, at a
minimum, that area subject to a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year.

Flora: Plants

Forage: All browse and herbaceous foods that are available to grazing/browsing animals.
Also, food source areas for goshawks.

Forest Road: As defined in Title 23, Section 101 of the United States Code (23 U.S.C. 101),
any road wholly or partly within, or adjacent to, and serving the NFS and which is necessary
for the protection, administration, and utilization of the NFS and the use and development of
its resources (FSM 7705 – Transportation System)

Forest Service (FS): The agency of the United States Department of Agriculture responsible
for managing National Forests and Grasslands under the Multiple Use and Sustained Yield
Act of 1960.

Game Species: Any species of wildlife or fish for which seasons and bag limits have been
prescribed and that are normally harvested by hunters, trappers, and fishermen under state or
Federal laws, codes, and regulations.




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Graben: A block, generally long compared to its width, that has been downthrown along
faults relative to the rocks on either side.

Gradient: The slope (rise/run) of a surface or stream profile.

Habitat Type: An aggregation of all land areas potentially capable of producing similar plant
communities at climax.

Habitat: A specific set of physical conditions that surround a single species, a group of
species, or a large community. In wildlife management, the major components of habitat are
considered to be food, water, cover, and living space.

Human Environment: The factors that include, but are not limited to, biological, physical,
social, economic, cultural, and aesthetic factors that interrelate to form the environment.

Impact (See Effects): The effect, influence, alteration, or imprint caused by an action.

Indicator Species: A species of animal or plant whose presence is a fairly certain indication
of a particular set of environmental conditions. Indicator species serve to show the effects of
development actions on the environment.

Indirect Effects: Secondary effects that occur in locations other than the initial action or
significantly later in time.

Inventoried Roadless Area: Area identified in a set of inventoried roadless area maps,
contained in Forest Roadless Area Conservation, Final Environmental Impact Statement,
Volume 2, dated November 2000, which are held at National headquarters office of the
Forest Service or any subsequent update or revision of those maps.

Invertebrate: An animal lacking a spinal column.

IRA: See Inventoried Roadless Area.

Irretrievable: A term that applies to the loss of production, harvest, or use of natural
resources. For example, some or all of the timber production from an area is lost irretrievably
while an area is serving as a winter sports site. The production lost is irretrievable, but the
action is not irreversible. If the use changes, it is possible to resume timber production.

Irreversible: A term that describes the loss of future options. Applies primarily to the effects
of use of nonrenewable resources, such as minerals or cultural resources, or to those factors,
such as soil productivity that are renewable only over long periods of time.

Lek: Strutting ground used by sage grouse. It is typically very flat with very little vegetation.

LRMP: Land and Resource Management Plan.




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Leaseable Minerals: Minerals acquired only by lease and generally include oil, gas, coal, oil
shale, sodium, potassium, phosphate, native asphalt, solid and semi-solid bitumen, and
deposits of sulfur.

Lease Stipulations: Additional specific terms and conditions that change the manner in
which an operation may be conducted on a lease or modify the lease rights granted.

Lease: A Federal lease, issued under the oil and gas leasing provisions of the mineral leasing
laws, which grants the exclusive right to explore for and produce oil and gas from the lease
area.

Macroinvertebrates: Aquatic insects.

Management Indicator Species (MIS): A select group of wildlife species that can indicate
change in habitat resulting from activities on the Forest. MIS species for the Manti-La Sal
National Forest are elk, mule deer, macroinvertebrates, blue grouse (Dendragapus obscurus),
golden eagle and Abert’s squirrel (Sciurus aberti) (FLRMP). With the exception of Abert’s
squirrels, these species utilize the habitats found within the project area.

Mineral Leasing Laws: The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended (30 U.S.C. 181 et
seq.), and the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands of 1947, as amended (30 U.S.C. 351-
359).

MIS: Management Indicator Species.

Mitigation: Includes:
     (a) Avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action.

      (b) Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree of magnitude of the action and its
      implementation.

      (c) Rectifying the impact of repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected
      environment.

      (d) Reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance
      operations during the life of the action.

      (e) Compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or
      environments.

Multiple-use: Management of the surface and subsurface resources so that they are jointly
used in the manner that will best meet the present and future needs of the public without
permanent impairment of the productivity of the land or the quality of the environment.




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National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA): Public Law 91-190. Established
environmental policy for the nation. Among other items, NEPA requires Federal agencies to
consider environmental values in decision-making processes.

National Forest Management Act (NFMA): A law passed in 1976 as amendments to the
Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act that requires the preparation of
Regional and Forest plans and the preparation of regulations to guide that development.

National Forest System (NFS): All NFS lands reserved or withdrawn from the public
domain of the United States; all NFS lands acquired through purchase, exchange, donation,
or other means; the National Grasslands and land use projects administered under Title III of
the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act (7 U.S.C. 1010 et seq.); and other lands, waters, or
interests therein which are administered by the Forest Service or are designated for
administration through the Forest Service as a part of the system (16 U.S.C. 1609).

National Forest System Road (NFSR): A classified forest road under the jurisdiction of the
Forest Service. The term “National Forest System roads” is synonymous with the term
“forest development roads” as used in 23 U.S.C. 205. (FSM 7705 – Transportation System)

National Register of Historic Places (NRHP): A listing of architectural, historical,
archaeological, and cultural sites of local, state, or national significance established by the
Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

Negligible Effect or Impact: An effect or outcome that is very small in magnitude or
importance and is inconsequential.

NEPA: See National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.

NFSR: See National Forest System Road.

No Action Alternative: No action or activity would take place. Another definition is where
ongoing programs described within the existing Land Management Plan continue. No
decision would be made and no leases would be offered.

Nongame Species: Species of animals that are not managed as a sport hunting/fishing
resource.

Noxious Weeds: Rapidly spreading plants that cause a variety of major ecological impacts to
both agriculture and wild lands.

Off-highway Vehicle (OHV): Any motorized vehicle designed for or capable of cross-
country travel on or immediately over land, water, snow, ice, marsh, swampland or other
natural terrain. It includes, but is not limited to, four-wheel drive or low-pressure-tire
vehicles, motorcycles and related two-wheel vehicles, amphibious machines, ground-effect
or air-cushion vehicles.




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Dominion Exploration and Production                                  Environmental Assessment
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Operator: A lessee, exploration licensee, or one conducting operations on a lease under the
authority of the lessee.

Outpost Well: A well drilled during field development which is expected to be a producing
well, but which is found to be unproductive because it is drilled outside the limits of the
reservoir.

Overstory: The portion of a plant community consisting of the taller plants on the site; the
forest or woodland canopy.

People at one Time (PAOT): Unit of measure for recreation representing the number of
people using a facility simultaneously or at the same time.

Prehistoric Site: Archaeological sites associated with American Indians and usually
occurring before contact with Europeans.

Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD): A classification established to preserve,
protect, and enhance the air quality in National Wilderness Preservation System areas in
existence prior to August 1977 and other areas of National significance while ensuring
economic growth can occur in a manner consistent with the preservation of existing clean air
resources. Specific emission limitations and other measures, by class, are detailed in the
Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 1875, et seq.).

Project Area: The area to be disturbed by the proposed project and adjacent lands that could
be affected.

Range Allotment: A designated area of land available for livestock grazing upon which a
specified number and kind of livestock may be grazed under an allotment management plan.
It is the basic land unit used to facilitate management of the range resource on NFS lands
administered lands.

Reasonably Foreseeable Development Scenario (RFDS): The prediction of the most likely
future actions in the project area that would likely result from the proposed action.

Reclamation: Returning disturbed lands to a form and productivity that will be ecologically
balanced and in conformity with a predetermined land management plan.

Record of Decision (ROD): A document separate from, but associated with, an
environmental impact statement that publicly and officially discloses the responsible
official's decision on the proposed action.

Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS): Land delineations that identify a variety of
recreation experience opportunities in six classes along a continuum from primitive to urban.
Each class is defined in terms of natural resource settings, activities and experience
opportunities. The six classes are: Urban, Rural, Roaded, Natural, Semi-primitive Motorized,
Semiprimitive Non-motorized, and Primitive.



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Dominion Exploration and Production
3-well Project                                                   Draft Environmental Assessment




Recreation Visitor Day (RVD): A unit of measure for recreation use; represents one day of
use by one person.

Reserves: Recoverable Oil and Gas deposits.

Responsible Official: Official of the Forest Service authorized to make the decisions
required under the proposed action.

Restore: To bring back landscape to a former or original condition or appearance.

Re-vegetation: The reestablishment and development of self-sustaining plant cover. On
disturbed sites, this normally requires human assistance such as seed bed preparation,
reseeding, and mulching.

Riparian Ecosystem: A transition between the aquatic ecosystem and the adjacent terrestrial
ecosystem; identified by soil characteristics or distinctive vegetation communities that
require free or unbound water.

Riparian: Riparian areas consist of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, those lands in a
position to directly influence water quality and water resources, whether or not free water is
available. This would include all lands in the active flood channel and lands immediately
upslope of stream banks. These areas may be associated with lakes, reservoirs, estuaries,
potholes, marshes, streams, bogs, wet meadows, and intermittent or permanent streams where
free and unbound water is available.

Roaded, Natural (RN): A recreation opportunity classification term describing a land area
that has been predominately a natural appearing environment with moderate evidence of
sights and sounds of humans. Concentration of users is moderate to low. Roads of better than
primitive class are usually with 0.5 mile. A broad range of motorized and non-motorized
activity opportunities are available. Management activities, including timber harvest, are
present and harmonize with the natural environment.

Roadless: Refers to the absence of roads that have been constructed and maintained by
mechanical means to ensure regular and continuous use.

Scoping Process: An early and open public participation process for determining particular
issues to be addressed in an environmental document and for identifying the significant
issues related to a proposed action.

Sensitive Species: Those plant and animal species identified by a Regional Forester for
which population viability is a concern as evidenced by: (a) significant current or predicted
downward trends in population numbers or density or (b) significant current or predicted
downward trends in habitat capability that would reduce a species' existing distribution.

Small Game: Birds and small mammals normally hunted or trapped.



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Dominion Exploration and Production                                    Environmental Assessment
3-well Project                                                                        June 2006




Stipulation: A provision that modifies standard lease right and is attached to and made a part
of the lease. Also includes requirements of the regulatory agencies in addition to provisions
of the Application for Permit to Drill and Surface Use Plan of Operations.

Surface Management Agency: The Federal agency with jurisdiction over the surface of
federally owned lands containing coal deposits, and, in the case of private surface over
Federal coal, the Bureau of Land Management, except in areas designated as National
Grasslands, where it means the Forest Service.

Surface Use Plan of Operations (SUPO): That portion of the Application for Permit to Drill
that discusses surface facilities and provisions for the protection of non-mineral interests. The
SUPO is subject to approval by the Surface Management Agency under authority of the
Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act of 1987 and Federal Regulations 43 CFR 3100 and
36 CFR 228, Subpart E.

TEPS: Threatened, Endangered, Candidate or Proposed, and Sensitive species; see
Threatened and Endangered Species.

Temporary access road: A short spur road constructed to access the drill pad. Construction of
temporary access roads is authorized under the SUPO. Temporary access roads are
obliterated and rehabilitated as soon as they are no longer needed for access to drill pads.

Threatened and Endangered Species: Threatened and Endangered Species are protected
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Federal code definitions are outlined as follows:

     Endangered (E): Any species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a
     significant portion of its range other than a species of the Class Insecta determined by the
     Secretary to constitute a pest whose protection under the ESA would present an
     overwhelming and overriding risk to man.

     Threatened (T): Any species that is likely to become an endangered species within the
     foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

     Candidate Species (C): Status review taxa for which the USFWS currently has on file
     substantial information on biological vulnerability and threat(s) to support the
     appropriateness of proposing to list the taxa as an endangered or threatened species.

     Forest Service Sensitive: Those plant and animal species identified by a Regional
     Forester for which population viability is a concern as evidenced by: (a) significant
     current or predicted downward trends in population numbers or density or (b) significant
     current or predicted downward trends in habitat capability that would reduce a species'
     existing distribution.

Vertebrate: An animal having a spinal column.




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Dominion Exploration and Production
3-well Project                                                    Draft Environmental Assessment


Visual Quality Objectives (VQO): Based upon variety class, sensitivity level, and distance
zone determinations. Each objective describes a different level of acceptable alteration based
on aesthetic importance. The degree of alteration is based on contrast with the surrounding
landscape.

       Preservation: In general, human activities are not detectable to the visitor.
       Retention: Human activities are not evident to the casual Forest visitor.
       Partial Retention: Human activities may be evident, but must remain subordinate to
       the characteristic landscape.
       Modification: Human activity may dominate the characteristic landscape, but must, at
       the same time, use naturally established form, line, color, and texture. It should appear
       as a natural occurrence when viewed in middleground or background.
       Maximum Modification: Human activity may dominate the characteristic landscape
       but should appear as a natural occurrence when viewed as background.

Visual Resource: The composite of basic terrain, geologic features, water features,
vegetative patterns, and land use effects that typify a land unit and influence the visual appeal
of the unit.

Wetlands: Lands where saturation with water is the primary factor determining the nature of
soil development and the kinds of animal and plant communities living under or on its
surface.

Wildcat Well: An exploratory well drilled in an area where there is no oil or gas production
(see exploration well).

Wilderness: The Wilderness Act defines wilderness, "in contrast with those areas where man
and his own works dominate the landscape, as an area where the earth and its community of
life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." The Act
requires that wilderness retain "its primeval character and influence" and that it be protected
and managed in such a way that it "appears to have been affected primarily by the force of
nature."

Wildlife: Mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates.




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