Cumulative Effects

					                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA


                                                 CHAPTER 3

                            AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT AND
                           ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES
Introduction
   This chapter describes the physical and biological environment that would be affected by the proposed
   management activity. It also outlines forest and management area goals, objectives and standards that
   define management direction for the Kootenai National Forest. This chapter includes a resource-by-
   resource description of the affected environment. The descriptions disclose specific environmental
   components and the geographic scope of each resource. This section provides the foundation for
   analysis of environmental consequences and consistency with the Forest Plan.

   This chapter also discloses the environmental consequences of implementing the alternatives. Each
   alternative would affect the environment differently. The environmental effects, which are discussed, are
   the scientific and analytic basis for comparison of the alternatives. Environmental effects that result from
   implementation of the alternatives are discussed in terms of direct, indirect and cumulative effects (see
   Chapter 1 for a definition of effects). The level of discussion for each resource depends on the level of
   information available and the scale of the analysis most informative or relevant for the affected resource.
   More detailed information on effects and analysis procedure is available in the resource specialists'
   reports in the project file. The effects of the alternatives will be described by resource area (e.g.,
   vegetation, wildlife, etc.), followed by a description of Forest Plan consistency.

Forest Plan Direction
 Tiering to the Forest Plan
   This analysis is tiered to the Bristow Landscape Analysis (USDA 2001), and incorporates by reference,
   management direction found in the Forest Plan as amended by the Inland Native Fish Strategy (INFS),
   Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD September 1987). These
   documents discuss land allocations and the effects of implementing these allocations. Chapter II of the
   Forest Plan contains management area standards and guidelines for the entire Kootenai National Forest.
   This environmental analysis focuses on site-specific activities not discussed in the Forest Plan.

   Forest Plan appendices contain guidelines for old-growth habitat management, water yield increases,
   cultural resources, vegetation management and a soil and water conservation practices handbook.
   Riparian area management is discussed in Chapter II of the Forest Plan, Appendix 26, amendments 1/91
   and 2/94. Guidelines for management areas provide direction for all resources.

 Past, Present and Reasonably Foreseeable Actions
  Past Harvest: Table 3.X, below, displays the Forest Service and Plum Creek Timber Company acres of
  harvest, by decade, in the Bristow planning subunit.

                      Table 3.X - Forest Service and PCTC Acres Harvested by Decade

                                     FOREST SERVICE                     PLUM CREEK TIMBER COMPANY
             YEAR           REGENERATION       INTERMEDIATE           REGENERATION     INTERMEDIATE
                            HARVEST ACRES     HARVEST ACRES           HARVEST ACRES    HARVEST ACRES
          1950-1959                9                   18                    0                    0
          1960-1969              2,106                2,435                  0                  1203
          1970-1979               783                 2,206                 155                   0
          1980-1989              2,372                 769                  856                  272
          1990-1999              2,628                2,035                 127                  566
          2000-2009               209                  571                   0                    98
            Total                8,107                8,034                1,138                2,139



                                          Chapter 3                                                               1
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Reasonably Foreseeable Actions: These include continued forest management on private and Forest
Service land in the Bristow planning subunit. General use in the Bristow area includes timber harvesting,
firewood collecting, and recreation such as berry picking and hunting. These activities are expected to
continue to occur and have been included in the analysis of cumulative effects. Table 3.1 shows the
foreseeable activities within the next 10 years on PCTC lands within the Bristow project planning subunit.
This information was requested from PCTC when the analysis of this project began. Therefore some
treatments on the private lands may have already been completed by the time this analysis is complete

                            Table 3.1 - Plum Creek Timber Company Activities

               LOCATION      SECTION       HARVEST TYPE         YEAR     ACRES      CROWN REMOVAL
              T32N, R29W        10       Seedtree w/Reserves    2003      22             5%

              T32N, R29W       19           Shelterwood         2001      32            90%
              T32N, R29W       19           Shelterwood         2002      18            90%
              T32N, R29W      21, 28        Shelterwood         2002      48            90%
              T32N, R29W      21, 28      Commercial Thin       2005      55            40%
              T32N, R29W       29             Clearcut          2002      94            100%

              T31N, R29W         5        Commercial Thin       2005      196           40%
              T31N, R29W       5&8             Salvage          2002      107           50%
              T31N, R29W         8       Seedtree w/Reserves    2009      16             5%
              T32N, R29W        31        Commercial Thin      2004-05    577           40%

Barron Jack Units: When analysis of this project began there were four units in the Barron Jack Timber
 Sale which are not yet logged. Table 3.1A, below, contains a summary of those units. More recent
 information available after the wildlife analysis was completed shows that logging within the Barron
 Jack units was finished in late fall 2003 but the wildlife analysis was done with these units being a
 reasonably foreseeable action and would be considered part of the existing condition.

                          Table 3.1A – Barron Jack Timber Sale Units Not Logged

                           UNIT NUMBER         ACRES                TREATMENT
                                2                  30            Sanitation Salvage
                                20                 13           Clearcut w/Reserves
                                30                 28            Sanitation Salvage
                                32                 9            Seedtree w/Reserves

    After completion of several units in the Barron Jack Timber Sale, it was decided that the final condition
    of the some stands did not meet the silvicultural-desired results. Because the original unit prescriptions
    were based on watershed concerns in both Barron Creek and Jackson Creek, an analysis for a new
    silvicultural prescription was requested. These units will be field verified and new prescriptions will be
    written if needed. Table 3.1B, below, consists of these units from the Barron Jack timber sale that may
    need additional harvest. The condition reflects the state of the units when the Bristow analysis began.

                Table 3.1B – Barron Jack Timber Sale Units With Additional Treatments

                            UNITS         UNIT ACRES               CONDITION
                            S-3B              12                 Logged & Piled
                            S-4A              9                  Logged & Piled
                            S-15              11                 Logged & Piled
                            S-17              19                Logged, Not Piled

    Originally, seven units were considered as units needing additional harvest. Wildlife analyzed these
    seven units. More recent information available after the wildlife analysis was completed shows that only
    four units will need additional logging treatment in 2004/2005. Therefore, impacts of these units, as
    analyzed under the wildlife section, would be less.



2                                        Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Forestwide Fuels EA Units: There are 12 burn units within the planning subunit that were analyzed in
the 2001 Forestwide Fuels Reduction and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement EA. Approximately 2,600 acres
of spring burning and 1,160 acres of fall burning may occur over the next eight years (see Cumulative
Effects Map in Appendix).
                               Table 3.1C – Forestwide Fuels EA Units

                DRAINAGE      BURN UNIT #    SUMMER BURN ACRES         FALL BURN ACRES
                 Bristow          5105                348
                                  5106                436
                                  5107                281
                                  5108                283
                                   507                271
                  Barron           517                226
                                   513                                        123
                                   515                                        282
                                   526                 91
                 Jackson           532                214
                                  5113                462
                                  5112                                       753
                 TOTAL                               2612                    1158

  Wildlife Habitat Improvement: Forage enhancement is designed for big game species such as deer,
  elk and moose, and would be achieved by a number of methods. These include harvesting or slashing to
  reduce stand basal area, possibly piling fuel when left in heavy concentrations to protect overstory trees,
  and applying prescribed fire to stimulate new growth in browse shrubs. These projects are not mitigation
  and are dependent upon funding availability.

  Weed Spraying: Road #615, the main Barron Creek road, will be spot sprayed as well as two gravel
  pits along the #615. The FDR, road #228, will be broadcast sprayed every other year (2005, 2007, ect.)
  and spot sprayed every other year (2004, 2006, ect). Spraying of the loop roads of #333 to #6236 to
  #4821 to #4866 are identified as potential RAC projects. Roads within Mcgillvary Campground are spot
  srayed annually as well as roads within Jackson and Barron Creek dispersed campsites. Weed
  spraying will be required to be done by the purchaser on roads that will be used with proposed
  activities. This activity has been analyzed and will be done in accordance with the Kootenai National
  Forest Herbicide Weed Control EA signed in 1997.

  Non-ambulatory Hunting Access: This program permits access behind gates to non-ambulatory
  hunters. Road #6236 has been used in this program for several consecutive years. Its future use will
  depend upon the following and may be discontinued:
        1) Resource concerns with public traffic during the 35 day season would close the road to futher
           hunting.
        2) Alder re-growth along roads which will not be brushed to keep open.

  Road Work: BMP work was recently conducted (2000) on road 401along the south fork of Jackson
  Creek. This road parallels the channel from the high water elevation of Lake Koocanusa to the Forest
  Deveolment Road (FDR) and for almost all of the length of the south fork. Surface and ditch structures
  were constructed to reduce erosion from identified areas. A section of the Barron/Blue road 615 was
  recently reconstructed (2002) to eliminate a chronic sediment source associated with road fill. Both of
  these projects reduced the amount of sediment input to those stream channels.

Impacts and Effects. Regulations in 40 CFR 1508.25(c) require an environmental assessment to
analyze direct, indirect and cumulative effects.
     Cumulative effects occur when separate activities combine and interact to provide impacts
        significantly beyond the effects of the individual actions. For example, sediment yield from a
        harvest site may not harm aquatic organisms, but when combined with runoff from other sites, the
        total impact increases.


                                       Chapter 3                                                            3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                              Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
       Direct effects are caused by the action and occur at the same time and place as the proposed
        action. For example, a timber harvest could directly affect big game migration during harvest
        activities.
       Indirect effects caused by the action occur later in time or removed in distance. Timber harvest
        and road construction that produce sediment, which affects fish reproduction at a later date,
        would be an example of an indirect effect. Direct, indirect and cumulative effects for each
        resource are discussed in Chapter 3.




4                                     Chapter 3
                  Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

1. VEGETATION
 Introduction
   This section of the report will describe the purpose and need for treatment of vegetation. It will depict the
   affected environment by describing the reference or historical conditions, the current or existing
   conditions and the desired conditions of the vegetation resource. They are all combined under the VRU
   descriptions. The vegetative response unit (VRU) is intended to be an aggregation of land having similar
   capabilities and potentials for management.

 Tiering to Bristow Landscape Analysis
   This report is tiered to the Bristow Landscape Analysis (USDA, 2001). That analysis described vegetation
   ecology for the Bristow, Barron and Jackson Creek drainage landscapes. This characterization of
   ecosystem elements and processes provides a systematic way for us to understand and organize
   ecosystem information, evaluate the effects of management activities, prioritize treatment needs and
   opportunities across the landscape, and identify potential treatments that are designed to sustain
   ecosystems and provide commodities and amenities.

 Planning subunit and Methodology
   The Bristow area contains 36,400 acres of National Forest System lands and 4300 acres of private land,
   contained in timber compartments 552, 553 and 554, for a total of 40,700 acres.

   This analysis identifis resource management opportunities by analyzing physical landscape
   characteristics in association with historic disturbance regimes. These landscape characteristics and
   disturbance regimes were used to identify the composition of plant species that historically occurred in the
   Bristow, Barron and Jackson area. The existing conditions were compared to historic conditions. It was
   assumed that maintaining the landscape within the range of conditions that could happen within the
   disturbance regimes, would maintain those species that evolved and adapted to those conditions. From
   that analysis, opportunities were identified to utilize management activities to restore, maintain, or
   enhance the basic ecosystem functions that evolved within those disturbance regimes. These
   opportunities were prioritized for treatment.

   The analysis boundary for vegetation effects is the Bristow Restoration planning subunit, which includes
   Bristow, Barron, and Jackson Creek drainages, as well as some unnamed drainages on the face of the
   Koocanusa Reservoir. General historical or reference conditions and the desired and existing condition
   information are described in the Bristow Landscape Analysis vegetation response units (VRU's) and
   within this vegetation section of the assessment. To describe some of the historic and desired conditions
   it is more effective to describe conditions across a larger landscape such as Northwestern Montana.
   Analysis boundaries for most indicators are as described below in table 3.2. In order to fully understand
   and address some of these indicators it is necessary to look at a variety of scales, therefore, some
   indicators will have more than one bounded area.

                         Table 3.2 – Vegetation Analysis Indicators and Boundaries

                              INDICATOR                               BOUNDARY
                              Fire Regimes                    Northwest Montana and VRU
                              Fire History                    Northwest Montana, and VRU
                      Past Management Activities        Bristow Project Area (Analysis Boundary)
                   Stand Structure (Age & Size Class)          VRU in Analysis Boundary
                              Forest Type                      VRU in Analysis Boundary
                            Noxious Weeds                          Analysis Boundary
                           Exotic Vegetation                       Analysis Boundary
                          Insect and Diseases                 Analysis Boundary, and Stand
                         Conifer Regeneration               By Stand and Habitat Type Group

   Stand treatments were assessed at the stand level and at the VRU level within the Analysis Boundary.
   Information from field surveys conducted from 1981 through 1998, as well as walk through exams
   conducted in 2001-2002 is the basis for evaluation of the stands. The Libby Ranger District stand files
   contain the survey information for individual stands in the form of field forms and summary tables
   extracted from R1Edit System. The R1Edit System is a computerized database of stand exam plots. The

                                          Chapter 3                                                                5
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  Timber Stand Management Record System (TSMRS), a computerized database, also stores general site
  and stand characteristics and information on historical activities for each stand in the project area. The
  diagnosis process for the planning subunit and all stands proposed for treatment is summarized within the
  vegetation specialist report found in the project file.

  The scope of the analysis for treatment needs was narrowed down to the stands included in the
  alternatives. Site-specific information for most stands in the project area is available in the stand file
  system at the district.

  Site-specific information on vegetation conditions in the decision area has been gathered through
  systematic inventories and follow-up field reconnaissance. This information is used to diagnose individual
  stand conditions. The diagnosis process identifies alternative management strategies to meet
  management objectives for a specific land area. Silviculturists use this process to systematically identify
  ways to manipulate existing vegetation on a given site (tree species, age and distribution, as well as
  shrubs, forbs, and grasses present on the site) that is compatible with site conditions, such as soil
  attributes, steepness of the ground, and potential to meet land management objectives. The key to the
  diagnosis process is to identify different ways to meet management objectives. Note that the diagnosis
  process addresses all types of resource objectives. It does address timber growth and yield and
  optimizing timber as appropriate, but only within the context of ecosystem health and other resource
  objectives. More information can be found in the project file.

Reference Conditions
 Reference conditions refer to past or historic conditions of an ecosystem. The purpose of describing
 reference conditions is to explain how conditions have changed over time as a result of human and
 natural disturbance. This reference condition is used later for comparing existing or current conditions and
 then describing desired conditions and identifying needs for restoration in the context of historic
 conditions. Historic Range of Variability (HRV) and Natural Range of Variability (NRV) are terms found in
 the literature that describes historic (past, reference) conditions. This information provides insights to
 important questions such as natural frequency, intensity and scale of disturbances; abundance and
 rareness of plant and animal species, the age-class and composition of trees (Kaufman et a. 1994).

  Landscape function refers to the flow of mineral nutrients, water, energy or species across the landscape,
  and how the compositional and structural elements of a landscape interact and operate. Because
  landscapes are heterogeneous, they differ in the flows of species, energy, and materials among the
  structural landscape elements (Forman and Godron, 1986), therefore it is difficult to measure landscape
  function. It is hypothesized where community composition and structure occur within a historic range of
  conditions, the function of the landscape community will also be maintained within its historic range.

  Landres et al, 1999, conclude that natural variability concepts provide a framework for improved
  understanding of ecological systems and changes occurring in these systems. They also suggested that
  specific goals, site-specific data, inferences, simulation models and value judgments must drive selection
  of the relevant time period and spatial extent used in defining natural variability (Landres et al, 1999).

  To understand the context of the proposed treatments and stand history within the area, it helps to look at
  the broader landscape, and the forces that have shaped and continue to influence its development.

Disturbance Regime
  A disturbance is an event that causes a significant change from the normal pattern in an ecological
  system such as an ecosystem or landscape. Over time, disturbances mold a landscape. They include
  natural events such as fires and pest outbreaks as well as human disturbances such as land clearing and
  timber harvest. Tree harvest, insect activity and fire are the most evident disturbance regimes in the
  Bristow landscape.

  Long-term health of ecosystems is linked to disturbance. Recurrence of disturbance and recovery within
  ecosystems is an important mechanism for energy flow, nutrient cycling, maintaining age, species,
  genetic and structural diversity and all attributes of ecosystem health (Averill et al, 1994).




  6                                       Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
A. Human Caused Disturbance
  Tree Harvesting
  Tracking harvest activities as a disturbance factor is important because harvest activities can alter
  vegetation patterns by:
     Reinitiating early successional stage
     Changing species composition
     Fragmenting forest patches
     Changing forest structure (i.e. large trees and snags)
     Creating abrupt forest edges
     Changing patch size
  The effects of historic timber harvest in the lower portion of Bristow are still evident today. As
  ponderosa pine and western larch were logged, Douglas-fir became the dominant tree species. Age
  classes also reflect historic harvest with many stands in this portion of the landscape in the 41-100 year
  age class. The removal of long-lived ponderosa pine and western larch has also decreased the
  proportion of the 151+ age class. Overall, there is a decrease in ponderosa pine and western larch
  cover types and an increase in Douglas-fir cover types. Table 3.3 displays, by decade, the acres of land
  harvested in the Bristow planning subunit by the Forest Service and PCTC.

                   Table 3.3 - Forest Service and PCTC Acres Harvested by Decade

                                  FOREST SERVICE                     PLUM CREEK TIMBER COMPANY
          YEAR           REGENERATION       INTERMEDIATE           REGENERATION     INTERMEDIATE
                         HARVEST ACRES     HARVEST ACRES           HARVEST ACRES    HARVEST ACRES
       1950-1959                9                   18                     0                    0
       1960-1969              2,106                2,435                   0                  1,203
       1970-1979               783                 2,206                  155                   0
       1980-1989              2,372                 769                   856                  272
       1990-1999              2,628                2,035                  127                  566
       2000-2009               209                  571                    0                    98
         Total                8,107                8,034                 1,138                2,139

Fire Suppression
 Fire suppression is a human caused “disturbance” since it has effectively interrupted natural processes.
 The interaction is discussed in this section as well as in the Fire and Fuels section.

  Exotic Vegetation/Weeds
  Refer to Weed Report
.
B. Natural Disturbance
  Fire Disturbance Regime
  Fires have been a major disturbance process across the landscape and numerous lightning fires have
  occurred within the Bristow area. Currently, fires are actively suppressed. We can see from historic fire
  maps and numerous fire starts throughout the Bristow landscape that fire has influenced and will
  continue to influence the landscape. (See fire/fuel section and project file for more information)

  By comparing past fires and harvest maps to existing forest conditions, we can see some relationships
  between the current distributions of age classes across the landscape. Large, stand-replacing fire in the
  late 1800‟s, 1910 and 1929 had a dramatic influence on the landscape. The areas burned in late 1800‟s
  are currently in the 100-150 year age class, which explains some of the reasons why these proportions
  are somewhat high across the landscape.

  Three different fire regimes occur on the landscape. One is a non-lethal fire that burns up accumulated
  litter and undergrowth but leaves the majority of the overstory intact. At times these non-lethal burns
  may have created small, mosaic type openings. The second is a higher intensity mix of non-lethal to
  lethal fires. These fires typically burn in a mosaic. The third fire regime is a high intensity lethal fire.
  These fires typically kill more overstory than the non-lethal and mixed lethal burns. Lethal fires burn in a
  mosaic creating larger patches of openings and leaving variable portions of the forest structure intact.
  Quite often, unburned patches occur in predictable micro-sites.

                                       Chapter 3                                                              7
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    The function of non-lethal, non-uniform burns regularly interrupted the succession of Douglas-fir and
    largely determined the stand composition and density on the dryer TE01 and TE02S VRUs (see page
    10 - Vegetation Types for descriptionof VRUs). Mixed lethal fires were generally limited to small areas
    and resulted in a combination of underburning and stand replacement. Fire suppression activity has
    disrupted this non-lethal fire regime and has moved the landscape to one dominated by overstocked
    Douglas-fir stands that are at risk for severe stand replacing fires. Functionally, portions of this
    landscape are outside of the historic range of variability. Currently, this affects the function of species
    dependent upon the late seral, fire sustained successional stages, and may affect the function of late-
    seral dependent species. See wildlife section of this report for specific species.

    The function of non-lethal underburns and mixed lethal mosaic fires interrupted the succession of
    Douglas-fir and grand fir and were an important agent in controlling density and species composition in
    VRU-TE02N and TE03. Fire suppression activity has disrupted this mixed-lethal fire regime and has
    moved the landscape to one dominated by overstocked Douglas-fir and grand fir stands that are at risk
    for severe, larger scale stand replacing fires. Functionally, this landscape is on the outside of its historic
    range of variability. Currently, this affects the function of species dependent upon the late seral, fire
    sustained successional stages, and may affect the function of late-seral dependent species.

    In VRU TE05 there is a range in fire free intervals due to the wide moisture gradient (USFS 1999). Fire
    severity ranges from minor ground fire to stand replacement type fires with a variety of lethal and mixed
    lethal type fires across the landscape. Depending on the site there may or may not have been a missed
    fire cycle. Much of VRU TE05 may be within the historic fire regime. More information can be found in
    the project file.

    Insects and Pathogens
    Most insects and pathogens (diseases) are natural and critical parts of forest processes and have
    integral functions in the forest ecosystem. It is necessary to maintain forest components supporting tree
    diseases and insect infestations primarily to support first line food sources, such as insects for predator
    populations. See wildlife section of this report. Indirectly these components also support cavity nesters
    by playing a decomposition role in nutrient recycling and providing snags. They play a role in the fire
    ecology of Northwestern Montana creating areas of dead conifers that fuel the large scale fires. We
    manage stands to be healthy and relatively insect and disease free so that raw materials, wildlife
    habitat components and other outputs can be produced or maintained. Stands are often treated when
    they reach a point where they are at risk to an infestation or infection or there is significant mortality
    already occurring within the stands. One cannot manage for the health of all organisms on every acre.
    Treating stands to reduce density to reduce insects would somehow affect organisms dependant on
    that higher stand density (Amaranthus undated).

    Listed below are some of the major insects and pathogens in the Bristow area.

1. Mountain Pine Beetle - The Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) is a bark beetle that
   generally attacks mature and over mature stands of lodgepole pine and ponderosa pine. All species
   of pine are susceptible. Outbreaks usually develop in mature to overmature forests, especially in
   lodgepole pine and severe outbreaks occur where large areas of these stand types exist. During a
   major outbreak, like those experienced on the Kootenai National Forest from about 1978 to 1988, the
   majority of the trees over 7" DBH (diameter at breast height) had a high degree of mortality.

      The stands proposed for treatment in the upper portion of the Bristow area are approaching the age
      and size where pine beetle infestation may occur and also the approximate time for another fire
      disturbance. There are currently low levels of mountain pine beetle in the area.

2. Douglas-Fir Beetle - The Douglas-fir Beetle (Dendroctonus pseudotsugae) is a bark beetle that
   generally attacks large diameter, mature and over mature Douglas-fir in dense stands. Conditions
   that contribute to Douglas-fir beetle epidemics are any that weaken the tree and make it more
   susceptible to attack such as fire, windthrow and root disease. Attacks are most successful on trees
   that are mature or overmature, largest in diameter, and found in more densely stocked stands. The
   number of acres of Douglas-fir beetle infestation increased on the Kootenai Forest and Libby District
   since about 1994; most likely as a result of the 1994 fires and windthrow and breakage during the
   winter of 1996 and 1997. The infestation appears to have peaked in 1999. Most of the mortality
8                                        Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    observed in the Bristow project area is along the Koocanusa Reservoir area.

3. Dwarf Mistletoe - Dwarf mistletoe (Archeuthobium Sp.) is present in the western larch throughout the
   area. Dwarf mistletoe is a parasite that depends on the conifer for water, carbohydrates and minerals.
   Effects on the host tree are reduced height and diameter growth, weakened trees, mortality, and
   decreased cone and seed. Mistletoe is present in some of the larger diameter western larch. Due to
   the objectives to retain structure in the larger diameter trees, management options may include
   removing only the severely infected overstory trees where western larch regeneration is an objective.
   Other management options include girdling infested trees within managed stands before the
   regeneration is three feet tall but may not include removal of the live trees.

4. Root Diseases - The most common root disease in the planning subunit is Armillaria (Armillaria
   obscura). This fungus is the most common and widely distributed root pathogen in the Northern
   Region. Most large disease centers occur in grand fir or Douglas-fir habitat types. Primary hosts in
   this area are grand fir and Douglas-fir. Armillaria can be found throughout the drainage, but it has its
   greatest occupancy on the drier Douglas-fir sites. Past harvest, removing overstory ponderosa pine
   and thick regeneration of Douglas-fir on these sites has increased this problem.

    Annosus (Heterobasidium annosum) is present in ponderosa pine stands. Historically this disease is
    present at low levels. Thinning in ponderosa pine stands exacerbates the disease and causes it to
    flourish.

    Root disease is most common on the dryer Douglas-fir habitat types, where the host trees are less
    vigorous. Root disease is present in the Bristow area primarily on the lower south aspects and along
    the Koocanusa Reservoir area.

5. White Pine Blister Rust - This disease (Cronartium ribicola) is an introduced stem decay that has
   had a severe impact on western white pine and whitebark pine throughout its range. Much of the
   western white pine in the Bristow area is infected or has been killed by this rust. Some stands that
   have been regenerated were planted with rust resistant western white pine trees. Stands that were
   typically intolerant stands with a western white pine component are now composed of tolerant spruce
   and firs.

  Wind Disturbance
  High-intensity windstorms can destroy entire timber stands. Lower intensity windstorms destroy stands
  with high percentage of defective or dead trees or those occupying particularly wind-prone sites. The
  comparative resistance of trees to blowdown is somewhat similar to the fire resistance. Certain species
  or individuals within a species are more susceptible than others. When trees are grown under open
  canopy, more wood is produced near the base of the tree, which strengthens the bole against the
  forces of wind. Trees that have grown in dense stands are particularly susceptible to wind-throw when
  surrounding trees are removed either through mortality or harvest (Waring & Schlesinger `1985). Trees
  growing in areas with shallow rooting zones are more susceptible to windthrow than trees in soils with a
  deeper rooting zone.

  Blowdown is a natural consequence after tree mortality occurs. Prevailing wind patterns, landtypes,
  species, size and elevation are variables that will affect rate of future blowdown. Blown-down trees
  eventually break down into decaying wood which is essential habitat for ectomycorrhizae.
  Ectomycorrhizae is a fungus that has a symbiotic association with the roots of higher plants, such as
  trees. The fungus acts as small root extensions, by reaching and transporting nutrients that are
  otherwise relatively immobile in the soil into the higher plant roots. Mycorrhiza commonly occurs in
  forested ecosystems.

  General windthrow susceptibility of standing green trees has a relationship to land types, species
  location and stand conditions. Factors of landtypes that contribute to windthrow hazard are firm glacial
  till substratum, calcareous substratum, shallow soils and high water tables. These factors can cause
  shallow rooting and increase the chance for windthrow. These conditions occur primarily in landtypes
  102, 105, 352 and sometimes 355. Factors of topography that increase windthrow potential are in areas
  near ridges or saddles. Stand condition factors include stands that were well stocked and primarily
  even-aged that have been opened up due to mortality or harvest, stands with shallow rooted species
                                       Chapter 3                                                              9
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   such as Engelmann spruce and grand fir and stands adjacent to openings. The effects of windthrow are
   greatest adjacent to large openings and in areas that are topographically unprotected. Stands in the
   listed landtypes may experience blow down. The project file contains a map of landtypes.

Existing and Desired Conditions
 The vegetation in the Bristow landscape is dominated by conifer forest. Major forest types include
 Douglas-fir mixed with ponderosa pine on the drier slopes and Douglas-fir mixed with true firs, western
 larch and lodgepole pine on the more moist sites. Cedar and western hemlock occur on the north aspects
 and in riparian areas; spruce occupies wet basins in higher elevations. Lodgepole pine types are common
 throughout the area and usually occur in areas that experienced severe fires. Natural meadows, lakes,
 outcrops and natural grass/shrub lands make up minor portions of the landscape.

 A. Vegetation Types
   The vegetative response unit (VRU) is intended to be an aggregation of land having similar capabilities
   and potentials for management. As mapped polygons these units have similar patterns in potential
   natural communities, soils, hydrologic function, landform, topography, lithology, climate, air quality and
   natural disturbance processes. These VRUs are the suggested basic environmental stratification for
   relating repeatable landscape patterns to predictable ecological processes (USDA, 1999). We have
   used the VRU to describe reference and current conditions and, after interpreting the differences, have
   made recommendations to restore conifer vegetation. Analysis of altered processes and disturbance
   regimes was completed.

   Six vegetative types dominate existing vegetation throughout the Bristow planning subunit. These types
   are VRU TE02, VRU TE03, VRU TE04, VRU TE05, VRU TE07 and VRU TE09. The existing and
   desired conditions of these VRUs are described below. Refer to the Bristow Landscape Assessment
   (USDA 2001) for additional information on VRU past condition, existing condition, interpretation and
   recommendations. The project file contains a map which shows VRUs in the Bristow landscape.

                               VRU TE02 (Moderately Warm and Dry)
   This vegetation response unit is characterized as moderately warm and dry and includes warm, dry
   grasslands and moderately cool and dry upland sites. The dry, lower elevation open ridges are
   composed of mixed ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir in well stocked and fairly open grown conditions.
   Moist, upland sites and draws also include western larch and lodgepole pine. The sites are well-drained
   mountain slopes and valleys and can occur on all aspects but are typically found on southerly aspects.
   Elevations range from 2,000 to 5,000 feet with most occurring below 4,200 feet. Annual precipitation
   ranges from 18-25 inches. Dominant habitat types are DF/ninebark, DF/snowberry and DF/dwarf
   huckleberry types. These sites can have low to moderate site productivity due to a general lack of soil
   moisture and the minimal presence of volcanic ash-influenced soils.

   Prior to intensive fire suppression, fire was an important agent in controlling density and species
   composition in this VRU. On the south and western aspects, low to moderate intensity fires on a
   frequency of 15 to 45 years were the predominant disturbances playing a major role in maintaining the
   seral community of conifers. These low intensity fires would burn non-uniformly consuming the litter and
   undergrowth. This usually left an open overstory of western larch, ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir
   largely intact and created small canopy gaps. Structural diversity remained high under these mosaic
   conditions. Mixed lethal, mosaic fires typically occurred at the mid elevations and on steeper slopes.
   These fires would creep along the surface and occasionally flare up, killing trees in patches and
   favoring the creation of multiple age classes. Ponderosa pine was favored in this situation due to its fire
   tolerance and ability to regenerate under these conditions.

   On the north and easterly aspects, mixed lethal, mosaic fires were the dominant fire types. Ponderosa

   pine and western larch was favored after lethal fires due to their fire tolerance and ability to regenerate
   under these conditions.

   High severity fires (on all aspects) occurred less frequently (estimated every 150-400 years), most likely
   in overstocked stands or in draws that may have contained heavy fuels due to longer fire-free intervals.

   One of the highest priorities in the Bristow area is to restore the dryland types in VRU TE02 to more
 10                                     Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                              Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  historic densities and composition within Douglas-fir beetle infested stands in TE02S, TE02N and TE03.
  To help us focus the analysis on the highest priority stands to treat we used a spatial query that
  identified dryland habitat types and existing basal area groupings. Opportunity areas for treatment were
  based on stands that had a basal area higher than desired for its stand development stage, lacked
  desired species composition or were in poor condition due to past harvest or insect and disease
  infestations. Within this group of stands, areas that were not screened out from watershed or wildlife
  mitigative reasons were available for further analysis.

  VRU TE02 accounts for 23% of the Bristow area. The majority of this VRU is located on drier south and
  western aspects with a minimal amount on the easterly aspects.

Vegetation Structure:
 Desired: Maintain a relatively uniform pattern of open, park-like conditions that reflect the historical
 pattern of frequent fires. Within the area a mix of open, park-like stands intermixed with larger openings
 and dense patches will occur. The average condition will be 30-60 large diameter overstory trees per
 acre with stand density averaging between 60 and 100 square feet of basal area (BA). Structure is
 predominately 1-2 stories and is dominated by two-age stands with multi-age being common. On the
 north and easterly slopes, maintain a mix of intolerant and mid-tolerant conifers in a mosaic reflecting
 the historic pattern of mixed lethal with periodic lethal fires.
 Existing: The most common conditions within the VRU are even-age or two-age stands dominated by
 Douglas-fir in the overstory with dense thickets of Douglas-fir in the understory. Intermixed within these
 conditions are past regeneration harvest stands with an overstory of Douglas-fir, western larch and
 ponderosa pine and an understory of seedling or sapling size ponderosa pine, western larch and
 Douglas-fir, and some open, park like conditions. Density varies from 10 BA to greater than 150 BA with
 the overall average for this VRU is 100 BA on the south and western aspects. On the north and easterly
 aspects densities vary from 10 to greater than 200 BA with the overall average for this VRU is 120-130
 BA. Structure is 1-3 stories and consists of even-age or two-age stands.

Basal Area:
 Desired: 60-100 BA with an average of 80 BA across the landscape.
 Existing: The existing BA is displayed in Table 3.4, below.

                                    Table 3.4 – Existing BA in VRU2

                                BASAL AREA (sq.ft./ac)       %BASAL AREA
                                          0 -20                  6%
                                          21-50                  9%
                                          51-80                 22%
                                         81- 120                33%
                                          + 121                 22%
                                         No Data                8%

Overstory Composition:
 Desired: Ponderosa pine, 50%; Douglas-fir/western larch, 50%
 Existing: Ponderosa pine, 13%; Douglas-fir, 73%; western larch, 5%; lodgepole pine, 7%; Grand
 fir/cedar, 2%

Age Class Proportions: The desired and existing age class distribution is displayed in
          Table 3.5.
                            Table 3.5 – AGE CLASS PROPORTION

                          AGE CLASS                DESIRED            EXISTING
                            0-40                   <15-25%                 15%
                           41-100                   15-35%                 36%
                          101-150                   10-30%                 30%
                            151+                    25-50%                  1%
                         Multi-storied              10-20%                 18%



                                       Chapter 3                                                        11
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Distribution Across the Landscape:
  Desired: Maintain a relatively uniform pattern of open, park-like conditions reflecting the historical
  pattern of frequent fires. Within the area a mix of open, park-like stands intermixed with larger openings
  and dense patches will occur.
  Existing: Distribution across the landscape is no longer dominated by open, park-like stands due to
  dense understory of Douglas-fir and historic logging. Some of the managed stands are relatively open,
  with a good shrub layer. Within stands there is less of a mosaic than historically. Much of this VRU has
  developed a dense layer of Douglas-fir understory and is no longer open. Even-aged stands are more
  common than the two age stands due to historic logging.

                     VRU TE03 (Moderately Warm and Moderately Dry)
  This vegetation response unit occupies a moderately warm and dry habitat within a transitional setting
  between the drier, warmer sites in the Douglas-fir series and the more moist sites featuring western red
  cedar and hemlock. They generally occur on the lower to mid-slope land types on benches and well-
  drained slopes. Sites contain volcanic ash over glacial till. Timber productivity is moderate to high as a
  result of loess deposits, favorable moisture regime and good growing season. Mixed species stands of
  western larch, Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, grand fir and western white pine are
  common in this VRU. The fire regimes are similar to VRU TE02, except that stand replacement fires
  were more common and resulted in larger openings due to higher stocking levels and increased fuel
  loadings.

  This VRU typically occurs in valley bottoms such as along lower Bristow Creek, Barron Creek, and
  Jackson Creek. Elevation ranges from 2,300 feet to 4,600 feet. Average precipitation is estimated at 18-
  30 inches. The dominant habitat types are GF/twinflower and DF/twinflower. Site productivity is
  moderate to high as a result of loess deposits, a favorable moisture regime and a good growing
  season. VRU3 accounts for 13% of the Bristow area.

Vegetation Structure:
 Desired: Maintain a mix of intolerant and mid-tolerant conifers in a mosaic reflecting the historic pattern
 of mixed lethal with periodic lethal fires. Communities would be either even-age or 2-age stands. With
 periodic underburning and stand replacement fires, stagnation and stress are not dominant across the
 landscape. Western white pine is a codominant on the cool, lower elevation benches.
 Existing: The most common conditions within the VRU are even-age or 2-3 age stands originating from
 harvest in the 1920's, 1950's or 1980's. Douglas-fir and grand fir in the overstory with dense thickets of
 Douglas-fir and grand fir in the understory dominate these stands. Intermixed within these conditions
 are past regeneration harvest stands with an overstory of Douglas-fir, western larch and ponderosa
 pine and an understory of seedling or sapling size ponderosa pine, western larch and Douglas-fir.
 Density varies from 10 BA to greater than 200 BA. The overall average for this VRU is 100 BA.
 Structure is 1-3 stories and generally consists of even-age or 2-age stands. Western white pine is
 almost non-existent.

Basal Area:
 Desired: 80-120 BA across the landscape.
 Existing: Existing BA is displayed in table 3.6, below.

                                      Table 3.6 - Existing BA in VRU3

                                BASAL AREA (sq.ft./ac)     %BASAL AREA
                                       0 -20                     8%
                                       21-50                     4%
                                       51-80                    17%
                                      81- 120                   31%
                                       + 121                    29%
                                      No Data                   11%

Overstory Composition:
 Desired: Predominance of ponderosa pine and western larch with lesser component of Douglas-fir,
 lodgepole pine and grand fir in the lower elevation gentle slopes and western larch, Douglas-fir and
 lodgepole pine on the steeper mid-elevation slopes. Lodgepole pine tends to regenerate following
12                                     Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  severe disturbance.
  Existing: Douglas-fir, 61%; western larch, 5%; ponderosa pine, 10%; lodgepole pine,
  21 % and remainder made up of cedar, grand fir, cottonwood.

Age Class Proportions: Depicted in table 3.7.

                                    Table 3.7 – Age Class Proportion

                           AGE CLASS                DESIRED                  EXISTING
                             0-40                   <15-25%                    16%
                            41-100                   20-40%                    31%
                           101-150                   15-35%                    39%
                             151+                    15-40%                     5%
                          Multi-storied              5-10%                      9%

Distribution Across the Landscape:
  Desired: A diverse mosaic of pure and mixed species stands reflecting the historical pattern of a mixed
  fire regime. Patch sizes would vary from small gaps to larger, even-aged patches resulting from mixed
  lethal to lethal burns. Underburned areas may have occurred as large patches of open park-like forest.
  Maintain a mix of intolerant and mid-tolerant conifers in a mosaic reflecting the historic pattern of mixed
  lethal with periodic lethal fires. Information following the 1994 fire season (KNF 1994) estimated patch
  size between 5 and 50 acres for non-lethal and mixed severity and research in Bristow Creek indicated
  a historic patch size of 20-200 acres.
  Existing: The most common conditions within the VRU are even-age or two-age stands originating
  from harvest activities since the 1920's. With the exception of the 1920's harvest, most of these patches
  are smaller than historic due to timber management. Unmanaged stands are dominated by Douglas-fir.
  Managed stands are heavy to ponderosa pine and western larch. In the unmanaged stands, understory
  density is higher than historic levels in some stand.

  VRU TE02 and TE03 will be combined for most of the analysis. Proposed treatments in VRU TE02 and
  TE03 are the same types of treatments with similar outcomes. Table 3.8 shows the existing basal area
  in VRU TE02 and TE03 combined.

                             Table 3.8 – Existing BA in VRU TE02 and TE03

                                 BASAL AREA (sq.ft./ac)        %BASAL AREA
                                           0 -20                        7%
                                           21-50                        7%
                                           51-80                       20%
                                          81- 120                      32%
                                           + 121                       25%
                                          No Data                       9%
                                               (Desired BA 60 – 100)


                            VRU TE04 (Moderately Warm and Moist)
  This VRU occupies some of the moderately warm and moist sites along lower slopes and valley
  bottoms. It is generally a transitional type that is influenced by surrounding VRUs. VRU 4 is typically
  bounded by warmer and drier sites (VRUs 2 and 3), warmer and moist sites (VRU 5) and some cooler
  sites (VRU 7). In general, VRU4 strongly resembles VRU5. It occurs on all aspects and elevation
  ranges from 2,400 feet to 5,100 feet. Average precipitation is approximately 30+ inches. Dominant
  habitat types are WH/queencup bead lily, GF/Queencup beadlily and DF/Ninebark. VRU4 accounts for
  8% of the Bristow area. For of the analysis, VRU4 has been grouped with VRU5; proposed treatments
  in VRU4 are within the moister types of VRU4 similar to VRU5. The existing and desired conditions may
  be found in the project file.

Vegetation Structure and Basal Area:
 Desired: Stands maybe even aged or a mixture of size and age classes. Total stand density will likely
 range from 80-200 square feet of basal area.
 Existing: Existing basal area is displayed in table 3.8A, below.
                                       Chapter 3                                                          13
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                              Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                                   Table 3.8A - Existing BA in VRU4

                                BASAL AREA (sq.ft./ac)       %BASAL AREA
                                        0 -20                    6%
                                        21-50                    6%
                                        51-80                    2%
                                       81- 120                  20%
                                        + 121                   48%
                                       No Data                  18%

Overstory Composition:
 Desired: Predominance of western larch, lodgepole pine, Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine with lesser
 component of Grand fir and white pine.
 Existing: 48% Douglas-fir, 30%; western larch, 2%; ponderosa pine, 11%; lodgepole pine, 5% and
 remainder made up of cedar, grand fir, white pine.

Age Class Proportions: Depicted in table 3.8B, below.

                                  Table 3.8B – Age Class Proportion

                          AGE CLASS                DESIRED             EXISTING
                             0-40                  15-25%                  30%
                            41-100                 20-40%                  18%
                           101-150                 15-35%                  41%
                             151+                  10-40%                   3%
                          Nonstocked               5-10%                    8%

Distribution Across the Landscape:
  Desired: These are generally inclusions of moist sites within drier Douglas-fir types and within the
  Cedar/Hemlock types thus patch size distribution are dictated by topography, and vary in size. A
  diverse mosaic of mixed and pure stands reflective of fire regimes. Patch sizes can vary from small
  gaps to large patches resulting from mixed lethal to lethal fires. Some drier areas may experience non-
  lethal underburns. Patch size varied up to 75 acres for mixed lethal fires to 100-200 acre average for
  lethal fires.
  Existing: With harvest activities, patches have become more uniform in size with more contrast
  between types.

                             VRU TE05 (Moderately Cool and Moist)
  This VRU occupies most of the moderately cool and moist sites along benches and stream bottoms. It
  is ecologically influenced by the moderating effects of the inland maritime climate and is typically
  bounded by the more moderate sites (VRUs 3 and 4), and some cooler sites (VRU7). Some wet site
  habitat groups (6 and 8) are occasional intrusions. This VRU is widespread and occurs on all aspects.
  Elevation ranges from 2,600 feet to 5,000 feet. Precipitation is moderate to high, ranging from 35 to 55
  inches. This VRU has the most biological productivity on the Forest. Dominant habitat types are
  western redcedar/queencup beadlilly-queencup beadlilly and hemlock/queencup beadlilly- queencup
  beadlilly. Historic patch sizes were larger and not as uniform as are existing on the landscape. VRU5
  accounts for 33% of the planning subunit and is the dominant VRU in the Bristow area.

Vegetation Structure:
 Desired: In upland areas the overstory is even-aged and the understory is uneven to even-aged.
 Stands of unsuppressed early seral species consist of 30-50 overstory trees per acres (TPA). Stand
 density may range from 150-200 sq ft. in older age classes (Steele, 1994). Some uneven-aged
 structure may result in areas with mixed lethal fire regime. Young stands contained numerous large
 snags and live trees. Riparian areas are composed of several size and age classes. Basal area will
 likely approach 200 sq ft due to site productivity.
 Existing: The most common conditions within the VRU are even-age or 2-3 age stands originating from
 harvest in the 1920's, 1950's or 1980's.


14                                     Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Basal Area:
 Desired: 150-200 sq ft; Riparian = 200+ over time with a mix depending on age.
 Existing: Existing BA is displayed in table 3.9, below.

                                     Table 3.9 – Existing BA in VRU5

                                BASAL AREA (sq.ft./ac)       %BASAL AREA
                                            0-20                10%
                                           21-50                 6%
                                           51-80                 3%
                                          81-120                11%
                                           121+                 57%
                                            Null                13%

Overstory Composition:
 Desired: On the S/W slopes mostly western larch, Douglas-fir, western white pine and lodgepole pine,
 tolerants may be a main component on N/E slopes. Lodgepole pine would dominate on areas after
 severe disturbance. Western white pine is common.
 Existing: Douglas-fir, 22%; western larch, 29%; subalpine fir, 10%; cedar, 14%; grand fir, 7%;
 lodgepole pine, 8%.

Age Class Proportions: Depicted in table 3.10.

                                    Table 3.10– Age Class Proportion

                          AGE CLASS                DESIRED             EXISTING
                              0-40                 10-20%                  25%
                             41-100                15-35%                  20%
                            101-150                10-30%                  49%
                              151+                 25-55%                   2%
                          Non-Stocked              10-20%
                          Multi-storied                                    3%

Distribution Across the Landscape:
  Desired: A diverse mosaic of pure and mixed species stands reflecting the historical pattern of
  a mixed fire regime. Patch sizes would vary from small gaps to larger, even-aged patches resulting
  from mixed lethal to lethal burns. Estimated patch size for stand replacement fires averaged 100-300
  acres; mixed lethal fires averaged 100 acres or less. Maintain a mix of intolerant and mid-tolerant
  conifers in a mosaic reflecting the historic pattern of mixed lethal with periodic lethal fires.
  Existing: The most common conditions within the VRU are even-age or two-age stands originating
  from harvest activities since the 1920's. With the exception of the 1920's harvest, most of these patches
  are smaller and more uniform than historic due to timber management. In upland areas, stands are
  heavier to tolerants in the older age classes with abrupt changes in recent harvest edges.

                                    VRU TE07 (Cool and Moist)
  This VRU occurs in the moist lower subalpine forest setting and is common in upper elevations, riparian
  and poorly drained subalpine sites, and moist frost pockets. This VRU is typically bordered by warmer
  sites (VRU5) and drier subalpine sites (VRU9) and it includes characteristics of each. Elevation ranges
  from 3,800 feet to 5,600 feet. Average precipitation is estimated to range between 35 and 55 inches.
  Vegetation productivity is moderate to high as a result of the high moisture holding capacity and nutrient
  productivity loess deposits, adequate precipitation, and a good growing season. Dominant habitat types
  are subalpine fir/menziesia, subalpine fir/Sitka alder, and subalpine fir/queencup beadlilly on the
  northerly aspects and upper elevations basins subalpine fir/twinflower and subalpine fir/Sitka alter.
  Vegetation productivity is moderate to high as result of the high moisture holding capacity and nutrient
  productivity loess deposits, adequate precipitation, and a good growing season. VRU 7 accounts for
  15% of the planning subunit. In the Bristow Landscape Assessment (2001) VRU7 is divided up between
  VRU7N (north) and VRU7S (south). Of the approximately 250 acres proposed for treatment in VRU 7,
  95% of those acres are in VRU7S, therefore the existing conditions will display the data for VRU7S.
  Information on VRU7N can be found in the Bristow Landscape Assessment (2001). In addition this
                                       Chapter 3                                                         15
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  effects analysis, VRU7 has been grouped with VRU5, proposed treatments in VRU7 on within the
  moister types of VRU7 similar to VRU5.

Vegetation Structure/ Basal Area:
 Desired: Stands are most likely evenaged from stand replacing fire. Stand density should be open
 enough to encourage tree growth and vigor. 150-200 sq ft; Riparian = 200+ over time with a mix
 depending on age.
 Existing: Existing BA is displayed in table 3.10A, below.

                                   Table 3.10A – Existing BA in VRU7

                                 BASAL AREA (sq.ft./ac)        %BASAL AREA
                                          0-20                       23%
                                         21-50                        2%
                                         51-80                        4%
                                        81-120                       11%
                                         121+                        41%
                                          Null                       19%

Overstory Composition:
 Desired: Sites dominated by fire-adapted species would have overstory such as western larch, white
 pine, and Douglas-fir. Subalpine fir, Engleman spruce and Douglas-fir makeup the understory.
 Lodgepole pine would dominate on areas after severe disturbance. Western white pine is common.
 Existing: Douglas-fir, 5%; western larch, 44%; subalpine fir, 24%; lodgepole pine, 26%.

Age Class Proportions: Depicted in table 3.10B.

                                   Table 3.10B – Age Class Proportion

                          AGE CLASS                 DESIRED                  EXISTING
                             0-40                    15-25%                     35%
                            41-100                   20-40%                     18%
                           101-150                   15-30%                     37%
                             151+                    15-45%                      1%
                         Non-Stocked                   2%

Distribution Across the Landscape:
  Desired: A mosaic of pure and mixed species stands reflecting the historical pattern of fire effects.
  Patch size and distribution dictated by topography and fire. Fire frequency and severity are influenced
  by surrounding stands. Patch sizes can range from small to very large arge.
  Existing: With harvest activities, patches have become more uniform in size (40 acres) with more
  contrast between types. Stands are heavier to tolerants in the older age classes with abrupt changes on
  boundaries with recent harvest units.

  VRU TE04, TE05 and TE07 will be combined for most of analysis. Proposed treatments in these VRUs
  are similar with similar outcomes. Table 3.11 shows the existing basal area in VRU TE04, TE05 and
  TE03 combined while table 3.12 shows the existing age class proportions of VRU TE04, TE05, and
  TE07 combined.
                           TABLE 3.11 – Existing BA in VRU TE04, TE05, TE07

                                BASAL AREA (sq.ft./ac)         %BASAL AREA
                                          0-20                      11%
                                         21-50                       6%
                                         51-80                       4%
                                        81-120                      13%
                                         121+                       51%
                   (Desired BA for older age classes: 80-200 TE04; 150-200 TE05 and 80-120 TE07)




16                                    Chapter 3
                  Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                         Table 3.12 - Age Class Proportion for VRU TEO4, 5 and 7

                                   AGE CLASS              DESIRED              EXISTING
                                     0-40                  10-25%                 27%
                                    41-100                 15-40%                 22%
                                   101-150                 10-35%                 44%
                                     151+                  10-55%                 3%
                                  Non-stocked              2-20%
                                  Multi-storied                                   2%
                          *See individual VRU Age Class Proportion for specifics by individual VRU.


                                 VRU TE09 (Cool and Moderately Dry)
    This VRU is typified by cool and moderately dry conditions. The climate is characterized by a short
    growing season with early summer frosts. Annual precipitation ranges from 35 to 70 inches, mostly in
    the form of snow. Due to generally shallow soils (low water holding capacity), slope position, and
    southwest aspect, soil moisture is often limited during late summer months. It is generally found on
    rolling ridges and upper reaches of convex mountain slopes. Elevation ranges from 4,200 feet to 6,200
    feet. Dominant habitat types are subalpine fir/beargrass and subalpine fir/grouse whortleberry. VRU 9
    accounts for only 8% of the Bristow area and typically occurs on ridge tops. Only 92 acres of natural
    fuel treatments are proposed within VRU9. The project file has existing and desired conditions.

    Based on the general opportunities outlined by VRU, the Bristow interdisciplinary team (IDT) identified
    site-specific areas where these opportunities to meet desired conditions would apply.

Existing Condition
  The majority of the existing stand conditions in the Bristow project area that met the project parameters
  were not within target stand conditions. Stocking levels were slightly high-to-well above desired conditions
  and species composition was heavy to the mid tolerant Douglas-fir.

  The detailed stand data that was used for this step can be found in stand files at the district office and in
  the diagnosis and summary tables in the project file.

Desired Conditions
 Our opportunities or strategies are aimed at restoring the disturbance regimes and processes that have
 been ignored, disrupted or suppressed. They are listed in the VRU tables and highlighted in the
 disturbance regimes section of this chapter. They include introducing fire back into the landscape and
 attempting to use fire similar to the fire regime for each VRU. Various timber harvest prescriptions would
 be implemented to reduce fuels and to work toward reestablishment of historic species composition and
 structure. Tree harvest and planting will also be used to reestablish patterns of openings and different
 structural classes historic to each VRU. Some finer scale projects would be attempting to establish white
 pine back into the system in historic locations.

  The most obvious change primarily in the drier habitat is the disruption of historic fire regimes as a result
  of effective fire suppression efforts over the last 60 + years. This has changed insect and disease
  infestation levels and successional patterns resulting in changes of vegetation structure, pattern and
  composition. Also fuel build-up has occurred in some areas resulting in more severe fire when fire does
  occur. Because of the inter-connectedness with fire, insect and disease, disturbance regimes have likely
  been altered as well. Wind patterns have been altered due to past harvesting, possibly increasing the
  incidence of windthrow in certain areas. The introduction of white pine blister rust has significantly
  reduced western white pine and whitebark pine populations.

  In a broad sense, the recommended activities include the reintroduction of fire, fuel management
  activities, road restoration, tree cutting (i.e. timber harvest, precommercial thinning) and tree planting.
  Returning fire into dense stands or stands with ladder fuels could fatally damage already stressed
  overstory trees. Restoring ponderosa pine to a more sustainable condition will generally require some
  kind of silvicultural cutting (Fiedler 1996).

  Many of the stands identified for treatment are within MA11, Big Game Winter Range/Timber. Desired
  conditions are to maintain or enhance winter big game habitat and produce a programmed yield of timber

                                         Chapter 3                                                              17
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   products. The desired conditions for stands within this MA are identified in the Kootenai National Forest
   Land and Resource Management Plan, pgs. III 44-49. For the timber resource, adequate stocking will be
   maintained to produce a programmed yield of timber within other resource objectives. Species will
   generally be seral species consistent with historic conditions. Insect and disease levels will be low. The
   area will be managed to reflect historic forest structure, density, composition, patch size and age
   consistent with disturbance regimes. Fuel loadings will be maintained at acceptable limits identified by
   fuel type, to allow for suppression forces to directly attack with manual techniques.

   According to the Kootenai Forest Plan (III-11, 49, 65, 70, 75) MAs 11, 12, 15, 16 and 17 are all suitable
   for timber harvest. In MA 5, timber harvest is permitted to maintain or enhance the view, for wildlife habitat
   improvement. The majority of the proposed vegetation treatments are slashing and burning in dryland to
   improve wildlife habitat. In MA 6, timber harvest may occur to protect the visual quality; all of the proposed
   treatments in MA 6 are designed to protect visual quality. Most of the MA 6 proposed treatments are in
   the McGillvary Campground where treatments are designed to protect the visual quality of the dry lands.
   In MA 10, timber harvest may occur for wildlife habitat maintenance or enhancement. All treatments
   proposed on MA 10 are designed to maintain or enhance wildlife habitat on the dryland type. Most of the
   proposed treatments on MA 10 are slashing and burning as well as improvement harvest. MA 24 is area
   with low productivity. Slashing and burning are proposed along a ridgeline between Hickey and Everett
   Creek for wildlife enhancement, which is permissible with the Kootenai Forest Plan.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES
 Introduction
   The analysis of direct, indirect and cumulative effects on vegetation is limited to the affected environment
   as described previously. The potential effects described below represent the result of analysis and
   professional judgment, based on research, experience and monitoring to date.

   The cumulative effects of past harvest and planting are primarily associated with regeneration harvest
   and intermediate treatment. Foreseeable actions will include pre-commercial thinning and the associated
   reduction in stocking, vegetation treatments on private land and other vegetation treatments on National
   Forest System (NFS) lands.

   The direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of all action alternatives would result mainly from the
   vegetation management activities described in the alternative descriptions. These activities consist of
   intermediate harvest, regeneration harvest, site preparation, planting, prescribed burning, and fuel
   reduction. The effects will be disclosed in terms of the findings that must be consistent with the regulatory
   framework and environmental issues and concerns relative to vegetation which include:

     1. Ecological Integrity refers to the presence and functioning of ecological components and
        processes (UCRB 1996). Elements of vegetation health include:
             The level of tree stocking or density compared to historic disturbance regimes;
             The forest composition and patterns, patch sizes compared to historic disturbance regimes;
             Changes in fire severity and frequency from historical regimes;
             The level of natural fuels compared with historic disturbance regimes;
             Acres of density reduction in moderately warm and moderately dry Douglas-fir types;
             Acres of ponderosa pine restoration;
             Total acres treated that moves towards target VRU conditions;
             Acres of western white pine restoration;
             Acres of western larch restoration.

     2. Findings Consistent With Regulatory Framework - Other impacts addressed in the vegetation
        effects analysis are findings that must be consistent with the regulatory framework and
        environmental issues and concerns relative to vegetation, which include:
             Change in insect and diseases;
             Effects of exotic vegetation and noxious weeds;
             Effect to special communities;
             Ability to regenerate conifers;
             Effects on residual trees and adjacent stands (windthrow potential and logging damage);
             Land Suitability;
             Consistency with Forest Plan direction;
   18                                     Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                NFMA Findings - Uneven-age vs. Even-age;
                Stream Management Zone Guidelines;
                Biodiversity;
                Revegetation of native and non-native plants.

    3. Forest Plan Goals And Objectives - Producing a programmed yield of timber. Issue indicators
       are:
             Proposed volume removal in thousand board feet (MBF) or million board feet (MMBF);
             Acres treated that move stands towards VRU desired conditions.

  Since this is an extremely large area and the restoration treatments proposed were looked at from a
  landscape perspective many of the effects will be summarized by VRU.

Alternative 1
  Alternative 1 is the no-action alternative which is required by NEPA. In this alternative, none of the
  proposed activities would occur. Disturbances such as wildfire would continue to be suppressed in
  accordance with Forest Plan direction. Reasonably foreseeable activities would continue to occur.

Direct and Indirect Effects
1. Ecological Integrity
  The long-term health of ecosystems is linked to disturbance. Recurrence of disturbance and recovery
  within ecosystems is an important mechanism for energy flow and nutrient cycling, and for maintaining
  age, species, and genetic and structural diversity. Ecosystems have evolved in response to disturbance-
  recovery regimes that have recurred over millions of years (Averill 1994). Under this alternative, active
  wildfire suppression efforts would continue. No proposed fuels management would occur to reduce
  density or ladder fuels. With no vegetation management other than culturing existing managed stands,
  the successional pathway of species would continue. If wildfires were successfully suppressed as they
  occur, intolerant species presently found on the sites would eventually be replaced with shade tolerant
  species. Stand density would continue to increase above historic conditions, creating unnaturally high fuel
  loadings and increase the risk of broad scale, stand replacing fire. Without fires or associated
  management activities that disturb the landscape, the extent and intensity of insects and pathogens will
  increase and result in a community that is less resilient.

  If fire suppression efforts fail and large scale fires occur, in the dry sites that historically developed under
  a dominant regime of frequent lower intensity fires, the intolerant species may not have the seed source
  to regenerate following this widespread event. The area would progress very slowly from the grass/shrub
  stage to a forested landscape.

  Without natural fire or management activities, the successional development may not be consistent with
  historical processes and may not create long term, sustainable forest systems. The area will continue to
  move outside the historic conditions for the dryland VRUs and there will be little ponderosa pine
  restoration.
    a) Consistency of Tree Stocking, Composition, Fire Severity and Landscape Patterns to
         Historic Disturbance Regimes
      In the Rocky Mountain region fire return intervals played an important role in the development and
      persistence of these ecosystems. These historic fire events in the dryland systems functioned to thin
      or maintain the ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir stands. Low intensity and mixed lethal fires regenerated
      the ponderosa pine and western larch, while reducing the shade tolerant tree and shrub species, and
      periodically reduce fuel accumulations and recycled nutrients. These dryland systems are maintained
      by disturbance. The pioneer species occurring within these systems, especially western larch and
      ponderosa pine are extremely shade intolerant species. These intolerant species require mineral soil
      for establishment and an abundance of sunlight to grow and reproduce. Without periodic
      disturbance, shade tolerant grass, forbs, shrub, and tree species replace the ponderosa pine and
      western larch, as they do not regenerate well on duff or in shade (Fischer and Bradley, 1987). In the
      presence of fire, seral species like ponderosa pine and western larch are perpetuated.

      Over the past 80 years fire has been excluded from the planning subunit, therefore these ecosystems
      are beginning to function outside their historic range of conditions. With the continuation of fire
      exclusion these systems will become even farther removed from their natural successional pathways.
                                                 Chapter 3                                                19
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

       Successional stages of plant communities perpetuated by fire cycles can be quite different from
       climax communities of shade tolerant species (Despain, 1990). Fire behavior and fire return intervals
       are largely determined by fuel accumulation. With the absence of fire in these ecosystems, less
       disturbance and more successional advancement occur. A new pattern of fire frequency and severity
       may emerge, with severe stand replacing fires occurring in a landscape dominated by more frequent
       non-lethal and mixed lethal fire regimes.

    b) Effects to Composition and Density
      With continued fire exclusion, Douglas-fir, a shade tolerant species, would increasingly inhabit sites
      where the "warm and dry" and "moderately warm and moderately dry" habitat type groups occur.
      Douglas-fir and grand fir, shade tolerant species, would inhabit sites where the "moderately warm and
      dry" and "moderately cool and dry" habitat type groups occur. Density would increase above historic
      levels increasing the live fuel, the ladder fuels and the percentage of tolerant species.

       Without fire, the amount and depth of the fuel bed (both live and dead) would continue to increase.
       Existing seedlings of tolerant species would release and eventually grow into the dominant canopy
       layer. New seedlings of tolerant species would regenerate in openings created by insect and disease
       activity, due to increased light, water and nutrients available to them (Romme, Knight and Yavitt,
       1986). Without fire, this insect and disease cycle and perpetuation of tolerant species will continue
       until a large-scale stand replacing fire occurs.

2. Findings Consistent With Regulatory Framework
    a) Changes in Insect and Disease Activity
      Disturbances caused by insect and disease occur in all terrestrial ecosystems. Insect and disease are
      important causes of small to large gaps in forests. They can affect major structural or species
      changes in the ecosystem. USDA Forest Service reports have consistently shown insect and
      pathogens caused more tree death than any other damaging agent, including fire. Insects and
      pathogens often interact with each other as well as with climate and fire. Fungi and insects are
      integral parts of the forest ecosystem. Certain levels of fungus and insects must be present for the
      ecosystem to function. Dead trees killed by insects and diseases have many values to soil nutrients,
      water holding capacity, small mammal habitat, bird habitat and habitat for a variety of fungi, insects
      and arthropods. Past management practices may have increased the frequency, intensity and extent
      of many insect and disease "outbreaks" or "unhealthy" increases in populations. Such practices
      included harvest beyond historic rotation ages for a given species, removing intolerant species and
      leaving tolerant species, not removing diseased overstory trees and suppression of fires. The
      widespread droughts of the late 1980's and early 1990's preceded and predisposed vast areas in the
      west to insect and pathogen attack (Haack and Byler 1993). Fire suppression increased stand
      densities that in turn indirectly increases insect and disease populations.

       As stands within the Bristow area progress towards more shade tolerant species, insect and disease
       occurrences are likely to increase. Grand fir, and Douglas-fir are more susceptible to root and stem
       decays than are more shade-intolerant species such as western larch and ponderosa pine. On the
       "warm and dry" sites, these shade tolerant species would likely be less resistant to insect and disease
       impacts due to moisture stress during the warm periods of the year. On a given site, the tolerant
       species are more nutrient and moisture demanding, thus the most stressed on these lower
       productivity sites and during times of drought. They are therefore predisposed to insect and disease
       attack due to stressed conditions.

       Although it is difficult to quantify the increased risk and effects of defoliators, root disease, bark
       beetles, etc., that would result in a tolerant stand on a given site, we do know from experience on the
       Boise National Forest, the Idaho Panhandle and the Blue Mountains, that we could loose vast acres
       through insect and disease and have a high probability of catastrophic fire following the insect and
       disease infestations. Significant problems in these climax species stands started within 60-80 years
       following fire suppression and harvest activities that increased the tolerant species component on
       given sites.

Cumulative Effects
  Cumulative effects in the no-action alternative are from past activities and current reoccurring
  20                                      Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   management activities such as pre-commercial thinning, planned planting, planned fuels reduction
   projects and fire suppression as identified at the beginning of this chapter. Past harvesting has created a
   mosaic of openings and density reduction in a densely forested landscape. The majority of the openings
   are in a stand initiation stage, are fully stocked and include a component of intolerant species consistent
   with VRU objectives. The most recent harvesting in this area includes mainly salvaging dead lodgepole
   resulting in regeneration harvest and salvages (where a manageable stand remains). Ponderosa pine
   restoration has also recently occurred along the Koocanusa Reservoir. These treatments include mainly
   intermediate treatments, slashing and/or burning. Stands with past thinning generally meet desired
   composition, density and forest health objectives. Effects of past management would not be increased
   with this alternative.

   Foreseeable actions include tree harvest by Plum Creek Timber Company as listed in the cumulative
   activities section of the EA. Since there are no activities proposed with this alternative there will be no
   cumulative effect in addition to all the activities proposed by PCTC and already analyzed under separate
   projects on National Forest System (NFS) lands.

 3. Forest Plan Goals and Objectives
      a) Produce a Programmed Yield of Timber
          There would be no salvage, intermediate or regeneration harvest in the no-action alternative. Up
          to 6.1 million board feet (MMBF) of timber would not be available for utilization by timber
          dependent industries or as products for the general public. There would be no receipts to the
          county from this area.

       b) Acres Treated That Move Stands towards VRU Desired Conditions
          No stands would be treated thus; no stand would be managed to trend toward VRU objectives.

Effects of All Action Alternatives
 The IDT identified areas for restoration and areas in need of treatment based on reference and current
 conditions (Bristow Landscape Analysis). Vegetation treatment was determined based upon the stand and
 site characteristics with some consideration for economics of the treatment.

 See alternative tables in Chapter 2 for timber harvest specifics. Chapter 2 also includes descriptions of the
 various harvest treatments and other activities proposed for in this project area.

 Direct and Indirect Effects of Tree Harvest and Prescribed Burning
   The direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of the action alternatives would result mainly from the
   vegetation management activities described below.

   Effects of Improvement Cut Treatments
     Basal area reduction will occur in stands within VRU TE02, TE03 that have stocking that is higher than
     would normally occur with historic fire regimes. The moderately dry Douglas-fir types will be opened up
     to an average of 60-100 BA. Ponderosa pine and western larch will be strongly favored for leave where
     they exist. There may be pockets of shelterwood openings (25-40 BA) within these units, but these
     more open areas will not exceed 25% of the unit. Treatments would occur in the 101-150 age class but
     not have an impact on age class proportions because the thinning would be done from below not
     effecting the age of the treatment area.

     These residual BA objectives are consistent with historic densities. This intermediate treatment would
     not replace the existing stands, but would improve the existing species composition and forest health by
     removing less desirable Douglas-fir and retaining the best Douglas-fir and most of the intolerant
     ponderosa pine and western larch. Suppressed and poor quality western larch and ponderosa pine
     would be removed in some areas. Stand composition will vary from 80-90% Douglas-fir in the stands
     with little ponderosa pine or western larch to 40-50% ponderosa pine and western larch in stands that
     have an adequate existing component of these intolerant species. The residual structure would vary in
     size and arrangement. Most of the stands in the Bristow area have a high composition of Douglas-fir
     with lower percentages of western larch and ponderosa pine. Most residual trees would not be evenly
     spaced, but would be variable based on existing stand structure, condition and species composition.
     Within a unit there may be small areas with as low as 20 BA and areas as high as 140 BA, but the
     overall averages will be consistent with the objectives described above. Marking an improvement cut
                                                  Chapter 3                                                21
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  using a basal area reduction approach vs. using a spacing and tree per acre guide allows more
  flexibility in working with variability within the stand to achieve desired objectives and mimic disturbance
  processes. Opening the stand density will increase the growth and vigor of the residual conifers and
  increased sunlight to the forest floor will stimulate growth of understory vegetation. Depending on
  intensity, thinning from below can most effectively alter fire behavior reducing crown bulk density,
  increasing crown base height, and changing species composition to lighter crowned and fire-adapted
  species (Graham et al. 1999).

Effects of Group Selection
  These units are within VRU TE02 on moderately dry Douglas-fir types, where an improvement harvest
  was not feasible due to lack of leave trees from previous partial harvest or threat of mortality from root
  disease. Small openings (approximately 1 to 3 acres) would be created on 15% of the harvest unit.
  These regeneration openings would retain an estimated 10-20 basal area of mid-late seral overstory to
  function as stand structure, seed, relic overstory trees, and future snags. Within these openings,
  ponderosa pine and western larch would be favored for leave where they exist. In the absence of
  ponderosa pine and western larch, the larger, most vigorous Douglas-fir would be retained.

  These openings will replace the existing stand, but will retain some large overstory trees consistent with
  the historic pattern of a mixed lethal fire. Stand structure will change from mid-late seral conifers (101-
  150 year old) to early seral conifers with a reserve mid-late seral overstory of ponderosa pine, western
  larch and Douglas-fir. The residual overstory would vary in size and arrangement. They would not be
  evenly spaced, but would be variable based on existing stand structure, condition and species
  composition. Health and vigor of some of this reserve overwood will be poor with low crown ratios and
  poor growth.

  The opening of the canopy will encourage regeneration of early seral understory vegetation and
  increased sunlight will stimulate growth and vigor of existing understory vegetation.

  While natural seeding of conifers (particularly Douglas-fir) are expected to occur in these regeneration
  openings, the timing, distribution and species is not assured due to the lack of adequate seedtree
  component of ponderosa pine and western larch. Therefore, the year following harvest and/or fuel
  treatment, ponderosa pine will be planted on the driest sites and ponderosa pine and western larch in
  the moderately dry sites.

Effects of Shelterwood Harvest
  Shelterwood harvest would occur within VRU-TE02S, within moderately warm and moderately dry
  Douglas-fir types, where an improvement harvest was not feasible due to lack of leave trees from
  previous partial harvest or root disease. These are regeneration openings that would retain 20-40 basal
  area of mid-late seral overwood to function as a seed source, shade, and stand structure; as well as
  genetic seed reservoirs, relic overstory trees, and future snags. Ponderosa pine and western larch will
  be favored for leave where they exist. Where this does not occur, the most vigorous Douglas-fir will be
  retained. These regeneration openings will replace the existing stand, but will retain the large overstory
  trees consistent with the historic pattern of mixed lethal fire. Stand structure will change from mid-late
  seral conifers (101-150 year age class) to early seral conifers with a reserve mid-late seral overstory of
  ponderosa pine, western larch and Douglas-fir. The residual overwood would vary in size and
  arrangement. They would not be evenly spaced, but would be variable based on existing stand
  structure, condition and species composition.

  The opening of the canopy will encourage regeneration of early seral understory vegetation and
  increased sunlight will stimulate growth and vigor of existing understory vegetation.

  While natural seeding of conifers (particularly Douglas-fir) is expected to occur in these regeneration
  openings, the timing, distribution and species is not assured. Therefore, the year following harvest
  and/or fuel treatment, ponderosa pine will be planted on the driest sites and ponderosa pine and
  western larch in the moderately dry sites.

Effects of Shelterwood/Improvement Harvest
  A combination of shelterwood and improvement harvest would occur within VRU-TE02S, within
  moderately warm and moderately dry Douglas-fir types. The improvement harvest will be implemented
22                                     Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  where there are adequate leave trees to meet 60-100 BA and lack of active root disease. The
  remaining acres would be treated with a shelterwood harvest. Shelterwood openings would average
  40% of the acres, but not more than 50% of the acres.

Effects of Seedtree Harvest
  Seedtree harvest proposed in alternative 2 and 3 would result in the initiation of early successional
  stages that would be heavy to intolerant conifer regeneration. Treatment would occur the 101-150 age
  class. All prescriptions for treatment require the retention of overstory trees (5-15 trees/acre) to function
  as future snag and coarse woody debris recruitment, nesting and resting habitat for a variety of species,
  potential seed source and visual values. The majority of the area would initially be occupied by grasses,
  shrubs, and tree seedlings, primarily of seral species that are to be planted (western white pine and
  western larch). Some natural regeneration, primarily western larch, cedar and lodgepole is expected.
  The seral intolerant species require openings to provide sun to establish and maintain healthy
  seedlings. These stands would progress over time through the seral stages described in the affected
  environment.

  The prescribed silvicultural regeneration treatments are designed to emulate disturbances. However,
  these treatments cannot fully replicate natural processes. The removal of tree boles and the use of
  mechanical equipment on the landscape is not intended to be a "natural" process.

  The modified proposed action (Alternative 2) was designed to have larger patch sizes in an effort to
  emulate historic disturbance patterns. Placement of larger patch sizes were determined using the
  Bristow Connectivity Report (USDA 2001, Appendix B). In particular, Map 8 Bristow Connectivity
  Projected Forested Matrix with Fragmentation Area, was used to determine placement of larger patch
  sizes. On the moist forest types, harvest treatment locations were chosen by blocking up areas close to
  past harvests. The intent was to maintain interior forest in other areas and reduce fragmentation.
  Wildlife travel corridors, logging feasibility, past harvest and terrain elements limit the size and shape of
  the patches. Alternative 3 was designed to harvest priority areas with no opening larger than forty
  acres.

Effects of Seedtree/Shelterwood/Improvement Harvest
  A combination of seedtree and shelterwood harvest would occur within VRU-TE02S and
  TE04. There will be a mosaic of leave trees with approximately half of the area as a seedtree and the
  other half as a shelterwood. A shelterwood would be implemented where there are adequate leave
  trees and the remaining area would be treated with a seedtree harvest. The area proposed as a
  seedtree harvest in this unit will have very few trees removed because it is currently in a seedtree
  condition due to past treatment and windthrow. In the seedtree area this treatment proposes to remove
  some small diameter Douglas-fir to facilitate underburning site preparation and reforestation of
  ponderosa pine and western larch. Treatment would occur the 101-150 age class.

Effects of Clearcut with Reserves
  Clearcut with reserves harvest proposed in Alternative 2 would result in the initiation of early
  successional stages that would be heavy to intolerant conifer regeneration. Treatment would occur in
  the 101-150 age class. All prescriptions for treatment require the retention of overstory trees to function
  as future snag and coarse woody debris recruitment, nesting and resting habitat for a variety of species,
  potential seed source and visual values. The reserve trees may be in clumps or islands, stringers and
  scattered throughout. The intent is to design the opening to mimic a mixed lethal and lethal fire pattern.
  These residual trees will be vulnerable to damage from logging operations and burning following
  harvest. The majority of the area would initially be occupied by grasses, shrubs, and tree seedlings,
  primarily of seral species that were planted (western white pine and western larch). Some natural
  regeneration, primarily western larch and lodgepole is expected. These stands would progress over
  time through the seral stages described in the affected environment.

  The prescribed silvicultural regeneration treatments are designed to emulate disturbances. However,
  these treatments cannot fully replicate natural processes. The removal of tree boles and the use of
  mechanical equipment on the landscape is not intended to be a "natural" process. The use of fire
  following tree harvest is another attempt to emulate that natural disturbance processes and to aid in
  regenerating the site to native conifers, shrubs and forbs.

                                       Chapter 3                                                            23
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  The modified proposed action (Alternative 2) was designed to have larger patch sizes in an effort to
  emulate historic disturbance patterns. Placement of larger patch sizes were determined using the
  Bristow Connectivity Report (USDA 2001, Appendix B). In particular, Map 8 Bristow Connectivity
  Projected Forested Matrix with Fragmentation Area, was used to determine placement of larger patch
  sizes. On the moist forest types, harvest treatment locations were chosen by blocking up areas close to
  past harvests. The intent was to maintain interior forest in other areas and reduce fragmentation.
  Wildlife travel corridors, logging feasibility, past harvest and terrain elements limit the size and shape of
  the patches. Alternative 3 was designed to harvest priority areas with no opening larger than forty
  acres.

Effects of Seedtree with Reserves/Clearcut with Reserves
  A combination of seedtree with reserves and a clearcut with reserves would occur within VRU TE05,
  within warm and moist types. The seedtree harvest will be implemented where there are seed trees
  available for leave. The remaining acres would be treated with a clearcut with reserves harvest. (See
  effects of Seedtree with Reserves and Clearcut with Reserves for a combination of effects.)

Effects of Salvage Harvest
  Salvage is identified in a past regeneration harvest where many of the smaller diameter trees have
  blown over. There would be no change in stand structure since the trees are currently blown down.
  Adequate downed woody debris would remain on site (12-15 tons/acre). Residual overstory (5-15
  trees/acre) would be left to provide structure, future down woody material and wildlife habitat. Tops
  would be yarded for fuel abatement and there would be no additional post harvest treatments or
  prescribed fire.

Effects of Seedtree Final Cut with Reserves
  Overstory western larch trees with severe mistletoe would be removed only where they overtop western
  larch regeneration. Removing a small portion of the most severely infected western larch overstory
  trees will have little impact to the overall structure of these already existing harvest units. Residual
  overstory (5-15 trees/acre) would be left to provide structure, future down woody material and wildlife
  habitat.

Effects of Prescribed Fire
  Prescribed fire either following harvest or without harvest would reduce natural fuels, prepare the site
  for regeneration of intolerant conifers, interrupt the succession of Douglas-fir and help the ponderosa
  pine and western larch maintain or establish dominance on these sites.
  Prescribed fire will open the canopy through mortality in some of the Douglas-fir and prepare the site to
  encourage regeneration of early seral understory vegetation. The increased sunlight, combined with the
  consumption of older plant material will move the understory shrubs and grasses back to their early
  seral stages and increase growth and vigor and forage amount and palatability. Species that are
  maintained by fire disturbance such as the red stem ceanothus and willow species will again become
  common across this landscape.

  Prescribed fire could enhance the spread of noxious weeds on the driest sites due to the set back in
  native vegetation and the aggressive nature of these weeds. Refer to the weed section for more
  information.

  In areas not planned for treatment and the areas treated but not planned for prescribed fire, fire
  suppression activities will continue. Composition of the vegetation in these areas, including forbs,
  shrubs and trees, will continue to shift toward a more tolerant, climax mix. This functionally disrupts
  both the vegetation and animal species that have evolved to depend upon landscape components
  historically present within the historic range of variability. In these areas, natural events such as wind
  and pests will continue to set the stage for stand replacing fire.

Effects of Pronone Application
  A spot application of the granular herbicide Pronone may be applied for a 2-3 foot radius around
  planted ponderosa pine seedlings, to reduce the competition of native grasses, and increase the
  survival and initial growth of these seedlings. Approximately 200 trees/acre will be planted. The
  Pronone will be applied for a 2-3 radius which equates to approximately 600 sq.ft/acre or 14%
  (maximum) of an acre being effected by the Pronone. In Alternative 2, 121 acres would receive
24                                     Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
     Pronone application; 17 acres in Alternative 3 and 34 acres in Alternative 4. By increasing the initial
     survival and growth of these seedlings, the risk of big game browsing is lowered and the time with
     netting for protection is reduced. Flexible netting may be applied to ponderosa pine seedlings on sites
     that are high risk for big game browsing.

     The active ingredient in Pronone is hexazinone. Hexazinone will kill the majority of the grass species
     within the 2-3 foot application area for one to two years. It may remain in the soil at low concentrations
     for up to three years after application, but the primary effect will be in the first two years. As the mulch
     will remain in place within this spot, there is low potential for erosion or invasion of non-native plants.
     This is a granular herbicide that is hand applied, and there is little potential for the chemical to move
     beyond the application site. It is practically non-toxic to birds and slightly toxic to mammals. It does not
     accumulate in the tissues of exposed animals. Studies in forests treated with Pronone showed no acute
     or chronic health effects on rodent species. It has been identified as potentially hazardous to
     endangered plant species (USDA - Herbicide Information Profile 1992). Sensitive plant surveys will be
     conducted on all potential units where Pronone may be applied and if found, Pronone use would not
     occur within plant populations or suitable habitat as determined by a qualified botanist. See Proposed,
     Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Plants section of this report for more specifics on effects to
     native vegetation.

   Effects of Precommercial Thinning
     This type of thinning occurs when stands are typically 15-20 years old. The purpose of the treatment is
     to improve species composition and growth and vigor on the residual “crop” trees. There is also an
     opportunity to remove trees with poor form and insect and pathogen problems or to select for desirable
     trees with resistance to insects and pathogens. None of this type of treatment is proposed in Lynx
     habitat on USFS lands.

     The thinning will have a positive effect on species composition, stand density and tree condition since it
     is based on the intent described above.

Effects of Activity in Alternative 2 Only
   Effects of Clearcut with Reserves
     A clearcut harvest, unit # 63, is designed to rejuvenate aspen. Aspen is currently dying out on this site
     due to lack of sunlight. The unit will be harvested, underburned and naturally regenerated with aspen.
     This is proposed in only Alternative 2.

Effects of Activity in Alternative 2 and 3 Only
   Effects of Seedtree with Reserves/Clearcut with Reserves
     In Alternatives 2 and 3 treatment of undesignated replacement old growth is proposed (21 acres). The
     purpose of the treating this area is to restore the western white pine that is heavily infected with white
     pine blister rust and to restore the portions of the stand that are unraveling due to dead lodgepole pine
     and dead subalpine fir falling down and bringing down live trees. Portions of the undesignated
     replacement old growth stand are in the 150+ age class.

 1. Ecological Integrity
   a) The Level of Forest Composition, Stocking, Density and Patterns Compared to Historic
     Regimes
     VRUs TE02 and TE03
     If ecological systems within a forested environment are operating within a range of historic variability, it
     is assumed to be a healthy, sustainable system (USDA, Forest Service, Region 1, Sustaining
     Ecological Systems 1991). Fire return intervals have lengthened due to fire suppression efforts over the
     past 80 years. The dryland types (VRU TE02 and TE03) within Bristow are probably not operating
     within the range of historic conditions for this forested ecological system. Ecosystem sustainability
     should be promoted by actions that decrease tree density and Douglas-fir component, and that disturb
     the existing ground vegetation, allowing a more diverse occupancy of the site by seral grasses, forbs,
     shrubs, and conifer species. Treatments that maintain the higher natural fuel loading of Douglas-fir will
     not develop within the natural successional pathway, and will not simulate historic conditions.

     These action alternatives would improve ecological integrity by reducing tree density and restoring
     ponderosa pine and western larch through tree harvest, prescribed fire and planting. In addition,
                                               Chapter 3                                                      25
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 composition and stocking can be improved through prescribed fire outside the harvest units on
 approximately 1,526 acres through natural fuel treatments.

 Restoring historic patterns are more difficult to measure. The historic condition was a diverse mix of
 open, park-like stands intermixed with larger openings and dense patches. The Bristow landscape has
 been altered by harvest in the 1920's and fire exclusion since 1920. We can assume the restoration of
 density and species composition across the landscape will be restoring natural patterns of open park-
 like stands.

 Landscape function refers to the flow of mineral nutrients, water, energy or species across the
 landscape, and how the compositional and structural elements of a landscape interact and operate.
 These are difficult to quantify and it is hypothesized where community composition and structure occur
 within a historic range of conditions, the function of the landscape community will also be maintained
 within its historic range (USDA 1999). The action alternatives were designed within historic
 composition, structure and pattern of the historic conditions. The current condition of the landscape may
 still be within its historic range, however, possibly on the very edge of it. The larger patch sizes of some
 of the treatment sites in Alternative 2 indicate that it may be closer to an historic pattern as described
 above (USDA 1999).

 The long-term health of this ecosystem is linked to fire disturbance. Recurrence of disturbance and
 recovery is an important mechanism for energy flow, nutrient cycling, and maintaining age, species, and
 genetic and structural diversity. The Bristow area ecosystem has evolved in response to disturbance-
 recovery fire regimes that have recurred over thousands of years. The dominant regime of the dryland
 VRUs is frequent lower intensity fires with longer interval mixed lethal and lethal fire.

 Prescribed fire either following harvest or without harvest would reduce natural fuels, prepare the site
 for regeneration of intolerant conifers, interrupt the succession of Douglas-fir and help the ponderosa
 pine and western larch maintain or establish dominance on these sites.

 Prescribed fire will open the canopy through mortality in some of the Douglas-fir and prepare the site to
 encourage regeneration of early seral understory vegetation. The increased sunlight, combined with the
 consumption of older plant material will move the understory shrubs and grasses back to their early
 seral stages and increase growth and vigor and forage amount and palatability. Species that are
 maintained by fire disturbance such as the red stem ceanothus and willow species will again become
 common across this landscape.

                  TABLE 3.13 - Summary of Harvest Treatments in VRU TE02 and TE03

       REGEN TREATMENT      ALT.2      ALT.3      ALT.4     INTERMEDIATE TREATMENT           ALT.2       ALT.3     ALT.4
     (EARLY SUCCESSIONAL)   (acres)    (acres)    (acres)      (DENSITY REDUCTION)           (acres)     (acres)   (acres)
           Clearcut           0          0             0              Improvement Cut             554     473       443
          Seed Tree           0          0             0
         Shelterwood          49         30           34
        Group Selection       60         60            5
            Total            109         90           39                   Total                  554     473       443

                 TABLE 3.14 - Summary of Fire/Fuel Treatments in VRU TE02 and TE03

          FIRE/FUEL         ALT. 2      PERCENTAGE          ALT. 3       PERCENTAGE     ALT. 4          PERCENTAGE
         TREATMENTS         (acres)       OF VRU            (acres)        OF VRU       (acres)           OF VRU
           Slash & UB        631                 4           631                4        631                 4
        Slash, PCT & UB      758                 5           758                5        758                 5
           Uunderburn         46                 <1           46               <1         46                <1
        Burn with Harvest    403                 5           473                3        482                 3
              Total         2,138                15         1,903              13       1,917               13
                                      PCT – Precommercial Thin        UB - Underburn




26                                       Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA


                             TABLE 3.15 - Change in BA in VRU TE02 and TE03
                                      (% in BA class post-treatment)

    BASAL AREA              ALT. 2 (%)                 ALT. 3 (%)                  ALT.4 (%)
    CLASSES -FT2     EXISTING    POST TREAT.    EXISTING    POST TREAT.     EXISTING   POST TREAT.
         0-20           +1            8              0             7            0            7
        21-50            0            7              0             7            0            7
        51-80           +2            22            +2            22)          +2            22
       81-120           +2            34            +2            34           +2            34
        121+            -5            20            -4            21           -4            21
       No Data           0            9              0             9            0            9

                       TABLE 3.16 - Change in Age Class in VRU TE02 and TE03
                                   (% in Age class after treatment)

    AGE CLASSES             ALT. 2 (%)                 ALT. 3 (%)                  ALT.4 (%)
       (years)       EXISTING    POST TREAT.    EXISTING    POST TREAT.     EXISTING   POST TREAT.
         0-40           +1            16            +1            16            0            15
        41-100           0            34             0            34            0            34
       101-150          -1            32            -1            32            0            33
         150+            0            3              0             3            0            3
         Multi           0            15             0            15            0            15

VRU TE04, TE05, and TE07
Where regeneration harvest occurs, the forest type would shift to more of a mix of seral species of
western larch, lodgepole pine, western white pine and Douglas-fir with some Engelmann spruce and
subalpine fir. This would not be a drastic change in the composition currently occurring on the site,
except that the percentage of seral species may be slightly higher and there would be less lodgepole
pine and more western larch and white pine planted on the sites. Western white pine (WP) that is blister
rust resistant would be planted in several of the treatment units to re-establish this native conifer
species. White pine blister rust has caused severe decline in the presence of this species. Since WP is
a seral species it requires openings to ensure adequate sunlight to grow and prosper. Regeneration
cutting is the suitable silvicultural tool used to establish white pine.

On the moist forest types, harvest treatment locations were chosen by blocking up areas close to past
harvests. The intent was to maintain interior forest in other areas and reduce fragmentation. The larger
treatment sizes of units 16, 29, and 30 were designed to reduce fragmentation by tying several small
units together through a mosaic of treatments (leaving residual clumps) between the past harvests. This
is an attempt to represent a lethal or stand replacing fire event. Based on existing conditions these
stands all originated from large fire event, therefore the treatments are greater than 40 acres.

Landscape function refers to the flow of mineral nutrients, water, energy or species across the
landscape, and how the compositional and structural elements of a landscape interact and operate.
These are difficult to quantify and it is hypothesized where community composition and structure occur
within a historic range of conditions, the function of the landscape community will also be maintained
within its historic range. The action alternatives were designed within historic composition, structure and
pattern of the historic conditions. The current condition of the landscape may still be within its historic
range, but may be approaching the upper limit of its historic range (USDA 1999).

There are alternative successional pathways for these sites in the absence of fire. Since lodgepole is a
shorter-lived species than cedar, Douglas-fir and sometimes subalpine fir may succeed to tolerant
stands. Underburns are unlikely in these moist types.




                                       Chapter 3                                                        27
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                       Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
               TABLE 3.17 - Summary of Harvest Treatments in VRU TE04, TE05, and TE07
                                     (VRU 4, 5 & 7 combined)

      REGEN TREATMENT               ALT.2         ALT.3       ALT.4       INTERMEDIATE TREATMENT                     ALT.2         ALT.3      ALT.4
    (EARLY SUCCESSIONAL)            (acres)       (acres)     (acres)        (DENSITY REDUCTION)                     (acres)       (acres)    (acres)
      Clearcut w/Reserves            108             87          25                     Salvage                          48          48          0
           Seed Tree                 40              33          16
       CC/ST w/Reserves              728            429         195
      Seedtree/Shelterwood           21              21          0
       Seedtree Final cut            11              0           0
              Total                  908            570         236                     Total                            48          48          0
                                                            CC/ST – clearcut/seedtree

                TABLE 3.18 - Summary of Fire/Fuel Treatments in VRU TE04, TE05, & TE07
                                     (VRU 4, 5 & 7 combined)

                                           ALT. 2         PERCENTAGE          ALT. 3     PERCENTAGE               ALT.4        PERCENTAGE
       FIRE/FUEL TREATMENTS
                                           (acres)          OF VRU            (acres)      OF VRU                 (acres)        OF VRU
          Slashing &Handpiling                 45               <1                 45            <1                 45                 <1
         Underburn with Harvest               881                4                570             2                236                 <1
                  Total                       926                4                615             2                281                 <1

                              TABLE 3.19 - Change in BA in VRU TE04, TE05, and TE07
                                           (% in BA class after treatment)

       BASAL AREA               ALT. 2 (%)                                   ALT. 3 (%)                          ALT.4 (%)
       CLASSES -FT2      EXISTING    POST TREAT.                      EXISTING    POST TREAT.             EXISTING   POST TREAT.
            0-20               +4                    15                  +3                14                   +1                    12
           21-50                0                    6                    0                 6                    0                    6
           51-80                0                    4                    0                 4                    0                    4
          81-120                0                    13                   0                13                    0                    13
           121+                -4                    47                  -3                48                   -1                    50
          No Data                                    15                                    15                                         15

                       TABLE 3.20 - Change in Age Class in VRU TE04, TE05, and TE07
                                       (% in Age class after treatment)

                                            ALT.2                              ALT. 3                         ALT. 4
                AGE CLASSES
                                      % Change    Total %                % Change    Total %            % Change    Total %
                     0-40                  +4                 31              +3            30               +1                28
                    41-100                 -1                 21              -1            21               0                 22
                    101-150                -3                 41              -2            42               -1                43
                     150+                   0                 2               0                              0                 2
                     muti                                     3               0             3                0                 3
                      null                    0               2               0             2                0                 2

      Table 3.21 - Summary of Acres by Treatment to Restore Historic Density and Composition
                                                                     (All VRUs)

                                                                                                      ALT. 2             ALT.3               ALT.4
               RESTORING COMPOSITION & DENSITY UTILIZING:
                                                                                                      (acres)            (acres)             (acres)
                               Improvement Cutting                                                     554                  473               443
                            Shelterwood with Reserves                                                   49                   30                34
                                 Group Selection                                                        60                   60                5
             Restoring PP, WL and WWP Composition Through Planting                                     992                  685               283
     Restoring Composition and Density Through Prescribed Fire within Harvest
                                                                                                      1,584              1,157                726
                                      Units
     Restoring Composition and Density Through Prescribed Fire Outside Harvest
                                                                                                      1,480              1,480               1,480
                                      Units

2. Findings Consistent With Regulatory Framework
 a) Changes in Insect and Disease Activity
    Forests with too many trees can result in serious declines in health and consequent insect and disease
 28                                            Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    epidemics. This crowding leads to intense competition for limited light, water, and nutrients. Trees
    become more stressed and hence more sensitive to higher than normal levels of insects and
    pathogens. Stands proposed for density reduction or regeneration will decrease in susceptibility to
    Douglas-fir beetle due to favoring the intolerant species and changing the microenvironment through
    this opening. If trees are removed prior to the next beetle flight, there is the potential to reduce the
    amount of emerging Douglas-fir beetles and decrease the amount of host that are affected by the
    beetles.

    Partial harvest in Douglas-fir stands may increase the susceptibility to root disease. However there is
    currently little evidence of root disease in the stands proposed for treatment, therefore the likelihood of
    increasing root disease activity is low. The goal is to establish more ponderosa pine and western larch
    which are more resistance to root diseases.

    Although it is difficult to quantify the increased risk and effects of defoliators, root disease, bark beetles,
    etc., that would result from a tolerant stand on a given site, we do know from experience on the Boise
    National Forest, the Idaho Panhandle and the Blue Mountains, that we could loose vast acres through
    insect and disease and have a high probability of large scale fire following the insect and disease
    infestations. Problems in these climax species stands started within 60-80 years following fire
    suppression and harvest activities that increased the tolerant species component on given sites.

    All action alternatives (2, 3 and 4) were designed to improve the composition of rust resistant western
    white pine by creating regeneration openings and planting of rust resistant seedlings. Units 1, 2, 3, 3a,
    5, 8, 16, 29, 30, 40, 43, 44, 44B, 45, 46, 47, 48, and 49 are planned for planting of rust resistant
    western white pine.

  d) Ability to Regenerate within 5 Years
    Based upon experience with similar sites as those treated in this proposal, the harvest practices and
    related reforestation measures prescribed for units in this proposal will result in adequate regeneration
    within five years after logging.

    Specific levels of stocking will be stated in the detailed prescription for each cutting unit. Due to the
    limited moisture on dry sites (units 15, 21, 23, 28 and 37) and due to moisture stress and big game
    browsing on this winter range, use of a herbicide (Pronone) will be prescribed for most planted
    ponderosa pine. The use and effects of Pronone is discussed previously in this section.

    Measures to ensure timely regeneration to desired species include:
      Planting, herbicide treatment and netting on units 15, 21, 23, 28, and 37 where ponderosa pine is
        planted within high use big game winter range.
      Planning and monitoring for adequate site preparation on all units; and planting on units within
        VRU4.


  f) Effects on Residual Trees and Adjacent Stands
     Windthrow: All proposed treatments will open up the existing stand and may increase the risk of
     windthrow because the winds will move down closer to the surface. Windthrow is not expected to
     exceed 10-15% of the stand unless there is an unusual wind event.

3. Forest Plan Goals and Objectives
  a) Effects of the Alternative on Producing a Programmed Yield of Timber
    Alternative 2 would harvest and utilize approximately 6.1 million board feet of green and dead timber.
    Alternative 3 would harvest 4.6 million board feet and Alternative 4 would harvest 2.3 million board feet
    of green and dead timber. In addition to the amount of volume harvested, the ability to sustain a
    programmed yield of timber is dependent on good forest management practices. All harvest of green
    trees is designed to move stands toward VRU target conditions.

  b) Consistency with Forest Plan Direction
    According to the Kootenai Forest Plan (III-11, 49, 65, 70, 75) MAs 11,12,15,16 and 17 are all suitable
    for timber harvest and natural fuel treatment. In MA 5, timber harvest is permitted to maintain or
    enhance the view, for wildlife habitat improvement. The proposed vegetation treatments are slashing
                                          Chapter 3                                                             29
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    and burning in dryland to improve wildlife habitat, this treatment will not reduce the viewing quality. See
    the scenic resource section in this document. In MA 6, timber harvest may occur to protect the visual
    quality; all of the proposed treatments in MA 6 are designed to protect visual quality. Most of the MA 6
    proposed treatments are in the McGillvary Campground where treatments are designed to protect the
    visual quality of the dry lands. In MA 10, timber harvest may occur for wildlife habitat maintenance or
    enhancement. All treatments proposed on MA 10 are designed to maintain or enhance wildlife habitat
    on the dryland type. Most of the proposed treatments on MA 10 are slashing and burning as well as
    improvement harvest. MA 24 includes areas with low productivity. Slashing and burning are proposed
    along a ridgeline between Hickey and Everett Creek for wildlife enhancement, which is permissible with
    the Kootenai Forest Plan.

Cumulative Effects for All Action Alternatives
 The environmental consequences of the effects of the proposed action and alternatives in conjunction
 with the additive, countervailing or synergistic effects of past and reasonably foreseeable actions are
 termed the cumulative effects.

  The affected environment section of this report described the past harvesting on Forest Service lands.
  The project file also contains information on past harvesting on private timberlands now owned by Plum
  Creek Timber Company (PCTC).

  Table 3.23 summarizes the foreseeable harvest (acres) on PCTC and NFS lands in the Bristow project
  area by VRUs. Table 3.24 summarizes the total foreseeable harvest on PCTC and NFS lands and the
  percent of the area effected. These foreseeable activities were considered in this cumulative effects
  analysis.
              Table 3.23 - Reasonably Foreseeable Harvest/Burning on PCTC and NFS Lands

                                                         PCTC LAND (acres)           NFS LAND (acres)
                              TREATMENT
                                                         VRU 2/3 VRU4/5            VRU 2/3   VRU4/5
                           Commercial Thin                 828
                                Clearcut                              94             13
                               Seed Tree                                                       106
                             Shelterwood                              98                        12
                                Salvage                    107                                  58
                           Seedtree Removal                           38
                          *Prescribed Burning                                       2,612      1,158
                          *Natural Fuels Reduction and Wildlife Enhancement Burning Forestwide EA
                           TABLE 3.24 - Total Reasonably Foreseeable Harvesting

       REGEN TREATMENT                             TOTAL             *INTERMEDIATE                                      TOTAL
                                USFS      PCTC                                                 USFS         PCTC
            (EARLY                                  % OF               TREATMENT                                         % OF
                               (acres)   (acres)                                              (acres)      (acres)
         SUCCESSIONAL)                             AREA           (DENSITY REDUCTION)                                   AREA
              Total             131        192        <1                   Total                58          930           2
                         *On PCTC lands intermediate treatments include: commercial thin and salvage
                                    (some of these treatment may result in regeneration)

  Within the warm, dry VRU TE02 and TE03 types there would be an increased reduction of basal area
  through PCTC harvest that is consistent with the desired condition of this VRU.

  The foreseeable regeneration harvest on USFS lands would increase the component of ponderosa pine
  through planting but does not treat enough acres to effect density.

                 Table 3.25- Reasonably Foreseeable Harvesting in VRU TE02 andTE03

             REGEN TREATMENT
                                          USFS      PCTC         INTERMEDIATE TREATMENT            USFS         PCTC
                  (EARLY
                                         (acres)   (acres)          (DENSITY REDUCTION)           (acres)      (acres)
               SUCCESSIONAL)
                      Total                13        0                      Total                      0          935




  30                                      Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                 Table 3.26 - Change in BA of Action Alternative + Foreseeable Actions
                                         in VRU TE02 and TE03

                                 ALT.2 plus                    ALT. 3 plus
                                                                                          ALT.4 plus
           BASAL AREA         *FORESEEABLE                  *FORESEEABLE
                                                                                    *FORESEEABLE ACTIONS
           CLASS - FT2           ACTIONS                       ACTIONS
                           % Change     Total %           % Change      Total %     % Change           Total %
              0-20           0            8                     0          8          0                   8
             21-50           0            7                     0          7          0                   7
             51-80           +6           28                   +6         28          +6                  28
             81-120          0            34                    0         34          0                   34
              +121           -6           14                   -6         14          -6                  14
              Null           0            9                     0          9          0                   9
                                                          *Estimated

  All reasonably foreseeable harvesting in VRU 2 and 3 are intermediate treatments. These treatments will
  not effect age class in these VRUs because only 30-40% of the trees are removed in this treatment. The
  treatments will be thinning from below (below the older trees) therefore will not effect age class.

  There are 118 acres on USFS lands and 192 acres on PCTC lands (table 3.27) proposed for
  regeneration harvest as proposed and foreseeable harvest activities in VRU TE04 and TE05. Fifty eight
  acres of salvage harvest is proposed on PCTC lands in VRU TE04 and TE05. There is a 1% change in
  age classes of the reasonably foreseeable harvesting as described table 3.29. Changes in stand density
  are described in table 3.28.

                  Table 3.27 - Reasonably Foreseeable Harvesting in VRU TE04, TE05

            REGEN TREATMENT            USFS           PCTC      INTERMEDIATE TREATMENT           USFS       PCTC
          (EARLY SUCCESSIONAL)        (acres)        (acres)       (DENSITY REDUCTION)          (acres)    (acres)
                   Total               118            192                 Total                   58            0

                 Table 3.28- Change in BA of Action Alternative + Foreseeable Actions
                                     in VRU TE 04, TE05 and TE07

                                 ALT.2 plus                       ALT. 3 plus               ALT.4 plus
          BASAL AREA       FORESEEABLE ACTIONS              FORESEEABLE ACTIONS       FORESEEABLE ACTIONS
          CLASSE-FT2
                            % Change      Total %           % Change      Total %     % Change      Total %
              0-20            +1                16             +1             15           +2              10
             21-50             0                 6              0             6            0                6
             51-80             0                 4              0             4            0                4
             81-120            0                13              0             13           0               13
              +121            -1                48             -1             47           -2              48
              Null             0                15              0             15           0               15
                                                All values are estimations.

             Table 3.29- Change in Age Class of Action Alternative + Foreseeable Actions
                                     in VRU TE 04, TE05 & TE07

                                 ALT.2 plus                       ALT. 3 plus               ALT.4 plus
          BASAL AREA       FORESEEABLE ACTIONS              FORESEEABLE ACTIONS      FORESEEABLE ACTIONS
          CLASSE-FT2
                            % Change      Total %           % Change      Total %    % Change      Total %
              0-40            +1                32             +1             31           +               29
             41-100            0                21              0             21           0               22
            101-150           -1                40             -1             41           -1              42
              150+             0                 2              0             2            0               2
              Multi            0                 3              0             3            0               3
              Null             0                 2              0             2            0               2

Cumulative Effects
 Cumulative effects of potential mortality from Douglas-fir beetle and subsequent harvest of that mortality
 appears to be unknown. The population trend of the infestation is heading down and any mortality would
                                          Chapter 3                                                                  31
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
likely be in small ½-1 acre groups leaving the majority of the stand in tact. The cumulative effects of
prescribed fire are analyzed in the Fire and Fuel Report.




32                                     Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

2. Watershed, Soils and Aquatics
 Introduction
   This report discusses the proposed Bristow Restoration project in relation to the watershed, soils and
   aquatics resources in the project area. This report analyzes the existing condition and potential effects
   from proposed forest management on the watershed, soils, and aquatics resources in the project area
   and downstream receiving waters. The planning subunit includes all lands in the Bristow, Barron and
   Jackson Creek watersheds, and the “face” drainages to Koocanusa Reservoir. Koocanusa Reservoir is
   the downstream receiving water for the project area. The proposed action involves timber harvest,
   underburning, excavator piling and burning of piles, and thinning stands to reduce the existing stand
   density. (See Chapter 2 for specifics concerning the proposed activities.) The project also proposes road
   storage and decommissioning activities and stream habitat improvement projects for all action
   alternatives. Temporary roads and landings needed to facilitate timber harvest would be constructed and
   obliterated after use.

 Desired Condition
  The following is a general description for the desired future condition of stream systems in the project
  area followed by a more specific desired condition (DC) for drainages in the project area. The natural
  characteristics of a watershed, such as annual precipitation, soil types, geology and vegetative cover will
  determine to what extent the ground disturbing activities may affect channel morphology, flow regime,
  water quality and ultimately downstream beneficial uses.

   Under natural conditions a stream system is in a balanced state, neither static nor chaotic. It is continually
   changing in response to natural cycles of precipitation/runoff, geologic decomposition and vegetative
   succession. Normally these changes are of low degree and short duration, so that over time the stream is
   maintained by its physical, chemical and biological components. Natural events outside the routine cycle
   do occur, however, and may lead to stream changes beyond the normal short term fluctuations. For
   example, unusually high levels of rain or snow may result in higher than average peak flows, or higher
   than average winds may result in windthrown trees in the channels or wildfires may result in increased
   flows or erosion. Increased or diverted flows can result in bank cutting, bedload movement, scour and
   deposition. Increased sedimentation would alter flow patterns and velocities. If timing and duration of
   such events were at critical life stages, aquatic insects, amphibians, and ultimately fish populations would
   be affected.

   The desired condition is one of dynamic stability. The streambed and banks are stable, with naturally
   occurring disturbances providing short-term fluxes in the overall stability. Riparian vegetation contributes
   to streambank diversity and stability; provides organic energy to the food chain; moderates stream
   temperatures both in summer and winter; provides input of large organic debris to the stream for
   streambed stability, sediment storage, and pool forming structures for fish; provides filtering areas for
   downslope eroding sediment; and provides small organic debris for ground cover and soil nutrient cycling.

   Water quality parameters, such as temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH, alkalinity, and mineral
   content will be maintained at their natural, high quality levels, in accordance with state water quality laws.
   Fish and other stream biota will be maintained or enhanced in size and/or numbers. This will be
   accomplished by maintaining water quality and stable stream conditions, and by implementing
   management practices which have been shown to benefit fish in any of their life cycle stages. Wegner
   (1999) discusses the benefits of completing the type of work described in the road analysis process
   (RAP) document for the project area. It is assumed that completing the prescribed work (road storage,
   BMP‟s and decommissioning activities) will help to improve the water quality and fisheries resources in
   the project area. The result of this work would also help meet the DC of removing Bristow Creek from the
   State of Montana‟s 303(d) list of impaired streams.

   For the perennial streams in the project area, Bristow, Barron, and Jackson creeks, the DC would be to
   improve existing habitat conditions, especially in the lower reaches which have been impacted by past
   management. Riparian vegetation would be enhanced to increase shade, filter sediment from overland
   flow, and provide cover for fish in these streams. Large woody debris (LWD) would be installed to provide
   energy dissipation, reduce instream erosion, and create pools. Existing sediment sources, particularly
   those associated with roads would be eliminated through road decommissioning and storage activities,
   and by bringing roads into compliance with INFS standards and BMPs (installation of cross drains,

                                          Chapter 3                                                            33
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  additional culverts, surfacing roads in sensitive landtypes, and other practices). A Roads Analysis
  Process (RAP) has been completed for this project (report in project file). This document recommends
  approximately 33.7 miles of road should be placed into a “hydrogically neutral” condition to help the
  watersheds recover from past activities. Hydrogically neutral in this context refers to activities that will
  remove the impacts of the road prism on the landscape. These road prism impacts include disruption of
  natural flow patterns (both surface and sub-surface), constrictions of streams at road crossings, sediment
  delivery from road ditches and crossings, and the restriction of aquatic organism passage at road –
  stream crossing sites. See Tables 2.10, 2.10A, B and C for a list of the roads and Appendix 5 for a
  discussion on the techniques used to complete the activities.

  For the intermittent drainages that flow into the above named streams and into the reservoir, the DC
  would be improved channel stabilities and riparian vegetation. The main concern from these tributaries is
  the production of sediment that may be transported downstream to the perennial segments. Any activities
  that would increase long-term sediment production would be discouraged through the use of BMP‟s. For
  these dry areas, BMPs have proven to have the best effect to maintain channel stabilities. Refer to
  Appendix 2 for a discussion of the BMP process used on the Libby Ranger District, and Appendix 7 for a
  list of specific BMPs for this project.

  The DC for fisheries in the Bristow planning subunit is based partly on historic information in relation to
  the existing condition of those streams. Meeting the DC for these streams is dependent in large part on
  management activities on private lands and the operation of Libby Dam.

Concerns and Opportunities
 Water quality and the protection of trout spawning and rearing habitats are the principle fishery concerns
 in the project area streams. Past management activities include timber harvest and road construction
 which are the major factors influencing the fishery resource in these streams. The following are general
 objectives for watershed and fishery opportunities:
      1) Maintain/improve water quality.
      2) Minimize erosion, sedimentation, and soil compaction.
      3) Maintain/improve the integrity of riparian zones and wetlands.
      4) Identify and correct all existing unnatural sources of sediment.

  The proposed Plum Creek Timber Company (PCTC) timber harvest in Barron and Jackson Creeks will
  elevate peakflows above the existing condition, heightening the potential for cumulative watershed
  effects.

  Bristow Creek is included on the State of Montana's 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002 303(d) bi-annual list of
  impaired water bodies (305(b) Report). The listing is based on State and Federal water quality data. It is
  listed as partially supporting aquatic life and cold water fishery. Probable causes of the impairments are
  listed as; nutrients, fish habitat degradation, and siltation. Sources of impairment are listed as; silviculture,
  and logging road construction and maintenance.

Management Direction
 Fish populations and associated aquatic resources are under the jurisdiction of several agencies
 including; the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MFWP) which manage populations through fishing
 regulations and stocking programs. Management of the habitat on NFS lands is largely a Forest Service
 responsibility. The two agencies cooperate in research and monitoring efforts. The US Fish and Wildlife
 Service (USFWS) is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for
 listed and proposed species. Actions having potential impacts on any federally listed threatened or
 endangered fish species require consultation with USFWS. The Montana Department of Environmental
 Quality (DEQ) is responsible for compliance with water quality laws on all lands.

  The following standards, guidelines, and direction are used to guide the Forest Service in the
  implementation of this project in respect to watershed, soils and fisheries resources. It must be
  recognized that these standards relate only to NFS lands. Private landowners (including corporate
  landowners like PCTC) adhere to a different set of standards. Most PCTC lands in the project area are
  generally situated in the lower reaches of each of the drainages.



  34                                      Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    o   Kootenai National Forest Plan/Inland Native Fish Strategy (INFS)
        The Kootenai National Forest Plan was developed in 1987 and amended in 1995 by INFS. The
        standards and guidelines identified in those documents form the basis for this analysis. A
        complete list of standards and guidelines associated with the Forest Plan and INFS is included in
        Appendix 1. Where appropriate standards will be included as mitigation and included in this report
        and into any contract that should result from this assessment.
                                  th
        In 1998 all watersheds (6 code HUCs) on the district were rated for 19 habitat indicators and
        four species indicators in order to determine an existing watershed condition. These ratings were
        then used to determine if a stream was functioning appropriately, functioning at risk or, not
        functioning. A complete list of these indicators is included in the district files. These indicators
        contain a numerical recommendation to many of the Forest Plan standards where none currently
        exist. These indicators also include all of the standards for riparian management objectives
        (RMOs) discussed in INFS. Where appropriate, these same parameters are also used in
        developing the biological assessment for threatened, endangered and proposed fish species.

    o   Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Species (T&E)
        Threatened, Endangered (T&E), and proposed species are managed under the authority of the
        Endangered Species Act (ESA) (PL 93-205, as amended), and the National Forest Management
        Act (NFMA) (PL 94-588). The ESA requires federal agencies to ensure that all actions which they
        "authorize, fund, or carry out" are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any T&E or
        proposed species. The USFWS is responsible for ensuring compliance with the ESA. Actions
        having potential adverse impacts on any federally listed T & E fish species would require
        concurrence from the USFWS. Agencies are further required to develop and carry out
        conservation programs for these species. At the present time, the Kootenai River Population of
        the white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) is listed as endangered and bull trout are listed as
        threatened.

        Sensitive fish species are those species for which population viability is a concern, and are
        administratively determined by the Regional Forest (FSM2670.5). Sensitive species are managed
        under the authority of the National Forest Management Act (NFMA, PL 94-588). Enabling
        regulations (Dept. Ag.9500-4.36CFR 219) direct the Forest Service to maintain at least viable
        populations of native species, and to avoid actions that may cause a species to become
        threatened or endangered. Further, it is agency policy (FSM 2670.42) that we avoid or minimize
        impacts to species whose viability has been identified as a concern. The primary goals and
        objectives for all sensitive fish on the Forest are to use "state of the art" tools in management and
        identification, and to determine the status and provide for their needs to prevent them from being
        listed as threatened or endangered (FP, Vol.I,p.ii-1/23). There are currently four species of fish
        listed as sensitive on the Kootenai, and their presence/absence in the project area is discussed in
        the affected environment section (Table 3.32). The Forest Service through its sensitive species
        program will take all necessary steps to maintain habitat protection for all species listed as
        threatened, endangered or sensitive on the Kootenai National Forest.

Analysis Methods and Issue Indicators
The following indicators were used to describe the existing condition of each of the affected watersheds,
and subsequent impacts of the proposed activities on those indicators. Although many of the indicators
have a numerical standard associated with them, there are many that are discussed only in qualifiable
terms based on best professional judgment.

  1. Hydrology (changes in flow volume)/ Geomorphology (instream channel conditions) - The
  Kootenai National Forest Plan contains water yield guidelines based on instream resource values
  (Guidelines for Calculating Water Yield Increases, Appendix 18, KNF Plan). The amount of road density
  and equivalent clearcut area (ECA) changes also tier to the discussion of changes in stream flow
  volumes. Stream geomorphology conditions are based on data collected using Rosgen (1996)
  techniques. There are no Forest Plan standards for stream width-to-depth (W/D) ratios. Based on the
  current INFS direction a stream that is functioning appropriately should have a W/D ratio of less than or
  equal to 10. Based on current geomorphological data the W/D ratio can be variable and is determined
  by the surveyed channel type. Based on those findings, A, E and G channel types have W/D ratios less
  than 12. Channel types that fall into the B, C, D and F categories have W/D greater than 12. The INFS
                                       Chapter 3                                                          35
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   standard for percent stable banks is greater than 80 percent stable. Channel type information can be
   found in the project file.

   2. Riparian Management Objectives (RMOs) - INFS identifies numerous riparian management
   objectives using data from stream inventories. Included in this analysis are: pool frequency, large
   woody debris, and water temperature. These objectives have been determined to be good indicators of
   ecosystem health and represent a good starting point to describe the desired condition for fish habitat.
   The RMOs have been further expanded into the following categories: Water Quality, Fish Passage,
   Aquatic Cover, and Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas.

   3. Water Quality (temperature, sediment, nutrients) - The Kootenai National Forest Plan, as
   amended by INFS, contains numerical standards for temperature but does not contain any standards
   for water quality other than a statement to meet or exceed State Water Quality Standards. There are no
   standards for sediment in the Forest Plan. For purposes of this analysis a qualitative assessment of
   existing and potential sediment is included, based on landtypes, stream channel types, and existing
   sediment sources. The USFS has been collecting stream core samples in Bristow Creek since 1984
   and has analyzed them for fine sediment content. There are no numerical standards in the Forest Plan
   for nutrients and contaminants. Indicators are based on a qualitative assessment of levels from various
   sources and on the determination of water quality limited segments as identified in the State of
   Montana's 303(d) list of impaired waterbodies.

   4. Fish Passage - A determination of existing manmade barriers to up-or-down-stream fish movement
   is reviewed. The INFS standard (RF-5) is to provide and maintain fish passage at all road crossings of
   existing and potential fish-bearing streams. Road crossing structures have been checked on project
   area streams on National Forest lands and public roads.

   5. Aquatic Cover ( large woody debris, pool frequency and quality, off-channel habitats) - The
   INFS standard for large woody debris is to retain more than 20 pieces per mile that are greater than 12
   inches in diameter, and greater than 35 feet long. The INFS standard was developed for streams on the
   Pacific coast range. Professional judgment on functional LWD sizes for the KNF has been used for this
   analysis. The LWD size for streams in the planning subunit are >6” in diameter at breast height (DBH)
   and longer than the bankful width of the stream. The INFS standard for desired pool frequency varies
   by channel width with larger stream channels recognized as having fewer pools (see table below). Off
   channel and prime habitats include shallow backwaters, overflow channels and refugia present in the
   watershed. The DC would be to have refugia abundant and protected by intact RHCAs, with all habitats
   interconnected.
                             Table 3.30 - INFS Standards for Pool Frequency

                     WETTED WIDTH (FT)         # POOLS/MILE             POOLS/FOOT
                              10                     96                     1/55
                              20                     56                     1/94
                              25                     47                     1/112

   6. Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas (RHCAs) - Disturbance history of riparian areas is of concern
   as it pertains to direct impacts to stream channels. An RHCA map for streams in the project area has
   been completed and is included in the project file. Additional standards associated with RHCAs are
   included in Appendix 4 of this report.

   7. Percent of Sale Area in a Detrimental Soil Condition - Regional standards in the Forest Service
   and the KNF Forest Plan have set a limitation of 15% of a timber sale area allowed in a detrimental
   condition. Mitigation measures and BMP‟s are used to help keep the level of disturbed area below this
   level.

Data Collection and Analysis
 Rosgen channel typing and INFS RMO data was collected on nine sites in Jackson Creek in 1997, four
 sites in Barron Creek in 1996 and again in 2002, 4 sites in Bristow Creek in 1992 and eleven sites in
 2002. Electrofishing was conducted in May of 1999 on two reaches of Bristow Creek. The Montana


 36                                     Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   Rivers Inventory System (MRIS) was queried for fisheries data for the project area streams. The State of
   Montana fish stocking records were also queried for stocking occurrences.

   A monumented streamflow station has been in operation in Bristow Creek since 1992 with 55
   measurements having been collected. Measured flows have ranged from less than 1 cubic foot per
   second (cfs) to 122 cfs. Stream temperature data loggers, and sporadic ISCO suspended sediment
   sampling has also been completed. Stream core data collection began in Bristow Creek in 1984 and
   continues to the present. Annual macroinvetebrate sampling in Bristow Creek began in 1992 and in
   Barron Creek in 1993. Data collection at both locations continues to the present. All the mentioned data is
   kept in the district watershed files.

   There is a limited amount of water chemistry data for Bristow Creek from the mid 1970‟s. All basins had
   stability assessments conducted in the 1980‟s.

   Soils monitoring has been sporadic across the Forest. Numerous surveys have been completed by the
   Forest Soil Scientist to review disturbance levels of various harvest types. Site specific unit surveys have
   been completed for this analysis.

Affected Environment
 Planning Subunit
   The project area is situated on the western side of the Koocanusa Reservoir and the entire project area is
   tributary to the reservoir. The majority of the proposed USFS activities would occur in the Bristow and
   Barron Creek drainages. The highest point in the project area is Banfield Mountain at 6100 feet elevation.
   Land ownership in the drainages is displayed in Table 3.31. Timber production, reservoir management,
   recreation, fishing and hunting are the primary land uses in the drainages.

                                         Table 3.31 - Land Ownership

                     DRAINAGE             FOREST SERVICE (ACRES)       PCTC* (ACRES)     TOTAL (ACRES)
                      Bristow                      14,811                   154              14,965
                       Barron                      8,891                   1,420             10,311
                      Jackson                      8,060                   1,680              9,740
           Face Drainages To Reservoir             4,739                    918               5,657
                                             * Plum Creek Timber Company

   The upper portions of each of the drainages are on National Forest System (NFS) lands. The mainstem
   of Bristow, Barron, and Jackson Creeks are perennial streams along with major tributaries such as Camp
   Cr., Everett Cr., Hickey Cr., and the South Fork of Jackson Cr. The other tributaries are either dry draws
   or intermittent streams. Overall, approximately 95 % of the stream length in the planning subunit is on
   NFS lands, most of the remainder is on PCTC lands.

   Lake Koocanusa is a man-made reservoir created with the construction of Libby Dam. During the mid to
   late 1960‟s all land below the full-pool elevation of the reservoir were completely denuded. This included
   the lower one-to-two miles of the streams in the planning subunit (district files; aerial photos 7-15-71). The
   high water elevation of the reservoir is set at 2,460 feet although actual full pool elevation of the reservoir
   varies from year to year. Use of tributary streams by fish emanating out of the reservoir is influenced by
   water elevations during the spring period. For purposes of analysis, high water elevation is used as the
   confluence of tributary streams and the reservoir.

   Water Resources
   Because the greatest risk of degrading channel function occurs during high flow periods, it is the increase
   in magnitude and duration of peakflows that concerns land managers the most. Timber harvest often
   alters normal streamflow dynamics, particularly the volume of peak flows (maximum volume of water in
   the stream) and base flows (the volume of water in the stream representing the groundwater
   contribution). The degree these parameters change depend on the road density, percentage of total tree
   cover removed from the watershed and the amount of soil disturbance caused by the harvest, among
   other things. For example, if harvest activities remove a high percentage of tree cover and cause light soil
   disturbance and compaction, rain falling on the soil will infiltrate normally. However, due to the loss of tree

                                          Chapter 3                                                            37
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
cover, evapotranspiration (the loss of water by plants to the atmosphere) will be much lower than before.
Thus, the combination of normal water infiltration into the soil and decreased uptake of water by tree
cover results in higher streamflows. In general, timber harvest and wildfire on a watershed scale results in
water moving more quickly through the watershed (i.e. higher runoff rates, higher peak and base flows)
because of decreased soil infiltration and evapotranspiration. This analysis also takes into account that
the proposal will create opening sizes reflecting the historic patch size created by wildfires. The water-
shed analysis completed for the Bristow Landscape Assessment which discussed the fire frequency and
resulting effects to stream flows and water quality is included by reference for this analysis. The creation
of openings in a forested canopy would tend to increase snow deposition (Christner and Harr 1982) and
wind speeds (Chamberlin 1982). An increase in wind speeds could increase the rate of snowmelt during
cloudy and rainy conditions resulting in greater streamflow (Harr 1981).

Consumptive use of water within the project area is primarily by wildlife. Non-consumptive uses include
maintenance of fisheries, amphibian, and macro-invertebrate biota and secondary contact recreation (e.g.
fishing). There are numerous surface and groundwater rights on file in the project area. These water
rights are held by the US Army Corps of Engineers for the reservoir and by the USFS for campground
water supplies. Beneficial uses identified by the Montana Department of Health and Environmental
Sciences under their B-1 classification include: drinking, culinary and food processing purposes after
conventional treatment; bathing, swimming and recreation, growth and propagation of salmonid fishes
and associated aquatic life, waterfowl and furbearers; and agricultural and industrial water supply.

Water quality characterization for Bristow Creek is based on surveys performed across the forest
(including Bristow Creek) from 1976-1978 (Johnson 1982). Bristow Creek is a snow-melt stream, with
peak runoff in May to June. Water temperatures vary from 0 to 15 degrees C. Optimal trout production
occurs when temperature are 10-12 degrees C for extended (100+ day) periods. Average pH was 7 to 8,
while alkalinity was about 50 mg/l. Optimal conditions for diversified aquatic life are pH values of 7-8 with
total alkalinity of 100-120mg/l or more. Alkalinity buffers rapid change in pH, which can cause death to
fish and aquatic life. The alkalinity conditions would not allow for a great deal of buffering and would tend
to limit productivity and growth. Bristow Creek can be characterized as a soft water stream, with a
hardness of <60mg/l. This mineral condition, when combined with a limited pH buffering capacity makes
fish populations highly vulnerable to toxic metal contamination such as those seen from mining
operations. The natural conductivity averages <60 uhos/cm, a rating that indicates very low mineral
content and production potential. Optimum conductivity for fish production and diversity would be in the
range of 150-500 umhos/cm. Dissolved oxygen concentrations throughout all but low flow periods were at
or near saturation levels, and would be more than adequate for aquatic organisms.

Climate
The climate of the planning subunit is strongly seasonal. The mean annual precipitation is approximately
30 inches. The largest amount of precipitation falls as snow during the winter. Snowfall is heaviest at
higher elevations and normal snowpacks are retained into May.

The area is sometimes subjected to strong warm-frontal storms during the winter months which bring
heavy rain, warm temperatures, and strong winds. Depending on storm intensity and soil and snowpack
moisture conditions, these storms can produce very high stream discharges. These are commonly called
"rain-on-snow” (ROS) events. In addition to causing high stream discharges, the high rate of water input
to the soil can generate unstable conditions on hillslopes. The effects of rain-on-snow events are
magnified in drainages where large amounts of the forest canopy have been removed. These large
openings allow more wind and rain to reach the snowpack which results in a more rapid melt and runoff
and a "flashier" hydrologic response with shorter time of concentration and higher peak flows. Flow
frequencies can be significantly altered in these basins such that higher flows become more common and
base flows and low flows are reduced. During such high flows, stream channels may be altered by bank
erosion, downcutting, and redistribution of sediment and large woody debris (Harr 1981). The majority of
large landslides and large streamflows occur during these events. The project area is oriented to the east
with the majority of the drainages having low energy aspects.

Rain-on-snow events occurred on the Kootenai National Forest in 1990, and more recently during the fall
and winter of 1995-96. These events caused extensive damage to road drainage and stream crossing
structures throughout the Kootenai National Forest. Channel alterations caused by ice flows associated
with the ROS events occurred to most stream systems on Libby Ranger District and resulted in bank
38                                     Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
cutting and streambed scouring. Monitoring of these basins after the ROS event in February of 1996
showed that most channels on the district downcut approximately 2-3 inches. All the mainstem perennial
streams in the planning subunit experienced these effects but have remained stable based on
monumented stream flows stations (district watershed files)

Landforms
Landtype information was obtained from the Soil Survey of Kootenai National Forest Area, Montana and
Idaho (1995). The landforms identified through this inventory are differentiated by a number of criteria
including: topography, geology, habitat types, soils, and climate. These elements will determine the
relative suitability of each landtype for various management activities. The landtypes identified within the
project area include: Bristow Creek - 252, 301, 352, 353, 355, and 360; Barron Creek - 102, 252, 301,
302, 303, 352, 353, 355, and 357; Jackson Creek - 105, 108, 301, 302, 303, 324, 328, 329, 351, 352, and
355. Please see Appendix 3 for a more detailed description of these landtypes. One thousand one
hundred acres of Forest Service lands included in the treatment proposal have been previously managed.
Appendix 3 gives a more detailed discussion of the landtypes and also includes an example of the survey
form that was used to review these acres before proposed sale activities were finalized.

Stream Channel Types
Rosgen (1996) developed a classification system which is used to morphologically describe stream
systems operating within states of dynamic equilibrium. The classification process addresses questions
such as sediment supply, stream sensitivity to disturbance, potential for natural recovery, channel
response to changes in flow regime, and fish habitat potential.

Stream channel morphology is the ultimate integrator of hillslope and stream channel responses to land
management activities within a drainage basin. Therefore, it is the primary indicator of water resource
effects. A stream channel has an upper level of tolerance to changes in the geomorphic processes.
Beyond this leve effects begin to appear including; channel aggradation or incision, stream bank cutting,
and increasing rates of mass wasting. For a selected hydrologic event, the risk of upsetting geomorphic
equilibrium and initiating adverse water resource effects is greatly increased as the disturbances in the
watershed approaches the upper level of this tolerance.

As with the various landtypes, stream channels are also variable in how they respond to changes in the
natural levels of runoff (peak flows) and/or the amount of sediment which is input into the stream system.
The response of streams to increased levels of these items above natural levels is dependent on the
makeup of the stream channel and how that particular stream channel recovers from disturbances. The
response of streams to imposed change is not uniform among stream types. The variability that exists is
displayed in the existing condition section in Table 3.36, where interpretations are shown for sensitivity to
disturbance, recovery potential, sediment supply, streambank erosion potential and vegetation controlling
influence. The three major stream types found in the planning subunit are discussed below.
     1. "A" stream types are found in valley types that due to their inherent channel gradients (>4%),
         exhibit a high sediment transport potential and relatively moderate inchannel sediment storage
         capacity. "A" stream types are well entrenched, have a low width/depth ratio and are totally
         confined. Large woody debris (LWD) plays an important roll in energy dissipation and sediment
         storage. "A" stream types are described as high energy/high sediment supply streams due to
         their inherently steep channel slopes and narrow/deep channel cross sections.
     2. "B" stream types are moderately entrenched systems, with channel gradients of 2-4%. Channel
         bed morphology is dominated by cobble materials and characterized by a series of rapids with
         irregular spaced scour pools. The bed and bank materials are stable and contribute only small
         quantities of sediment during runoff events. LWD is an important component for fisheries habitat
         when available. Streambank erosion rates are generally low as are the channel
         aggradation/degradation process rates.
     3. "C" stream types are slightly entrenched systems, with channel gradients less than 2%. Channel
         bed morphology is dominated by gravel materials and characterized by a series of riffles with
         regular spaced scour pools. The bed and bank materials are stable and contribute only small
         quantities of sediment during runoff events. These channels have a well developed floodplain
         constructed of alluvium. These streams adjust lateral and typically have a high width-to-depth
         ratio. Rates of lateral adjustment are influenced by the presence and condition of riparian
         vegetation.

                                       Chapter 3                                                           39
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Vegetation
Under natural conditions the type and degree of vegetative cover within a watershed is largely defined by
the climate and soils that allow it to grow and reproduce. Natural levels of mortality due to wind events,
insects and diseases, and fire do occur and can drastically alter the vegetative composition of the
watershed. Depending on the degree of mortality and rate of stand decomposition, impacts to stream
systems can be significant (Bethlahmy 1975, Tiedemann et al 1975). See the silviculture specialist report
for a more detailed discussion on vegetation condition in the analysis tributaries. Land development,
especially for timber harvest and road construction has influenced vegetative cover throughout the project
area. The impact of these activities is discussed in the existing condition portion of this analysis.

Riparian Areas and Wetlands
A healthy riparian area is vital to maintain a functional interface between the terrestrial ecosystem and the
aquatic ecosystem. The loss or damage of riparian areas can affect fisheries habitat by limiting the
amount and quality of detritus biomass input. Changes in sediment, water temperature, bank stability, and
streamflow regime can also occur if large percentages of the riparian areas in a watershed are damaged
or harvested.

Both live and dead standing trees in riparian zones are an important source of stream shading, and
should be retained within the riparian corridor. King (1993), discussed research conducted on sediment
production and transport in forested watersheds in the northern Rocky mountains. He states that LWD
from the riparian areas accounted for almost half of the stored sediment in headwater streams.

There are approximately 99 miles of intermittent and perennial stream channels in the project area. It is
estimated that all 49 miles of perennial streams are fish bearing. The remaining 50 miles of streams are
intermittent in nature and therefore not fish bearing.

There are many small isolated wetlands scattered throughout the project area. The majority of the
surveyed wetlands occur in the Jackson Creek drainage (T31N, R29W, Sec.5 & 8; T31N, R30W,Sec.1 &
2). These wetlands in the project area have been identified and removed from the proposed activity
areas. Other wetlands in the area are associated with streams and as narrow strips along the stream
banks. “A”, "B", and “C"-type stream systems, have the narrow wetlands that are about twice as wide as
the active stream channel. These areas also act as floodplains. These wetlands can support vegetation
such as cattails, willow, dogwood, sedges and reedgrass. All of these wetlands provide habitat and forage
for a variety of wildlife and are effective filters of sediment from off-site erosion. They also store water and
sediment during over-bank floods and release water during low flow periods.

Aquatic Species
The Montana Fisheries Information System and Libby Ranger District records were reviewed to determine
current known fish and amphibian distribution in the project area. Fish distribution surveys were
conducted in the 1987, 1991, 1993, 1994, and 2000 field seasons in selected project area streams to
supplement existing fish distribution data. The surveys focused on distribution and connectivity of native
fish species in the project area. Amphibian population and distribution surveys have occurred yearly in the
project area since 1995 in the upper reaches of Barron Creek.

  Threatened, Endangered, and Proposed Aquatic Species (TES)
   Threatened – Bull Trout
   Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) were listed as threatened under the ESA on June 10, 1998. Bull
   trout are not known to occur in the project area streams, but are found in Koocanusa Reservoir and
   the Kootenai River. The habitat for the Upper-Kootenai Meta population uses the reservoir as habitat.
   These stocks use the Tobacco River and Canadian streams for spawning. The proposed action will
   have no effect on this population of bull trout. No proposed activity will affect fish in the reservoir. The
   proposed action and connected and foreseeable activities will have no effect on Lake Koocanusa or
   the Kootenai River.

     Endangered – White Sturgeon
     The Kootenai River White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) is the only fish species listed as
     endangered on the KNF. White sturgeon are known to occur only in the Kootenai River below
     Kootenai Falls approximately 25 miles downstream and outside the influence of the project area. The

40                                      Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                           Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
proposed activities will have no impact on the white sturgeon or its habitat. Libby Dam has been
determined to be the principle activity impacting white sturgeon and/or its habitat.

Activities that impact Lake Koocanusa, in themselves, have no direct, indirect or cumulative effect on
fish populations or habitat in the Kootenai River. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality
in their 303(d) list has stated that the operation of Libby Dam is the probable cause impacting
fisheries resources in these two areas. Table 3.32 displays aquatic species designated as threatened,
endangered and sensitive (TES) and their distribution in relation to the project area.

Both bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout have been given special status by state and federal
agencies. MFWP has designated them as species of special concern due to their limited distribution,
sensitivity to environmental disturbances, vulnerability to hybridization, and/or competition with other
fish species, and risk of over exploitation. The state will take appropriate measures to preserve and
enhance populations of these fish through its stocking programs, fishing regulations, and habitat
protection efforts.

These two species, bull trout and white sturgeon, are not located in the Bristow project area
and will not be further addressed.

                  Table 3.32 - TES Species on the Kootenai National Forest

                                                   PRESENCE IN PROJECT AREA OR DOWNSTREAM
    STATUS                  SPECIES
                                                               RECEIVING WATERS
                            Bull trout
   Threatened                                         Koocanusa Reservoir and Kootenai River
                     Salvelinus confluentus
                         White sturgeon
  Endangered                                                    Below Kootenai Falls
                    Acipenser transmontanus
                    Westslope cutthroat trout
    Sensitive                                                      Not suspected
                   Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi
                  Columbia basin redband trout
                                                                   Not Suspected
                 Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri
                         Torrent sculpin
                                                                   Not Suspected
                         Cottus rhotheus
                     Burbot (ling) Lota lota                       Not suspected
                    Boreal toad Bufo boreas                          Known
                     Northern leopard frog
                                                                    Not supected
                          Rana pipiens
                   Coeur d’Alene salamander
                                                                   Not suspected
                      Plethodon idahoensis

Sensitive Species
Westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi) were petitioned for protection under the ESA
on June 6, 1997 by several environmental groups. On April 5, 2000 the USFWS ruled that listing was
“not warranted”. The Forest Service lists westslope cutthroat trout as a “sensitive” species.

Historically, westslope cutthroat trout were likely distributed throughout the planning subunit,
including: Jackson Creek, South and North Fork of Jackson Creek, Barron Creek, Bristow Creek, and
the North and South Forks of Bristow Creek. Reservoir fish have some influence on the lower section
of the streams to the FDR. Westslope cutthroat have been replaced in all the drainages, the only
existing hybrids are in Bristow Creek. Recent electrofishing data has found only brook trout and
rainbow trout in both Jackson and Barron Creek watersheds. The one genetic analysis on Bristow
Creek showed that the hybrids were 66% rainbow and 33% westslope 1993. This population of west
slope is being spawned out and will probably become strictly rainbow trout in another 10 years. No
pure westslope cutthroat trout have been found in project area streams and are not suspected
to occur.

Redband trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri) are known to occur in several tributary streams
below Libby Dam but are not known in streams above the dam. The proposed action and connected


                                    Chapter 3                                                         41
                Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
     and foreseeable activities will not affect redband trout due to the lack of a biological connection
     between proposed activities and known/suspected populations.

     Though some data exist about the presence of torrent sculpin (Cottus rhotheus) in the project area,
     it is highly unlikely that these fish actually occur in streams within the project area. Torrent sculpin are
     very difficult to distinguish from the more common slimy sculpin (Cottus congnatus). Formal surveying
     for torrents exists in Bristow Creek, the survey found no torrents in the drainage. Since Jackson and
     Barron Creek drainages are smaller and have less fish habitat then Bristow, it is extremely unlikely
     that torrents occur in either drainage. No impact is expected on torrent sculpin from the proposed
     action.

     Burbot (Lota lota,) locally referred to as the "ling" or "ling cod, historically are known to occur in the
     Kootenai River and also in Lake Koocanusa. Life history information regarding torrent sculpins is
     sketchy due to their small size and perhaps due to their non-sportfish status. A very large population
     exists in Lake Koocanusa. These fish are known to spawn in numerous large tributaries in the upper
     end of the lake (including Canada). It is highly unlikely the fish use any drainage in the project area.
     Burbot are poor swimmers; the gradient in streams in the project area would be to great to support
     burbot. Although spawning may have occurred, prior to the construction of Libby Dam, in the
     drainages, current conditions when burbot spawn are during low pool times in Lake Koocanusa.
     Burbot would have the nearly impossible task of negotiating the low flows in the drainages coupled
     with extremely high gradients from the area effected from Lake Koocanusa and the iced over
     conditions of the small drainages. Because of these factors it is reasonable to assume that burbot do
     not inhibit drainages in the project are, except rarely, and there will be no impact to burbot from the
     proposed activities.

 Spawning and Rearing Habitat
 The majority of fisheries spawning surveys have been completed in Bristow Creek. It is assumed that
 Barron and Jackson Creeks exhibit similar conditions. Bristow Creek contains spawning and rearing
 habitat for both spring and fall spawning species. Spring spawners include both rainbow and westslope
 cutthroat trout which migrate from Lake Koocanusa. Spring redd count surveys conducted from 1977
 through 1988 by MFWP and USFS personnel have documented an average of 64 redds per year
 (range = 13 to 108). In 1984, 40% of the adult trout returning to Lake Koocanusa following spawning
 were westslope cutthroat trout previously planted and released in the reservoir.

 Spring spawning, migratory fish have been observed up to seven miles from Lake Koocanusa, but the
 first two miles provide the best habitat and the majority of reproductive opportunity. Upstream portions
 (upper five miles) have a cobble substrate, with only small pockets of one-to-three inch gravels suitable
 for spawning, and are thus considered fair to poor for most species except the brook trout that appear
 to flourish in these circumstances.

 Fall spawning species include the non-native eastern brook trout, mountain whitefish, and bull trout. Fall
 spawning surveys, done by USFS personnel in 1992-1993, have documented eastern brook trout
 spawning, and no current evidence of bull trout spawning. Whitefish may spawn in the lower reaches of
 Bristow, but surveys have not been conducted in the late fall when this species could be detected. In
 1972, 70,000 whitefish swim-up fry were planted in Bristow Creek to establish game fish spawning and
 recruitment to the reservoir. This attempt at whitefish stocking in Bristow and other similar tributary
 streams was unsuccessful.

 Rearing habitat is good throughout low gradient portions of Bristow Creek, particularly in the low
 gradient reaches near tributaries where low velocities, good flow regimes, and adequate coarse woody
 debris provides cover and shallow pools. These sites tend to be places where fish production is
 concentrated in a landscape sense. Lack of deeper pools probably limits carrying and over wintering
 capacity for juvenile and adult fish.

 Resident Habitat
 Overall resident fisheries habitat is considered fair to good. The lack of deep, quality pools that control
 over- wintering survival and carrying capacity may be a limiting factor for resident fish in this stream
 system. Riffle habitats are plentiful, and based on macroinvetebrate sampling, the stream supplies an
 abundance of food.
42                                      Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA


     Conflicts with Other Fish Species
     Stocking has taken place in all three streams (Montana fish stocking records 1991). Non-native
     yellowstone cutthroat trout were introduced into Jackson Creek while native westslope cutthroat trout
     were placed in both Barron and Bristow Creeks. Mountain whitefish were also introduced into Bristow
     Creek. Fish introduced into the Koocanusa Reservoir include non-native rainbow, kokanee, and
     kamloop rainbow trout and native westslope cutthroat trout.

     In 1993, USFS personnel collected a twelve fish sample for genetic testing to determine the purity of
     resident westslope cutthroat trout. Of the welve fish tested, all were found to contain alleles
     characteristic of both the rainbow and westslope cutthroat trout. Fish taken from Bristow Creek were
     66% rainbow and 34% cutthroat trout. The alleles from rainbow and cutthroat trout were randomly
     distributed among the fish in the samples, which indicates that hybridization between these fishes
     began a number of generations ago in the populations and now no fish is likely to be a pure westslope
     cutthroat or rainbow trout. It was also concluded that both introduced coastal and native interior rainbow
     trout contributed genes to these populations. It is suspected that the native westslope and interior
     rainbow trout in the stream rarely, if ever hybridized, and that the reproductive isolation was broken
     down by the introduction or invasion of coastal rainbow trout.

     Recreational Fishing
     Sport fishing potential is limited by the size and productivity of the stream, and the lack of pools limiting
     the population. In 1978, MFWP estimated the total biomass of trout to be 5.0 pounds per 1000 feet of
     stream. The maximum attainable size for trout was expected to be 10 to 12 inches. At that time, low
     mineral content (alkalinity less than 30 ppm) was thought to be the only limiting factor affecting growth
     and productivity. Cool stream temperatures and lack of quality pools probably also influence growth.

Existing Condition
 1. Past Management
   Timber harvest and road construction have been the principle management activities in the project area
   on both private and Forest Service lands. A high degree of road construction and timber harvest has
   occurred on both Forest Service and private timber lands throughout the drainage. Table 3.33 displays
   the existing amount of acres managed in the planning subunit.

 2. Hydrology (changes in flow volume)/ Geomorphology (instream channel conditions)
   Water yield increases due to timber harvest activities are a function of canopy reduction and miles of road
   constructed. Hydrologic responses to these activities will depend on the natural characteristics of the
   watershed. They can include: increases in snowpack depth, modifications of melting rates and surface
   runoff, subsurface flow interception and landform energy aspects. As discussed under the streamflow
   regime section, ROS events can occur in the project area drainages.

   Road systems increase the amount of compacted soil in the watershed and increase the size of the peak
   and advance the timing of the runoff for the watershed. The roads act as "tributaries" that intercept and
   redirect surface and subsurface water that would normally be filtered by the forest duff and soils
   (Wemple, 1994). This redirected water is transported to the creek via the road ditches in larger quantities
   and shorter time periods. This leads to earlier and larger peakflows than would naturally occur.

   Roads are one of the greatest sources of aquatic habitat degradation. Roads elevate onsite erosion and
   sediment delivery, disrupt subsurface flows essential to the maintenance of baseflows, and can contribute
   to increased peakflows. Road densities are displayed in table 3.33. There are approximately 186 road
   stream crossings in the project area.

   From the data that has been collected to date, channel conditions are stable, stream banks are well
   armored, with little in-channel erosion apparent. Adequate floodplain is available in lower Bristow Creek,
   but floodplains have been encroached by roads in all the watersheds. Roads 4851 and 6300 in the upper
   Bristow Drainage have numerous under-sized stream crossings that result in erosion at the sites. Jackson
   Creek road 401 parallels the channel from the high water elevation of Lake Koocanusa to the Forest
   Deveolment Road (FDR) and for almost all of the length of the south fork. BMP work was recently
   conducted (2000) on the road along the south fork. Surface and ditch structures were constructed to
                                          Chapter 3                                                             43
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  reduce erosion from identified areas. A section of the Barron/Blue road 615 was recently reconstructed
  (2002) to eliminate a chronic sediment source associated with road fill. Both of these projects reduced the
  amount of sediment input to those stream channels.

  Because the greatest risk of channel degradation occurs during high flow periods, changes in water yield
  will be presented in terms of peakflow increases. Table 3.33 displays the predicted existing peakflow
  increases for Bristow Creek, Barron Creek, Jackson Creek, and the reservoir face watersheds (map in
  project file). This information is presented to show the existing predicted flow regime conditions from all
  past harvest and roading activities, and does not account for future or proposed timber management
  activities. Impacts from reasonably foreseeable actions will be discussed under the Environmental
  Consequences section.
                                      Table 3.33 - Water Yield Results – 2002

                                                             ROAD DENSITY    *CUMULATIVE % WATER
                      DRAINAGE             ECA (ACRES)
                                                               (MILES/MI2)      YIELD INCREASE
                      Bristow                  1065                    2.7            4.2
                      Barron                   1078                    3.9           12.9
                      Jackson                   956                    3.7           15.5
            Face Drainages To Reservoir         548                    3.6            3.5
                                               *Existing wateryields

  Increased peak flows can also impact channel geomorphology. Thirty-five stream morphology
  measurements have been collected in the project area (Table 3.38). Surveys were completed in 1992,
  1995, 1996, 1997 and 2002. Numerous sites have been resurveyed and some trend analysis for these
  sites has been completed for this analysis. In all cases, streams in the project area have remained at the
  initial morphological state or in one case improved to a more stable morphological state (Site - Bristow 1).
  The analysis does show that there have been changes in some parameters but the level of change has
  not caused a shift in channel geomorphology. Stream width-to-depth ratios and channel bankful widths
  are the two parameters that exhibit the most variability. LWD placement completed in 1997 in Bristow
  creek continues to show that the material has remained in place and has remained functional based on
  comparisons of LWD densities between 1992 and 2002. The majority of the reaches meet the desired
  W/D ratio based on channel morphology research (Rosgen 1996). The KNF is in the process of
  developing localized INFS goals based on stream types and local geomorphic constraints (vegetation,
  geology and precipitation). Bank stability readings on the locations since 1995 meet the INFS standard at
  all reaches that were measured. Bank stability is of prime importance in maintaining habitat conditions
  favoring trout survival.

3. Water Quality (temperature, sediment, nutrients)
  Temperature
  Riparian harvest on National Forest lands along the mainstem creeks in the project area has been
  minimal and is no longer conducted on NFS lands. It is unlikely that there has been any noticeable
  change in temperature as a result. Riparian harvest has occurred more frequently on the lower mile of
  channel of Barron, Bristow and Jackson creeks on PCTC lands. A water temperature monitoring study
  was completed by PCTC between 2000 and 2002 to look at effects of riparian timber harvest on stream
  temperatures in Barron Creek. Pre-harvest data was collected at five locations ranging from 1,000 feet
  above the harvest area to 1000 feet below the harvest area. Post harvest data was not available at the
  time of this report. The analysis to date does show that pre-harvest temperatures can vary between 55
  degrees F and 64 degrees F. The mean weekly average temperature for all sites in the pre-harvest data
  was at or below the 59 degree threshold considered optimal for fisheries propagation. Water temperature
  monitoring was completed by the USFS on Bristow Creek from 1995 through 1998. The results of that
  data collection shows water temperatures varying from 32 to 52 degrees F. Because the past harvest
  history in this basin is similar to all watersheds in the planning subunit, it is expected that water
  temperatures across the planning subunit have seen little change due to harvest activities and are
  maintaining beneficial uses in respect to water temperatures.

  Sediment/Soils
  Erosion is a natural process of geologic decomposition that occurs in all watersheds, and all stream
  systems need to transport this sediment downstream. There are three basic types of erosion: detachment

  44                                     Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                            Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   and routing of individual soil particles from the land surface, mass movement such as landslides and
   slumps, and detachment and mobilization of stream channel banks or substrate material.

   Sediment can refer to a wide range of stream channel particle sizes, i.e., silt, sand, boulder etc. All of the
   above processes can produce sediment throughout the range of size classes. In general, the larger
   particle sizes are produced through bank cutting or mass wasting. Finer particles, suspended in flowing
   water are the main concern in relation to water quality.

   Management activities have the potential to alter these erosion processes and cause increases in
   sediment concentrations within the water column and the stream bottom substrate. Timber harvest and
   road construction activities that remove forest canopy increase snowpack depths and melting rates,
   resulting in increases in surface runoff. These same activities cause varying degrees of soil exposure, soil
   compaction, and surface runoff routing. Given the right conditions, this additional runoff and suspended
   sediment can be transported to stream channels. Increases in surface flow during runoff events generally
   result in an increase in peak stream flow. As this peak discharge approaches magnitudes and durations
   beyond normal conditions the following processes can occur: bank cutting, bedload movement and mass
   slope failure. Landslides and slumps can also occur upslope as a result of intercepted subsurface flow
   and soil saturation.

   Table 3.34 displays landtypes in the project area. The table displays the sensitivity of these landtypes to
   management actions such as timber harvest and road construction. The table also displays the potential
   of these soils for erosion and the feasibility of eroded soil being delivered to streams. For a more detailed
   discussion of each of the factors listed in the table see the reference listed in the landforms section.

                    Table 3.34 - Sensitivity of Soil Types in the Planning Subunit to Disturbance

                                                                                                              SOIL EROSION AND
LANDTYPE      TIMBER MGMT AND PRODUCTIVITY                 ROAD CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE
                                                                                                               SEDIMENTATION
                                                                                                                         SEDIMENT
                TRACTOR          SEDIMENT HAZARD           CUT/FILL         ROAD             SEDIMENT
                                                                                                        SOIL EROSION *   DELIVERY
               OPERATION              TIMBER               SLOPES         SURFACING        HAZARD ROADS
                                                                                                                        EFFICIENCY
  102         soil damage              moderate               none             ruts             severe               mod/sev               low
  105           wetlands                  n/a                 none            none             moderate              mod/sev               low
  108         soil damage              moderate               none            tread             severe                sev/sev              low
  251          slope/rock               severe                none            rock             moderate             mod/slight             high
  252             slope                 severe                none            rock             moderate             mod/slight             high
  301             none                 moderate              slough           tread            moderate             mod/mod                mod
  302             slope                moderate              slough           tread            moderate             mod/mod                mod
  303             rock                 moderate               none            rock              slight             slight/slight          slight
  324             none                 moderate               none            tread            moderate             mod/mod                low
  328         Soil damage              moderate               none            tread            moderate             mod/mod              moderate
  329         Soil damage              moderate               none            tread            moderate             mod/mod                low
  351             slope                 severe                none            tread             severe              mod/mod                high
  352         soil damage              moderate              slough           tread            moderate             mod/mod                mod
  353         soil damage              moderate               none            none              slight             slight/slight           low
  355             rock                 moderate               none            none             moderate             mod/mod                mod
  357             slope                moderate              slides           rock              severe              mod/mod                high
  360             rock                  slight                none            none              slight             slight/slight           low
        * This column displays the susceptibility of the soil to erosion, including both the surface layer as well as the lower layer.

   Approximately 1,100 acres of proposed harvest units have experienced past harvest activities (Table
   3.35). The potential effects to these acres will be discussed in the consistency with regulatory framework
   section. The factors in the previous table 3.34, in conjunction with the sensitivity of stream types
   displayed in Table 3.36 have been used to determine the potential for sediment production and
   introduction to streams. Table 3.35 lists the history of the proposed units that have been previously
   harvested.




                                                Chapter 3                                                                                  45
                            Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                        Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                             Table 3.35 - Proposed Activity Units with Historic Harvest

           YEAR OF                                  EXISTING SOIL    PAST           PAST         GROUND
UNIT                                     AFFECTED
            PAST         DRAINAGE                   DISTURBANCE     HARVEST        HARVEST        SLOPE     LANDTYPE
 #                                        ACRES
           HARVEST                                    LEVEL (%)       TYPE         METHOD          (%)
3A          1964,94       Bristow           26           3              CC          Tractor        28           352
 5           1994         Bristow            7           2             IMP          Tractor        30           352
 6           1998         Bristow           48           5           ST w/r         Tractor        25           352
 7           1998         Bristow            4           3           ST w/r         Tractor        23           352
 8           1977         Bristow           23           3          Liberation      Tractor        25           352
 9           1998         Bristow            2           3           ST w/r         Tractor        30           352
11           1998         Bristow           26           5           ST w/r         Tractor        30           352
15           1977         Bristow          294           3          Liberation      Tractor        25           352
16           1992         Bristow            6           1           Salvage         Cable         41           355
18           1977         Bristow          111           6          Liberation      Tractor        26         352,355
21           1999         Bristow           40           8             IMP          Tractor        25         352,355
26           1987         Bristow           37           6             IMP          Tractor        22         301,352
Total                     Bristow          624
 43        1996,2003      Barron            13           2           Salvage        Tractor        34           357
 44          1996         Barron             6           2           Salvage        Tractor        27           352
44B        1996,2003      Barron            60           1           Salvage        Tractor        29       352,355,357
 45        1996,2002      Barron            23           1           Salvage         Cable         40       352,355,357
 46          1996         Barron             9           3           Salvage        Tractor        37           357
 47          1996         Barron             6           4           Salvage        Tractor        37           352
 49          1996         Barron            20           2           Salvage        Tractor        29           352
Total                     Barron           130
 63          1971         Jackson           17           3             CC           Tractor        25             328
Total                     Jackson           17
 26          1987      Reservoir Face      188           6           Salvage        Tractor        22         301,352
26B          1987      Reservoir Face        4           1           Salvage        Tractor        14           301
 37          1985      Reservoir Face       24           2           Salvage        Tractor        27           355
 66          1992      Reservoir Face       26           5           Salvage        Tractor         9         108,301
 68          1992      Reservoir Face       47           2           Salvage        Tractor         9         108,301
 69          1992      Reservoir Face       22           3           Salvage        Tractor         9         108,301
Total                  Reservoir Face      311

      Rosgen (1996) developed a classification system which is used to morphologically describe stream
      systems operating within states of dynamic equilibrium. The classification process addresses questions
      such as sediment supply, stream sensitivity to disturbance, potential for natural recovery, channel
      response to changes in flow regime, and fish habitat potential. Eleven sites on Bristow Creek, four sites
      on Barron Creek, and nine sites on Jackson Creek were analyzed according to Rosgen channel typing
      methods (maps in district files). The major channel types found in all basins were the very stable B3 and
      B4 types. A few A4 and C3 channels were also found in the survey. These channels were considered
      stable at the time of the surveys (Table 3.38).

      Stream channels are variable in how they respond to changes in the natural levels of runoff (peak flows)
      and/or the amount of sediment which is input into the stream system. The response of streams to
      increased levels of these items above natural levels is dependent on the stream channel type and how
      that particular stream channel recovers from disturbances. The response of streams to imposed change
      is not uniform among stream types. The variability that exists is displayed in table 3.36 below, where
      interpretations are shown for sensitivity to changes in flows and sediment, recovery potential, natural
      sediment sources from the stream channel, and streambank erosion potential for the geomorphic stream
      types found in the assessment area.




      46                                      Chapter 3
                          Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                                                       Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
          Table 3.36 - Sensitivity of Streamtypes in the Project Area to Changes in Streamflow
                                          and/or Sediment Supply

  ROSGEN                             SENSITIVITY TO INCREASED                                   RECOVERY             NATURAL SEDIMENT SOURCES STREAMBANK EROSION
STREAM TYPE                        PEAK FLOWS AND/OR SEDIMENT                                  POTENTIAL*              FROM STREAM CHANNEL         POTENTIAL
    A3                                                   very high                              very poor                          very high                                 very high
    A4                                                    extreme                               very poor                          very high                                 very high
    B2                                                   very low                               excellent                          very low                                  very low
    B3                                                      low                                 excellent                             low                                       low
    B4                                                   moderate                               excellent                          moderate                                     low
    C3                                                   moderate                                 good                             moderate                                  moderate
                                               *The recovery potential assumes natural recovery once the cause of instability is corrected.

  Streambed core sediment levels have been measured in lower Bristow Creek since 1984. This sediment
  sampling identifies fine sediment in the strembed, which is most impactive to fish spawning survival.The
  amount of fine sediment (those sediments less than 6.35 mm or ¼ inch) in the stream bottom has a direct
  effect on fish survival. The data collected from Bristow Creek suggests a stable stream system that is
  functioning within its range of variability and that sedimentation is not a limiting factor for fisheries or water
  quality resources. Table 3.37 compares the Bristow Creek data (17 years) to data collected by Weaver
  and Fraley (1991) from unmanaged “reference” streams. As can be seen from the table, the Bristow
  Creek data is well below even the median range of sediments for watersheds considered to be in a
  “reference” condition. Bristow Creek has shown a gradual but steady decline in percent fines from 1984 to
  the present (Figure 1).

                                                                 Table 3.37 - Comparison of Stream Core Data
                                                 “REFERENCE” WATERSHEDS*                                                      BRISTOW CREEK
                                                     (%FINES < 6.35mm)                                                      (1984-1991, 1993-2002)
                                               Range                           28.4 – 39.0                                         10.3 – 30.0
                                               Median                             31.7                                                19.4
                                                                                        * Weaver and Fraley, 1991

                                                                  Figure 1 - Bristow Creek Fine Sediment Data

                                                                 Bristow Creek Percent Fine Sediment Data
                                                                                (1984 - 2002)


                                          35
              Percent Fine Sediment (%)




                                          30

                                          25

                                          20

                                          15

                                          10

                                          5

                                          0
                                                  1984
                                                         1985
                                                                1986
                                                                        1987
                                                                                 1988
                                                                                        1989
                                                                                                1990
                                                                                                       1991
                                                                                                              1993
                                                                                                                     1994
                                                                                                                            1995
                                                                                                                                   1996
                                                                                                                                          1997
                                                                                                                                                 1998
                                                                                                                                                        1999
                                                                                                                                                               2000
                                                                                                                                                                      2001
                                                                                                                                                                             2002




                                                                                                              Year


  Libby District monitors 23 sites in 14 streams throughout the district. These streams vary in the amount of
  management that has occurred (timber harvest, road construction, grazing, mining etc) from almost no
  activity to heavily managed drainages. Of those streams, Bristow Creek has been monitored for the
  longest duration (17 years). Sediment levels in Bristow Creek are the lowest of all sites and streams that
  are monitored. Average sediment levels over the 17 year period are 19.4% and over the past 10 year

                                                                      Chapter 3                                                                                                          47
                                                  Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  period are 14.4%. The “flashy” nature of the data in figure 1 does however display that there are sediment
  sources in Bristow Creek that continue to impact the water quality even after the completion of the road
  BMP work and the salvage sale that was completed between 1995 and 1998. Macroinvetebrate sampling
  in Bristow Creek also shows that there has been a decrease in water quality from 1996 to 2002 (district
  watershed files). The decrease has resulted in the water quality at the sampling location going from an
  excellent condition to a fair condition in that time span. It is thought that the continuining influence of the
  identified sediment sources in Upper Bristow Creek is the cause of the reduction.

  Nutrients
  Bristow Creek is included on the state of Montana's 303(d) list of impaired water bodies. It is listed as only
  partially supporting aquatic life and cold water fishery. Probable causes of the impairments are; nutrients,
  fish habitat degradation, and siltation. Sources of impairment are listed as; silviculture, and logging road
  construction and maintenance.

  Macroinvertebrate sampling has been conducted on lower Bristow Creek from 1992 to 2002 and in lower
  Barron Creek from 1993 to 2002. Macroinvertebrate samples were sent to a contract laboratory to be
  analyzed (Mangum 1992–1996, Vinson 1997-2002). Both streams displayed an increase in organic
  enrichment after a ROS event in 1996. The main difference between the two streams is that impacts from
  this event rose almost immediately in Barron Creek but did not rise until two years later in Bristow Creek.
  This information suggests that there was a chronic source of sediment in upper Bristow Creek aggravated
  by the runoff event. Barron Creek has since returned to pre-1997 conditions. Bristow Creek has not
  returned to pre- 1997 conditions. Based on several indices both streams appear to have good diversity,
  are for the most part only slightly enriched, and maintain good to fair water quality.

4. Fish Passage
  There are three man made structures that could affect fish passage in the project area. A collapsed
  bridge in Barron Creek now acts as a barrier to upstream movement. The barrier is located in the NW1/4,
  NE1/4 of Section 28. Another structure (road culvert on FSR 228) is located in Jackson creek. The last
  structure is a water inlet (headgate) for the McGillivray campground, which is only a concern at low water
  flows. This diversion structure is located in NE1/4, NE1/4 of Section 8.

  Access to any of the streams in the planning subunit can be dependent in part on water elevations in
  Lake Koocanusa, but particularly in Barron Creek where a gradient barrier exists. If water elevations in
  the reservoir are lower than the barrier, fish can not migrate upstream. If the water elevation is higher
  than this barrier no problem exists. No barriers are known to exist in Bristow Creek. In one location a
  bridge has collapsed, but is not considered to be a migrational barrier or a sediment problem.

5. Aquatic Cover (large woody debris, pool frequency and quality, off-channel habitats)
  Eleven sites on Bristow Creek, four sites on Barron Creek, and nine sites on Jackson Creek were used to
  measure Rosgen channel types, bankfull width, and selected INFS RMOs (Table 3.38). Large woody
  debris, in this case wood greater than 6 inches in diameter and longer than the bankfull width for each
  stream, was measured during the surveys (field data in District watershed files). LWD varied from one
  reach to another with the lower reaches containing rootwad, suspended, recruitment, ramping, and
  embedded woody debris while the upper reaches contained mostly rootwads and recruitment woody
  debris. Pools were measured at 27 of the 35 reaches. Within those areas, six sites did not meet the INFS
  objective for pool numbers. Of those pools measured, very few would be considered quality pools (those
  greater than three feet in depth) and would provide no cover during the hotter months of the year.
  However, this is more a case of a natural occurrence rather than any impact from past forest
  management to existing pools.

  Riparian management for LWD is being met at all sites that were measured, as are number of pools with
  the exception of one reach on Jackson Creek, one reach on Barron Creek, and four reaches on Bristow
  Creek. The analysis shows that for the one reach on Bristow Creek that was identified in 1992 as not
  meeting RMOs for pools, project work of installing LWD in 1995 has brought the reach into compliance.
  One reach in Bristow Creek however showed improvement from 1992 to 2002 in the amount of bank
  stability.




  48                                     Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                         Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                 Table 3.38 - Riparian Management Objectives for Creeks and in the Project Area

                                  INFS RIPARIAN MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVE STANDARDS (RMOs)
     BANKFULL WIDTH (FT)            POOLS/FOOT*      LWD /FOOT (>BFW)*  BANK STABILITY (%) WIDTH/DEPTH RATIO
               <10                      1 per 55                1 per 250                      >80                      <10
             10 to 20                   1 per 94                1 per 250                      >80                      <10
             20 to 25                  1 per 112                1 per 250                      >80                      <10
    RIPARIAN MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES FOR CREEKS IN THE PROJECT AREA AS MEASURED ON INDIVIDUAL REACHES
                      ROSGEN                                            BANK
          SITE                     BFW   POOLS/FOOT    LWD/FOOT                    WIDTH/DEPTH RATIO
                       TYPE                                           STABILITY
     Bristow 1, 1995             F4b            18           1/45            1/31               100                    32.1
     Bristow 2, 1992             B3            22.9          1/85            1/23                75                     21
     Bristow 3, 1992             A4            17.6           nc              1/5                90                    35.2
     Bristow 4, 1992             B3            17.2         0/100            1/20                80                    15.6
     Bristow 1, 2001             B3            24.7          1/45             1/5               100                    35.1
     Bristow 2, 2002             B4            20.4         1/102            1/11               100                     15
     Bristow 3, 2002             A4            17.4          1/75             1/6                80                    15.4
     Bristow 4, 2002             B3            15.6          1/78            1/16               100                    15.9
     Bristow 5, 2002             B3a            8.8         0/206            1/15               100                    10.2
     Bristow 6, 2002             A4            15.7          1/53            1/16               100                    10.5
     Bristow 7, 2002             B4a            8.2         1/173            1/14               100                    19.5
     Bristow 8, 2002             B4            11.7          1/51            1/10                81                    13.7
     Bristow 9, 2002             B3a           15.0          1/61            1/34               100                     23
     Bristow 10, 2002            B3a            8.9          1/18             1/8               100                     9
     Bristow 11, 2002            B4a            10           1/29            1/10               100                    16.3

      Barron 1, 1996             B3            10.1           nc              nc                 nc                    17.4
      Barron 2, 1996             B4c            9.3           nc              nc                 nc                    15.2
      Barron 3, 1996             C3             7.1           nc              nc                 nc                    14.4
      Barron 4, 1996             B4a            5.9           nc              nc                 nc                    12.2
      Barron 1, 2002             B3            12.2         0/245            1/82               100                    19.3
      Barron 2, 2002             B4c           10.5          1/70            1/70               100                    24.3
      Barron 3, 2002             C4             9.8          1/67            1/50               100                    13.9
      Barron 4, 2002             B4a            7.8          1/26            1/23               100                    17.5

      Jackson 4, 1995            B3a            8.3           nc              nc                 nc                    11.9
      Jackson 6, 1995            B2a           10.6           nc              nc                 nc                    13.7
     Jackson 11, 1995            A3             9.5           nc              nc                 nc                    11.1
      Jackson 1, 1997            B4            11.7         1/91             1/16                91                    13.3
      Jackson 2, 1997            B4a            5.7         1/114            1/16               100                    13.5
      Jackson 4, 1997            B3a            8.1         1/29             1/44               100                    14.8
      Jackson 5, 1997            B3a            7.4         1/29             1/86               100                    11.7
      Jackson 6, 1997            B3a            9.3         1/28             1/49               100                    16.2
      Jackson 7, 1997            B4a            5.7         1/17              1/9                97                    12.6
     Jackson 11, 1997            A4             7.1         1/26             1/11               100                    12.1
     Jackson 12, 1997            B3a            2.8         1/28              1/4                95                     4.6
     Jackson 13, 1997            B4a            5.6         1/39             1/20               100                    12.6
*These figures were determined by converting the desired #of pools and LWD from pools/LWD per mile to pools/LWD per foot. For purposes of
this analysis only individual reaches of each stream were measured rather than the entire channel length. A discussion of Rosgen types can
be found on Page 39. nc = data not collected BFW – bankfull width

    Cover in terms of large woody debris and number of pools appears to be adequate. Substrate in the
    cobble and boulder dominated channels would also appear to provide cover, if we consider the very low
    amount of fine sediment measured in the stream channels.

  6. Riparian Area Management
    Riparian areas in the planning subunit have been managed in the past to different extents. Bristow Creek
    has seen 16% of its riparian area managed including both FS and PCTC lands and has a riparian road
    density of 2.5 miles per square mile of riparian area. Barron Creek has 25% and 5.1 miles per square

                                               Chapter 3                                                                         49
                           Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   mile of road in the riparian area and Jackson Creek has 37% and 5.4 miles per square mile of road in the
   riparian area.

   Roads within riparian zones reduce shading and disrupt LWD sources beyond the life of the road. These
   effects degrade habitat by increasing fine sediment levels, reducing pool volumes, increasing channel
   migration and exacerbating seasonal temperature extremes. The Barron Blue road #615 and the Jackson
   Creek road #401 are both parallel to and in close proximity to the stream channel of Barron and Jackson
   Creeks.

 7. Watershed Condition Assessment
   Using the information developed for the Upper Kootenai Subbasin Review (UKSBA, KNF, 2002) a
   watershed condition was developed for Bristow, Barron and Jackson Creeks. Numerous criteria are used
   in the process with the critical five being; percent equivalent clearcut area (ECA), percent intact riparian
   area, stream crossing density, percent detrimental soil disturbance, and the road density in riparian areas.
   Table 3.39 displays the attributes for the watersheds in the planning subunit and the corresponding
   watershed condition concern rating.

                          Table 3.39 - UKSBA Watershed Condition Rating Factors

                            PERCENT            STREAM              PERCENT          RIPARIAN AREA     WATERSHED
                  %
  WATERSHED                  INTACT           CROSSING          DETRIMENTAL         ROAD DENSITY       CONCERN
                 ECA
                         RIPARIAN AREA      DENSITY (#/MI2)   SOIL DISTURBANCE          (mi/ mi2)       RATING
    Bristow       22            84                2.3                  5                  2.5          Moderate
     Barron       24            75                3.8                  5                  5.1           High
    Jackson       23            63                2.6                  9                  5.4           High

   For the UKSBA process a “high” rating means there is a high potential for compromised watershed
   function from disturbances, particularly in riparian zones or on stream channels. The UKSBA watershed
   condition assessment was based on GIS and database information and was intended to be used as a
   course-filter analysis.

   A watershed/fisheries screening document developed on Libby RD (project file) was completed using
   more project-related, detailed information, the existing condition of Bristow Creek, appears to be one
   where moderate fisheries habitat degradation has occurred and a moderate amount of landscape change
   has occurred due primarily to roading. The management of the watershed has left it “functioning at risk” in
   respect to watershed function. Barron Creek and Jackson Creek have a more roaded environment and
   have seen more harvest activities that have resulted in water yield increases 3 to 4 times higher and total
   road densities on FS and PCTC lands at least 30% greater than Bristow Creek. Because of this
   combination of effects, these two drainages are considered to be “not functioning” in respect to watershed
   function. The face drainages to the reservoir are also more roaded but their lack of perennial fish bearing
   streams allows them to be classified as “functioning at risk” in respect to watershed function.

   For the Libby screening document a “functioning at risk” rating means that there is a high probability that
   the watershed is at or near a threshold where it could lose its ability to absorb further impacts and thus
   become unstable. A “not functioning” rating means that the watershed has been pushed over a threshold
   where it has lost its ability to absorb additional impacts. For both ratings the implementation of road
   storage and decommissioning activities will help to repair some of the conditions and trend the
   watersheds back towards a “functioning” condition.

   The USFS has presented documentation to the Montana DEQ regarding the removal of Bristow Creek
   from the 303(d) list of impaired watersheds. The basin remains on the list and has the date of 2007
   scheduled for the completion of a TMDL. Project file contains documentation.

Environmental Consequences
 Under natural conditions, a stream system is in a state of dynamic equilibrium. A stream channel develops
 over time by adjusting to changes in climate, flow regimes, and sediment inputs. Timber management
 activities can upset this balance by directly impacting the stream channel or adjacent streambanks. For
 example, road construction across stream channels can immediately increase sediment concentrations in
 the streamflow and harvest activities in riparian areas may add slash material to the channel, cause bank

   50                                      Chapter 3
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
sloughing to occur or reduce shading leading to modified water temperatures (Chamberlain 1982).

The cumulative effects of altering upslope runoff/erosion processes increase the possibility of indirectly
changing the natural balance of the stream system. A reduction in the forest canopy can increase
snowpacks and melting rates. Heavy equipment operation could compact soils, thereby accelerating
surface runoff. Skid trails and roads could intercept surface and subsurface flows and route this water
downslope. Riparian harvest activities may decrease the ability to filter upslope erosion or alter channel
geomorphological processes by reducing LWD in the channel. It can also affect water temperature regimes
and eliminate stream habitat cover. No riparian harvest is proposed by the NFS in this project. PCTC would
follow the State SMZ law requirements for any riparian harvest they propose. Vegetation removal can also
destabilize marginally stable slopes by increasing the subsurface water load, lower root strength, and alter
water flow patterns on the slope. Road crossings can also partially constrict or channelize flows and limit a
streams ability to maintain pools. As streamflow or sediment concentrations increase, the natural energy
balance within the streamflow changes. Stream channels that are out of equilibrium exhibit varying degrees
of bank cutting, channel scour, sediment deposition and channel braiding (King 1989).

Management activities that disrupt the natural balance of stream systems may do so for as little as one day,
or may continue for many decades. Surface erosion production from newly constructed roads normally
drops rapidly within one to four years following construction. Although the level of erosion drops
considerably with time, some lower level of erosion occurs as long as the roads are on the landscape.
Increases in surface runoff due to timber removal may take 70-90 years for hydrologic recovery to occur.
The combined effect of the type and degree of ground disturbance and the mitigation that is applied
determines the final impacts to the soil and water resource (King 1984).

Timber harvest activities such as road building and use, skidding logs, clearcutting and burning increase the
amount of bare, compacted soil exposed to rainfall and runoff resulting in higher rates of surface erosion.
Some of this hillside sediment can reach streams via roads, skid trails, and/or ditches. Appropriate
management precautions such as avoiding timber harvest in wet seasons, maintaining buffer zones below
open slopes and skidding over snow can decrease the amount of surface erosion. Harvest activities can
also greatly increase the likelihood of mass soil movements occurring, particularly along roads and on
clearcuts in steep terrain. Increased surface erosion and mass soil movements associated with timber
harvest areas can result in an increase of sediment inputs to streams. Fine sediments infiltrate into
streambed gravels affecting aquatic populations (Chamberlain 1982).

Fish populations and habitat are associated with the water resources in the planning subunit. Direct impacts
to these resources are associated with activities within stream channels and/or riparian areas. Indirect
impacts are associated with activities outside of these areas, which influence water and sediment levels.
Water quality (in particular sediment levels) is affected by soil disturbance, vegetative cover changes and
stream channel alteration. Direct effects of road construction and timber harvest include: the alteration of
the watersheds vegetative cover, soil loss or soil disturbance on road and skid trail areas and alteration of
stream channel morphology at culvert and bridge installations. A watersheds function in receiving, storing,
and transmitting water of quantity and quality sufficient to maintain beneficial water uses depends upon
maintaining a healthy vegetative and soils cover. Indirect effects of these activities are alteration of the
water quantity (amount and timing) and alteration of water quality, primarily fine sediment.

Anticipated effects on the fisheries resources and the aquatic habitat that supports them traditionally have
been estimated by the effects on representative habitats and species. By ensuring that such representative
habitats and species are adequately considered, sufficient habitat quality and diversity are presumed to
exist where all species using similar habitats are protected and/or restored. To gain a crucial perspective on
how best to manage riparian and aquatic habitat, it is necessary to not only focus on specific representative
habitats and species, but also on the ecological processes that create and maintain these habitats, their
structure and function.

To remain productive, a fish population must have relatively stable habitat conditions over time. Forest
management actions produce changes that are similar in kind and intensity to natural environmental
variability. However, human-caused changes tend to persist for longer periods, either because they are
more widespread, or because they add to natural factors that are already affecting fish productivity. Fish
species vary in their tolerance for, and reaction to, adverse or positive environmental changes. Further, the
response of one species may act as an additional negative effect on another species. Native trout species
                                         Chapter 3                                                         51
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                    Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 (redband and westslope cutthroat trout) are particularly vulnerable to habitat changes and to sediment
 effects (Weaver and Fraley 1991). However no redband or pure-strain westslope cutthroat trout exist in the
 planning subunit and its downstream receiving waters.

Effects of All Alternatives
 The water yield analysis accounts for all land disturbing activities (past, present and proposed) within the
 watershed. The effects analysis is based on the proposed activities displayed in chapter 2. All proposed
 logging systems would be conducted through tractor, or cable harvest methods. Alternative 1 is the no-
 action alternative, which implies that none of the USFS activities displayed in Chapter 2 would be
 conducted. Alternative 1 does include the proposed harvest activities by PCTC. Alternative 2 is the modified
 proposed action. Alternative 3 is the “Forest Plan” alternative as it attempts to move the planning subunit
 closer to the Forest Plan standards for road densities and retention of cavity habitat and meeting NFMA
 requirements for opening sizes based on the MAs. Alternative 4 is a water quality emphasis alternative. The
 analysis for Alternatives 2, 3, and 4 all include the effects of implementing the RAP proposals although the
 completion of most of these activities is dependant upon securing future funding. A portion of the RAP work
 in the Bristow Creek drainage has been identified as needing to be funded to insure the maintenance of the
 existing condition in this WQLS stream. A requirement for any of the action alternatives to proceed with
 additional management in “WQLS” watersheds is to at least maintain existing conditions with respect to
 beneficial use attainment. This work is to be completed before or concurrent with the timber sale activities in
 that drainage. All the other RAP work and stream enhancement projects are desired but will only be
 discussed in the direct and indirect effects analysis.

Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
   Timber harvest activities as proposed with this EA would not occur under the no-action alternative.
   However, natural changes in climate and vegetation would continue to occur, with a corresponding
   change in hydrologic response. Vegetative regeneration would continue on existing harvest units resulting
   in lower surface runoff and melting rates. Existing roads and skid trails would continue to intercept
   subsurface flows although sediment delivery from cut and fill slopes would decrease as stabilization and
   revegetation occurred. Hydrologic responses to existing regeneration and stabilization processes would
   continue to decrease peakflow and sediment routing. The no-action alternative includes the USFS unit
   changes from the Barron-Jack Sale which is occurring within the project area. The fuels reduction units
   (3,770 acres) included in the Forest-wide Fuels EA in the project area are also included in the analysis
   (table 2.7). BMP monitoring completed on the Libby Ranger District has shown no detrimental impact to
   water or soils from these activities (data in district watershed files).

 Cumulative Effects
  The no-action alternative includes PCTC timber harvest in Bristow, Barron, and Jackson Creek drainages.
  Table 3.40, below, shows the harvest activities that PCTC plans to complete in the next 2-5 years.

                                    Table 3.40 – Plum Creek Harvest Activities

                      LOCATION                HARVEST TYPE                  ACRES
                    Bristow Creek            Seedtree Removal                  22
                    Barron Creek               Shelterwood                     98
                                            Commercial Thinning                55
                                                 Clearcut                      94
                    Jackson Creek           Commercial Thinning               733
                                                 Salvage                      107
                                             Seedtree Removal                  16
                       TOTAL                                                 1,125

   Four stands from the recent Barron-Jack timber sale completed by the Forest Service did not result in the
   conditions that were expected from that analysis. The stands do not meet the silvicultural requirements
   for stocking levels. The units (3b and 4a in Barron Creek, and 15 and 17 in Jackson Creek) more closely
   resemble a regeneration harvest than a salvage harvest. To better analyze the existing impacts of that
   harvest type, the stands will be reanalyzed as regeneration harvest units to reflect the true condition of
   the units. This analysis resulted in an additional 21 ECAs in the Barron watershed and 62 ECAs in the

   52                                     Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   Jackson watershed. This information is presented to explain differences from the existing condition and
   the probable condition when these activities take place.

   No adverse effects are expected due to the predicted flow increase in Barron Creek from the Barron-Jack
   timber sale. The increase in ECAs in Jackson Creek would be pushing that watershed closer to a critical
   limit in water yield where adverse effects to fisheries and water quality would be expected. The majority of
   the activities planned by PCTC for Jackson Creek are between the years 2005 and 2009. That delay
   could give the watershed some needed recovery that has not been taken into account for this analysis
   due to the great variability in the private timber industry. The results are displayed in Table 3.41.

                                    Table 3.41 - Water Yield Results (2004)

                                              ECA      ROAD DENSITY       PERCENT WATER YIELD
                      DRAINAGE
                                            (ACRES)     (MILES/MI2)            INCREASE
                       Bristow                 870           2.7                     3.4
                       Barron                 1176           3.9                    14.1
                       Jackson                1263           3.7                    20.5
             Face Drainages To Reservoir       496           3.6                     3.2

 Discussion
   The following changes occur to each watershed with the implementation of Alternative 1. The condition of
   Bristow Creek would continue to be one where moderate fisheries habitat degradation has occurred and
   a moderate amount of landscape change has occurred due primarily to roading. The management of the
   watershed will leave it in a “functioning at risk” category in respect to watershed function. Because none
   of the RAP work would be completed, the chronic sources of sediment in upper Bristow Creek would
   remain. Barron Creek and Jackson Creek would continue to be “not functioning” with respect to
   watershed function due primarily to the high total road densities in the watersheds. The face drainages to
   the reservoir would also continue to be classified as “functioning at risk” in respect to watershed function.
   The watershed, soils/fisheries analysis has identified the principle causes for these ratings.

 Soils and Fisheries
  Because there would be no new FS harvest in this alternative there would be no effects to soils on NFS
  lands. The harvest on PCTC lands would follow state BMP requirements and would limit sediment
  delivery to streams. Harvest on PCTC lands would also follow their Habitat Conservation Plan for
  fisheries and would provide protection to fisheries resources under that USFWS permit.

Alternative 2
 Activities associated with Alternative 2 include timber harvest, site prep (burning and grapple piling),
 underburning, stream enhancement projects, road storage and decommissioning, and recreation projects
 listed in Chapter 2. A portion of the RAP work in the Bristow Creek drainage (Table 3.42) has been
 identified as necessary to fund to assure the work is completed before or concurrent with the timber sale
 activities to insure the maintenance of water quality standards per the State of Montana 319(d) regulations.
 The remainder of the RAP work identified in Tables 2.10B and 2.10C would be approved for completion but
 does not have secure funding and will only be discussed in the direct and indirect effects analysis. In order
 to conduct timber harvest, landings and skid trails must be constructed. Fish populations and habitat are
 directly, indirectly and cumulatively associated with the water resources in the area. Direct impacts are
 associated with activities within stream channels and/or riparian areas. Indirect impacts are associated with
 activities outside of these areas, which influence water and sediment levels. This alternative also includes
 all the cumulative activities from Alternative 1, discussed previously.

 Direct and Indirect Effects
   This alternative includes the construction of 5.1 miles of temporary road to access units and landing areas
   and upgrading 63 miles of road and 19 stream crossing structures to meet BMP standards. The RAP
   identified decommissioning 2.4 miles of road (Table 2.10C) and storing 33.7 miles of road (Tables 2.10A
   and B, Chapter 2). The RAP work includes the removal of 28 stream crossing structures that would result
   in the direct, but short-term, input of sediment to stream channels in the planning subunit during culvert
   removal. The RAP projects are designed to improve the stability of these crossings. They would have a
   short term (hours) detrimental effect on water quality but would result in long-term beneficial effects
   (Wegner, 1999). Only the 6.46 miles of road storage activities identified in table 3.42 have secure funding

                                          Chapter 3                                                          53
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  and will be discussed further in the cumulative effects section. The remainder of the work is desired and
  its effects were discussed above. The project also proposes fuel reduction activities in the following
  drainages; Bristow Creek- 369 acres, Barron Creek- 405 acres, Jackson Creek- 66 acres, and the
  Reservoir Face Drainages- 686 acres. This ecosystem burning, including fuels reductions total 1,526
  acres in the planning subunit. Approximately 3,264 acres of fuels reduction units from the Forest-wide
  Fuels EA are also included in this analysis. Low intensity, underburning has had little to no effect on the
  water resource from past burns completed on the Libby Ranger District (see district BMP files).

Cumulative Effects
 As discussed previously for Alternative 1, PCTC plans some timber harvest and roading in the planning
 subunit. The Forest Service proposal includes those activities listed in chapter 2. These activities result in
 the following impacts to the water, soils and fisheries resources. Timber harvest from this proposal will
 result in the generation of the following additional equivalent clearcut acres (ECAs): Bristow Creek – 778,
 Barron Creek – 210, Jackson Creek – 21, and the Reservoir Face Drainages – 162. This alternative also
 includes implementation of the required road storage activities listed in table 3.42.

                        Table 3.42 - Required Road Storage Activities in Bristow Creek

                     ROAD NUMBER                STORAGE (MILES)              STREAM CROSSINGS
                        4851                          1.77                          2
                        6300                          3.10                          6
                        4848                          1.07                          1
                        4812                          0.52                          0
                      TOTALS                          6.46                          9

  This cumulative effects discussion does not include the implementation of the remainder of the RAP
  proposal in chapter 2 because the funding is uncertain. The resulting cumulative effects of all these
  proposals are displayed in Table 3.43.

                                         Table 3.43 - Water Yield Results

                                 ECA       ROAD DENSITY      CUMMULATIVE PERCENT PERCENT INCREASE FROM
         DRAINAGE
                               (ACRES)      (MILES/MI2)      WATER YIELD INCREASE    USFS PROPOSAL
           Bristow              1,648           2.4                    6.5                       3.1
            Barron              1,386           3.9                   16.5                       2.4
           Jackson              1,284           3.7                   20.9                       0.4
 Face Drainages To Reservoir     658            3.6                    4.2                       1.0

Discussion
  The following changes occur to each watershed with the implementation of Alternative 2. The condition of
  Bristow Creek would continue to be one where moderate fisheries habitat degradation has occurred and
  a moderate amount of landscape change has occurred due primarily to roading and road generated
  sediments. The management of the watershed will leave it in a “functioning at risk” category in respect to
  watershed function although the chronic sources of sediment from the upper watershed would have been
  removed with the implementation of the required road storage work. Barron Creek and Jackson Creek
  would continue to be “not functioning” in respect to watershed function due primarily to the high total road
  densities in the watersheds. The face drainages to the reservoir would also continue to be classified as
  “functioning at risk” in respect to watershed function. The watershed, soils/fisheries analysis has identified
  the principle causes for these ratings. The mitigation section below (page 3-61) and in Chapter 2
  discusses some actions approved through this analysis that will be needed to help move these
  watersheds into the “functioning” category Some of the mitigations are required and some are desired.
  The required mitigations will be completed prior to or concurrent with the timber sale. The desired
  mitigations will be completed when funding becomes available.

  Additional discussion of the ground disturbing activities upon downstream watershed, soils, and fisheries
  resource values has been evaluated through the following categories:
       Hydrology/Geomorphology
       Soils
       Water Quality

  54                                     Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
           Cover
           Accessibility
           Fisheries

1. Hydrology/ Geomorphology
  The proposed activities would increase peak flows in the analyzed drainages above the existing
  conditions. The predicted peakflow increase in the watersheds, in the project area, range from 0.4 to
  3.1% (table 3.43). The stream channels on Forest Service lands within this watershed are in a stable
  morphological state and have a low to moderate sensitivity to increases in peak flows. The channels also
  have excellent recovery potential and low streambank erosion potentials. Because of these factors it is
  predicted that the increases in peak flows will not cause detrimental effects to the stream channels.

  Because there is no guarantee of the increased sediment being redeposited within the project area,
  existing sources of sediment must be mitigated to insure that levels of sediment leaving the watershed do
  not cause additional impairment to the water quality limited section in Bristow Creek. The implementation
  of the BMP‟s in Barron and Jackson Creeks would maintain those watersheds in respect to hydrology and
  geomorphology.There are numerous instances of road related sediments reaching streams in the
  planning subunit (RAP document). These sources continue to impact the water quality even though
  attempts with BMP‟s have been completed with the last salvage sale. The priority areas have been
  identified as critical mitigation that will need to be completed prior to or concurrent with this entry to
  reduce current sediment levels in the system. The reduction of these sediment sources will maintain the
  condition of Bristow Creek even with the projected increase in peakflows.

  It is not anticipated that there would be any additional sediment input to stream channels from just the
  timber harvest activities. In the long term, the proposed required road storage (Table 2.10A) and the
  removal of existing sediment from road crossings at 12 locations in Bristow Creek would result in an
  overall reduction in sediment in the watershed, even with the possibility of higher inchannel erosion due to
  increased stream flows. In the short term, the completion of the required road storage work in the Bristow
  watershed will allow the harvest activities while still maintaining the existing water quality levels.
  Additional road BMP work will be completed in all three drainages helping to maintain the existing
  conditions. However the critical areas of sediment inrtoduction in the Bristow drainage are outside of the
  Timber Sale Area and would not be covered by BMP‟s in this entry that is why they have been chosen as
  critical mitigation.

2. Soils
  The development of temporary roads, skid trails, firelines, and landings would expose new soils. Heavy
  equipment operation would compact the soils and accelerate surface runoff. This would result in the
  interception of subsurface water and would generate additional overland flow. Increases in surface runoff
  due to compacted soils and intercepted subsurface flows would become available as streamflow. Skid
  trails and road drainage systems increase this tendency by concentrating and routing these surface flows
  downslope. Approximately 1,100 acres of proposed harvest units have been previously harvested.
  Surveys of these units were conducted and mitigation measures were developed for inclusion into the
  contract to meet Forest Plan standards for the protection of the soil resource. A list of the affected units
  and the estimated increase in soil disturbance from the activities for each alternative is listed in table 3.44.
  For all other units that have not had previous harvest activities it is assumed that they will meet the Forest
  Plan standards based on the work completed by Kuennen (1998). The Forest Plan standard for soil
  disturbance during logging is 15% of the total unit area. The presence of established, no-activity RHCAs
  will also help to mitigate any possible negative effects from soil erosion due to harvest activities.

                                       Table 3.44 - Units with Historic Harvest

                                                                          (%) ESTIMATED
            YEAR OF                                    EXISTING SOIL
                                           AFFECTED                        CUMULATIVE            ALTERNATIVES
 UNIT #      PAST           DRAINAGE                   DISTURBANCE
                                            ACRES                       SOIL DISTURBANCE           INVOLVED
            HARVEST                                      LEVEL (%)
                                                                               LEVEL
   3A        1964,94         Bristow           26            3                    13                   2, 3
    5         1994           Bristow           7             2                    12                    2
    6         1998           Bristow           48            5                    9                    2, 3
    7         1998           Bristow           4             3                    5                     2

                                           Chapter 3                                                           55
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                    Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   8         1977         Bristow           23            3                   13                   2, 3
   9         1998         Bristow           2             3                   5                     2
   11        1998         Bristow           26            5                   7                     2
   15        1977         Bristow          294            3                   11                   2, 3
   16        1992         Bristow           6             1                   11                   2, 3
   18        1977         Bristow          111            6                   12                   2, 3
   21        1999         Bristow           40            8                   10                   2, 3
   26        1987         Bristow           37            6                   9                    2, 3
  Total                    Bristow         624
   43     1996,2003        Barron          13             2                   12                   2, 4
   44       1996           Barron          6              2                   12                     2
  44B     1996,2003        Barron          60             1                   11                  2, 3, 4
   45     1996,2002        Barron          23             1                   3                   2, 3, 4
   46       1996           Barron          9              3                   13                  2, 3, 4
   47       1996           Barron          6              4                   14                  2, 3, 4
   49       1996           Barron          20             2                   12                  2, 3, 4
  Total                    Barron          137
   63        1971         Jackson          17             3                   13                    2
  Total                    Jackson          17
   26        1987      Reservoir Face      188            6                   9                    2, 3
   37        1985      Reservoir Face       24            2                   11                   2, 4
   66        1992      Reservoir Face       26            5                   10                  2, 3, 4
   68        1992      Reservoir Face       47            2                   10                  2, 3, 4
   69        1992      Reservoir Face       22            3                   9                   2, 3, 4
  Total                 Reservoir Face     307

  The research conducted for the Soil Analysis Guidelines (Kuennen 1998, 2003) has shown that since
  1995, detrimental soil disturbance from logging activities on the KNF has been less than 10 percent.
  Cable operations generally disturb less than two percent of the harvest area. Forwarder operations
  generally disturb less than three percent of the harvest area. Winter operations for ground-based
  equipment generally disturb less than 4 percent of the harvest area. Summer operations for ground-
  based equipment is generally less than 10 percent. All of the proposed timber harvest would be tractor or
  cable harvested, while the pile and burn units would be completed through the use of an excavator or
  completed by hand. Fireline construction detrimentally disturbs one percent or less of an activity area. No
  detrimental disturbance is associated with broadcast burning or underburning.

  The Soil Analysis Guidelines recommend that skid trails be minimized in harvest areas with an ash cap
  soil layer as most of the proposed units have. Therefore, skidding will be conducted on designated trails
  only. All of the proposed harvest units in the sale area should remain below the recommended maximum
  of 15% of the soil area detrimentally disturbed.

  Tractor harvesting of all units except 2, 46, and 47, (which are to be cable harvested) along with portions
  of units 1, 3A, 15, 16, 28, 29, 30, 43, 44B, and 49 (which will be partially cable harvested) are not
  expected to cause compaction with the implementation of standard BMPs and contract clauses.

  In an attempt to increase the amount of productive soils and reduce soil erosion rates in the planning
  subunit, approximately 33.7 additional miles (beyond those listed as required mitigation) of road would be
  approved for storage and decommissioning (Tables 2.10B and C). Some of the roads picked for this work
  are located on “sensitive” landtypes and have stream crossing structures that do not meet current
  standards. Sensitive landtypes are those areas with a majority of lacustrine soils and areas located in
  floodplains and wetland. Please see Appendix 5 for a discussion of the difference between storage and
  decommissioning treatments. Monitoring of previous road storage and decommissioning activities
  completed by the Libby Ranger District have shown dramatic improvements in lowered sediment delivery
  to streams and increased water quality from this type of work (Wegner 1999).

3. Water Quality
  All proposed activities would follow standards and guidelines prescribed by INFS. These standards and
  guidelines would prohibit timber harvest, including fuelwood cutting, in RHCAs. Appendix 4 includes
  56                                      Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  RHCAs for all proposed harvest units in the project area. There is no harvest proposed adjacent to
  stream channels. No stream riparian harvest is proposed to occur. Therefore, no additional change in
  water temperatures is expected from the existing conditions.

  The proposed action also includes burning of slash piles that could have some short term indirect effects
  on site nutrient levels, although it would be minimal. Fires release nitrogen, phosphorous, and other
  nutrients into the soil where they are quickly used by plants. Given the distribution over time and space of
  these piles and the dilution of any increased nutrients by the time they reach a stream any effects from
  nutrient increases would be negligible. There would be no change in nutrients or contaminants over what
  currently occurs.

4. Accessibility
 Fish passage (accessibility) is a critical issue and access to any of the streams in the planning subunit
 can be dependent in part on water elevations in Lake Koocanusa. Road decommissioning in the area will
 not affect fish passage. Streams in the area of road decommissioning are mainly intermittent channels
 with high gradient, no fish occur in any drainage where decommissioning will occur. Streams with fish in
 the project area are mainly connected by bridges to the road system. Fish passage is then mainly a
 function of reservoir operations at the mouths of the streams. Other identified barriers are described
 below.

  Barron Creek has a gradient barrier that exists near the high water mark of the Koocanusa Reservior, at
  the mouth Barron Creek. If water elevations are lower than the barrier, fish can not migrate upstream. If
  the water elevation is higher than this barrier, no problem exists.

  A collapsed bridge in Barron Creek, in Section 28, now acts as a barrier to upstream movement. Under
  normal conditions this barrier would be removed. However, MTFWP has plans for the Barron Creek area.
  Sometime in the future they intend to poison the drainage and then re-stock it with cutthroat trout only.
  This stream is thought to have the characteristics that would make excellent westslope drainage, if the
  brook trout were removed. If plans change with MTFWP and it is determined that this is no longer an
  option for them, then this barrier will be removed by the Forest Service.

  The second issue is the culvert and diversion dam on Jackson Creek. These structure are probably
  functioning as a barrier during all but the peak flows in this drainage. The culvert on FS road 228 has a
  small drop on the outlet end. This drop is a migration barrier in low flows to most small salmonids and
  other poor swimming fish such as sculpin. The headgate that is constructed to divert water into the hydro-
  powered pump also blocks upstream migration in the summer during low flows. This practice is not going
  to change in the near future. The structure is the only source of water for the McGillivray campground.
  Fisheries concerns in Jackson Creek are low. This drainage does not contain westslope cutthroat trout.
  Non-native brook trout and rainbows now exist in the upper reaches of Jackson Creek. Spawning
  rainbows coming up from the reservoir would not encounter a barrier in the spring on this drainage.
  However, brook trout may be limited during fall runs into Jackson Creek.

  No barriers are known to exist in Bristow Creek. In one location a bridge has collapsed, but is not thought
  to be a migrational barrier or a sediment problem.

5. Cover
  The proposed activities would have little impact on any of the parameters associated with instream cover.
  There would be minimal impact to RHCAs during the road storage and decommissioning activities. The
  result of these activities will be beneficial to the RHCAs due to removal of the hardened road surface
  within the RHCA.
6. Fisheries
  Bristow Creek has been spot sampled using electrofishing techniques by the MFWP in the early 70's as
  part of a pre-impoundment study for Libby Dam, and by FS personnel in 1993 as part of the Bristow EM
  project. Populations and species composition in all the creeks have probably remained about the same
  over this period (1970 -current). Bristow currently supports resident populations of rainbow, cutthroat, and
  eastern brook trout, and a small number of rainbow-cutthroat hybrids. Brook trout appear to be abundant
  throughout the entire stream system, with highest numbers occurring in the middle and upper reaches. In
  contrast, rainbow and cutthroat trout were found to occur in lower numbers (abundance rating of
  common), with the highest numbers occurring in the lower reaches. Torrent sculpins, a sensitive species,
                                         Chapter 3                                                         57
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   were found for a limited distance near the confluence or interface with the reservoir. One small ling was
   also found near the confluence. Long nose dace, a common, non-game forage species were found near
   the mouth and in lower reaches (lower half) of the stream. Whitefish were not observed during either
   sampling, however a single adult whitefish was observed in the reach just above the FDR in the mid
   1980's during fall sediment sampling. Bull trout have not been documented as occurring in the planning
   subunit.

Alternative 3
 Activities associated with Alternative 3 include timber harvest, site prep (burning and grapple piling),
 underburning, stream enhancement projects, recreation projects and the road decommissioning projects
 listed in Chapter 2. A portion of the RAP work in the Bristow Creek drainage (Table 3.42) has been
 identified as necessary to be funded to assure the work is completed before or concurrent with the timber
 sale activities to insure the maintenance of water quality standards per the State of Montana 319(d)
 regulations. The remainder of the RAP work identified in Tables 2.10B and C would be approved for
 completion but does not have secure funding and will only be discussed in the direct and indirect effects
 analysis. In order to conduct timber harvest, landings and skid trails must be constructed. Fish populations
 and habitat are directly, indirectly and cumulatively associated with the water resources in the area. Direct
 impacts are associated with activities within stream channels and/or riparian areas. Indirect impacts are
 associated with activities outside of these areas, which influence water and sediment levels. This alternative
 also includes all the cumulative activities from Alternative 1, discussed previously.

 Direct and Indirect Effects
   This alternative includes the construction of 4.8 miles of temporary road to access units and landing areas
   and upgrading 42 miles of road and 12 stream crossing structures to meet BMP standards. The
   decommissioning of 2.4 miles of road and storing 33.7 miles of road would also be approved through this
   decision (Tables 2.10A, B and C, Chapter 2). The RAP work includes the removal of 28 stream crossing
   structures that would result in the direct, but short-term, input of sediment to stream channels in the
   planning subunit during removal of culverts. The RAP projects are designed to improve the stability of
   these crossings. They would have a short term (hours) detrimental effect on water quality but would result
   in long-term beneficial effects (Wegner 1999). Only the 6.46 miles of road storage activities identified in
   table 3.42 have secure funding and will be discussed further in the cumulative effects section. The
   remainder of the work is desired and its effects were discussed above. The project also proposes fuel
   reduction activities in the following drainages; Bristow Creek- 369 acres, Barron Creek- 405 acres,
   Jackson Creek- 66 acres, and the Reservoir Face Drainages- 686 acres. This ecosystem burning,
   including fuels reductions total 1,526 acres in the planning subunit. Approximately 3,264 acres of fuels
   reduction units from the Forest-wide Fuels EA are also included in this analysis. Low intensity,
   underburning has had little to no effect on the water resource as determined from past burns completed
   on the Libby Ranger District (see district BMP files).

 Cumulative Effects
  As discussed previously for Alternative 1, PCTC plans some timber harvest and roading in the planning
  subunit. The NFS proposal includes those harvest and fuel reduction activities listed in Chapter 2. These
  activities result in the following impacts to the water, soils and fisheries resources. Timber harvest from
  this proposal will result in the generation of the following additional equivalent clearcut acres (ECAs):
  Bristow Creek-664, Barron Creek-147, Jackson Creek-0, and the Reservoir Face Drainages-126. This
  alternative also includes the implementation of the required road storage activities listed in table 3.42.

                                       Table 3.45 - Water Yield Results

                                    ECA     ROAD DENSITY      % CUMULATIVE WATER        % INCREASE FROM
            DRAINAGE
                                  (ACRES)    (MILES/MI2)         YIELD INCREASE          USFS PROPOSAL
              Bristow             1,534           2.4                    6.0                    2.6
               Barron             1,323           3.9                   16.1                    2.0
              Jackson             1,263           3.7                   20.5                    0.0
    Face Drainages To Reservoir    622            3.6                    4.0                    0.8

   This cumulative effects discussion does not include the implementation of the remainder of the RAP
   proposal in Chapter 2 because the funding is uncertain. The resulting cumulative effects of all these
   proposals are displayed in Table 3.45.
   58                                     Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Discussion
  The following changes occur to each watershed with the implementation of Alternative 3. The condition of
  Bristow Creek would continue to be one where moderate fisheries habitat degradation has occurred and
  a moderate amount of landscape change has occurred due primarily to roading. The management of the
  watershed will leave it in a “functioning at risk” category in respect to watershed function although the
  chronic sources of sediment from the upper watershed would have been removed with the
  implementation of the required road storage work. Barron Creek and Jackson Creek would continue to be
  “not functioning” in respect to watershed function due primarily to the high total road densities in the
  watersheds. The face drainages to the reservoir would also continue to be classified as “functioning at
  risk” in respect to watershed function. The watershed, soils/fisheries analysis has identified the principle
  causes for these ratings. The mitigation section below and in Chapter 2 discusses some actions approved
  through this analysis that will be needed to help move these watersheds into the “functioning” category
  when funding becomes available.

  Additional discussion of the cumulative effect of ground disturbing activities has been evaluated through
  the following categories:
       Hydrology/Geomorphology
       Soils
       Water Quality
       Accessibility
       Cover
       Fisheries

1. Hydrology/ Geomorphology
  The proposed USFS activities would increase peak flows in the analyzed drainages above the existing
  conditions. The predicted peakflow increase in the watershed, in the project area, range from 0 to 2.6%
  (table 3.45). The stream channels on Forest Service lands within these watersheds are in a stable
  morphological state and have a low to moderate sensitivity to increases in peak flows. The channels also
  have excellent recovery potential and low streambank erosion potentials. Because of these factors it is
  predicted that the increases in peak flows will not cause detrimental effects to the stream channels.

  It is not anticipated that there would be any additional sediment input to stream channels from just the
  timber harvest activities. In the long term, the proposed required road storage (Table 2.10A) and the
  removal of existing sediment from road crossings at 12 locations in Bristow Creek would result in an
  overall reduction in sediment in the watershed, even with the possibility of higher inchannel erosion due to
  increased stream flows. In the short term, the completion of the required road storage work in the Bristow
  watershed will allow the harvest activities while still maintaining the existing water quality levels.
  Additional road BMP work will be completed in all three drainages helping to maintain the existing
  conditions. However the critical areas of sediment introduction in the Bristow drainage are outside of the
  Timber Sale Area and would not be covered by BMP‟s in this entry that is why they have been chosen as
  critical mitigation.

2. Soils
  Effects are the same as Alternative 2 except that only 990 acres of the proposed harvest units have been
  previously harvested. Surveys of these units were conducted and mitigation measures were developed
  for inclusion into the contract to meet Forest Plan standards for the protection of the soil resource (table
  3.47). A list of the affected units and the estimated increase in soil disturbance from the activities for each
  alternative is listed in table 3.44.
  .
3. Water Quality
  All proposed activities would follow standards and guidelines prescribed by INFS. These standards and
  guidelines would prohibit timber harvest, including fuelwood cutting, in RHCAs. Appendix 4 includes
  RHCAs for all proposed harvest units in the project area. There is no harvest proposed adjacent to
  stream channels. No stream riparian harvest is proposed to occur. Therefore, no additional change in
  water temperatures is expected from the existing conditions. There would be no change in nutrients or
  contaminants over what currently occurs.

4. Accessibility, Cover, and Fisheries
  Effects are the same as described for Alternative 2.
                                               Chapter 3                                                      59
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Alternative 4
 Activities associated with Alternative 4 include timber harvest, site prep (burning and grapple piling),
 underburning, stream enhancement projects, recreation projects and the road decommissioning projects
 listed in Chapter 2. A portion of the RAP work in the Bristow Creek drainage (Table 3.42) has been
 identified as necessary to be funded to insure the maintenance of water quality standards per the State of
 Montana 319(d) regulations. The remainder of the RAP work identified in Tables 2.10B and C would be
 approved for completion but does not have secure funding and will only be discussed in the direct and
 indirect effects analysis. In order to conduct timber harvest, landings and skid trails must be constructed,
 although exact locations are unknown at this time. Fish populations and habitat are directly, indirectly and
 cumulatively associated with the water resources in the area. Direct impacts are associated with activities
 within stream channels and/or riparian areas. Indirect impacts are associated with activities outside of these
 areas, which influence water and sediment levels. This alternative also includes all the cumulative activities
 from Alternative 1, discussed previously.

 Direct and Indirect Effects
   This alternative proposes no harvest activities in Bristow or Jackson Creeks. The no-harvest in Bristow
   Creek along with the required road storage activities is an attempt to remove the watershed from the
   State 303(d) listing as an impaired watershed. This work is needed because the sediment sources in
   Bristow have continued to impact the water quality even after the completion of BMP work from the last
   Salvage sale. The no-harvest proposal in Jackson Creek is an attempt to lessen the impacts of harvest
   proposed by PCTC. In Barron Creek and the reservoir face drainages, the construction of 2.5 miles of
   temporary road to access units and landing areas would be required. The upgrading of 19 miles of road
   and five stream crossing structures to meet BMP standards would also be completed. There would be no
   timber sale funded BMP road work completed in Bristow or Jackson Creek. The RAP identified road work
   of decommissioning 2.4 miles of road and the storage of 27.2 miles of road would also be approved
   through this decision (Tables 2.10B and C, Chapter 2). The RAP work includes the removal of 28 stream
   crossing structures that would result in the direct, but short-term, input of sediment to stream channels in
   the planning subunit during culvert removal. The RAP projects are designed to improve the stability of
   these crossings. They would have a short term (hours) detrimental effect on water quality but would result
   in long-term beneficial effects (Wegner 1999). Only the 6.46 miles of road storage activities identified in
   table 3.42 have secure funding and will be discussed further in the cumulative effects section. The
   remainder of the work is desired and its effects were discussed above.

   The project also proposes fuel reduction activities in the following drainages; Bristow Creek-369 acres,
   Barron Creek-405 acres, Jackson Creek-66 acres, and the Reservoir Face Drainages-686 acres. This
   ecosystem burning, including fuels reductions total 1,526 acres in the planning subunit. Approximately
   3,264 acres of fuels reduction units from the Forest-wide Fuels EA are also included in this analysis. The
   effects from low intensity, underburning has had little to no effect on the water resource from past burns
   completed on the Libby Ranger District (see district BMP files).

 Cumulative Effects
  As discussed previously for Alternative 1, PCTC plans some timber harvest and roading in the planning
  subunit. The Forest Service proposal includes those harvest and fuel reduction activities listed in Chapter
  2. These activities result in the following impacts to the water, soils and fisheries resources. Timber
  harvest from this proposal will result in the generation of the following additional equivalent clearcut acres
  (ECAs): Bristow Creek-0, Barron Creek-210, Jackson Creek-0, and the Reservoir Face Drainages-213.
  This alternative also includes the implementation of the required road storage activities listed in table
  3.42.
                                         Table 3.46 - Water Yield Results

                                    ECA      ROAD DENSITY      % CUMULATIVE WATER         % INCREASE FROM
            DRAINAGE
                                  (ACRES)     (MILES/MI2)         YIELD INCREASE           USFS PROPOSAL
              Bristow               870            2.4                    3.4                    0.0
               Barron              1,386           3.9                   16.5                    2.4
              Jackson              1,263           3.7                   20.5                    0.0
    Face Drainages To Reservoir     709            3.6                    4.6                    1.4




   60                                     Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  This cumulative effects discussion does not include the implementation of the remainder of the RAP
  proposal in Chapter 2 because the funding is uncertain. The resulting cumulative effects of all these
  proposals are displayed in table 3.46.

Discussion
  The following changes occur to each watershed with the implementation of Alternative 4. The condition of
  Bristow Creek would continue to be one where moderate fisheries habitat degradation has occurred and
  a moderate amount of landscape change has occurred due primarily to roading. The management of the
  watershed will leave it in a “functioning at risk” category in respect to watershed function although the
  chronic sources of sediment from the upper watershed would have been removed with the
  implementation of the required road storage work. The watershed would not have an increased potential
  of instream erosion because there would be no harvest under this alternative. This should place the
  watershed in a good condition for a quicker recovery. Barron Creek and Jackson Creek would continue to
  be “not functioning” in respect to watershed function due primarily to the high total road densities in the
  watersheds. Jackson Creek would not have any additional USFS-harvest related peakflow increase. This
  should help speed the recovery of this watershed. The face drainages to the reservoir would also
  continue to be classified as “functioning at risk” with respect to watershed function. The mitigation section
  below and in Chapter 2 discusses some actions approved through this analysis that should help move
  these watersheds towards the “functioning” category when funding becomes available.

  Additional discussion of the cumulative effects of ground disturbing activities has been evaluated through
  the following categories:
       Hydrology/Geomorphology
       Soils
       Water Quality
       Accessibility
       Cover
       Fisheries

1. Hydrology/ Geomorphology
  The proposed USFS activities would increase peak flows in the analyzed drainages above the existing
  conditions. The predicted peakflow increase in the watershed, in the project area, range from 0 to 2.4%
  (table 3.46). The stream channels on USFS lands within these watersheds are in a stable morphological
  state and have a low to moderate sensitivity to increases in peak flows. The channels also have excellent
  recovery potential and low streambank erosion potentials. Because of these factors it is predicted that the
  increases in peak flows will not cause detrimental effects to the stream channels in Barron Creek or
  Reservoir tributaries.

  As discussed in Alternative 2, it is not anticipated that there would be any additional sediment input to
  stream channels from just the timber harvest activities. The proposed activities would elevate peak flows
  above the current level. In the long term, the proposed road storage and decommissioning (Tables 2.10A,
  B and C) and the removal of existing sediment from road crossings at 28 locations would result in an
  overall reduction in sediment in all the watersheds, even with the possibility of higher inchannel erosion
  due to increased stream flows. In the short term, the completion of the required road storage work in the
  Bristow watershed will allow the watershed to maintain its existing water quality levels by removing the
  known sources of road generated erosion since no timber sale funded, road BMPs are proposed in
  Bristow Creek under this alternative.

2. Soils
  Effects are the same as described for Alternative 2 except that only 250 acres of proposed harvest units
  have been previously harvested. Surveys of these units were conducted and mitigation measures were
  developed for inclusion into the contract to meet Forest Plan standards for the protection of the soil
  resource (Table 3.47). A list of the affected units and the estimated increase in soil disturbance from the
  activities for each alternative is listed in Table 3.44.

3. Water Quality
  All proposed activities would follow standards and guidelines prescribed by INFS. These standards and
  guidelines would prohibit timber harvest, including fuelwood cutting, in RHCAs. Appendix 4 includes
  RHCAs for all proposed harvest units in the project area. There is no harvest proposed adjacent to
                                                Chapter 3                                               61
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                         Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   stream channels. Therefore, no additional change in water temperatures is expected from the existing
   conditions. There would be no change in nutrients or contaminants over what currently occurs.

 4. Accessibility, Cover, and Fisheries
   The effects are the same as described for Alternative 2.

Mitigation and Design Features
 The Kootenai National Forest Plan states that "Soil and water conservation practices as outlined in the Soil
 and Water Conservation Practices Handbook (FSH 2509.22, May 1988) will be incorporated into all land
 use and project plans as a principal mechanism for controlling nonpoint pollution sources; meeting soil and
 water quality goals; and to protect beneficial uses. Activities found not in compliance with the soil and water
 conservation practices or State standard will be brought into compliance, modified, or stopped." (Kootenai
 National Forest Plan, pg II-23). Montana State Water Quality Standards require the use of Reasonable
 Land, Soil, and Water Conservation Practices (analogous to BMPs) as the controlling mechanism for
 nonpoint pollution. Use of BMPs is also required in the Memorandum of Understanding between the Forest
 Service and the State of Montana as part of our responsibility as the Designated Water Quality
 Management Agency.

 Specific Required Mitigation and Design Features
      1) Road Storage Activities in Bristow Creek - Road storage activities listed in Table 3.42 will be
           required to be completed before or concurrent with timber harvest activities in the Bristow Creek
           drainage. The approximate cost of this work is $20,000.

        2) Harvest Units with Previous Harvest - The units displayed in Table 3.47 have experienced
           previous timber management. The final proposed treatment method will maintain the soil
           disturbance level below the Forest Plan standard of 15% disturbance in the unit.

                                Table 3.47- Mitigations for Units with Previous Harvest

                             UNIT #             MITIGATION                     UNIT #              MITIGATION
                                6                  EST                           44B             EST, Landing
                                7                  EST                            46             DST, Landing,
                                8                  DST                            47              JR, Landing
                                9                  EST                            49              DST, Cable
                                11             EST, Landing                       26               DST, WL
                                15                D or F                         26B                  DST
                                16                Cable                           37             EST, Landing
                                18                 EST                            66               F or WL
                                21              EST, WL, F                        68                F or D
                                26               DST, WL                          69                  WL
                                43             DST, Landing                       63             DST, F or WL
                                44             EST, Landing
                  N/A = Not Applicable EST = use existing skid trails   DST = designated skid trails D= dry soil conditions required
            F= frozen soil conditions required Cable = use cable yarding system Landing = re-use existing landing and burn pile areas
                                          WL= winter logging required JR= use jump-up road to access unit.

        3) Contract Clauses for Harvest and Fuels Units - BT6.311-Plan of Operations, BT6.4, CT6.4-
           Conduct of Logging, BT6.42-Skidding and yarding, BT6.422-Landings and Skid Trails, BT6.6,
           CT6.6-Erosion Prevention Control, BT6.65-Skid Trails and Firelines, BT6.5-Streamcourse
           Protection, CT6.62- Noxious Weed Control, BT5.2, CT5.2-Specified Road Construction, BT5.4,
           CT5.4-Road Maintenance, CT5.41-Closure to Use by Others, CT6.633-Temporary Road, Skid
           Trail and Landing Scarification, CT6.6.25- Protection of TES Species, BT6.64-Landings and
           CT6.35-Equipment Cleaning.

        4) Temporary roads:
           A) All temporary roads would be built to specifications that would allow them to over-winter if
           needed.
           B) No perennial stream crossings would be allowed by temporary roads.
           C) The size of the landing areas would generally be 1 to 2 acres.

   62                                         Chapter 3
                          Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                     Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
            D) Soil moisture would be required to be 30% or below, the ground must be frozen, or covered
            with 2 feet of snow.
            E) The access cannot go through designated old-growth areas.
            F) The machines used for construction must be cleaned before they enter the areas.
            G) All temporary roads would be obliterated by contractor after use.

        5) Best Management Practices (BMPs) - Implementation of the BMPs listed in Appendix 7.

        6) Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas - Implementation of the Forest Plan RHCA widths for the
           units shown in Table 3.48 is required to meet Forest Plan standards as amended by INFS. Also if
           any additional streams are found during layout they will also be buffered to meet this requirement.

                                            Table 3.48 - RHCA Buffers by Unit

                                   UNIT #           RHCA WIDTH IN FEET (MINIMUM EACH SIDE)
                                     15                                   50
                                     16                                   50
                                     27                                   50
                                     28                                   50
                                     29                                   50
                                     30                                   50
                                    31A                                   50
                                     32                                   50
                                     49                                   50
                                     68                                  100*
                                     70                                  100*
                  *As modified under RHCA text under “Consistency with Regulatory Framework” discussion below.

  Non-Required Habitat Enhancement Improvement Projects
  Funding for these types of project have traditionally come from the KV Act monies that can be used to fund
  activities needed to help mitigate impacts to “other” resources. Funding for road decommissioning and
  storage activities has also come from Regional funds used to help meet targets for the Forest. Another
  source of funding has been the RAC funds for these types of projects. Based on past experience it is
  anticipated that this work has a good probability of being completed within 5 years after the sale is closed.
          1) Stream Channel Improvements: Large woody debris (LWD) would be added to 2 locations on
              lower Bristow Creek for a total of 500 feet of channel, 1 location on Barron Creek (300 feet of
              channel), and 1 location on Jackson Creek (200 feet of channel). This addition of LWD has
              proven successful in the past and would increase pool development and habitat diversity in the
              channel systems (map in project file).

        2) RAP Projects: Desired improvements include completion of the remainder of the road storage
           and decommissioning proposals not included in the required mitigation portion of the document
           (Tables 2.10B and C, Chapter 2). Table 3.49 displays the change in road densities with the
           completion of the RAP work.

                    Table 3.49 - Road Density Changes with Implementation of RAP Work

                                                                   ROAD DENSITY            ROAD DENSITY
                                           EXISTING ROAD
                    WATERSHED                                     AFTER REQUIRED           AFTER ALL RAP
                                          DENSITY (MI. /MI.2)
                                                                     RAP WORK                  WORK
                      Bristow                     2.7                     2.4                     2.1
                       Barron                     3.9                     3.9                     3.4
                      Jackson                     3.7                     3.7                     2.9
                Reservoir Tributaries             3.6                     3.6                     3.3

Consistency with Regulatory Framework
 Forest Plan Consistency
   The proposed activities, in conjunction with the required mitigation, are consistent with the Forest Plan for
   the water, soils, and fisheries resources. All alternatives meet the Forest Plan standard for the protection
   of streams and water quality based on the morphological condition of the stream channels. Because of
                                            Chapter 3                                                            63
                        Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  the required mitigation measures included in the action alternatives the implementation of any of these
  alternatives will be consistent with the Kootenai National Forest Plan‟s direction for protection of soil and
  water resources. Based on monitoring completed by Wegner (1999) the road decommissioning and
  storage activities do have minor short-term impacts to water quality but result in immediate improvements
  to both water quality, habitat features, and fish accessibility. Based on monitoring by Kuennen (2003) the
  harvest activities will not result in detrimental soil disturbances above the Forest Plan standard.
  Numerous mitigations have been developed for areas of past harvest that will also allow those areas
  remain below the Forest Plan Standard for soil disturbance. Forest Plan consistency is measured through
  the implementation of:

          Guidelines for Calculation Water Yield Increases (Forest Plan - Appendix 18).
          INFS RHCA Guidelines (Appendix 4).
          Best Management Practices (Appendix 2).

Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas
  Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas (RHCAs) and the Montana Streamside Management Zone Act
  (SMZ) help protect streams, riparian areas and fisheries habitat. All action alternatives would require a
  modification of the default RHCA widths listed in the Forest Plan (as amended by INFS). Two units (68
  and 70) along Koocanusa Reservoir would be affected. The default widths were originally created to
                                                                          th
  apply to third through sixth order streams. Koocanusa Reservoir is a 7 order water body created by
  Libby Dam. Forest management activities do not influence water levels, temperature, or other RMO
  factors associated with the management of the reservoir. The existing vegetation along the reservoir
  consists of low elevation, dry-site ponderosa pine. Harvest was proposed to open up the over crowded
  stands and reduce fuels. The IDT felt it was appropriate to modify the default RHCA widths for stand
  improvement activities. These treatments would not retard the attainment of the RMOs for the reservoir.
  The new buffers would meet the state SMZ law and would extend 100 feet from the high water mark of
  the reservoir. Logging equipment would not be allowed within the buffer zone. The remainder of the units
  would use the default RHCA widths as outlined in the Forest Plan and listed in Appendix 4. A site specific
  analysis was completed for these two units and signed by the District Ranger (analysis in the project file).

Montana Water Quality Act Consistency
 The Montana Water Quality Act requires that we protect, maintain or improve water quality to the level
 necessary to support beneficial uses. Bristow Creek is included on every bi-annual list the state of
 Montana has created in its 305(b) program to list impaired waterbodies. It is listed as only partially
 supporting aquatic life and cold water fisheries. Probable causes of the impairments are listed as;
 nutrients, fish habitat degradation, and siltation. Sources of impairment are listed as; silviculture, and
 logging road construction and maintenance as per the Montana DEQ - 2004 WQLS List, the current
 completion date for the Bristow TMDL document is scheduled for 2007.

  In DEQs letter dated September 22, 1994 the State of Montana Water Quality Bureau states: "Since
  these streams are water quality limited none of the causes of impairments may increase. This does not
  mean additional harvest activity cannot occur. It does mean that if additional management activity occurs
  a major objective of that activity should be to improve the situation or at the very least not impede current
  recovery."

  Alternative 1, the no-action alternative, does not meet the purpose and need for the project and because
  of cumulative actions (PCTC timber harvest) and the lack of watershed mitigations would not maintain
  beneficial uses on USFS lands in the planning subunit. All the proposed action alternatives, in conjunction
  with the required mitigation, would maintain beneficial uses in Bristow, Barron, and Jackson Creeks and
  would not impede recovery of those drainages.




  64                                     Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

3. Fire/Fuels
 Introduction
   This section addresses the purpose and need of this project to reduce hazard fuels and restore
   natural fire regime. For additional information regarding fire ecology and changes to vegetation in
   the planning subunit, please refer to the Vegetation section of this chapter.

 Planning Subunit
   The planning subunit is limited to the Bristow Restoration Project area.

 Analysis Methods
  Effects of the proposed action and alternatives were determined by comparing fire risk, fuel loading and
  potential fire intensity of the planning subunit with the reference condition. The reference condition is
  during the time period where current vegetation type (coniferous forest) developed up until European
  settlement and subsequent fire suppression. This time period is roughly from 2,500 years before present
  until fire suppression began in the 1920s.

 Affected Environment
   There have been many different types and intensities of disturbances occurring on the Bristow Creek
   landscape over time. Natural succession shaped by fire history has been the most pronounced
   occurrence. Data based on fire history sampling throughout the Bristow Creek drainage, suggests a fire
   occurred somewhere in the drainage every 12 to 17 years (Losensky 1992). Usually these were low to
   moderate underburns that periodically removed understory, grasses, forbs, shrubs and conifer species.
   Climax species such as Douglas-fir, grand fir, western redcedar and hemlock were periodically removed
   in all canopy layers. This maintained a higher abundance of intolerant, fire-resistant species such as
   ponderosa pine, western larch and Douglas-fir in the dominante and co-dominante crown classes. This
   also maintained a higher abundance of seral grasses, forbs and shrubs. Successional trends while fire
   shaped the landscape showed repeated development of multistoried stand structures from this
   underburning.

   Major fires on average occurred every 47 years, which impacted large areas in the drainage. The
   lodgepole pine type is the best example of these high intensity stand replacement fires. Large areas were
   consumed; leaving some scattered larger diameter western larch and Douglas-fir remnants that could
   survive the fire. Complete consumption of all vegetation also occurred in specific areas, particularly along
   ridges.

   Light to moderate underburns occurred in the late 1700‟s, late 1800‟s and 1910. Stand-replacement fires
   occurred in the late 1800‟s, 1910 and 1929. Since that time, very little evidence of fire exists. Most
   evidence shows small spot fires with occasional large underburns.

   From 1908 to the present there were 241 fires recorded in the Bristow planning subunit, 174 of which
   were lightning ignited. The remaining 67 fires, five of which were over 100 acres, were predominately
   human-caused and concentrated along the Kootenai river corridor.

   Wildland fire is a real threat to private property, especially to homes built in a forested setting. Nationwide,
   this problem is becoming more evident as development increases. For fire protection agencies, protection
   of structures takes resources away from the wildland fire suppression effort. For the homeowner, the
   threat to life and property is increasingly real. Wildland fires destroy homes each summer across the
   nation and this trend will continue into the future.

   Although the Bristow planning subunit does not contain any permanent structures on private property,
   there are several permanent Forest Service structures located at the Barron Creek campground and
   recreational area. These consist of a large pavilion, outhouses, and pumphouse. Although not used year-
   round, this area receives a high frequency of use in the summer months. Fuel reduction projects located
   in this area will reduce the possibility of a fire start progressing from a surface fire through the ladder fuels
   to a crown fire. Zeigler Mountain lookout is another structure of USFS importance that sits atop Zeigler
   Mountain. There are no structures adjacent to planning subunit.



                                           Chapter 3                                                             65
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  The current fire regime within the planning subunit is the result of a complex series of events that have
  influenced the development of the current vegetation. This includes weather patterns, insect and disease
  outbreaks, forest succession, human management and many other influences. While we cannot predict
  precisely when fires will occur, or how impactive they will be, we can generalize about how today's fire
  regime is different than the historic regime. Historically, a full range of fire intensity occurred, from non-
  lethal underburning to stand replacing crown fire. Fire size tended to be larger since weather and fuels
  were the only limiting factor. Today, under our existing fire suppression policy, which has been in effect
  for several decades, fires are aggressively extinguished and not limited by weather and fuels, so they are
  much smaller. Over time, this will result in an increased probability of larger, more intense fires as fuels
  accumulate. In summary, historical fires burned over a long period, had a wide range of effects and
  covered large areas. Currently, fires are small with the occasional large fire; effects are usually limited
  due to suppression efforts that reduce the time they burn as well as the area they burn. When intense
  fires do occur they tend to be lethal.

  The existing condition of natural fuels in the Bristow planning subunit has changed from the historic
  condition for several reasons. Fire suppression has become increasingly effective to the point that fire has
  been replaced by decomposition as the primary means of natural fuel abatement, with the rate of
  accumulation exceeding the rate of decomposition, resulting in an increasing fuel load. Forest succession
  and insect and disease processes are increasing mortality resulting in an accelerated accumulation of
  fuel. The end result is a landscape that is increasingly more susceptible to high intensity stand replacing
  fire.

Environmental Consequences
 1. Activity Fuels
  Activity fuels, resulting from the implementation of one of the action alternatives, would result in increased
  risk of resource damage caused by both person-caused and lightning ignited wildland fires adequate fuel
  reduction treatment occurs. For more information, refer to the Fire/Fuels specialist report in the project
  file.

  Direct Effects
  Alternative 1
  No activity fuels would be created if this alternative were selected so there were no direct effects to
  activity fuels identified. Fire suppression would continue in accordance with wildland fire policy.

  Action Alternatives
  A direct effect of the implementation of one of the action alternatives would be the creation of activity fuel
  (slash). Table 3.50, below, displays the fuel loading in the fuel models along with the vegetation type of
  the model. This information will be used in the analysis. Fuel models 2, 8, 9 and 10 refer to natural fuels
  while fuel models 11, 12 and 13 refer to activity fuels. Standard fire behavior fuel models (Albini 1976) are
  used to estimate tons per acre (TPA) fuel loading for each fuel model as follows.

                                      Table 3.50 – Fuel Model Loading

                   FUEL MODEL #          VEGETATION TYPE             FUEL MODEL LOAD (Tons/acre)
                   Fuel model 2      Timber, grass and understory               4.00TPA
                   Fuel model 8          Closed timber litter                   5.00TPA
                   Fuel model 9         Long needle pine litter                 3.48TPA
                   Fuel model 10     Timber, litter and understory             12.02TPA
                   Fuel model 11         Light logging slash                   11.52TPA
                   Fuel model 12        Medium logging slash                   34.57TPA
                   Fuel model 13         Heavy logging slash                   58.10TPA

  As a direct effect of the creation of activity fuels, fire hazard would greatly increase over the existing
  condition and would remain high until fuel hazard treatments have been accomplished or fuels abate
  naturally. The greatest increase in fire hazard would occur on upper slopes, particularly on south and
  west aspects, where the density of the residual stand is low and the fuel loading from activity is high.
  These ridgetop locations are more prone to lightning occurrence and exposed to higher wind speeds so

  66                                       Chapter 3
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  fires are more likely to start and spread rapidly. Stands with a higher residual density, like that found in a
  commercial thinning treatment, would be less exposed to wind penetration, fuel moistures would be
  slightly higher, and activity fuels would be lighter so the increase in fire behavior comparatively less.
  Stands on north aspects would not dry as soon as those on south and west aspects, but once dried,
  would also support intense fires if ignition should occur. In stands where whole tree yarding occurs, fuels
  would be much lighter (fuel model 11) than for similar stands where fuels are left on site (fuel model 12),
  so fire intensity would be less. However, if no further fuel treatment would occur because of other
  resource concerns, such as scenic quality or species composition, the increased fire hazard would persist
  until natural abatement occurs. Untreated fuels can persist for several years. The small diameter fuels are
  the first to abate, reducing the potential for fire spread, while the larger fuels persist the longest and will
  increase fire intensities should a fire occur. In stands where slash is excavator piled, the fire hazard would
  be very similar to the pre-treatment condition, with the hazard consisting of the concentrated slash until
  the piles are burned.

  Stands that are pre-commercially thinned would have an increased fire hazard until the resulting fuel
  abates naturally. The needles and smaller branches would fall from severed stems after the first two to
  three years and snowpack would compact smaller fuels, resulting in lower fire potential. The larger
  diameter stems would persist for ten or more years and add to the intensity of a wildland fire if it should
  occur.
                    3.51 - Increase in Fuel Loading by Project Activity Prior to Burning

                   FUEL       INCREASE
  PROJECT                                  ALT.                ALT. 2                      ALT. 3                  ALT. 4
                  MODEL        IN FUEL
  ACTIVITY                                  1                (acres/ton)                 (acres/ton)             (acres/ton)
                 CHANGES      LOADING
                From
 Commercial                     29.57
                8,9,10                      0/0      1,595ac/+47,164tons        1,157ac/+34,212tons          726ac/+21,468tons
   Harvest                    tons/acre
                To 11,12
Precommercial   From 8,9        6.52
                                            0/0       212ac/+1,415tons            212ac/+1,415tons           174ac/+1,134tons
   Thinning     To 11         tons/acre
                From 8,9        6.52
   Salvage                                  0/0            48ac/+313tons               48ac/+313tons                0/0
                To 11         tons/acre

  A direct effect from implementation of fuel treatment options for activity fuels would be a reduction of the
  fuel loading and subsequently a reduction of the fire hazard. With fire behavior variables such as weather
  and terrain remaining constant or static, a reduction in the fuel loading will reduce the fireline intensity and
  flame length. Rates of spread may increase when a closed timber stand (fuel model 8) is opened up (fuel
  model 2). The increase is due to reduced sheltering on wind effect, sunlight promoting growth of fine fuels
  and increasing fuel temperatures. However, fireline intensity would not increase without a change that
  increases fire behavior variables (weather and terrain). Table 3.52, below, illustrates the changes in fuel
  model loadings when fuel treatments are applied.

                 Table 3.52 – Reduction in Fuel Loading (tons/acre) with Fuel Treatments

                           FUEL MODEL      REDUCTION IN            ALT.
  PROJECT ACTIVITY                                                            ALT. 2              ALT. 3           ALT. 4
                            CHANGES        FUEL LOADING             1
   Prescribed Fire,       From 11, 12              -7.52
                                                                    0/0    49,247tons*        -35,971tons*      -22,571tons*
  Underburn, Harvest     To 2, 9                  -31.09
  Excavator Grapple       From 11, 12              -7.52
                                                                    0/0    -3,171tons*        -2,736tons*            0/0
   Pile, Burn Piles      To 2, 9                  -31.09
   Yard Tops Only,       From 12
                                                  -23.05            0/0    -1,360 tons*        -1106tons*            0/0
    Burn Landings        To 11
                                   * Widest range of fuel/model loading change is used.

  The burning of activity fuels has the potential to cause mortality of residual trees within and adjacent to
  areas to be treated. Species, stem size, weather conditions, physiological state of the trees, fuel loading,
  fuel moisture content, and ignition method all can affect the level of mortality. For broadcast underburn
  treatments in activity fuels, up to 20% mortality can be expected from fire effects resulting from areas with
  higher fuel concentrations or topographic features, such as draws that funnel heat. Some small areas
  within a treatment area may have near total mortality. Burning prescriptions designed to meet burn
                                           Chapter 3                                                                        67
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  objectives will be developed to limit mortality.

  Figure 2, below, illustrates the potential for overstory mortality based on fuel loading of fuel model 11 and
  fuel model 12, burning under a diameter range of leave-trees. For this analysis, typical weather was used
  for a spring or fall burning prescription window; 12% moisture in ¼ - 1 inch fuels and 6 mph midflame
  winds. The mortality levels shown are for strip head fire ignition. Ignition patterns including flanking or
  backing ignition patterns would have a reduced intensity and thus a lower mortality level. These modified
  ignition patterns require a more restrictive burn window, would take more time to implement and result in
  higher cost. These results clearly indicate the need to leave trees at least 16 inches diameter at breast
  height (DBH) where possible, and the need to reduce fuel loadings in some instances to assure survival
  of over-story trees.
                            Figure 2 - Percent Mortality for Varying Tree Diameters

                                                       Percent Mortality by DBH

                                120
                                100
            Mortaltiy Percent




                                 80
                                                                                                           FM 12
                                 60
                                                                                                           FM 11
                                 40
                                 20
                                  0
                                       8"dbh    12"dbh      16"dbh       20"dbh     24"dbh        28"dbh
                                                              Tree Diameter

                                           This data was developed using the BEHAVE program and FOFEM.
                                                 FM 12 = Fuel Model 12    FM 11 = Fuel Model 11

  Direct effects on soil, water and vegetation resulting from the prescribed burning of activity fuel would
  vary by the fuel loading, the fuel and duff moisture at the time of burning, the species, physiological state
  and physical characteristics of residual trees and weather conditions during the burn and ignition
  technique. Burning prescriptions are developed to meet multiple objectives for each site-specific area.

Indirect Effects
  Alternative 1
  For the no-action alternative, there would not be any activity fuels generated so there are no known
  indirect effects. Fire suppression would continue in accordance with federal wildland fire policy.

  Action Alternatives
  An indirect effect of the prescribed burning associated with the implementation of one of the action
  alternatives would be a change in the plant communities occupying the understory. Plants that remain
  green most of the year would occupy more moist sites. These plants would tend to decrease the rate of
  spread of surface fires. Grasses and other plants that die and cure during hot summer weather would
  occupy the drier sites. These plants would increase the rate of spread of surface fires.

  The indirect effect on air quality from prescribed burning smoke is covered under the Air Quality Section
  of this document.

Cumulative Effects
  Alternative 1
  The cumulative effects of past, present and reasonably foreseeable future actions would include the
  completed and uncompleted activity fuels management associated with the Barron Jack timber sale and
  the ongoing Libby Dam wildlife habitat mitigation prescribed burning program, which is now covered

  68                                                      Chapter 3
                                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 under the KNF Forestwide Fuels Reduction and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement (FFRWHE) Project, as well
 as all other past harvest areas. There are other reasonably foreseeable harvest activities planned for this
 area on corporate-private lands (See Chapter 1).

 Without activities proposed in the action alternatives, ladder fuels will continue to grow into the main tree
 canopy and fuel loading in general will increase. This will create more intense, more difficult to control
 fires once started.

 Action Alternatives
 The cumulative effects of past, present and reasonably foreseeable future actions would include past
 timber management, prescribed burning and fire suppression activities that resulted in modification of
 forest fuels. The action alternatives would create activity fuels, and all harvest units have fuel treatment
 proposed to address the associated increased fuel loading. Small areas of salvage harvest where slight
 changes in fuel loading would occur, will be lopped and scatter with natural abatement treatments.

2. Natural Fuels
 By definition in FSM 5105: “Natural Fuels: Fuel comprised of combustible wildland vegetation resulting
 from natural processes and not directly generated or altered by management practices, including fuel that
 has accumulated as a result of fire exclusion.” In the Bristow subplanning unit these fuels are
 predominantly trees. This includes both live and dead material. The amount and size of fuel that
 contribute to fire spread and intensity vary by time of year as well as long and short-term weather
 conditions.

Alternative 1
 Direct, Indirect and Cumulative Effects
 There is no treatment of natural fuels in the no-action alternative in the Bristow analysis. There would be
 no fuel reduction with the potential result of increased fuel loading.

 The direct and indirect effect on natural fuels of the no-action alternative would be that no treatment
 would occur. Over time, fuels would accumulate increasing the probability of a damaging wildland fire.

 The cumulative effects of past, present and reasonably foreseeable future actions would be the total of
 past and present actions that have reduced natural fuels since, under this alternative, no management of
 natural fuels would occur. The ongoing Libby Dam wildlife habitat mitigation prescribed burning program,
 which is now covered under the KNF FFRWHE Project EA, would continue to be implemented in the
 Bristow planning subunit.

 The effects are a continuation of natural fuel accumulation due to fuels input being higher then
 decomposition rates. This results in increased fire risk, frequency and intensity in the project area.

Action Alternatives
 Direct Effects
 The direct effect of the action alternative on natural fuels would be a result of both ecosystem burning as
 well as the treatment of activity fuels since natural fuels that exist prior to timber harvest wouild be
 reduced by activity fuel treatments. Harvest units that are underburned would result in the greatest
 degree of reduction while excavator piled units would result in the least reduction. Whole tree yarded
 units would not result in a decrease in natural fuels, in fact, surface fuel loadings would increase.
 Remains of the logging activity are left on the ground. All branches that are broken off the cut tree as it is
 being dragged to the landing are also left on the ground. Natural fuel treatments identified in the KNF
 Forest-wide Fuels EA are excluded from the Bristow analysis but are addressed in the cumulative effects
 section.
                            3.53 - Acres of Natural Fuel Reduction Burn Units

                       SLASH /     SLASH /                                               TOTAL ACRES OF
      PROJECT                                   SLASH/UNDERBURN/       UNDERSTORY
                     UNDERBURN    HANDPILE                                                NATURAL FUEL
      ACTIVITY                                   THINNING ACRES        BURN ACRES
                       ACRES       ACRES                                                   REDUCTION
        Alt. 1           0            0                  0                   0                  0
     Alts. 2, 3, 4      676           45                758                  46               1,526


                                         Chapter 3                                                           69
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Depending on the results of the post-harvest fuel inventory and air quality limiting factors, some
commercially thinned areas will underburned to reduce fuel loadings and to restore fire dependant plant
communities. This burning would be limited to stands with fire resistant trees in the residual stand. In
stands with fire susceptible species, burning would not occur. In this instance the accumulation of natural
and activity fuel would be grapple piled or left to abate naturally.

Indirect Effects
For all action alternatives, an indirect effect of burning natural fuels would be the change in vegetative
cover that would occur after burning. Plant communities that require or tolerate fire would increase after
burning. These plants include grasses and other plants that serve as the carrier of fire spread. In areas
where natural fuels are treated, fire intensity will be reduced, but due to the increase in fine fuels, the rate
of spread may increase. Condition class would be affected by the burning of natural fuels. There are three
condition classes defined as:
     Condition Class 1 - The term “condition class 1”, with respect to an area of Federal land, means
         the condition class description developed by the Rocky Mountain Research Station, as fire
         regimes, fire risk to ecosystem components, fire frequencies, and vegetative attributes in close
         balance with historical range.
     Condition Class 2 - The term “condition class 2”, with respect to an area of Federal land, means
         the condition class description developed by the Rocky Mountain Research Station in the general
         technical report entitled “Development of Coarse-Scale Spatial Data for Wildland Fire and Fuel
         Management (RMRS-87), dated April 2000 (including any subsequent revision to the report),
         under which
             a) fire regimes on land have been moderately altered from historical ranges;
             b) there exists a moderate risk of losing key ecosystem components from fire;
             c) fire frequencies have increased or decreased from historical frequencies by one or more
                  return intervals, resulting in moderate changes to
                      i.   the size, frequency, intensity, or severity of fires; or
                     ii.   landscape patterns; and
             d) vegetative attributes have been significantly altered from historical range of the attributes.
     Condition Class 3 - The term “condition class 3”, with respect to an area of Federal land, means
         the condition class description developed by the Rocky Mountain Research Station in the general
         technical report referred to in paragraph (4), (including any subsequent revision to the report),
         under which
             a) fire regimes on land have been significantly altered from historical ranges;
             b) there exists a high risk of losing key ecosystem components from fire;
             c) fire frequencies have departed from historical frequencies by multiple return intervals,
                  resulting in dramatic changes to
                      i.   the size, frequency, intensity, or severity of fires; or
                     ii.   landscape patterns; and
             d) vegetative attributes have been significantly altered from historical range of the attributes.

  Direct Effect to Condition Class from No Action Alternative
    The no-action alternative does not improve the condition class within the analysis area. Wildland fire
    occurrence will be suppressed under current Federal fire policy. If a large high intensity fire escapes
    initial attack, risk of losing to key ecosystem components, as described in condition class 2 and 3,
    may occur.

  Direct Effects to Condition Class from Fuels Treatment of Action Alternatives
    Fuels treatments will effect the condition class descriptions for all action alternatives. Drier VRUs
    where the existing condition class 3 will move toward a condition class 2 or 1 after treatment. Moist
    VRUs where the existing condition class 2/3 will move toward a condition class 1/2. Dry VRUs where
    treatment will maintain a condition class 1.

Cumulative Effects
The cumulative effects on natural fuel reduction from past, present and reasonably foreseeable future
actions, including the total of past and present actions as well as the 1,526 acres that will be treated by
the proposed action alternatives in the Bristow planning subunit will exceed the level of fuel accumulation,
therefore the trend of fuel reduction in the planning subunit will continue. There are 3,370 acres within the
planning subunit scheduled for treatment from the KNF FFRWHE project over the next 10 years.
70                                      Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
3. Wildland Fire
Direct Effects
  Alternative 1
  The direct effect on wildland fires from implementing the no-action alternative is that fire occurrence,
  intensity and size would be similar to fires in the recent past. Historic records from the past nine decades
  (since 1908) show that, on average, 1.9 fires occur within the Bristow planning subunit every year. Of
  these wildland fires, 172 were lightning caused and 67 were human caused. The current fire regime in the
  Bristow planning subunit ranges from small areas of non-lethal to mixed-lethal and is shifting toward
  mixed-lethal to lethal as fuel loading and forest biomass accumulate over time. Fire suppression will
  continue in the planning subunit following federal wildland fire policy.

  Action Alternatives
  A direct effect on wildland fires from implementing one of the action alternatives would be a short-term
  increased risk of a large escape fire occurring between the time of implementation and the time of activity
  fuels treatment completion. After the fuel treatment, the risk would be reduced or returned to near pre-
  harvest levels where fuels contribute to surface fires. Crown fire risk would be reduced in areas where the
  tree canopy is opened up and ladder fuels are not present. In natural abatement areas where lop and
  scatter fuel treatment occurs, the risk would remain over time depending on various rates of decay. Rates
  of decay are dependent on, among other influences, species, moisture regime and the aspect of the land.

  Road storage and road decommissioning of 36.11 miles in the planning subunit will have a negative effect
  on fire suppression access. Vehicle access by fire engines and initial attack crews is effectively removed
  from the areas where roads are stored or decommissioned. Sections of road may remain which could
  serve as a helicopter landing area for initial attack flight crews, but aircraft and helitack availability is not
  certain, especially during periods of lightning fire occurrence across the district or forest. These landing
  sites will grow in quickly. Fire starts in areas of road storage and decommissioning have a higher potential
  to escape initial attack due to delayed, reduced, or no access by initial attack suppression forces when
  compared to current fire access. A direct effect is increased fire size, complexity, and significantly higher
  costs.

Indirect Effects
  Alternative 1
  An indirect effect, on wildland fires of implementing the no-action alternative, would be the gradual
  change in the existing fuel complexes as dead woody fuels accumulate secondary to insect, disease and
  weather disturbance. Live fuels, especially ladder fuels, would also increase over time as stand density
  increases from understory shade tolerant species growth. As the fuel loadings increase the intensity of
  wildland fires would increase. The current non-lethal to mixed lethal fire regime would change to a mixed
  lethal to lethal regime.

  Action Alternatives
  The indirect effect on wildland fires from implementing one of the action alternatives would be that, over
  time, as vegetation recovers in response to both the burning and the increase in available sunlight, the
  potential rate of spread of fire would increase with the increase in fine surface fuels, but the fire intensity
  would generally decrease as the larger diameter fuels have been reduced.

  Open stand conditions inhibit intense crown fire potential. Developed crown fires moving through aerial
  three dimensional fuels of dense timber, would drop to the surface as it moves into a treated open stand
  condition. Suppression and control opportunities increase when wildland fire burns in surface fuels. Thus,
  the action alternatives would reduce the potential for crown fire in the treated areas.

Cumulative Effects of All Altenatives
 The cumulative effect of past, present and reasonably foreseeable future actions would include the
 continual ecological changes that occur in a forested ecosystem. Fire suppression would continue in
 accordance with wildland fire policy.

  Past management activities that would affect wildland fire include past and present logging, pre-
  commercial thinning, ecosystem burning, road building and road storage/decommissioning.


                                          Chapter 3                                                             71
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    Areas that were logged in the past and didn‟t include fuel abatement have increased the potential for high
    intensity levels during wildland fires. The same is true for pre-commercially thinned stands. Some of these
    areas are identified for proposed treatment using fuel load reduction methods which will also accomplish
    wildlife objectives.

    Ecosystem burning projects have occurred over the past several years resulting in 1,300 acres that have
    a decreased fuel load. These treated areas would have reduced fire intensity levels, if an ignition should
    occur in the near future.

    Roads that are not covered with vegetation serve to break the continuity of forest fuels, and act as a
    barrier to low intensity surface fire spread and provide access to fire suppression personnel and
    equipment.

    On-going ecological changes that result in dead fuel buildup will increase the fire potential and intensity
    over time so that the possibility of destructive wildland fires will increase without treatment.

    The cumulative effect of all these past management activities is a resulting landscape comprised of a
    matrix of managed and unmanaged timber stands. Existing recent harvest areas where fuel treatment is
    complete and areas of past ecosystem burning would serve as potential suppression control areas.

Consistency with the Forest Plan and other Management Direction
 The fuels management plans developed for the action alternatives are consistent with Forest Plan direction
 and take into account the requirements of the National Forest Management Act, and the guidance provided
 by the Regional Overview and the Living with Fire Strategy. These documents are included in the project
 file.




    72                                     Chapter 3
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

4. Heritage Resources
 Introduction
   The area being analyzed for cultural resources is the Bristow Creek planning subunit which lies on the
   east side of the Koocanusa Reservoir and includes the Bristow Creek, Barron Creek and Jackson Creek
   drainages. The project area includes Ziegler Mountain to the north and the divide between the Jackson
   Creek and Rainy Creek drainages to the south.

 Analysis Methods
  Analysis methods used in this section consist of a review and synthesis of all pertinent literature, records,
  and documentation available on the history and prehistory of the planning subunit and surrounding area.
  General Land Office Plats, historic U.S. Forest Service Maps, Big Blackfoot Milling Company Timber
  Cruise Maps, historic logging records of the U.S. Forest Service, J. Neils Lumber Company, Lincoln
  County courthouse records, historic newspaper accounts and a variety of other historic sources were
  utilized. Other information was gathered from Forest Service heritage resource surveys previously
  conducted in the planning subunit, as well, as archaeological excavation reports. A general history of the
  planning subunit is in the project file.

 Forest Plan Standards and Guidelines
  Cultural resource inventories are required prior to any ground-disturbing activities, in an effort to locate,
  identify and evaluate cultural sites. The Forest Service is required to consider effects of National Register
  eligible sites under several statutes, most notably the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as
  amended. These requirements are carried forward in the Forest Plan standards (Forest Plan, Vol. 2,
  Appendix 19).

   Historic properties are identified by a cultural resource inventory and evaluated for eligibility to the
   National Register of Historic Places. Sites that are determined as eligible are then managed to either
   protect them in-place or to mitigate adverse project impacts. Eligibility of sites located during the inventory
   process and management provisions of the cultural resource report must be reviewed by the Montana
   State Historic Preservation Office. This consultation process must be completed prior to impacts on the
   ground.

   The location of cultural resource sites is exempt from public disclosure as described in FSH 6209.13 11.2
   and 11.22. The purpose of this exemption is to protect sites from being vandalized and/or looted and to
   retain confidentiality of sites culturally significant to American Indian Tribes.

 Affected Environment
   The Kootenai River Valley provides a north/south trending corridor between the Fisher River
   and the Tobacco Plains. The Bristow, Barron, and Jackson Creek drainages run from east to west and
   drain into the Kootenai River drainage where the Koocanusa Reservoir has been in place since 1974.
   The terrain of the project area has a wide range of geography and resources that were available to the
   prehistoric peoples that lived in the area. The area contains winter range for wildlife.

   The previously recorded sites in the project area reflect both historic and prehistoric use. Prehistoric sites
   are primarily campsites. Historic sites reflect historic logging, timber homesteads, U.S. Forest Service
   lookouts and trail systems.

   There have been over 60 cultural resource inventories conducted in or adjacent to the project area since
   1950. The majority of projects postdate 1983. The first survey near the project area was conducted in
   1950 by the Smithsonian Institution (50-KO-1/6-1, Archaeological Resources Libby and Katka Reservoir).
   Other surveys included inventories of archaeological resources in the impact area of the Koocanusa
   Reservoir that was created by the construction of the Libby Dam in the late 1960‟s and early 1970‟s.
   Other surveys were tied to recreational development of campgrounds and boat ramps. The majority of
   projects were for timber sale units and wildlife burns.

   Portions of the project area have been previously surveyed and a project specific survey of the planning
   subunit has been completed and will be submitted to the Montana State Historic Preservation Office in
   compliance with the Region 1 Programmatic Agreement regarding Cultural Resource Management on


                                          Chapter 3                                                            73
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 National Forests in the State of Montana (R1 PA) and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation
 Act.

Environmental Consequences
 Cultural resources can be diminished in value by any change in their historical, architectural,
 archaeological, and/or cultural character. The effects on cultural resources may vary with the type of site.
 All sites have the potential of being looted or vandalized when activities increase use in an area and bring
 people to an area. Adverse impacts to cultural resource sites can result in their damage or complete
 destruction, which results in irreversible effects. In cases of partial damage the undisturbed portion of the
 site may still provide valuable information.

 Although the management intent is to identify all properties and avoid National Register eligible properties
 or mitigate the effects of proposed activities, the potential exists for unidentified sites to be encountered
 and disturbed as the project proceeds. If such sites are encountered, they will be protected under
 requirements that provide for their protection. This includes Contract Clause Collect C6.24 which provides
 for the protection of cultural resources regardless of when they are discovered. Implementation of any
 alternative will not result in impacts to known cultural resources.

Alternative 1
 Direct, Indirect, & Cumulative Effects
 Under this alternative, no action is planned, and all sites, known and unknown would remain undisturbed
 outside of natural processes of deterioration except for a site being disturbed by dispersed recreational
 activities on Jackson Creek. If no mitigation measures are taken the prehistoric site will continue to be
 impacted by adverse effects to subsurface materials caused by the disturbance of soil in the areas where
 fire pits are being excavated holes excavated by recreation users using the modern camp sites located in
 the prehistoric site area. This is not a direct result of proposed activities in the area of potential effect of
 the project but still an adverse effect to an eligible prehistoric site. The site may contain artifacts and
 features, which once out of context and disturbed, will lessen the ability of the site to provide important
 information on prehistoric sites. If no action is taken the site would eventually be damaged and will no
 longer have the potential to yield information important to prehistory and as a result the site would no
 longer be presumed eligible to the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria (d). Under
 Department of the Interior Register criteria for listing (36 CFR Section 60.4) (d) states: (sites) that have
 yielded or may be likely to yield information important in history or prehistory. Under the Kootenai
 National Forest Plan, Appendix 19, A 19-1 in Management Procedures it states that:

     Cultural resource sites determined as significant under the criteria established by 36CFR800 will be
     preserved in place whenever possible. When such resources are threatened by another resource
     activity or project development, an effort to avoid or minimize adverse impact by project redesign will
     be made. When avoidance of an evaluated, significant cultural property or site is judged not prudent
     or feasible by the Forest Supervisor, the scientific or historic values of the site will be conserved
     through properscientific excavation, recordation, analysis, and reporting.

All Action Alternatives
 Direct, Indirect, & Cumulative Effects
 The project area has been inventoried. The inventory has been submitted to the Montana State Historic
 Preservation Office in accordance with the provisions of the Region One Programmatic Agreement
 regarding Cultural Resource Management in the State of Montana (R1 PA) prior to project
 implementation. All associated sites will be recorded and impacts to eligible historic properties will be
 mitigated through consultation with SHPO. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes would be
 included in these discussions where American Indian affiliated sites are involved.

 There are historic trails which were located in the project area that will be treated according to the
 Kootenai National Forest Programmatic Memorandum of Agreement regarding Historic Trails and
 Logging Sites (KNF PMOA). The location of historic trails on the Kootenai National Forest is known from
 historic Kootenai National Forest maps. When a trail is shown within a proposed activity area, a survey is
 conducted to locate the trail on the ground. Because of the small scale of the historic maps, the actual
 location often differs from the location shown. In addition, the lack of maintenance and natural
 deterioration may have obscured the trail. Where continuous evidence of the trail is found on the ground,
 the tread, blazes and other features are protected according to the KNF PMOA. Historic trails will be
 74                                             Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  identified on the ground and when a timber sale is conducted near historic trail, the trees will be felled and
  skidded away from the trail tread. Existing blazed trees will be avoided if possible and disturbance to the
  trail tread will be kept to a minimum. Any disturbed trail tread will be recontoured as soon as possible
  after the disturbing activity ends. Historic trails are treated according to standards previously agreed to
  with the Montana Historic Preservation Office in the Kootenai National Forest Programmatic Agreement
  regarding Treatment of Historic Trails and Logging Remains (KNF PMOA), consultation with the Montana
  SHPO prior to project implementation is not necessary.

  All other eligible historic properties will be avoided if possible. See chapter 2 for specific mitigation
  measures prescribed for this project. Under these alternatives an unimproved road branching off the
  Jackson Creek Road (Road #14517) will be restricted due to the use of dispersed recreational campsites
  impacting an eligible prehistoric site on Jackson Creek.

  If additional sites are encountered in the course of project implementation, the Forest Service
  Archeologist consults with the State Historic Preservation Office, as required by law, to determine the
  significance of the discovery, and the effects of the project upon them. The Confederated Salish and
  Kootenai Tribes would be included in these discussions where American Indian affiliated sites are
  involved. Mitigation could be accomplished through avoidance of the sites as described above, or through
  scientific investigation and/or removal of the resource.

Forest Plan Consistency
 The Forest Plan, in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, requires
 integration of cultural resource management into the overall multiple resource management effort. In
 addition, the Forest must work closely with the appropriate scientific community and American Indian
 groups concerning this resource. Cultural resource inventories must be completed prior to road
 construction, timber harvest, and other ground-disturbing activities.

  The policies of the USFS and SHPO are consistent. Assuming that the surveys and any mitigation
  measures developed in consultation with the Montana or Idaho State Historic Preservation Offices
  (SHPO) are applied, the implementation of these alternatives will be in compliance with the appropriate
  cultural resource guidelines.

  Mitigation or Protection of Cultural Resources
  There will be monitoring of eligible properties or presumed eligible properties that are adjacent to the
  project area by the Libby District archaeologist during the implementation of this project.

  An adverse effect is occurring in a known and eligible site area due to dispersed recreational camping in
  an eligible prehistoric site in the Bristow Area Restoration EA area:
      800.5 Assessment of adverse effects
      (a) Apply criteria of adverse effect. In consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer, the
           Agency Official shall apply the criteria of adverse effect to historic properties within the area of
           potential effects. The Agency Official shall consider any views concerning such effects provided
           by consulting parties, the interested public and the public at large.
      (1) Criteria of adverse effect. An undertaking is considered to have an adverse effect when it may
      alter the characteristics of a historic property that qualify the property for inclusion in the National
      Register in a manner that would diminish the integrity of the property‟s location, design, setting,
      materials, workmanship, feeling, or association. Adverse effects may include reasonably foreseeable
      effects caused by the undertaking that are later in time or further removed in distance.
      (2) Examples of adverse effects. Adverse effects on historic properties include, but are not limited
      to….
      (v) Neglect of a property which causes its deterioration…

      Regardless of the alternative chosen for the Bristow Area Restoration Project there will be continued
      impacts to the site and no-action will result in the site being annually impacted by recreational users
      using the dispersed sites located in the area of the prehistoric site. The site will continue to be
      adversely impacted. Neglect of the cultural property which leads to its deterioration is the result of
      knowing adverse effects are taking place at the site and not taking action.



                                         Chapter 3                                                           75
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

5. AIR QUALITY
 Introduction
   This section discloses the potential direct, indirect and cumulative effects to air quality from implementing
   one of the action alternatives, and also includes the “no-action” alternative, to provide the decision maker
   with a means of comparing these alternatives. The analysis of both the “action” and “no-action”
   alternatives include the effects of wildland fire smoke, prescribed fire smoke and fugitive dust.

   Wildland fires are a natural combustion process that consumes both living and dead vegetative material
   and produces smoke that can have adverse impacts on air quality. Ward (et al 1976) estimated that
   smoke emissions created by wildfires are approximately three times greater than that produced by
   prescribed burning. The impacts to air quality are relative to the amount of smoke produced, which varies
   with burning conditions and duration. Large amounts of smoke are produced under extreme burning
   conditions and for extended burning periods.

   Smoke produced from the prescribed burning of timber harvest residue and natural fuels can have an
   adverse effect on air quality. The amount of smoke produced is influenced by the same factors that
   influence the amount of smoke produced by wildland fires. Increasing the utilization of sub-merchantable
   material can reduce the amount of fuel remaining after timber harvest and so reduce the amount of
   smoke produced. The type and timing of burning as well as weather conditions influences the amount of
   smoke produced.

   Air quality is affected by fugitive dust produced by vehicular traffic, especially on native surface roads.
   The silt content of the road surface layer, the distance traveled, the weight and speed of the vehicle as
   well as weather conditions, influence the amount of dust produced. Paved roads produce a relatively
   smaller amount of dust than do native surface roads, especially during dry weather. Watering or dust
   suppressants can reduce the availability of fine silt particles. Reducing the speed of vehicles can reduce
   localized impacts. Refer to the air quality specialist report, in the project file, for more information.

 Planning Subunit
   The proposed burning, associated with each action alternative, would occur throughout the planning
   subunit. The proposed fuel treatment for each alternative is indicated on the alternative maps and in
   chapter 2. For each of the action alternatives in this analysis, areas identified for burning would receive
   only one burn treatment under the pending decision.

   This analysis is limited to the Bristow project area for point source emissions, and Montana air-shed
   zones 1 and 2 (Lincoln and Flathead Counties) for air quality impact analysis.

 Existing Condition
  The selection of a fuel management technique depends on several factors including silvicultural system,
  timber harvest method, timber harvest type, treatment economics, wildlife habitat, soil, water, cultural
  resource protection, and air quality. The ID team selected fuel treatment options which best balance
  resource objectives and economic concerns. These options include burning both natural fuel and activity
  created fuel in place, as well as concentrating activity and natural fuels, using treatments such as whole
  tree yarding and piling followed by burning. See chapter 2 for unit specific information.

   Burning associated with this project would occur annually, during the spring or fall burning periods, until
   all burning is completed. All ecosystem burning is done in the early spring before green-up occurs. The
   spring burning period usually runs from late March through June. The fall burning period usually occurs
   from September to the end of November. Broadcast and underburning will occur during both the spring
   and fall burning period, but historically by October these types of burns have received moisture and do
   not dry out due to shorter days and cool nights. Pile burning would occur during the late fall burn period
   which would generally start in October and end by the end of November. The Montana Air Quality
   Regulations restrict open burning during December, January and February. The criteria used to select
   timing of burn projects would include fuel moistures, risk of escape, general weather patterns, smoke
   dispersion, live fuel moistures, and resource objectives. See project file for more information regarding
   prescribed burning.

   Fugitive road dust is a result of motorized vehicle use when road surfaces are dry. As a motorized vehicle

   76                                     Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  travels on an unpaved road, the force of the wheels moving across the road surface causes pulverization
  of surface material. Dust is lofted by the rolling wheels as well as by the turbulence caused by the vehicle
  itself. This air turbulence can persist for a period of time after the vehicle passes.

  The quantity of dust emissions from a given segment of unpaved road varies linearly with the volume of
  traffic. Variables which influence the amount of dust produced include the average vehicle speed, the
  average vehicle weight, the average number of wheels per vehicle, the road surface texture, the fraction
  of road surface material which is classified as silt (particles less than 75 microns in diameter), and the
  moisture content of the road surface.

  The moisture content of the road surface has the greatest influence on the amount of fugitive dust
  produced. Within the Bristow project area, roads are generally closed during the winter months from snow
  or for wildlife habitat security. Most timber sale activity would occur during the late spring, summer and fall
  months. July, August and September are generally dry so most dust production would occur during this
  period. Precipitation during these months is usually limited, so it would only reduce dust production for
  short periods.

Mitigation Measures Taken to Reduce Prescribed Burning Emissions
 The amount of smoke emissions, resulting from prescribed burning of both natural fuels and logging
 slash, would be mitigated by four general methods:
 1) Fuel Loading Reduction - The Kootenai National Forest has encouraged, through sale contract
      provisions, the increased removal of material that is smaller than the established utilization standard
      for a given timber sale. Purchasers may be required to pay for, and therefore encouraged to utilize,
      top wood smaller than the utilization standard. The standard contract allows the purchaser to remove
      sub-merchantable material from regeneration harvests without prior consent of the Forest Service.
      Sub-merchantable material may also be removed from commercial thinning units with prior Forest
      Service agreement. All these measures help decrease the amount of woody fuel that must be burned
      (Standard Contract Provision BT 3.41).
 2) Reduction in the Amount of Fuel Consumed - The reduction of the amount of fuel consumed by
      prescribed burning would be accomplished through the use of spring burning. Harvested areas
      located on east, southeast, south, southwest and west aspects would be burned, to the extent
      possible, during the spring burn season. Typically, the season spans from late March through June.
      During this timeframe larger diameter fuels and the duff layer usually have relatively high moisture
      contents that reduces the amount of fuels consumed by prescribed burning, which reduces smoke
      emissions.
 3) Flaming Combustion Optimization -When prescribed burning is determined to be the most
      appropriate fuel treatment, methods which increase the flaming combustion (presence of a flame)
      phase would be used. Concentration of logging slash by whole tree yarding or excavator piling
      increases the amount of material consumed during flaming combustion and also allows material to be
      burned in the late fall during cloudy weather when smoke is less obvious and the risk of escape is
      low. Purchasers are required to construct piles so they are compact and free of excess soil.
 4) Impact Avoidance -Smoke impact avoidance would be accomplished through daily monitoring of
      airshed conditions. In Montana, the open burning season runs from March 1 through November 30.
      The State of Montana Air Quality Bureau regulates all open burning in the state. Major prescribed
      burners, including the Forest Service, have formed the Montana State Airshed Group. Through a
      Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Montana Air Quality Bureau, this group has
      established a smoke monitoring system that provides daily air quality predictions and restrictions to its
      members. To accomplish this, the Airshed Group has a monitoring unit consisting of meteorologists
      and technicians that use weather forecasts, balloon soundings, burn plans, and air quality conditions
      to determine, on a daily basis, the need for restrictions on prescribed burning. The Forest Service is
      issued an annual permit to burn by the Montana Air Quality Bureau. Issuance of this permit is based
      on participation and compliance with burning restrictions issued by the Montana Airshed Group.
      Prescribed burning for the Bristow project area is reported to the Airshed Coordinator on a daily
      basis. If the monitoring unit forecasts ventilation problems, prescribed burning is either restricted by
      elevation or curtailed until good ventilation conditions return. The Forest Service will cooperate with
      the State in meeting the Requirements of the State Implementation Plan and the Smoke Management
      Plan (Forest Plan, II-26).



                                         Chapter 3                                                            77
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  Other means by which smoke emissions are lessened include:
  1) Large Woody Debris for Long-Term Soil Development - Current research indicates it is desirable
     to leave large woody debris (4"+ in diameter) on site to facilitate long-term nutrient recycling. The
     actual tons to be left are dependent on habitat type. Generally the drier habitat types require less (5-
     20 tons/acre) while the wetter habitat types require more (20-30 TPA). In order to meet these
     objectives less material is consumed in the fire with a corresponding reduction in the amount of
     smoke produced.
  2) Trained and Qualified Prescribed Fire Practitioners - Individual burn bosses are trained in smoke
     management techniques prior to being qualified as burn bosses. Part of a burn boss‟ responsibility is
     to evaluate smoke dispersion and halt burning operations in the event the actual smoke dispersion is
     not as was forecasted and will cause significant harmful impacts.

Affected Environment
  The Montana State Air Quality Bureau divides Montana into ten airsheds. The Bristow planning subunit
  lies entirely within Airshed 1. Smoke produced at any location within the planning subunit would most
  likely be carried in an easterly direction by the predominantly westerly, windflow pattern that influences
  western Montana.

  Smoke dispersal is usually best during the spring and early summer because daytime heating and
  general windflows help smoke rise above ridgetops and into the free air winds where it is diluted and
  dispersed. Stable high-pressure systems that often occur during late summer and fall hamper the vertical
  motion of air and reduce the smoke dispersion potential. Infrequent, low-pressure systems also move
  through the area during this period and improve smoke dispersal until high pressure re-establishes. As
  the heat of summer passes and nighttime temperatures begin to drop, air quality begins to deteriorate as
  nighttime inversions become more prevalent. These inversions cause smoke to be trapped in valley
  bottoms until adequate heating breaks the inversion later in the day. Weather patterns begin to change
  during the fall months with periodic cold front passages being interspersed with periods of stable high
  pressure. These cold fronts are often dry but can bring substantial moisture. Wind associated with these
  cold fronts provide good ventilation but also increase the risk that a prescribed burn may escape control.
  The late fall often marks the return of wet, foggy and cloudy weather to the planning subunit. During this
  time, periods of good ventilation occur during fontal passages but valley inversions often hamper the
  dispersion of smoke. Winter weather is very similar, with smoke dispersion being poor.

  The mountainous topography of the planning subunit also influences the dispersion of smoke. Smoke
  produced at higher elevations is nearer to the free air winds that occur at and above ridgetops, so
  dispersion is usually better than at lower elevation. Conversely, smoke produced at lower elevations is
  more likely to be effected by valley inversions and must rise farther to enter the free air wind. Burns on
  south exposures are more likely to be affected by local thermal winds than those on north slopes. Burns
  on slopes exposed to the prevailing wind would have better smoke dispersion than those located on the
  lee slope.

  Airshed 1 air quality is influenced predominantly by smoke and dust originating from areas located to the
  west, since the general windflow direction for the area is from this direction. Prescribed burning of
  logging residue by private and other government entities adds wood smoke to the air mass. Wildland fires
  burning as far west as the coastal range of Oregon and Washington also contribute to air quality
  degradation. Dust, originating from tilled farmland, during dry windy weather, can add to local haze and
  reduce air quality.

  Smoke dispersal is best when the daytime heating is greatest. This usually coincides with the period of
  greatest atmospheric instability for the day. Free air winds penetrate into lower elevation at this time
  resulting in good vertical motion and smoke dilution. These conditions generally occur from 1300 to 1800
  hours (1-6 o‟clock PM). Smoke dispersal is usually poor for night-time burning due to the increase in
  atmospheric stability as cool air pools in valleys. This process also results in the development of valley
  inversions.

Monitoring
 The Forest Service is a member of the Montana Airshed Group, which monitors air quality on a daily
 basis during burning season. The Monitoring Unit is activated when prescribed fire activity begins in the
 spring and continues until the end of November when the open burn season closes. The amount of
  78                                     Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  burning allowed for any given day is based on this monitoring as well as forecast weather conditions. Air
  quality monitoring is performed daily at several locations within the area covered by this group. The
  amount of burning allowed within each airshed is tied directly to the daily monitoring of ambient air quality.
  The process of monitoring and forecasting has been effective at achieving the Airshed Group‟s
  objectives, which are listed in the Montana/Idaho Smoke Management Agreement.

  One objective is to minimize or prevent accumulation of smoke during the fall prescribed burning season
  when burning is necessary for conducting accepted forest management practices such as hazard
  reduction, site preparation and wildlife habitat improvement. This is done by prohibiting or restricting
  burning at times and places where stagnant weather conditions result in poor smoke dispersion, and by
  conducting prescribed burns when ventilation and air quality conditions are good. The development of
  alternative methods is encouraged when such methods are practical.

  A second objective is to develop a smoke management plan for reporting and coordinating burning
  operations on all forest and rangelands within Montana and Idaho. Guidelines in the plan will be based
  upon technical information currently available on smoke dispersion and on State and Federal air quality
  regulations.

  The third objective is to improve the smoke management program through regular review and evaluation.
  One or two general meetings of members are held annually to exchange ideas, review operations and
  offer suggestions for improving the program.

  Cumulatively, air quality standards would be exceeded if not for the efforts of the Montana/Idaho Air Shed
  Group Monitoring Group. It is unlikely that any source associated with this project or any other present or
  reasonably foreseeable future burning project, would be a significant contributor.

  Each burn plan includes the provision for a test fire. The purpose of this test fire is to allow the burn boss
  to determine if burn objectives would be met as well as determining if smoke dispersal would be
  adequate.

Environmental Consequences for All Alternatives
1. Fugitive Dust
  The analysis considers the fugitive dust associated with the project activity by both Forest Service as well
  as the timber sale contractor. It also considers any activities taking place on private lands in the Airshed.

  Direct, Indirect, and Cumulative Effects
  The actual amount of fugitive (road) dust produced would be influenced by dust mitigation measures
  taken directly by the Forest Service, by the timber sale contractor as contract requirements and by Lincoln
  County as general road maintenance, as well as actual precipitation, and timing of log hauling.

  Alternative 1 would not increase vehicle traffic in the planning subunit over normal recreational and
  administrative levels, and would therefore not increase fugitive dust.

  Alternativea 2, 3 and 4 would increase fugitive dust as a direct result of increased traffic during timber
  sale activity. Dust produced would be local, settling out of the air column directly adjacent to the road.
  Cumulatively, road dust in the planning subunit will probably be reduced over the existing condition due to
  the proposed road storage and/or decommissioning.

2. Prescribed Burning Smoke
  Smoke from fuel treatment is related to fuel loadings. Fuel loadings in prescribed burn units after timber
  harvest will range from approximately 11 to 40 tons/acre. The average fuel loading will be approximately
  30 tons/acre. To best meet all resource objectives, about 7 tons/acre of 4"+ (diameter) material will be left
  on the site, approximately 3 tons/acre of various size fuels will not be consumed. The amount of fuel
  loading consumed during prescribed burning will average about 25 tons/acre for harvest underburn units
  and about 7 tons/acre for non-harvest underburn units. Fuels concentrated into piles equates to
  approximately 5 tons/acre. Smoke emission factors (average values), can be used to predict PM-10
  (particulate matter less than or equal to 10 microns) emissions: 19 lbs/ton for pile burning and 23 lbs/ton
  for broadcast underburns of timber harvest slash (Hardy 1991). Federal and State ambient air quality
  standards use PM-10 emission values to regulate smoke impacts to air quality. The estimated amount of
                                         Chapter 3                                                            79
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 smoke emissions, produced by prescribed burning associated with an action alternative is portrayed in
 table 3.54.
                             Table 3.54 - Fuel Treatment by Alternative

                                                       GRAPPLE/HAND          YARD TOPS      TOTAL ACRES
                UNDERBURN            UNDERBURN
       ALT                                                  PILE               ONLY           OF FUEL
               HARVEST UNITS        NON-HARVEST
                                                        (BURN PILES)        (BURN PILES)     TREATMENT
        1             0                   0                    0                  0               0
                 1584 ac @           1,526 ac @           102 ac @            59 ac @
        2                                                                                        3271
               575 lb/PM10/ac      161 lb/PM10/ac       95 lb/PM10/ac      95 lb/PM10/ac
                 1157ac @            1,526 ac @            88 ac @            48 ac @
        3                                                                                        2819
               575 lb/PM10/ac      161 lb/PM10/ac       95 lb/PM10/ac      95 lb/PM10/ac
                  726 ac @           1,526 ac @
        4                                                     0                  0               2252
               575 lb/PM10/ac      161 lb/PM10/ac

 Fuel treatment by prescribed fire and the associated smoke emissions in the Bristow project area will
 occur over a period of time. PM 10 produced from each unit varies by the burn unit acreage size and
 environmental conditions at the time of implementation. For example, a 40 acre underburn harvest unit
 would produce 23,000 lbs of PM 10 emissions, primarily during the day of ignition, and be significantly
 less each day until the burn goes out. Participation and coordination with the Idaho and Montana Air
 Quality Group is key to successful smoke dispersion and reduced smoke impacts.

Direct and Indirect Effects
 Alternative 1
 The no-action alternative would not implement vegetative treatments and would not require burning of
 activity fuels. The short-term effect on air quality would be that no smoke would be produced to treat fuels
 created by logging, slashing or other vegetative treatments. The long-term effect would be an increase in
 the chance of wildfire, with resultant impacts to air quality.

 Action Alternatives
 The direct effects of prescribed burning smoke are reduced visibility and increased level of small diameter
 particulates, specifically PM 10, of concern for human health reasons. This would not exceed standards
 set by the Forest Plan due to regulations of burning by the Montana/Idaho Airshed Monitoring Group.

 The indirect effects of prescribed burning smoke produced as a result of the implementation of one of the
 action alternatives would be limited to the local and downwind airshed air quality degradation. PM 10
 particulates have an effect of increased visual haze. PM 10 levels rapidly disperse from the source as
 they are mixed out and carried by local and general transport winds. Short periods of smoke
 concentration may occur in the local area during night and early morning inversions following the day of
 ignition. Diurnal heating and mixing will disperse smoke as the inversions break in the early morning and
 mixing continues throughout the afternoon hours. Residual smoke production from large logs, stumps,
 and piles can be expected for several days.

Cumulative Effects
 Alternative 1
 The no-action alternative would not implement vegetative treatments and would not require burning of
 activity fuels. The long-term effect would be an increase in the chance of a large, uncharacteristic fire
 occurring with resultant impacts to air quality. Also, prescribed burning of logging slash, on other federal,
 state or private lands, would also contribute particulates, as would agricultural burning and fugitive dust
 from tilled ground. Particulates from industrial and automotive sources also contribute to regional
 particulate loading. Other vehicle traffic, agricultural and industrial sources within the planning subunit
 would also contribute to the cumulative particulate loading. It is not possible to predict the amount of
 particulates contributed by these other sources. It is unknown if air standards will be exceeded in a
 wildfire, this would be dependent on the weather. In the past there have been large fires that have
 exceeded the standards.

 All Action Alternatives
 The cumulative effects on air quality of prescribed burning smoke, produced as a result of the
 implementation of any of the action alternatives, would result in an incremental decrease in air quality as
 80                                      Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 PM 10 particles from this source combine with other particles produced both by the implementation of
 other aspects of this project, specifically fugitive road dust, as well as other local and regional sources
 located upwind. Impacts would be within set standards and would be short-term. Prescribed burning of
 logging slash, on other federal, state or private lands, would also contribute particulates, as would
 agricultural burning and fugitive dust from tilled ground. Particulates from industrial and automotive
 sources also contribute to regional particulate loading. Other vehicle traffic, agricultural and industrial
 sources within the planning subunit would also contribute to the cumulative particulate loading. It is not
 possible to predict the amount of particulates contributed by these other sources. We would meet the air
 quality standards by following the regulations and guidelines of the smoke management group.

3. Wildland Fire Smoke
Direct and Indirect Effects
 Alternative 1
 The direct effect of wildland fire smoke on air quality from implementing Alternative 1 is that fire
 occurrence; intensity and size would be similar to fires in the recent past. Historic records from the past
 92 years show that, on average, 1.91 fires occur within the planning subunit every year (see fire/fuel
 section).

 These fires are generally small, burning less than one acre each. However, there is an increasing
 probability, due to increasing fuel loading in the planning subunit that one of these fires will escape initial
 attack and grow to several hundred to several thousand acres, burning for several days to several weeks.
 Fires of this scale and duration would impact air quality to varying degrees during the time the fire would
 be active.

 An indirect effect of wildland fire smoke, from implementing Alternative 1, the no-action alternative, would
 be the gradual change in the existing fuel complexes as dead woody fuels accumulate secondary to
 insect, disease and weather disturbance. Live fuels, especially ladder fuels, would also increase over time
 as understory shade tolerant species increase. As the fuel loadings increase, intensity of wildland fires
 and the smoke they produce would increase. The current non-lethal to mixed lethal fire regime would
 change over time to a mixed lethal to lethal fire regime. During wildfire, smoke produced would likely
 exceed standards for human health as determined by Montana State Air Quality Bureau.

 Action Alternatives
 The comparison of relative impacts of implementing an action alternative versus a wildland fire indicates
 that on comparable acreage, a high intensity wildland fire would produce about 66% more of a smoke
 impact than an action alternative affecting the same area.

 A direct effect of wildland fire smoke on air quality, resulting from implementing one of the action
 alternatives, would be an increased risk of high intensity wildland fire and accompanying smoke
 production between the time timber is harvested and activity fuels are burned. After activity fuels are
 burned, the risk would either return to near pre-harvest levels, or be reduced resulting from the additional
 treatment of natural fuels within the units.

 The indirect effect of wildland fire smoke on air quality, resulting from implementing one of the action
 alternatives, would be vegetation recovery in response to both the burning and the increase in available
 sunlight. The potential fire rate of spread on treated areas would increase from the immediate post-burn
 level as fine fuels, such as grass, grows in. However, the potential wildland fire intensity and smoke
 production would decrease. Smoke produced during wildfires would still likely exceed standards for
 human health, as determined by Montana State Air Quality Bureau, but would be less than that produced
 with the selection of the no-acton alternative.

Cumulative Effects
 All Alternatives
 The cumulative effects of wildland fire smoke on air quality, for all alternatives, would include all pollution
 sources contributing particulates to the air mass in addition to the smoke produced by wildland fires within
 the planning subunit. Areas that have been treated will, for a time, cause less effect due to reduced fuel
 loading. As time goes on, fuels will re-accumulate. The greatest cumulative effect would occur when
 wildland fires are burning outside and upwind of the planning subunit along with wildland fires burning
 within the planning subunit at the same time. The cumulative effect of these sources results in extended
                                               Chapter 3                                                       81
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                    Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    periods of poor air quality until the weather changes. It is unknown if air quality standards will be
    exceeded in a wildfire. It is dependent on the weather.

  4. Potential Impacts to Non-Attainment Areas, Class I Airsheds and Local Communities
    The following analysis is based on radiosonde data collected at Spokane, Washington for the period from
    January of 1948 to December of 1989. The data selected for this analysis is for the 750-millibar level,
    which corresponds to 8,400 feet above sea level. Winds at this level are representative of the free-air
    wind direction and velocity that are likely to occur over the planning subunit. Windroses and tables
    containing the source data are included in the specialist report in the project file.

    The average wind speed at 8,400 feet above sea level, for the entire year, ranges from a low of 11 mph to
    a high of 23 mph. Winds that originate from a westerly direction tend to be stronger than those originating
    from an easterly direction. Winds with a westerly component, those ranging from SSW to NNW, account
    for 81% of wind origin directions. Southeasterly winds are the least frequent in the planning subunit.

    Two data sources were used to estimate the likelihood that air pollutants from the Bristow project area
    would impact a given area of interest. The percent probability that wind direction would be such that it
    would carry smoke toward the area of concern is derived from information taken from the windrose data
    tables, and the distance from the project area to the points of concern.

    The premise of the analysis is the likelihood that smoke produced as a result of the implementation of one
    of the action alternatives would affect an area of concern, is a function of the following factors.
          The probability a wind direction blowing from the project area to the area of concern would occur.
          The dilution of the smoke as it traverses the distance from the project area to the area of concern.

    The analysis considers the combined factors that would influence the effects that smoke from the project
    area would have on non-attainment areas, Class I Airsheds (defined below), and other local communities.
    These are summarized in table 3.55.

         Table 3.55 - % Probability of Air Pollutants from Project Area Impacting an Area of Concern

                                  TRANSPORT WIND         DISTANCE      % PROBABILITY OF        %PROBABILITY OF
     AREA OF CONCERN AND           DIRECTION TO         TO AREA OF      WIND DIRECTION         WIND DIRECTION
     REASON FOR CONCERN             LOCATION OF          CONCERN         OCCURRENCE:            OCCURRENCE:
                                 POTENTIAL IMPACT         (MILES)        MAY (SPRING)            SEPT. (FALL)
          Libby, MT,
                                         NE                  9                 3.0                     3.8
      Non-attainment area
        Whitefish, MT,
                                         W                  36                 13.1                   14.6
      Non-attainment area
        Kalispell, MT,
                                         W                  39                 13.1                   14.6
      Non-attainment area
     Thompson Falls, MT,
                                         N                  34                 3.7                     4.1
         Sensitive area
         Eureka, MT,
                                         SW                 24                 17.0                   16.4
         Sensitive area
    Cabinet Mt. Wilderness,
                                         NE                 16                 3.0                     3.8
        Class I Airshed
     Glacier National Park,
                                         W                  45                 13.1                   14.6
        Class I Airshed
    Bob Marshal Wilderness,
                                        NW                  78                 4.2                     5.8
        Class I Airshed

Analysis of Potential Impacts to Class 1 Airsheds
 Alternative 1
 Direct, Indirect and Cumulative Effects
   It is important to note that currently, both the Bob Marshal Wilderness and Glacier National Park have fire
   management plans that allow naturally ignited wildland fires to burn within prescribed parameters over
   long periods to accomplish resource objectives. Smoke generated from wildland fires varies over the
   summer burning period from within these Class 1 airsheds.

    82                                     Chapter 3
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  Certain wilderness areas and National Parks established before August of 1977 were designated as
  Class 1 airshed areas. Class 1 designation allows only very small increments of new pollution above
  already existing air pollution levels. The Clean Air Act amendments of 1977 included a program for
  prevention of significant deterioration of air quality, generally referred to as the PSD program. This
  program is to prevent areas currently having clean air from becoming more polluted. The Bob Marshall
  Wilderness, Glacier National Park and the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness are all Class I areas. The
  existing condition of the representative standard visual range for these Class I areas are displayed in
  table 3.56.
                                       Table 3.56 – Standard Visual Range

                CLASS I AREAS         10th PERCENTILE       50th PERCENTILE       90th PERCENTILE
             Cabinet Mountains            88 kilometers        160 kilometers        228 kilometers
                 Wilderness                (55 miles)             (99 miles)           (141 miles)
           Bob Marshal Wilderness/        97 kilometers        178 kilometers        249 kilometers
            Glacier National Park          (60 miles)            (110 miles)           (154 miles)

  The interpretation of these percentile figures is as follows:
  For the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, on 10% of the days monitored, visibility was 55 miles or less,
  which also means that on 90% of days monitored, visibility was greater than 55 miles. On 50% of the
  days monitored visibility was 99 miles or less, which also means that on 50% of days monitored, visibility
  was greater than 99 miles. On 90% of days visibility was 141 miles or less, which also means that on 10%
  of the days monitored visibility was greater than 141 miles.

  The degree of visual impairment and the amount of airborne pollutants, resulting from the burning of
  wildland fuels, is undoubtedly less than it was prior to the advent of effective fire suppression. Conversely,
  pollutants from other human related sources, has increased during the same timeframe. Therefore, there
  is no historic data for comparing the existing situation to the historic situation. There are no cumulative
  effects to the no-action alternative because it is beyond the scope of the project.

Indirect Effects for All Action Alternatives
  There are no direct effects of proposed activities to Class 1 Airsheds. Effects resulting from the
  implementation of one of the action alternatives would be considered indirect effects since none of these
  areas are within close proximity downwind to the project area.

  The analysis presented in table 3.56, above, indicates that transport winds, from a direction that would
  carry smoke toward the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area, would occur less than 3% of days in the
  spring and 3.8% of days in the fall. If burning occurs on one of these days, smoke would impact visual
  quality and would also deliver airborne pollutants to this class I airshed. The effects of visual impairment
  would be less noticed during spring weather because wilderness use is very limited then due to deep
  snow. The overall probability of impacting the air quality of Cabinet Mountains Wilderness is considered
  to be low.

  The analysis indicates the probability that transport winds would carry smoke toward the Bob Marshal
  Wilderness Area is 4.2% (spring) and 5.8% (fall), and Glacier National Park 13.1% (spring) and 14.6%
  (fall) of days. If burning occurs on one of these days, smoke could impact visual quality and could also
  deliver airborne pollutants to these class I airsheds. Smoke dilution would greatly reduce the level of
  pollutants reaching these points of interest. The effects of visual impairment would be less noticed during
  spring weather because wilderness use is very limited due to deep snow. The probability of impacting the
  Bob Marshal Wilderness and Glacier National Park is considered to be quite low due to the distance to
  these areas.

Cumulative Effects for All Action Alternatives
 The cumulative effects on class 1 airsheds from the implementation of the action alternatives and other
 present and reasonably foreseeable future actions are not known at this time. The production of air
 pollutants associated with the implementation of this project would vary over time and would not be
 continuous. Therefore impacts would be episodic in nature and the potential of occurrence would end
 when the implementation of this project is completed.

  In the near future, “IMPROVE” Air Quality Monitoring Equipment will be installed on Green Mountain, near
                                         Chapter 3                                                           83
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Noxon, Montana. The purpose of the equipment is to monitor air quality for the Cabinet Mountain
 Wilderness Area. This data would capture information and represent the cumulative effects on air quality
 from all sources.

Consistency with the Forest Plan and Other Management Direction
 The air quality management for fuels management plans developed for the action alternatives are
 consistent with Forest Plan direction and takes into account the requirements of the National Forest
 Management Act, Clean Air Act, Montana Air Quality Bureau, and the guidance provided by the Regional
 Overview and the Living With Fire Strategy. These documents are included in the project file.




 84                                    Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

6. SCENIC RESOURCES
 Introduction
   Effects analysis for scenic resources is performed using the Forest Service Scenery Management System
   (USDA, 1995). This system compares the visual appearance of a proposed action to the landscape
   character and existing condition of the surrounding area. As part of this analysis, Scenic Integrity Levels
   (SIL) are inventoried and mapped for the activity areas. The scenic integrity level defines the acceptable
   level of alteration of the landscape character. The degree of alteration is measured in terms of the
   noticeability of scenic contrast with the surrounding natural landscape.

   This system of analysis is used to estimate the effects of human caused changes to the scenic resource.
   It is not used to estimate the effects of natural change (disease, fire, insects, wind, etc). Natural change is
   considered an integral part of the natural landscape character of an area - neither good or bad, nor pretty
   or ugly.

   Scenic Integrity Objectives (SIO) are developed in an interdisciplinary setting by a team during project
   planning. The SIO for an area does not change even though human-caused changes may alter the scenic
   integrity levels.

   The Forest Plan prescribes Visual Quality Objectives (VQOs) for each management area (MA). These
   VQOs may be more or less restrictive than what would be inventoried based on the Scenery
   Management System (SMS). This analysis describes what the effects to the scenic resource are and
   whether or not the alternatives meet Forest Plan VQO standards and Scenic Integrity Levels.

       MODERATE (Mod) Scenic Integrity Level equates to a PARTIAL RETENTION (PR) Visual
       Quality Objective. Moderate scenic integrity refers to landscapes where the valued landscape
       character "appears slightly altered". Notice-able deviations must remain visually subordinate to the
       landscape character being viewed.

       LOW (L) Scenic Integrity Level equates to a MODIFICATION (Mod) Visual Quality Objective.
       Low scenic integrity refers to landscapes where the natural-appearing landscape character "appears
       moderately altered". Deviations from the natural-appearing character begin to dominate the viewing
       area, and they may incorporate valued landscape character attributes from outside the viewing area
       such as size, shape, edge effect, and pattern of natural openings, or vegetative type changes.
       However, these deviations must also be compatible or complimentary to the natural landscape
       character within the viewing area.

       VERY LOW (VL) Scenic Integrity Level equates to a MAXIMUM MODIFICATION (MM) Visual
       Quality Objective. Very Low scenic integrity refers to landscapes where the natural appearing
       landscape character "appears heavily altered". Deviations from the natural-appearing character may
       strongly dominate the viewing area, and they may not incorporate valued landscape character
       attributes such as size, shape, edge effect, and pattern of natural openings, or vegetative type
       changes from within or outside the viewing area. However, these deviations must be shaped and
       blended with the natural terrain (landforms) so that elements such as unnatural edges, roads,
       landings, and structures do not dominate the composition.

       UNACCEPTABLY LOW (UL) Scenic Integrity Level refers to landscapes where the natural
       appearing landscape character appears extremely altered. Deviations are extremely dominant and
       incorporate little if any form, such as line, color, texture, or scale from the natural appearing
       landscape character of the viewing area. Landscapes at this level of integrity need rehabilitation. This
       level should only be used to inventory existing integrity. It must not be used as a management
       objective.

 Natural Landscape Character
  The Bristow planning subunit consists of the west side of Koocanusa Reservoir that is deeply cut by
  several prominent drainages (Bristow Creek, Barron Creek, Jackson Creek). The drainages are deeply
  incised and the ridgelines have fairly gentle slopes. Sideslopes between these two features are generally
  steep. Prominent ridgeline features are Banfield Mountain (6100' elev), Lost Soul Mountain (6162'),
  Zeigler Mountain (5394'), Blue Mountain (6040'), and Fleetwood Point (4800'). Numerous spur ridges

                                          Chapter 3                                                            85
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  come off the main ridges and trend easterly to lower elevations. The south and west aspects of the
  Bristow area have numerous small natural openings in a ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir canopy. The
  north and east aspects have a nearly continuous canopy of Douglas-fir, western larch, and lodgepole
  pine. This tree canopy is broken sharply by drainages. Seasonal color variation is most pronounced in
  late October when western larch, on northerly aspects, turn a brilliant gold color. There are major rock
  forms visible in this planning subunit from on the ground views. Some of these are Zeigler Mountain and
  the Lake Koocanusa shoreline.

Existing Condition
 The sensitivity of the Bristow viewshed has been long recognized due to its proximity to the Koocanusa
 Reservoir and Montana State Highway 37 (MHS 37). Efforts to conserve the viewshed pre-date the Unit
 Plans and the Kootenai Forest Plan. Land management activities (road construction, tree harvest)
 through time have incorporated scenery mitigation techniques. During the winter months, regeneration

  harvests of varying size (10-40 acres) can be recognized from viewpoints along MSH 37. Large geometric
  shaped tree harvest units (seedtree, clearcut) are found predominantly in the headwaters of drainages on
  north/east aspects and are viewed mostly from local roads. These have uncharacteristic form/line and do
  not mimic the numerous natural openings present. The Scenic Integrity Level (SIL) for this area is
  moderate to low. Much of the planning subunit is viewed from MSH 37 (Sensitivity Level 1) at a
  middleground distance. Middleground views are significant to the public because these are the most
  noticeable in their travels to/through the National Forest.

Desired Future Landscape Character
 Vegetative diversity is especially desirable to introduce on the north and east aspects of the watershed
 where homogenous canopies dominate. Manipulations must avoid large geometric shapes that result in
 uncharacteristic form or harsh lines. Western larch should be a key species to retain or perpetuate for its
 fall color displays. On south and west aspects, vegetative manipulation should mimic the numerous small
 openings present. Mature ponderosa pine is the key species to retain, especially along open roads. No
 road cut/fill slopes should be visible from any Sensitivity Level 1 or 2 travel route. Slash disposal along
 Level 1 or 2 routes should not be evident one year following treatment.

  Viewing Areas
  MT Highway 37 is the major north-south travel route near the valley floor along the east side of the
  planning subunit. It is inventoried as a sensitivity level 1 (high sensitivity) travel route due to the yearlong
  paved access link between Libby and Eureka, and the residential/recreation access afforded the public.
  All views of the planning subunit in the vicinity of proposed actions from this travel route are at
  middleground (.5-4 miles) and background (4+ miles) distances. Visibility of the planning subunit is
  determined by landform without vegetation considered. MSH 37 is positioned near mid slope, thereby
  providing numerous views of the planning subunit. Views of management activities during the snow cover
  months (November-April) are most sensitive as form (size/shape) and line are well defined. Views of
  significant portions of the planning subunit are at oblique view angles or are screened from the MSH 37
  corridor by topography. VQOs for areas seen from this road range from partial retention to modification.
  The Scenery Management System (SIO) for areas viewed from this road range from moderate to low
  scenic integrity.

  Koocanusa Scenic Byway (FDR 228) is the major north-south travel route along the east side of the
  planning subunit. It is inventoried as a sensitivity level 1 (high sensitivity) travel route due to the paved
  access link between Libby Dam and numerous recreation sites along Koocanusa Reservoir. All views of
  the planning subunit in the vicinity of proposed actions from this travel route are at foreground (0-1/2 mile)
  and middleground (.5-4 miles) distances. Visibility of the planning subunit is determined by landform
  without vegetation considered. FDR 228 is positioned near mid slope, thereby providing numerous views
  of the planning subunit. Views of management activities during the snow cover months (November-April)
  are most sensitive as form (size/shape) and line are well defined. Views of significant portions of the
  planning subunit are screened from the FDR 228 corridor by topography. VQOs for areas seen from this
  road range from partial retention to modification. The Scenery Management System SIO for areas viewed
  from this road range from moderate to low scenic integrity.

  Koocanusa Reservoir - This 90 mile long and one mile wide impoundment is formed by Libby Dam. The
  reservoir is the destination for numerous recreationists partaking in camping, water sports, and fishing
  86                                      Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                    Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   during all seasons. The reservoir is positioned at 2400' elevation and therefore provides an inferior viewer
   position. Best views of the planning subunit are provided along the east shoreline of the reservoir. It is
   inventoried as a sensitivity level 1 (high sensitivity) recreation destination due to its numerous recreation
   sites and activities. Views of the planning subunit are at all distances, foreground to background (0-4+
   miles). Due to the inferior viewer position, significant portions of the planning subunit are screened from
   view by topography. VQOs for areas seen from Koocanusa Reservoir range from partial retention to
   modification.

   Bristow Creek Road 333, Barron Creek Road 615, and Jackson Creek Road 401 - These roads are
   the major east-west access roads, open to public motorized use yearlong, through the planning subunit.
   These roads link Koocanusa Reservoir with the headwaters of the respective drainages and are classified
   as a level 3 (low sensitivity) travel routes. Views of proposed actions are at foreground, middleground,
   and background distances from these roads. Forest Plan VQOs for areas seen from these roads range
   from modification to maximum modification. SILs for areas seen from this road range from low to very low
   scenic integrity.

   The remaining parts of the planning subunit are difficult to view from these travel routes due to
   topographic screening. However, they may be viewed from "local" roads at foreground and middleground
   distances. Such areas have a Forest Plan VQO of maximum modification. SILs for areas seen from local
   roads range from low to very low scenic integrity.

Effects
Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
   Alternative 1,the no-action alternative, would leave the area in the same condition in the short term. The
   middleground/background views from MSH 37 would change over time with the growth of trees in
   previously harvested areas. The views of management activities seen from MSH 37 would be obscured
   as tree growth approached 15 feet in height. This is estimated to take 15-20 years or more.

 Cumulative Effects
  The no-action alternative is not envisioned to cumulatively affect the scenic resources of the planning
  subunit.

 Consistency with the Forest Plan
  This alternative is consistent with the Forest Plan.

Alternative 2
 Alternative 2 consists of 40 tree harvest treatment units and 15 fuel treatment units (numbered 1-70)
 covering 1,643 acres and 1,526 acres respectively. The purpose of these treatments is to reduce tree
 densities and fuel loadings to a more natural historic level, to capture mortality before product value is lost,
 to regenerate stands that have deteriorated, and to regenerate shrub species for big game forage.

 Direct and Indirect Effects
   Approximately five miles of temporary road construction is proposed to access tree harvest areas on
   National Forest with this alternative. Plum Creek Timber Company has not proposed any new road
   construction to access their lands for tree harvest. Road construction in the Bristow area would expose
   exceptionally light colored subsoils. Table 3.57 displays, by unit, the scenic resources direct and indirect
   effects, by unit, of this alternative. Definitions of VQO/SIL and VQO achieved can be found in the
   introduction to the scenic resources section.

                     Table 3.57 – Scenic Resource Effects and Rational for Alternative 2

                                                VQO /SIL
   UNIT   ACRES    MA     VQO/SIL     Rx                                              RATIONAL
                                               ACHEIVED
     1      28      12    MM/VL      ST/CC       MM/VL        Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                              harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
     2      39      12    MM/VL       CC         MM/VL        Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                              harvest area and temporary road would not attract viewer
                                                              attention.
     3      45      12    MM/VL      ST/CC       MM/VL        Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                             Chapter 3                                                                87
                         Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                                         VQO /SIL
UNIT   ACRES   MA    VQO/SIL     Rx                                         RATIONAL
                                        ACHEIVED
                                                    harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
3A      36     15    MM/VL      ST/CC    MM/VL      Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                    harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 5       7     15    MM/VL       CC      MM/VL      Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                    harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 6      48     12    MM/VL      SAL      MM/VL      Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                    harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 7       4     12    MM/VL      STFC     MM/VL      Due to small treatment area, remote location and limited
                                                    viewing opportunity, this harvest area would not attract
                                                    viewer attention.
 8      23     12    MM/VL       CC      MM/VL      Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                    harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 9       2     12    MM/VL      STFC     Mod/L      Due to small treatment area, remote location and limited
                                                    viewing opportunity, this harvest area would not attract
                                                    viewer attention.
 11      5     12    MM/VL      STFC     Mod/L      Due to small treatment area, remote location and limited
                                                    viewing opportunity, this harvest area would not attract
                                                    viewer attention.
 13     105    11     Mod/L     FUEL     PR/Mod     Due to the light handed nature of the proposed treatment,
                                                    the area would not attract viewer attention.
 15     55     11     Mod/L      GS      PR/Mod     Due to the scattered nature of small treatment areas, this
                                                    harvest area and temporary road would not attract viewer
                                                    attention.
 16     118    15     MM/L      ST/CC    MM/VL      Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                    harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 18     48     11     Mod/L     IMP      PR/Mod     Due to the light handed nature of the proposd treatment, this
                                                    harvest area and temporary road would not attract viewer
                                                    attention.
18A     65     11     Mod/L     FUEL     PR/Mod     Due to the light handed nature of the proposed treatment,
                                                    the area would not attract viewer attention.
 21     17     12     Mod/L      ST      Mod/L      Due to leave trees and leave islands in the harvest, this
                                                    harvest area and temporary road would not attract viewer
                                                    attention.
21A     21     12     Mod/L    ST-SW     Mod/L      Due to leave trees and leave islands in the harvest, this
                                                    harvest area and temporary road would not attract viewer
                                                    attention.
 22     29     12     Mod/L     FUEL     PR/Mod     Due to the light handed nature of the proposed treatment,
                                                    the area would not attract viewer attention.
 23     40     12      PR      SW/IMP    PR/Mod     Due to leave trees and oblique view angle, this harvest area
                                                    would not attract viewer attention.
23A     78     12     Mod/L     FUEL     PR/Mod     Due to the light handed nature of the proposed treatment,
                                                    the area would not attract viewer attention.
 24     92     5       R/H      FUEL      R/H       Due to the oblique view angle and light handed nature of
                                                    this treatment, the area would not attract viewer attention.
 26     212    11    PR/Mod     IMP      PR/Mod     Due to light handed nature of the treatment, this harvest area
                                                    and temporary road would not attract viewer attention.
26A     29     11    PR/Mod      GS      PR/Mod     Due to the scattered nature of small treatment areas, this
                                                    harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
26C     20     11    PR/Mod     FUEL     PR/Mod     Due to the light handed nature of this treatment, the area
                                                    would not attract viewer attention.
 27     241    5       R/H      FUEL      R/H       Due to the light handed nature of this treatment, the area
                                                    would not attract viewer attention.
 28     47     10    PR/Mod     IMP      PR/Mod     Due to leave trees, this harvest area and temporary road
                                                    would not attract viewer attention.
 29     174    15    MM/VL      ST/CC    MM/VL      Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                    harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 30     132    15    MM/VL      ST/CC    MM/VL      Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                    harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
31A     145    5       R/H      FUEL      R/H       Due to the light handed nature of this treatment, the area
                                                    would not attract viewer attention.
 32     284    11     Mod/L     FUEL     PR/Mod     Due to the oblique view angle and light handed nature of
                                                    this treatment, the area would not attract viewer attention.

88                                      Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                    Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                                                   VQO /SIL
UNIT    ACRES     MA     VQO/SIL       Rx                                                 RATIONAL
                                                  ACHEIVED
 33       121      11    PR/Mod      FUEL          PR/Mod         Due to the oblique view angle and light handed nature of
                                                                  this treatment, the area would not attract viewer attention.
 36       52       15    PR/Mod      FUEL          PR/Mod         Due to the oblique view angle and light handed nature of
                                                                  this treatment, the area would not attract viewer attention.
 37       34       10    PR/Mod     IMP/SW         PR/Mod         Due to leave trees, this harvest area would not attract viewer
                                                                  attention.
 38       31       6     PR/Mod       IMP          PR/Mod         Due to leave trees, this harvest area would not attract viewer
                                                                  attention.
 39       45       11    PR/Mod      FUEL          PR/Mod         Due to the light handed nature of this treatment, the area
                                                                  would not attract viewer attention.
 40       16       11    PR/Mod        ST          PR/Mod         Due to excellent slash disposal near FDR 228 and limited
                                                                  viewing opportunity, this harvest area would not attract
                                                                  viewer attention.
 41       84       11    PR/Mod      FUEL          PR/Mod         Due to the light handed nature of this treatment, the area
                                                                  would not attract viewer attention.
 42       66       11    PR/Mod      FUEL          PR/Mod         Due to the light handed nature of this treatment, the area
                                                                  would not attract viewer attention.
 43       18       15    MM/VL       ST/CC         MM/VL          Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                                  harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 44        7       15    MM/VL         ST          MM/VL          Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                                  harvest area and temporary road would not attract viewer
                                                                  attention.
44B       58       15    MM/VL       ST/CC         MM/VL          Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                                  harvest area and temporary road would not attract viewer
                                                                  attention.
 45       45       15    MM/VL       ST/CC         MM/VL          Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                                  harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 46       19       15    MM/VL         CC          MM/VL          Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                                  harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 47        6       15    MM/VL         CC          MM/VL          Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                                  harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 48       26       15    MM/VL       ST/CC         MM/VL          Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                                  harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 49       48       15    MM/VL       ST/CC         MM/VL          Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                                  harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 63       14       12    MM/VL         CC          MM/VL          Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity, this
                                                                  harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
 65       46       11    PR/Mod      FUEL          PR/Mod         Due to the light handed nature of this treatment, the area
                                                                  would not attract viewer attention.
 66       48       6     PR/Mod       IMP          PR/Mod         Due to leave trees and complete slash disposal, this harvest
                                                                  area would not attract viewer attention.
 67        7       6     PR/Mod      FUEL          PR/Mod         Due to the light handed nature of this treatment, the area
                                                                  would not attract viewer attention.
 68       81       6     PR/Mod       IMP          PR/Mod         Due to leave trees and complete slash disposal near
                                                                  recreation areas, this harvest area would not attract viewer
                                                                  attention.
68A       46       6     PR/Mod      FUEL          PR/Mod         Due to the light handed nature of this treatment, the area
                                                                  would not attract viewer attention.
 69       22       6     PR/Mod       IMP          PR/Mod         Due to leave trees and complete slash disposal near
                                                                  recreation areas, this harvest area would not attract viewer
                                                                  attention.
 70       40       11    PR/Mod       IMP          PR/Mod         Due to leave trees and complete slash disposal near
                                                                  recreation areas, this harvest area would not attract viewer
                                                                  attention.
SIL – Scenic Integrity Level SILs: L- low Mod – moderate VL – very low UL – unacceptably low R – retention H - high
VQO – Visual Quality Obgective VQOs: PR – partial retention Mod – modification MM - Maximum modification R - retention
CC = Clearcut with Reserves ST = Seedtree with Reserves    SW = Shelterwood IMP = Improvement GS = Group Select
STFC = Seedtree Final Cut with Reserves SAL= Salvage




                                            Chapter 3                                                                       89
                        Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Openings Over 40 Acres
 Direct and Indirect Effects
   This alternative would create nine regeneration openings greater than 40 acres in MA12 and MA15. Unit
   23 combines with the two existing adjacent units to make an over 40acre opening but due to leave trees
   and the oblique view angle, this harvest area would not attract viewer attention. Units 2, 3, 3A, 5, 16, 29,
   30, 44B, 45, 49 are all involved with producing openings over 40 acres (refer to Table 2.7) but due to their
   remote location and limited viewing opportunity, these harvest areas and temporary roads (where
   applicable) would not attract viewer attention.

Road Decommissioning
 Road decommissioning and storage activities can have impacts to scenic resources. Road storage activities
 normally involve a physical barrier to public travel and/or removal of culverts. Under most circumstances,
 road storage activities have very minimal scenic resource impacts. This is due to the screening provided in
 RHCAs where culverts are removed.

 Road decommissioning where full slope recontouring is used can have major impacts to scenic resources.
 This is can be attributed to two factors:
        1) Light colored sub soils from the road fill slope and prism are common on the Kootenai National
            Forest. When recontouring is done, these light colored soils become exposed again.
        2) Second, during road construction it is rare when fertile topsoils are stockpiled for future use.
            Therefore, revegetation of sterile subsoils becomes more difficult.

 Direct and Indirect Effects
   Five roads are proposed for decommissioning (see table 2.10C). A site-specific direct and indirect effects
   analysis for each road follows.
       1) Road X22 (0.67 miles) is located in the head waters of a tributary to Jackson Creek. It is
           positioned on gentle slopes immediately west of an RHCA where screening vegetation is intact.
           The spur ridge north of Alexander Mountain provides topographic screening to the east toward
           Koocanusa Reservoir and MSH 37. Due to road X22‟s low slope position and topographic
           screening, negative scenic resource effects associated with slope recontouring will not be viewed
           from any Sensitivity Level 1 or 2 travelway.
       2) Road X49 (0.18 miles) is located in the South Fork of Jackson Creek. It is positioned on a gentle
           south aspect at midslope with screening along its east side. The west side lacks screening due to
           recent tree harvest. Due to east side vegetative screening, negative scenic resource effects
           associated with slope recontouring will not be viewed from any Sensitivity Level 1 or 2 travelway.
       3) Road 615 (0.85 miles) is located in the lower reaches of Barron Creek. It is positioned on a gentle
           south aspect very low on the slope near the floodplain. This road segment lies within PCTC
           ownership. Tree harvest along this road occurred during the 1970s. Currently the road has
           screening from below and tree regeneration upslope. Due to road 615‟s low slope position and
           vegetative screening, negative scenic resource effects associated with slope recontouring will not
           be viewed from any Sensitivity Level 1 or 2 travelway.
       4) Road 5037 (0.31 miles) is located in the headwaters of Barron Creek at the north end of Blue
           Ridge. It is positioned on a steep north aspect at mid slope. Currently, the road has vegetative
           screening from below. Due to vegetative screening from below, negative scenic resource effects
           associated with slope recontouring will not be viewed from any Sensitivity Level 1 or 2 travelway.
       5) Road 4874B (0.43 miles) is located on the spur ridge between Hickey Creek and Everett Creek.
           It is positioned on a gentle east aspect at midslope. Vegetative screening is present down slope
           of this switchbacking road segment. A major spur ridge running south off Zeigler Mountain
           provides topographic screening to Lake Koocanusa and MSH 37. Due to vegetative and
           topographic screening, negative scenic resource effects associated with slope recontouring will
           not be viewed from any Sensitivity Level 1 or 2 travelway.

 Cumulative Effects
  Alternative 2 would change the visual condition of the Bristow planning subunit. Drier habitats found on
  south and west aspects of the planning subunit would have subtle texture changes as tree canopy
  densities were reduced following harvest, hazard fuel reduction, or wildlife enhancement. Minimal new
  line and form would be introduced with the proposed improvement harvest treatments. Alternative 2
  would regenerate (clearcut, seedtree, shelterwood, group selection) 1,101 acres in 24 harvest units. All of

   90                                     Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                     Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   these regeneration treatments would meet Forest Plan VQOs. This is due to leave tree densities,
   vegetative screening, blending with natural openings, and topographic positioning. Within 15-20 years of
   the proposed regeneration treatments, intermediate/tall shrubs and tree regeneration would be noticeable
   in the treated areas. Scenic resource effects associated with temporary road construction (10 segments
   totaling five miles) to access harvest areas would be minimal. These road segments (vary in length from
   .29 miles to 1.15 miles) have vegetative screening for cut/fill slopes, and will be recontoured and
   revegetated following activities. Any temporary road construction impacts, such as exposure of light
   colored subsoils, to scenic resources should be short-term, i.e. confined to the activity period.

 Scenic Quality Mitigation
  All proposed harvest units and treatment areas are forecasted to meet or positively exceed Forest Plan
  VQOs. Units would be positioned to take advantage of inferior viewer positions, oblique view angles,
  topographic/vegetative screening, natural openings, and revegetated tree harvest areas. Units would be
  marked to leave residual trees with the largest/best formed crowns. Unit layout would utilize small areas,
  irregular shapes/edges and gentle slope angles. Nearly complete slash disposal would be employed in
  units associated with the McGillivray Recreation Area. The use of these techniques singularly or in
  combination would yield positive results related to VQO/SIO. Feathering and thinning the edge of units
  would be employed throughout the improvement harvest units proposed because it mimics historic tree
  stand densities.

 Consistency with the Forest Plan
  Alternative 2 proposes 9 treatments that will positively exceed Forest Plan VQOs (example: modification
  prescribed and partial retention achieved). Another 45 treatments are proposed that would meet Forest
  Plan VQOs.

Alternative 3
 Alternative 3 consists of 31 tree harvest treatment areas covering 1205 acres, 17 fuel treatment areas
 covering 1,526 acres, and construction of nine temporary road segments for 4.76 miles. Since Alternative 2
 was discussed in great detail, a discussion of alterantive 3 will focus on how it is different from Alternative 2.
 The fuel treatment areas are common to all alternatives without any change. Within the tree harvest
 treatment areas, nine areas have been dropped (proposed units 5, 7, 9, 11, 37, 43, 44, 63, and 70) from
 Alternative 2 to Alternative 3. Seven tree harvest treatment areas (units 3, 23, 28, 30, 44B, 45, and 49) have
 acreage reductions from Alternative 2 to Alternative 3. Two tree harvest treatment areas (proposed units 16
 and 29) have been split into five smaller areas from Alternative 2 to Alternative 3.

 Alternative 3 differs from Alternative 2 in the proposal of a four road closure segments to help meet open
 road density standards for big game. The first closure segment is the Camp Creek road 4859 from its start
 at the junction of 4734 to the junction of road 4860 for a distance of approximately 2 miles. The second
 closure segment is the Banfield Mountain road 4859 from Banfield Mountain lookout to the junction of road
 4851 for a distance of approximately 1.25 miles. The third closure segment is the Lost Soul road 4851 from
 the junction with road 4859 to the junction of road 333 for a distance of approximately 2.75 miles. The fourth
 closure segment is the Everett Creek road 4874 from the junction of the 4874C spur to the Libby-Eureka
 Ranger District boundary for a distance of approximately 2.5 miles.

 Below is a listing of proposed tree harvest treatment areas and a discussion of their effects for seven areas
 from Alternative 2 with reduced acreage, and five areas that resulted from splitting two larger areas from
 Alternative 2 to make them smaller. No discussion will be provided for the nine tree harvest areas from
 Alternative 2 that were dropped.

                     Table 3.58 – Scenic Resource Effects and Rational for Alternative 3

                                                  VQO
   UNIT   ACRES     MA     VQO/SIL      Rx                                            RATIONAL
                                                ACHEIVED
     3      12      12      MM/VL      ST/CC      MM/VL       Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity,
                                                              this harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
    16      37      15      MM/L       ST/CC      MM/VL       Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity,
                                                              this harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
    16A     38      15      MM/VL      ST/CC      MM/VL       Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity,
                                                              this harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
    23      21      12      PR/Mod    SW/IMP      PR/Mod      Due to leave trees and oblique view angle, this harvest area
                                             Chapter 3                                                                  91
                         Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                      Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                                                      VQO
   UNIT   ACRES      MA     VQO/SIL        Rx                                               RATIONAL
                                                    ACHEIVED
                                                                    would not attract viewer attention.
    28      40      10/11    PR/Mod       IMP         PR/Mod        Due to leave trees, this harvest area and temporary road
                                                                    would not attract viewer attention.
    29A     39       15      MM/VL       ST/CC        MM/VL         Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity,
                                                                    this harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
    29B     32       15      MM/VL       ST/CC        MM/VL         Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity,
                                                                    this harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
    29C     39       15      MM/VL       ST/CC        MM/VL         Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity,
                                                                    this harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
    30      40       15      MM/VL       ST/CC        MM/VL         Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity,
                                                                    this harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
    44B     39       15      MM/VL       ST/CC        MM/VL         Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity,
                                                                    this harvest area and temporary road would not attract
                                                                    viewer attention.
    45      30       15      MM/VL       ST/CC        MM/VL         Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity,
                                                                    this harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
    49      33       15      MM/VL         ST         MM/VL         Due to remote location and limited viewing opportunity,
                                                                    this harvest area would not attract viewer attention.
                             SIL – Scenic Integrity Level SILs: L- low Mod – moderate VL – very low
                       VQO – Visual Quality Obgective VQOs: PR – partial retention MM - Maximum modification
          SW = Shelterwood IMP = Improvement GS = Group Select CC = Clearcut with Reserves ST = Seedtree with Reserves

 Cumulative Effects
  Alternative 3 would change the visual condition of the Bristow area. Drier habitats found on south and
  west aspects of the planning subunit would have subtle texture changes as tree canopy densities were
  reduced following harvest, hazard fuel reduction, or wildlife enhancement. Minimal new line and form
  would be introduced with the proposed improvement harvest treatments. Alternative 3 would regenerate
  (clearcut, seedtree, shelterwood, group selection) 715 acres in 23 harvest units. All of these regeneration
  treatments would meet Forest Plan VQOs. This is due to leave tree densities, vegetative screening,
  blending with natual openings, and topographic positioning. Within 15-20 years of the proposed

   regeneration treatments, intermediate/tall shrubs and tree regeneration would be noticeable in the treated
   areas. Scenic resource effects associated with temporary road construction (9 segments totaling 4.76
   miles) to access harvest areas would be minimal. These road segments (vary in length from .30 miles to
   1.15 miles) have vegetative screening for cut/fill slopes, and will be recontoured and revegetated
   following activities. Any temporary road construction impacts, such as exposure of light colored subsoils,
   to scenic resources should be short-term, i.e. confined to the activity period.

 Scenic Quality Mitigation
  All proposed harvest units and treatment areas are forecasted to meet or positively exceed Forest Plan
  VQOs. Units would be positioned to take advantage of inferior viewer positions, oblique view angles,
  topographic/vegetative screening, natural openings, and revegetated tree harvest areas. Units would be
  marked to leave residual trees with the largest/best formed crowns. Unit layout would utilize small areas,
  irregular shapes/edges and gentle slope angles. Nearly complete slash disposal would be employed in
  units associated with the McGillivray Recreation Area. The use of these techniques singularly or in
  combination would yield positive results related to VQO/SIO. Feathering and thinning the edge of units
  would be employed throughout the improvement harvest units proposed because it mimics historic tree
  stand densities.

 Consistency with the Forest Plan
  Alternative 3 proposes 9 treatments that will positively exceed Forest Plan VQOs (example: modification
  prescribed and partial retention achieved). Another 36 treatments are proposed that would meet Forest
  Plan VQOs.

Alternative 4
 Alternative 4 consists of 17 tree harvest treatment areas covering 726 acres, 17 fuel treatment areas
 covering 1,526 acres, and construction of five temporary road segments for 2.48 miles. Since Alternative 2
 was discussed in great detail, a discussion of Alterantive 4 will focus only on how it is different from
 Alternative 2. The fuel treatment areas are common to all alternatives without any change. Within the tree
   92                                         Chapter 3
                          Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                            Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 harvest treatment areas, 20 areas have been dropped (proposed units 1-23, 29, 30, 44, and 63) from
 Alternative 2 to Alternative 4. Two tree harvest treatment areas (units 26 and 26A) have acreage reductions
 from Alternative 2 to Alternative 4.

 Below is a listing of proposed tree harvest treatment areas and a discussion of their effects for the two
 areas from Alternative 2 with reduced acreages. No discussion will be provided for the 20 tree harvest
 areas that were dropped, nor the 15 proposed tree harvest areas that are exactly the same from Alternative
 2.
                      Table 3.59– Scenic Resource Effects and Rational for Alternative 4

                                                         VQO
   UNIT     ACRES       MA        VQO/SIL    Rx                                                   RATIONAL
                                                       ACHEIVED
    26        174       11        PR/Mod     IMP        PR/Mod         Due to light handed nature of the treatment, this harvest area and
                                                                       temporary road would not attract viewer attention.
   26A         13       11        PR/Mod     GS         PR/Mod         Due to the scattered nature of small treatment areas, this harvest
                                                                       area would not attract viewer attention.
   SIL – Scenic Integrity Level    SILs: L- low    Mod – moderate VQO – Visual Quality Obgective VQOs: PR – partial retention
                                                     IMP = Improvement GS = Group Select

Openings Over 40 Acres
 Direct and Indirect Effects
   This alternative would create three regeneration openings greater than 40 acres on MA15. Units 44B, 45,
   49 are all involved with producing openings over 40 acres (refer to Table 2.23) but due to their remote
   location and limited viewing opportunity, these harvest areas and temporary roads (where applicable)
   would not attract viewer attention.

Road Decommissioning
   The effects of road decommissioning activities can be found previously under Alternative 2.

 Cumulative Effects
  Alternative 4 would change the visual condition of the Bristow area. Drier habitats found on south and
  west aspects of the planning subunit would have subtle texture changes as tree canopy densities were
  reduced following harvest, hazard fuel reduction, or wildlife enhancement. Minimal new line and form
  would be introduced with the proposed improvement harvest treatments. Alternative 4 would regenerate
  (clearcut, seedtree, shelterwood, group selection) 330 acres in 9 harvest units. All of these regeneration
  treatments would meet Forest Plan VQOs. This is due to leave tree densities, vegetative screening,
  blending with natual openings, and topographic positioning Within 15-20 years of the proposed
  regeneration treatments, intermediate/tall shrubs and tree regeneration would be noticeable in the treated
  areas. Scenic resource effects associated with temporary road construction (5 segments totaling 2.48
  miles) to access harvest areas would be minimal. These road segments (vary in length from .29 miles to
  .84 miles) have vegetative screening for cut/fill slopes, and will be recontoured and revegetated following
  activities. Any temporary road construction impacts, such as exposure of light colored subsoils, to scenic
  resources should be short-term, i.e. confined to the activity period.

 Scenic Quality Mitigation
  All proposed harvest units and treatment areas are forecasted to meet or positively exceed Forest Plan
  VQOs. Units would be positioned to take advantage of inferior viewer positions, oblique view angles,
  topographic/vegetative screening, natural openings, and revegetated tree harvest areas. Units would be
  marked to leave residual trees with the largest/best formed crowns. Unit layout would utilize small areas,
  irregular shapes/edges and gentle slope angles. Nearly complete slash disposal would be employed in
  units associated with the McGillivray Recreation Area. The use of these techniques singularly or in
  combination would yield positive results related to VQO/SIO. Feathering and thinning the edge of units
  would be employed throughout the improvement harvest units proposed because it mimics historic tree
  stand densities.

 Consistency with the Forest Plan
  Alternative 4 proposes 34 treatments (tree harvest areas and fuel treatments) that would meet Forest
  Plan VQOs. No proposed treatments fail to meet Forest Plan VQOs.


                                                 Chapter 3                                                                             93
                             Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

7. Proposed, Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Plants
 Introduction
   The activities proposed under the Bristow project; tree removal, temporary road construction road
   decommissioning, access management, burning and Pronone application, have the potential to effect
   proposed, threatened, endangered and sensitive (PTES) plant populations.

   The purpose of this analysis is to:
    1) Determine if the alternatives will adversely affect any of the PTES plant species that have potential
        to occur in the planning subunit, and if so, list design features to be implemented to reduce potential
        effects. The planning subunit is the Bristow project area.
    2) Insure that the alternatives do not contribute to the loss of viability of any sensitive plant species or
        cause a trend toward federal listing.
    3) Comply with USDA Forest Service Region 1 policy to insure that sensitive plant species receive full
        consideration in the decision-making process.
    4) Comply with the Endangered Species Act.

   This analysis considers the short- and long-term effects of the proposed action on:
              Existing and potential habitat;
              The welfare of existing plants.

 Planning Subunit
   The planning subunit is the Bristow project area (see map in Appendix).

 Analysis Methods
  The following steps were taken to complete this analysis for PTES plants:
      1. The assessment of PTES plants and PTES habitat followed the methods outlined for the
           Kootenai NF by Leavell and Triepke (1995). Suitable habitats for each Sensitive species known
           or suspected of occurring on the Kootenai NF have been identified by consultation with sensitive
           plant field guides (USDA 1992) and published and unpublished literature on sensitive plants
           (Lesica and Shelly 1992; Vanderhorst 1996, 1997) as well as through extensive field experience.
           Probability of occurrence (Leavell and Triepke 1995) of sensitive species was estimated,
           including both historic and existing conditions. Rare plant inventories were conducted subsequent
           to these assessments (USDA 1998). These took into consideration all rare plants and rare
           habitats in addition to Sensitive species. They took place in addition to other past and concurrent
           surveys of Sensitive plants in and around the planning subunit (Vanderhorst 1996, 1997; R.
           Ferriel, pers. comm.). The species included in this assessment are those with a moderate to high
           probability of occurrence in the planning subunit. The probability analyses took into consideration
           the following factors:
                 Past disturbance.
                 Locations of known populations - District records, past surveys and the Montana Natural
                    Heritage Program database were scanned to determine species already known to exist in
                    the planning subunit. These populations are included on the analysis map.
                 Ecological requirements of the individual species (e.g., elevation, potential vegetation,
                    landtype, lithology, shade and moisture regimes).
           Areas proposed for treatment were reviewed for places with moderate to high potential for
           providing habitat for PTES plant species.

        2. Field surveys were completed for all proposed activity areas with emphasis on areas with
           moderate to high potential to provide habitat for PTES plants. In general, these areas are
           streams, wetlands, and riparian zones, mesic coniferous forest with a component of mature
           western redcedar, moist cliffs and talus slopes, dry meadows, park-like ponderosa pine forest,
           and dry south facing rocky areas. Unique landscape features have more potential to provide
           habitat for PTES plants than more common landscape features, so these are emphasized during
           surveys.

        3. This analysis was completed using the maps, completed surveys, literature, information from
           experts, and personal knowledge about the requirements of each suspected plant species of
           concern.

   94                                     Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Affected Environment
  The project spans elevations from approximately 2,500 to 5,000 feet. Proposed units are situated mainly
  on hillsides and ridges of south, north and east aspects. Riparian areas are very common in the project
  area, in some cases they cross or border proposed activity areas. Natural openings in the forest canopy
  are also common. Soils are derived from volcanic loess and dense glacial till, and are calcareous in the
  southern portion of the project area. Soils are primarily silt and sandy loams.

  Forest types typical of northwest Montana are found in the project area. Forest habitats range from warm
  and dry to cool and moist. Douglas-fir, ponderosa pine and western larch characterize habitats on the
  warmer, dryer end of the spectrum, while grand fir, redcedar, and subalpine fir are found in more moist
  habitats. Spruce may occur in riparian habitats and along the borders of wetlands (see Vegetation
  Specialist Report). Sensitive plant habitats often occur as uncommon microsites within the greater forests.
  With some Sensitive species, the habitat may appear common but the species may be rare for other
  reasons – reproductive biology, substrate requirements, species on the periphery of their range, and so
  forth. Table 3.61 shows the status of sensitive plant species within the project area.

Potential Species
 1. Proposed, Threatened and Endangered Plant Species (PTES)
 Currently, two species in Montana, water howellia (Howellia aquatilis) and Spalding‟s catchfly (Silene
 spaldingii) are federally listed as threatened. These species are suspected to occur on the Kootenai NF,
 but have not been found on federal land in the KNF. The term 'threatened species' means any species
 that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant
 portion of its range. The table below, 3.60, summarizes findings for Threatened and Endangered plant
 species.
                    Table 3.60 - Findings for Threatened and Endangered Plant Species

        SPECIES                    HABITAT              CONCLUSION                JUSTIFICATION
                                                                     *Not known in the planning subunit or
                          Ephemeral glacial ponds and                found during project surveys
   Howellia aquatilis
                          abandoned river oxbows        No Effect    *Ephemeral glacial ponds or abandoned
   (Water howellia)
                          below 4500 ft.                             river oxbows below 4,500 feet are not
                                                                     known in the project area.
                                                                     *Not known in the planning subunit or
   Silene spaldingii
                          Remnant Palouse Prairie and                found during project surveys.
   (Spalding’s                                          No Effect
                          canyon grassland habitat                   *Grassland habitat not known in the
   catchfly)
                                                                     Bristow project area.

  2. Sensitive Plant Species Known To Occur In the Project Area
  Fifty sensitive plant species are also known or suspected to occur on the Kootenai National Forest. Field
  surveys have detected the presence of three sensitive species in the project area. Mountain moonwort,
  wavy moonwort, and northern beechfern are known to be present in the Bristow planning subunit. These
  species are assigned global (G) and state (S) rankings by the Montana Natural Heritage Program
  (MNHP), based on the status of their security worldwide and in the state of Montana, respectively.
  Occurrence information is also compiled by the MNHP.

  During recent surveys of proposed activity units and roads, no new populations or new species were
  identified.

  3. Sensitive Plant Species Suspected To Occur In the Project Area
  Species with a status of “suspected” from Table 3.61 have the potential to occur within the Bristow project
  area. Potential is determined by comparing known sensitive plant habitat with that found in the Bristow
  project area. Habitat information is compiled in The Nature Conservancy database, maintained by the
  MNHP. Based on the habitat information assembled in field surveys and pre-field analysis, 26 sensitive
  species have potential to occur. Of those suspected in the project area, 18 species have low potential,
  seven have moderate potential, and one has high potential to occur in the project area. There are
  currently three sensitive species known to occur in the project area. The potential is high for additional
  occurrences of these known sensitive species.



                                            Chapter 3                                                        95
                        Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Sensitive species with a “suspected” status have not been documented from previous sensitive plant
surveys in the Bristow Creek area. Surveys have been conducted in and adjacent to activity areas in
habitats with potential to support sensitive species. Potential habitat outside of activity areas is generally
not surveyed due to time constraints. Occasionally, sensitive species can occupy marginal habitat where
their presence would not be considered likely and may not be covered by sensitive plant surveys, or
potential habitat for sensitive species is not discernable through habitat pre-field analysis or cursory field
surveys. In some species, dormancy can occur for one or more years, depending on environmental
conditions. Some species are very difficult to detect and may be overlooked in surveys. Because of these
considerations, sensitive plant species may be present in the project area and not detected by sensitive
plant surveys.
                TABLE 3.61 - Status of Sensitive Plant Species in Bristow Project Area

            COMMON NAME                 SCIENTIFIC NAME            STATUS        POTENTIAL/FOOTNOTE
       Candystick                    Allotropa virgata          Not suspected           NS7
       Round leaved orchis           Amerorchis rotundifolia    Suspected               NS3
       Water marigold                Bidens beckii              Suspected               Low
       Upswept moonwort              Botrychium ascendens       Suspected              Moderate
       Wavy moonwort                 Botrychium crenulatum      Known                  Known
       Western moonwort              Botrychium hesperium       Suspected               Low
       Mountain moonwort             Botrychium montanum        Known                  Known
       Peculiar moonwort             Botrychium paradoxum       Suspected               Low
       Stalked moonwort              Botrychium pedunculosum    Suspected              Moderate
       Watershield                   Brasenia schreberi         Suspected               Low
       Lichen                        Bryoria subdivergens       Not suspected.          NS7
       Big leaf sedge                Carex amplifolia           Suspected               Low
       Creeping sedge                Carex chordorhiza          Not Suspected           NS2
       Pale sedge                    Carex livida               Not Suspected           NS2
       Poor sedge                    Carex paupercula           Not Suspected           NS2
       Prairie sedge                 Carex prairea              Suspected               Low
       Beaked sedge                  Carex rostrata             Not Suspected           NS2
       Sheathed sedge                Carex vaginata             Suspected               Low
       Lichen                        Cetraria subalpina         Not suspected           NS6
       Common clarkia                Clarkia rhomboidea         Suspected               Low
       Lichen                        Collema curtisporum        Suspected               Low
       Pink corydalais               Corydalis sempervirens     Suspected               Low
       Clustered lady’sslipper       Cypripedium fasciculatum   Suspected               Low
       Small yellow lady’sslipper    Cypripedium parviflorum    Suspected               High
       Sparrow’s egg lady’sslipper   Cypripedium passerinum     Suspected               Low
       Sitka clubmoss                Diphasiastrum sitchense    Not Suspected           NS7
       English sundew                Drosera angelica           Not Suspected           NS2
       Linearleaved sundew           Drosera linearis           Not Suspected           NS2
       Crested shieldfern            Dryopteris cristata        Suspected               Low
       Giant helleborine             Epipactis gigantea         Not Suspected           NS8
       Slender cottongrass           Eriophorum gracile         Not Suspected           NS2
       Western boneset               Eupatorium occidentale     Not Suspected           NS7
       Hiker’s gentian               Gentianopsis simplex       Not Suspected           NS8
       Moss                          Grimmia Brittoniae         Suspected               Low
       Howell’s gumweed              Grindelia howellia         Not Suspected           NS8
       Western pearl-flower          Heterocodon rariflorum     Suspected               Low
       Latah tule pea                Lathyrus bijugatus         Suspected               Low
       Geyer’s biscuit root          Lomatium geyeri            Suspected              Moderate
       Prickly tree clubmoss         Lycopodium dendroideum     Suspected               Low
       Bog clubmoss                  Lycopodiella inundata      Not Suspected           NS2
       Moss                          Meesia triquetra           Not Suspected           NS2
       Northern adder’s tongue       Ophioglossum pusillum      Suspected              Moderate
       Northern beechfern            Phegopteris connectilis    Known                  Known
       Dwarf wooly heads             Psilocarphus brevissimus   Not Suspected           NS8

96                                     Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                    Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                COMMON NAME                    SCIENTIFIC NAME                 STATUS         POTENTIAL/FOOTNOTE
        Pod grass                         Scheuchzeria palustris           Not Suspected               NS2
        Tufted bulrush                    Scirpus cespitosus               Suspected                  Moderate
        Water bulrush                     Scirpus subterminalis            Suspected                  Moderate
        Moss                              Scorpidium scorpiodes            Not Suspected               NS2
        Flat-leaved bladderwort           Utricularia intermedia           Suspected                   Low
        Kidney-leaved violet              Viola renifolia                  Suspected                   Low
       Footnotes: NS1 - Not suspected due to lack of associated riparian habitat
                  NS2 - Not suspected due to lack of associated wetland habitat, floating moss mats, fens
                  NS3 - Not suspected due to lack of calcareous influence
                  NS4 - Not suspected due to lack of associated open habitat
                  NS5 - Not suspected due to lack of associated forest type
                  NS6 - Not suspected due to lack of associated substrate
                  NS7 - Not suspected due to lack of subalpine or alpine habitat
                   NS8 - Not suspected / Has not been found on the KNF
       High Potential = Habitat appears to be suitable and plant known from several occurrences on the KNF, or a known site is
                        within one mile of Project area boundary.
       Moderate Potential = Habitat appears suitable and plant known on the KNF
       Low Potential = Habitat appears to be suitable but plant is very rare on the KNF, or known occurrences on the forest are
                        considerably distant or confined to specific geographic area.
       Very Low Potential = Habitat appears suitable, but plant is not known to occur on the KNF.

 Sensitive species with low or no probability of occurrence in the planning subunit will not be
 considered further in this analysis. There are ten species that are either known to occur within the
 planning subunit or have a moderate to high potential to occur. These ten species will be
 analyzed.

Environmental Consequences
 Design Features
 Surveys of units proposed for Pronone application will be conducted following prescribed fire to avoid
 effects to sensitive plants that may colonize these sites after fire.

 The finding of any additional sensitive plant populations will result in additional mitigation needs.

 1. Potential, Threatened, and Endangered Plant Species
 In accordance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), its implementing regulations, and FSM 2671.4,
 the Kootenai National Forest is not required to initiate formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
 Service (USFWS) regarding the determination of no effects to the threatened water howellia and
 Spalding‟s catchfly; and is not required to request written concurrence from the USFWS with respect to
 the determination of "no effect".

 Table 3.62, below, summarizes the biological assessment/evaluation for the ten plant species considered
 in this analysis. A detailed report, which includes ecology and response to management activity by
 individual plant species, is located in the project file.

                Table 3.62 - Summary of Effects to Known and Suspected Sensitive Species

 COMMON NAME         SCIENTIFIC NAME             CONCLUSION                                   RATIONALE
                       IMPACTS TO KNOWN SENSITIVE PLANTS IN PROJECT AREA
                                                  May impact            Plants near proposed activity area. Mitigation
                         Botrychium
 Wavy moonwort                               individuals or habitat     measures will be applied. Plants or potential
                         crenulatum
                                                      **                habitat may be impacted indirectly.
                                                  May impact
    Mountain             Botrychium                                     Plants not known in proposed activity areas. Plants
                                             individuals or habitat
    moonwort             montanum                                       or potential habitat may be impacted indirectly.
                                                      **
                                                  May impact
    Northern            Phegopteris                                     Plants not known in proposed activity areas. Plants
                                             individuals or habitat
    beechfern           connectilis                                     or potential habitat may be impacted indirectly.
                                                      **
                    IMPACTS TO SUSPECTED SENSITIVE PLANTS IN PROJECT AREA
     Western          Botrychium      No Impact*                   NI 1

                                          Chapter 3                                                                           97
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                        Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
     moonwort                hesperium
      Stalked               Botrychium
                                                     May Impact**                                       MI 2
     moonwort              pedunculosum
     Upswept                Botrychium
                                                     May Impact**                                       MI 2
     moonwort                ascendens
   Small Yellow             Cypripedium
                                                     May Impact**                                       MI 1
    Ladyslipper             parviflorum
   Geyer’s biscuit
                         Lomatium geyeri             May Impact**                                       MI 2
        root
     Northern              Ophioglossum
                                                       No Impact*                                      NI 1,2
   adder’s tongue             pusillum
                              Scirpus
  Tufted bullrush                                      No Imact *                                       N1, 1
                             cespitosus
                              Scirpus
   Water bullrush                                      No Imact *                                       N1, 1
                           subterminalis
  *No Impact expected: NI 1 no activities proposed in potential habitat NI 2 low potential for occurrence in project area
   **May impact individuals or habitat, but will not likely contribute to a trend towards federal listing or cause loss of viability to
     the population or species:
     MI 1 - High potential for occurrence. Proposed activities may impact potentialh abitat or individuals not detected in surveys.
     MI 2 - Moderate potential for occurrence. Proposed activities may impact potential habitat or individuals not detected in surveys.

Effects
Alternative 1
  Direct and Indirect Effects
  Alternative 1, the no-action alternative, proposes no ground disturbing activity. This would have no direct
  or indirect effects to plants listed with known (wavy moonwort, mountain moonwort, northern
  beechfern) or suspected status in the preceding Table 3.62, since no activities would occur.

Cumulative Effects
 The response of each of the PTES plant species to management activity varies by species, and in some
 cases, is not fully known. We do know that these rare plants and all the native vegetation of the Kootenai
 National Forest evolved with and are adapted to the climate, soils, and natural processes that took place
 prior to settlement of this area by Europeans. Any management or lack of management that causes these
 natural processes to be altered may have a negative impact on native vegetation, including rare plants.
 An example of altered natural processes would be the removal of fire from the ecosystem. If Alternative 1,
 the no action alternative, is selected and fire is continuously excluded from the planning subunit, there
 could be a negative impact on PTES plant species due to an unnatural build up of fuels, increased
 canopy closure with a resulting decrease in light to the forest floor, and a decrease in naturally occurring
 open meadows.

  The cumulative effects of this alternative would have no effect to mountain moonwort, a sensitive plant
  species known to occur in mature cedar forest in the project area. Habitat for this species has a naturally
  long disturbance interval and is relatively stable. Without human influence, it is likely to persist for the
  foreseeable future and remain suitable for mountain moonwort.

  Under Alternative 1, no road rehabilitation would be implemented. Alteration of some wet habitats would
  persist due to the influence of roads and culverts on hydrologic regimes. Potential habitat for sensitive
  plant species such as northern adder’s tongue, tufted bulrush, water bulrush would remain
  influenced by roads. These species are not known to occupy the project area and were not observed
  during field surveys but may be affected by alterations due to past road construction. The nature and
  degree of this influence has not been quantified, and therefore specific effects of no action cannot be
  determined.

  Continuing encroachment of Douglas-fir and woody shrubs due to fire exclusion may alter potential
  habitat for Geyer’s biscuit root which is suspected to occur in the area but has not be located. Weed
  spread may continue to effect potential habitat for these species. The extent of these effects has not been
  quantified.
  Woody vegetation may encroach in some potential roadside habitat, which would likely make it unsuitable
  for sensitive species that occupy roadside habitats such as upswept moonwort.

  98                                          Chapter 3
                          Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Alternative 2
 This action alternative includes timber harvest with associated temporary road construction, prescribed
 burning for fuels reduction, planting, herbicide treatment with Pronone and road improvement and
 decommissioning work and the addition of four campsites at McGillivray. These activities have the
 potential to affect PTES plant species. Three populations of sensitive plant species are known to occur
 within the planning subunit. There are no known populations of rare plants within any proposed treatment
 units.

1. Effects on Sensitive Species Known to occur in the Project Area
  A. Mountain Moonwort
  The proposed action may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend
  toward federal listing or cause a loss of viability to the population or species to mountain
  moonwort, which is known to occur in forested habitat in the Bristow project area.

 This rare species is restricted to the maritime influenced pacific states/provinces and inland. The global
 population of this species appears to be concentrated in Northwest Montana, where there are 56 known
 occurrences. In other states/provinces where it exists, its rarity merits imperiled status (S1, S2), except in
 Washington where it is ranked vulnerable (S3). Mountain moonwort appears to require mature redcedar
 forest.

 The MNHP has recently reduced the status of mountain moonwort to a “watch species”. The reason for
 the status change by the MNHP is that the MNHP dropped all species with a status of S3 and higher from
 its “Species of Concern” list. Consequently, this species will be removed from the R1 list when it is
 revised. This does not mean that the species is more common than previously thought or any other
 change in its status.

 Direct Effects
   No activities are planned in known mountain moonwort habitat within the Bristow Project area. Direct
   effects from proposed activities are not expected to threaten the presence or viability of mountain
   moonwort in the project area.

 Indirect Effects
   Pronone applications are proposed in unit 21, which is adjacent to a riparian area hosting mountain
   moonwort. Current information regarding this chemical indicates there is a potential for Pronone to
   move through soil to the water table and affect adjacent plant populations. However it is not likely to
   leach beyond the root zone (USDA 1992).

   Hexazinone, the active ingredient in Pronone, is a relatively mobile herbicide, which is soluble in water
   (Extoxnet, 1996, Herbicide Information Profile 1992, RED Fact Sheet 1994). It can effect vegetation
   beyond the treatment area (Herbicide Information Profile 1992). Hexazinone is a potential contaminant
   to groundwater and surface water (Red Facts, 1994) and it has the potential to move through riparian
   buffer zones and cause damage to offsite plants (Herbicide Information Profile).

   The Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) document by the Environmental Protection Agency states:
        Exposure of non-target organisms to hexazinone can result from … runoff from treated
        areas. Such exposure would be chronic as well as acute. Hexazinone exceeds the levels
        of concern (LOC) for terrestrial and aquatic plants, at all application rates, using aerial
        and ground equipment. Contamination of aquatic sites adjacent to treated areas could be
        of great ecological significance and may be exacerbated by the persistence and mobility
        of hexazinone.

   The type of hexazinone treatment proposed is neither aerial application nor tractor (ground application)
   but hand pellet application. This type of application would significantly reduce the amount of hexazinone
   applied and the area to which it is applied. Prasad and Feng (1990) found that hexazinone did not
   move laterally in the soil beyond 0.5 meters after 1 year. Also no detectable hexazinone residues or
   metabolites were found in the top or bottom layer of soil cores collected 50 cm from the treatment spot.
   The potential is there for hexazinone to move through soil but is highly unlikely to move horizontally or
   the distance to affect the mountain moonwort population. The population is located to the east and a
   minimum of 50 feet from application site. Research summarized in The Environmental Fate of
                                        Chapter 3                                                            99
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   Hexazinone a Literature Review (1991) indicated that the Hexazinone moved up to only 25 feet on
   steep slopes. Research summarized in (4-13) in Selected Commercial Formulations of Hexazinone-
   Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment Final Draft (1997) indicate that lateral movement is
   unlikely. In summary it seems unlikely that Pronone would affect this population.

   Activities are not proposed in known mountain moonwort habitat within the project area. However,
   ground disturbance, and/or the removal of vegetation during harvest, road decommissioning and
   prescribed burning activities, may alter habitat adjacent to potential mountain moonwort habitat. Actions
   adjacent to sensitive plant sites can affect nearby sensitive plant habitat by increasing sun exposure
   and competition among plan species. Hydrologic flows will change as canopies are removed and
   ground disturbance creates paths for overland flow or increased water flow into the exposed soils.

 Cumulative Effects
  It is likely that past timber harvest, reforestation, road construction and recreation activities in the
  project area on lands of all ownership have had effects to mountain moonwort populations and habitat.
  The extent of effect these activities have had on mountain moonwort populations and habitat is
  unknown. Timber harvest, road construction and weed spread are expected to continue to effect
  mountain moonwort and its habitat. The contribution of project activities to these cumulative effects is
  expected to be minimal, and not lead to a trend towards federal listing under the ESA.

 B. Wavy Moonwort and Northern Beechfern
 Implementation of Alternative 2 may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a
 trend toward federal listing or cause a loss of viability to the population or species for wavy
 moonwort and northern beechfern (Vanderhorst 1997), which are known to occur in riparian habitat in
 the Bristow project area.

 Direct Effects
   Activities are not planned in riparian or wetland habitat and will not result in direct effects. Direct effects
   from project activities are not expected to threaten the presence or viability of these species within the
   project area.

 Indirect Effects
   Activities proposed upslope of riparian habitat for these species in the project area might subtly alter
   hydrologic regimes. The Riparian Habitat Conservation Act (RHCA) buffers required by Inland Native
   Fish Strategy (INFS) are expected to minimize indirect effects of other project activities to wetland and
   riparian habitat. Indirect effects from project activities are not expected to threaten the presence or
   viability of these species within the project area.

 Cumulative Effects
  Timber harvest, reforestation, fire suppression, road construction and recreation activities in the project
  area on lands of all ownership within the Bristow project boundaries has likely had detrimental effects to
  plants and habitat for the above species. The extent of effect these activities have had to these
  sensitive plants and habitat is unknown AS past location of potentail plants is unknown. Riparian and
  wetland habitat on private land may continue to be threatened by these activities. The buffers applied to
  wetland and riparian areas in the Bristow project will greatly reduce the potential for proposed activities
  to contribute to cumulative effects to the above species or to their habitat.

    Habitat in which these species occur, and the potential habitat for these species, may be affected by
    subtle hydrologic changes resulting from road decommissioning and storage. These effects should
    move wet habitat toward more historic conditions and help offset negative cumulative effects to wetland
    habitat. Activities of the Bristow project are not expected to directly or indirectly effect wavy moonwort
    or northern beechfern populations or habitat; and therefore are not expected to contribute to cumulative
    effects to this species. Cumulative effects from project activities are not expected to threaten the
    presence or viability of these species within the project area.

2. Effects on Sensitive Plants Species Suspected In the Bristow Planning subunit
  A. Sensitive Plants in Riparian and Wetland Areas
  Implementation of the proposed action may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute
  to a trend toward federal listing or cause a loss of viability to the population or species for
 100                                     Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
suspected species with high or moderate potential to occupy wetland, riparian or wet forest habitats
(small yellow lady’s slipper, northern adder’s tongue, tufted bulrush, water bulrush).

Direct Effects
  The above plants are usually restricted to riparian and wetland habitat. No activities are proposed for
  these areas. These systems are protected RHCA INFS buffers. These required buffers are expected to
  protect potential sensitive plant habitat from direct effects of activities by restricting activities in riparian
  and wetland habitat. Direct effects from project activities are not expected to threaten the presence or
  viability of these species within the project area.

Indirect Effects
  Pronone applications are proposed in units 15, 28, and 68, which border riparian systems. However as
  described above the chance of any detrimental effect is very slight. These possible indirect effects
  relate only to potential habitat for sensitive species, since these species are not known to occupy the
  project area. Therefore, the Bristow project activities are not expected to threaten the presence or
  viability of these species within the project area.

  The RHCA buffers required by INFS are expected to mitigate and minimize effects of timber harvest
  and prescribed burning to wetland and riparian habitat, though activities upslope of any wetland have
  potential to alter hydrologic regimes. Hydrology of riparian areas and wetlands are not expected to
  change to a measurable extent (see hydrology analysis). Subtle changes in hydrology, resulting from
  road decommissioning and/or storage activities, may influence potential habitat for sensitive plants.
  Indirect effects resulting from these changes are expected to move wet habitat toward more historic
  habitat conditions, though these effects have not been quantified.

  Indirect effects from these project activities are not expected to threaten the presence or viability of
  these species within the project area.

Cumulative Effects
 Some of these species may have previously occupied suitable habitat in the project area. Timber
 harvest, reforestation, and road construction and recreational activities in the project area on lands of all
 ownership has likely had detrimental effects to potential habitat for some of the above species to an
 unknown extent. Wetland and riparian habitat on private land will continue to be threatened by these
 activities. The RHCA INFS buffers applied to wetland and riparian areas in the Bristow project will
 greatly reduce the potential for proposed activities to contribute to cumulative effects to the above
 species or their habitat. These buffers are expected to help protect sensitive plant populations and
 potential habitat by minimizing direct and indirect effects to wetland and riparian habitat

  Temporary road construction proposed on NFS lands in the Bristow project is minimal and not near
  riparian or wetland areas, and is not expected to add to cumulative effects to these plants. Proposed
  road decommissioning and storage may effect both the habitat in which these species occur and any
  potential habitat for these species by causing subtle hydrologic changes. These activities are intended
  to restore more historic habitat conditions to riparian and wetland systems, and is expected to help
  offset negative effects to riparian and wetland habitat caused by previous road building.

  Cumulative effects from project activities are not expected to threaten the presence or viability of
  riparian and wetland species within the project area.

B. Sensitive Plants in Dry Forests or Open Areas
The proposed action may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend
toward federal listing or cause a loss of viability to the population or species for sensitive plants
listed in the table as suspected with potential to occupy dry forested or open habitat (Geyer’s biscuit
root). This species is not known to occur in the Bristow project area, and was not observed during
sensitive plant surveys.

Direct Effects
  Herbicide use of Pronone can be fatal to sensitive plant species, if present. Mechanical ground
  disturbance caused by harvest and reforestation activities could kill or injure sensitive plant species.
  Prescribed burning activities for fuels reduction or site preparation for reforestation may injure or kill
                                        Chapter 3                                                              101
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  individuals, depending on the species and burning conditions. These species can occupy disturbed
  habitat, such as roads. Mechanical disturbance during road decommissioning and storage activities
  may injure or kill sensitive plants and alter potential habitat. Herbicide use for weed control could injure
  or kill sensitive species, depending on the species and the herbicide used.

  Since Lomatium geyerii is not known to occur in the project area, it is assumed there will be no direct
  effects to this species.

Indirect Effects
  Indirect effects may influence potential habitat for sensitive species. Ground disturbance from harvest
  and road decommissioning and storage activities will remove vegetation and expose bare mineral soil.
  The possibility of weed migration into potential sensitive plant habitat will be increased, reducing
  opportunities and habitat suitability for sensitive species. Adherence to design features for noxious
  weeds in the Bristow area (see Chapter 2) will be helpful in reducing indirect effects of weed
  encroachment, though will not preclude weed encroachment.

  The use of prescribed burning for fuels reduction or site preparation for reforestation will influence
  potential sensitive plant habitat. In general, the sensitive plants that inhabit dry forest types are adapted
  to fire, and low intensity fire will increase habitat suitability for these plants. There is potential for
  increasing weed populations in sites where weeds are established.

  The application of the herbicide Pronone can influence potential sensitive plant habitat. Vegetation will
  be killed and the herbicide can possibly persist in the soil at diminishing concentrations for up to three
  years. However, most research shows concentrations only last up to 1-6 months depending on rainfall
  (USDA Forest Service, 1992). This herbicide is an effective pre-emergent treatment; meaning that it will
  prevent the successful germination of many species while it is present in sufficient concentration. This
  will favor recolonization of treatment areas by less susceptible species for one or more growing
  seasons. There are indications that rhizomatous plants transfer the chemical through shared roots,
  extending the effects of the chemical beyond the treatment area (Prasad and Feng 1990). Units
  proposed for the application of Pronone will undergo prescription burning prior to planting and Pronone
  application. Pronone use following fire has also resulted in prolonged exposure of bare ground
  (DiTomaso et al 1997). This extends the colonization opportunity for noxious weeds as well as early
  pioneer native species. Long term effects on vegetative structure have been observed in stands treated
  by prescribed burning and hexazinone, in particular reducing the shrub component compared to control
  plots (Miller et al 1998). Influences such as these could have long-term effects on species composition
  and habitat suitability for sensitive plants.

  These possible indirect effects relate only to potential habitat for sensitive species, since these species
  are not known to currently occupy the project area. Therefore, the Bristow project is not expected to
  threaten the presence or viability of these species within the project area.

Cumulative Effects
 It is likely that timber harvest, reforestation, and road construction activities in the project area on lands
 of all ownership have affected some sensitive plants and potential habitat. In some cases, these
 activities may have created disturbances reflecting natural processes that provide opportunity for
 colonization by sensitive species. Disturbance from activities on lands of all ownership in the Bristow
 project area has caused many acres to become infested with noxious weeds, reducing opportunities for
 sensitive species to colonize disturbed areas. Weed spread is a potential result of Bristow activities,
 further compromising potential habitat for sensitive species. The amount of potential habitat that will be
 affected cannot be predicted. Weed design features (described in Chapter 2) are expected to reduce,
 though not eliminate, the effects of additional weed introduction. The extent of previous and future
 effects of weed invasion cannot be quantified, though is likely considerable. The degree to which the
 Bristow project will contribute to these effects is unknown.

  Timber harvest and road construction will continue to avoid impacts to PTES plant species on Forest
  Service (FS) System Lands. Temporary road construction proposed on these lands in the Bristow
  project is minimal, and not expected to contribute to cumulative effects to these plants. Road
  decommissioning/storage, proposed in all action alternatives, may also result in short term negative
  effects but overall is expected to improve habitat suitability by reducing weed migration into potential
102                                    Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  habitat. Basal area and fuels reduction in dry forest habitats will help to restore more historic over story
  conditions in potential habitat for sensitive plants that occupy dry forest types.

  The Bristow project is not expected to threaten the presence or viability of these species within the
  project area.

C. Sensitive Plants in Moist Forest
The proposed action may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend
toward federal listing or cause a loss of viability to the population or species to plants suspected
with moderate potential to occur in moist forest habitat (stalked moonwort). This species was not
observed during field surveys and is not known to occur in the project area.

Direct Effects
  Mechanical ground disturbance caused by harvest activities could kill or injure sensitive plant species.
  Since the sensitive plant species listed above have not been found in the project area, it is assumed
  there will be no direct effects to these species.

Indirect Effects
  The removal of vegetation during project activities will alter potential habitat for sensitive species in
  forested habitat. This may make potential habitat less suitable for colonization by sensitive species that
  occupy forested habitat, and reduce the availability of potential habitat for these species in the project
  area. Indirect effects of the Bristow project are not expected to threaten the presence or viability of
  these species within the project area.

Cumulative Effects
 It is likely that timber harvest, reforestation, and road construction activities in the project area on lands
 of all ownership have had effects to at least some of these plants and potential habitat. The extent of
 effect these activities have had is unknown. Disturbance from activities on lands of all ownership in the
 Bristow project area has caused many acres to become infested with noxious weeds. Weed spread is a
 potential result of Bristow activities, and of all foreseeable activities on lands of all ownership, further
 compromising potential habitat for sensitive species. The amount of potential habitat that will be
 affected cannot be predicted. The degree to which the Bristow project will contribute to these effects is
 unknown.

  Temporary road construction proposed on FS System lands in the Bristow project is minimal, and not
  expected to add to cumulative effects to these species. Road decommissioning and storage is expected
  to improve habitat suitability by reducing weed migration into potential habitat. Since these species are
  not known to occur in the project area, cumulative effects of the Bristow project to potential habitat for
  these species is not expected to threaten their presence or viability within the project area

D. Sensitive Plants in Roadside Habitat
The proposed action may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend
toward federal listing or cause a loss of viability to the population or species for sensitive plants
listed in the table as suspected with moderate potential to occupy roadside habitat (upswept
moonwort). This species is not known to occur in the project area.

Direct Effects
  Road maintenance, BMP work, and use may directly affect sensitive plants or potential habitat of these
  species. Mechanical disturbance during road decommissioning and storage activities may injure or kill
  sensitive plants and alter potential habitat. Herbicide use for weed control could injure or kill sensitive
  species, depending on the species and the herbicide used. Since this species has not been found in the
  project area, it is assumed there will be no direct effects.

Indirect Effects
  Road maintenance and use during project activities may alter potential habitat of sensitive species,
  which occupy roadsides. Road decommissioning and storage may reduce the availability of potential
  habitat for these species. Since the above species is not known to occur in the project area, indirect
  effects of the Bristow project to potential habitat for thisspecies is not expected to threaten its presence
  or viability within the project area
                                       Chapter 3                                                           103
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  Cumulative Effects
   Road building can reflect natural processes that provide opportunity for colonization by some sensitive
   species. Subsequent road maintenance activities can be beneficial or detrimental, depending on the
   nature and degree of disturbance. Disturbance from road building, maintenance and use on lands of all
   ownership in the Bristow project area has caused many acres to become infested with noxious weeds,
   reducing opportunities for sensitive species to inhabit roadsides. Weed spread is an expected result of
   Bristow activities, and of all foreseeable activities on lands of all ownership, further compromising
   potential habitat for these species. The amount of potential habitat that will be affected cannot be
   predicted. Weed design features (described in Chapter 2) are expected to reduce, though not eliminate,
   the effects of additional weed infestation. Road decommissioning and storage activities may reduce the
   availability of potential habitat for these species. The degree to which the activities of the Bristow
   project activities will contribute to cumulative effects of weeds on potential habitat cannot be quantified.
   Since these species are not known to occur in the project area, cumulative effects of the Bristow project
   to potential habitat for these species is not expected to threaten their presence or viability within the
   project area.

3. Effects on Native Plant Communities
  Disturbance from harvest activities will have direct, indirect and cumulative effects to native plant
  communities in the project area.

  Direct Effects
    Direct effects will result from mechanical injury to native plants in activity areas. The mychorrhizal fabric
    of the community may also be affected, particularly in areas of heavy disturbance, and possibly in sites
    treated by Pronone (Chakravarty and Chatarpaul 1987). This may temporarily decrease the ability of
    associated plants to uptake nutrients and water, and making the community more susceptible to
    environmental stress and noxious weed establishment.

  Indirect and Cumulative Effects
    Indirect and cumulative effects to native plant communities are likely to result from the introduction and
    spread of undesirable non-native species. Weed species are already abundant on many roads in the
    project area. Ground disturbing activities from harvest activities, as well as road decommissioning and
    storage activities will remove vegetation and expose bare mineral soil. Though many native species are
    adapted to colonizing disturbed soil, noxious weed species now residing throughout the project area
    have the advantage. Weed infestations are adjacent to almost every proposed activity area. The seed
    bank in native communities may already contain weed seeds that will take hold when conditions, such
    as soil disturbance, permit. Machinery is likely to be a primary vector, bringing weed seeds from
    infested roads or portions of units into areas that are not infested. Even revegetation along roads and
    skid trails will have effects to the native community, as non-native, potentially invasive species can be
    introduced in seed mix. Additional activities in the area are likely to exacerbate negative effects to the
    native plant community caused by past activities. Even with design features, the native plant community
    is likely to be further compromised by non-native weeds.

    The use of prescribed burning for fuels reduction or site preparation for reforestation will influence
    potential native plant habitat. In general, native plants that inhabit dry forest types are adapted to fire,
    and low intensity fire will increase habitat suitability for these plants. There is potential for increasing
    weed populations in sites where weeds are established.

    The application of the herbicide Pronone will influence native plant habitat. Vegetation will be killed and
    the herbicide may persist in the soil for up to three years although 1 to 6 months is typical (Herbicide
    Information Profile, 1992). Pronone is an effective pre-emergent treatment; meaning that it will prevent
    the successful germination of many species while it is present in sufficient concentration. This will favor
    less susceptible species for at least one growing season. Different species have various degrees of
    susceptibility to this formula, from being very sensitive to virtually unaffected. This indicates that in the
    absence of the susceptible species, the less-affected species will have an advantage. Changes in
    composition are likely to result following application. There is indication that rhizomatous plants transfer
    the chemical through shared roots, extending the effects of the chemical beyond the treatment area
    (Prasad and Feng 1990), and possibly favoring non-rhizomatous plants.


  104                                     Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    Units proposed for the application of Pronone will undergo prescription burning prior to planting and
    Pronone application. Pronone use following fire has also resulted in prolonged exposure of bare ground
    (DiTomaso et al 1997). This extends the colonization opportunity for noxious weeds and native species
    that may be more resistant to the chemical. Ditomaso et al (1997) found that despite initial reduction in
    plant diversity and species richness, the native plant diversity was not statistically different from that of
    an unburned forest site eight years after treatment. Species richness, diversity or total overstory and
    under-story abundance eleven years post-treatment did not change significantly following burning and
    hexizanone treatment; however, shrub abundance had been altered (Miller et al 1998).

Alternative 3
  This action alternative includes timber harvest with associated temporary road construction, prescribed
  burning for fuels reduction, planting, spot application on 17acres of Pronone (herbicide treatment) with
  road improvement and decommissioning work. These activities have the potential to affect PTES plant
  species. Three populations of sensitive plant species are known to occur within the planning subunit.
  There are no known populations of PTES plants within any proposed treatment units. This alternative is
  similar to Alternatives 2 except that fewer acres are to be treated (1205) and less miles of temporary road
  construction (4.76). Also there would be no Pronone use in portions of unit 28 and 37 and none in 15, 23
  and 68.

1. Effects on Proposed, Threatened and Endangered Species
  A. Mountain Moonwort
  The direct, indirect and cumulative effects to mountain moonwort are the same as described for
  Alternative 2 except because there will be fewer acres treated there is less of a chance to disturb an
  undiscovered population.

  B. Wavy Moonwort and Northern Beechfern
  The direct, indirect and cumulative effects to wavy moonwort and beechfern are the same as described
  for Alternative 2 except because there will be fewer acres treated there is less of a chance to disturb an
  undiscovered population.

2. Effects on Sensitive Plants Species Suspected In the Bristow Planning subunit
  A. Sensitive Plants in Riparian and Wetland Areas
  Direct Effects
    The direct effects to sensitive plants in riparian areas and wetlands (small yellow lady’s slipper,
    northern adder’s tongue, tufted bulrush, water bulrush,) are the same as described for Alternative 2
    except because there will be fewer acres treated there is less of a chance to disturb and undiscovered
    population.

  Indirect Effects
    There would be no Pronone applications in units 15, 28, and 68, which border riparian systems, so
    hence, no potential effect.

    The RHCA buffers required by INFS are expected to mitigate and minimize effects of timber harvest
    and prescription burning to wetland and riparian habitat, though activities upslope of any wetland has
    potential to alter hydrologic regimes. Hydrology of riparian areas and wetlands are not expected to
    change to a measurable extent (see hydrology analysis). Subtle changes in hydrology, resulting from
    road decommissioning and/or storage activities, may influence potential habitat for sensitive plants.
    Indirect effects resulting from these changes are expected to move wet habitat toward more historic
    habitat conditions, though these effects have not been quantified. Indirect effects from these project
    activities are not expected to threaten the presence or viability of these species within the project area.

  Cumulative Effects
   Cumulative effects are the same as Alternative 2.

  B. Sensitive Plants in Dry Forests or Open Areas
  This alternative may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend toward
  federal listing or cause a loss of viability to the population or species for sensitive plants listed in the
  table as suspected with potential to occupy dry forested or open habitat (Geyer’s biscuit root). This

                                         Chapter 3                                                           105
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  species is not known to occur in the Bristow project area, and was not observed during sensitive plant
  surveys.

  Direct and Indirect Effects
    Mechanical ground disturbance caused by harvest and reforestation activities could kill or injure
    sensitive species. Prescribed burning activities for fuels reduction or site preparation for reforestation
    may injure or kill individuals, depending on the species and burning conditions. These species can
    occupy disturbed habitat, such as roads. Mechanical disturbance during road decommissioning and
    storage activities may injure or kill sensitive plants and alter potential habitat. Herbicide use for weed
    control could injure or kill sensitive species, depending on the species and the herbicide used.

    Since this sensitive plant species is not known to occur in the project area, it is assumed there will be
    no direct effects to sensitive plant species.

    Indirect effects may influence potential habitat for sensitive species. Ground disturbance from harvest
    and road decommissioning and storage activities will remove vegetation and expose bare mineral soil.
    Several sensitive species are adapted to colonization of disturbed soil, but noxious weed species that
    now reside throughout the project area have the advantage. The possibility of weed migration into
    potential sensitive plant habitat will be increased, reducing opportunities and habitat suitability for
    sensitive species. Adherence to the required and design features for noxious weeds in the Bristow area
    (see Chapter 2) will be helpful in reducing indirect effects of weed encroachment; though will not
    preclude weed encroachment.

    The use of prescribed burning for fuels reduction or site preparation for reforestation will influence
    potential sensitive plant habitat. In general, the sensitive plants that inhabit dry forest types are adapted
    to fire, and low intensity fire will increase habitat suitability for these plants. There is potential for
    increasing weed populations in sites where weeds are established.

    These possible indirect effects relate only to potential habitat for sensitive species, since these species
    are not known to currently occupy the project area. Therefore, the Bristow project is not expected to
    threaten the presence or viability of these species within the project area.

    Cumulative Effects
    The effects are similar to effects described for Alternatives 2 except fewer acres would be treated.

  C. Sensitive Plants in Moist Forest
    The direct, indirect and cumulative effects to stalked moonwort are the same as described for
    Alternative 2 except because there will be fewer acres treated there is less of a chance to disturb an
    undiscovered population. This species was not observed during field surveys.

  D. Sensitive Plants in Roadside Habitat
    The direct, indirect and cumulative effects to upswept moonwort are the same as described for
    Alternative 2 except because there will be fewer acres treated there is less of a chance to disturb an
    undiscovered population. This species was not observed during field surveys.

3. Native Plant Communities
  Direct Indirect and Cumulative Effects
    Effects are the same as described in Alternative 2 except 104 fewer acres would be treated with
    Pronone and fewer acres treated overall.

Alternative 4
  The direct and indirect and cumulative effects of Alternative 4 are similar to the effects described for
  Alternative 3 except that there would be much fewer acres where Pronone (28 acres) would be applied.

  The potential for affecting sensitive plants would be similar but less with Alternative 4. Only 726 acres
  would be treated.

  The effects to plants on roaded habitats would be the same for all alternatives since the roadwork is the
  same for all action alternatives. Only 2.48 miles of temporary road would be constructed.
  106                                    Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

Consistency with the Forest Plan and Other Management Direction
 This project is in compliance with Forest Service policy on sensitive species (FSM 2670.32) and the
 Endangered Species Act. The Forest Service is mandated to maintain viable populations of all native and
 desirable non-native species under the National Forest Management Act. Clause R1-C6.251#, Protection
 of Habitat of Endangered Species, will be used in the timber sale contract to modify the action as
 necessary to protect PTES plant populations in the event that they are missed by field surveys and found
 after the timber sale contract is awarded.

Consultation Requirements for Threatened and Endangered Species
 In accordance with the Endangered Species Act, its‟ implementing regulations, and FSM 2671.4, the
 Kootenai National Forest is not required to initiate formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
 Service (USFWS) regarding the determination of no effects to the threatened water howellia and
 Spalding‟s catchfly; and is not required to request written concurrence from the USFWS with respect to
 the determination of „no effect‟.




                                         Chapter 3                                                      107
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

8. Noxious Weeds
 Introduction
   Noxious weeds are: “Those plant species designated as noxious weeds by the Secretary of Agriculture or
   by the responsible State official. Noxious weeds generally possess one or more of the following
   characteristics:
        Aggressive and difficult to manage
        Poisonous
        Toxic
        Parasitic
        A carrier or host of serious insects or disease
        Being native or new to or not common to the United States or parts thereof.” (FSM 2080.5).
   Noxious weeds generally have the potential to adversely affect native flora and fauna and their habitats.
   The Lincoln County Weed Control Act (MCA 7-22-2101) defines noxious weed as "any exotic plant
   species established or that may be introduced in the state which may render land unfit for agriculture,
   forestry, livestock, wildlife, or other beneficial uses or that may harm native plant communities and that is
   designated:
       (i) as a statewide noxious weed by rule of the department; or
       (ii) as a district noxious weed by a board, following public notice of intent and a public hearing."

   The Lincoln County Weed Control Act (MCA 7-22-2116) states that “it is unlawful for any person to permit
   any noxious weed to propagate or go to seed on his land, except that any person who adheres to the
   noxious weed management program of his district or who has entered into and is in compliance with a
   noxious weed management agreement is considered to be in compliance with this section.” On July 26,
   1991 the Kootenai National Forest signed a memorandum of understanding with Lincoln County,
   Montana regarding noxious weed management standards. The Kootenai NF agreed to assist and
   cooperate with the Weed Board in fulfilling and enforcement of Montana State Weed Law (MCA 7-22).

 Planning Subunit
   The planning subunit for noxious weeds is the Bristow planning subunit (see vicinity map).

 Analysis Methods
  The Bristow planning subunit was surveyed for noxious weeds in 2001. Surveys consisted of roadside
  reconnaissance. Weed density and infestation size were mapped using the Montana Noxious Weed
  Survey and Mapping System.

 Affected Environment
   Most noxious weeds and non-native plants arrive on site as stowaways. Seeds are inadvertently brought
   from one area to another on equipment, vehicles, off-highway vehicles (OHVs), livestock or by well-
   intending people to grace gardens or help control erosion. Some non-native plants blend in harmlessly to
   the local ecosystem or do not thrive at all, while others take hold, prosper and change the local
   ecosystem forever. Once established, weeds have a competitive edge over native plants because their
   natural enemies that co-existed with these plants in their homeland did not migrate with the weeds to their
   new home.

   Weeds infest about 100 million acres in North America; they conquer more than three million acres each
   year, invading an estimated six square miles of Forest Service and BLM lands every day. Spotted
   knapweed now occupies 4.5 million acres in Montana (Stalling 1999). Previous road building, harvesting
   and other developments in the Bristow planning subunit brought in weed seeds, which became
   established and flourished in some areas. Ongoing resource management activities, forest fires,
   recreational and administrative traffic have exacerbated the situation and now weeds are established on
   most roads and developed areas in the Bristow planning subunit.

   The spread of noxious weed species has been identified as a concern for this project.

   A number of noxious weed species have been introduced throughout the Libby Ranger District. Highway
   228 (FDR) runs along the east boundary of the planning subunit, making this area at risk for spreading
   existing populations of noxious weeds, as well as introduction of new species. The exact number of
   noxious weed species present in the project area is unknown. Weed surveys and reconnaissance by

   108                                    Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  other specialists, in the project area showed the following species to be present and also indicated
  species that are likely to invade the area (Table 3.63).

                                         Table 3.63 – Weed Species

                                    WEED SPECIES PRESENT IN PLANNING SUBUNIT
                                   spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa)
                                     sulphur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)
                                oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum luecanthemum)
                                         cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)
                              common St. John’s-wort (Hypericum perforatum)
                                     common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
                                       Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)
                                   meadow hawkweed (Hieracium ratense)
                                 orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum)
                                         yellow hawkweed (Hieracium retense)
                            OTHER WEED SPECIES LIKELY TO INVADE THE PROJECT AREA
                                   houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale)
                                      yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)
                                 absinth wormwood (Artemesia absinthium)
                                            tansy ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
                                       leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula)
                                        musk thistle (Carduus natans)
                                          whitetop (Cardaria draba)
                                     dalmation toadflax (Linaria dalmatica)
  Spotted knapweed and the hawkweeds are potentially the most environmentally threatening noxious
  weeds in the project area due to the extent of the infestations. Distribution of plants range from light to
  moderate along road sides. Spotted knapweed is a biennial or perennial forb that can produce up to
  18,000 seeds per plant per year under favorable conditions. Spotted knapweed ranks as the number one
  weed problem on rangeland in western Montana. It is adapted to a wide range of environmental
  conditions. Spotted knapweed is most successful in warmer drier habitat types (USDA 1991).

  Hawkweeds reproduce from seed and stolons, which are the same structures that strawberry plants use
  to spread. These extensive stolons allow hawkweeds to form a dense mat that crowds out all other
  vegetation. Areas of risk include tree plantations, general forest lands, pastures, meadows, wetlands,
  roadsides, dispersed and developed recreation areas, and mining claims. These plants are successful on
  all but the driest sites (USDA 2000). Distribution of plants range from light to moderate along road sides.

New Invaders
 Dalmatian toadflax has been identified and treated along Road #228 adjacent to the planning subunit. It is
 a Priority 1C for the Kootenai, and all known populations in south Lincoln County are being treated with
 regular herbicide application, which will reduce the spread of this species.

Management Goals
 The goal of noxious weed management on the Kootenai National Forest is to manage weeds in order to
 protect forests, rangelands, wildlands, adjacent farmlands, and to cooperate with private individuals and
 county and state agencies concerned with managing noxious weeds (USFS 1997). Preventing noxious
 weeds from invading new areas considered weed free is the cheapest and easiest way to control them.
 Spraying of herbicides is currently the most effective method of control for smaller populations once
 noxious weeds become established. Open roads are common vectors for weed seed dispersal.

  Ongoing weed control measures in the Bristow planning subunit includes herbicide treatments along
  Highway 228 (FDR), Barron Creek 615 and the two gravel pits located along the 615. Spraying of the
  loop roads of #333 to #6236 to #4821 to #4866 are identified as potential RAC projects. Roads within
                                         Chapter 3                                                        109
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                    Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Mcgillvary Campground are spot sprayed annually as well as roads within Jackson and Barron Creek
dispersed campsites. No biological control releases have occurred in the perfect area.

Planned weed activities in the Bristow planning subunit include the following:
     Continued treatment of the Highway 228 (FRD) by the Forest Service.
     Requiring the timber sale purchaser to spray up to 15‟ of the proposed haul routes the first
       growing season after sale award under timber sale clause R1-C(T) 6.27# - Noxious Weed
       Treatment.
     Continue treating the gravel pits along road 615.
     Continue treating road 615 as funds allow.
     Continue to release biocontrol agents as they become available to control noxious weeds.
     Apply mitigation measures to all projects in the planning subunit.

Recently, biological control agents, insects that feed exclusively on host weed species, have been
released on the Kootenai National Forest to control spotted knapweed and other species. The result of
the releases is not yet apparent, but Forest Plan Monitoring has shown that Biological control agents
require a number of years to increase their populations to a level that will noticeably impact their weed
hosts. There has been no release sites established for biological control agents within the Bristow
planning subunit.

Biological control agents generally impact their host weeds by reducing their vigor and/or seed
production. Biological controls generally do not eliminate weeds, and they may not prevent their spread
since weed seeds are usually still produced. However, biological controls can reduce the rate and extent
of the spread of their particular host. Biological controls have the greatest impact on their weed hosts
when several different agents are attacking the same plant host. Biological controls are best used on
weed species that are already well established in an area, that have sizable populations, and that have
little or no possibility of being eradicated. Herbicide use or hand pulling are best used on new invaders
that still may be eradicated, or on small or satellite populations of other well established weeds.

In order to identify various levels of commitment toward the actual control of noxious weeds within Lincoln
County, Montana and the Bristow area, specific noxious weed species have been grouped into
categories. The categories are unique to Lincoln County, Montana and the Kootenai National Forest, are
not intended to replace the State of Montana Noxious Weed list. The table below lists the weed
classification and management strategy for known noxious weeds within the Bristow Planning subunit.

                          Table 3.64 - Weed Classification and Management Strategy

            WEED CATEGORY                        WEED SPECIES                     MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
                Priority 1A           No known populations (not currently    Prevention.
             Potential Invaders       known to exist in Lincoln County)      Eradication
                                      None identified within the planning
                Priority 1B
                                      subunit or adjacent to the planning    Eradication.
               New Invaders
                                      subunit.
                Priority 1C           Adjacent to planning subunit           Contain main body, eradication of
               New Invaders              Dalmatian toadflax                  populations outside main body
                                       Spotted knapweed
                                       Sulphur cinquefoil
                                       Oxeye daisy
                                       Cheatgrass
                                       Common St. John's-wort                Prioritize areas to be treated. Reduce
                 Priority II
                                       Common tansy                          size of plant populations. Reduce rate
            Existing Infestations
                                       Canada thistle                        of spread.
                                       Meadow hawkweed
                                       Orange hawkweed
                                       Dalmation toadflax
                                       Yellow hawkweed
      Priority III - Species of       No known populations in the planning   Monitor known populations for trends.
      Undetermined Status             subunit




110                                         Chapter 3
                        Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Environmental Consequences
 Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
   Alternative1, the no-action alternative, would leave the area in the same existing condition. As there is no
   management actions proposed, there will be no additional management induced effects of exotic
   vegetation. Existing open roads would continue to support weed populations; seeds would be spread by
   road maintenance equipment, as well as administrative and recreational traffic. Closed roads would also
   continue to support weed populations but the rate of spread would be less than on open roads.
   Alternative1 would not increase vehicle traffic into the planning subunit. It would not increase site
   disturbances, such as road building, timber harvest, and prescribed burning; therefore weed spread
   would not be accelerated as a result of those activities. Ongoing weed control measures across the
   district would continue, with potential for activity in the planning subunit. However planned weed
   management activities associated with the timber sale would not be implemented.

   Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa), Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria dalmatica), St. John‟s-wort
   (Hypericum perforatum), and sulfur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta) will continue to spread along road
   systems, 4-wheel trails, and dry openings. New invaders will continue to have the potential to spread
   along open roads. Orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) and the meadow hawkweed complex
   (Hieracium pratense, H. floribundum, and H. piloselloides) will continue to increase on all but the driest
   sites. Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) will continue to be a common component in disturbed areas.

   With the exception of the hawkweeds, weed species of concern generally are not persistent in forested
   vegetation communities that have high canopy closure. As stands close and succession continues, the
   spread of noxious weeds should slow. The driest sites with light forest canopy may continue to be at risk
   for spread even without management activities on National Forest System Lands.

 Cumulative Effects
  Alternative1, the no-action alternative, is expected to allow existing weed populations to cumulatively
  increase. If present weed populations are not managed, weed populations would continue to exceed KNF
  Forest Plan standards (Table IV-1, pg IV-10 KNF Forest Plan 1987). Existing weeds are expected to
  continue moving off of roadways into previously disturbed areas and into new or existing burned areas.

   1. Impacts to Big Game Winter Range
   Weeds impact native vegetation by competing for light, water and nutrients. Native vegetation provides
   forage, cover or nesting habitat for micro and macro fauna. In comparison, noxious weed species
   generally do not provide valuable forage or habitat for native animals (Trammell and Butler 1995). As
   weeds invade the dry sites, the carrying capacity of big game winter range within the Bristow planning
   subunit will continue to be compromised. By altering the structure of plant communities, noxious weeds
   alter the structure of animal communities (Sheley, 1999). A key invasive on the dry sites is spotted
   knapweed. Watson and Renney (1994) found that spotted knapweed infestations decreased bluebunch
   wheatgrass forage yield by 88% (Sheley, 1999). Associated elk use, was reduced by 98% on spotted
   knapweed-dominated range compared to bunchgrass-dominated sites (Sheley, 1999). Warm and dry
   (mesic) forest types are most likely to be invaded by spotted knapweed, Dalmatian toadflax and sulfur
   cinquefoil over time. Dalmatian toadflax and sulfur cinquefoil can become a significant component of the
   plant community and can dominate sites, particularly the drier sites. Of these species, spotted knapweed
   is the most prevalent and Dalmatian toadflax is present along the FDR in the Bristow area.

   2. Soil Effects of Noxious Weeds
   Increases in noxious weeds have been shown to affect the structure of ecosystems by altering soil
   properties. Soil in areas dominated by noxious weeds may have lower amounts of organic matter and
   available nitrogen than areas supporting native grasslands. Noxious weeds may increase soil erosion,
   and chemical compounds may hinder soil macrofauna and microfauna. Weeds may deplete soil nutrient
   reserves, and alter soil temperatures (Sheley 1999). As weed populations increase, the associated soil
   effects will increase.

   3. Watershed Effects of Noxious Weeds
   Noxious weed populations increase surface runoff and sediment yield by reducing native plant community
   diversity and increasing exposed soil (Lacey, et al. 1989). Where noxious weed canopies are light but
   native plants are in decline, vegetative cover of soil may be reduced, thus exposing increased soil surface
                                          Chapter 3                                                         111
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 and increasing evaporation, reducing soil moisture. Where canopies are dense, high transpiration rates
 by noxious weeds may deplete soil water content. The effects of uncontained noxious weed expansion in
 Bristow will vary by site and species, but may minimally change the watershed characteristics.

 4. Impacts to Native Plant Communities
 Noxious weeds have been shown to affect the structure of ecosystems by altering the composition of
 plant communities. In general, noxious weeds have invasive characteristics that allow them to be
 competitive and often out compete and displace native plant species. This can affect the species diversity
 and species richness on a given site.

 5. Effect of Timber Sale Activities
 On-going Forest Service timber harvest activities may include additional harvest of four units in the recent
 Barron Jack Timber Sale. See Chapter 3, Table 3.1B for specifics. Timber harvest may increase the
 existing weed populations in the Bristow planning subunit.

 6. Effects of Fire
 On-going fuels activities form the Forestwide Fuel Reduction and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement
 (FFRWHE) program which has a total of 12 units that will treat 3,770 acres with slash and or burning.
 Field review of existing weeds would occur prior to ignition. If burning would increase weed populations
 with the (FFRWHE) program than ignition would not occur. Therefore burning through the (FFRWHE)
 program would increase weed populations.

 Fire suppression activities including fireline construction would enhance the introduction and spread of
 noxious weeds if a wildfire was to occur in the Bristow subunit.

 7. Effects of Road Access
 Existing open roads would continue to support populations of noxious weeds; seeds would be spread by
 road maintenance, administrative and recreational vehicles. Closed roads would also continue to support
 weed populations but the rate of spread would be less. Administrative and unauthorized traffic will likely
 spread weed species and possibly bring in new invaders on closed roads. All unauthorized traffic should
 be prevented from entering closed roads in the sale area to prevent unnecessary spread of noxious
 weeds.

 8. Effects of Off-Road-Vehicles
 Off-road-vehicles (OHV) would continue to use existing trails in the planning subunit. Weed seeds are
 expected to keep moving into un-infested areas as OHV use continues.

 9. Effects of Activities on Private Lands
 Timber harvest and road building on PCTC property may increase the existing weed populations in the
 Bristow planning subunit. New invader and existing weed species may become established in Plum
 Creek management areas and associated roads, and over time move onto National Forest System lands.

Action Alternatives
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Alternatives 2, 3 and 4 include timber harvest, temporary road construction, road storage and
 decommissioning, road access management changes, precommercial thinning, hazard fuel reduction, re-
 introduction of fire, big game forage enhancement treatments, and weed management activities
 associated with these activities. Of these activities, timber harvest, road construction, road storage and
 decommissioning, hazard fuel reduction, re-introduction of fire, and big game forage enhancement
 treatments resulting from prescribed fire have the potential to spread noxious weed species, causing
 negative impacts to native vegetation and wildlife.

 Precommercial thinning and hazard fuel reduction through thinning and slashing that does not include
 ground based equipment, should not increase the rate of noxious weed spread. These stand canopies
 would still be fairly closed and no ground disturbing activities would occur. Contractors and administrative
 vehicles may accidentally spread weed seeds in the area.

 Road access management changes will reduce the rate of spread, since all of the access management
 changes reduce open roads and associated vehicle traffic. In the short term, road decommissioning and
 112                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
storage may increase the spread of noxious weeds due to necessary soil disturbance and creation of a
receptive seed-bed. There is a risk of introducing weed seeds on equipment associated with the
decommissioning and storage even with the required equipment washing. The greatest risk is posed
when equipment from outside the area is utilized for these activities, since they may bring new invaders
onto these sites. The long-term effects of road decommissioning and storage are a reduced rate of weed
spread due to these areas not being accessible to vehicle use. Once revegetated, decommissioned roads
will be fairly resistant to spread of all but the species that continue to flourish under a shaded
environment, such as hawkweeds. Alternative 3A has a slightly lower risk of spreading existing weed
species and introducing new invaders due to the additional restrictions on approximately 6.5 miles of
road. Alternative 3B has 7 miles of additional restrictions than Alternatives 2 and 4; therefore also having
a slightly lower risk of spreading existing weed species and introducing new invaders. The following table
shows the access management changes and the positive degree for weed management for all
alternatives including the “no action”. In general, the higher the miles of restricted road access, and in the
long term, the higher the miles in storage or decommissioning, the lower the rate of noxious weed spread.

                       Table 3.65 - Access Management Changes by Alternative

                          ACTIVITY                      ALT. 1     ALT 2    ALT. 3A    ALT 3B     ALT4
       Road Storage Miles – Required and Desired          0        33.67     33.67      33.67     33.67
       Road Decommissioning Miles                         0        2.44      2.44       2.44       2.44
       Road Restriction Miles Open to Yearlong            0        3.23      9.73       10.53      3.23
       Road Restriction Miles Open to Seasonal            0        6.91      6.91       6.91       6.91
       Road Restricted Seasonally (12/1-6/30) to
                                                          0        2.88      2.88       2.88       2.88
       Seasonally (10/15-6/30)
                      TOTAL MILES                         0       49.13      55.63     56.43      49.13

The following activities have the highest risk of spreading or introducing noxious weeds:
1. Road Reconstruction
  Weed seed contaminated road gravel can spread weed species. Road reconstruction can spread
  noxious weeds through disturbance that creates a receptive seedbed and allows noxious weeds to re-
  establish and flourish. Once established, administrative and recreational travel along the new road can
  spread weeds. Mitigation measures include herbicide treatments in existing gravel pits/quarries,
  equipment washing, use of weed free certified seed and straw, treatment along timber haul routes,
  seeding and fertilizing on re-constructed roads, and brushing and blading recommendations.

2. Road Decommissioning and Storage
  Road decommissioning and storage can spread on-site weed seed and transport off site seed into the
  area on equipment. Disturbance associated with these activities can create a seedbed that allows
  noxious weeds to re-establish and flourish. Mitigation measures include equipment washing, herbicide
  treatments prior to decommissioning and storage activities, use of weed free certified seed and straw,
  seeding and fertilizing on disturbed areas, and post treatment monitoring and herbicide treatment.
  Monitoring has shown that herbicide treatments prior to decommissioning work helps reduce weed
  densities and population size, and that the long term benefits of road decommissioning and storage are
  a reduced rate of noxious weed spread, particularly for new invaders.

3. Timber Harvest Activities
  Timber harvest activities can spread noxious weeds by transporting seeds on personal vehicles and
  harvest equipment. Ground disturbance associated with timber harvest creates a receptive seedbed on
  landings and skid trails. Winter logging reduces the chance of spreading existing weeds by generally
  reducing soil disturbance. Cable logging systems similarly reduce soil disturbance and potential weed
  spread as compared to tractor logging. Helicopter logging is less likely to spread weed seeds than
  conventional ground-based logging systems due to reduced soil disturbance and reduced road
  construction and reconstruction needs. Helicopter yarding equipment can spread noxious weed seeds
  by transporting seeds from the decking, landing and servicing areas to un-infested sites in harvest
  units. Mitigation measures include equipment washing, seeding and fertilizing landings and major skid
  trails, use of certified weed free seed, limiting soil disturbance during harvest activities, and post harvest
  monitoring and treatment.


                                        Chapter 3                                                          113
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                    Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  4. Hazard Fuel Reduction through Grapple Piling
    Mechanized hazard fuel reduction can spread noxious weeds by transporting seeds on equipment and
    creating ground disturbance that creates a receptive seedbed. Mitigation measures include equipment
    washing, limiting soil disturbance, and post treatment monitoring and treatment of introduced weeds.

  5. Prescribed Fire for Site Preparation, Hazard Fuel Reduction or Wildlife Habitat
    Improvement
    Prescribed fire increases the rate of spread of noxious weeds by creating a receptive seedbed that
    allows noxious weeds to establish and flourish. Mitigation includes surveying burn units prior to burning.
    If it is determined that weeds may spread beyond the road corridor as a result of the proposed burn, the
    burning will either be deferred until weeds can be treated, or a post burn treatment will be required.

    The mitigation measures identified in this document and incorporated in Chapter 2 of the EA, and the
    specific weed control measures to be implemented in accordance with the 1997 KNF Herbicide Weed
    Control EA, were designed to help slow the spread of weeds in the Bristow planning subunit and
    minimize the chance of introducing new species.

    Higher disturbance levels lead to greater risks of creating favorable conditions for the spread of noxious
    weeds. Alternative 2 has the highest potential to create conditions favorable to spreading weeds
    because of the number of acres treated and associated road work. The total number of acres treated
    does not indicate that all of these acres would be infested with noxious weeds if the treatment was
    implemented. More disturbance translates to higher risk of increased noxious weed infestation. The
    mitigation measures prescribed in chapter 2 and the noxious weed treatment planned for the Bristow
    planning subunit will help reduce the rate of spread and the risk of new infestation in harvested or
    burned areas.
                      Table 3.66 - Comparison of Disturbance Levels by Alternative

                                             ALT                           PCTC       MAX. CUMULATIVE
                 ACTIVITY            ALT 1             ALT 3    ALT 4
                                              2                          ACTIVITIES       EFFECTS
             Permanent Road            0      0           0        0         0                0
           Construction (miles)
            Temporary Road             0      5.1       4.76     2.48        0               5.1
           Construction (miles)
           Road Reconstruction         0      30         26       12         0               30
                 (miles)
           Road Storage (miles)        0     33.67     33.67     33.6        0              33.67
                                                                  7
         Road Decommissioning          0     2.44       2.44     2.44        0              2.44
                  (miles)
         Harvest Activities Total      0     1643       1205      726      1165             2808
                  (acres)
         Ground Based Systems          0     1235       903       619       871             2106
                 (acres)
         Cable/Skyline Systems         0     408        302       107       294              702
                 (acres)
          Grapple Piling (acres)       0     102         88        0       98**              200
          Prescribed Fire (acres)      0      30          26       22        0              3064
                                             64          37       06
                                                    ** Estimated acres

Cumulative Effects
 Past soil disturbing activity and vehicular traffic have helped spread noxious weeds into the project area.
 Surveys of roads were conducted in the project area to search for noxious weed populations. These
 surveys are located in the district files.

  Spraying of roads in the project area would reduce weed infestations along open roads in the project area
  in the short term. Management actions proposed in this project would increase total potential infested
  area in the project in the short term. Selection of the no-action alternative would also result in increased
  total infested area at some unknown time in the future. All alternatives, including the no-action alternative,
  114                                    Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 would add cumulatively to the already large area infested with noxious weeds in the project area. The
 only way to avoid this increase is through intensive weed management actions which are not feasible with
 current budgets for weed management.

 Future projects in this area will consider how they influence the spread of noxious weeds. Future projects
 are also likely to contribute to cumulative effects by increasing area susceptible to infestation.

Consistency with the Forest Plan and Other Management Direction
 Forest Service Manual (FSM) 2080.1 directs the National Forests to conform to the Federal
 Noxious Weed Act of 1974, as amended.

 The Lincoln County Weed Control Act (MCA 7-22-2116) indicates that "it is unlawful for any
 person to permit any noxious weed to propagate or go to seed on his land, except that any
 person who adheres to the noxious weed management program of his district or who has entered
 into and is in compliance with a noxious weed management agreement is considered to be in
 compliance with this section."

 The Kootenai National Forest has entered into a weed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
 with Lincoln County, which is a management agreement under this law. Because the mitigation
 measures described in Chapter 2 will be followed, this project is in compliance with the MOU and
 the Federal Noxious Weed Act.

 These actions will also help to meet the goal for noxious weed management as stated in the
 Forest Plan.




                                        Chapter 3                                                      115
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

9. Wildlife
 Introduction
   The National Forest Management Act (NFMA) Bristow Landscape Assessment, which includes
   discussions of existing conditions for Vegetation Response Units (VRUs), fragmentation, and
   connectivity, is incorporated by reference (Charnon 2001).

 Analysis Area
  The analysis area for most wildlife species is the Bristow planning subunit, located within the Kootenai
  National Forest Koocanusa planning unit. The Bristow subunit includes the drainages of three major
  creeks, and is comprised of three timber compartments. These compartments are the Jackson Creek
  (#552), Barron Creek (#553), and Bristow Creek (#554). The area contains approximately 40,700 acres
  with 36,400 acres of National Forest System (NFS) lands, and 4,300 acres of Plum Creek Timber
  Corporation (PCTC) land. However some species such as the lynx are analyzed on a Lynx Analysis Unit,
  or LAU scale, and the grizzly is analyzed on the West Kootenai grizzly bear outside recovery zone area
  basis.

   The Bristow planning subunit was also used for the old growth analysis. Cumulatively, the entire Kootenai
   National Forest was considered.

 Projects Considered for Cumulative Effects on Wildlife
   Cumulative effects are the impact on the species, which results from the incremental impact of
   alternatives when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions. Past activities,
   which include road construction, timber harvest, fire suppression, and natural events such as wildfire,
   were considered as part of the existing condition. Other ongoing, proposed and reasonably foreseeable
   activities proposed by the Forest Service and private corporations would occur as described in Chapter 2.
   On-going Forest Service activities include harvest in the remaining Barron Jack Units (B2, B30, B32, and
   B20) during the summer of 2003, and additional harvest in seven stands from the recent Barron Jack
   timber sale in 2004/2005. More recent information available after the wildlife analysis was completed
   shows that logging within the Barron Jack units was finished in late fall 2003, and only four units (Table
   3.1B) would have additional logging in 2004/2005. Impacts of these units as analyzed under the wildlife
   section would be slightly less, and the Barron Jack units are considered part of the existing condition.

   Another ongoing activity on NFS lands within the Bristow planning subunit includes the Forestwide Fuels
   Reduction and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement (FFRWHE) program which has a total of 12 units that will
   treat 3,770 acres with slash and/or burning. Other annual activities, including firewood gathering, road
   maintenance, public recreation, and special use permit would also occur.

   Management activities associated with lands administered by PCTC would continue. PCTC anticipates
   activities within all three compartments of the Bristow subunit. On PCTC land over the next two to three
   years, planned activities include 22 acres of seed-tree removal in Bristow Creek; 98 acres of shelterwood
   harvest, 55 acres of commercial thinning, and 94 acres of clearcut harvest in Bristow Creek; and 773
   acres of commercial thinning, 107 acres of salvage, and 16 acres of seed-tree removal in Jackson Creek.

   Additional descriptions and projects considered for cumulative effects are as described in the beginning of
   Chapter 3.

 Effects Common to All Alternatives
 Recreation Development: Four dispersed campsites would be developed at Barron Creek Meadow. The
 dispersed sites would be located next to an existing and well used camping area. The proposed sites would
 be built into the adjacent timber to provide shade and privacy. The existing, old harvest access road would
 be re-bermed with rocks. Continuing this closure helps to prevent motorized access down to the old growth
 location.

 Effects Common to All Action Alternatives
 Pronone Use Environmental Consequences
   Use of Pronone - There is relatively little information regarding the toxicity of hexazinone, the active
   ingredient of pronone, to terrestrial wildlife (SERA 1997). The ecological risk assessment to terrestrial
   wildlife is summarized in “Selected Commercial Formulations of Hexazinone- Human Health and
   116                                    Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Ecological Risk Assessment Final Draft” (SERA 1997), and is hereby incorporated by reference. The
 effects of Pronone to wildlife are discussed under the effects analysis for each species. See the
 Vegetation and Proposed, Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Plants sections for information
 regarding effects to vegetation with Pronone use.

Management Indicator Species
 The Kootenai National Forest provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife, with over 380 species using the
 Forest during their annual life cycle. One element in understanding and maintaining this biological
 diversity is the concept of population viability, or the probability of a species persisting over time.
 Requirements for maintaining viable populations are provided in the Rules and Regulations (36 CFR
 219.19) to the National Forest Management Act (NFMA P.L. 94-588). Various methods exist to measure
 population viability. For example, one method is to measure the capability of the habitat to support
 various species. With this method, certain habitat requirements must be known so that these components
 can be measured, and species diversity can be estimated from the availability of these necessary habitat
 components. Another approach to this is to choose characteristic, or indicator species to represent other
 wildlife species, which use similar habitats.

 Indicator species have been designated for the Kootenai National Forest. The Kootenai Forest Plan
 (Appendix 12:1) grouped the species present on the Forest depending on their habitat preference for
 feeding and reproduction. For each of these groups a species was identified as an indicator species to act
 as a 'barometer of change" in that particular habitat. The Forest Plan directs that these management
 indicator species (MIS) or their habitat parameters (i.e. old growth) are to be monitored to evaluate the
 effects of proposed land management activities on these species and/or their habitat. The Forest Plan
 assumption is that effects of a proposed action on MIS can be correlated to effects on other species with
 similar habitat requirements. MIS species that are also Threatened or Endangered species are discussed
 under the Threatened, Endangered, and Proposed Species section.

                                      Table 3.67 - MIS Species and Status

                 FOREST PLAN MANAGEMENT                STATUS WITHIN       EVALUATION OF SUITABLE
                    INDICATOR SPECIES                  PROJECT AREA              HABITAT
                          Game Species
                               Elk                          K*               Suitable Habitat Present
                        White-tailed deer                   K*               Suitable Habitat Present
                         Mountain Goat                     NS**            Suitable Habitat Not Present
                      Non-Game Species
                      Pileated Woodpecker                    K*              Suitable Habitat Present
                 *K – Known to occur in project area      ** NS- Not suspected to occur in project area

 Several wildlife MIS species have been selected for detailed analysis in the Bristow planning subunit. The
 peregrine falcon, listed as a MIS for cliffs, is addressed under the Sensitive Species Section. Other
 species which would not be affected by any of the alternatives, in consideration of past, present, and
 cumulative actions, are not discussed in detail.

MIS Ungulates - Elk, White-tailed Deer, Mule Deer
   The Kootenai Forest plan designated the white-tailed deer and elk as management indicator species
   but mule deer are also considered here due to their more restrictive requirements for winter and spring
   range. Elk and white-tailed deer tend to be more habitat generalists, and are distributed throughout
   many habitats on the KNF. Mule deer prefer more open habitats in both summer and winter compared
   to white-tailed deer.

AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT
 The Bristow subunit has value as winter and early spring habitat, as well as summer and fall range. The
 elk, white-tailed, and mule deer winter ranges are concentrated towards the south facing slopes along the
 reservoir. Moose also occur and use winter ranges farther up the drainages. Elk and mule deer are fairly
 well distributed throughout the Bristow subunit, but white-tailed deer are undoubtedly the most abundant
 big game animal. In summer months the deer are spread throughout the area, but during winter, white-tail
 concentrate on the lower elevation south facing slopes along the reservoir.

                                        Chapter 3                                                         117
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  The Bristow subunit is located within the Purcell Elk Management Unit (EMU) as identified by Montana
  Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MDFWP 1993). Good winter habitat is limited, comprising no more than 10% of
  the Purcell EMU. No population estimates are available for elk (Jerry Brown, MFWP, personal
  communication 1994). Aerial surveys are done yearly on trend routes to determine bull: cow and cow: calf
  ratios. Although harvest rates/levels indicate that the number of elk being harvested has doubled in the
  last 20 years, this does not necessarily mean there is an increase in the elk population. The reasons for
  an increase, or decrease, in harvest levels is complex and include harvest quotas, weather factors, hunter
  accessibility, hunter knowledge, skill and availability of technology (Henckel 1991), availability of
  security/escape cover for the elk, season timing and length.

ANALYSIS METHOD
 Elk are known to be sensitive to human-caused disturbances, and guidelines developed from elk
 research are used to measure existing summer range conditions. The Kootenai Forest Plan establishes
 guidelines for managing big game summer habitat for individual management areas (MAs).

  Results of the Montana Elk Logging Studies (Lyon et. al. 1985) have been identified as the standard for
  managing summer elk habitat on the Kootenai National Forest. The measurement indicators for big game
  issues are:
          1. Cover/forage ratios, the amount, location, and distribution of cover,
          2. Opening size/movement corridors,
          3. Open road density (ORDs),
          4. Habitat effectiveness and amount of security.

  The area that is being analyzed for direct, indirect, and cumulative effects for MIS ungulates is the Bristow
  planning subunit. This analysis looks at elk and deer habitat on several scales; the individual Forest Plan
  Management Allocations which are evaluated based on Forest Plan standards and the Bristow planning
  subunit; and the cumulative habitat condition in terms of the biological winter and summer range.

  The Bristow subunit was also divided into elk habitat analysis areas (HAA) for analysis following
  recommendations of Leege (1984) and USDA (1985). These authors recommend that elk habitat
  planning subunits be about 3,000-12,000 acres in size and represent an approximate home range size of
  an elk. Since the objective of this analysis is to display how habitat conditions effect big game populations
  biologically, all lands within the elk HAA boundaries were included regardless of ownership. The elk
  winter range analysis area is 17,412 acres (14,425 acres NFS lands, and 2,988 acres private). The elk
  summer range analysis area is larger than the recommended acres at 23,290 acres (21,987 acres NFS
  lands, and 1,303 acres private). In reality, both of these elk habitat analysis areas have components of
  both summer and winter ranges as white-tailed deer reside year-round on much of the winter range
  areas. Some elk and mule deer migrate to the winter ranges present in the Alexander landscape to the
  south. Although elk HAAs have been developed at this time to better evaluate project effects, they are not
  specifically recognized as such in the State of Montana's Elk Management Plan (MFWP 1993).

Measurement Indicators
1. Cover/Forage Ratios, Amount, Location and Distribution of Cover
Affected Environment
  Cover to forage ratio (C/F) is used as a measure of habitat suitability for ungulates. Cover provides
  protection from weather, predators, and hunters, and is typically defined as either hiding or thermal cover
  (Thomas1979). Hiding cover is considered to be vegetation capable of hiding 90% of a standing adult elk
  or deer from the view of a human at a distance equal to or less than 200 feet during all seasons of the
  year. Thermal cover for elk is defined as any stand of coniferous trees (> 30 acres) 40 feet or more in
  height, with an average canopy closure exceeding 70 percent. Thermal cover for deer is defined as either
  saplings or shrubs at least five feet tall, with 75 percent or more crown closure on summer and spring-fall
  ranges. Deer can utilize thermal cover areas 2 to 5 acres, and no less than 300 feet wide (Thomas 1979).

  The Forest Plan guideline for MAs 15, 16, and 17 is a combination of at least 15% hiding and thermal
  cover. The Forest Plan guideline for MA 12 references the Montana Elk Logging Study (Lyons et al. 1985)
  and related guidelines, which generally recommend a C/F ratio that approaches 50% cover (with at least
  half as thermal cover) and 50% forage. The Kootenai Forest Plan (1987) identifies management criteria
  for white-tailed deer winter range within MA 10/11 with a cover/forage ratio of 70/30 considered as
  optimum. Table 3.68 displays the cover/forage ratios. A Biologist Working Group was formed in 1991 on
  118                                    Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 the Kootenai Forest to recommend changes in Forest Plan big game standards, which are supported, by
 local research and professional judgment of local managers (Summerfield 1991). For elk and mule deer,
 a 60/40 C/F ratio is generally considered optimal for both summer and winter range; while for white-tailed
 deer, an 80/20 C/F ratio is considered optimal on summer range, and a 70/30 C/F ratio is considered
 optimal on winter range.

 The size, shape, and interspersion of cover and forage, as well as the position relative to landscape
 features (e.g. riparian zones, ridges, saddles, roads) greatly influences the use (or non-use) of the area
 by big game. Utilization of forage begins to decrease as distance to cover increases (Thomas 1979).
 Table 3.68, in the effects section below, displays the cover/forage ratio by MA in the Bristow planning
 subunit.

 Most of MA10 designated lands are naturally open with bunchgrass/bitterbrush/ ponderosa pine habitat
 types. Timbered inclusions are scattered throughout, especially in the swale areas. Existing cover/forage
 ratios are appropriate on MA 10 and 11 lands. Due to fire exclusion, much of MA 10 and 11 winter ranges
 have been encroached by Douglas-fir regeneration, which typically favors white-tailed deer. The
 proposed action alternatives would reduce this Douglas-fir encroachment due to both timber harvest and
 slashing/and or precommercial thinning and underburning. These activities would reduce the availability
 of cover.

 On all the MA12 lands combined (8,838 acres) there are 1,129 acres of past regeneration openings (13%
 in forage) with approximately 2,917 acres or 33% having been previously harvested and in hiding cover
 status. Some natural openings also occur.

Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Under this alternative, no activities as proposed would occur. No direct effect to elk or deer would occur
 in the short-term. In the short-term, the no-action alternative would not directly affect the potential of any
 summer ranger or winter/spring range to provide habitat for elk or deer. Indirectly, plant succession
 would continue on some of the sites, resulting in an increasing canopy closure and increasing density of
 understory conifers. Indirectly, on NFS lands in the Bristow subunit, the late seral forest condition, which
 has become fragmented with timber harvest units, would continue to become reestablished. The
 connectivity of the late seral forest condition will require several decades to become fully reestablished,
 as harvest units gradually become reforested. Overtime, as an indirect result of plant succession,
 thermal cover would be maintained and increased on summer and winter ranges. On winter/spring ranges
 the quantity and quality of forage available would decrease due to shading, competition, and lack of fire.

 Cumulative Effects
 Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife” section. Harvest in the Barron Jack Units (B2, B30, B32, and B20) during
 the summer of 2003, and additional harvest in seven stands from the recent Barron Jack timber sale in
 2004/2005 (Table 3.1B) will result in these units‟ no longer providing hiding or thermal cover for ungulates
 after treatment. The 3,770 acres of slash and/or burning under the Forestwide Fuels Reduction and
 Wildlife Habitat Enhancement EA (FFRWHE) program is expected to have a beneficial impact to ungulate
 species due to increased productivity on bunchgrass and shrubfield habitat (USFS 2001).

 On those areas not treated under the FFRWHE program, indirect effects on winter ranges would be
 continued maintenance of thermal cover and Douglas-fir regeneration and encroachment throughout the
 winter range that would provide hiding cover. This vegetative condition is favorable to white-tailed deer
 since they prefer a higher proportion of cover to forage than mule deer or elk. White-tailed deer also use
 stands or patches with a dense sapling understory for winter thermal cover. This condition has resulted
 from the exclusion of fire in the drier ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir timber type. The natural fire regime of
 periodic, low intensity underburns would have maintained open understory stand conditions with
 occasional dense pockets of sapling Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine. These conditions provided for a
 balance of cover to forage that historically was probably more favorable for mule deer than for white-tailed
 deer.


                                        Chapter 3                                                          119
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Routine annual activities such as firewood gathering and road maintenance would not result in any direct
 effect to cover/forage ratios.

 The PCTC activities will reduce the amount of cover available on private lands. The cumulative effects of
 this timber harvest on cover/forage ratios are displayed in Table 3.68 below.

 Alternative 1, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands,
 is not expected to have adverse cumulative effects because no activities are proposed under the no-
 action alternative and current availability of suitable summer and winter range habitat on NFS lands would
 not change.

Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of Alternative 2 would have direct effects on cover and forage habitat with the activities
 being proposed. Most of the units provide a mosaic of hiding, thermal, and no cover in the existing
 condition. Some units such as # 7, 9, and 11 provide no cover in the existing condition. Hiding cover is
 provided by overstory tree stem density, topography, shrubs, or sapling regeneration. Hiding cover is
 expected to be lost in the regeneration harvest treatments but some would likely remain in the
 improvement harvest units.

 On NFS lands, the improvement type harvests mostly located on VRU 2 and 3 are located on moderately
 dry Douglas-fir types, and would be opened up to 60-80-100 square feet of basal area. These units are
 outside of the range of historic density due (please see silviculture section) to the exclusion of fire and are
 expected to have more cover available now that historically. This reduction in basal area and hiding/
 thermal cover would decrease the cover qualities of the big game winter range for white-tailed deer in the
 Bristow subunit because implementation would result in lower than recommended guidelines for C/F
 ratios on portions of white-tailed deer winter ranges. Thinning of the overstory and understory trees would
 reduce thermal and hiding cover. The proposed slashing and burning may also reduce the total amount of
 winter thermal cover in the form of dense Douglas-fir thickets for white-tailed deer by opening up the
 understory. The treatments are expected to result in a winter range with cover characteristics less suitable
 for white-tailed deer. These more open winter ranges are expected to be more suitable for mule deer and
 elk based on historic conditions. On just MA10 and 11 lands, Alternative 2 has a direct effect on the
 percentage of cover, with it decreasing up to 21 percent depending on which planning subunit is
 considered (Table 3.68). A reduction in C/F ratios from 79/18% to 63/34% would not be expected to
 provide quality white-tailed deer winter range, but would benefit mule deer/elk winter ranges. Indirectly,
 as a result of the proposed slashing and burning, the quality of forage on these winter/spring ranges is
 expected to improve as a result of the basal area reduction of the canopy to a more historic level and in
 certain areas, to the proposed periodic underburning.

 As a direct result of Alternative 2, on NFS lands, the amount and availability of thermal cover on big
 game summer ranges would decrease 5%, and on and winter ranges would decrease 12% (Table 3.68).
 These reductions in cover are based on all cover being removed in the proposed harvest treatment units
 and a portion of the slash/and or burn units, but it is likely that some level of hiding cover would remain in
 a mosaic pattern.

 The use of ground-based logging systems on Unit #37 would result in the potential spread of noxious
 weeds such as goatweed and knapweed on a naturally open bunchgrass ridge. This would occur on both
 MA10 and MA11 lands and would not improve the habitat for big game. Please see the noxious weed
 section for more information.

 Precommercial thinning is also planned in existing regeneration units on a total of approximately 1,064
 acres scattered in all three compartments of the Bristow planning subunit. It can be expected that
 individual thinning operation would cause direct, short-term disturbances to big game using the
 immediate area. Thinning in itself is considered a minor activity however, and is not likely to cause big
 game to move far from active thinning sites. The proposed thinning would reduce the quality of big game
 cover, but would not create openings or eliminate hiding cover values in treated stands.

 Alternative 2 proposes the use of the herbicide Pronone in five of the proposed units, (#15, 21, 23, 28,
 and 37) totaling 121 acres. Units 15, 28, and 37 (a total of 89 acres to be spot treated with Pronone) are
 120                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 partially located on either MA10/11 lands. As spot treatment would occur, affected acres would actually
 be less. However, the use of Pronone on winter ranges is expected to directly decrease the amount and
 diversity of shrub and forb species, and consequently decrease the amount of forage available. Thus the
 use of Pronone on winter ranges is likely to have a level of negative effect on ungulate forage to some
 degree.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulatively, the planned harvest on both corporate and federal lands along with Alternative 2 decreases
 the percentage of cover up to six percent in the Bristow subunit (Table 3.68). The remaining FFRWHE EA
 units that are modified by Alternative 2 are not expected to change the cover/forage ratios. The amount of
 cover and forage that remain in the Bristow planning subunit are expected to maintain suitable habitat for
 ungulates.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 This alternative drops all harvest units located on designated big game winter range (MA10). This would
 result in the untreated acres continuing to be more favorable for white-tailed deer due to the amount of
 cover remaining. Dropping of these units, such as Unit #37, would result in no increase in noxious weeds
 on MA10 winter range due to ground-based timber harvest.

 The use of Pronone on MA10 was dropped. This would result in conditions more favorable to white-tailed
 deer due to the retention of forage species. Only two units (#21 and #28), a total of 57 acres would be
 treated with Pronone. Unit #21 is located on MA12 and Unit #28 is located on MA11. As spot treatment
 would occur, affected acres would actually be less.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
 under Alternative 1. Remaining effects are the same as described under Alternative 2.

Alternative 4
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 All proposed timber harvest units located within Bristow and Jackson Creeks were dropped. Results are a
 higher cover to forage ratio within the Bristow planning subunit (Table 3.68). Pronone use would only
 occur on unit #28 (47 acres) and unit #37 (34 acres). Ground-based logging systems would contribute to
 the spread of weeds on MA10 winter ranges. Remaining effects are the same as described under
 Alternative 2.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
 under Alternative 1

 Table 3.68 displays the percent cover/forage ratio by MA for all the alternatives described previously. It
 shows the existing condition and how the ratio would change by alternative.

                  Table 3.68 - Cover/Forage Ratio by MA, Winter and Summer Range

                                        ROAD                    C/F %      C/F %      C/F %     C/F %
                                                   EXISTING
         ANALYSIS AREA      ACRES     IMPACT***                 ALT. 1     ALT. 2     ALT. 3    ALT. 4
                                                    C/F %
                                         %
          Bristow AA
         MA15,16,17,18      13,027         3         86/11      85/12      79/18      80/17     82/15
             MA12            8,929         2         82/16     No ∆**      78/20      79/19     80/18
          MA10 & 11          8,531         3         79/18      No ∆       63/34      64/33     67/30
          NFS Lands         36,412         2         85/13      84/14      76/21      79/19     80/18
         Private Lands       4,290         5         70/25      45/50      No ∆       No ∆      No ∆
           All Lands        40,702         3         83/14      79/18      73/24      74/23     75/22
         Winter Range
          NFS Lands         14,398         3         84/13      83/14      72/25      72/24     74/23
         Private Lands      2,982          4         68/28      65/31      No ∆       No ∆      No ∆
                                        Chapter 3                                                         121
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                       Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
              All Lands            17,380           3            81/16         74/23        65/32         66/31       66/31
           Summer Range
             NFS Lands             21,977           2            86/12         No ∆         80/18         82/16       84/14
            Private Lands           1,303           5            48/47         No ∆         No ∆          No ∆        No ∆
              All Lands            23,280           2            84/14         No ∆         79/19         81/17       83/15
  *Cover is comprised of both hiding cover and thermal cover. **No ∆ = no change            ***Road impact acres are the percentage of
  the analysis area that provides neither cover nor forage based on the existing road network. Some temporary roads would be built
                                          for the activity but would be obliterated post project.

2) Opening Size and Movement Corridors
Affected Environment
  Opening size and distance to cover determines how ungulate big game uses an opening for foraging. In
  western Montana, Lyon (1976) found that openings 10 to 30 acres in size are used more by elk than
  larger openings, providing slash disposal is adequate. Forest Plan direction for MA10, 11 and 12 lands is
  that maximum opening size should generally be 20 acres for white-tail deer and moose, while for mule
  deer and elk, opening sizes should generally not exceed 40 acres. The opening size standard
  recommended for elk is described as an area having no point within the opening greater than 600 feet
  from cover. Table 3.69 summarizes the situation for openings on Forest Plan Management Areas and
  private lands.
                           Table 3.69 - Existing Openings on Management Areas
                                With Opening Size Guidelines or Standards

                  ANALYSIS               MA11                 MA12                 MA15                PRIVATE
                    AREA               >20 ACRES            >40 ACRES            >40 ACRES            >20 ACRES
                   Bristow            9 openings            6 openings          6 openings           10 openings
                   subunit          22 to 132 acres       43 to 127 acres      43 to 74 acres       40 to 350 acres
                                      9 openings                                                      5 openings
                Winter Range                                      0                    0
                                    26 to 132 acres                                                 62 to 350 acres
                                                            6 openings          6 openings            3 openings
               Summer Range                 0
                                                          43 to 127 acres      43 to 74 acres       40 to 106 acres
                   TOTAL               9 openings           6 openings          6 openings            9 openings

  Opening size on winter ranges used by mule deer, white-tailed deer, and elk has generally been
  controlled by an upper limit of 20 acres, but harvest unit openings ranging up to 132 acres in size do exist
  usually by combining previously harvested units from multiple entries. On Forest Plan designated big
  game summer range MA12, openings occur up to 127 acres in size, either alone or combined with
  adjacent unit acres. On private lands, openings resulting from timber harvest range up to 350 acres in
  size. There are many natural openings that range greater than 500 acres in size. These are largely
  comprised of bunchgrass and mixed ponderosa pine on the south-facing slopes. Throughout these
  openings are scattered inclusions of Douglas-fir/ ponderosa pine cover patches.

  Movement Corridors: On MA12 the Forest Plan specifies that new units will not be harvested until
  adjacent units provide suitable hiding cover, and that movement corridors of at least two sight distances
  will be maintained between openings. This has not occurred in all cases as some openings are greater
  than 40 acres in size and do not provide hiding cover. Where this is proposed, a Forest Plan amendment
  would be authorized.

Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1
  Direct and Indirect Effects
  This alternative would have no direct effect to the size of current openings in the short-term. Indirectly,
  plant succession would continue, and on NFS lands in the Bristow subunit the late seral forest condition,
  which has become fragmented with timber harvest units, would continue to become reestablished. The
  connectivity of the later seral forest condition will require several decades to become fully reestablished
  as harvest units gradually become reforested. Over time, the quantity of cover would increase, providing
  hiding cover and decreasing the size of existing openings.

  Cumulative Effects
  Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for

  122                                       Chapter 3
                        Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife”. After harvest, the Barron Jack units and the units in Table 3.1B will no
 longer provide hiding cover. Within Jackson Creek, the units will result in openings greater than 40 acres
 due to adjacent openings. Units S15 and S3B combine with existing openings to create a 63 acre
 opening, somewhat linear on one end, and unit B3 and S3 combine to form a 50 acre opening. The
 FFRWHE program treatment units will slash and burn a total of 3,770 acres of winter/spring range. As a
 direct result of these treatments, Douglas-fir encroachment would be reduced and shrubs would be top-
 killed. No large openings would be created, but natural openings would be maintained, restored, or
 enhanced. Indirectly, the slashing and burning will enhance the production, quality, and diversity of both
 shrub and herbaceous forage favored by deer, elk, and moose (Arno and Harrington 1995). The
 treatments are expected to have a beneficial impact to big game (USFS 2001).

 On those areas not treated under the FFRWHE program, indirect effects on winter ranges would be
 continued maintenance of thermal cover and Douglas-fir regeneration and encroachment throughout the
 winter range that would decrease the sizes of existing openings. This vegetative condition is favorable to
 white-tailed deer since they prefer a higher proportion of cover to forage than mule deer or elk. White-
 tailed deer also use stands or patches with a dense sapling understory for winter thermal cover. This
 condition has resulted from the exclusion of fire in the drier ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir timber type. The
 natural fire regime of periodic, low intensity underburns would have maintained open understory stand
 conditions with occasional dense pockets of sapling Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine. These conditions
 provided for a balance of openings and cover that historically was probably more favorable for mule deer
 than for white-tailed deer.

 The PCTC activities have the potential to directly and indirectly affect ungulates and their habitat, such as
 reducing the suitability of portions of the winter or summer range. The 98 acres of shelterwood harvest
 and 94 acres of clearcut harvest in Bristow Creek would result in large openings for ungulate species.
 These openings may be used less by elk and deer.

 The no-action alternative, Alternative 1, when considered in association with the planned activities on
 both public and private lands, is expected to have no cumulative effects on opening sizes or movement
 corridors. The cumulative impacts associated with planned private harvest are likely to increase opening
 sizes on private lands. The lack of additional harvest on public lands would mean no cumulative changes
 beyond those already addressed and those connected to private harvest. The Forest Service has no
 regulatory authority over private/corporate lands.

Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of Alternative 2 would have direct effects on opening sizes and movement corridors with
 the activities proposed. Mitigation for Alternative 2 includes the following:
 1. In order to maintain the movement/connectivity corridor along Bristow Creek, no landings or burn
     piles would be located below road 333.
 2. If any key habitat features are found during layout, such as wallows and wet meadows, a cover buffer
     of at least two sight distances, or a minimum of 300 feet would be maintained around it.

 On MA11, the proposed improvement harvest units (unit # 18, 38, 66, and 70) , and the proposed
 improvement/precommercial thin units (# 26, 26B) are considered to be consistent with Forest Plan MA11
 direction on opening sizes because no large regeneration (i.e. clearcuts or seedtree) openings would
 occur within them. It must be noted however, that biologically these units would essentially be openings
 for big game due to the reduction in basal area and regeneration. The proposed group select units (# 15,
 and 26A) total between five and sixteen acres of small openings, and the proposed seedtree unit #40 (16
 acres total), would also be consistent with MA11 direction. On MA10 and MA11 lands, unit # 28 is a
 47acre shelterwood/improvement harvest unit that would not exceed the opening size limit of no more
 than 40 acres on MA11 because the improvement harvest would be implemented where there are
 adequate leave trees to leave 60-100 square feet of basal area (BA), and that the shelterwood openings
 would average 40% of the acres, but not more than 50% of the acres. Unit #37 is a 34 acre shelterwood
 unit that would retain 20 to 40 sq. ft. of BA of overstory trees and would not create an opening larger than
 40 acres. Approximately 20 acres of unit #37 is located on MA10.

 The reduction in cover expected due to the BA reduction of the overstory trees is not expected to improve
 the winter range for white-tailed deer. The proposed slash and burn treatments would also reduce the
                                        Chapter 3                                                         123
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 total amount of winter thermal cover for white-tailed deer by opening areas of dense understory.
 However, patches of thermal cover would be retained and distributed throughout the winter range. Long-
 term treatment objectives to return these areas to the historic, open ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir habitat
 are expected to result in a winter range with habitat characteristics less suitable for white-tailed deer, and
 more suitable for mule deer and elk.
 On MA12 lands, units #3 and #23 would require Alternative 2 to obtain Regional Forester approval for
 even-aged openings greater then 40 acres.

 On MA15, some of the proposed units with the objective to restore western white pine and western larch
 would create openings larger than 40 acres that would not benefit big game. Approximately six openings
 would result from proposed units or proposed units and adjacent units that would range from 56 acres to
 greater than 212 acres. One block of units, in combination with existing openings, remove cover along the
 north side of a ridge. Big game will not venture out into these large openings, preferring to stay closer to
 cover. Ridges are frequently used as movement corridors and the removal of cover from a movement
 corridor would render it unsuitable for big game movement.

 Precommercial thinning is also planned in existing regeneration units on a total of approximately 1,064
 acres scattered in all three compartments of the Bristow planning subunit. Thinning in itself is considered
 a minor activity however, and is not likely to cause big game to move far from active thinning sites. The
 proposed thinning would reduce the quality of big game cover, but would not create openings or eliminate
 hiding cover values in treated stands.

 In summary, nine openings would be created that would be over 40 acres which would require Regional
 Forester‟s approval. This alternative would also require a Forest Plan amendment for removing
 movement corridors and hiding cover in MA12.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulative effects would be the same as displayed under Alternative 1.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 No harvest is proposed on MA10. On MA11 lands unit sizes have decreased, but remaining effects are as
 described under Alternative 2. On MA12, no units greater than 40 acres are proposed or would be
 created.

 Cumulative Effects
 Remaining effects are the same as discussed under Alternative 2. Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing,
 and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed under Alternative 1.

 In summary, no Regional Foresters approval would be needed for openings that are over 40 acres and
 no Forest Plan amendment would be required for removing movement corridors and hiding cover in
 MA12.

 Alternative 4
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Improvement harvest is proposed for MA10 and MA11 lands. Effects are as described under Alternative
 2. No harvest units are proposed on MA12. On MA15, approximately three openings would result from
 proposed units and adjacent units that would range from 82 acres to about 200 acres. Remaining effects
 are the same as discussed under Alternative 2.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
 under Alternative 1.

 In summary, three openings would be created that would be over 40 acres which would require a
 Regional Foresters approval.



 124                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
3) Roads and Habitat Effectiveness
Affected Environment
Human activity is one of the most important factors affecting the actual use of habitat by elk, and to a
lesser extent, other big game species. Elk are sensitive to disturbance on summer range and often
respond by moving to adjacent, quiet drainages that have topographic separation from the activity. Deer
and moose are much more tolerant of disturbances. The amount of human-related disturbance is
measured by open road densities (ORDs), the number of miles of open road per square mile. Numerous
studies have consistently shown that animal use of habitat is very strongly (negatively) correlated with the
density of open roads, even when those roads are used relatively little by humans or vehicles.

The Forest Plan establishes a maximum open road density of 3.0 miles per square mile as the standard
for MAs 15, 16, 17, and 18. Approximately 13,027 acres or 32% of the Bristow planning subunit is
allocated to MA 15, 16, 17 and 18. About 8,929 acres or 24% of the Bristow subunit has been allocated to
big game summer range (MA 12), where elk spring/summer/fall habitat is the primary management
emphasis. The Forest Plan establishes a maximum open road density of 0.75 mile per square mile as the
standard in MA 12. For MA10 and 11 lands, the Forest Plan states that motorized access is generally not
permitted during important wintering periods (usually December 1 through April 30). Table 3.70 displays
the ORD for each MA for the Bristow planning subunit. Within the Bristow planning subunit, the ORD on
                  2
MA12 of 1.0 mi/mi exceeds the Forest Plan standard.

                                  Table 3.70 - Existing Miles of Open Road

     MA 10 & 11 From 12/1 to 6/30           MA12 From 6/30 to 10/15         MA 15, 16, 17 & 18 From 6/30 to 10/15
         MILES     ACRES/         ORD      MILES    ACRES/        ORD        MILES          ACRES/        ORD
  AREA
          ROAD      SQ MI        mi/mi2    ROAD      SQ MI        mi/mi2      ROAD           SQ MI        mi/mi2
 Bristow              8,542/                           8,929/                               13,027/
              28                  2.0       15.4                   1.0           36.8                      1.8
 subunit              13.35                             13.9                                 20.3

For the Purcell elk management unit (EMU), the Montana Elk Management Plan recommends that ORD
                           2                                                   2
does not exceed 1.7 mi/mi in the summer period (4/30 to 10/15), and 1.5 mi/mi during the fall season
(10/15 to 12/1). Table 3.71 displays these road densities. The biological summer range planning subunit
                                                                             2
is below the summer period recommended ORD of no more than 1.7 mi/mi . During the fall period, only
                                                                           2
the summer range planning subunit is below the recommended 1.5 mi/mi . All calculations for ORDs
assume currently restricted PCTC roads remain locked to public motorized access.

                                     Table 3.71 - Existing Road Densities

                        PLANNING SUBUNIT                     SUMMER                         FALL
                   ACRES/      MILES OF       ORD       MILES OF    ORD              MILES OF         ORD
                    SQ MI     OPEN ROAD       mi/mi2   OPEN ROAD    mi/mi2          OPEN ROAD         mi/mi2
   Winter     17413/27.21          99.1        3.6        66.67            2.4          60.47           2.2
  Summer      23290/36.39         108.12      2.97        53.53            1.5          51.94           1.4
  TOTAL        40,700/63          207.4        3.3       120.17            1.9          112.39          1.8

The total road miles displayed in Table 3.71 do not reflect the miles of road currently in storage and non-
drivable. It should also be noted that during the wintering period, the ORD on the biological winter range
                                     2
planning subunit drops to 1.8 mi/mi .

Roads, people and traffic associated with them, have a more significant influence on elk than most other
factors combined (Brundin 1997). In general, there is a reduction in habitat effectiveness within 1/2 mile of
open roads. A literature review by Frederick (1991) on the effects of forest roads on grizzly bears, elk,
and gray wolves lists over 150 references on the negative effects of roads on big game.

Habitat effectiveness (HE) is defined as the percentage of available habitat that is usable by elk outside of
the hunting season (Lyon and Christenson 1992). HE values are not specifically set in the KNF Forest
Plan, but based on the MA 12 big game summer range ORD standard, the HE would equate to 68
percent. To benefit elk summer range and retain high use, areas should have a HE of 70% or greater. For
areas where elk are a primary resource consideration, the HE should be 50 percent or greater
(Christensen et al 1993). Areas with less than 50 percent HE make minor contributions to elk summer
range (Ibid). Table 3.72 displays the HE.
                                         Chapter 3                                                                  125
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                            Table 3.72 - Current Habitat Effectiveness for Elk

                PLANNING SUBUNIT         SUMMER ORD - mi/mi2       HABITAT EFFECTIVENESS (HE)
                   Winter range                   2.4                           45
                  Summer range                    1.5                           54
             Bristow planning subunit             1.9                           49

Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Alternative 1 would have no direct or indirect effect on current open road densities. Projects that
 contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects Considered for Cumulative
 Effects on Wildlife” section. The FFRWHE program treatment units will slash and burn a total of 3,770
 acres of winter/spring range. As a direct result of these treatments, restricted roads would be opened for
 administrative use for 1 to 3 days, but no change in open road density would occur. No direct or indirect
 effects to habitat security would result from implementation of the mitigation slash/burning program
 (FFRWHE EA 2001, Chap. 3). Annual activities such as road maintenance would not increase the open
 road densities.
                                                                            2
 Within the Bristow planning subunit, the ORD on MA12 lands of 1.0 mi/mi would continue to exceed the
 Forest Plan standard.

 Cumulative Effects
 The PCTC activities have the potential to directly and indirectly affect ungulates and their habitat by
 opening currently restricted roads. Within the Bristow planning subunit, there are 4,284 acres of private
                                                 2
 land. Between 6/30 to 12/1, there are 2.5 mi/mi of existing open road, and if the currently restricted Plum
                                                      2
 Creek roads were opened, there would be 4.9 mi/mi of open road/section. If both PCTC lands and
 federal lands are combined, and if Plum Creek opened up their currently restricted roads, the ORD from
                                              2                                   2
 6/30 to 10/15 would increase from 1.9 mi/mi (refer to Table 3.71) to 2.0 mi/mi .

 The no-action alternative, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and
 private lands, is expected to have no cumulative effects on open road density. The cumulative impacts
 associated with planned private harvest would increase open road density on private lands. The lack of
 additional harvest on public lands would mean no cumulative changes beyond those already addressed
 and those connected to private harvest. The Forest Service has no regulatory authority over
 private/corporate lands.

 No cumulative effects to habitat security would result from implementation of the mitigation slash/burning
 program (FFRWHE EA 2001, Chap. 3:141-143). Annual activities such as road maintenance would not
 increase the open road densities.

Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of Alternative 2 would have direct effects on open road density as roads restricted year-
 round to motorized traffic would be opened for timber harvest. In addition, 5.1 miles of temporary road
 would be built, and 1.3 miles of currently decommissioned road would be reconstructed for the timber
 harvest. Due to high open road densities, limited security habitat available, and ORD mitigation for the
 grizzly bear analysis, certain ORD mitigation for Alternative 2 is required (please see Chapter 2 and
 wildlife project file, mitigation for Alternative 2). Part of the included mitigation requires that the road
 access changes as described in RAPs (Chapter 2) be implemented before any Alternative 2 activity. This
 excludes those roads needed for timber harvest and decommissioning of a portion of road 615 for which
 access changes would occur post-activity. To minimize ORDs for grizzly bear, two timing subdivisions (A,
 B) are also included in Alternative 2. All ORD calculations are based on this. The following table displays
 the effects of Alternative 2.




 126                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                        Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                                         Table 3.73 – ORDs by MAs and Season

 BRISTOW        ORDs FOR MA 10, 11                      ORDs FOR MA12                               ORDs FOR MA 15, 16, 17, 19
 PLANNING    WINTER PERIOD (12/1 to 6/30)          SUMMER PERIOD (6/30 to 10/15)                  SUMMER PERIOD (6/30 to 10/15)
  SUBUNIT    EXISTING       DURING         POST        EXISTING    DURING          POST         EXISTING     DURING         POST
 Sub. A/B          2              2.5      1.7            1         1.5/1.4          1             1.9        2.2/2.4        1.6
                                                  ORDs are expressed in mi/mi2

In order to meet Forest Plan MA12 ORD standards, an amendment for the Bristow planning subunit
would be obtained for both non-activity and activity periods. Therefore Alternative 2 meets the Forest Plan
                                                                                  2
Standards for MA12 ORD as amended. Alternative 2 does not exceed 3.0 mi/mi on MA 15, 16, 17, and
18 lands during activity periods and meets Forest Plan standards for these MAs.

Open road density across all lands and ownership during both the summer period (6/30 to 10/15) and the
fall period (10/15 to 12/1) is also considered important to big game. Table 3.74 displays the effects on
open road densities during the summer period and fall period on all lands within the planning subunits. As
Table 3.74 displays no roads restricted to motorized access would be opened for timber harvest during
the hunting season (10/15 to 12/1). This mitigation is required because of the existing open road
densities, limited number of quiet areas in the Bristow planning subunit within the last 20 years, and lack
of displacement or security habitat available within the Bristow planning subunit.

               Table 3.74 – ORD Summary for Alternative 2 on NFS and Private Lands

                                  EXISTING                             DURING                                       POST
    ANALYSIS                    ORD (mi/mi2)                         ORD (mi/mi2)                               ORD (mi/mi2)
      AREA
                         6/30-10/15       10/15-12/1          6/30-10/15      10/15-12/1                 6/30-10/15      10/15-12/1
      Winter                2.4                  2.2               2.3                   1.9                2.3             1.9
     Summer                 1.5                  1.4               1.9                   1.0                1.3             1.0
 Bristow Subunit            1.9                  1.8               2.2                   1.3                1.7             1.3
                                   Summer Period - 6/30 to 10/15         Fall Period - 10/15 to 12/1

As shown in Table 3.74, during the timber harvest summer activity period open road densities in all
planning subunits would exceed the Montana Elk Management Plan recommendations of not to exceed
          2
1.7 mi/mi during the summer period. Post-project, all open road densities decrease due to the proposed
                                                                                       2
access changes, with all but the winter range planning subunit meeting the 1.7 mi/mi . Cumulatively, if the
private timber harvest occurs concurrently, open road densities could increase. For example in the
Bristow subunit, if both Alternative 2 and private timber harvest occurs concurrently, and if all private
roads were opened at once, the miles of open road would increase to 152.53 miles with a corresponding
                   2
ORD of 2.4 mi/mi .

During the wintering period (12/1 to 4/30) on the biological winter range planning subunit, there are 48.41
                                              2
miles of open road and an ORD of 1.8 mi/mi . If logging activity occurred during winter, Alternative 2
                                                                                                2
increases the miles of open road on the winter range to 61.85 miles, and an ORD of 2.3 mi/mi . Post
Alternative 2, the miles of open road during the wintering period decreases to 42.4 miles of road and an
                   2
ORD of 1.6 mi/mi . ORDs for the summer and fall period are displayed to help show how roads are
distributed across the Bristow planning subunit.

Habitat effectiveness (HE) would decrease indirectly during harvest activity periods as a direct result of
opening restricted roads, and due to the proposed access changes, would indirectly decrease post
activity. Table 3.75 displays these numbers.

                          Table 3.75 – Open Road Densities/Habitat Effectiveness

                                                                         ORD (mi/mi2)/HE (%)
                       PLANNING SUBUNIT
                                                       STANDARD          EXISTING          DURING            POST
                             Winter                      1.7/70           2.4/44               2.5/44        2.3/46
                            Summer                       1.7/70           1.5/54               1.9/49        1.3/56
                        Bristow Subunit                  1.7/70           1.9/49                2/48         1.7/52


                                           Chapter 3                                                                                  127
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                     Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Roads restricted year-round to motorized traffic would also be opened for the proposed precommercial
 thinning. It can be expected that individual thinning operations will cause direct, short-term disturbances
 to big game using the immediate area. Thinning in itself is considered a minor activity however, and is not
 likely to cause big game to move far from active thinning sites. On roads restricted to motorized traffic,
 thinning activities are restricted to 14 days or less, therefore these roads will still be considered closed
 and ORDs will not change. Thinning activities behind restricted roads will not occur during critical periods
 (October 15 to June 30).

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulatively, with private timber harvest, open road densities would increase with the amounts
 depending on which roads were opened. For example, with a worst-case scenario, ORDs in the Bristow
                                    2
 subunit could increase to 2.4 mi/mi if PCTC activity occurred concurrently and HE would drop to 45%.
 Other cumulative effects are as described for Alternative 1.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Alternative 3 has two options for road restrictions to meet Forest Plan MA12 ORD standards post activity.
 These options differ in which currently open roads are restricted to meet MA12 ORDs. These options are
 described in Chapter 2. Table 3.76 displays ORDs by MA.

                                        Table 3.76 – ORDs by MA and Season

                        ORD s FOR MA 10, 11                  ORDs FOR MA12                      ORDs FOR MA 15, 16, 17, 19
   BRISTOW
                     WINTER PERIOD (12/1 to 6/30)       SUMMER PERIOD (6/30 to 10/15)         SUMMER PERIOD (6/30 to 10/15)
   PLANNING
    SUBUNIT          EXISTING      DURING     POST      EXISTING      DURING       POST       EXISTING        DURING         POST

   Alt. 3A/3B            2           2.3       1.6          1            1.2      .74/.75           1.9          2.4         1.6
                                                   ORDs are expressed in mi/mi2

 Both options of Alternative 3 meet the Forest Plan standards for MA12 ORD as amended during activity
 periods. Post activity due to the proposed road restrictions, both options would meet the Forest Plan ORD
 standard for MA12. Fewer roads restricted year-round to motorized traffic would be opened for harvest
 activities under Alternative 3 than in Alternative 2. The direct result would be lower ORDs during activity
 periods than compared to Alternative 2.

                                    Table 3.77 - ORD Summary for Alternative 3

                                 EXISTING                     DURING Alt. 3A and 3B                            POST
       ANALYSIS                 ORD (mi/mi2)                        ORD (mi/mi2)                           ORD (mi/mi2)
         AREA
                         6/30-10/15      10/15-12/1         6/30-10/15       10/15-12/1             6/30-10/15      10/15-12/1
        Winter               2.4             2.2                2.4               1.7                 2.3              1.7
       Summer                1.5             1.4                1.7               1.0               1.1/1.2            1.0
   Bristow Subunit           1.9             1.8                2.1               1.3                 1.6              1.3
                                   Summer Period - 6/30 to 10/15      Fall Period - 10/15 to 12/1

 During the wintering period (12/1 to 4/30) ORD on the biological winter range increases from an existing
           2           2                                           2          2
 1.8 mi/mi to 2.3 mi/mi during activity to a post ORD of 1.5 mi/mi (1.7 mi/mi with over snow vehicles
 considered). During the summer activity period on the biological summer range, the ORD meets the
                                                            2
 Montana Elk Plan recommendation to not exceed 1.7 mimi . Post activity, the summer range planning
 subunit and the Bristow subunit meet the Montana elk management plan recommendations to not exceed
          2                                               2
 1.7 mimi during the summer, and not to exceed 1.5 mimi during the fall season.

 Habitat effectiveness is displayed below. HE is considered important on big game summer ranges, but
 the HE for the winter range is displayed as many deer live year-round on the winter range area. Habitat
 effectiveness increases post harvest to 53%, 1% higher than post-Alternative 2.




 128                                       Chapter 3
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                        Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                                Table 3.78 - Open Road Densities/Habitat Effectiveness

                                                                             ORD (mi/mi2)/HE (%)
                                 PLANNING SUBUNIT
                                                                EXISTING            DURING           POST
                                        Winter                      2.4/44          2.4/45           1.5/54
                                       Summer                       1.5/54          1.7/52           1.1/58
                                   Bristow Subunit                  1.9/49          2.1/47           1.6/53

 Cumulative Effects
 Other effects are as described under Alternative 2. Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and
 reasonably foreseeable activities that may affect open road densities are the same as discussed under
 Alternative 1.

Alternative 4
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Alternative 4 opens the fewest number of restricted roads during project activity as compared to
 Alternatives 2 and 3.
                                  Table 3.79 - ORDs by MA and Season

 BRISTOW          ORDs FOR MA 10, 11                  ORDs FOR MA12                       ORDs FOR MA 15, 16, 17, 19
 PLANNING      WINTER PERIOD (12/1 to 6/30)       SUMMER PERIOD (6/30 to 10/15)         SUMMER PERIOD (6/30 to 10/15)
  SUBUNIT    EXISTING           DURING    POST    EXISTING      DURING        POST     EXISTING        DURING       POST
   Alt. 4          2              2.1     1.7         1             1.1         1            1.9         2.1           1.6

 In order for Alternative 4 to meet Forest Plan MA12 ORD standards, an amendment for the Bristow
 planning subunit would be obtained for both non-activity and activity period. Therefore Alternative 4 meets
 the Forest Plan Standards for MA12 ORD as amended.

 Fewer roads restricted year-round to motorized traffic would be opened for harvest activities under
 Alternative 4 compared to either Alternative 2 or 3. The following table displays the existing, during and
 post-project ORDs.
                               Table 3.80 - ORD Summary for Alternative 4

                               EXISTING                     DURING ALT. 4                               POST
    ANALYSIS                  ORD (mi/mi2)                    ORD (mi/mi2)                           ORD (mi/mi2)
      AREA
                       6/30-10/15    10/15-12/1      6/30-10/15       10/15-12/1             6/30-10/15       10/15-12/1
      Winter              2.4            2.2              2.2             1.9                  2.3               1.9
     Summer               1.5            1.4              1.6             1.0                  1.3               1.0
 Bristow Subunit          1.9            1.8              1.8             1.3                  1.7               1.3
                                    Summer Period - 6/30 to 10/15     Fall Period - 10/15 to 12/1

 During the wintering period (12/1 to 4/30) ORD on the biological winter range increases from an existing
           2             2                                        2
 1.8 mi/mi to 1.9 mi/mi during activity to a post ORD of 1.6 mi/mi . During the summer activity period on
 the biological summer range, the ORD meets the Montana Elk Plan recommendation to not exceed 1.7
      2
 mimi . Post activity the summer range planning subunit and the Bristow subunit meet the Montana elk
                                                             2
 management plan recommendations to not exceed 1.7 mimi during the summer period, and not to
                  2
 exceed 1.5 mimi during the fall season.

 Habitat effectiveness is displayed below. HE is considered important on big game summer ranges, but
 the HE for the winter range is displayed as many deer live year-round on the winter range area. Habitat
 effectiveness increases post harvest to 52%, which is the same as post-Alternative 2.

                                Table 3.81 - Open Road Densities/Habitat Effectiveness

                                                                             ORD (mi/mi2)/HE (%)
                                 PLANNING SUBUNIT
                                                                EXISTING            DURING           POST
                                        Winter                      2.4/44          2.2/47           2.3/46
                                       Summer                       1.5/54          1.6/53           1.3/56
                                   Bristow Subunit                  1.9/49          1.8/51           1.7/52

                                            Chapter 3                                                                        129
                        Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities that may affect open road
 densities are the same as discussed under Alternative 1. Other effects are as described under Alternative
 2.

4) Displacement and Security
 Displacement areas are places where elk retreat to for safety when disturbance on their usual summer
 range is intensified, such as would occur with road construction and timber harvest. Displacement areas
 for big game are not directly addressed in the Kootenai Forest Plan, however the Plan does provide
 directions to follow the recommendations of the Montana Elk Logging Studies, which addresses
 displacement needs (KFP vol. 1:111-48).

 One of the recommendations in the Montana Elk Logging Studies is that activities should be planned so
 the maximum duration of disturbance in any one area is two years in succession. As Table 3.82 displays,
 in the past 19 years Jackson Creek (compartment #552) has had one quiet period of three years, and
 another of one year. Barron Creek (compartment #553) in the past 20 years had one two year quiet
 period, and one year of quiet in 1995. Bristow Creek (compartment #554) within the last 20 years has had
 a two year quiet period during 1989 and 1996 and one year in 1997. During the remaining years timber
 harvest activity was occurring within these drainages.

               Table 3.82 – Years of Timber Harvest Activities on National Forest Lands

                         COMPARTMENT                      YEARS WITH MAJOR TIMBER ACTIVITIES
                Jackson Creek Compartment #552            1984 to 1994, 1998 to 1999, 2002 to 2003
                 Barron Creek Compartment #553            1983 to 1987, 1990 to 1994, 1996 to 2003
                Bristow Creek Compartment #554            1981 to 1988, 1990 to 1995, 1998 to 2001

 The primary source of elk mortality is hunting. The Forest Service's management of access and cover are
 extremely influential in affecting the ability of hunters to kill elk (Christensen and others 1993). Elk require
 security during the big game hunting season. A study of elk vulnerability by Lyon and Canfield (1991) in
 northwest Montana indicated that elk were under great stress during the fall hunting season and tended
 to move into security areas to avoid hunters. Leege (1984) describes a security area as at least 250
 contiguous acres that are more than 1/2 mile from an open road. Hillis et al. (1991) describe security
 areas as a non-linear block of hiding cover, greater than 1/2 mile from an open road, and greater than
 250 acres in size. Hillis recommends that security areas should comprise >30% of an analysis unit (Hillis
 et al. 1991).

 Within the Bristow planning subunit there are five displacement/security areas (> 250 acres) available
 during the summer and fall period when there are no harvest or other activities. Table 3.83 displays the
 displacement areas available during the summer period when there are no activities, and security areas
 during the hunting season while there are no activities.

 The Bristow planning subunit is 40,703 acres in size, with an existing 17 percent qualifying as security
 habitat during the fall hunting season with no activities proposed behind restricted roads. During the
 summer periods, 14 percent of the area is available for summer displacement.

         Table 3.83 – Distribution of Existing Summer Displacement and Fall Security Areas
                                and % of the Bristow Planning Subunit

               PLANNING SUBUNIT            SUMMER DISPLACEMENT (acres)        FALL SECURITY (acres)
                   Jackson                            50, 46, 47                     50, 46, 47
                    Barron                          737, 255, 1247                737, 255, 1247
                   Bristow                            2751, 767                     2751, 1780
              TOTAL ACRES                               5,757                          6,770
         % Habitat in Bristow Subunit                     14                             17

 White-tailed deer are very adaptive and tolerant of human activities, however, both white-tailed and mule
 deer often change their activity patterns (including foraging at night) to gain habitat security.


 130                                     Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Under this alternative, no activities as proposed would occur. No direct or indirect activities would occur
 behind roads restricted to motorized traffic so no change to existing displacement and security conditions
 would occur.

 Cumulative Effects
 Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife” section and in Chapter 1.

               Table 3.84 - Effects on Summer Displacement and Fall Security Areas – Alt 1

                                                                                                  POST
                              EXISTING                          ALT. 1
    ANALYSIS                                                                                 ACRES AND % OF
                       ACRES AND % OF SUBUNIT           ACRES AND % OF SUBUNIT
      AREA                                                                                      SUBUINT
                       SUMMER             FALL          SUMMER             FALL            SUMMER       FALL
                                                                                           Same as       Same as
     Jackson            50, 46           50, 46            50               50
                                                                                           existing      existing
                       737, 255,        737, 255,                                          Same as       Same as
     Barron                                             115, 1,247       115, 1,247
                         1,247            1,247                                            existing      existing
                                                                                           Same as       Same as
     Bristow          2,751, 767       2,751, 1780      2,751, 767      2,751, 1,780
                                                                                           existing      existing
                                                                                           Same as       Same as
 Bristow Subunit     5,757 = 14%      6,770 = 17%      4,880 = 12%      5,893 = 14%
                                                                                           existing      existing

 During the summer of 2003, the remaining Barron Jack Sale units would be harvested (Table 3.1A), and
 during 2004 the Barron Jack units displayed in Table 3.1B could be harvested. During the summer
 harvest activity for this sale, the amount of area available for summer displacement would drop from an
 existing 14% to 12% (see table 3.84).

 The 3,770 acres of slash and burning or underburning which will occur under the FFRWHE program are
 expected to have a beneficial impact to ungulate species (USFS 2001). Roads opened for burning would
 be for administrative use only and would occur for one to three days.

 Management activities associated with lands administered by PCTC would continue as described at the
 beginning of the wildlife section. It is not known what season Plum Creek will log the 222 acres summer,
 fall or winter. However, the Plum Creek activities would not impact any existing displacement or security
 habitat.

Effects Common to All Action Alternatives
 Security area during the fall (October 15 to November 30) for Alternative 2, 3 and 4 is a result of required
 mitigation that includes “no access behind restricted roads during hunting season” and implementation of
 road access changes.

Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of Alternative 2 would have both direct and indirect effects on security (please refer to
 Table 3.85). Acres of displacement and security habitat are displayed by compartment in addition to the
 Bristow planning subunit to provide a sense of distribution across the planning subunit.

               Table 3.85 - Effects on Summer Displacement and Fall Security Areas – Alt 2

                      EXISTING                       ALT. 2 ACRES &                           POST
ANALYSIS        ACRES & % OF SUBUNIT                  % OF SUBUNIT                    ACRES & % OF SUBUNIT
  AREA
                SUMMER          FALL             SUMMER          FALL               SUMMER            FALL
 Jackson      50, 46, 47         Same              50           50, 46,47           50, 46,47          50, 46,47
  Barron    737, 255,1,247       Same          480, 800     2,065, 242, 1,247    786, 312, 1,247   2,065, 242, 1,247
 Bristow      2,751, 767      2,751, 1,780       1,000         2,995, 2318         2,995, 767        2,995, 2,318
 TOTAL       5,757 - 14%      6,770 - 17%     2,423 - 6%      8,867 - 22%         6,107 - 15%        8,867 - 22%

                                         Chapter 3                                                           131
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 During the summer harvest activity periods, as a direct result of opening roads restricted to motorized
 traffic, the amount of security area available for summer displacement would drop from approximately 14
 percent to 6 percent. During the hunting season, as an indirect result of implementation of the proposed
 road access changes and that no activity would occur behind restricted roads during hunting season, the
 available security areas would increase from 17% to 22% (Table 3.85). Although this is still below the
 recommended 30% (Hillis et al 1991), it is an improvement over the existing condition. On the Koocanusa
 Planning Unit level adequate security habitat is provided, and Forest-wide hunting season security habitat
 is at 39% (USFS 2003).

 Precommercial thinning is also planned in existing regeneration units on a total of approximately
 1,064acres scattered in compartments 552, 553 and 554. Restricted roads would be opened for the
 thinning, but due to the short duration of the activity (less than 14 days), and that thinning activities would
 not occur during critical periods (October 15 to June 30), no change to fall security habitat is expected. It
 is expected that individual thinning operations will cause direct, short-term disturbances to big game using
 the immediate area. However, thinning in itself is considered a minor activity, and is not likely to cause big
 game to move far from active thinning sites.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities that may affect security
 habitat are the same as discussed under Alternative 1.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of Alternative 3 would have both direct and indirect effects on security (please refer to
 Table 3.86). Security acres during Alternative 3 are a result of required mitigation that includes “no access
 behind restricted roads during hunting season” and implementation of road access changes.

              Table 3.86 - Effects on Summer Displacement and Fall Security Areas – Alt 3A

                         EXISTING                     DURING ALT. 3A                       POST
   ANALYSIS       ACRES AND % OF SUBUNIT          ACRES AND % OF SUBUNIT           ACRES AND % OF SUBUNIT
     AREA
                   SUMMER         FALL            SUMMER          FALL             SUMMER           FALL
   Jackson           50, 46          Same         50, 46, 47     50, 46, 47       50, 46, 47       50, 46, 47
    Barron       737, 255 1,247      Same        1,023; 800     1,778; 3,432     1,778; 1,869     1,778; 3,432
   Bristow         2,751; 767     2,751; 1,780      1,627       3,908; 2,362      3,908; 767      3,908; 2,362
   TOTAL          5,757 - 14%     6,770 - 17%    3,593 - 9%    11,623 - 28%      8,322 - 20%     11,623 - 28%

 Included in the Barron fall security area of 3,432 acres is a total of 703 acres of PCTC land. The integrity
 of the security habitat is dependent upon PCTC maintaining their road closures to public access during
 the hunting season. This block of security habitat overlaps some with Jackson Creek. Fall security habitat
 increases to 28%. This would benefit big game by reducing elk vulnerability during the hunting season.

 During the summer period, the Barron summer displacement area of 1,860 acres includes a total of 502
 acres of PCTC lands. This summer displacement habitat is dependent upon PCTC maintaining their road
 closures to public access.

              Table 3.87 - Effects on Summer Displacement and Fall Security Areas – Alt 3B

                         EXISTING                     DURING ALT. 3B                       POST
   ANALYSIS       ACRES AND % OF SUBUNIT          ACRES AND % OF SUBUNIT           ACRES AND % OF SUBUNIT
     AREA
                   SUMMER          FALL           SUMMER          FALL             SUMMER          FALL
   Jackson           50, 46          Same         50, 46, 47      50, 46, 47      50, 46, 47      50, 46, 47
    Barron      737, 255, 1,247      Same         1,023, 800     1,778, 3,432    1,778, 1,869    1,778, 3,432
   Bristow        2,751, 767      2,751, 1780       2,104           6,722           4,911           6,722
   TOTAL         5,757 -14%       6,770 - 17%    4,070 - 10%    12,075 - 30%     8,701 - 21%    12,075 - 30%

 During the summer harvest activity periods, as a direct result of opening roads restricted to motorized
 traffic, the amount of security area available for summer displacement would drop from approximately 14
 percent to either 9 or 10%. During the hunting season, as an indirect result of implementation of the
 proposed road access changes and that no activity would occur behind restricted roads during hunting
 132                                             Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  season, the available security areas would increase from 17% to either 28 to 30% (Please refer to Table
  3.81 and 3.82). Alternative 3 raises the fall security habitat availability in the Bristow planning subunit to
  30%. This increase would benefit big game by reducing elk vulnerability during the hunting season.
  Security areas should comprise >30% of an analysis unit (Hillis et al. 1991)

  Cumulative Effects
  Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities that may affect security
  habitat are the same as discussed under Alternative 1. Remaining effects are as described in Alternative
  2.

Alternative 4
  Direct and Indirect Effects
  Implementation of Alternative 4 would have both direct and indirect effects on security (please refer to
  Table 3.88). Security acres during Alternative 4 are a result of required mitigation that includes “no access
  behind restricted roads during hunting season” and implementation of road access changes.

              Table 3.88 - Effects on Summer Displacement and Fall Security Areas – Alt 4

                     EXISTING                           ALT. 4                               POST
ANALYSIS      ACRES AND % OF SUBUNIT             ACRES, % OF SUBUNIT                 ACRES AND % OF SUBUNIT
  AREA         SUMMER          FALL            SUMMER          FALL                SUMMER             FALL
Jackson       50, 46, 47         Same         50, 46, 47        50, 46,47          50, 46,47             50, 46,47
 Barron     737, 255, 1,247      Same          958, 800     2,065; 242,1,247    786; 312; 1,247     2,065; 242; 1,247
Bristow       2,751, 767      2,751, 1,780      2,952         2,995; 2,318        2,995; 767           2,995; 2,318
TOTAL        5,757 - 14%      6,770 - 17%    4,852 - 12%      8,867 - 22%        6,107 - 15%          8,867 - 22%

  During the summer harvest activity periods, as a direct result of opening roads restricted to motorized
  traffic, the amount of security area available for summer displacement would drop from approximately
  14% to 12%. During the hunting season, as an indirect result of implementation of the proposed road
  access changes and that no activity would occur behind restricted roads during hunting season, the
  available security areas would increase from 17% to 22% (please refer to Table 3.88). Remaining effects
  are as described in Alternative 2.

  Cumulative Effects
  Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities that may affect security
  habitat are the same as discussed under Alternative 1.

Big Game Regulatory Framework and Consistency
   Kootenai National Forest Plan: Volume 1, Chapter III: 38-47. Management Area direction for MA10,
     MA11, and MA12.
   Summerfield, B. 1991. Big-game Standards. This paper is a result of Forest Supervisor Bob Schrenk
     requesting that a Biologist Working Group be formed to develop big game standards in coordination
     with the grizzly bear standards. The working group consisted of KNF biologists and a MFWP area
     biologist. The working group recommended changes in big game standards, which are supported by
     current research and professional judgment of local managers. These recommendations are in
     addition to those in the Forest Plan.
   Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks manage the mule deer and white-tailed deer as a game species in
     Montana.

Forest Plan Consistency
 To analyze the effects of ORD on MA12 summer range, for this and future analysis, ORDs for MA12 were
 calculated on the Bristow planning subunit scale. Many transportation systems are not confined to just
 one compartment but pass through at least several. Analyzing on the planning subunit scale allows the
 biologist to more effectively manage and analyze the effects of open roads on MA12 lands.

  Past analysis have considered ORDs on a compartment-wide basis. The ORD on MA12 lands within the
                                                                           2
  Jackson Creek compartment (#552) meets Forest Plan standards at .67 mi/mi compartment. The Barron
  Creek compartment (#553) and the Bristow Creek compartment (#554) exceed the Forest Plan standard
  for MA12. The Barron compartment (#553) has a previously approved amendment to the Forest Plan
                                          Chapter 3                                                          133
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                                                    2                                                       2
   standard, which allows ORDs to be at 1.6 mi/mi during non-activity periods and increase to 2.0 mi/mi
   during activity periods. Due to more recent MA changes, the existing ORD for MA12 in the Barron
                                    2
   compartment is now at 1.9 mi/mi during non-activity periods and does not comply with the amendment.
                                                                       2
   In the Bristow compartment (#554), existing MA12 ORD is at 1 mi/mi and also exceeds the Forest Plan
                          2
   standard of 0.75mi/mi .

   Based on the ORDs, the open road densities for MA12 in the Barron Creek #553 compartment, currently
               2                                                               2
   at 1.9 mi/mi , would continue to exceed the existing amendment for 1.6 mi/mi during non-activity periods,
                                                              2
   and the Bristow Creek compartment #554 currently at 1mi/mi would continue to exceed the Forest Plan
                         2
   standard of 0.75mi/mi .

   The current proposed MA12 ORD amendment for activity and non-activity for Alternatives 2 and 4, and
   during activity for Alternative 3 were based on the Bristow planning subunit level. Based on the site-
   specific MA12 ORD amendments for Alternative 2, 3, and 4, all alternatives are consistent with the Forest
   Plan, as amended. See Chapter 2 for a discussion of the amendments.

   Alternative 2 and 4 meet Forest Plan standards related to MA 10, but does not follow one of the goals of
   MA10, which is to maintain or enhance the habitat effectiveness for winter range use by big game
   species. This is due to the use of Pronone in units # 28 and 37, and due to ground-based logging in unit
   #37, both having acreage located on MA10. The effects of these actions are described above. The Forest
   Plan (FP, Vol. 1, III- 38039) states that timber harvest may only occur for wildlife habitat maintenance or
   enhancement, and the use of Pronone as a site preparation treatment would not maintain or enhance
   wildlife habitat. Pronone would decrease the amount and diversity of forage species available. In addition,
   the road access into unit # 37 is infested with goatweed and the use of ground-based logging systems
   would spread this noxious weed up into the unit. Winter logging was considered for this unit, but was not
   feasible because snow depths necessary for winter logging do not occur on this site. The unit currently
   does not have goatweed and the open bunchgrass habitat is highly susceptible to invasion.

PILEATED WOODPECKER – OLD GROWTH
 Introduction
   The Kootenai National Forest recognizes that there are many values associated with old-growth forest,
   such as biological diversity, water quality, recreation, aesthetics, soil productivity, and wildlife and fish
   habitat. The Forest Plan lists 58 species of wildlife, which find optimum breeding and/or feeding habitat in
   old growth (Vol. 2, Appendix 17:17-15). Five of these, the barred owl, great gray owl, pileated
   woodpecker, boreal red-backed vole, and brown creeper, have a strong preference on old growth.
   Management Indicator Species (MIS) are used to evaluate the effects of management activities on other
   species. The KNF chose the pileated woodpecker as the MIS to represent species dependent on old
   growth characteristics and snags. Management for old growth is given in the Kootenai National Forest
   Plan. The direction is to maintain a minimum of 10% old growth in each third-order drainage or
   compartment (or a combination of third-order drainages or compartments) (Kootenai Forest Policy-Old
   Growth Timber Validation Process; KNF supplement No. 85 to FSM 2432.22). The Kootenai Forest Plan
   (USFS 1987) standard state‟s that “At any time 10% of the KNF land base below 5,500 feet in elevation
   will be in an old-growth timber condition, providing habitat for those wildlife species dependent on old
   growth timber for their needs” (Vol. I, pg. II-22).

   In the forest vegetation section of this document, different quantities for each vegetative response unit
   (VRU) are listed for each successional stage, including “over-mature” stands. The desired quantities of
   “over-mature, or 151+ year old stands, listed by VRU differ from the Forest Plan recommendations for
   quantities of old growth. The Forest Plan does not attempt to designate quantities of old growth specific to
   each VRU. Over-mature stands may also differ from true old growth stands. The over-mature stands are
   simply stands that have reached the age of 150 or more years. Old growth stands frequently develop at
   ages of 150 to 200 years, but old growth is not simply defined by stand age. A variety of attributes, which
   are defined by research and/or listed in the Forest Plan and Appendix 17, help define old growth
   attributes for a stand to be considered old growth. For these reasons, the range of quantities listed for
   over-mature age classes for desired conditions by VRU differ from the 10% standard directed by the
   Forest Plan.



   134                                    Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                    Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Analysis Methods
 Field verification of old growth stands was completed in the Bristow planning subunit using one of the
 procedures developed for use on the Libby Ranger District (see Old Fisher River Old Growth Process
 Paper 2003). This survey procedure, developed by Gary Altman (Altman 1990) and used from 1990 to
 2000, rates the structural features of old growth forests as defined in the Kootenai National Forest Plan
 (see Appendix 17 KNF Plan 1987).

  The two key analysis criteria for old growth habitat are as follows:
     1) Maintain a minimum of 10% old growth in each compartment on land areas below 5500 feet
         elevation. The Kootenai Forest Plan (USFS 1987) standard state‟s that “At any time 10% of the
         KNF land base below 5,500 feet in elevation will be in an old-growth timber condition, providing
         habitat for those wildlife species dependent on old growth timber for their needs” (Vol. I, pg. II-22).
     2) Minimize fragmentation of old growth habitat by delineating stands of 50 acres or greater when at
         all possible. The KNF Forest Plan states that “while units of a minimum of 50 acres may be
         acceptable in some circumstances, 50 acres should be the exception rather than the rule” (Vol. II,
         Appendix 17, pg. 9).

Affected Environment
  The planning subunit contains approximately 4,114 acres in designated old growth management areas
  (MA13 and other old growth MAs). This represents approximately 11.6% of the forested national forest
  land below 5,500 feet. Approximately 1,116 acres (3%) is old growth and 2,998 acres (8.4%) is
  replacement old growth. Replacement old growth stands have many old growth characteristics, but not
  enough to be considered old growth currently. These allocations may be seen on the old growth map and
  MA map in this document. In addition, there are 513 acres of undesignated replacement old growth, for a
  total of 4,627 acres or 13 percent of the planning subunit. Existing conditions are a result of historic timber
  harvest and wildfires. Timber harvest and fire history are discussed in USDA 1993:27-34, Charnon 2001,
  and the vegetation section of this environmental assessment. The analysis area does not contain any
  undesignated effective old growth. Old growth habitat, MA13, is limited in the analysis area due to
  disturbance history including fire and timber harvest.

  Table 3.89 shows the minimum acres required to be designated to meet Forest plan standards, the actual
  allocation to old growth MA‟s, and a total acreage of old growth and replacement stands for the Bristow
  planning subunit below 5,500 feet. The present allocations within the Bristow planning subunit meet
  Forest Plan direction as clarified in FSM 2432.22.

                  Table 3.89 - OG and ROG in Bristow Planning Subunit and Forestwide

                                                                             BRISTOW                  KOOTENAI
                                                                         PLANNING SUBUNIT          NATIONAL FOREST
                         Total NFS lands (acres)                       36,378
              Total NFS lands below 5,500 feet elev. (acres)           35,459        1,869,953
                                              Designated OG (MA13)
                    Designated effective OG (acres/%)                1,116 (3%)   127,615 (6.8%)
                        Designated ROG (acres/%)                   2,998 (8.4%)    57,379 (3.1%)
                 Designated unknown (KNF Forest Plan)                              20,789 (1.1%)
               Total designated OG and ROG (acres/%)             4,114 (11.6%)    205,783 (11%)
                                 UNDESIGNATED EFFECTIVE OG AND ROG
                  Undesignated effective OG (acres/%)                     0        68,530 (3.7%)
                      Undesignated ROG (acres/%)                     513 (1.4%)     38,418 (2%)
                 TOTALS FOR BOTH DESIGNATED AND UNDESIGNATED OG AND ROG
        Total designated and undesignated effective OG (acres/%)     1,116 (3%)  196,538 (10.5%)
           Total designated and undesignated ROG (acres/%)         3,511 (9.9 %)    95,797 (5%)
                All old growth (acres/%) below 5,500 feet           4,627 (13%)  292,335 (15.6%)
                *Acres were updated in March 2003 for the Bristow subunit. Forestwide acres as of July 10, 2003

  As shown in table 3.89, across the Kootenai National Forest, the percent of NFS acres designated as an
  old-growth MA is 11.6%. Providing 10% old growth habitat across the KNF will “provide habitat for those
  wildlife species dependent on old-growth timber for their needs” (FP, Vol. 1, 11-22) and the “maintenance
  of viable populations will be attained through the maintenance of a diversity of plant communities and
                                          Chapter 3                                                                  135
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
habitats (FP, Vol. 1, II-22). When undesignated old growth and replacement old growth is considered,
15.6% of the forest is providing habitat for old growth associated species.

Of the acres designated in old growth management areas, the distribution (percentage) within VRUs
reflects somewhat similar distribution of VRUs found within the subunit, except for that no acreage of old
growth was designated in VRU 9. Table 3.89A displays the existing VRU acreages and percentages
within the Bristow planning subunit, and the acreages of old growth designated within each VRU (see the
vegetation section for a description of the VRUs).

                        Table 3.89A - VRU and Designated Old Growth by VRU

                                                  VRU         DESIGNATED OLD GROWTH
                          VRU
                                          Acres         %        Acres         %
                      VRU 2               9,361         23         710              17
                      VRU 3               5,291         13         519              13
                      VRU 4               3,256         8          538              13
                      VRU 5              13,431         33        1,943             47
                      VRU 7               6,105         15         403              10
                      VRU 9               3,256         8           0
                   TOTAL ACRES                40,700                  4,114 acres

As shown in table 3.89, across the Kootenai National Forest, the percent of NFS acres designated as an
old-growth MA is 11% (KNF monitoring, USDA Forest Service 2003, CV-02-200-M-LBE, Vol. 103).
Providing 10% old growth habitat across the KNF will “provide habitat for those wildlife species dependent
on old-growth timber for their needs” (FP, Vol. 1, 11-22) and the “maintenance of viable populations will
be attained through the maintenance of a diversity of plant communities and habitats (FP, Vol. 1, II-22).
When undesignated old growth and replacement old growth is considered, 15.6% of the forest is
providing habitat for old growth associated species.

Some research has shown that old growth stands of 50-100 acres are the smallest acceptable size in
view of the nesting needs of the pileated woodpecker (McClelland 1979). The old Fisher River R.D.
generally used 40 acres as the minimum block size for delineating effective old growth. This rationale was
based on the Kootenai Forest Plan (Vol. 1, II-23) which states that “Providing old growth habitat, both
natural and managed, in various unit sizes from about 40 to 300 acres well distributed across the forest”.
In Vol. 2 of the Forest Plan, Appendix 17-9, it states ".while units of a minimum of 50 acres may be
acceptable in some circumstances, 50 acres should be the exception rather than the rule”. The Forest
Plan further states that “isolated blocks of old growth which are less than 50 acres and surrounded by
young stands contribute very little to the long-term maintenance of most old growth dependent wildlife
species" (Vol. 2, Append. 17-9). The Libby Ranger District also followed the recommendation in Morrison
et al 1992:85, where they state “it is vital to recognize that in heavily fragmented landscapes, the last
remaining patches of older or forested vegetation may play an important role. The patches may act as
stepping stones for dispersal of many species associated with the specific environmental conditions
throughout the landscape. Removal of such patches because they fail to meet criteria for size and
provision of interior conditions may result in a network of dispersal for wildlife being severed in the
landscape ".

Within the Bristow planning subunit, there are 99 individual old growth stands, and some are less than 50
acres in size. However, for analysis purposes, old growth was identified by blocks, which are comprised
of either isolated individual stands or a block of adjacent stands (see project file for list of stands by
“block”). There are a total of 42 blocks, ranging from 11 acres to 582 acres. Of these 42 blocks, there are
17 less than 50 acres in size, ranging from 11 acres to 48 acres. Due to desirable stand structure, these
<50 acre stands were retained as old growth (designated effective, designated replacement, or
undesignated replacement). These stands are also largely surrounded by multi-aged stands, which
provide corridor links to larger blocks of old growth. In this regard, conditions appear adequate to meet
the behavioral and biological needs of the pileated woodpecker in relation to stand size and connectivity
of habitat.

Habitat and nesting home ranges for the pileated woodpecker are based on field surveys of old growth
stands within the Bristow planning subunit and timber stand data. Stands considered suitable for nesting
136                                    Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 are old growth stands >50 acres in size having greater than 3 large diameter (20”+dbh) snags per acre.
 Nesting home ranges considered stands within a ½ mile radius of potential nesting stands. Nesting pairs
 of pileated woodpeckers in the Northern Rockies often cover 500-1000 acres in their daily feeding
 activities (Warren 1990). Stands considered feeding habitat within these home ranges included any stand
 of mature timber pole size or larger. Natural openings in existing harvest units that are non-stocked or
 seedling/sapling size class are not considered suitable feeding habitat (although some feeding use may
 occur on retained snags, down logs, and reserve trees). Nesting stand acreages are not included as
 feeding habitat, although all of that would qualify as feeding. Using these definitions, 11 nesting home
 ranges were delineated in the Bristow planning subunit (Table 3.90). Habitat within two territories (NT-4
 and NT-8) is not affected by any of the alternatives. Information on existing conditions of these two
 territories is available in the project file. These territories do not represent actual use, but are used to
 display a decrease or alteration in suitable habitat. If just acreages of designated old growth blocks
 greater than 50 acres in size (total of 4,137 acres) were considered there potentially could be 82 nesting
 home ranges, but this does not take into account existing fragmentation and juxtaposition of available
 habitat. It is expected that the number of actual home ranges is somewhere between the two estimates
 (11 and 82). Table 3.90 in the effects section displays the pileated woodpecker nesting territories existing
 condition and impact by acres by alternative. Please refer to Chapter 2 for definitions of proposed
 treatments abbreviations.

 No population data is available for pileated woodpeckers within the KNF. Breeding bird surveys have
 been conducted on the Kootenai Forest since 1994. Pileated woodpeckers were tallied 117 times at the
 779 individual points surveyed from 1994-2002. The old growth survey method used on the old Fisher
 River R.D. portion (Altman 2002) of the current day Libby Ranger District, also recorded any pileated
 woodpecker sign (feeding, drumming, calls, nesting, sighting) within each surveyed stand. Approximately
 71% of those stands determined to be either old growth or replacement old growth had the documented
 presence of pileated woodpeckers.

 Within all the existing designated old growth, both old growth and replacement old growth, there are
 approximately thirteen miles of road. There are approximately 4.6 miles of road restricted year-round, .3
                                           th          th                                       st
 miles of road restricted from October 15 to June 30 , .8 miles of road restricted from July 1 to
 November 30th, .15 miles of road with no restriction order issued, and 7 miles of road open year-round
 that either bisect or are adjacent to these old growth stands. These roads allow for potential access by
 firewood cutters to remove standing snags.

Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Under Alternative 1, no activities as proposed would occur with this project, so no direct effect to pileated
 woodpeckers would be expected with this alternative. Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are
 described previously in the “Projects considered for Cumulative Effects on Wildlife” section. Historical
 timber harvest resulted in a decrease in the amount of old growth habitat available. Cumulative effects of
 all past activities have resulted in the existing fragmentation of the remaining old growth and replacement
 old growth stands. The Barron Jack Timber Sale and the units in Table 3.1B would impact a total of 94
 acres of potential foraging habitat for pileated woodpeckers. Only one potential pileated woodpecker
 nesting territory would be impacted (NS-7). Sufficient foraging habitat would remain in the potential
 nesting territory.

 A number of the Forestwide Fuels Reduction and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement EA (FFRWHEA) program
 treatment units will actively manage old growth habitat by slashing and/or burning in order to encourage
 the retention of old growth ponderosa pine habitat within VRUs 1, 2, 3 and 4. Of the 11 potential pileated
 woodpecker nesting territories, 5 (NS1, NS2, NS3, NS5, and NS10) will have slashing and burning
 occurring (see Table 3.83). As a direct result of prescribed fire, some, but not all snags are generally lost
 in treated areas. The direct loss of snags due to burning would directly reduce both feeding a nesting
 habitat for snag dependent species. However, the burning would also result of the creation of snags,
 which would indirectly provide both feeding and nesting habitat. Old growth characteristics of the stands,
 which include the loss, creation, and maintenance of snags, would be retained (FFRWHE EA: 3-137).
 These activities will maintain the characteristics of the drier ponderosa pine old growth stands and will
 provide habitat for pileated woodpeckers. On NFS lands, all existing old growth habitat, along with
 corridor links composed of multi-aged stands would be maintained. Slashing and burning conducted
 under the FFRWHE program would encourage the retention of old growth ponderosa pine habitat within
                                        Chapter 3                                                         137
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 VRUs 1, 2, 3 and 4. On those areas not treated under the FFRWHE program, indirect effects of the drier
 type old-growth areas would continue with Douglas-fir regeneration and encroachment. This may stress
 some of the larger ponderosa pine overstory trees in the stands, resulting in a higher percentage of
 Douglas-fir trees throughout all canopy layers over the next several decades.

 Annual activities such as firewood cutting could potentially continue to remove snags from the road
 corridor.

 Cumulative Effects
 On PCTC land, the shelterwood and salvage harvests are expected to directly impact pileated
 woodpecker foraging habitat in two of the potential nesting territories (NS-6, and NS-9).

 The no-action alternative, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and
 private lands, is expected to have no adverse cumulative effects that would impact the pileated
 woodpecker because Alternative 1 would not change the current availability of nesting and foraging
 habitat, potential nesting territories, or increase predation risk. Suitable nesting in foraging habitat would
 still occur on NF lands and sufficient habitat would remain to support a number of nesting territories.
 Cumulatively, other timber harvest activities could reduce potential foraging sites

Effects Common to All Action Alternatives
 Post activity, miles of year-round open road bisecting or adjacent to old growth stands would be reduced
                                                                                                th
 by approximately 1 mile, from 7 miles to 6 miles. The miles of road restricted from October 15 to June
   th
 30 , including over snow vehicles, would increase by just over a half a mile. Roads put into storage or
 decommissioned would increase to 1.88 miles of road. These changes in motorized access would reduce
 and/or eliminate the threat of snag loss due to firewood cutting in the affected stands.

 Table 3.90 below displays the effects of all alternatives on pileated nesting territories.

                      Table 3.90 – Impacts to Pileated Woodpecker Nesting Territories

               EXISTING                                  ALT. 2
                                  ALT. 1                                       ALT. 3                 ALT. 4
 NESTING        ACRES                                   IMPACTS
                                 IMPACTS                                      IMPACTS               IMPACTS
TERRITORY        NFS                               (DIRECT/INDIRECT)
                              (CUMULATIVE)                               (DIRECT/INDIRECT)      (DIRECT/INDIRECT
                NFS/PC
   NT-1
Nesting       316           *S/B 193 ac           No ∆                   No ∆                  No ∆
Forage        562           *S/B 137 ac           47 acres harvest       40 acres harvest      47 acres harvest
                                                  173 acres S/B          173 acres S/B         173 acres S/B
Unsuitable    72            No ∆                  +47 acres              +40 acres             +47 acres
Total         950           No ∆                  No ∆                   No ∆                  No ∆
NT-2
Nesting       323           *S/B 61 ac            No ∆                   No ∆                  No ∆
Forage        605           *S/B 138 ac           145 acres S/B          145 acres S/B         145 acres S/B
Unsuitable    72            No ∆                  No ∆                   No ∆                  No ∆
Total         1,000         No ∆                  No ∆                   No ∆                  No ∆
NT-3
Nesting       243           No impact             29 acres S/B           29 acres S/B          29 acres S/B
Forage        795           157 ac S/B*           170 acres S/B          170 acres S/B         170 acres S/B
                                                  57 acres harvest       38 acres harvest
Unsuitable    0             No ∆                  +57 acres              +38 acres             No ∆
Total         1,038         No ∆                  No ∆                   No ∆                  No ∆
NT-4
Nesting       582           No ∆                  No ∆                   No ∆                  No ∆
Forage        582           No ∆                  No ∆                   No ∆                  No ∆
Unsuitable    0             No ∆                  No ∆                   No ∆                  No ∆
Total         582           No ∆                  No ∆                   No ∆                  No ∆
NT-5
Nesting       180           No ∆                  No ∆                   No ∆                  No ∆
Forage        713           181 ac S/B*           142 acres S/B          142 acres S/B         142 acres S/B

 138                                      Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                         Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Unsuitable       67              No ∆                       No ∆**                    No ∆**                     No ∆**
 Total            960             No ∆                       No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 NT-6
 Nesting          538             No ∆                       No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 Forage           744             50 ac harvest ****         26 acres harvest          No ∆                       No ∆
 Unsuitable       275/343         +50 ac.                    +26 ac**                  No ∆**                     No ∆**
 Total            1,900           No ∆                       No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 NT-7
 Nesting          413             No ∆                       No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 Forage           750             94ac. harvest***           95 ac. harvest            80 ac. harvest             95 ac. harvest
 Unsuitable       507             +94 acres                  +95 acres                 +80 acres                  +95
 Total            1,670           No ∆                       No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 NT-8
 Nesting          307             No ∆                       No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 Forage           881             No ∆                       No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 Unsuitable       194             No ∆                       No ∆**                    No ∆**                     No ∆**
 Total            1,382           No ∆                       No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 NT-9
 Nesting          142             No ∆                       No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 Forage           867             342 ac harvest****         No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 Unsuitable       59/100          +342                       No ∆**                    No ∆**                     No ∆**
 Total            1,168           No ∆                       No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 NT-10
 Nesting          288             145 ac S/B*                No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 Forage           792             96 ac S/B*                 175 acres S/B             175 acres S/B              175 acres S/B
                                  67 ac harvest****          37 acres harvest          37 acres harvest           37 acres harvest
 Unsuitable       137/63          +67 acres                  +37 acres**               +37 acres**                +37 acres**
 Total            1,280           No ∆                       No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
 NT-11
 Nesting          300             No ∆                       21 acres harvest          21 acres harvest           No ∆
                                                             of UREP                   of UREP
 Forage           622             No ∆                       39 acres harvest          39 acres harvest           No ∆
 Unsuitable       378             No ∆                       +60 acres                 +60 acres                  No ∆
 Total            1,300           No ∆                       No ∆                      No ∆                       No ∆
No ∆ = no change * Forestwide Fue1, Reduction and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement EA units ***94 acres of ST/CC from Barron Jack Unit
 **PCT - Precommercial thinning will occur on some of the currently unsuitable acres. This activity would not change current use by pileated
  woodpeckers.  ****Plum Creek Timber Corporation (PC) lands, harvest, commercial thin or precommercial thin. S/B=slashing/burning
                                               UREP = undesignated replacement old growth

Effects Common to Alternatives 2 and 3
  During harvest activity, miles of open road through designated old growth would increase almost two
  miles, from seven to nine miles of open road. To mitigate for this increased risk to firewood cutting, the
  roads would be restricted to the public anytime there was no harvest activity, such as in the evenings and
  weekends.

  Timber harvest is proposed in undesignated replacement old growth. Unit #29 would seedtree/clear-cut
  21 acres of an undesignated replacement old growth stand with the objective to restore white pine.
  Effects in detail are discussed under Alternative 2. This stand is not MA13 old growth, and was not
  designated because higher-quality stands were available to meet the Forest Plan standard.

Alternative 2
  Direct and Indirect Effects
  Implementation of Alternative 2 would have direct effects on pileated woodpecker nesting and foraging
  habitat. Refer to Chapter 2 for a summary of the modified proposed action and other cumulative activities.
  Incidental snag loss within harvest units for safety would reduce both forage and potential nesting habitat
  for pileated woodpeckers.

  Of the potential eleven nesting pair territories (Table 3.90), three would have no change (NT-4, NT-8, NT-
  9), two would have slash/burn treatments (NT-2, NT-5), and the remaining six would have harvest,
                                                  Chapter 3                                              139
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
slash/burn, or both types of treatment. Within the NS-11 potential nesting territory, unit #29 would use a
seedtree/clearcut prescription on a 21 acre stand of undesignated replacement old growth. The objective
for unit #29 is to restore western white pine. Potential nesting or foraging habitat would not remain after
treatment as some snags are expected to be lost due to the tractor/skyline logging system that is
proposed. The remaining potential nesting territories with timber harvest would decrease or remove the
potential for foraging or nesting habitat. As preferred nesting stands for pileated have basal area of 100-
125 square feet and relatively closed canopies, and carpenter ants select stands of high canopy cover
with basal areas of 100-150 square feet per acre habitat is not expected to be retained in any of the
harvest treatments. This reduction would be long-term, at least 100 years.

As a result of Alternative 2, the amount of foraging habitat would decrease from three to eleven percent in
those territories impacted. Sufficient foraging habitat would remain in all potential territories and across
the Bristow planning subunit. Nesting would decrease by 2% in one territory (NT-11). However, the
amount of designated old growth would not change and sufficient nesting habitat within the Bristow
planning subunit would remain.

There are eight proposed regeneration harvest treatment units with the objective to restore western white
pine and western larch (Units #8, 29, 40, 44, 45, 47, 48, and 49), and one regeneration unit (#63) with the
objective to restore aspen, that are adjacent to designated replacement old growth stands (a portion of
the proposed unit is adjacent to one edge of the replacement old growth stand). Seedtree or clearcut
harvest adjacent to even just one edge of the replacement old growth stand will subject the edge to drying
and invasion by early successional plant species (Morrison et al 1992). Edge effects, which vary
depending on temperature, moisture, wind, etc., will occur at least two tree heights (or approximately 400
feet) into the forest stand and reduce the effectiveness of interior conditions (Morrison et al. 1992). Two
proposed improvement harvest treatment units (#28 and 26), on one shelterwood/improvement harvest
unit (#23) are adjacent to either a designated effective stand or a designated replacement stand. The
objectives of these units are to restore ponderosa pine, western larch and historic stand density. These
drier open stands are not expected to increase any edge effect in the existing dry ponderosa pine
/Douglas-fir MA13.

The proposed slash and/or burn units would also have direct effects to pileated woodpecker habitat, but
should not negatively impact the suitability of the stands as nesting/foraging habitat as these drier sites
historically burned every 10 to 50 years. Directly and indirectly, some mortality of larger trees could occur,
and snags would be both lost and created. Pileated habitat would be maintained by the proposed slash
and/or burning. The proposed slash and burn units (#22, 23A, 27, 32, 39, 41, and 65) are either in or
adjacent to an undesignated replacement old growth stand or designated old growth stands. As a direct
result of prescribed fire, some, but not all snags could be lost. Burning would also result in the creation of
snags, indirectly providing both feeding and nesting habitat. Indirectly, old growth characteristics of the
stand would be retained due to the retention of the large overstory trees and the reduction of Douglas-fir
encroachment.

There is also potential for indirect removal and loss of cavity habitat trees to firewood gathering when
roads are open for management activities. Loss of these trees would lower the availability of both feeding
and nesting habitat. To mitigate for this, any road opened for timber harvest would be locked any time
there was no project activity on that road.

Alternative 2 proposes the use of the herbicide Pronone in five units (units #15, 21, 23, 28, 37). Only two
of the units are located in the potential nesting territories (unit #28 in NS-1, and unit # 23 in NS-3). The
other units are not located in any potential nesting territory, but this does not mean they are not utilized by
pileated woodpeckers. It is not expected that the use of Pronone would impact the pileated woodpecker.
Pileated woodpeckers feed primarily on carpenter ants whose colonies occur most often in large snags
with advanced decay, decaying butts of live trees, logs
>10 inches in diameter, and natural or cut stumps.

An active nest would perhaps be located in the proposed harvest units or slash/burn stands. The
associated disturbance may cause the adults to abandon the nest tree, or the nest tree itself could be
harvested or damaged. The adult birds may attempt to renest in another suitable stand depending on
timing of the disturbance. The potential for pileated woodpeckers to be nesting in the potential harvest
units is low due to the lack of old growth characteristics.
140                                    Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Proposed precommercial thinning on approximately 1,064 acres would occur in existing regeneration
 units which would have no direct, indirect or cumulative effect on existing snags. As roads opened for
 thinning would not be opened to the public, incidental removal of snags for firewood gathering should not
 occur.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulatively, Alternative 2 would reduce the amount of undesignated replacement old growth available
 due to that unit #29 will use a seedtree/clearcut prescription on a twenty-one acre stand of undesignated
 replacement old growth. Replacement old growth attributes would not remain after treatment. This
 reduction is not significant enough to reduce the Bristow planning subunit current undesignated ROG
 acres from the existing 1.4% (see table 3.89). The total designated OG and ROG (MA13) would remain at
 11.6% for the Bristow planning subunit. All old growth acres (both designated and undesignated ROG
 and OG) would remain at 13% (see table 3.89). Alternative 2 in combination with other proposed and
 reasonable foreseeable activities proposed by the Forest Service and other private corporations would
 maintain the amount and suitability of old growth and old growth habitat needed by such species as the
 pileated woodpecker. When all past, present, and reasonably foreseeable activities on both private and
 federal lands are considered, habitat on federal lands is expected to be sufficient to support pileated use
 of the Bristow planning subunit. The present allocations of designated old growth within the Bristow
 subunit (11.6%) are above 10% which is expected to provide enough pileated woodpecker nesting habitat
 to maintain viable populations (USDA Forest Service, 1987, III-77, FSM 2400, Kootenai Supplement No.
 85, 1991).

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Of the potential eleven nesting pair territories (Table 3.90), four would have no change (NT-4, NT-6, NT-
 8, NT-9), two would have slash/burn treatments (NT-2, NT-5), and the remaining five would have either
 harvest, slash/burn, or both types of treatment. Timber harvest would decrease or remove the potential
 for foraging or nesting. Within the NT-11 potential nesting territory, unit #29 will use a seedtree/clearcut
 prescription on a 21 acre stand of undesignated replacement old growth. There are seven proposed
 regeneration harvest treatment units with the objective to restore western white pine and western larch
 (Units # 8,29A, 40, 45, 47, 48, and 49) that are adjacent to designated replacement old growth stands (a
 portion of the proposed unit is adjacent to one or more edges of a replacement old growth stand). Two
 proposed improvement harvest treatment units (#26, 28), and one shelterwood/improvement harvest
 (#23) are adjacent to either a designated effective stand or a designated replacement stand. The
 proposed slash and burn units (#22, 23A, 27, 32, 39, 41, and 65) are either in or adjacent to an
 undesignated replacement old growth stand or designated old growth stands. Two units would use
 Pronone (units #21, 28). Only one of the units is located in the potential nesting territories (unit #28 in NS-
 1). Remaining direct and indirect effects are the same as described under Alternative 2.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
 under Alternative 1.

Alternative 4
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Of the potential eleven nesting pair territories (Table 3.88), five would have no change (NT- 4, 6, 8, 9, 11),
 two would have slash/burn treatments (NT-2, NT-5), and the remaining four would have either harvest,
 slash/burn, or both types of treatment. Timber harvest would decrease or remove the potential for
 foraging or nesting. No timber harvest of undesignated replacement old growth would occur.

 There are five proposed regeneration harvest treatment units with the objective to restore western white
 pine and western larch (Units # 40, 45, 47, 48, and 49) that are adjacent to designated replacement old
 growth stands (a portion of the proposed unit is adjacent to one edge of the replacement old growth
 stand). Two proposed improvement harvest treatment units (#26, 28) are adjacent to either a designated
 effective stand or a designated replacement stand. The proposed slash and burn units (#22, 23A, 27, 32,
 39, 41, and 65) are either in or adjacent to an undesignated replacement old growth stand or designated
 old growth stands. Two units would use pronone (units #28, 37). Only one of the units is located in the


                                        Chapter 3                                                           141
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   potential nesting territories (unit #28 in NS-1). Remaining direct and indirect effects are the same as
   described under Alternative 2.

   Cumulative Effects
   Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
   under Alternative 1.

 Forest Plan Consistency
  All alternatives are consistent with Forest Plan direction to maintain a minimum of 10% old growth below
                    rd
  5500‟ in each 3 order drainage or compartment, or a combination of compartments (Kootenai
  Supplement No. 85; supplement to FSM 2432.22) to. The Bristow planning subunit has 11.6% MA 13 old-
  growth designated. In addition 513 acres of undesignated replacement old growth would also remain. A
  recent Forest wide assessment (USDA Forest Service 2003) shows that the Kootenai National Forest has
  11% MA 13 designated. The Kootenai Forest Plan established that maintaining 10% of old growth habitat
  is sufficient to support viable populations of old-growth dependent species (Vol. 1, II-1, II-7, III-54; Vol. 2,
  A17).

 MA13 Standards:
   Recreation - All alternatives comply with these standards. A forest closure order exists to off-highway
     vehicles which restricts them to established roads and trails.
   Wildlife and Fish - All alternatives comply with these standards
   Range - All alternatives comply. No active range allotments occur.
   Timber - All alternatives comply with standards 1 and 3. Firewood cutting could impact snags located
     in old growth habitat, and this effect is taken into consideration in the cavity habitat analysis.
   Facilities - All alternatives comply with standards 2 and 3. All alternatives would continue to restrict
     motorized access on local roads where existing closures exist.
   Fire Standards - Planned ignitions - The proposed slashing and burning is consistent for all
     alternatives. The Forest Plan (Vol. 1, III-56) states that planned ignitions are acceptable to maintain
     old growth characteristics, i.e. old growth ponderosa pine.

SNAGS/CAVITY HABITAT
 AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT
   Snags, broken topped live trees, live cull trees, and down logs are used by a great variety of wildlife
   species for nesting, denning, perching, roosting, feeding, and shelter. Forty-two species of birds, 14
   species of mammals, and several species of amphibians are recognized as totally or largely dependent
   on cavity habitat on the Kootenai National Forest. The pileated woodpecker is the MIS for snags (Forest
   Plan, App. 12). The Forest Plan assumption is that effects of a proposed action on MIS can be correlated
   to effects on other species with similar habitat requirements. As habitat for MIS species is being
   maintained, it is assumed that sufficient habitat, such as snags and other snag associated species are
   also being maintained.

   Historically, within VRUs 1 and 2, Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine snags and live culls provided a majority
   of the cavity habitat, with fire resistant ponderosa pine providing most of the large (>19" dbh) snags and
   live culls. VRU 3 has a higher component of western larch snags and culls, which provides an important
   feature for primary excavators and secondary cavity nesters. The moister VRUs also have a component
   of western larch snags in the early and late seral forest condition, with cedar and grand-fir also providing
   cavity habitat. The number of snags per acre (>10"dbh) likely approached five to ten snags per acre
   within all VRUs. The Northern Region Snag Protocol, which used the forest inventory analysis data for
   1988 to 1995 to estimate snag numbers in VRUs, recommends that VRU1 have one to two snags per
   acre at least 20 inches diameter at breast height (dbh); VRU 2 have at least 4 snags per acre at least 20
   inches dbh; VRU3 have six to twelve snags per acre, with one-third (2 to 4) at least 20 inches dbh; VRU4
   have a range of six to twelve snags per acre with two greater than 20” dbh; VRU 5 should have twelve
   snags total with four greater than 20” dbh; VRU 6 should have five to ten snags per acre and all greater
   than 10” dbh; and VRU 7 should have all snags retained. Fire suppression and certain logging practices
   have changed the amount and distribution of these components across the landscape (USFS 1999)

   In the Bristow planning subunit, a total of approximately 5,998 acres were surveyed to determine old
   growth habitat and approximately 6,474 acres of past timber harvest units were surveyed, with data

   142                                     Chapter 3
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 collected on existing snag habitat (VRU 8 and 9 had limited sample size). The old growth and existing
 regeneration harvest surveys recorded snags in diameter classes based on wildlife habitat needs. Based
 on this data, which is available in the project file, old growth habitat in all VRUs appears to have adequate
 snag numbers to support viable populations of snag dependent wildlife species. Large diameter snags
 are represented with snags >10” dbh averaging 10.7 snags per acre. Almost all past cutting units are
 deficient of adequate snag habitat, with units in all VRUs averaging less than one snag per acre.

 Within the Bristow planning subunit, there are 40,666 acres (36,375 acres NFS and 4,291 acres Plum
 Creek Timber/Land Realty Corporation). Of the federal lands, 9,357 acres has had silvicultural treatment
 (about 8,200 acres of regeneration harvest and 1,157 acres of salvage, thinning, or improvement
 harvest). Of those 8,200 acres of existing regeneration on NFS lands, 6,474 acres has been surveyed or
 78%. Of those surveyed units, 16% (1,064 acres) are considered to be “good”, and meet Forest Plan
 snag requirements; 17% (1,071 acres) are considered to be “fair”, meaning all existing snags,
 replacement trees, and seed trees are needed to meet minimum snag requirements; and 67% (4,347
 acres) are considered to be “poor” and Forest Plan snag replacement requirements were not met even
 when all existing snags, all replacement trees, or snag replacement trees were considered. In addition
 there are 4,176 acres or 11% impacted by roads (a 100‟ buffer on either side of all the roads to account
 for firewood cutting and previous removal of snags). As described in the Northern Region Draft Snag
 Protocol (1999), field data from the Fortine District on the KNF showed that on the drier VRUs there were
 more than four snags/acres outside a 200‟ buffer surrounding all open roads, while within the 200‟ buffer
 there were fewer than two snags/acre.

 A process was used to estimate the NFS lands cavity habitat effectiveness, or available snag level (ASL).
 A model, which incorporated acres of regeneration and other harvest, acres of forested lands without
 harvest, and miles of roads, was used to calculate the available snag level (ASL). This model assumes
 that at the 100 percent available snag level there are 2.25 snags of appropriate diameter classes per
 acre, which is the maximum snag level estimated to be needed to support full occupancy by excavators
 (KNF Forest Plan, A-16). At the 40% ASL there is one snag per acre, the minimum level of snags
 necessary to maintain viable populations. Model assumptions are included in the project file. The existing
 ASL on NFS lands is calculated at 67%. No snag data is available for the 4,291 acres of private lands, but
 it is expected to be limited. Approximately 22,879 acres or 63% of the federal lands remain in a timbered
 condition and are assumed to provide a 60 -100% snag level. The NF lands, with at least a 60% snag
 level assumed in the acres of remaining unharvested stands, and a 100% snag level in any old growth
 stand, are expected to manage for a population level above 40%.

Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Under Alternative 1, no activities as proposed would occur with this project, so no direct effect to snags
 would be expected with this alternative. Wildlife use of cavity habitat would continue at current levels. The
 addition or loss of snags would be dependent on other factors, such as firewood cutting, wind events,
 natural attrition or wildfire.

 Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife”. The FFRWHE program will treat 3,770 acres with slash and/or burning.
 As a direct result of prescribed fire, some, but not all snags are generally lost in treated areas. The direct
 loss of snags due to burning would directly reduce both feeding a nesting habitat for snag dependent
 species. However, the burning would also result in the creation of snags, which would indirectly provide
 both feeding a nesting habitat. On those areas not treated under the FFRWHE program, indirect effects in
 the drier type old-growth areas would continue with Douglas-fir regeneration and encroachment. This may
 stress some of the larger ponderosa pine overstory trees in the stands, resulting in a higher percentage of
 snags in the short-term and Douglas-fir trees throughout all canopy layers over the next several decades.

 The Barron Jack Timber Sale timber harvest units would harvest 81 acres, and the other units (Table 1.3)
 would impact a total of 94 acres of potential foraging and nesting habitat for cavity dependent species.
 The existing estimated available snag level would not change on NF lands. Sufficient nesting and
 foraging habitat would remain in the Bristow planning subunit. On National Forest lands, all existing old
 growth habitat, along with corridor links composed of multi-aged stands would be maintained. Slashing
 and burning conducted under the FFRWHE would encourage the retention of old growth ponderosa pine
                                                Chapter 3                                                143
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 habitat within VRUs 1, 2, 3 and 4. Other annual activities, including firewood gathering would continue to
 remove snags from the open road corridors.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulatively, on PCTC land timber harvest would directly impact availability of snag habitat.

 The no-action alternative, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and
 private lands, is expected to have no cumulative effects that would impact the availability of snag
 habitat because Alternative 1 would not authorize any snag-reducing activities. Suitable cavity habitat
 would still occur on National Forest. Cumulatively, other timber harvest activities could reduce potential
 foraging sites.

Effects Common to Alternatives 2 and 3
 Timber harvest is proposed in undesignated replacement old growth. Unit #29 would seedtree/clear-cut
 21 acres of an undesignated replacement old growth stand with the objective to restore white pine.
 Effects in detail are discussed under the old growth section, Alternative 2.

Effects Common to All Action Alternatives
 Approximately 1,526 acres would be slashed and/or burned on fuel treatment/wildlife habitat
 enhancement units. Snags would be both lost and created, mimicking the natural process of fire. Any fire-
 killed trees could be utilized as feeding, drumming, and nesting sites over the next decade. Cumulatively,
 the remaining acres of the FFRWHE EA units would also be treated by slash and/or burning. Additional
 habitat would be both lost and created.

 Under all action alternatives, an active nest cavity could be present in either the skidding corridors
 scheduled for tree removal, or within a harvest unit. If harvest occurred in June or early July, the
 disturbance may cause the adults to abandon the nest tree, or the nest tree itself might be felled. The
 adults would likely try to re-nest in an adjacent area. This should not affect nesting by the adults in
 subsequent years, since adequate habitat would be available in surrounding forested areas. Machine
 activity from logging is not known to affect the nesting or behavioral needs of snag dependent wildlife
 species nesting in adjacent stands (A. Bratkovich, personal communication, 1999).

 There is also potential for indirect removal and loss of cavity habitat trees to firewood gathering when
 roads are opened for management activities. Loss of these trees would lower the availability of both
 feeding and nesting habitat. Closed roads would be restricted anytime there was no logging activity to
 help mitigate for this.

 There is also potential for indirect removal and loss of cavity habitat trees to firewood gathering when
 roads are opened for management activities. Loss of these trees would lower the availability of both
 feeding and nesting habitat. Closed roads would be restricted anytime there was no logging activity to
 help mitigate for this.

 The Kootenai Forest Plan recommends applying minimum levels for cavity habitat retention on a drainage
 or compartment basis at the following levels: maintain at least 40% of the potential capacity throughout
 commercial forest lands, and maintain at least 60% of the potential in riparian areas (Kootenai FP 1987).
 These recommended percentages equate to approximately 0.9 snags per acre for the 40% level, and 1.4
 snags per acre for the 60% level. Due to the need to provide a continuous supply of snags over time,
 there is also a need to designate green trees as snag replacements. Live sound and/or cull trees should
 also be left at the same general quantity level to meet future cavity habitat needs. This results in the
 general recommendation of two-to-three snags and/or snag replacements per acre. The UCRB
 recommends four snags/acre greater than 10” dbh for dry forest habitat types and six snags/acre for
 moist and cold forest types such as mixed conifer, lodgepole pine, and spruce/fir forests.

 To respond to these recommendations for snag retention, harvest units will have some snags marked for
 retention and some green trees marked for replacement snags. If snags in harvest units must be felled
 for safety reasons, they will be left on site. See mitigation measures in Chapter 2 for more information.



 144                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of Alternative 2 would have direct effects on snag habitat with 1,643 acres of timber
 harvest. Incidental snag loss within timber harvest units for safety would reduce both foraging and nesting
 habitat potential for snag dependent species. Approximately 1,584 acres of site preparation burning
 would occur. This site preparation burning would also likely result in some fire killed trees and subsequent
 feeding/nesting sites. Within proposed harvest units, retention of all snags greater than 10" dbh is
 planned. This would help compensate for deficient snag numbers in existing harvest units. However, on
 those units where harvest would be accomplished by skyline, snags are expected to be lost due to OSHA
 safety standards. Existing snags may also be lost on ground-based logging systems, depending on the
 methods used.

 The improvement timber harvest would follow a basal area reduction prescription. A majority of the
 ponderosa pine - Douglas-fir stands will retain larger and older trees in the overstory to maintain vertical
 structure and provide future replacement snags. The prescription would result in the removal of small
 diameter (less than 7" dbh) snags and whips in the understory, which will likely be removed or toppled
 during logging operations. Depending on the logging method used, OSHA safety standards may result in
 the loss of standing existing snags. Adequate trees of larger sizes however, would be available to provide
 habitat features needed by snag dependent wildlife in the future. Regeneration harvest (shelterwood,
 salvage, clearcut, seedtree) can potentially impact long-term cavity habitat, since fewer trees are left on
 site to be recruited as snags or snag replacements. The proposed seedtree final cut units (#7, 9, and 11)
 would further reduce the availability of snags in existing regeneration units. Unit #7 is located in a unit that
 is considered to have “good” snag retention, but is adjacent to units considered “poor”. Unit # 9 is located
 in an existing regeneration unit that was not surveyed for snags, but it is surrounded by units considered
 either “poor” or “fair” for snag retention. Unit #11 is located in a unit with “fair” snag retention and is
 adjacent to units that are “poor” in snag retention. Because unit #11 is rated as “fair” all existing snags,
 replacement trees, and seed trees are needed to meet minimum snag requirements, any additional
 harvest would decrease snag requirements below the forest plan standard. Unit # 6, a salvage of
 blowdown trees, was located in a unit considered to have “good” snag retention.

 The Pronone use in five units (Units #15, 21, 23, 28, 37) would have no effect on snag habitat.

 Proposed precommercial thinning on approximately 1,064 acres would occur in existing regeneration
 units which would have no direct, indirect or cumulative effect on existing snags. As roads opened for
 thinning would not be opened to the public, incidental removal of snags for firewood gathering should not
 occur.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulatively, when other activities including the harvest on both private and federal lands discussed
 under Alternative 1, and all past, present, and reasonably foreseeable activities on both private and
 federal lands are considered, habitat on federal lands is considered sufficient to provide cavity habitat to
 cavity dependent species. After implementation the available snag level on NFS lands is estimated to
 drop from 67% to 63%. The amount of NF lands which have not been harvested and that are assumed to
 provide at least a 60 to 100% snag level drops from the existing 63% down to 57%. This level of snag
 habitat is still expected to manage for a population level above the 40 percent level which is thought to be
 the minimum needed to maintain self-sustaining populations of snag-dependent wildlife (Thomas 1979).

 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
 under Alternative 1. Remaining effects are as described under the Effects Common to Alternatives 2 and
 3, and Effects Common to All Action Alternatives.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of Alternative 3 would have direct effects on snag habitat with 1,643 acres of timber
 harvest. Approximately 1,584 acres of site preparation burning would occur. No seedtree final cut
 treatments occur under Alternative 3 and there would be no effects. The two proposed units with Pronone
 use (Units #21, 28) would not have any additional effects on snag habitat over what the timber harvest
 would cause. After implementation the ASL on NF lands is estimated to drop from 67% to 64%. The

                                         Chapter 3                                                           145
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   remaining timbered NFS lands which are assumed to provide at least a 60 to 100% snag level would drop
   from an estimated 63% to 59%. Remaining direct and indirect effects are the same as described under
   Alternative 2, and Effects Common to all Alternatives.

   Cumulative Effects
   Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
   under Alternative 1.

 Alternative 4
   Direct and Indirect Effects
   Implementation of Alternative 4 would have direct effects on snag habitat with 1,205 acres of timber
   harvest. Approximately 1,147 acres of site preparation burning would occur. No seedtree final cut
   treatments occur under Alternative 4 and there would be no effects. The two proposed units with Pronone
   use (Units #28, 37) would not have any additional effects on snag habitat over what the timber harvest
   would cause. After implementation the ASL on NF lands is estimated to drop from 67% to 65%. The
   remaining timbered NFS lands which are assumed to provide at least a 60 to 100% snag level would drop
   from an estimated 63% to 60%. Remaining direct and indirect effects are the same as described under
   Alternative 2.

   Cumulative Effects
   Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
   under Alternative 1.

 Forest Plan Consistency
  For Alternative 2, because unit #11 is rated as “fair”, all existing snags, replacement trees, and seed trees
  are needed to meet minimum snag requirements and any additional harvest would decrease snag
  requirements below the forest plan standard.

   Remaining units in Alternatives 2, 3 and 4 are designed to maintain at least 40% snag levels in proposed
   unit areas. No alternative would result in an overall snag level in the Bristow subunit of less than 40% or
   riparian snag levels of less than 60%. This is consistent with Forest Plan standards for MAs and riparian
   areas in the planning subunit. The most recent Forest Plan monitoring report (November 2003), which
   documents results for the past 16 years, indicates the Forest is providing sufficient cavity habitat at a
   drainage or compartment level.

DOWN WOODY DEBRIS
 Affected Environment
   Coarse woody debris is woody material derived from tree limbs, boles, and roots in various stages of
   decay, and performs many physical, chemical, and biological functions in forest ecosystems. Coarse
   woody debris, defined as any woody residue larger than 3 inches in diameter, can be incorporated into
   the surface solid horizon as freezing and thawing cycles move the material into the soil.

   In the cedar/hemlock forests of the Northern Rocky Mountains an average of 29 tons per acre of coarse
   woody debris has accumulated, with about 10 tons per acre in the ponderosa pine forests. During the last
   100 years, the fire frequencies in all of the Rocky Mountain ecosystems have been greatly extended,
   potentially increasing coarse woody debris accumulations.

   In the Bristow planning subunit, about 5,998 acres were surveyed to determine old growth habitat and
   approximately 6,474 acres of past timber harvest units were surveyed, with data collected on coarse
   woody debris over 10 inches in diameter. The following is a summary by VRU. As surveys did not tally
   down woody debris (DWD) in the 3-9 inch range, tonnages may be slightly under-estimated.




   146                                    Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                      Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                                            Table 3.91 - Coarse Woody Debris

                             OLD GROWTH HABITAT (BOTH OG AND ROG)                    PAST TIMBER HARVEST UNITS
                VRU
                                     AVERAGE TONS/ACRE                                  AVERAGE TONS/ACRE*
               2                                     4.9                                          4.3
               3                                     8.2                                          3.2
               4                                   10.58                                          4.7
               5                                   10.23                                          10
               7                                    12.1                                          7.4
               8                                     6.4                            No stands surveyed in this VRU
               9                                    17.8                                          11
           ALL VRUs                                  8.6                                          7.2
 *Assumptions were made on down woody debris in past harvest units as individual diameters of down woody and stage were not
 taken, so the median value in the ranges was used. This is expected to result in a higher than actual tons/acre being estimated.
 OG = old growth ROG = replacement old growth

 Although tonnage varied considerably, old growth habitat appeared to have volumes relatively consistent
 with expected historic conditions. The combined average volume for these VRUs appears low, but the
 total tonnage was likely underestimated, since woody material in the 3-9 inch range was not tallied. These
 moister VRUs would likely have more material in this category than the drier VRUs (2 and 3). Tonnage
 also varied considerably in the past harvest units, and this was likely due to site preparation methods
 used after timber harvest, and the number of standing trees and/or snags left after harvest, which would
 eventually be recruited to the forest floor. Depending on decomposition rates, new residue may take
 hundreds of years to become fully incorporated into the forest floor and play an active role in the soil
 system.

 Coarse woody debris management recommendations were developed by Graham et al. (1994) for
 western Montana by using ectomycorrhiza as a bio-indicator of healthy, productive forest soils. The
 recommendations are based on maintaining forest productivity, and thus should be considered as
 minimum amounts. Additional material above the recommended levels could be advantageous for
 increasing the amount of nitrogen fixation occurring on the site, and also minimizing solid erosion. Also,
 more material would likely enhance or maintain wildlife habitat, particularly in riparian zones.

 For Douglas-fir/ninebark habitat types, about 5-10 tons/acre of woody debris is recommended to maintain
 forest productivity. These habitat types fall predominantly within VRUs 2 and 3 in the Bristow landscape
 area. Field surveys indicated past harvest units within VRUs 2 and 3 that do not meet the recommended
 levels. For moister habitat types, about 10-35 tons/acre of woody debris is recommended to maintain
 forest productivity. Field surveys have indicated the majority of past harvest units within these moister
 VRUs do not meet the recommended levels. The remaining snags, snag replacements, and live trees
 within these deficient units may likely be needed for the recruitment of adequate amounts of woody debris
 in the future.

Alternative 1
 Direct, Indirect and Cumulative Effects
 In the short-term, this alternative would not change the current condition or availability of coarse woody
 debris within the planning subunit. Historical timber harvest has resulted in a decrease in the amount of
 coarse woody debris available in some existing regeneration units. Ongoing and reasonably foreseeable
 activities on federal lands are not expected to change existing coarse woody debris.

 Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife”. The Barron Jack Timber Sale units (Table 3.1) would impact a total of 94
 acres and are expected to retain the necessary down woody. The FFRWHE program of slash and/or
 burning on 3,770 acres would retain an adequate amount of down woody by re-introducing fire. Some
 existing down woody would be consumed by fire, while future recruitment would occur due to the creation
 of snags. Other annual activities, including firewood gathering, may reduce the amount of down woody in
 the road corridor.

 On PCTC land the timber harvest would impact availability of downed woody in the long-term due to the
 removal of large overstory trees.
                                            Chapter 3                                                                          147
                        Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                    Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Effects Common to All Action Alternatives
 Direct, Indirect, and Cumulative Effects
 The proposed fuel treatment/wildlife habitat enhancement units (1,526 acres) would retain adequate
 down woody. Spring burning prescription and conditions should allow for the maintenance of larger
 pieces of organic matter on the forest floor. Fall burning may increase the risk of large woody
 consumption by fire, but fire-killed snags would be recruited over time.

 Within proposed timber harvest units that do not occur within existing regeneration units, implementing
 recommended coarse woody debris guidelines under all alternatives is expected to ensure the
 maintenance of adequate habitat. Also, implementation of Forest Plan snag guidelines would maintain
 some cavity habitat and subsequent woody debris recruitment to the forest floor over the next several
 decades. Application of these guidelines within all harvest units would help to provide woody debris
 distributed across the landscape. Any snag felled due to OSHA standards would be required to remain on
 site.

 Site preparation methods are similar between the action alternatives (please see Chapter 2 for the
 differences in acres between alternatives). Grappling piling of logging slash can more easily separate fine
 fuels from coarse woody debris. Prescribed fire can also be used to manage down woody debris. Spring
 burning prescription and conditions should allow for the maintenance of larger pieces of organic matter on
 the forest floor. Charred coarse woody debris with checks and cracks does not substantially interfere with
 the decomposition or function of this material.

Alternative 2
 Direct, Indirect and Cumulative Effects
 Several units propose the removal of seed-trees from existing regeneration units (Table 3.92). Unit #7, is
 located in an existing unit considered to have “good” snag retention, but is adjacent to snag units with
 “poor” snag retention. Unit #9 was not surveyed, but it is surrounded by units with “poor‟ or “fair” snag
 retention. Unit #11 is located in a unit with “fair” snag retention and is adjacent to units with “poor” snag
 retention. Unit #6 which proposes to salvage blowdown is located in a unit that was surveyed and had
 “good” snag retention.
                           Table 3.92 - Existing Down Woody in Proposed Units

          UNIT          PROPOSED                         HABITAT           EXISTING              RECOMMENDED
                                               VRU
           #           TREATMENT                          TYPE*           TONS/ACRE**            TONS/ACRE****
           6      Salvage of blowdown           7s       Abla/libo            5.82               12 to 25 tons/acre
           7       Seed-tree final cut          7s       Abla/libo            1.97               12 to 25 tons/acre
           9        Seedtree final cut         7s/3      Abla/libo      Not surveyed***          12 to 25 tons/acre
           11       Seedtree final cut          7s       Abla/libo             0                 12 to 25 tons/acre
             *Abies lasiocarpa/linnea borealis habitat type (Subalpine fir/twinberry) ****Graham et al. 1994, pg. 11
               **Data collected in 2000 during KV snag surveys. ***Two adjacent units average 11.7 tons/acre

 As existing down woody does not meet the recommended tons/acre, removing the blowdown timber in
 unit #6 and the seedtrees in units #7, 9, and 11 would reduce the future down woody on the site.

Alternative 3
 Direct, Indirect and Cumulative Effects
 Units #7, 9, and 11 are dropped in Alternative 3. The remaining trees would continue to provide future
 down woody on these units. Unit #6 is proposed but the silvicultural prescription would be modified to
 retain 12 tons/acre. Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the
 same as discussed under Alternative 1.

Alternative 4
 Direct, Indirect and Cumulative Effects
 Units #6, 7, 9, and 11 are dropped in Alternative 4. The remaining trees would continue to provide future
 down woody on the sites. Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities
 are the same as discussed under Alternative 1.



 148                                      Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Forest Plan Consistency
  There are no specific goals or standards for downed woody debris in the Kootenai Forest plan. It does
  contain the goal to: “Maintain diverse age classes of vegetation for viable populations of all existing
  native, vertebrate, wildlife species.... (FP, Vol. 1, II-1, goal #7). The Kootenai Forest plan does however
  provide guidelines in Appendix 16, Cavity Habitat Management (FP, Vol. 2, A16:6). Guideline # 9 states
  “leave logs >12” diameter scattered throughout dozer-piled units (a few pieces per acre) to provide cover
  and feeding sites for birds and small mammals. Five to 15 tons per acre is recommended and is
  generally compatible with silvicultural needs. All alternatives would be consistent with the Kootenai
  Forest plan, as a wide range of successional habitats, and associated amounts of downed woody would
  be available based on changes in silvicultural prescriptions.

SENSITIVE WILDLIFE SPECIES
 Introduction
   Sensitive species are those species for which population viability is a concern, and are administratively
   determined by the Regional Forester (FSM 2670.5). Sensitive species are managed under the authority
   of the National Forest Management Act (P.L. 94-588). Table 3.93 shows those mammal and amphibian
   species designated sensitive as of March 12, 1999 (Bosworth 1999) known or suspected to occur on the
   Kootenai National Forest and their status within the influence area of the proposed action.

   Species without suitable habitat and those that are not expected to occur would not be impacted by the
   proposed action and are dropped from further evaluation. Statements of findings for suspected sensitive
   species are documented in this analysis, which meets the partial requirements of a biological evaluation
   for sensitive species. The biological evaluation summary of conclusion of effects form and signature page
   is included in the project file. These procedures fulfill FSM 2670 sensitive species requirements.

           Table 3.93 - Sensitive Wildlife Species Known to Occur in Bristow Planning Subunit

        COMMON NAME              SCIENTIFIC NAME                  BRISTOW PLANNING SUBUNIT STATUS
                                                      MAMMALS
    Common loon                Gavia immer                  Known in Lake Koocanusa
    Harlequin duck             Histrionicus histrionicus    Not suspected, suitable habitat not available
                                                            (Johnson 1999)
    Columbian sharp-tailed     Pedioecetes phasianellus     Not suspected due to lack of perennial grasslands.
    grouse                                                  Species only known from Rexford R.D.
    Northern goshawk           Accipiter gentiles           Suspected
    Peregrine falcon           Falco peregrinus             Suspected
    Flammulated owl            Otus flammeolus              Suspected
    Black-backed               Picoides arcticus            Suspected
    woodpecker
    Townsend’s big-eared bat   Plecotus townsendii          Suspected
    Wolverine                  Gulo gulo                    Suspected.
    Fisher                     Martes pinnanti              Suspected.
    Woodland caribou           Rangifer tarandus caribou    Not Suspected. Habitat in the form of high elevation
                                                            spruce basins, in association with subalpine fir or
                                                            lodgepole pine stands providing a good supply of
                                                            lichens, does not occur in the area of influence of the
                                                            proposed action. No recent or historical
                                                            documentation exists of the species occurring in the
                                                            vicinity of the project area.
    Northern bog lemming       Synaptomys borealis          Not suspected as no suitable habitat supporting
                                                            sphagnum moss and bog birch is located in the
                                                            project area.
                                                     AMPHIBIANS
    Boreal toad                Bufo boreas                  Suspected, suitable habitat present
    Coeur d'Alene              Plethodon idahoensis         Suitable habitat present
    Salamander                                              THUS SUSPECTED?????????
    Northern Leopard Frog      Rana pipiens                 Not suspected, species only known from Fortine R.D. on
                                                            the KNF.

                                          Chapter 3                                                              149
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Analysis Method
 Project activities are evaluated with respect to potential impacts on potential habitat (e.g. nesting,
 foraging, breeding, upland habitat) for each sensitive species.

COMMON LOON
  Loons require large wooded lakes usually > 9 acres in size, and at elevations below 5000 ft. (Reel et al.
  1989). The lakes must be large enough to provide runways for flight takeoff, and deep enough to sustain
  fish populations for prey (Clark et al. 1989). Loons are particularly sensitive to high levels of human
  activity and turbid water (Skaar 1991).

  The overall population for Montana was estimated at around 200 birds in 1996 (Montana Loon Society
  database). About 40 to 50 lakes in Montana have supported breeding pairs during any one year over the
  last decade (Ibid). Within the boundaries of the Libby Ranger District, about four or five lakes support
  productive breeding pairs annually, but all of these lakes are surrounded by private land.

  Loon habitat and population status on the Kootenai National Forest has been summarized by Johnson
  (1999). Loons have been observed in all eight planning units on the Kootenai National Forest. Survey
  data from 1999 suggests a population of 19 breeding pairs and up to 40 single birds using lakes within
  the exterior boundary of the Forest (Ibid). The Montana loon population is considered stable (Skarr 1992).

  Loons have been sighted on Lake Koocanusa, but no pairs are known to nest on the shoreline along the
  eastern edge of the Bristow planning subunit. This area is considered to have low potential for loon
  nesting due to the lack of shoreline cover when water levels fluctuate, and the high level of human
  disturbance occurring in the area.

Environmental Consequences
Effects Common to All Alternatives
  No adverse direct, indirect or cumulative impact to known loon nesting habitat would occur as a result
  of any alternative. For Alternatives 2, 3, and 4 there are harvest units that occur on the shoreline,
  therefore no potential loon nesting habitat will be impacted.

NORTHERN GOSHAWK
  The northern goshawk is a forest habitat generalist, breeding in coniferous, deciduous, and mixed forests
  across its Holarctic range (Reynolds et. al. 1992). Although goshawks occur in a wide variety of forest
  successional stages, nesting birds appear most commonly associated with mature and old growth conifer
  forests in western Montana and northern Idaho (Hayward et. al. 1989). This forest type has structural
  characteristics that allow this large hawk to maneuver in and below the main canopy while foraging
  primarily on other birds and small mammals, which they capture on the ground, in trees, or in the air.

AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT
  A Kootenai National Forest status summary of the northern goshawk was documented by Johnson
  (1999). The goshawk population size on the Kootenai National Forest is unknown. Field surveys and
  incidental sighting reports confirm that goshawks are present in all eight planning units (Ibid). Maj (1996)
  reported twelve known goshawk territories on the Kootenai, with four known to be active nesting
  territories. More recent forest sighting data indicates a minimum of 20 nesting territories, but again only
  four confirmed to be active (Johnson 1999). Reports of single birds have shown the potential for at least
  ten additional territories. Numbers apparently have declined in recent years in association with the loss
  and fragmentation of old-growth forests across the Rocky Mountains (Dobkin 1992). Based on a recent
  Forest-wide assessment of old growth (USDA Forest Service 2003) there is 15.6% effective and
  replacement old growth, and 11% of total designated MA13 old growth (refer to old growth section)
  available on the Forest.

  A habitat model was developed by the KNF Sensitive Species Taskforce (Heinz 1996 unpublished) to
  identify potential suitable goshawk habitat on the Kootenai National Forest. The model selects habitat
  based on elevation, forest cover type, structure, slope and canopy cover criteria. Sub-routines
  differentiated between nesting and foraging habitat. The model identified potentially suitable habitat in all
  planning units across the KNF (Johnson 1999). The Bristow planning subunit is located within the
  Koocanusa planning unit which had 136,611 acres of nesting habitat identified and 117,296 acres of
  150                                    Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 foraging habitat identified. Forestwide, there was 752,296 acres of nesting habitat and 670,016 acres of
 foraging habitat.

 The Bristow planning subunit, a 63.5 square mile land area, was used to assess goshawk. Portions of the
 subunit are currently heavily fragmented as a result of timber harvest. Using GIS applications, the district
 timber stand data base (TSMRS), and the latest research available regarding habitat needs of the
 goshawk, suitable nesting and foraging habitat was modeled and mapped. Nesting stands include mature
 and old growth timber, multi-storied, sawtimber, and mature low and high risk sawtimber size classes; all
 coniferous forest types except subalpine fir; having a basal area of 125 or more square feet/acre; on
 northerly aspects (southwest through east) less than 6,000 feet elevation, and with slopes less than 40%.
 The basal area requirement was intended to select stands that have greater 70% canopy closure, which
 are preferred by nesting goshawks. An additional criterion was stands with less than 750 trees/acre in
 diameters less than 3” dbh to provide for open understory conditions which goshawks also prefer.
 Modeled foraging habitat had the same parameters as those used for nesting, but the basal area was
 lowered to stands having more than 69 square feet/acre, and all aspects and slopes were included.

 Of the total 40,700 acres in the planning subunit, the model predicted 6,911 acres (6,742 acres on NFS,
 and 169 acres on private) of nesting/foraging habitat, and 15,792 acres (14,155 acres NFS and 1,637
 acres of private) of foraging only habitat. Much of the model identified foraging habitat in the northwest
 portion of the subunit is fragmented and isolated due to existing regeneration units that do not provide
 habitat.

 The goshawk's home range consists of three components: the nesting area (approximately 30 acres),
 post-fledging area (approximately 420 acres), and foraging area (about 5400 acres) (Reynolds et. al.
 1992; Kennedy et. al. 1994). Variability in the three home range components can be high due to sexual
 differences in parental care strategies, the familiarity of a bird with its territory, food requirements related
 to brood size, prey availability within the territory, and the quality of nesting habitat (Kennedy et. al. 1994).
 Although goshawks occupy large home ranges, aggressive territorial defense seems to be limited to the
 20 to 25 acres around that particular year‟s nest tree (Reynolds 1983, cited in Warren et al. 1990).
 Warren (1990) suggested that 5,000 acre areas should be considered for goshawk home ranges.

 Six historically active goshawk nests found to date on the western half of the Libby District have been
 associated with mature and/or old-growth forest habitat. As described by Bratkovich (pers. communication
 2003) the nest sites were located on moderate slopes (<40%) at about the mid-slope level. Nests were
 usually located adjacent to a water source (marsh or stream), with western larch and Douglas-fir being
 the preferred nest tree. The nest sites were associated with a multistoried stand structure, with the nest
 being placed just above the first canopy layer.

 Based on a 5,000 acre home range, the acreage of habitat predicted (22,703 acres) is enough to meet
 the home range needs of potentially four nesting pair. When the habitat is considered spatially distributed
 across the Bristow subunit six territories were delineated, but the current level of existing regeneration
 units and younger vegetative classes minimizes the effectiveness of the potential habitat in two of them.

 Goshawk nest surveys were conducted within the Bristow subunit in the spring of 2002 with one goshawk
 response documented in Jackson Creek. No goshawk responses occurred during surveys within all three
 compartments of the Bristow planning subunit in 2003. In 1997 a goshawk was heard in lower Bristow
 during a songbird survey. The nearest other record occurred six air miles to the south in 1997 when a
 goshawk was heard during a songbird survey behind Canoe Gulch Ranger Station.

Environmental Consequences
 The following table compares the alternatives and the reduction in goshawk nesting and foraging habitat.

             Table 3.94 - Goshawk Nesting and Foraging Habitat Reduction by Alternative
                                                 (Direct Effects)

        HARVEST                 ALT. 1                ALT. 2                 ALT. 3                ALT. 4
         TYPE             NESTING/FORAGING      NESTING/FORAGING       NESTING/FORAGING      NESTING/FORAGING
   Acres lost due to
                                   0                  395/302                215/259                74/36
  Regeneration harvest

                                         Chapter 3                                                            151
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    Potential acres loss
   due to Improvement             0                  87/503               61/429                47/420
          harvest
     Acres affected by
                                  0                  67/990              67/1,039              67/1,039
     Slash and/or burn
     Acres lost due to
                                  0                     0                    0                    0
   Commercial thinning

             Table 3.94A - Goshawk Nesting and Foraging Habitat Reduction by Alternative
                                              (Cumulative Effects)

        HARVEST                  ALT. 1              ALT. 2                ALT. 3              ALT. 4
         TYPE              NESTING/FORAGING    NESTING/FORAGING      NESTING/FORAGING    NESTING/FORAGING
    Acres lost due to         18/55 NFS           395/302 NFS          215/259 NFS            74/36 NFS
  Regeneration harvest        0/48 PCTC            0/48 PCTC            0/48 PCTC             0/48 PCTC
   Potential acres loss
  due to Improvement            None                 87/503               61/429                47/420
         harvest
    Acres affected by          174/2,891
                                                    241/3,881            241/3,930            241/3,930
    Slash and/or burn         (FFRWHE)
    Acres lost due to
                              0/798 PCTC           0/798 PCTC           0/798 PCTC           0/798 PCTC
  Commercial thinning

 No commercial thinning is proposed on NFS lands. The slashing/and or burning activities are not
 expected to impact the suitability of stands as foraging habitat.

Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Under this alternative, the proposed Bristow timber sale and restoration project would not occur.
 Implementation of this alternative would have no direct impact on the goshawk or its habitat. Indirectly,
 on NF lands in the Bristow subunit, the late seral forest condition, which has become fragmented with
 timber harvest units and road construction, would continue to become reestablished. The connectivity of
 the late seral forest condition will require several decades to become fully reestablished, as harvest units
 gradually become reforested. Indirectly, as a result of plant succession, an increase in canopy closure of
 the larger trees would increase the potential for nesting habitat. However, an increasing density in canopy
 closure of smaller trees in the understory would be expected to reduce the potential for foraging habitat.

 Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife” and in Chapter 1. Specific effects are discussed as follows. The additional
 harvest in four of the units (Table 3.1B) from the Barron Jack timber sale (in 2004/2005) will impact
 potential goshawk habitat. Units S3, S9, and S15 impact a total of 55 acres of foraging habitat, and unit
 S8 will remove 18 acres of nesting habitat. These units will no longer provide foraging or nesting habitat
 potential after treatment.

 The FFRWHE program treatment units will slash and burn 2,891 acres of forage habitat, 174 acres of
 nesting habitat, and 101 acres of potential habitat (and 604 acres of other habitat). These prescribed fires
 and/or slashing would have minimal direct, indirect or cumulative effects on goshawk nesting habitat,
 and existing foraging habitat would be maintained by the proposed treatments (Forestwide Fuels
 Reduction and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement EA, 2001, Chap. 3:123-124).

 On those areas not treated under the FFRWHE program, indirect effects on the drier type old growth
 areas would be continued with Douglas-fir regeneration and encroachment. This condition has resulted
 from the exclusion of fire in the ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir timber type. The natural fire regime of
 periodic, low intensity underburns would have maintained an open understory stand conditions with
 occasional dense pockets of sapling Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine. These conditions provided for large
 overstory trees that provided potential nesting sites for goshawks.




 152                                      Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Cumulative Effects
 Routine annual activities such as firewood cutting could remove potential trees, but other annual activities
 such as road maintenance would have no impact.

 On PCTC land the 798 acres of commercial thinning and 48 acres of timber harvest are not expected to
 maintain goshawk habitat. Timber harvest activities could cumulatively reduce potential habitat for
 goshawks

 The no-action alternative, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and
 private lands, is expected to have no cumulative impact on the goshawk because Alternative 1 would
 not change the current availability of nesting and foraging habitat. Suitable nesting and foraging habitat
 would still occur on National Forest lands and sufficient habitat would remain to support a potential of two
 to three home ranges. Cumulatively, other timber harvest (i.e. PCTC activities) and the removal of large
 overstory trees could reduce potential nesting and foraging sites. Future projects on NFS lands would,
 however, take into account the needs of goshawk.

Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Openings are relatively common in many of the proposed treatment units located in the drier VRUs (1, 2,
 3 and 4). These openings are natural or are often from past fire or logging. In the wetter VRUs and in the
 upper portions of the drainages, many openings exist as a result of timber harvest. Goshawks are known
 to avoid foraging in openings too far from cover.

 Implementation of Alternative 2 would have direct effects on goshawk habitat due to timber harvest.
 Approximately 500 acres of foraging habitat would be treated with improvement type harvest
 (improvement cuts, improvement cut/shelterwood etc.), and 300 acres would be treated with regeneration
 cuts (salvage, seedtree/clearcut, clearcut/seedtree, shelterwood, group select, etc.). Units impacting
 potential habitat and the acres affected are available in the project file. Those acres being treated by
 improvement harvest where the remaining BA per acre is greater than 69 square feet per acre, may
 potentially remain suitable foraging habitat. In addition, Alternative 2 would treat 395 acres of nesting
 habitat with regeneration and 87 acres with improvement harvest. In general, harvest prescriptions
 resulting in an open stand structure typical of regeneration harvest will not be suitable for nesting. Also,
 these areas would receive much less use by goshawks for foraging, since they are adapted to a more
 mature forested environment. Overall, Alternative 2 impacts 7% of the existing nesting habitat and 5% of
 the existing foraging habitat with timber harvest within the Bristow planning subunit. The 1,064 acres of
 proposed precommercial thinning would not impact existing foraging habitat.
 The proposed slash and/or burn units would treat 990 acres of foraging habitat and 67 acres of nesting
 habitat. The slash and burn treatments would affect approximately 1% of the existing nesting habitat and
 6% of the existing foraging habitat. This activity would have direct effects on the habitat but should not
 negatively impact the suitability of these stands as foraging habitat as these drier sites historically burned
 every 10 to 50 years. Existing foraging habitat would be maintained by the proposed slash and burn
 treatments. The slashing and/or prescribed fires would basically reduce the number of smaller trees and
 maintain the open condition under the larger trees that is favored for foraging. Pole size trees are
 expected to have a low mortality rate overall. Some patches may have higher mortality where higher fuel
 concentrations and ladder fuels exist. This activity is expected to have minimal direct, indirect or
 cumulative effects on nesting habitat due to the low fire severities in mature/over mature closed canopy
 forest. The slashing and/or the fire treatments are designed to remove smaller understory trees and
 maintain the larger overstory trees. The fire severities are expected to be low wherever closed canopy
 mature/over mature stands exist due to higher fuel moistures under the denser canopies, especially with
 spring burns. Directly, and indirectly some mortality of larger trees could occur where pockets of heavier
 fuels exist.

 An active nest could perhaps be located in the proposed harvest stands or adjacent stands. In this case
 the associated disturbance may cause the adults to abandon the nest tree, or the nest tree itself could be
 damaged by the harvest operations. If disturbance occurs within the nesting area (approximately 30
 acres) prior to the young leaving the nest area in mid-August adults could abandon the nest and their
 young. Disturbance of the post-fledging area (approximately 420 acres around the nest site) could
 negatively affect fledglings. As mitigation, nesting surveys would be conducted in the project area prior to

                                        Chapter 3                                                         153
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 any sale activities in 2004. If any nest site is found no activities would occur within 0.5 miles of the nest
 site until the young have left the nest in mid-August (Reynolds, unpublished report).

 Alternative 2 proposes the use of the herbicide Pronone in five units. The use of Pronone would not occur
 in MA13 old growth ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir forests. Approximately 87 acres of modeled identified
 nesting habitat and 89 acres of foraging habitat would be impacted by pronone. As spot application would
 actually occur, actual acres impacted would be less. Approximately 1% or less of the existing modeled
 nesting and foraging habitat would be affected by the use of Pronone. Therefore those habitats would be
 maintained.

 Cumulative Effects
 Alternative 2, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands,
 is expected to have no adverse cumulative effects that impact the goshawk. Less than .5% of the
 Forestwide nesting and foraging habitat would be affected by Alternative 2. Alternative 2 impacts all six
 potential territories with timber harvest and/or burning, and would lower the quality of foraging and
 remove potential nesting habitat. Post-activity, all potential territories are expected to remain, however the
 two marginal territories may be less suitable due to the additional timber harvest. Implementation of
 Alternative 2 may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend towards
 federal listing for the northern goshawk. This finding is based on
 1) Displacement could occur during implementation.
 2) Both model identified foraging and nesting habitat would be impacted.
 3) The existing old growth habitat and associated corridor links of old growth habitat appear to be
      adequate to meet goshawk nesting requirements.
 4) The distribution of habitat needed for viable populations on a Forest level would remain.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of Alternative 3 would have direct effects on goshawk habitat due to timber harvest.
 Approximately 429 acres of foraging habitat would be treated with improvement type harvest and 259
 acres would be treated with regeneration cuts. Nesting habitat would be treated with 215 acres of
 regeneration harvest and 61 acres of improvement harvest. Overall, Alternative 3 impacts 2% of the
 existing nesting habitat and 4% of the existing foraging habitat with timber harvest within the Bristow
 planning subunit. The proposed slash and/or burn units would treat 1,039 acres of foraging habitat and 60
 acres of nesting habitat. The slash and burn treatments would affect approximately <1% of the existing
 nesting habitat and 7% of the existing foraging habitat. Approximately 61 acres of modeled identified
 nesting habitat and 55 acres of foraging habitat would be impacted by units that use Pronone. As spot
 spraying would actually occur, acres impacted would be less. Less than 1% of the existing modeled
 nesting and foraging habitat would be affected by the use of Pronone through removal of native
 vegetation that supports goshawk prey species.

 Cumulative Effects
 Alternative 3, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands
 is expected to have no adverse cumulative effects that impact the goshawk. Less than .5% of the
 forestwide nesting and foraging habitat would be affected by Alternative 3. Alternative 3 impacts all six
 potential territories with timber harvest and/or burning, and would lower the quality of foraging and
 remove potential nesting habitat, but to a lesser extent than Alternative 2. Implementation of Alternative 3
 may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend towards federal listing for
 the northern goshawk. Remaining effects are as described for Alternative 2. Cumulative effects of all past,
 ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed under Alternative 1 and
 displayed in the table above.

Alternative 4
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Alternative 4 would treat 420 acres of foraging habitat with improvement type harvest and 36 acres with
 regeneration cuts. Nesting habitat would be treated with 74 acres of regeneration harvest and 47 acres of
 improvement harvest. Overall, Alternative 3 impacts <1% of the existing nesting habitat and 3% of the
 existing foraging habitat with timber harvest within the Bristow planning subunit. The proposed slash
 and/or burn units would treat 1,039 acres of foraging habitat and 60 acres of nesting habitat. The slash

 154                                     Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 and burn treatments would affect approximately <1% of the existing nesting habitat and 7% of the existing
 foraging habitat. Approximately 47 acres of modeled identified nesting habitat would be impacted by
 Pronone. As spot application would actually occur, acres impacted would be less. Less than 1% of the
 existing modeled nesting and foraging habitat would be affected by the use of Pronone through removal
 of native vegetation that supports goshawk prey species.

 Cumulative Effects
 Alternative 4, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands
 is expected to have no adverse cumulative effects that impact the goshawk. Less than .5% of the
 Forestwide nesting and foraging habitat would be affected by Alternative 4. Alternative 4 impacts 2
 territories with just one burn unit and one timber harvest unit, while the remaining four potential territories
 have some timber harvest and/or burning. This would lower the quality of foraging and remove potential
 nesting habitat, but to a lesser extent than Alternative 2 or 3. Implementation of Alternative 4 may impact
 individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend towards federal listing for the northern
 goshawk. Remaining effects are as described for Alternative 2.

 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
 under Alternative 1 and displayed in the table above.

PEREGRINE FALCON
 The peregrine falcon was removed from the Federal list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife on
 August 25, 1999. The KNF Forest Plan (Vol. 2, App. 12-1) also listed the peregrine falcon as a
 management indicator species dependent on cliffs. On the KNF the peregrine falcon is now considered a
 sensitive species.

AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT
 Strategies to protect and recover populations are outlined in the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Plan
 (USFWS 1984). The primary features of peregrine falcon habitat are cliffs or rock ledges (generally
 greater than 200 feet tall) suitable for nesting. Suitable cliffs often dominate the surrounding area and
 may have a sweeping view of the valley. Nest sites usually are near areas where passerine birds or
 waterfowl are available for food. The Bristow planning subunit is part of the Rocky Mountain/Southwest
 Population Recovery Zone (Ibid).

 In 2003, a peregrine pair successfully fledged 2 young on the cliffs above Bull Lake, about 25 airmiles
 southwest of the Bristow planning subunit.

 There are no steep rock cliffs suitable for nesting in the Bristow planning subunit. The peregrine falcon
 likely uses the Kootenai River as a seasonal migration corridor during the spring and fall period.
 Peregrine use is probably limited to pursuing prey during migration.

Environmental Consequences
 Direct, Indirect and Cumulative Effects Common to All Action Alternatives
 Existing or potential nesting habitat is not available in the project area, and undisturbed perching/roosting
 habitat is freely available for migrating birds. Management activities in the Bristow planning subunit during
 the migration period should not cause falcons to alter their flight path, since peregrines migrate at
 relatively high altitudes and have extremely skillful flying abilities. Existing potential feeding habitat would
 not be affected. The implementation of any alternative would have no impact on the peregrine falcon.

FLAMMULATED OWL
AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT
 The flammulated owl is an insectivorous, obligate cavity nester that is widely distributed over montane
 forests from southern British Columbia through the highlands of Mexico and Guatemala. Reynolds and
 Linkhart (1987) indicate that preferred nesting habitat consists of stands of old growth ponderosa pine, or
 ponderosa pine mixed with Douglas-fir (>200 years old).

 Nesting territories for this species are documented between 20 to 60 acres in size (Reynolds and Linkhart
 1987). Flammulated owls are considered to be migratory in the northern extent of their range, and usually

                                         Chapter 3                                                           155
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 return to Montana in May. During the winter of 2003 however, flammulated owls were heard on the Libby
 Ranger District in the Silver Butte area in February (Dan Snell, pers. Communication 2003).

 A Kootenai National Forest status summary of the flammulated owl was documented by Johnson (1999).
 The summary shows that potential habitat occurs across all eight planning subunits but the population
 size on the Kootenai National Forest is unknown. Forestwide, there are 237,098 acres of potential habitat
 (Johnson 1999).
 A map displaying potential flammulated owl habitat using the TSMRS model was generated for the
 Bristow planning subunit. This TSMRS query identified 3,350 acres (all NFS lands) of preferred habitat,
 and 4,075 acres (2,441 acres on NF and 1,634 acres on PCTC lands) of suitable habitat. This habitat is
 distributed in all three compartments of the subunit largely within VRU2S, VRU3, and VRU4S. As
 previously described in the old growth analysis section, 4098 acres of old growth habitat has been
 designated and an additional 526 acres of undesignated OG/ROG has also been identified in the Bristow
 planning subunit. About 935 acres of this old growth (designated as effective or replacement, or
 undesignated replacement) coincides with the model identified flammulated owl habitat (595 acres in
 preferred habitat and 340 acres in suitable habitat). Applying territory sizes of 20-60 acres to just the old
 growth/model identified habitat overlap areas, the Bristow planning subunit could support between 15 to
 47 potential territories. If these territory sizes were applied to the remaining modeled habitat (excluding
 the old growth overlap sites), there could be 46 to 138 potential territories in preferred habitat (2,755
 acres) and 35 to 105 potential territories in suitable habitat. However, these estimates are considered
 high based on survey results.

 Flammulated owl surveys, which consist of taped owl calls being used in an attempt to draw a response
 from nesting birds, have been conducted intermittently within the Bristow planning subunit over the last
 decade. Surveys in 1992 and 1995 documented the flammulated owl in the Barron Creek drainage, and
 an incidental sighting of the species also occurred in 1993. Additional surveys in upper and lower Barron
 also occurred in 1996 and 1997 with no responses. The North Fork of Jackson Creek was surveyed in
 1997 with no responses. In 2000, lower Barron Creek was surveyed with one flammulated owl heard.
 Another portion of both Barron and Bristow Creek was surveyed in 2000 with no flammulated responses.

Environmental Consequences
 The following tables display the impacts of the different alternatives on flammulated owl habitat.

                Table 3.95 - Flammulated Owl Preferred and Suitable Habitat Reduction
                                      (Preferred habitat acres/suitable habitat acres)
                             HARVEST TYPE                            ALT. 1          ALT. 2     ALT. 3      ALT. 4
                Acres lost due to regeneration harvest                None        122/42        69/42       34/8
            Potential acres loss due to improvement harvest           None        221/58       221/58      185/47
                  Acres affected by slash and/or burn               821/734*      117/400      117/400     117/400
                Acres lost due to commercial thinning                0/505**       None         None        None
             *Forestwide Fuels Reduction and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Acres      **PCTC Commercial Thinning

       Table 3.95A - Flammulated Owl Preferred and Suitable Habitat Reduction (Direct Effects)
                                       (Preferred habitat acres/suitable habitat acres)
                               HARVEST TYPE                           ALT. 1       ALT. 2     ALT. 3      ALT. 4
                  Acres lost due to regeneration harvest                 0      122/42         69/42       34/8
              Potential acres loss due to improvement harvest            0      221/58        221/58      185/47
                    Acres affected by slash and/or burn                  0      117/400       117/400     117/400
                  Acres lost due to commercial thinning                  0       None          None        None

   Table 3.95B - Flammulated Owl Preferred and Suitable Habitat Reduction (Cumulative Effects)
                                     (Preferred habitat acres/suitable habitat acres)
                          HARVEST TYPE                           ALT. 1          ALT. 2         ALT. 3       ALT. 4
             Acres lost due to regeneration harvest                  0           122/42          69/42         34/8
         Potential acres loss due to improvement harvest             0           221/58         221/58        185/47
               Acres affected by slash and/or burn               821/734*      938/1,134      938/1,134     938/1,134
             Acres lost due to commercial thinning                0/505**       0/505**        0/505**       0/505**
             *Forestwide Fuels Reduction and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Acres      **PCTC Commercial Thinning



 156                                     Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Under this alternative, no activities as proposed would occur with this project, so no direct effect to
 flammulated owls would be expected with this alternative. On many of the sites plant succession would
 continue, resulting in an increasing canopy closure and increasing density of understory conifers. This
 plant succession would have indirect effects on flammulated owls since they forage in open areas within
 the drier ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir forests in the increasing density about history conifers would
 decrease the available habitat for prey species, and may also impede flight maneuvers needed for
 foraging.

 Cumulative Effects
 Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife”. The harvest of the Barron Jack Salvage Sale units or the units in Table
 3.1B would not impact flammulated owl habitat. The FFRWHE program treatment units will slash and
 burn 821 acres of preferred habitat, and 734 acres of suitable habitat. These prescribed fires and/or
 slashing may have short-term negative effects on the availability of habitat for prey species, but in the
 long-term habitat for prey species would be maintained and/or increased due to the vigorous shrub/forb
 layer that would indirectly result from the fire. These activities would benefit flammulated owls (Illg and Illg
 1995), and these treatments, which include slashing and burning in drier Douglas-fir/ponderosa pine old
 growth, are expected to have a beneficial impact to flammulated owl habitat (UDFS 2001, Chap. 3). On
 those areas not treated under the Libby Dam Mitigation Program, indirect effects on the drier type old
 growth areas would be continued with Douglas-fir regeneration and encroachment. This condition has
 resulted from the exclusion of fire in the ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir timber type. The natural fire regime of
 periodic, low intensity underburns would have maintained an open understory stand conditions with
 occasional dense pockets of sapling Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine. These conditions provided for large
 overstory trees that provided nesting sites for flammulated owls.

 On PCTC land the Plum Creek activities will directly impact flammulated owl habitat with commercial
 thinning of 505 acres of model identified suitable habitat. The commercial thinning may still provide for
 foraging habitat. Timber harvest activities could cumulatively reduce potential habitat for flammulated
 owls.

 The no-action alternative, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and
 private lands, is expected to have no cumulative effects that would impact the flammulated owl because
 Alternative 1 would not change the current availability of nesting and foraging habitat, potential nesting
 territories, or increase predation risk. Suitable nesting and foraging habitat would still occur on NFS lands
 and sufficient habitat would remain to support a number of nesting territories. Cumulatively, other timber
 harvest activities (i.e. PCTC activities) and the removal of large overstory trees not proposed at this time
 could reduce potential nesting and foraging sites. However future activities will consider the needs of
 flammulated owls.

Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of this alternative would have direct effects on flammulated owl habitat. Timber harvest
 would impact preferred habitat with 221 acres of improvement type cuts, and 122 acres with
 regeneration cuts. Suitable habitat would be treated with 42 acres of regeneration harvest and 58 acres
 of improvement harvest. Individual unit # impacting potential habitat and the acres affected are available
 in the wildlife project file. Some research has suggested that flammulated owls are not likely to forage
 further than 300 ft. from forested cover (Goggans 1985).

 Regeneration harvest creating areas greater than 300 ft. from cover will likely receive minimal use. This
 equates to a harvest unit of about eight acres in size, or a relatively square unit 600 feet on each side.
 Alternative 2 proposes regeneration timber harvest within flammulated habitat greater than eight acres in
 size (unit‟s # 21A, 37, 23, and 15) for a total of 150 acres. These sites will likely receive little or no
 foraging use until understory and mid-story canopies develop. The 279 acres of improvement harvest
 (221 acres in preferred habitat and 58 acres in suitable habitat) will follow a basal area reduction
 prescription. The intention is to favor ponderosa pine and western larch for removing smaller Douglas-fir
 that are competing for growing space. These stands are expected to retain the larger and older

                                         Chapter 3                                                           157
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir trees in the overstory while exhibiting a more open understory. Retaining
large trees and snags in the overstory will preserve abandoned flicker and pileated woodpecker cavities,
which are the primary nesting sites for flammulated owls. On the improvement unit being logged with
skyline, few snags are expected to remain (unit #28) due to OSHA standards. Within the Bristow planning
subunit, Alternative 2 impacts 8% of the modeled identified habitat.

An active flammulated owl nesting cavity could be present within a harvest unit. If harvest occurred in
June or July, which is probable, the disturbance may cause the adults to abandon the nest tree. This
should not affect nesting by the adults in subsequent years, since adequate habitat would remain in
surrounding forested areas.

The proposed 1,064 acres of precommercial thinning would not impact existing flammulated owl habitat
as it occurs in existing regeneration units.

The proposed slash and/or burn units would treat 117 acres of preferred habitat and 400 acres of suitable
habitat. This activity would have direct effects on the habitat but should not negatively impact the
suitability of these stands as nesting/foraging habitat as these drier sites historically burned every 10 to
50 years. Existing habitat would be maintained by the proposed slash and burn treatments. The slashing
and/or prescribed fires would basically reduce the number of smaller trees and maintain the open
condition under the larger trees that is favored for foraging. Pole size trees are expected to have a low
mortality rate overall. Some patches may have higher mortality where higher fuel concentrations and
ladder fuels exist. This activity is expected to have minimal direct, indirect or cumulative effects on nesting
habitat due to the low fire severities in mature/over mature closed canopy forest. The slashing and/or the
fire treatments are designed to remove smaller understory trees and maintain the larger overstory trees.
Dense pockets for flammulated owls would be maintained. The fire severities are expected to be low
wherever closed canopy mature/over mature stands exist due to higher fuel moistures under the denser
canopies, especially with spring burns. Directly, and indirectly some mortality of larger trees could occur
where pockets of heavier fuels exist. Overall, the slash and burning treats nine percent of the potential
habitat.

The smoke is not expected to affect the owl, since burning would occur in late March or early April before
the owls are expected to migrate back to the Forest. In spring 2003 however, flammulated owls were
heard on the Kootenai NF earlier than expected, in the Silver Butte drainage, 40 miles south of the
analysis area (Dan Snell, personal communication, February 2003). However, it should be noted that the
owl, which is adapted to ponderosa pine habitat types, evolved with frequent, low intensity ground fires,
as well as the associated smoke. In the long term, the improvement timber harvest, slashing and/or
burning, would return the project area to more open grown ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir habitat.

Alternative 2 proposes the use of the herbicide Pronone in five units (units #15, 21, 23, 28, and 37). Units
21 and 28 do not impact model identified habitat, but units #15, 23, and 37 overlap with all or portions of
the treatment in either preferred or suitable flammulated owl habitat. A total of 129 acres of flammulated
habitat is included within units that use Pronone. For example, unit #23 is located in model identified
preferred habitat and is just south and adjacent to a MA13 old growth stand/model identified preferred
habitat overlap area that was identified as a potential flammulated nesting territory. The interim guidelines
(USDA 1992) state that the use of herbicides in natural openings may reduce forbs and shrubs necessary
for prey habitat, and that flammulated owls have been known to forage ½ mile from their nest. Units # 15,
and #37 are also located in modeled identified preferred habitat and the use of Pronone would not benefit
habitat for prey species due to the reduction in both amount and diversity of shrubs and forbs. It should
be noted that Pronone would be spot applied and the actual acres impacted would be less than analyzed.

Cumulative Effects
Alternative 2, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands
is expected to have no adverse cumulative effects that impact the flammulated owl. As discussed
previously, potential suitable habitat is distributed across the Kootenai National Forest (Johnson 1999).
Although the population size on the KNF is unknown, the flammulated owl is present in five of the eight
planning units, and model identified habitat exists in all eight planning units. Alternative 2 would harvest
timber on a total of 443 acres of potential habitat. Those acres treated with improvement harvest (279
acres) are expected to retain potential for flammulated owl habitat. The remaining regeneration harvest of
164 acres could potentially result in the loss of 3 to 4 nesting territories. The slash and burn treatments
158                                    Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 associated with Alternative 2 and cumulatively with the FFRWHE program will affect up to 22% of the
 existing modeled habitat within the Bristow planning subunit, but are expected to be beneficial to
 flammulated owl habitat. Sufficient habitat within the Bristow planning subunit and across the Kootenai
 National Forest would remain. Forestwide less than <.5 % of the potential habitat would be affected by
 the proposed timber harvest. Alternative 2 may impact individuals or habitat, but will not likely
 contribute to a trend towards federal listing for the flammulated owl. This finding is based on:
 1) Displacement could occur during implementation.
 2) Both model identified foraging, and nesting habitat would be impacted.
 3) The use of Pronone on preferred and suitable habitat may reduce prey habitat by reducing forbs and
     shrubs that prey species are dependent on..
 4) The existing old growth/modeled identified habitat overlap areas would remain and are expected to
     be adequate for approximately 10 to 15 potential nest territories.
 5) The distribution of habitat needed for viable populations on the forest would remain.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of Alternative 3 would have direct effects on flammulated owl habitat due to timber
 harvest (see Table 3.95). Preferred habitat would be treated with 221 acres of improvement type cuts
 and 69 acres of regeneration cuts. Suitable habitat would be treated with 58 acres of improvement
 harvest and 42 acres of regeneration harvest. Timber harvest would occur within flammulated habitat
 greater than eight acres in size (unit‟s # 21A, 23, and 15) for a total of 63 acres. These sites will likely
 receive little or no foraging use until understory and mid-story canopies develop. The 279 acres of
 improvement harvest (221 acres in preferred habitat and 58 acres in suitable habitat) will follow a basal
 area reduction prescription. The acres impacted and effects of precommercial thinning and the slash
 and/or prescribed burning are as described under Alternative 2. Pronone use would occur on four units
 (#21, 23, 15, and 28). Units #21 and #28 do not occur within flammulated owl habitat. Units #15 and #23
 overlap with all or portions of the treatment in either preferred or suitable flammulated owl habitat and a
 total of 76 acres is affected.

 Cumulative Effects
 Alternative 3, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands
 is expected to have no adverse cumulative effects that impact the flammulated owl. Although the
 population size on the KNF is unknown, the flammulated owl is present in five of the eight planning units,
 and model identified habitat exists in all eight planning units. Alternative 3 would harvest timber on a total
 of 390 acres of potential habitat. Those acres treated with improvement harvest (279 acres) are expected
 to retain potential for flammulated owl habitat. The remaining regeneration harvest of 111 acres could
 potentially result in the loss of 3 to 4 nesting territories. The slash and burn treatments associated with
 Alternative 3 and cumulatively with the FFRWHE EA are expected to be beneficial to flammulated owl
 habitat. Sufficient habitat within the Bristow planning subunit and across the Kootenai National Forest
 would remain. Forestwide less than <.5 % of the potential habitat would be affected by the proposed
 timber harvest. Alternative 3 may impact individuals or habitat, but will not likely contribute to a
 trend towards federal listing for the flammulated owl. Remaining effects would be as described under
 Alternative 2. Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same
 as discussed under Alternative 1 and in the table above.

Alternative 4
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of Alternative 4 would have direct effects on flammulated owl habitat due to timber
 harvest (see Table 3.95). Preferred habitat would be treated with 185 acres of improvement type cuts
 and 34 acres of regeneration cuts. Suitable habitat would be treated with 47 acres of improvement
 harvest and eight acres of regeneration harvest. Timber harvest would occur within flammulated habitat
 greater than eight acres in size (unit #37) for a total of 34 acres. This site will likely receive little or no
 foraging use until understory and mid-story canopies develop. The 232 acres of improvement harvest
 (185 acres in preferred habitat and 47 acres in suitable habitat) will follow a basal area reduction
 prescription. The acres impacted and effects of precommercial thinning and the slash and/or prescribed
 burning are the same as Alternative 2. Pronone use would occur on 2 units (#37 and 28). Unit #28 does
 not occur within flammulated owl habitat. Unit #37 overlaps with all or portions of the treatment in either
 preferred or suitable flammulated owl habitat and a total of 34 acres is affected.

                                         Chapter 3                                                            159
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA


 Cumulative Effects
 Alternative 4, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands
 is expected to have no adverse cumulative effects that impact the flammulated owl. Alternative 3 would
 harvest timber on a total of 390 acres of potential habitat. Those acres treated with improvement harvest
 (279 acres) are expected to retain potential for flammulated owl habitat. The remaining regeneration
 harvest of 42 acres could potentially result in the loss of 1 nesting territories. The slash and burn
 treatments associated with Alternative 3 and cumulatively with the FFRWHE EA are expected to be
 beneficial to flammulated owl habitat. Sufficient habitat within the Bristow planning subunit and across the
 Kootenai National Forest would remain. Forestwide less than <.5 % of the potential habitat would be
 affected by the proposed timber harvest. Alternative 4 may impact individuals or habitat, but will not
 likely contribute to a trend towards federal listing for the flammulated owl. Remaining effects would
 be as described under Alternative 2. Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable
 activities are the same as discussed under Alternative 1.

BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER
AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT
 The research indicates that the species selects for mature and old growth stands of both dead and live
 trees, and that foraging also occurs on logs and stumps (Cherry 1997), indicating that foraging is more
 dependent on prey location, which varies from landscape the landscape. Studies done in Oregon
 (Goggans et al 1987, and Bull et al. 1986: in Cherry 1997) found lodgepole pine was preferred for
 foraging by black-backed woodpeckers. Black-backed woodpeckers feed in concentrations of dead and
 dying trees, and are often seen feeding in areas where there have been recent fires and insect outbreaks.

 A Kootenai National Forest status summary of the black-backed woodpecker was documented by
 Johnson (1999). The summary shows potential habitat across all eight planning units. Specifically there
 were 220,854 acres of year-long habitat identified in the Koocanusa planning unit and 1,317,790 acres
 forestwide (Ibid 1999).

 Black-backed woodpeckers have been observed feeding in old growth habitat on the Libby Ranger
 District (Bratkovich, pers. comm. 2003), and this habitat component is likely valuable to black-backed
 woodpeckers.

 Past fire suppression has likely reduced the amount of feeding and drumming habitat in the area.
 However, wildfires have also created habitat. In 2000, approximately 45,500 acres burned across the
 Kootenai National Forest. In 2003, 434 acres across the Kootenai National Forest burned by wildfires,
 and 8,855 acres were burned by prescribed fires. Within the Libby Ranger District boundary,
 approximately 28 acres burned by wildfire. As not all these acreages were harvested, potential habitat
 remains distributed across the Forest. The Fiscal Year 2002 Forest Plan Monitoring Reportindicates that
 the Forest is providing sufficient cavity habitat at a drainage or compartment level and that this item is
 within acceptable limits of the Forest Plan (USFS 2003).

 Timber harvest on both National Forest and private lands has also reduced the amount of potential
 habitat. Potential feeding and drumming sites in past harvest units have been greatly reduced due to the
 minimal amount of cavity habitat remaining on these sites. If only snags 10” + dbh are considered, past
 harvest units are averaging less than 0.5 snags per acre. This equates to a habitat effectiveness rating of
 about 20% within these individual units. Within the Bristow planning subunit however, the existing
 available snag level on NF lands is calculated at 67% (Please see snag/cavity habitat section).

 As a cavity nester, black-backed woodpeckers require abundant dead or live trees with heartwood rot.
 Black-backs show a preference for lodgepole pine and western larch snags and/or live culls on the Libby
 Ranger District (A. Bratkovich personal observation). Nest sites on the Libby District of both species of
 three-toed woodpeckers have been found in moderately dense mixed stands of pole-size (8-14"dbh)
 lodgepole and western larch (A. Bratkovich personal observation). Woodpecker research in western
 Montana found 10 active black-backed woodpecker nest cavities in old growth forest dominated by
 western larch and Douglas-fir (McClelland and McCelland 1999). The mean diameter at breast height
 (dbh) of the nest trees was only 11 inches, also indicating that black backs will utilize smaller diameter
 trees as nest sites.

 160                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                         Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

   Black-backed woodpecker habitat within the Bristow subunit is displayed in table 3.96. Habitat was
   mapped using a combination of old growth stand information and TSMRS timber stand information.

   On NFS lands, approximately 12,900 acres of potential nesting habitat has been delineated and is fairly
   well distributed throughout the area. About 5,049 acres of foraging habitat has also been identified by the
   model. These maps are available in the project file. Approximately 1,221 acres of NFS lands are
   impacted by roads, with another 6,335 acres having been treated as regeneration/ partial harvest, and
   are assumed to lack both feeding and nesting habitat. There are approximately 10,868 acres of NFS
   remaining timbered lands. Home ranges have been documented at approximately 900 acres (Ruediger
   1994).
   Estimating, based on acreages alone, existing forage and nesting/forage habitat within the Bristow
   planning subunit may potentially support 19 black-backed woodpecker home range nesting pairs (900
   acres per pair), but may support less due to the fragmentation of the habitat and lack of fires or
   insect/disease outbreaks. Table 3.96 displays the black-backed woodpecker habitat on NF lands within
   the Bristow planning subunit.

                  Table 3.96 – Impact to the Black-backed Woodpecker Habitat by Alternative.
                                                  (acres remaining/% habitat remaining)

                                                              EXISTING         ALT.       ALT. 2M          ALT 3           ALT 4
                                                              ACRES/ %          1         ACRES/%         ACRES/%         ACRES/%
                  Nesting Habitat                             12,900/35       No ∆        12,097/33       12300/34        12559/35
                  Foraging Habitat                             5,050/14       No ∆         4,650/13        4725/13         4928/13
               Remaining Timbered                             10,868/30       No ∆        10435/29        10594/29        10604/29
     Nonstocked, Seedling, Sapling Size Classes*               6,335/17       No ∆         7131/20         6852/19         6798/19
                 Road Impact Acres                              1,221/3
                  Total NF Acres                                36,375
Barron Jack is currently being harvested and was calculated as part of the existing condition for the black-backed woodpecker.   *only
        regeneration harvest treatment considered Cumulatively, PCTC planned harvest would decrease potential habitat.

 Environmental Consequences
 Alternative 1
   Direct and Indirect Effects
   Under Alternative 1, no activities as proposed will occur so no black-backed woodpeckers would have the
   potential to be disturbed by timber harvest, slashing and/or underburning. No direct effect to black back
   woodpeckers would be expected with this alternative. Based on historical stand conditions (see
   vegetation and ecological discussion), both nesting and foraging habitat was altered by past timber
   harvest and fire suppression. Plant succession would continue on some of the sites, resulting in an
   increasing canopy closure and increasing density of understory conifers. The increasing density of the
   understory may stress and kill the larger overstory trees, indirectly resulting in an increase of nesting in
   foraging habitat. Should a wildland fire occur, some displacement of the species can occur, in the short-
   term during the actual fire, however, long-term beneficial impact to nesting and foraging habitat would be
   expected due to the number of snags created. The availability of dead and dying trees would also
   continue to be limited near motorized access routes due to firewood cutters. Removal of dead standing
   and down material would reduce the amount of feeding habitat.

   Cumulative Effects
   Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
   Cumulative Effects on Wildlife”. Three of the four Barron Jack units in Table 3.1B (#S3, S8, S17) harvest
   < 55 acres of potential nesting/foraging habitat. These units will no longer provide foraging or nesting
   habitat potential after treatment. In addition, some of the remaining Barron Jack units (B32, B30, B20) will
   remove a total of 49 acres of nesting/foraging habitat. The FFRWHE program prescribed fires and/or
   slashing may have a beneficial impact, and would directly create small patches of high quality habitat,
   and indirectly both nesting and foraging habitat may be created. These activities are not expected to
   have adverse cumulative effects that negatively affect black-backed woodpeckers (FFRWHE EA, 2001,
   Chap. 3:105).


                                               Chapter 3                                                                          161
                           Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 On PCTC land the Plum Creek activities could directly impact potential black-backed woodpecker habitat.
 Although the model did not identify potential habitat on PCTC lands, timbered habitat exists. The
 proposed timber harvest activities (salvage, clear-cut, and shelterwood treatments on a total of 299 acres,
 and 851 acres of commercial thinning) could cumulatively reduce potential habitat.

 The no-action alternative, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and
 private lands, is expected to have no adverse cumulative effects that would impact the black-backed
 woodpecker because Alternative 1 would not change the current availability of nesting and foraging
 habitat in the short-term. The estimated 19 home range nesting pairs would not change as a result of
 Alternative 1. The existing estimated available snag level would not change on NFS lands. In the long-
 term plant succession may indirectly increase nesting and foraging habitat. Suitable nesting and foraging
 habitat would still occur on NFS lands. Cumulatively, other timber harvest activities (i.e. PCTC activities)
 and the removal of large overstory trees not proposed at this time could reduce potential nesting and
 foraging sites. However future activities will consider the needs of the black-backed woodpecker.

Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of this alternative would have direct effects on black-backed woodpecker habitat. Timber
 harvest (regeneration treatments) would occur on 484 acres of model identified nesting habitat and 310
 acres of foraging habitat. Another 315 acres of regeneration harvest would occur on “other” timbered
 habitat. Improvement harvest would occur on 90 acres of model identified foraging habitat, 319 acres of
 nesting habitat, and 118 acres of “other” timbered habitat. Existing snags would likely be lost due to
 safety and other reasons within all timber harvest units. Approximately 7% of the modeled forage and
 nesting habitat within the Bristow planning subunit, and .12% of the Forestwide habitat would be affected
 by timber harvest. Slash and/or underburn treatments would occur on 83 acres of foraging habitat, 361
 acres of nesting habitat and 1080 acres of “other” timbered habitat. This is approximately 2% of the model
 identified habitat and .11% of the Forestwide habitat.

 Alternative 2 proposes the use of the herbicide Pronone. Based on foraging preferences, the proposed
 use of Pronone is not expected to impact the black-backed woodpecker.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulatively the FFRWHE program would treat additional acres. The underburning activities may
 indirectly create both nesting and foraging habitat due to patches of mortality or individual fire-killed
 trees, and may have a beneficial impact on black-backed woodpeckers and their habitat due to the
 potential creation of foraging and nesting habitat.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulatively, when other activities including the harvest on both private and federal lands discussed
 under Alternative 1, and all past, present, and reasonably foreseeable activities on both private and
 federal lands are considered, habitat on federal lands is considered sufficient to provide cavity habitat to
 cavity dependent species. As discussed under the snags/cavity habitat section, the available snag level
 on NF lands is estimated to drop from 67% to 63% after implementation Alternative 2. The amount of NF
 lands which have not been harvested and that are assumed to provide at least a 60 to 100% snag level
 drops from the existing 63% down to 57%. This level of snag habitat is expected to manage for a
 population level above the 40 percent level which is thought to be the minimum needed to maintain self-
 sustaining populations of snag-dependent wildlife (Thomas 1979).

 Alternative 2, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands
 is expected to have no adverse cumulative effects to the black-backed woodpecker. As discussed
 previously, potential suitable habitat is distributed across the Kootenai National Forest (Johnson 1999).
 This species is wide-spread at endemic population levels and abundant where fires or insect outbreaks
 have occurred and timber salvage has not taken place. Alternative 2 reduces the quality of model
 identified nesting/foraging habitat by approximately 1,200 acres, and other timbered habitat by 433 acres.
 Based on acreages alone this would result in the potential loss of one to two nesting pair territories out of
 the 19 estimated. The potential loss of this pair territory is not likely to result in a declining population
 trend for this species. The proposed slash and/or burning is expected to improve foraging habitat.
 Implementation of Alternative 2 may impact individuals by displacing them but is not likely to cause
 a trend to federal listing for the black-backed woodpecker. This is based on:
 162                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 1) Some snags would be lost in the timber harvest units but some snag habitat would be created by the
    proposed burning.
 2) Suitable nesting habitat not proposed for harvest is available in the planning subunit, and across the
    KNF.
 3) Old growth acreages exceed levels established in the Forest Plan guidelines to maintain viable
    populations of associated species.
 4) The decrease in Forestwide general habitat would result in less than <.5% change and a broad
    distribution of habitat needed to maintain viable populations of black-backed woodpeckers would
    remain.

 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
 under Alternative 1.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Effects are less than as described as for Alternative 2. Timber harvest (regeneration treatments) would
 occur on 281 acres of model identified nesting habitat and 236 acres of foraging habitat. Another 203
 acres of regeneration harvest would occur on “other” timbered habitat. Improvement harvest would occur
 on 89 acres of model identified foraging habitat, 319 acres of nesting habitat, and 71 acres of “other”
 timbered habitat. Approximately 5% of the modeled forage and nesting habitat within the Bristow planning
 subunit, and .11% of the Forestwide habitat would be affected by timber harvest. Slash and/or underburn
 treatments and effects, and the effects of Pronone are the same as described for Alternative 2. After
 implementation the available snag level (ASL) on NFS lands is estimated to drop from 67% to 64%. The
 remaining timbered NFS lands which are assumed to provide at least a 60 to 100% snag level would drop
 from an estimated 63% to 59%.

 Cumulative Effects
 Alternative 3, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands
 is expected to have no adverse cumulative effects to the black-backed woodpecker. Alternative 3 reduces
 the quality of model identified nesting/foraging habitat by approximately 924 acres, and other timbered
 habitat by 274 acres. Based on acreages alone this would result in the potential loss of one nesting pair
 territory out of the 19 estimated. The potential loss of this pair territory is not likely to result in a declining
 population trend for this species. The proposed slash and/or burning is expected to improve foraging
 habitat. Implementation may impact individuals by displacing them but is not likely to cause a trend
 to federal listing for the black-backed woodpecker. All other remaining effects are as described for
 Alternative 2. Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same
 as discussed under Alternative 1.

Alternative 4
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Effects are less than as described as for Alternative 2 and 3. Timber harvest (regeneration treatments)
 would occur on 61 acres of model identified nesting habitat and 89 acres of foraging habitat. Another 154
 acres of regeneration harvest would occur on “other” timbered habitat. Improvement harvest would occur
 on 89 acres of model identified foraging habitat, 280 acres of nesting habitat, and 110 acres of “other”
 timbered habitat. Approximately 3% of the modeled forage and nesting habitat within the Bristow planning
 subunit, and .05% of the Forestwide habitat would be affected by timber harvest. Slash and/or underburn
 treatments and effects, and the effects of Pronone are the same as described for Alternative 2. After
 implementation the ASL on NF lands is estimated to drop from 67% to 65%. The remaining timbered NFS
 lands which are assumed to provide at least a 60 to 100% snag level would drop from an estimated 63%
 to 60%.

 Cumulative Effects
 Alternative 4, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands
 is expected to have no adverse cumulative effects to the black-backed woodpecker. It reduces the quality
 of model identified nesting/foraging habitat by approximately 463 acres, and other timbered habitat by
 264 acres. Based on acreages alone this would result in the potential loss of one nesting pair territory out
 of the 19 estimated. The potential loss of this pair territory is not likely to result in a declining population
 trend for this species. The proposed slash and/or burning is expected to improve foraging habitat.

                                         Chapter 3                                                             163
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Implementation of Alternative 4 may impact individuals by displacing them but is not likely to cause
 a trend to federal listing for the black-backed woodpecker. All other remaining effects are as described
 for Alternative 2. Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the
 same as discussed under Alternative 1.

TOWNSEND'S BIG-EARED BAT
Affected Environment
 Habitats used by Townsend's big eared bat are described in Reel et al. (1989). The Townsend's big-
 eared bat is considered to be a bat which is dependent upon caves or cave-like structures (e.g. mines,
 tunnels, lava tubes) (Perkins and Schommer 1991, Kunz and Martin 1982) for roosting. In western
 Montana, roosting habitat is most closely associated with cavernous habitat and rocky outcrops of
 sedimentary or limestone origin (Montana Natural Heritage Program (MNHP) 1993). The species may be
 found in abandoned buildings (MNHP 1993). The Townsend‟s big-eared bat has the potential to roost in
 tree cavities (Perkins and Schommer 1991, MNHP 1993), and larger diameter snags or trees with cavities
 in the Kootenai National Forest could be used for summer roosting.

 A Kootenai National Forest status summary of the Townsend‟s big-eared bat was documented by
 Johnson (1999). Surveys of the Kootenai NF from 1993-1995 (Hendricks et al. 1996) have located the
 species in all planning units (Johnson 1999) but no key roosting sites such as caves or mines have been
 located. Population size on the KNF is unknown.

 No mines or caves are known to exist within the Bristow planning subunit. A review of the TSMRS
 database for NF lands found that with all the forest cover types combined, including Douglas-fir, western
 larch, lodgepole, ponderosa pine, and subalpine fir, of the remaining untreated stands, there are 4,930
 acres of pole stands, and 25,136 acres in a mature type that could provide potential foraging/roosting
 habitat. Of these mature stands, 4,098 acres are designated as MA13, and 526 acres are undesignated
 replacement old growth or old growth.

Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Under this alternative, no activities as proposed would occur, so no Townsend's big-eared bats would be
 directly disturbed by any timber harvest or associated slashing and/or underburning. No direct effects to
 Townsend's big eared bats would be expected with this alternative. Plant succession would continue on
 many of the sites, resulting in an increasing canopy closure and increasing density of understory conifers.
 This plant succession may have an indirect effect on Townsend's big eared-bats since they forage in
 open areas within forests and the increasing density of understory conifers may decrease the available
 habitat for prey species may also impede flight maneuvers needed for foraging. If a wildland fire was to
 occur it is not expected that potential key roosting habitat such as caves or mines would be impacted and
 there would be no expected change in the existing condition with implementation of the no-action
 alternative.

 Cumulative Effects
 Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife”. The Barron Jack Salvage Sale units and the units displayed in Table 3.1B
 will no longer provide potential roosting habitat potential after treatment. The FFRWHE slash and burning
 program will result in snags being both lost and created by the prescribed fire, but no direct effect on key
 roosting habitat would occur as there are no known buildings, caves or tunnels within the Bristow
 planning subunit (except for outhouses etc. at Barron boat ramp). Approximately 3,770 acres would be
 burned resulting in a mosaic burn pattern with rejuvenated shrubs over time.

 PCTC activities could directly impact potential roosting habitat with shelterwood and commercial thinning
 of 846 acres, and the shelterwood harvest of 50 acres. Timber harvest activities could cumulatively
 reduce potential roosting or feeding habitat for Townsend‟s big-eared bat.

 Timber harvest activities and the removal of dead standing trees, as well as the removal of live trees with
 cavities, depending on their diameter, could reduce potential summer roosting sites for the bat. The no-
 action alternative, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private
 164                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 lands, is expected to have no cumulative effect that would impact the Townsend's big-eared bat based
 on:
 1) No change in the current availability of roosting and hibernacular habitat would occur;
 2) Foraging habitat and potential roosting habitat would remain in the Bristow planning subunit, as well
     distributed across the Kootenai National Forest.
Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Implementation of Alternative 2 would have direct effects on snag habitat. The potential direct effect of
 the proposed harvest activity includes disturbance of or loss of suitable roosting habitat. No direct effect
 on key roosting habitat would be expected from the harvest activity since there are no known buildings,
 caves, or tunnels occupied by Townsend's big-eared bats within the Bristow planning subunit. The
 potential for future use would be maintained since caves and tunnels would not be affected by the
 proposed timber harvest activities.

 Incidental snag loss within the 1,640 acres of timber harvest units for safety would decrease roosting
 habitat potential, but acres of suitable foraging habitat would remain across the Kootenai Forest. Snags
 would be both created and lost on the 1,526 acres of prescribed slashing and/or underburning and the
 follow-up fuels treatment within the proposed harvest units. This would result in some level of fire killed
 trees which could be utilized as roosting sites over the next decade. The proposed underburning could
 directly affect potential roosting habitat in tree cavities. Some snags with cavities would be lost during the
 burning. However, a few currently live trees would be killed or injured by the fire and thus the proposed
 underburning would indirectly create new potential roosting habitat. It is expected that foraging habitat
 would remain available as not all the shrub understory would be burned. The underburns would create a
 more open understory but the overstory would remain intact and provide a forested habitat overall.
 Cumulatively, the FFRWHE program would also remove and create snag habitat. It is not known if the
 use of Pronone on 121 acres would affect prey species habitat.

 Cumulative Effects
 Alternative 2 may impact individuals by displacing them from potential roosting habitat. Cumulatively,
 implementation of Alternative 2 may impact individuals but is not likely to cause a trend to federal
 listing for the Townsend's big-eared bat. This determination is based on the following rationale:
      a) This alternative would not affect key roosting or hibernation habitat associated with caves and
          mines, or any buildings and no impact to the species natality or mortality rates is expected.
      b) The species is felt to have potential for roosting in larger diameter trees and/or snags with cavities
          (Perkins and Schommer 1991:18; MNHP 1993). Forest Plan snag replacement guidelines would
          be followed in harvest units but some snags would be lost during the harvest due to safety
          reasons and some would be created due to prescribed fire.
      c) A forested environment with cavity habitat and suitable for foraging would remain distributed
          across the Bristow planning subunit and forestwide.

 There is also potential for indirect removal and loss of cavity habitat trees to firewood gathering when
 roads are opened for management activities. Loss of these trees would lower the availability of potential
 roosting habitat in the long-term. Under Alternative 2, this impact would be mitigated for as the restricted
 roads to be opened for harvest would be closed any time activity associated with the timber sale is not
 occurring behind the gate. Any potential loss of snags would lessen the suitability for roosting within these
 managed stands, and would lessen overall habitat suitability of the area. This would not affect
 Townsend's big-eared bat in the short-term if they avoid use of openings; but it could reduce future
 suitability when these stands revert to mature timber cover. Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and
 reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed under Alternative 1.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Incidental snag loss within the 1,205 acres of timber harvest units for safety would decrease roosting
 habitat potential. Timber harvest impacts to potential foraging and roosting habitat would be expected to
 be less than Alternative 2. Effects of slash and/or burning and Pronone are as described for Alternative 2.
 Alternative 3 may impact individuals by displacing them from potential roosting habitat.



                                        Chapter 3                                                          165
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  Cumulative Effects
  Cumulatively, implementation of Alternative 3 may impact individuals but is not likely to cause a trend
  to federal listing for the Townsend's big-eared bat. Remaining effects are the same as described under
  Alternative 2. Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same
  as discussed under Alternative 1.
Alternative 4
  Direct and Indirect Effects
  Incidental snag loss within the 726 acres of timber harvest units for safety would decrease roosting
  habitat potential. Timber harvest impacts to potential foraging and roosting habitat would be expected to
  be less than Alternative 2 or 3. Effects of slash and/or burning and Pronone are as described for
  Alternative 2. Alternative 4 may impact individuals by displacing them from potential roosting habitat.

  Cumulative Effects
  Cumulatively, implementation of Alternative 4 may impact individuals but is not likely to cause a trend
  to federal listing for the Townsend's big-eared bat. Remaining effects are the same as described under
  Alternative 2. Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same
  as discussed under Alternative 1.

WOLVERINE
Affected Environment
  Wolverine habitat is described by Butts (1992) and Ruggiero et al (1994) and is incorporated by
  reference. These remote areas with low levels of human activity are important to the maintenance of
  healthy wolverine populations (USDA 1989, Hornocker and Hash 1981) .Copeland and Harris (1994)
  found that subalpine cirque habitats might be critical to the wolverine in Idaho. Although wolverines seem
  to avoid large openings, they are known to cross them. Extensive human settlement and major roadways
  may serve as barriers to wolverine dispersal (Banci 1994).

  A Kootenai National Forest status summary of the wolverine was documented by Johnson (1999).
  Potential habitat occurs in all eight planning units, but field surveys and incidental sighting reports confirm
  that wolverines are present in just seven of the eight planning units (Ibid:35). The numerical status of the
  population is unknown and considered small. Applying the draft hierarchical habitat guidelines (USDA
  1994), the Kootenai National Forest was designated as a Primary Wolverine Conservation Area. Current
  management recommendations, in lieu of a Conservation Strategy, propose managing 40% of the
  suitable sub-drainages as high quality wolverine habitat with ORDs at or below 1.00 mi/mi2, and 40% as
  minimal quality.

  A habitat model (Heinz 1996, unpubl.) has been designed to identify potentially suitable wolverine habitat
  on the KNF. Forestwide there are 111,996 acres of denning habitat and 563,045 acres of foraging habitat
  identified. Within the Koocanusa planning unit there are 280 acres of denning and 106,550 acres of
  foraging habitat. The Bristow planning subunit is located within the Koocanusa Planning Unit. Within the
  Bristow subunit the cumulative effects model (CEM) identified three acres of denning habitat and 3,047
  acres of foraging habitat.

  Wolverine populations have declined from historical levels (Johnson 1999). In northwestern Montana, the
  yearly home range for male and female wolverines is 165 and 150 square miles respectively. Wolverines
  do exhibit some fidelity to particular areas for months or even years (Butts 1992). Documented dispersal
  movements range from 6 miles to 234 miles (Butts 1992).
  The nearest habitats for wolverine considered to have high potential are the Cabinet Mountains or the
  Purcell Range. Higher elevation, subalpine fir and spruce habitats, riparian zones and ridgeline corridors
  for movement probably constitute the extent of wolverine summer habitat. Winter habitat would include
  riparian movement corridors and ungulate winter range. Wolverine use of the Bristow planning subunit is
  expected to be limited to transient and infrequent to rare use due to the lack of subalpine cirque habitat,
  and the level of human development (open road density, fragmentation due to timber harvest, and human
  activity). One historic sighting for wolverine exists in the upper basin of Bristow Creek. The planning
  subunit is located about 25 airmiles from the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness, and is located within the
  documented dispersal range for wolverines.



  166                                    Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1
 Direct, Indirect, and Cumulative Effects
 Under this alternative, no activities as proposed in the action alternatives would occur with this project so
 no wolverines would be disturbed by any timber harvest, slashing and or underburning. No direct effect
 to wolverines should be expected with this alternative. Plant succession would continue on the sites. This
 plant succession, which includes encroachment of Douglas-fir regeneration, would have no indirect
 effects on wolverine since they probably spend little time on the drier sites except to search for big game
 carrion on the winter ranges.

 Wolverine susceptibility to trapping is strongly related to road access. Since no changes in road access
 would occur under this alternative, there would be no direct, indirect or cumulative effect on potential
 wolverine harvest by trapping.

 Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife”. The Barron Jack Timber Sale and the units in Table 3.1B will no longer
 provide travel habitat potential after treatment. Increased fragmentation could be detrimental to wolverine
 habitat since they seem to avoid large openings. Table 3.1B units S8 and S3 affect a total of 13 acres of a
 small isolated 20 acre patch of identified wolverine habitat. The FFRWHE program of prescribed fires
 and/or slashing would improve forage on the ungulate winter range (FFRWHE EA, 2001, Chap. 3). This
 activity is designed to retain the larger, overstory trees which would result in no direct, indirect, or
 cumulative increase in fragmentation. Some small openings would be expected where there are heavy
 fuel accumulations, but these openings are not expected to create any barriers to wolverine movement.
 Annual activities are not expected to have any impact on wolverines.

 The PCTC activities could directly affect wolverine movement by creating openings and increasing
 fragmentation.

 The no-action alternative, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and
 private lands, is expected to have no cumulative effects that would impact the wolverine because
 Alternative 1 would not change the current availability of suitable habitat. Suitable habitat would still occur
 on National Forest. Cumulatively, future timber harvest activities and the creation of openings not
 proposed at this time could affect wolverine movement through the area. However, future projects will
 consider the needs of wolverine.

Effects Common to All Action Alternatives
 Suitable denning habitat is limited in the Bristow subunit and is not found within any proposed treatment
 units. No known suitable denning habitat would be directly, indirectly, or cumulatively affected by any of
 the alternatives.

 The analysis of effects for big game species concluded an adequate prey population would remain and
 therefore the availability of carrion would continue to be available for all alternatives.

Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Openings are relatively common in many of the proposed treatment units located in the drier VRUs 1, 2, 3
 and 4. These openings are both natural or are often from past fire or logging. In the wetter VRUs and in
 the upper portions of the drainages, many openings exist as a result of timber harvest. Wolverines are
 known to avoid openings, but are known to cross them. Potential effects of the proposed timber harvest
 activities include disturbance of individuals, further fragmentation of existing blocks of suitable transient
 habitat, and increased access for trappers. Units # 3 and 1 affect a total of 19 acres of model-identified
 wolverine habitat along the lower elevation line of mapped habitat. Unit #49 affects five acres of mapped
 habitat. The potential for directly affecting any wolverine by disturbance is low. The wolverine population
 is small and generally widely dispersed. The chances are small that a transient individual would be
 present at the time a particular unit is being harvested, burned, or thinned. Proposed activities during the
 winter or spring have a slightly higher chance of disturbing an individual since wolverines may be
 searching for winter killed big game on the winter ranges. Big game winter range habitat is managed
 according to Forest Plan management area standards, and provides suitable winter and spring wolverine

                                        Chapter 3                                                           167
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 habitat. The elevation of most of the winter range is fairly low for wolverine use. Alternative 2 would
 harvest timber on 1,643 acres, with approximately 590 acres located on big game winter range
 (MA10/11). Qualities of the winter range for white-tailed deer would decrease, but are expected to remain
 suitable for mule deer and elk.

 Increased fragmentation could be detrimental to wolverine habitat since they seem to avoid large
 openings. (Refer to Chapter 2 for a summary of the proposed Alternative 2 and associated activities.)
 Several large openings would be created, and the precommercial thinning would reduce hiding cover.
 However suitable travel habitat would remain based on a visual review of the remaining juxtaposition of
 cover.

 The proposed slash and/or burn units would have direct effects on the habitat but should not negatively
 impact the suitability of these stands as travel habitat as these drier sites historically burned every 10 to
 50 years. The proposed burning on 1,526 acres would improve the foraging quality for big game. Only
 unit #24 affects a total of 37 acres of mapped wolverine habitat. Potential foraging habitat on existing
 winter ranges would be maintained by the proposed slash and burn treatments. The slashing and/or
 prescribed fires would basically reduce the number of smaller trees and maintain the open condition
 under the larger trees that is favored by mule deer. Pole size trees are expected to have a low mortality
 rate overall. Some patches may have higher mortality where higher fuel concentrations and ladder fuels
 exist. This activity is expected to have minimal direct, indirect or cumulative effects on the overstory due
 to the low fire severities in mature/over mature closed canopy forest. The slashing and/or the fire
 treatments are designed to remove smaller understory trees and maintain the larger overstory trees. The
 fire severities are expected to be low wherever closed canopy mature/over mature stands exist due to
 higher fuel moistures under the denser canopies, especially with spring burns. Directly, and indirectly
 some mortality of larger trees could occur where pockets of heavier fuels exist.

 Alternative 2 proposes the use of the herbicide Pronone on five units (units #15, 21, 23, 28, 37), totaling
 121 acres, which would reduce the amount and diversity of shrubs/forbs on ungulate winter range. This
 would not improve the condition of the winter range for ungulates which could indirectly increase the
 wolverine‟s source of carrion in the short-term.

 Cumulative Effects
 Alternative 2, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands
 is not expected to have adverse cumulative effects that impact the wolverine. Implementation of
 Alternative 2 may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend towards
 federal listing for the wolverine. This finding is based on:
 1) Displacement could occur during implementation.
 2) No impact is expected to occur to the wolverine natality or mortality rates.
 3) Use of the Bristow planning subunit is expected to be limited to transient use due to the lack of
     subalpine cirque habitats and the level of development (roads, harvest units, and human activity
     levels).
 4) Winter ranges, which are important carrion sources, would be affected by timber harvest, slash and
     burning, and the use of Pronone, but ungulate use would continue.
 5) Suitable wolverine habitat would remain distributed across the forest as described by Johnson (1999).

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Timber harvest units #3 and #1 affect a total of fifteen acres of modeled habitat along the lower elevation
 line of mapped habitat. Unit #49 affects five acres of mapped habitat. Alternative 3 would harvest timber
 on 1,205 acres, with approximately 479 acres located on big game winter range (MA10/11). Slash and
 burn unit #24 affects a total of 37 acres of mapped wolverine habitat. The use of Pronone would occur on
 a total of 17acres.

 Alternative 3, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands
 is not expected to have adverse cumulative effects that impact the wolverine. Implementation of
 Alternative 3 may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend towards
 federal listing for the wolverine. Remaining effects are as described under Alternative 2. Cumulative
 effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed under
 Alternative 1.
 168                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

Alternative 4
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Timber harvest unit #49 affects five acres of mapped habitat. Alternative 4 would harvest timber on 726
 acres, with approximately 400 acres located on big game winter range (MA10/11). Slash and burn unit
 #24 affects a total of 37 acres of mapped wolverine habitat. The use of Pronone would occur on a total of
 34 acres.
 Cumulative Effects
 Alternative 3, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands
 is not expected to have adverse cumulative effects that impact the wolverine. Implementation of
 Alternative 4 may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend towards
 federal listing for the wolverine. Remaining effects are as described under Alternative 2. Cumulative
 effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed under
 Alternative 1.

FISHER
AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT
 Habitat for the fisher is described in Heinemeyer and Jones (1994) and Ruggiero et al. (1994), which are
 incorporated by reference. Suitable habitat often occurs adjacent to or as inclusions to the proposed
 units. Fishers prefer stands within 600 ft. of water and select areas within 1,200 feet of perennial streams
 (Heinemeyer and Jones 1994). Fisher have been found to prefer mature or old growth coniferous forests
 for resting and denning while using a broader range of habitat for foraging, including edge habitat for eco-
 tones which support a diverse prey base (Heinemeyer and Jones 1994). Travel corridors are also
 provided by other stands within minimum of 40% canopy coverage (USDA 1994).

 Most studies have found fishers tolerant of moderate degrees of human activity within their habitats
 (Heinemeyer and Jones 1994). Fishers are susceptible to trapping and are frequently caught in traps set
 for other furbearers.

 A Kootenai National Forest status summary of the fisher was documented by Johnson (1999). The
 summary shows potential habitat occurs across all eight planning subunits. The fisher population size on
 the Kootenai National Forest is unknown. The two planning units (PU) with no documented presence of
 fishers are the Fisher and Koocanusa. The Bristow planning subunit is located within the Koocanusa PU

 A habitat model (Heinz 1999, unpublished) has been designed to identify potentially suitable fisher habitat
 on the KNF. Forestwide 368,514 acres of winter habitat and 294,531 acres of year-long habitat were
 identified. Within the Koocanusa PU 42,039 acres of winter habitat and 37,332 acres of year-long habitat
 were identified (Johnson 1999). Habitat suitability and any potential use within the Bristow planning
 subunit would be expected to be largely limited to old growth or replacement old growth stands and the
 mixed species riparian corridors. Old growth and replacement old growth has been validated with 4,114
 acres of MA13 (11.6%) identified and an additional 513 acres of undesignated replacement old growth
 (1.4%). In addition to mature and old growth stands, fishers are also known to use young forests in winter
 (Jones 1991:iii). An analysis of potential habitat for the fisher using TSMRS data considered both winter
 and yearlong habitat within the Bristow subunit. Habitat less than 650 meters distance to perennial
 streams, wetlands, marshes, and lakes was evaluated as the fisher habitat zone. Approximately 1,434
 acres of yearlong habitat and 6,074 acres of winter habitat were identified on Forest Service lands. Other
 habitat (including both timbered and regeneration units) within fisher habitat totaled 6,368 on NFS lands
 and 1,699 acres on PCTC lands.

 The KNF has been designated as a Primary Conservation Area for fisher (Ruediger, 1994). Current
 management recommendations, in lieu of a Conservation Strategy, propose managing 30% of the sub-
 drainages as high quality fisher habitat and 40% in moderate-quality habitat. High quality habitat of grand
 fir, cedar, and hemlock is a minor component (11%) of the available habitat within the Bristow planning
 subunit. Based on historic and current fisher use and habitat availability within the Bristow planning
 subunit, it is not likely that the subunit would be considered for designation as part of the 30% of the sub-
 drainages to be managed for high quality fisher habitat. There are no known records of fishers within the
 Bristow planning subunit. Portions of the area are fragmented by both existing timber harvest units and
                                                    2
 roads. Total road densities approach 3.3 mi/mi . This total road density makes fisher populations

                                        Chapter 3                                                         169
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 vulnerable to trapping throughout the subunit. Most of the roads can be legally used by over the snow
 vehicles during the winter trapping season.

Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Under this alternative, no activities as proposed in the action alternatives would occur with this project so
 no fishers would be disturbed by any timber harvest, slashing and or underburning. No direct effect to
 fishers should be expected with this alternative. Historical timber harvest decreased the amount of old
 growth and available down woody habitat component available. Plant succession would continue on the
 sites. This plant succession would have few indirect effects on fishers since they probably spend little
 time on the drier sites. On the wetter sites, plant succession would tend to increase fisher habitat value on
 suitable sites. All existing old growth and replacement old growth habitat, both designated and
 undesignated, would be maintained with implementation of Alternative 1. Fishers are susceptible to
 trapping. Since no changes in road access would occur under this alternative, there would be no direct,
 indirect or cumulative effect on potential fisher harvest by trapping.

 Cumulative Effects
 Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife”. None of the remaining Barron Jack Timber Sale or Table 3.1B units occur
 within model identified fisher habitat. The FFRWHE program of slash and/or burning activities are
 expected to have short-term or no direct, indirect, or cumulative effect on fisher habitat components and
 no direct, indirect, or cumulative effect on potential fisher harvest (USDA 2001). The PCTC activities
 could directly affect fisher movement by creating openings and increasing fragmentation. Approximately
 135 acres of clearcut, 162 acres of commercial thin, and 50 acres of shelterwood treatment would occur
 within fisher habitat.

 The no-action alternative, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and
 private lands, is expected to have no cumulative effects that would impact the fisher because
 Alternative 1 would not change the current availability of suitable habitat and access for trapping would
 not change. The down woody component of existing stands would continue to provide travel cover for the
 fisher. Suitable habitat would still occur on National Forest. Cumulatively, private timber harvest activities
 and the creation of openings could affect potential fisher movement through the area.

Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Potential direct effects include the removal or reduction of suitable habitat, disturbance from human
 activities, and increased access for trappers. Increased fragmentation could be detrimental to fisher
 habitat since they seem to avoid large openings. Alternative 2 would have direct effects to fisher habitat.
 Modeled winter habitat would be impacted by 433 acres of timber harvest (7%) and 115 acres of slash
 and burning (2%). Yearlong habitat would be treated with approximately 99 acres of timber harvest (7%).
 “Other” timbered habitat within the fisher habitat zone would have 346 acres of timber harvest and 521
 acres of slash and burning. Overall, the winter/yearlong habitat identified would have 7% affected by
 timber harvest (532 acres). Within the fisher habitat zone 6% (878 acres) would be impacted by timber
 harvest. Forestwide, less than 0.5% of the potential habitat available is affected.

 In order to maintain the movement/connectivity corridor along Bristow Creek, mitigation requirements
 include no landings or landing piles to be located below road 333. Riparian area buffers (RHCAs) which
 would exclude timber harvest would also maintain connectivity throughout the Bristow subunit.

 Precommercial thinning would also occur on an additional 1,064 acres. Precommercial thinning could
 impact habitat to primary prey species such as snowshoe hare by decreasing foraging habitat.

 Proposed changes in road access would decrease motorized traffic during winter, and an indirect
 decrease in trapping pressure could result. If winter logging occurred, an increase in trapping pressure
 could result due to the easier access during the activity period.

 Alternative 2 proposes the use of the herbicide Pronone in five units (#15, 21, 23, 28, 37), but only 55
 acres of winter habitat would be affected. Within the area considered for fisher habitat another 57 acres of
 170                                           Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  “other” timbered habitat would also have Pronone use after harvest. This is less than 1% of the identified
  fisher habitat, and sufficient suitable habitat would remain.

  Cumulative Effects
  Alternative 2, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands
  is expected to have no negative cumulative effects that impact the fisher. Alternative 2 would treat less
  than 1% of the potential fisher habitat available forestwide. This amount of habitat loss is not likely to
  result in a declining population trend for this species. Alternative 2 may impact individuals or habitat
  but will not likely contribute to a trend towards federal listing for fishers or their habitat. This finding
  is based the above analysis, and includes the following:
  1) Minimal potential for disturbance or displacement from proposed activities in suitable habitat.
  2) Proposed access changes may reduce susceptibility to trapping.
  3) Sufficient habitat would remain in the Bristow planning subunit and distributed across the forest to
       maintain populations.
  Other cumulative effects of present and reasonably foreseeable actions are as discussed under
  Alternative 1.

 Alternative 3
  Direct, Indirect, and Cumulative Effects
  Modeled winter habitat would be impacted by 300 acres of timber harvest (5%) and 115 acres of slash
  and burning (2%). Yearlong habitat would be treated with approximately 99 acres of timber harvest (6%).
  “Other” timbered habitat within the fisher habitat zone would have 261 acres of timber harvest. Overall,
  the winter/yearlong habitat identified would have 4% affected by timber harvest (313 acres). Within the
  fisher habitat zone 5% (646 acres) would be impacted by timber harvest. Forestwide, less than 0.5% of
  the potential habitat available is affected. Four units would use Pronone (units #15, 21, 23, 28) with a total
  of 55 acres of winter habitat affected. Within the area considered for fisher habitat another 21 acres of
  “other” timbered habitat would also have Pronone use after harvest.

  Alternative 3 may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend towards
  federal listing for fishers or their habitat. Remaining effects are as described under Alternative 2.
  Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
  under Alternative 1.

 Alternative 4
  Direct, Indirect, and Cumulative Effects
  Modeled winter habitat would be impacted by 76 acres of timber harvest (1%) and 115 acres of slash and
  burning (2%). Yearlong habitat would be treated with approximately 99 acres of timber harvest (6%).
  “Other” timbered habitat within the fisher habitat zone would have 235 acres of timber harvest. Overall,
  the winter/yearlong habitat identified would have 2% affected by timber harvest (156 acres). Within the
  fisher habitat zone 3% (391acres) would be impacted by timber harvest. Forestwide, less than 0.5% of
  the potential habitat available is affected. Two units would use Pronone (units #28, 37) with only 57 acres
  of “other” timbered habitat affected.

  Alternative 4 may impact individuals or habitat but will not likely contribute to a trend towards
  federal listing for fishers or their habitat. Remaining effects are as described under Alternative 2.
  Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
  under Alternative 1.

Amphibians
  Since 1995, yearly amphibian surveys have been conducted at the Blue Lake Marsh, located on the
  western boundary of the Bristow planning subunit planning subunit. Those surveys have identified long
  toed salamanders, boreal toads, pacific chorus frogs, and spotted frogs in the sub-adult and adult life
  stages. Within the Bristow planning subunit other surveys have been conducted for Couer d‟Alene
  salamanders in the Barron Creek compartment #553.

 BOREAL TOAD
  The boreal toad occurs in a wide variety of habitats, from the great Basin deserts of Nevada to the coastal
  forests of southeastern Alaska and from sea level to timberline in mountainous areas. These toads are
                                         Chapter 3                                                          171
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 usually nocturnal in behavior, but are occasionally found active during daylight especially on rainy,
 overcast days or during breeding activity. Mature toads eat a wide variety of insects as well as spiders,
 crayfish, earthworms, snails and ants. Some studies suggest that ants are a major food item in the Rocky
 Mountains. Sexually mature adults migrate to water for spring breeding and favor ponds, shallow lake
 edges and slow-moving streams or rivers. Females lay about 12,000 eggs per clutch (Nussbaum et al
 1983) and double strings of eggs are deposited in shallow water. Eggs hatch in a week or so depending
 on water temperature, and the resulting small black tadpoles frequently form dense schools close to the
 shoreline while searching for warm water in which to feed. By late summer tadpoles transform into small
 toads about 12 to 14 mm in length and begin their terrestrial life, and migration to upland habitats.

 The boreal toad has undergone severe population declines within the last 25 years, particularly in the
 southern portion of its range. This has included Colorado, Wyoming and northern New Mexico. The
 specific causes for this decline remain unknown, but fieldwork has focused on several possible causes
 (Corn and Vertucci 1992, Blaustian and Wake 1995, Corn 1998).

 In Montana, Black (1970) and others have established that boreal toads were common in the western part
 of the state in the 1960s and earlier. The boreal toad is now uncommon and local (Reichel and Flath
 1995).

AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT
 On the Kootenai national Forest, habitat for the boreal toad extends above 6,000 feet in elevation
 (Werner and Reichel 1996). Breeding occurs in lakes, ponds and slow streams, with a preference for
 shallow areas with mud bottoms (Werner and Reichel 1994).

 A Kootenai National Forest status summary of the boreal toad was documented by Johnson (1999). The
 species has been documented in seven planning units, including the Koocanusa PU. The population size
 is unknown and direct measures of population trend on the Kootenai are not available (Ibid). Surveys
 conducted between 1993 and 1995 located only 63 adults. Of the 134 wetland sites surveyed during the
 1993-94 field season, only 10 had evidence of successful breeding (Werner and Reichel 1994); five
 additional sites were confirmed during the 1995 field season (Werner and Reichel 1996). Surveys of
 approximately 200 potential sites were conducted in the Bull River drainage during the 1997-98 field
 season, but evidence as a breeding site (tadpoles and eggs) were found at only eight sites (Corn et. at.
 1998). Historic and active breeding sites by planning unit on the Kootenai National Forest are
 summarized by Johnson (1999). Forestwide, approximately 35 breeding sites were verified between
 1995 and 1998.

 On the Libby Ranger District, annual monitoring of tadpole production occurred on five sites from 1995-
 2003. The boreal toad has been documented at 2 of these sites, including Blue Lake headwaters marsh.
 All three known active breeding sites (Blue Lake headwaters marsh, Lafoe Lake, and east fork Pipe
 Creek bog) are located within the Kootenai planning unit.

Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Under this alternative, no Forest Service harvest as proposed would take place. No direct effect to the
 boreal toad would be expected with this alternative. Plant succession would continue on the sites.
 Indirectly, this would result in an increase of canopy closure and an increase in density of understory
 conifers. This increase in canopy closure and understory conifer density would have no direct, indirect or
 cumulative effect on breeding habitat, and little if any effect on upland habitat. Fuels would continue to
 accumulate on the upland sites. So they wildland fire occur, the aquatic breeding habitats would not be
 directly affected, but surrounding upland habitat could be burned. Boreal toads have been noted to re-
 colonize burned areas the following year (Maxell, personal communication 2003, Holifield, pers.
 observation).

 Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife”. The ongoing activities on National Forest lands as described, including
 both timber harvest and slashing and/or burning treatments would have no direct, indirect, or cumulative
 effects on breeding habitat, but do have the potential to directly and indirectly affect adult toads present in
 upland habitat. The PCTC activities could directly affect boreal toad movement by creating openings.
 172                                            Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

 The no-action alternative, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and
 private lands, is expected to have no direct or indirect effects that would impact the boreal toad
 because current availability of suitable habitat would not change. Suitable habitat would still occur on
 National Forest. Cumulatively, private timber harvest activities and the creation of openings could affect
 toad habitat.

Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 The proposed federal timber harvest activities would harvest 1,643 acres and build approximately 5.5
 miles of temporary road and reconstruct about 1.29 miles of road. Site preparation burning would occur
 on 1,583 acres of harvest units, and an additional 1,526 acres would be treated with slash and/or burning
 activities. All activities would be consistent with INFS, and direct or indirect impacts on riparian habitat
 (potential breeding sites) associated with the boreal toad, would be unlikely. No harvest, which could
 impact habitat, would occur within Streamside Management Zones (SMZs). Harvest activities within
 SMZs could directly impact potential habitat for the species by physically altering vertical and horizontal
 riparian components and could have indirect impacts by removing overhead crown closure. Timber
 harvest activities can also increase peakflows and sediment loads; both occurrences could alter riparian
 habitat conditions and influence the reproduction biology of the species. In order to maintain the
 movement corridor and connectivity along Bristow creek, no landings or burn piles would be located
 below forest road #333.

 Little quantitative data are available regarding the boreal toad's use of upland and forested habitats.
 However, boreal toads are known to migrate between the aquatic breeding and terrestrial nonbreeding
 habitats (TNC Database 1999), and that juvenile and adult toads are capable of moving over 5 km
 between breeding sites (Corn et al. 1998). It is thought that juvenile's and female boreal toads travel
 farther than the males (Ibid). A study on the Targhee National Forest (Bartelt and Peterson 1994) found
 female toads traveled up to 2.5 kilometers away from water after breeding, and in foraging areas, the
 movements of toads were significantly influenced by the distribution of shrub cover. Their data suggests
 that toads may have avoided macro-habitats with little or no canopy and shrub cover (such as clearcuts).
 Underground burrows in winter and debris were important components of toad selected micro-sites in a
 variety of macro-habitats. The boreal toad digs its own burrow in loose soil or uses those of small
 mammals, or shelters under logs or rocks, suggesting the importance of coarse woody debris on the
 forest floor. The proposed timber harvest and prescribed burning activities could impact upland habitat by
 removing shrub cover, down woody material, and/or through compaction of soil.

 Alternative 2 proposes the use of the herbicide Pronone in five units (#15, 21, 23, 28, and 37) which
 would reduce the amount and diversity of shrubs/forbs on a total of 121 acres of drier ponderosa pine/
 bunchgrass/ninebark communities. The areas of treatment with loss of native vegetation would not
 provide habitat for the boreal toad. Actual acres impacted are expected to be less since the herbicide will
 be spot-applied.

 Cumulative Effects
 Alternative 2, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands,
 is not expected to have adverse cumulative effects that would impact the boreal toad). In the short-term
 both timber harvest and slash and/or burn units would not provide habitat until shrub cover returned. The
 temporary reduction in habitat due to Alternative 2 is not likely to result in a declining population trend for
 this species. Implementation of Alternative 2 may impact individuals or habitat, but would not likely
 contribute to a trend towards federal listing for the boreal toad. This finding is based on:
 1) Removal and partial consumption of coarse woody material in upland sites due to harvest activities
      and/or fire.
 2) The longer-term recruitment of coarse woody debris due to fire killed trees falling over time.
 3) No impact or change to the current availability of breeding habitat.
 4) Retention of riparian movement corridors.
 5) The low risk of direct mortality during burning and the unknown direct mortality risk during timber
      harvest activities.
 6) Suitable habitat would remain in the Bristow subunit and distributed across the Kootenai National
      Forest.

                                         Chapter 3                                                          173
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
 under Alternative 1.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 The proposed federal timber harvest activities would harvest 1,205 acres and build approximately 4.76
 miles of temporary road and reconstruct about 1.29 miles of road. Site preparation burning would occur
 on 1,157 acres of harvest units, and an additional 1,526 acres would be treated with slash and/or
 burning activities. A total of 17 acres would be spot-sprayed with Pronone. Implementation of Alternative
 3 may impact individuals or habitat, but would not likely contribute to a trend towards federal
 listing for the boreal toad. Remaining effects are as described under Alternative 2.

 Cumulative Effectd
 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
 under Alternative 1.

Alternative 4
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 The proposed federal activity would harvest timber on 726 acres and build approximately 2.48 miles of
 temporary road. Site preparation burning would also occur on 726 acres of harvest units, and an
 additional 1,526 acres would be treated with slash and/or burning activities. A total of 34 acres would be
 treated with Pronone.

 Implementation of Alternative 4 may impact individuals or habitat, but would not likely contribute to
 a trend towards federal listing for the boreal toad. Remaining effects are as described under
 Alternative 2.
 Cumulativve Effects
 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
 under Alternative 1.

COEUR D'ALENE SALAMANDER
AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT
 The Coeur d‟Alene salamander (CDA) is a species that is dependent upon aquatic and adjacent riparian
 habitats. Specific habitat requirements and status on the KNF is described in Genter et al. 1988. This
 document is hereby incorporated by reference.

 Surveys for CDAs were conducted in 1992 at the Koocanusa fall and Barron Creek fall intersection and
 ¼ mile upstream. No salamanders were located. Coeur d‟Alene salamanders are known to occur within
 5 miles to the north on the Rexford Ranger District at five different locations (MTNHP 1987, 1988).

 A Kootenai National Forest status summary of the Coeur d‟Alene salamander was documented by
 Johnson (1999). The summary shows potential habitat occurs in all eight planning units on the Forest.
 The population size on the Kootenai National Forest is not known. Direct measures of population trend
 are not available but based on species ecology and patterns of landscape change, it is likely that past
 timber harvest and road construction in and near streams have resulted in habitat loss (Ibid).

Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Under Alternative 1, no activities as proposed would occur. No direct effects to the Coeur d'Alene
 salamander would occur. Indirectly, increases in peak flow and sediment production could occur if stand
 replacing fires were to occur in the project area. Coeur d'Alene salamanders must occupy very moist sites
 at all times, and spend most of their time below the surface to obtain the moist conditions needed.
 Riparian vegetation provides shade to help maintain moist conditions.

 Cumulative Effects
 Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife”. Past activities, which include timber harvest, fire suppression, road
 174                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 construction, and natural events such as wildfire, have created the existing habitat conditions for the
 species. Ongoing and reasonably foreseeable activities, depending upon timing and intensity could have
 some effect upon the total amount of equivalent clearcut area (ECA) in the affected watersheds in the
 amount of peak flow increase.

 The no-action alternative, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and
 private lands, is expected to have no cumulative effect that would impact these aquatic and riparian
 associated species. The proposed PCTC harvest activities will impact the watersheds. Please refer to the
 analysis in the Water Resources and Fisheries Resource sections of the EA for a detailed discussion of
 direct, indirect and cumulative effects of Alternative 1.

Effects Common to All Action Alternatives
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 The action alternatives could have direct and indirect effects to potential Couer d‟Alene salamander
 habitat with the associated activities of timber harvest, site preparation, stream enhancement projects,
 road decommissioning, construction of temporary road, reconstruction of a currently decommissioned
 road, and upgrading of roads and stream crossings to meet stream BMP standards. The removing of
 stream crossing structures would also result in the direct, short-term input of sediment to stream
 channels. These projects would have a short term detrimental effect on water quality but would result in
 long-term beneficial results (Please refer to the watershed/fisheries resource section of this EA for a
 complete discussion). The proposed slash/ and or underburning (329 acres in Bristow Creek, 412 acres
 in Barron Creek, 4 acres in Jackson creek, and 670 acres in Reservoir Face Drainages) is expected to
 have little to no effect on the water resource. The prescribed fires may occasionally directly creep into
 riparian areas, however the riparian habitat use by the Coeur d'Alene salamander is very wet and would
 not be expected to burn. The proposed timber harvest and road decommissioning would occur for each
 action alternative as described in Chapter 2. These activities will result in impacts to the water resource.

 Cumulative Effects
 As discussed under Alternative 1, PCTC plans timber harvest in the Bristow subunit. Cumulatively, the
 management of the Bristow Creek watershed will leave it in a “functioning at risk” category and Barron
 and Jackson Creek would continue to be “not functioning”. However, required mitigation which includes
 the removal of stream crossings would help the creeks better absorb disturbances (please see watershed
 discussion). The proposed activities, in conjunction with the required mitigation, would maintain beneficial
 uses in Bristow, Barron and Jackson Creeks and would not impede recovery of those drainages. Please
 refer to the boreal toad section for a discussion of Pronone effects on aquatic organisms.

 The action alternatives, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and
 private lands, are not expected to have adverse cumulative effects that would impact the Coeur d‟Alene
 salamander. The action alternatives may directly, indirectly and cumulatively affect individuals as
 discussed above but are not likely to cause a trend to federal listing. This is based on:
 1) Existing habitat would be maintained.
 2) The action alternatives would maintain beneficial uses in the watersheds.
 3) Surveys have not documented the species in the Bristow planning subunit, and potential is
     considered to be low.
 4) As discussed above, the Kootenai National Forest status summary of this species shows potential
     habitat is distributed across the Forest and this habitat would be maintained.

Sensitive Species Regulatory Framework and Consistency
 The State of Montana (Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks) currently classifies many of the USFS sensitive
 species as “species of special interest or concern”, but has no law regulating habitat.

 The Kootenai National Forest is directed to “identify, protect, and manage” habitat for sensitive species in
 order to assist in maintaining viable populations. The KNF Forest Plan contains the following goals and
 direction for sensitive species: “determine the status of sensitive species and provide for their
 environmental needs as necessary to prevent them from becoming threatened or endangered” (Vol. I, II-
 1); “Maintain diverse age classes of vegetation for viable populations of all existing native, vertebrate,
 wildlife species,… in sufficient quality and quantity to maintain viable populations” (Vol. I, II-1).


                                        Chapter 3                                                          175
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    A. All alternatives meet Forest plan direction for the common loon, harlequin duck, northern
       goshawk, peregrine falcon, flammulated owl, black-backed woodpecker, Townsend‟s big-eared
       bat, wolverine, fisher, boreal toad, and Coeur d‟Alene salamander under the sensitive species
       classification.

    B. All alternatives are consistent with Forest Plan direction to maintain a minimum of 10% old growth
                               rd
       below 5500‟ in each 3 order drainage or compartment or a combination of compartments
       (Kootenai Supplement No. 85; supplement to FSM 2432.22). The Bristow planning subunit has
       11.6% MA 13 old-growth designated. In addition, 57 acres of undesignated old growth and 448
       acres of undesignated replacement old growth would also remain. A recent Forest wide
       assessment (USDA Forest Service 2003) shows that the Kootenai National Forest has 11% MA
       13 designated. The Kootenai Forest Plan established that maintaining 10% of old growth habitat
       is sufficient to support viable populations of old-growth dependent species (Vol. 1, II-1, II-7, III-54;
       Vol. 2, A17). This is expected to benefit species such as the northern goshawk, flammulated owl,
       black-backed woodpecker and Townsend‟s big-eared bat.

    C. Fire can be used to prevent changes in old growth characteristics that may be unsuitable for
       goshawks and flammulated owls (dense regeneration in the understory may impede flight
       maneuverability). The Forest Plan (Vol. 1, III-56) states that planned ignitions are acceptable to
       maintain old growth characteristics (e.g. old growth ponderosa pine). Implementation of all
       alternatives would allow for prescribed underburning. The ongoing FFRWHE EA would continue
       under all alternatives including Alternative 1, and provide for 3,770 acres of treatment, some of
       which treats old growth, within the Bristow planning subunit. Under Alternative 2 modification to
       some of the Forestwide identified units would occur, but treatment of old growth by prescribed fire
       would still continue.

Long-term management direction for sensitive species is currently being developed at the regional level
of the USFS. The Forest Service Manual states, “…units must develop conservation strategies for those
sensitive species whose continued existence may be negatively affected by the forest plan or a proposed
project.” This BA constitutes the BE and documents that this project will not negatively impact the
continued existence of any of the sensitive species; therefore, conservation strategies are not required.
This EA is in compliance with NEPA, NFMA and the Forest Service Manual.

    A. Applicable strategies and guidance found in the Interim Management Recommendations (USDA
       1992) were followed under Alternative 1 for the harlequin duck, flammulated owl, black-backed
       woodpeckers, and Townsend‟s big-eared bat.

    B. For flammulated owls, the use of Pronone in units #15, 23, 37, and 68 would not benefit habitat
       for flammulated owl prey species due to the reduction in both shrub and forb cover and diversity.
       Potential and existing flammulated owl territories are expected to be maintained with
       implementation of all alternatives.

    C. For black-backed woodpeckers, the following strategies from the Interim Management
       Recommendations would be followed: snag retention standards and guidelines for harvest areas,
       implementation of road closures, and compliance with forest plan old growth retention standards.
       Other management strategies, such as leave corridors at least 300 feet wide for woodpeckers to
       travel between old growth areas are met where existing conditions allow.

    D. No Townsend‟s big eared bats are known to occur within the Bristow planning subunit. Herbicide
       use is being proposed. The use of Pronone is not expected to benefit habitat for Townsend‟s big-
       eared bat prey species due to the reduction in both shrub and forb cover and diversity.

    E. For the wolverine, applicable strategies and guidance found in the Interim Management
       Recommendations (USDA 1992) were considered. These management strategies include:
           1. Maintaining lower road densities < 1 mile per square mile.
           2. Consider management situation (MS) 1 grizzly bear habitat guidelines in addressing
               clearcut size and road density.
           3. Maintain and enhance wintering ungulate populations in remote locations.

176                                    Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
          When these management strategies are compared to the existing condition it must be noted that
          the Bristow planning subunit has an open road density of 3.3 miles/square mile, is located outside
          of grizzly bear recovery areas (but partially within a recurrent grizzly use area),, and is not in a
          remote location. The proposed action would result in over 40 acre openings being created, high
          open road densities during activity, but several road access changes are proposed which would
          improve security for big game. The proposed slashing and burning however would improve
          forage on ungulate winter ranges.

          The modified proposed action (Alternative 2) was designed to have larger patch sizes in an effort
          to emulate historic disturbance patterns. Placement of larger patch sizes was determined using
          the Bristow Connectivity Report (USDA 2001, Appendix B). In particular, Map 8 Bristow
          Connectivity Projected Forested Matrix with Fragmentation Area was used to determine
          placement of larger patch sizes. On the moist forest types, most harvest treatment locations were
          chosen by blocking up areas close to past harvests. The intent was to maintain interior forest in
          other areas and reduce fragmentation. Wildlife travel corridors, logging feasibility, past harvest
          and terrain elements limit the size and shape of the patches. Alternative 3 was designed to
          harvest priority areas with no opening larger than forty acres.

Statement of Findings for Sensitive Species
All Alternatives
  Based on available information on the distribution, presence/absence from the Bristow planning subunit,
  and habitat requirements for the species, implementation of all the alternatives would have: No Impact
  (direct, indirect, or cumulative) to the Common loon, peregrine falcon, Columbian sharp tailed grouse,
  Woodland caribou, Northern bog lemming, and Northern Leopard frog.

Alternative 1
  Implementation of the no action alternative would have no impact on the harlequin duck, goshawk,
  peregrine falcon, flammulated owl, black backed woodpecker, Townsend's big eared bat, wolverine,
  fisher, boreal toad, and Coeur d'Alene salamander. Cumulatively however, there will be changes. There
  are effects of recent activities and effects of reasonable foreseeable actions (such as snags would
  continue to be lost due to public firewood cutting and would be created by the Forestwide Fuels EA units).

Effects Common to All Action Alternatives
  Based on available information on the distribution, presence/absence from the Bristow planning subunit,
  and habitat requirements for the species, as well as the project design and location, implementation of the
  action alternatives may impact individuals but are not likely to cause a trend to federal listing to the
  northern goshawk, flammulated owl, black backed woodpecker, Townsend's big-eared bat, wolverine,
  fisher, boreal toad, and Coeur d'Alene salamander.

SMALL MAMMALS AND HERPETOFAUNA
  Habitat and populations for small mammals and herpetofauna are covered under the management
  indicator species (MIS) concept of the Kootenai National Forest Plan. The Forest Plan assumption is that
  effects of a proposed action on MIS can be correlated to effects on other species with similar habitat
  requirements. As habitat for MIS species is being maintained, it is assumed that sufficient habitat and
  populations of small mammals and herpetofauna are also being maintained.

Forest Plan Consistency
 There are no specific goals or standards for small mammals or herpetofauna in the Kootenai Forest plan.
 It does however, contain the goal to: "maintain diverse age classes of vegetation for viable populations of
 all existing native, vertebrate, wildlife species..." (Forest Plan volume 1, II-1, goal #7). All alternatives are
 consistent with the Kootenai Forest plan.

MIGRATORY LANDBIRDS
  The National Forest Management Act (NFMA) requires that Forest plans "preserve and enhance the
  diversity of plant and animal communities...so that it is at least as great as that which can be expected in
  the natural forest" (36 CFR 219.27). Additional direction states that "management prescriptions, where
  appropriate and to the extent practicable, shall preserve and enhance the diversity of plant and animal
  communities, including endemic and desirable naturalized plant and animal species, so that it is at least
                                          Chapter 3                                                           177
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  as great as that which could be expected in a natural forest". Furthermore, implementation regulations for
  the NFMA specify that, "Fish and wildlife habitat shall be managed to maintain viable populations of
  existing native and desired non-native vertebrate species in the planning area". On January 10, 2001,
  President Clinton signed an Executive Order titled “Responsibilities of Federal Agencies to Protect
  Migratory Birds.” On January 17, 2001, the USDA Forest Service and the USDI Fish and Wildlife Service
  signed a Memorandum of Understanding to complement the Executive Order.

Affected Environment
  Migratory land birds are those migrant species that are confined or suspected breeders on the Kootenai
  national Forest during the summer months but migrate south to spend their winter months. Of the
  approximately 205 birds species known to occur on the Forest as either breeders, migrants, winter
  visitors, or transients, about 70 species could be classified as neotropical migratory land birds which
  breed on the Kootenai but winter in the tropics (Al Bratkovich, pers. comm. 1999).

Environmental Consequences
  Responses of migrant birds to timber harvest, burning (prescribed or wildfire) would depend upon their
  individual habitat preferences and needs.

Effects Common to All Action Alternatives
  Indicator species have been designated for the Kootenai National Forest. The Kootenai Forest Plan
  (Appendix 12:1) grouped the approximately 280 species present on the Forest depending on their habitat
  preference for feeding and reproduction. For each of these groups a species was identified as an
  indicator species to act as a 'barometer of change" in that particular habitat. The Forest Plan directs that
  these management indicator species (MIS) or their habitat parameters (i.e. old growth) are to be
  monitored to evaluate the effects of proposed land management activities on these species and/or their
  habitat. The Forest Plan assumption is that effects of a proposed action on MIS can be correlated to
  effects on other species with similar habitat requirements. Indicator species that have been analyzed
  include the grizzly bear, gray wolf, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, elk, and white-tailed deer. These species
  have either a general forest, rivers and lakes, or cliffs habitat dependency. The pileated woodpecker
  which has a habitat dependency on snags and old growth timber was also analyzed. These MIS species
  represent the habitat needs for migratory birds. As habitat for MIS species is being maintained, it is
  assumed that sufficient habitat and populations of migratory landbirds are also being maintained.

Regulatory Framework and Consistency
 There are no specific goals or standards for migratory land birds in the Kootenai Forest plan. It does
 contain the goal to: “Maintain diverse age classes of vegetation for viable populations of all existing
 native, vertebrate, wildlife species.... (FP, Vol. 1, II-1, goal #7). All alternatives are consistent with the
 Kootenai Forest plan, as a wide range of successional habitats would be available.

  The alternatives are in compliance with the “Executive Order titled “Responsibilities of Federal Agencies
  to Protect Migratory Birds”. As habitat for MIS species is being maintained with the Bristow planning
  subunit, and across the Kootenai National Forest, it is assumed that habitat and populations of migratory
  bird species is also being maintained.

THREATENED, ENDANGERED, AND PROPOSED SPECIES
  Threatened, endangered, and proposed species (TEPS) are managed under the authority of the federal
  Endangered Species Act (PL 93-205, as amended) and the National Forest Management Act (PL 94-
  588). The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires federal agencies to ensure that all actions, which they
  “authorize, fund, or carry out”, are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any threatened,
  endangered, or proposed species. Agencies are further required to develop and carry out conservation
  programs for these species.

  The USFWS has established a website to obtain a current species list. A list was obtained on October
    th
  14 , 2003. Table 3.97 lists the threatened, endangered, and proposed wildlife species, which occur on
  the Kootenai National Forest, and their status within the influence area of this proposed project.




  178                                     Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                       Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
                     Table 3.97 - Threatened, Endangered, and Proposed Wildlife Species

                                                                                         PRESENCE WITHIN BRISTOW
           COMMON NAME              SCIENTIFIC NAME              FEDERAL STATUS
                                                                                            PLANNING SUBUNIT
              Bald Eagle         Haliaetus leucocephalus            Threatened                      Known
             Grizzly Bear             Ursus arctos                  Threatened                      Known*
              Gray Wolf                Canis lupus                  Threatened                     Suspected
                Lynx                Lynx canadensis                 Threatened                     Suspected
  * A grizzly bear was re-located into Big Creek (Rexford R.D) on May 17th, 2003 and has moved through both Bristow and Barron
  Creek. In May 23rd, 2003, the young male was located in the south fork of Jackson Creek on a closed road. The bear has spent the
  summer just north of Big Creek.


BALD EAGLE
  The biological assessment for threatened and endangered species, which includes the bald eagle, is
  hereby incorporated by reference into this document. Bald eagles occur as both seasonal migrants and
  year-round residents along Lake Koocanusa, the Kootenai River, and associated tributaries within the
  Bristow planning subunit. Eagles use the Kootenai River riparian area and adjacent slopes for perching,
  feeding, roosting, and nesting, and are most common during the month of November when fall migration
  is occurring. Numbers of migrating eagles have appeared to increase substantially along the Kootenai
  River since the late 1970's when systematic surveys were initiated.

Planning Subunit
  The Bristow planning subunit falls within the Upper Columbia Basin Management Zone (Zone 7) of the
  Pacific Bald Eagle Recovery Area (Montana Bald Eagle Working Group (MBEWG) 1986). Habitat
  management guidelines from the Montana Bald Eagle Management Plan (MBEMP) (MBEWG 1994)
  serve as the standard for bald eagle habitat management on the KNF. These guidelines recognize four
  general categories related to the management of habitat for bald eagles. These categories are nesting
  habitat, perch and roost sites, feeding habitat, and winter habitat. Nesting habitat is typically associated
  with mature forest stands in close proximity (less than 1 mile) to large bodies of water, including lakes and
  fourth order streams, which provide an adequate prey base. The eastern edge of the Bristow planning
  subunit is located within 1 mile of Lake Koocanusa. This area is in a portion of the Kootenai National
  Forest that is documented to receive use by eagles and is considered in suitable eagle habitat based on
  the maps agreed to by Wilson (USFWS 2001).

Analysis Method
 The effect of any proposed activity on potential eagle habitat and the known Barron Creek eagle nest
 located within 1 mile of Lake Koocanusa will be discussed in relation to the habitat management
 guidelines (MBEMP, MBEWG 1994).

Affected Environment
Zone 1: Nesting Habitat/Nest Site Area
 Currently there are seven known active bald eagle nests along Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River
 within the boundaries of the Libby Ranger District (Libby District wildlife files). One, the Barron Creek nest,
 is an established nesting territory and is located within the boundary of the Bristow subunit.

  Nesting habitat includes both currently occupied nests and potential nest habitat. Management activities
  must allow for the maintenance of potential nesting habitat, which is an essential element in the success
  of the recovery effort. Nesting habitat contains not only the nest and the nest tree itself, but also the nest
  site and the nest territory. Bald eagles select nesting stands and nest trees by their structure. They
  demonstrate a strong preference for multi-layered, mature or old growth forest stands (MBEWG 1991:7).
  The characteristics, which are important to eagles in these stands, include large emergent trees and
  snags, which provide sites for nests and perches.

  Breeding adult eagles are generally seen on their nesting territory around the beginning of February, with
  nest occupation occurring around the beginning of March. Incubation usually begins around mid-March,
  with nestlings observed by mid-April. Young birds usually fledge from the nest by the end of July
  (empirical data collected from nesting territory surveys on the Libby Ranger District).


                                             Chapter 3                                                                        179
                         Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  The nest site area is a 1/4 mile (400 meter) radius around existing and all alternate nests. Eagles are
  most sensitive to human activity within this area, and will react to intrusion. The objective within the nest
  site area is to maintain and protect nest site characteristics, and to minimize nesting disturbance from
                            st
  February 1 to August 31 , or fledging (MBEWG 1994)

Zone 2: Primary Use Area
 This is the area heavily used by the nesting pair, or a 1/2 mile radius from the occupied and alternate
 nests in the territory. Guidelines are to minimize high intensity or disruptive human activities during the
 breeding season, from February 1 until fledgling. Within the primary use area, harvest activities would
 only be undertaken with the objective of maintaining or developing habitat characteristics important to
 eagles and would be limited to the non-breeding period. Harvest activities should maintain the integrity of
 the nest stand, alternate nest sites, perch sites, roosts, and maintain mature trees, snags, and a multi-
 storied canopy with large emergent trees.

Foraging Habitat (including perch sites)
 Eagles predominantly use cottonwood and western larch trees along the Kootenai River as perch sites
 throughout the daylight feeding hours.

Winter and Migration Habitat
 Montana ranks among the top 15 states for wintering bald eagles (USFWS 1995). Bald eagles are most
 common in the Kootenai River valley during the month of November when fall migration is occurring.
 Approximately 40-50 eagles winter along the Kootenai River and the lower stretch of Libby Creek during
 the months of December through February.

  During the winter months, eagles using the Kootenai River riparian corridor will select night roosts which
  many times consist of mature, mid-slope, Douglas-fir stands upslope from the riparian zone. Two night
  roosting areas have been documented along the south side of the Kootenai River. One site lies south of
  the Bristow planning subunit, just south of Alexander Creek. Some winter use of the actual nest sites can
  occur, but is usually restricted to adding sticks, or doing other general nest maintenance.

Mortality
 On a national level, bald eagle mortalities have been caused by:
     1. Loss of suitable habitat.
     2. Reduced reproduction caused by environmental contaminants.
     3. Mortality from shooting, accidental trapping, poisoning, diseases, and electrocution (MBEWG
          1994).
 The main source of eagle mortality and injury on the KNF appears to be related to birds being hit by
 vehicles or trains while foraging on carcasses on or adjacent to highways and/or train tracks.

Alternative 1
  Direct and Indirect Effects
  Under this alternative, none of the actions as proposed in the modified proposed action (Alternative 2)
  would occur. No direct effect to the bald eagle would be expected with this alternative because no habitat
  manipulation would occur.

  Indirectly, the continued long-term encroachment of Douglas-fir regeneration in the ponderosa
  pine/Douglas-fir habitats, would continue to stress and kill the overstory ponderosa pine, and may lead to
  fewer available nesting, roosting, or perch trees in these habitat types. In addition, existing nesting sites
  could be indirectly adversely affected in the long term should a high intensity fir occur within areas with
  known nesting sites.

  Cumulative Effects
  Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
  Cumulative Effects on Wildlife”. Some of the management activities, which include timber harvest
  associated with lands administered by PCTC would occur on lands within one mile of Koocanusa
  Reservoir. Approximately 55 acres of commercial thinning and 48 acres of shelterwood harvest would
  occur within the potential home range foraging habitat of the Barron Creek eagle nest. In addition
  approximately 219 acres of commercial thinning and 100 acres of salvage would occur within 1 mile of

  180                                    Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                         Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   the Reservoir. The removal of large overstory trees may affect the availability of eagle nesting or roosting
   habitation a specific stand. The lack of harvest on public lands would mean no cumulative changes
   beyond those connected to private or corporate harvest. Suitable habitat remains on both NFS and
   private lands distributed across the Bristow planning subunit and forestwide.

   The Kootenai River riparian corridor and adjacent upland slopes appear to be providing productive
   nesting, foraging, and wintering habitat for bald eagles. An increase in nesting territories along the river
   seems likely based on trends over the last decade. Continuous high discharge rates (>20,000 cubic
   feet/second (cfs)) from Libby Dam during the winter period will likely limit prey availability for foraging
   eagles. A slight bald eagle mortality risk is present along the FDR #228 corridor, however this road is not
   heavily traveled. Deer carcasses lying within the road right-of-way can attract eagles, and increase the
   risk of vehicle-eagle collisions. This slight mortality risk is expected to continue under Alternative 1.

   Alternative 1, when considered in association with planned activities on both public and private lands, is
   expected to have no cumulative effect to the bald eagle because no activities are authorized, and all
   past, present and reasonably foreseeable activities located within eagle habitat must obtain concurrence
   with the USFWS if any impact to the bald eagle was suspected.

Effects of All Action Alternatives
   The following table displays the impacts of each action alternative on eagle habitat. The slash and burn
   treatments are the same for all alternatives.

                                    Table 3.98 – Impacts on Eagle Habitat by Alternative

                                       ACRES                ACRES IN                 ACRES IN HOME               ACRES OF WITHIN
                                      IN NEST             PRIMARY USE               RANGE FORAGING                1 MILE OF LAKE
                     TYPE OF
      UNIT                              SITE              AREA (ZONE 2)                  AREA                       KOOCANUSA
                     HARVEST
                                        AREA
                                      (ZONE 1)     ALT 2     ALT 3     ALT 4     ALT 2     ALT 3      ALT 4    ALT 2 ALT 3     ALT 4
       28           IMP/SW                --         --        --         --       --        --        --        47       40        47
       26             IMP                 --         --        --         --       --        --        --       212      212       174
      26A           GS-S/UB               --         --        --         --       --        --        --        29       29        13
      37*           IMP/SW                --         --        --         --       14        D         14        --       --        --
       38             IMP                 --         --        --         --       31        31        31        --       --        --
       40              ST                 --         --        --         --       16        16        16        --       --        --
       66             IMP                 --         21        21         21       27        27        27        --       --        --
       68             IMP                 --         --        --         --       81        81        81        --       --        --
       69             IMP                 --         --        --         --       22        22        22        --       --        --
       70             IMP                 --         --        --         --       40        D         40        --       --        --
                Subtotal of harvest
                                                     21        21         21       231       177       231      288      281       234
                      acres
      26C            S/UB                 --                   --                            --                           20
       27            S/UB                 --                   --                            --                          241
     31A*          S/PCT/UB               --                   --                            --                           73
      32*          S/PCT/UB               --                   --                            90                           --
      36*            S/UB                 --                   --                            --                           26
       39            S/UB                 --                   --                            45                           --
       41            S/UB                 --                   --                            84                           --
       65            S/UB                 28                   18                            --                           --
       67            S/UB                 --                   3                             4                            --
      68A             S/B                 --                   --                            --                           46
                    Subtotal of
                                          28                   21                            223                         406
                 slash/burn acres
                    TOTAL
                                          28                   42                        400 to 454                   640 to 687
                    ACRES
*Only a portion of the entire unit acreage is affecting eagle habitat. D-unit was dropped in that alternative. S-slash   B-burn UB-
 underburn PCT-precommercial thin IMP-improvement harvest SW-shelterwood harvest GS-group select harvest                 ST-seedtree
                                                                  harvest



                                               Chapter 3                                                                            181
                           Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Alternatives 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 According to the MBEWG, project areas within the home range of the nests should be managed to
 maintain suitability of foraging habitat, minimize disturbance within key areas, maintain the integrity of the
 breeding area, and minimize hazards. Alternative 2 proposes timber harvest within a mile of the
 Koocanusa Reservoir. Table 3.98 displays the timber harvest units and the prescribed slash and/or
 underburn units, that are located within the Barron Creek nest site or primary use area, and all other units
 located within the 1-mile zone.

 The Barron Creek nest site has been analyzed for potential effects and mitigation designed to insure that
 the MBEWG guidelines are met. Some types of mitigation are applicable to more than one treatment unit,
 whether timber harvest, burning, or slash and burn. If helicopters are used for ignition of prescribed burns,
 flight paths between any landing zones and the project areas will be specified to avoid bald eagle nests.

 Alternative 2 proposes activity within the nest site area (Zone 1) and the primary use area (Zone 2). Table
 3.98 displays the acreages within eagle habitat. No timber harvest would occur within Zone 1. Within Zone
 1 there are 28 acres of slash and burning proposed. Within Zone 2 there are 21 acres of slash and burning,
 and 21 acres of improvement harvest proposed. The proposed slash and burn units would be burned with a
 hand crew and the harvest unit (#66) would be logged by a ground based machine (such as a tractor or
 forwarder). No helicopter logging is proposed and no helicopter activity associated with the logging activity
 would occur.

 The Barron Creek nest is located within a ½ mile radius of harvest unit #66. As stated in the MBEWG 1994,
 high intensity activities such as heavy equipment use should not occur during the nesting season. All timber
 sale contracts contain the contract clause CT 6.251 Protection of Endangered Species (4/90) as amended,
 which allows the government to cancel or unilaterally modify the timber sale. The portion of timber harvest
 unit #66 located north of the McGillvary campground has required timing restrictions, and a ceiling for
 removal on large diameter trees, with no ponderosa pine greater than 18” diameter at breast height (dbh);
 no western larch greater than 16”dbh being removed; and no Douglas-fir greater than 20”dbh being
 removed. Required Mitigation for Units Located within Zone 1 and Zone 2 is described in Chapter 2. Refer
 to Chapter 2 for a list of the mitigation required to be incorporated into the timber sale contract.

 Alternative 2 proposes 231 acres of timber harvest within the home range foraging area, and another 288
 acres within one mile of Lake Koocanusa. The proposed harvest would reduce the number of existing
 snags. Loss of existing snags is expected due to OSHA regulations that require snags in harvest units be
 felled to ensure the safety of forest workers. All the timber harvest units proposed in eagle habitat, and
 listed in Table 3.98, would be logged with a tractor, or other ground-based equipment. If a forwarder is
 used, snags are often left standing. Timber harvest unit #28 will also be logged with skyline equipment,
 and most existing soft snags are felled with this method. The improvement type of timber harvest is
 designed to retain the larger and older trees in the overstory to maintain vertical structure and provide
 future replacement snags. Shelterwood openings are expected to retain the large overstory trees
 consistent with historic disturbance patterns. Seedtree harvest would retain 10- to 20 basal area of mid-
 late seral overstory to function as relic overstory trees and future snags. On all of these sites, ponderosa
 pine and western larch will be favored for leave where they exist, where they don‟t the larger, most
 vigorous Douglas-fir will be retained. The group select units do this on a much smaller scale scattered
 within a denser stand. The removal of Douglas-fir encroachment and returning the stand to a more
 historical basal area would allow for the long term retention of large overstory trees (ponderosa pine and
 Douglas-fir) which would provide for nesting, roosting or perching trees. Potential for eagle habitat would
 remain.

 Alternative 2 proposes 223 acres of slash and/or burning in the home range foraging area and another
 406 acres within one mile of Lake Koocanusa. There are 28 acres proposed within Zone 1 and 21 acres
 within Zone 2. The prescribed slash and burning, or underburning as proposed, would not reduce
 potential of the large overstory trees for future nesting, roosting or perching trees within the project areas.
 The fires are designed to kill smaller trees and prune lower limbs on some of the larger ones, but not kill
 the large overstory trees. A small percentage of the larger trees may be killed due to heavy spot
 accumulations of fuels but ample potential suitable trees would remain. Prescribed fires would remove
 some snags that currently exist but would also create some new snags both in the short term by direct
 mortality and over a longer period by weakening a few trees that later die.
 182                                     Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Transient eagles may be displaced out of the proposed timber harvest units during harvest activity, but
 would not be affected by the proposed prescribed fires. Ample roosting and perching sites are expected
 to remain both inside and outside the proposed harvest and prescribed fire units. Abundant suitable
 habitat would remain unaffected by the proposed activities within the bald eagle consultation area on the
 Kootenai National Forest.

 Bald eagles are believed to rely heavily upon fish and occasional waterfowl for forage during the nesting
 season. The proposed project would have no effect on foraging sites along Koocanusa Reservoir where
 the fish and waterfowl are obtained. The availability of big game carrion would remain at levels similar to
 the existing situation. Big game already congregates on the winter ranges present in the Bristow planning
 subunit, and will continue to do so after the proposed treatments (including timber harvest, slash and
 burn, or underburn). The prescribed fires will serve to increase the forage available and big game is
 expected to use the areas more heavily for a time, but whether carrion would actually change is unknown.

 The proposed project would not create any hazards to eagles such as collision or electrocution.

 Alternative 2 proposes the use of the herbicide Pronone in five units (#15, 21, 23, 28, 37), but only units #28
 and 37 occur within bald eagle habitat. The use of Pronone is not expected to have any effect on bald
 eagles or their habitat.

 The proposed action may affect-is not likely to adversely affect bald eagles or their habitat. This
 determination is based on:
     1. Harvest activities would not occur in Zone 1 or 2 during the nesting season (2/1 to 8/31) but would
        take place within the Barron Creek nest territory.
     2. Site specific mitigation, required to be incorporated into the timber sale contract, for the nest
        has been developed.
     3. The mitigation allows the proposed harvest and burning activities to meet the Montana Bald Eagle
        Management Plan guidelines for activities within nest territories.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulatively, management activities associated with private land and lands administered by Plum Creek
 Timber Company would continue (as described in Chapter 1). Some of this harvest would occur on lands
 within a mile of Lake Koocanusa, which could affect the availability of large overstory trees/snags for eagle
 nesting or roosting. These future private and corporate activities are not expected to affect viability of the
 bald eagle due to the amount of habitat remaining on federal lands. The Forest Service has no regulatory
 authority over private or corporate lands. Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably
 foreseeable activities that may affect bald eagles or their habitat are the same as discussed under
 Alternative 1.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Alternative 3 proposes activity within the nest site area (Zone 1), and the primary use area (Zone 2).
 Table 3.98 displays the acreages within eagle habitat. No timber harvest would occur within Zone 1.
 Within Zone 1 there are 28 acres of slash and burning proposed. Within Zone 2 there are 21 acres of
 slash and burning, and 21 acres of improvement harvest proposed. The proposed slash and burn units
 would be burned with a hand crew, and the harvest unit (#66) would be logged by a ground based
 machine (such as a tractor or forwarder). No helicopter logging is proposed and no helicopter activity
 associated with the logging activity would occur. The Barron Creek nest is located within a ½ mile radius
 of harvest unit #66. Alternative 3 proposes 177 acres of timber harvest within the home range foraging
 area, and another 281 acres within 1 mile of Lake Koocanusa. Alternative 3 proposes 223 acres of slash
 and/or burning in the home range foraging area and another 406 acres within 1 mile of Lake Koocanusa.
 There are 28 acres proposed within Zone 1 and 21 acres within Zone 2. Two units would use Pronone
 (units #21, 28), but only unit #28 occurs within bald eagle habitat. Remaining effects and required
 mitigation would be the same as Alternative 2.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities that may affect bald eagles
 or their habitat are the same as discussed under Alternative 1

                                        Chapter 3                                                         183
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Alternative 4
  Direct and Indirect Effects
  Alternative 4 proposes activity within the nest site area (Zone 1), and the primary use area (Zone 2).
  Table 3.98 displays the acreages within eagle habitat. No timber harvest would occur within Zone 1.
  Within Zone 1 there are 28 acres of slash and burning proposed. Within Zone 2 there are 21 acres of
  slash and burning, and 21 acres of improvement harvest proposed. The proposed slash and burn units
  would be burned with a hand crew and the harvest unit (#66) would be logged by a ground based
  machine (such as a tractor or forwarder). No helicopter logging is proposed and no helicopter activity
  associated with the logging activity would occur. The Barron Creek nest is located within a ½ mile radius
  of harvest unit #66. Alternative 4 proposes 231 acres of timber harvest within the home range foraging
  area, and another 234 acres within 1 mile of Lake Koocanusa. Alternative 4 proposes 223 acres of slash
  and/or burning in the home range foraging area and another 406 acres within 1 mile of Lake Koocanusa.
  There are 28 acres proposed within Zone 1 and 21 acres within Zone 2. Two units would use Pronone
  (units #28, 37) with both units occurring within bald eagle habitat. Remaining effects and required
  mitigation would be the same as Alternative 2.

  Cumulative Effects
  Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities that may affect bald eagles
  or their habitat are the same as discussed under Alternative 1.

GRIZZLY BEAR
  The biological assessment for threatened and endangered species, which includes the grizzly bear, is
  hereby incorporated by reference into this document.

  Introduction
  The Bristow planning subunit is located to the south of, and adjacent to, Bear Management Unit (BMU) 17
  of the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem. The recovery zone for grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak Ecosystem is
  approximately 2,600 square miles. The current distribution of resident grizzly bears includes areas
  outside of the Recovery Zones identified in the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan (USDI 1992).

  The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires that “incidental take” be considered for each threatened or
  endangered animal, regardless of whether the animal is needed for recovery or not. The USFWS has
  identified three land management elements contributing to “taking” of grizzly bears. These elements
  include: 1) access management, 2) storage of human and livestock food and garbage, and 3) livestock
  grazing. Other management activities may influence grizzly bear conservation elements, but have not
  been identified as “taking” of grizzly bears. The ESA Section 7(o)(2) permits “taking” under certain
  circumstances. The applicant must show the likely impacts resulting from such “take” and the steps to
  minimize such impacts.

Planning Subunit and Analysis Methods
  Current grizzly bear distribution outside of the Cabinet-Yaak Recovery Zone has been delineated into
  eight individual polygons or planning subunit (Johnson 2003). A portion of the Bristow planning subunit
  (the Bristow Creek timber compartment #554 and the northern portion of the Barron timber compartment
  #553) lies within the West Kootenai grizzly bear distribution outside recovery zone planning subunit (see
  reference map in appendix).

  An analysis of potential for incidental take of grizzly bear outside the recovery zones on the Kootenai
  National Forest was completed by Johnson (2003). That information is incorporated by reference. The
  Bristow Timber Sale and Restoration Project includes proposed activities in the West Kootenai polygon
  that has transient bear use (Ibid). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Biological Opinion (B.O.)
  (2/9/2004) on the Motorized Access Amendment to the Kootenai, Idaho Panhandle, and Lolo National
  Forest Plan. The B.O. establishes mandatory terms and conditions to ensure compliance with Section 9
  of the ESA for areas outside recovery zones (USDI, 2004). These two documents show that incidental
  take can occur from high road densities, food attractants, and livestock grazing conditions. This analysis
  for incidental take outside the recovery zone responds to these factors.




  184                                    Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                       Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES
1. ACCESS MANAGEMENT
  West Kootenai Planning Subunit - A relative level of incidental take is identified by comparing the
  baseline road density values with road densities identified by research as causing avoidance (Johnson
  2003). Table 3.99 displays the baseline (October 2002) road density values for both National Forest
  System lands within the West Kootenai planning subunit, and compares them to the maximum road
  densities suggested by research.

                                       Table 3.99 - Baseline Road Density Values

                                                                      MAXIMUM
     WEST                                              TOTAL            TOTAL               OPEN         MAXIMUM OPEN ROAD
                     TOTAL      TOTAL      OPEN
   KOOTENAI                                             ROAD        ROAD DENSITY            ROAD           DENSITY (mi/mi2)
                      AREA      ROAD       ROAD
   PLANNING                                           DENSITY          (MI/MI2)           DENSITY          SUGGESTED BY
                     (mi/mi2)   MILES      MILES
    SUBUNIT                                            (mi/mi2)     SUGGESTED BY           (mi/mi2)          RESEARCH*
                                                                     RESEARCH*
   NFS Lands         298.69     906.71     397.58        3.0               2.0               1.3                    1.0
  *Kasworm and Wakkinen (1997) and Mace and Manley (1993) reported that that the level of road densities that result in grizzly
  bears avoiding an area are approximately one mile per square mile of open road or two miles per square mile of total road. These
  same road densities also contribute to the other forms of impacts associated with roads (Johnson 2003).

  The existing condition road density values shown in the tables indicate that incidental take of grizzly bears
  is likely occurring in the West Kootenai Planning subunit. The road density values indicate that the level of
  take is likely higher than inside the recovery zone, which is being managed specifically for grizzly bears
  (i.e. lower road densities, higher security areas, less overall disturbance). However the higher road
  densities and corresponding reduced habitat effectiveness have the potential to impact very few grizzly
  bears. The current estimate of the grizzly bear population in the West Kootenai polygon is two (Johnson
  2003), including known recovery zone bear use.

Alternative 1
  Direct and Indirect Effects
  The no-action alternative would not directly or indirectly result in the opening of restricted roads and
  would have no effect on open or total road density. The baseline existing total and open road densities for
  the West Kootenai polygon, as shown in Table 3.97 would not directly or indirectly change as a result of
  the implementation of Alternative 1.

  Cumulative Effects
  Cumulatively, on NFS lands, other reasonably foreseeable actions include weed spraying on several
  roads, but no impact to ORDs or total road densities (TRDs) would occur. On the adjacent Rexford
  District, the proposed Lower Big Creek sale would result in no increase in ORD for the West Kootenai
                                                                   2
  Analysis Area (AA). The existing TRD would remain at 3.0 mi/m following road decommissioning
  proposed in the Lower Big Creek Project. PCTC proposed harvest activities do not include any road
  construction.

  Prescribed burning and slashing would continue under the FFRWHE program. Within the West Kootenai
  AA/Bristow planning subunit overlap area, approximately 2,127 acres would be burned or slash/burned
  over the next eight years. Only administrative use would occur during the one to two days when restricted
  roads would be opened for for spring or fall burning. No increase in the baseline ORD for the West
  Kootenai polygon would result from prescribed burning activities. Management such as this program that
  considers historic fire frequencies and intensities should result in productive bunchgrass and shrubfield
  habitat across the treated sites.

Alternative 2
  Direct and Indirect Effects
  Alternative 2 would directly increase open road densities within a portion of the Bristow planning subunit
  that overlaps with the West Kootenai AA. During the bear year, approximately 8.91 miles of road currently
  restricted year-round to motorized traffic (over snow ok 12/1 to 4/30) would be opened for harvest,
  (approximately one mile of road #4814, 1.9 miles of #6236, 1.2 miles of #6300, 4 miles of #4852, and .81
  miles of #4874C) 1.29 miles of a decommissioned road would be re-constructed (road #4921A), and 4.15
  miles of temporary roads would be built to harvest timber (Temporary roads # T1, T3, T4, T5, T8, T10,
  T11, T12). After harvest activity, the temporary roads and the re-constructed decommissioned road would
                                                 Chapter 3                                               185
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                         Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    be put into storage/ decommissioned. Additionally, approximately 16.5 miles of road would be stored or
    decommissioned within the Bristow subunit/West Kootenai AA overlap area which would reduce the
    overall total road density within the planning subunit. These roads, displayed in Table 3.100, would be
    either decommissioned or stored with an earthen berm for a barrier and would meet the IGBC standards
    for an undrivable road. Roads would be bermed if funding is not available for full storage work.

                                Table 3.100 - Proposed Road Work to Decrease the TRD

                                                                  STORAGE
               ROAD                 CURRENT
                                                    MILES            OR                      TIMING OF ACCESS CHANGE
                 #                    ATM
                                                                DECOMMISSION
              *4851                    Open          1.77          Storage                  Before implementation of Alt. 2
     Portions of 4921/4921C             17           2.03          Storage             Post activity as roads are used for harvest
              863A                       4            .59          Storage              Post activity as road is used for harvest
               4860                      5            1.5          Storage                           During activity
               6191                      5           2.01          Storage                           During activity
              X333                       5            .29          Storage                           During activity
             4817A                       5            .33          Storage                           During activity
             4815A                       9            .63          Storage                           During activity
              4874B                      9            .64          Storage                           During activity
              4874B                      9            .41       Decommission                         During activity
              4874C                      9            .28          Storage              Post activity as road is used for harvest
              *4848                      9           1.07          Storage                          During activity -
              *6300                      9            3.1          Storage             Post activity as road is used for harvest -
             6236A                       9             .5          Storage                           During activity
              *4812                      9            .53          Storage                           During activity-
             4851D                       9            .46          Storage                           During activity
             4817A                       9            .33          Storage                           During activity
            TOTAL                                    16.5
*Required Road Work for Water Quality for All Action Alternatives; ATM = Access Travel Management; ATM code 17 = restricted seasonally to
motor vehicles July 1 through December 1, including snow vehicles; ATM code 4 = restricted seasonally to motor vehicles October 15 through
June 30, including snow vehicles; ATM code 9 = restricted yearlong to motor vehicles, open to snow vehicles December 2 through April 30.
                                                                                                                           2
    As displayed in Table 3.99, the West Kootenai Planning subunit existing baseline ORD is 1.3 mi/m . Due
    to incorporated mitigation implementation of Alternative 2 would not increase the baseline existing ORD
    within the West Kootenai AA (Johnson 2003). The mitigation requires temporary barriers on both year-
    round restricted roads being opened for harvest and seasonally restricted roads, decommissioning a
    portion of an existing open road, and not opening all the roads needed for timber harvest concurrently.

  Mitigation Requirements to Be Incorporated Into the Timber Sale Contract:
      1. Within compartment #554, temporary barriers must be placed on the following roads # and mile
          marker:
                road 4814 (1 mile)
                road 6236 (1.9 mile)
                road 6300 (1.2 mile)
                road 4852 (.81 mile)
                The junction of 6236G/6236 to prevent motorized access on 6236G.
          The sale administrator and silviculturist determined these sites were acceptable turnarounds and
          further motorized access on the road was not necessary (Crawford and Weber, November 2002).
          These roads are currently restricted year-round to motorized traffic, over snow allowed December
           st                th
          1 through April 30 and would have portions of the road opened for timber harvest. These
          mitigation measures prevent the entire road lengths from being opened and help reduce the
          potential ORD during activity periods.

       2. During harvest activity in the Bristow compartment #554 a temporary barrier must be placed on
                                                                                 st         th
          road # 859 (currently restricted to motorized traffic from December 1 to April 30 ) just past the
          intersection of the temporary road #5 being built to harvest unit #28. This would restrict 1.2 miles of
                                                   st                 th
          road open during the bear year (April 1 to November 30 ).


    186                                        Chapter 3
                           Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   3. Storage/decommissioning or earthen berm restriction of the Camp Creek crossing to motorized
      traffic on road #4851 must occur before Alternative 2 implementation or any harvest activity. This
      would decrease the existing miles of open road by 1.77 miles during the bear year.

   4. The year-round restricted roads to be opened for timber harvest must be grouped in the following
      subdivision options:
        a) Roads #4814, 4852, 4874C, and 4921A can be opened concurrently but must
           keep #6236 and 6300 restricted to motorized activity.
        b) Roads # 6236, 6300, 4814, 4874C, and the 4921A can be opened concurrently
           but road # 4852 must be restricted to motorized activity.
                                                                       2
 The West Kootenai AA existing TRD (refer to Table 3.99) is 3.0 mi/m . Within the overlap of the Bristow
 subunit and the West Kootenai AA, a total of 4.15 miles of temporary road would be built, and 1.29 miles
 of decommissioned road would be reconstructed for the timber harvest and obliterated at the end of the
                                                                            2
 sale. During activity the TRD would not increase over the existing 3.0 mi/m . As a direct result of
 Alternative 2 approximately 16 miles of road would be stored/ decommissioned but post-TRD remains at
          2
 3.0 mi/m .

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulatively, when all reasonably foreseeable actions, including the proposed Rexford Ranger District
 Lower Big Creek Timber Sale/Restoration Project is considered, the Libby Ranger District Bristow Timber
 Sale and Restoration Project would not contribute to any net increase in the West Kootenai AA existing
                  2
 ORD of 1.3 mi/m . Cumulatively, TRD would decrease (with the approximately 18 miles of road
 decommissioning being proposed under the Lower Big Creek Sale and the 16 miles under the Bristow
                  2
 sale) to 2.9 mi/m .

 Remaining cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as
 discussed under Alternative 1.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Alternative 3, either option A or B, would directly increase open road densities within a portion of the
 Bristow planning subunit that overlaps with the West Kootenai AA. During the bear year, approximately
 4.91 miles of road currently restricted year-round to motorized traffic (over snow ok 12/1 to 4/30) would be
 opened for harvest, (approximately 1 mile of road #4814, 1.9 miles of #6236, 1.2 miles of #6300, and .81
 miles of #4874C) 1.29 miles of a decommissioned road would be re-constructed (road #4921A), and 4.15
 miles of temporary roads would be built to harvest timber (Temporary roads # T1, T3, T4, T5, T8, T10,
 T11, T12).

 Mitigation requirements 1, 2, and 3 as described for Alternative 2 would also be required for Alternative 3.
 Due to this incorporated mitigation, Alternative 3 (A or B) would not increase the baseline existing ORD of
           2                                                                                              2
 1.3 mi/mi within the West Kootenai AA. Post activity, the baseline ORD would also remain at 1.3 mi/mi .
 Remaining effects, including TRD, are as discussed under Alternative 2.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
 under Alternative 1.

Alternative 4
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Alternative 4 would directly increase open road densities within a portion of the Bristow planning subunit
 that overlaps with the West Kootenai AA. No roads currently restricted year-round to motorized traffic
 would be opened during the bear year, however 1.87 miles of miles of temporary roads would be built to
 harvest timber (temporary roads # T5, T10, T11, T12). The proposed slash and burn unit #13 located on
 road #4874C (restricted year-round to motorized traffic) would not increase the ORD as this road would
 be opened for administrative use only for one to three days.

 The mitigation requirements 1, 2, 3 and 4 as described for Alternative 2 would not be required for
                                                                                    2
 Alternative 4. During and post-Alternative 4 the baseline existing ORD of 1.3 mi/mi within the West
                                        Chapter 3                                                        187
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Kootenai AA would not change. Remaining effects, including to TRD, are as discussed under Alternative
 2.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable activities are the same as discussed
 under Alternative 1.

2) FOOD ATTRACTANTS AND STORAGE
 There have been no documented grizzly bear mortalities on KNF lands due to food attractants. The KNF
 has a voluntary food storage guideline in place that covers all National Forest lands (Kootenai NF Food
 Storage Guidelines 2001). The guidelines follow the food storage order the Northern Continental Divide
 Ecosystem. Outfitter and guide operations on the KNF are required to follow the guidelines as a condition
 of their permit. The “Pack-It-In- Pack-It-Out” policy is in place on the Kootenai. Overall, bear resistant
 garbage containers are in place at most campgrounds that have had any history of bear problems, but
 there are exceptions. The nearest pay-for-use campground is McGillvary campground, approximately 1 ½
 miles to the south of Bristow Creek. This campground has had a history of black bears getting into
 garbage cans, but to-date no bear-resistant containers have been installed.

Effects
 All Alternatives
 No net changes to food storage or attractants would occur under implementation of any alternative.

3) LIVESTOCK GRAZING
 Grizzly bear issues related to livestock grazing have generally involved depredations of livestock by
 grizzly bears, disposal of livestock carcasses, storage of human food and stock feed, and subsequent
 grizzly bear habituation, food conditioning, and mortality risk associated with these activities. There are
 many Kootenai Forest Plan management standards and guidelines that deal with range management and
 potential conflicts with grizzly bears. The management direction is designed to favor the bear in all cases.

Effects
 All Alternatives
 There are no livestock allotments within the Bristow planning subunit. No net changes in grazing activity
 would occur with implementation of any alternative.

Conclusion and Statement of Effects
 Alternative 2 proposes the use of the herbicide Pronone in five units (#15, 21, 23, 28, 37) on a total of 121
 acres. Little impact to grizzly bear habitat, in the form of removal of native vegetation, would occur.
 Alternative 1 would have no effect on grizzly bears or their habitat. This determination is based on:
     1. No harvest or management activity would occur as a result of this alternative.
     2. No direct or indirect habitat changes or disturbances would occur.

 Cumulatively, prescribed burning would continue. Catastrophic events could conceivably affect animals
 as much or more as proposed action alternative. However, the effects of wildfire on habitat or a bear
 depends on the location, timing, and intensity of the wildfire. This is not reasonably foreseeable or
 predictable so we can no say with reasonable certainty whether or not wildfire would have more or less
 effect than the action alternatives. The same is true for catastrophic windstorm.

 Alternative 2, 3 and 4 may affect, but are not likely to adversely affect grizzly bears. This determination
 is based on:
     1. The proposed activities are not located within BMU 17.
     2. Implementation of Alternative 2, 3, or 4 would result in no net increase to the existing baseline
          West Kootenai AA ORD, and cumulatively an overall decrease in TRD within the West Kootenai
          AA would occur (due to Lower Big Creek Sale).
     3. No change in food attractants or storage or grazing use contributed by Alternative 2, 3, or 4
          activities in the West Kootenai Planning subunit.
     4. No increase in risk of incidental take of grizzly bears is expected under the implementation of any
          alternative.

 188                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  All alternatives comply with the terms and conditions of the B.O. (FWS 2004) and are in compliance with
  the Endangered Species Act.

GRAY WOLF
AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT
  The biological assessment for threatened and endangered species, which includes the gray wolf, is
  hereby incorporated by reference into this document.

Planning Subunit
  The gray wolf recovery area was revised in 1999 by the USFWS to include all of northwest Montana
  outside the experimental population areas, and the northern panhandle of Idaho (USFWS 1999). The wolf
  consultation area map was updated in 2000 (Castenada 2000), and now the entire forest is considered to
  be within the wolf consultation area (Wilson 2001). No activity is proposed within the Northern Rocky
  Mountain Wolf Recovery Area as identified in the Recovery Plan (USFWS 1987).

  Wolf activity has been documented around the Bristow planning subunit. Approximately four miles to the
  north on the Rexford Ranger District, five wolves were translocated in Parsnip Creek in March 2001.
  These released wolves dispersed southeast. It is likely that transient wolves do pass through the Bristow
  planning subunit, but no resident wolves are known to occur, and no recent human-caused mortality
  within the subunit has been documented.

Analysis Method
 Since transient wolf use may potentially occur, the potential effects on wolves will be discussed. The
 impact of any proposed activity will be considered upon the key habitat components for wolves, which
 are:
      1. A sufficient, year-round prey base for big game or alternate prey.
      2. Suitable and somewhat secluded denning and rendezvous sites.
      3. Sufficient space with minimal exposure to humans (USFWS 1987)

Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1
  Direct and Indirect Effects
  Under this alternative, none of the actions as proposed would occur with this project. No direct effects to
  wolves would be expected due to implementation of the no action alternative.

  Indirectly, as a result of plant succession, the level of habitat fragmentation would decrease, and the
  level of forage available for wolf prey species would also be expected to gradually decrease due to
  conifer encroachment. Until a fire event naturally treated the area, the level of forage available to ungulate
  prey species would progressively diminish. In addition, fuel accumulations would continue to build in
  areas, and potentially allowing for a high intensity, wildland fire to occur. Although both of these factors
  could, in the long term, indirectly affect the gray wolf by a potential decrease in the amount of prey
  available, any effect is expected to be minor due to the high deer population. Therefore, there would be
  no expected short-term change in the existing condition for the gray wolf due to implementation of the no-
  action alternative.

  Cumulative Effects
  Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
  Cumulative Effects on Wildlife”. The FFRWHE program will treat 3,770 acres with slash and/or burning
  within the Bristow planning subunit. These slash and/or burn units are expected to have a beneficial
  impact to big game species (FFRWHE EA, 2001, Chap. 3:139-143). On those areas not treated, indirect
  effects on the drier type old growth areas would be continued Douglas-fir encroachment. This condition
  has resulted from the exclusion of fire in the ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir timber type. The natural fire
  regime of periodic, low intensity underburns would have maintained an open understory stand conditions
  with occasional dense pockets of sapling Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine. These type of winter range,
  with higher amounts of hiding and thermal cover, are likely more suitable to white-tailed deer and less
  suitable for mule deer.

  Annual activities, including road maintenance are not expected to impact the wolf.
                                         Chapter 3                                                          189
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 On PCTC land, timber harvest activities could cumulatively affect the quality of habitat for ungulate prey
 species by reducing the availability of cover.

 Alternative 1, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands,
 is expected to have no cumulative effects that would affect the gray wolf as no activities are authorized
 and existing conditions would be maintained in the short-term. All federal ongoing and future activities
 have or would obtain concurrence with the USFWS if any impact to the gray wolf were suspected.

Alternative 2
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 Alternative 2 would impact prey habitat with timber harvest and prescribed burning.

 Prey Base: The proposed timber harvest and proposed slash and burning could have direct localized
 displacement to big-game species during activity periods. The quality of prey habitat is evaluated by:
      Cover/forage ratios, amount, location and distribution of cover
      Opening sizes and movement corridors
      Roads and habitat effectiveness
      Displacement and security areas.
 For a complete discussion of cover/forage, opening sizes, movement corridors, roads, habitat
 effectiveness, and displacement/security habitat please refer to the MIS ungulate analysis section of this
 Environmental Assessment.

   Cover/Forage Ratios, Amount, Location, And Distribution of Cover: A total of 1,643 acres of timber
   harvest is proposed, including 482 acres of improvement harvest and 1,102 acres of regeneration. The
   objective of the improvement harvests to reduce basal area and hiding/thermal cover is not expected to
   improve the cover qualities of the big game winter range for white-tailed deer. The treatments are
   expected to result in a winter range with cover characteristics less suitable for white-tailed deer, but
   likely more suitable for mule deer and elk. The indirect effects of the proposed burning would enhance
   production, quality, and diversity of both shrubs and herbaceous forage favored by deer and elk (Arno
   and Harrington 1995). Precommercial thinning is also planned but thinning in itself is considered a
   minor activity however, and is not likely to cause big game to move far from active thinning sites. The
   proposed thinning would reduce the quality of big game cover, but would not create openings or
   eliminate hiding cover values in treated stands. Five of the proposed units, (#15, 21, 23, 28, 37)
   propose the use of Pronone and are located on both MA11 and MA10 lands. The use of Pronone on
   winter ranges is expected to directly decrease the amount and diversity of shrub and forb species, and
   consequently decrease the amount of forage available in the short-term. Pronone use would not be
   expected to have any direct effect on wolves. After implementation of Alternative 2, cover decreases
   6% on MA15 lands, and 4% on MA12.

   Opening Sizes and Movement Corridors: Several large regeneration units are proposed. Sizes range
   from 28 acres to 174 acres in size. The purpose of these large units is to restore western white pine
   and western larch. Key habitat features, such as swales providing hiding and travel cover, and
   streamside zones were delineated out of the treatment areas in order to retain cover for movement
   corridors. The proposed regeneration harvests in addition to existing units not providing hiding cover
   create large openings from 56 to greater than 212 acres in size. These larger regeneration units are not
   considered beneficial to deer or elk. On MA10/11 lands several improvement harvests would also
   reduce thermal/hiding cover.

   Roads and Habitat Effectiveness: Within the Bristow planning subunit the existing ORD on MA12
                                                  2
   exceeds the Forest Plan standard at 1 mi/mi . Alternative 2 would also open restricted roads in order to
   treat the harvest units. During activity periods, the ORD on MA12 within the Bristow subunit would
                         2
   increase to 1.4 mi/mi . Temporary roads would be built or reconstructed as a result of harvesting timber,
   however these roads would be obliterated after implementation. To mitigate for the impact on open road
   densities, gates would be locked whenever there was no harvest associated activity. Temporary
   barriers would be installed to reduce the miles of road being opened. Post activity MA12 ORD would
                      2
   remain at 1 mi/mi . No logging activity behind these restricted road's would be permitted during the
   hunting season (October 15th to December 1st). As a result of road access changes proposed under
   Alternative 2, the ORD during the fall hunting season would decrease from 1.8 mi/mi2 to 1.3 mi/mi2

 190                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   within the Bristow subunit. Habitat effectiveness would increase 3 percent post-project implementation,
   from 49% to 52%.

   Displacement and Security: The proposed harvest units could impact security habitat during the
   hunting season if these roads were open to activity. Due to high open road densities and lack of
   security habitat required mitigation for big game for Alternative 2 includes no timber harvest
   activity would be permitted on roads restricted to motorized traffic during hunting season (10/15 to
   12/1), but logging would be permitted during the winter behind restricted roads. Additional mitigation is
   described in detail under the MIS ungulate analysis, displacement and security section. The amount of
   fall security areas would increase due to implementation of Alternative 2 due to proposed changes in
   road access. Existing fall security in the Bristow planning subunit would increase from 17% to 22%.

 Denning and Rendezvous Sites: There are no known denning or rendezvous sites within or near the
 Bristow planning subunit. Suitable sites may be available within the project area and those sites would
 remain available after the proposed action. The proposed activities are not expected to change the
 current suitability.

 Risk of Mortality -Sufficient space with minimal human exposure: Alternative 2 would create varying
 levels of disturbance in all three compartments, which comprise the Bristow planning subunit. In order to
 minimize these impacts, adjacent compartments would not have concurrent activity. ORDs would
 increase in all three compartments during activity periods. Hiding cover and or thermal cover would also
 decrease due to the timber harvest or due to the slashing and/or under burning. The timber harvest,
 slashing, and prescribed burning has the potential to directly affect wolves by having a short-term
 localized displacement effect to any wolves that may be using the area during the activity period. Effects
 would be limited to avoidance of activity areas, if necessary, and transient use could still occur. However,
 direct effects to the gray wolf are not anticipated as no wolves are known to be present in the Bristow
 subunit. Temporary increases in risk from human caused mortality would accompany localized increases
 in ORD and during the timber harvest in all three compartments. The risk of mortality is considered low as
 no wolves are known to use the area. The proposed activities alone would not be considered adverse
 because most human caused mortality's result from mistaken identity or from personal conflicts/dislike of
 wolves, and are generally independent of harvest activities.

 Alternative 2 will reduce the availability of hiding and thermal cover and creates large openings. These
 large openings are not beneficial to big game species. The timber harvest may directly reduce
 hiding/thermal cover, and the slashing and or burning activity has the potential to directly affect wolves by
 having a short-term localized displacement effect to any wolves that may be using the area during the
 activity period. Indirectly, the prescribed burning where it occurs, may increase forage production and be
 beneficial to some species of the wolves prey base.

 Implementation of Alternative 2 may affect, is not likely to adversely affect the gray wolf or its habitat.
 This determination is based on:
     1. Denning or rendezvous site potential would not change.
     2. No pack or lone wolf activity is known or suspected in the Bristow planning subunit.
     3. The result of the project will decrease hiding and thermal cover on both summer and winter
         ranges. However, a suitable prey base, including white-tailed deer, moose, elk, and mule deer
         are expected to remain in the area.
     4. The potential for human-caused mortality would be low.

 Cumulative Effects
 Cumulatively, the planned harvest on both corporate and federal lands decreases the percentage of
 cover 9 % on the biological winter range, 5% on the summer range, and 6% within the Bristow planning
 subunit (please refer to Table 3.68). Remaining cumulative effects are as described under Alternative 1.

Alternative 3
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 A total of 1,205 acres of timber harvest is proposed, including 442 acres of improvement and 715 acres of
 regeneration harvest. Two units (#21, 28) would use Pronone for site preparation. After implementation of
 Alternative 3, cover decreases 5% on MA15 lands, and 3% on MA12. On MA11 lands regeneration unit
 sizes have decreased and on MA12 no units greater than 40 acres are proposed. On MA15 lands
                                        Chapter 3                                                         191
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
   approximately two openings would result from proposed and existing units that would range from 96 to 89
                                                                                                                2
   acres. During activity periods, the ORD on MA12 within the Bristow subunit would increase to 1.2 mi/mi .
                                                          2                                      2
   Post activity MA12 ORD would decrease to .74 mi/mi with Alternative 3A, and .75 mi/mi with Alternative
   3B. As a result of road access changes proposed under Alternative 3, the ORD during the fall hunting
                                          2             2
   season would decrease from 1.8 mi/mi to 1.3 mi/mi within the Bristow subunit. Habitat effectiveness
   would increase 4% post-project implementation, from 49% to 53%. Fall security habitat in the Bristow
   planning subunit would increase from 17% to 28% with Alternative 3A, and to 30% with Alternative 3B.
   Alternative 3B is the only proposed action that raises the available fall security habitat to at least 30%, as
   recommended by Hillis et al. (1991). Big-game would benefit from this increase.

   Cumulative Effects
   Cumulatively, the planned harvest on both corporate and federal lands decreases the percentage of
   cover 8% on the biological winter range, 3% on the summer range, and 5% within the Bristow planning
   subunit (please refer to Table 3.68). Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable
   activities that may affect wolves or their prey base are discussed under Alternative1.

   Implementation of Alternative 3 may affect, is not likely to adversely affect the gray wolf or its habitat.
   All remaining effects are as described under Alternative 2.

 Alternative 4
   Direct and Indirect Effects
   A total of 726 acres of timber harvest is proposed, including 396 acres of improvement and 330 acres of
   regeneration harvest. Two units (#28, 37) would use Pronone for site preparation. After implementation of
   Alternative 4, cover decreases 3% on MA15 lands, and 2% on MA12. Improvement harvest impacts for
   MA10 and MA11 lands are the same as discussed for Alternative 2. On MA15 lands approximately two
   openings would result from proposed and existing units that would range from 82 to 200 acres. During
                                                                                            2
   activity periods, the ORD on MA12 within the Bristow subunit would increase to 1.1 mi/mi . Post activity
                                         2
   MA12 ORD would remain at 1 mi/mi . As a result of road access changes proposed under Alternative 4,
                                                                           2          2
   the ORD during the fall hunting season would decrease from 1.8 mi/mi to 1.3 mi/mi within the Bristow
   subunit. Habitat effectiveness would increase 3% post-project implementation, from 49% to 52%. Fall
   security habitat in the Bristow planning subunit would increase from 17% to 22% with Alternative 4.

   Implementation of Alternative 4 may affect, is not likely to adversely affect the gray wolf or its habitat.
   All remaining effects are as described under Alternative 2.

   Cumulative Effects
   Cumulatively, the planned harvest on both corporate and federal lands decreases the percentage of
   cover 8% on the biological winter range, 1% on the summer range, and 1% within the Bristow planning
   subunit (please refer to Table 3.68). Cumulative effects of all past, ongoing, and reasonably foreseeable
   activities that may affect wolves or their prey base are discussed under Alternative 1.

 Forest Plan Consistency
  The Forest Plan (Vol. I, II-23) states that the management of habitat for threatened, endangered, and
  sensitive species will be in accordance with applicable state-of-the-art information. The Forest wide
  management goal (Vol. I, II-I) states that the Forest will “maintain or enhance all identified gray wolf
  habitat to facilitate recovery”. Alternatives 1, 2, 3, and 4 are consistent with the Northern Rocky Mountain
  Wolf Recovery Plan (1987), and Forest Plan direction, as amended.

LYNX
   The biological assessment for threatened and endangered species, which includes the lynx, is hereby
   incorporated by reference into this document. The Kootenai Forest Plan is proposed for amendment by
   the Northern Rockies Lynx Amendment DEIS. This amendment proposes to add measures to conserve
   lynx and their habitat to forest plans for 18 National Forests including the Kootenai. All alternatives of this
   project meet the parameters set out in the Lynx Amendment.

 Description of Population and Habitat Status
  Lynx numbers are thought to be trending downward within the KNF as well as throughout their range in
  the lower 48 states. The USFWS issued a 12-month finding (50 CFR 17, 28653) for the lynx on May 27,

   192                                     Chapter 3
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  1997, where they determined that the listing of the lynx was warranted, but precluded by other species
  having higher priority for listing. lynx were officially proposed for listing under the ESA on June 30, 1998
  (Federal Register Vol. 63 No. 130 pgs 36693-37013: Barry, July 8, 1998). On March 24, 2000, the
  USFWS published its determination to list the lynx as Threatened for the contiguous U.S. distinct
  population segment of the Canada lynx (USFWS 2000).

  The U.S. Forest Service and the USFWS signed a Canada Lynx Conservation Agreement (CA)
  (Bosworth et al. 2000, USFS Agreement #00-MU-11015600-013:2/7/2000). This Agreement establishes
  the use of the Lynx Conservation Assessment and Strategy (LCAS) (Signatories USFS, USFWS, USPS,
  BLM 2000). The description of the lynx population status is documented in the final lynx listing rule
  (USFWS 2000), which is incorporated by reference.

  The LCAS establishes conservation measures that are intended to conserve the lynx, and to reduce or
  eliminate adverse effects from management activities on federal lands. Under the CA, the Forest Service
  is to review and consider these recommended measures, which generally apply only to lynx habitat on
  federal land within lynx analysis units (LCAS 2000:77). The LCAS defines lynx habitat for Montana. The
  basic analysis unit is termed a Lynx Analysis Unit, or LAU. Romey (1999) provided further information on
  the national strategy and how it applied to precommercial thinning and lynx habitat definition for the
  Kootenai National Forest. On the KNF, lynx habitat is now defined as subalpine fir, Engelmann spruce,
  western red-cedar, western hemlock, and moist grand fir habitat types between 4000 and 7000 feet
  elevation. Stands of mixed species composition (subalpine fir, Douglas-fir, grand fir, western larch,
  lodgepole pine, and hardwood) and stands dominated by seral lodgepole pine provide lynx habitat.

  Historic lynx sightings do exist for the Bristow planning subunit with approximately five sightings total, two
  in Bristow Creek, two in Barron Creek, and one in Jackson Creek in the last 20 years.

Planning Subunit
  A portion of the Bristow planning subunit is within LAU 14510, as defined by the Lynx Conservation and
  Assessment Strategy (LCAS 2000). This LAU totals approximately 21,323 acres (20,915 acres of NFS
  lands, and 408 acres of corporate timber land). This LAU is the planning subunit for lynx.

Analysis Method
 Effects to lynx were determined by comparing conservation measures listed in the LCAS with the existing
 condition in the LAU and conditions that would result from selection of each alternative. The conservation
 measures are displayed in three forms:
      o Objectives - measures of desired resource conditions
      o Standards - required management actions
      o Guidelines - ways to meet objectives
 The following analysis includes those conservation guidelines that apply to activities proposed for this
 specific project. Measures outlined in the LCAS for other types of activities not proposed (i.e. recreation,
 livestock grazing) and not anticipated to occur with this project are not analyzed.

Environmental Consequences
Alternative 1
  Direct and Indirect Effects
  Under this alternative, none of the actions as proposed would occur with this project. No direct effects to
  lynx would be expected due to implementation of Alternative 1, the no-action alternative.

  Indirectly, as a result of plant succession, the level of habitat fragmentation would decrease, and the
  level of forage available for lynx prey species would also be expected to gradually decrease due to
  conifer encroachment. Until a fire event naturally treated the area, the level of forage available to
  snowshoe hare would progressively diminish. In addition, fuel accumulations would continue to build in
  areas, and potentially allowing for a high intensity, wildland fire to occur. Both of these factors could, in
  the long term, indirectly affect the lynx by affecting the amount of prey available. However, there would be
  no expected short-term change in the existing condition for the lynx due to implementation of the no-
  action alternative.



                                         Chapter 3                                                          193
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
 Cumulative Effects
 Projects that contribute to cumulative effects are described previously in the “Projects considered for
 Cumulative Effects on Wildlife” and in Chapter 1. The Barron Jack units (Table 1.3A) all occur in lynx
 habitat and 13 acres would be harvested and become unsuitable habitat. The FFRWHE program
 activities concentrate in the drier ponderosa pine habitat types. These dry forest types (i.e. ponderosa
 pine, climax lodgepole) do not provide lynx habitat (Ruediger et al. 2000:4-glossery) (FFRWHE EA, 2001,
 Chap. 3:13-99). Other annual activities such as public recreation, which includes snowmobiling, may
 occur.

 On PCTC land, a small portion of a proposed clearcut unit will harvest 29 acres of lynx habitat along the
 boundary of the LAU near the Barron/Jackson Creek compartment boundary. This harvest would not
 remove any travel corridors for lynx.

 Alternative 1, when considered in association with the planned activities on both public and private lands,
 is expected to have no cumulative effects that would affect the lynx as no activities are authorized and
 existing conditions would be maintained in the short-term. All federal ongoing and future activities have or
 would obtain concurrence with the USFWS if any impact to the lynx were suspected.

Effects of All Action Alternatives
 All activities, including timber harvest and slash and burn units which are located outside of LAU 14510
 would have no effect (direct, indirect or cumulative) on the lynx or its habitat. Effects to lynx are
 discussed for activities only located within the LAU. Alternative 2 proposes timber harvest in 113 acres
 of denning, 543 acres of lynx habitat, 60 acres of unsuitable habitat, and 30 acres in non-habitat.
 Alternative 3 proposes timber harvest in 72 acres of denning, 380 acres of lynx habitat, 48 acres of
 unsuitable habitat, and 30 acres of non-habitat. Alternative 4 proposes timber harvest in 74 acres of
 denning and 145 acres of lynx habitat. The acreages of the proposed fuel reduction/wildlife habitat
 enhancement slash and/or burn units impacting lynx habitat within the LAU are the same for all the action
 alternatives with 42 acres of denning, twelve acres of lynx habitat, and 186 acres of non-habitat being
 treated. The following analysis summarizes the effects of the proposed action alternatives within the LAU.

 I. Conservation Measures Applicable to All Programs and Activities
    Programmatic Planning Standard #1 - Conservation measures will generally apply only to lynx
    habitat on federal lands within LAUs.
      This standard is met. Conservation measures will be applied only to the proposed federal harvest and
      other federal activities located on federal lands.

   Programmatic Planning Standard #2 - Lynx habitat will be mapped using criteria specific to each
   geographic area to identify appropriate vegetation and environmental conditions.
     This standard is met. Lynx habitat on the KNF was mapped using the LCAS criteria as discussed in
     the August 22, 2000 memo on lynx habitat mapping direction (McAllister et al. 2000).

   Programmatic Planning Standard #3 - To facilitate project planning, delineate LAUs.
     The KNF has delineated 47 LAUs following the programmatic planning guidelines. These LAUs
     provide the fundamental scale with which to evaluate and monitor of effects of management actions
     on lynx habitat. These LAUs were generally defined above 4000 ft. in elevation. LAUs do not depict
     actual lynx home ranges, but their scale approximates the size of an individual female lynx home
     range. LAUs encompass both lynx habitat (both suitable and unsuitable) and non-lynx habitat (such
     as lakes or talus). LAUs are generally 16,000 to 32,000 acres or 25 to 50 square miles in contiguous
     habitat. Conservation measures generally apply only to lynx habitat on federal lands within the LAUs.

   Programmatic Planning Standard #4 - To be effective for the intended purposes of planning and
   monitoring, LAU boundaries will not be adjusted for individual projects, but must remain constant.
     This standard is met. LAU boundaries were previously established and agreed to by the USFWS and
     the boundaries were not adjusted for this analysis.

   Programmatic Planning Standard #5 - Prepare a broad-scale assessment… In the absence of
   guidance from such as assessment, limit disturbance within each LAU as follows: if more than 30
   percent of lynx habitat within a LAU is currently in unsuitable conditions, no further reduction of suitable
   conditions shall occur as a result of vegetation management activities by federal agencies.
 194                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                    Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    LAU 14510 meets this standard since less than 30% of the lynx habitat is currently in unsuitable
    condition. Please see Table 3.101 below for the existing and post-implementation unsuitable habitat.
    Foreseeable actions include 113 acres of lynx habitat being harvested in the Barron Jack units, in
    Tables 3.1A and B, on federal land. On suitable lynx habitat (denning, forage, lynx habitat), timber
    harvest is proposed on 656 acres under Alternative 2, on 452 acres under Alternative 3, and on 219
    acres under Alternative 4. All alternatives are consistent with this standard.

                  Table 3.101 - Existing and Post-Implementation Unsuitable Habitat

                          LAU                    EXISTING        POST          POST           POST       POST
                          14510                                  ALT. 1        ALT. 2         ALT. 3     ALT. 4
                     NFS Acres                    20,915         No ∆          No ∆         No ∆          No ∆
                    Total Habitat                 18,435         No ∆          No ∆         No ∆          No ∆
             Unsuitable Habitat Acres/ %         2,507/14      2,620/14      3,276/18     3,072/17      2,839/15
              *Total habitat includes denning, forage, lynx habitat and unsuitable habitat.    No ∆ = no change

Project Planning Standard #1 - Within each LAU, map lynx habitat….
  This standard is met. Lynx habitat components within the LAU 14510 were mapped using the timber
  stand database version of the KNF lynx model with LCAS definitions. The amount of each habitat
  component is displayed in Table 3.102 below.

                           Table 3.102 - Habitat Components Within LAU 14510

                                                                                        UNSUITABLE
            DENNING HABITAT          FORAGING HABITAT          LYNX HABITAT                                 NON-HABITAT
    LAU                                                                                    LYNX
                 ACRES                    ACRES                   ACRES                                        ACRES
                                                                                         HABITAT
                   4,519                    2,896                    8,771                 2,577                2,586
   14510
                (4,463/50)               (2,729/138)              (8,736/36)            (2,507/70)           (2,478/108)
                                         Expressed as total acres (NFS/PVT acres)

Project Planning Standard #2 - Within a LAU, maintain denning habitat and patches generally larger
than 5 acres, comprising at least 10% of lynx habitat. Where less than 10 percent denning habitat is
currently present within a LAU, defer any management actions that would delay development of denning
habitat structure. Table 3.103 displays the amount of denning habitat within the Bristow LAU and the
impact by alternative.
                          Table 3.103 - Amount of Denning Habitat and Impact

                            LAU                   EXISTING      POST        POST          POST          POST
                            14510                               ALT. 1      ALT. 2        ALT. 3        ALT. 4
                      NFS Acres                    20,915        No ∆        No ∆          No ∆          No ∆
                     Total Habitat                 18,435        No ∆        No ∆          No ∆          No ∆
               Denning Habitat (Acres/ %)         4,463/24       No ∆      4,350/24      4,391/24      4,389/24
                *Total habitat includes denning, forage, lynx habitat and unsuitable habitat. No ∆ = no change

  Alternative 1 has no direct, indirect, or cumulative impact to denning habitat

  Denning habitat should comprise at least 10% of lynx habitat and all alternatives maintain 24% after
  timber harvest. If the 42 acres of proposed slash and burn units are considered to have an effect on
  lynx denning habitat, Alternative 2 would reduce total denning habitat by 1% to 23%, but Alternative 3
  and 4 maintain denning habitat at 24%.

Project Planning Standard #3 - Maintain Habitat connectivity within and between LAUs.
  This standard is met. Adequate habitat connectivity within the LAU would remain. Suitable forested
  corridors would remain throughout the LAU to allow lynx to move both within and between adjacent
  LAUs.

II. Conservation Methods to Address risk Factors Affecting Lynx Productivity
A. Timber management in lynx habitat.
   Project Planning Standard #1 - Management actions (e.g. timber sales, salvage sales) shall not
   change more than 15% of lynx habitat within a LAU to an unsuitable condition within a 10-year period.


                                        Chapter 3                                                                          195
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
    This standard is met. The LAU 14510 has had approximately 7% changed to unsuitable in the last 10
    years due to timber harvest. It is expected over the next several years older harvest units, and burns
    will begin to regenerate and decrease the percentage of unsuitable habitat.

    Alternative 2 will change approximately 717 acres to unsuitable habitat. This would increase the
    existing unsuitable habitat 3%, from the existing 14% to 17%. Thus, with implementation of
    Alternative 2 approximately 10% of the LAU would change to unsuitable in the 10 year-period.

  Project Planning Standard #2 - Following a disturbance such as blowdown, fire, insects/pathogens
  mortality, that could contribute to lynx denning habitat, do not salvage harvest when the affected area is
  smaller than 5 acres.
    Salvage harvest of blowdown is proposed in Unit 6. This unit totals 48 acres and the standard is met.

  Project Planning Standard #3 - In lynx habitat, precommercial thinning will be allowed only when
  stands no longer provide snowshoe hare habitat (i.e. Self pruning processes have eliminated snowshoe
  hare, cover and for its availability during winter conditions, with average snowpack.
    This standard is met, although precommercial thinning is proposed within the boundaries of the LAU.
    Approximately 147 acres total (or 7 individual units) would be precommercial thinned. This thinning
    would occur in stands designated as non-habitat because the stands are comprised of Douglas-fir.

  Project Planning Standard #4 - In aspen stands within lynx habitat in the Cascade Mountains,
  Northern Rocky Mountains, and southern Rocky Mountains geographic area, apply harvest
  prescriptions that favor regeneration of aspen.
    This standard is being applied. Unit 63 is specifically designed to regenerate aspen. This unit is
    located within the LAU, and has approximately eight acres of model identified denning habitat and
    nine acres of model identified lynx habitat.

B. Wildland Fire Management
  Project Planning Standard #2 - Design burn prescriptions to regenerate or create snowshoe hare
  habitat (e.g. regeneration of aspen and lodgepole pine).
    Unit 63 would be burned to help regenerate aspen within lynx habitat.

C. Recreation Management.
No recreation activities are proposed within lynx habitat but snowmobiling does occur.

  Programmatic Planning Standard #1 - On federal lands in lynx habitat, allow no net increase in
  groomed or designated over-the-snow routes and snowmobile play areas by LAU.
    This standard is met. No additional groomed or designated snowmobile routes or play areas are
    proposed under Alternative 1, 2, 3, or 4.

  Programmatic Planning Standard #2 - Map and monitor the location and intensity of snow
  compacting activities (i.e., snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, etc.) that coincide with
  lynx habitat, to facilitate future evaluation of effects on lynx as information becomes available.
    Currently the Kootenai National Forest has mapped snowmobile routes and general use areas where
    compaction could occur in areas that coincide with lynx habitat (Wayne Johnson, pers.
    Communication 2003). Within the Bristow planning subunit there are 100 miles of year-round open
    road and 40 miles of road either restricted seasonally or year-round that allow the use of snow
                             st          th
    vehicles December 1 to April 30 . Currently LAU 14510 is considered to receive low to moderate
    snowmobile use on an average winter (J. Jeresek, personal communication 2003). The snowmobile
    use is concentrated in the upper portion of the Bristow timber compartment. Most access to the area
    occurs up the Barron/Bristow forest road #333, or up the Camp Creek/ Blue Creek road (#615)
    through the upper Barron road #6236 over into Bristow.

D. Forest/Backcountry Roads and Trails
  Programmatic Planning Standard #1 - On federal lands in lynx habitat, allow no net increase in
  groomed or designated over-the-snow routes and snowmobile play areas by LAU. Winter logging is not
  subject to this restriction.
    This standard is met. No groomed ski or snowmobile trails are proposed in lynx habitat. Winter
    logging may occur under any alternative.
196                                    Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  E. Livestock Grazing.
  Not applicable

  F. Other Human Developments, Oil and Gas Leasing, Mines, Reservoirs, Agriculture
  Not applicable.

III. CONSERVATION MEASURES TO ADDRESS MORTALITY RISK FACTORS
   A. Trapping (legal and non-target) - As described in the LCAS (2000:7-12) this measure
      is designed to address incidental take of lynx.
       This conservation measure is met. No new permanent road construction would occur in the LAU, and
       the risk of mortality from incidental trapping would not increase

      Under Alternative 1 there would be no changes.

      Under Alternative 2, 3, and 4, within the LAU there would be road management changes that would
      decrease the allowable snowmobile use, however no change in the current use is expected due to
      where the snowmobile use is occurring.

  B. Predator Control
  Not applicable

  C. Shooting
  Not Applicable.

  D. Competition and Predation as influenced by Human Activities
      This standard is met. All alternatives would not cause any increase in groomed or designated over-
      the-snow routes and snowmobile play areas.

  E. Highways
  Not applicable

IV. Conservation Measures to Address Movement and Dispersal
  A. Programmatic Planning Standards
    Programmatic Planning Standard #1 - Identify key linkage areas that may be important in providing
    landscape connectivity within and between geographic areas, across all ownerships.
  B. Highways
  C. Land ownership
  D. Ski Area/large resorts and associated activities
    Alternative 1, 2, 3, and 4 would comply with these conservation measures. Landscape connectivity
    would be maintained as described under Conservation Measures Applicable to All Programs and
    Activities, Project Planning Standard #3. No highways, land ownership adjustments, or ski areas/resorts
    are involved.

V. Other Large Scale Factors
  A. Fragmentation and Degradation of Refugia
      This measure is met. No fragmentation or degradation of the LAU under implementation of any
      alternative.

  B. Lynx Movement and Dispersal across Shrub-Steppe Habitats
      Not applicable. No shrub-steppe habitat occurs in the LAU.

  C. Non-Native Invasive Species
      The intent of this conservation measure would be met within the LAU. On federal lands, under all
      alternatives, a contract clause would be included in the timber sale contract that would require
      washing of all equipment being brought to the timber sale. The Libby Ranger District also has a weed
      management program manage non-native invasive species.




                                        Chapter 3                                                      197
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Statement of Findings
  Implementation of Alternative 2, 3, and 4 may affect – is not likely to adversely affect the lynx or its
  habitat. This determination is based on:
      1. Any lynx using the denning or lynx habitat impacted by each alternative could be displaced by the
           harvest or slash and burning activity.
      2. Winter logging may occur.
      3. The proposed action follows and meets the conservation measures outlined in the LCAS. The
           USFWS is currently under court order to designate lynx critical habitat. By complying with the
           LCAS, the KNF maintains options for the designation of critical habitat by the USFWS.

Consistency with Forest Plan and Lynx Conservation Assessment and Strategy
 The Forest Plan (Vol I, II-23) states that the management of habitat for threatened, endangered, and
 sensitive species will be in accordance with applicable state-of-the art information.

  The LCAS established conservation measures that are intended to conserve the lynx, and to reduce or
  eliminate adverse effects from management activities on federal lands. Under the CA, the USFS is to
  review and consider these recommended measures (Ruediger et at. 2000:). The conservation measures
  are displayed in three forms: objectives (measures of desired resource condition), guidelines (ways to
  meet objectives), and standards (required management actions). The preceding analysis included the
  conservation measures that apply to activities proposed for this specific project, and discussed how the
  proposed project is consistent with these standards and guidelines.

  All alternatives are consistent with the Forest Plan, and with the LCAS standards and guidelines
  discussed above.




  198                                   Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

10. RECREATION RESOURCES
 Planning Subunit
     The Bristow planning subunit is bounded on the north by the Lost Soul-Zeigler divide, on the east by
     Koocanusa Reservoir, on the south by the South Fork Jackson divide, and on the west by the Banfield-
     Blue divide.

 Analysis Methods
  The Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) (USDA Forest Service 1990) provides the framework to
  understand how resource management affects settings, activities and ultimately the experience levels of
  recreationists. The key to providing most experience opportunities is the setting and how it is managed.
  As resource managers, we can facilitate (or hamper) many desired experiences by the way we manage
  setting indicators. These are:
       1) Access - includes type and mode of travel.
       2) Remoteness - refers to the extent to which individuals perceive themselves removed from the
           sights and sounds of human activity.
       3) Social Encounters - refers to the number and type of other recreationists met along travelways
           and at destinations.
       4) Visitor Management - includes the degree to which visitors are regulated and controlled, as well
           as the level of information and services provided.
       5) Facilities and Site Management - refers to the level of site development.
       6) Visitor Impacts - refers to the impacts of visitor use on the environment.
       7) Naturalness - refers to the degree of naturalness of the setting, it affects the psychological
           outcomes associated with enjoying nature.

 Affected Environment
     1. Access -The Bristow area has a high density of roads (open and closed) that were primarily
        constructed for tree harvest. Roads open to motorized vehicle travel yearlong are loop roads or a
        major climber within a drainage. Most spur roads are closed yearlong to achieve big game
        winter/summer range habitat effectiveness. Snowmobile use is restricted to open roads due to big
        game winter range values. Off-highway vehicles (OHV) trespass of closed roads is common.
        Closed roads are used extensively by walk-in hunters during the fall seasons. Non-motorized
        hiking/horseback trails are located near the perimeter of the planning subunit.
     2. Remoteness - Due to the high density of roads and past tree harvest, the perceived condition of
        remoteness is not easily achieved in the Bristow area. Exceptions would be cross country travel,
        the non-motorized hiking trails near the perimeter of the area, and roads that have been closed for
        long periods with dense re-vegetation.
     3. Social Encounters - Contact between recreationists is low-to-moderate along open roads. Contacts
        are highest during peak seasons, example: hunting during the fall. Contact on closed roads is low,
        as most recreationists respect another person's desire for space. Encounters by season are often
        by people pursuing the same recreation activity.
     4. Visitor Management - The most common control on recreationists in the Bristow area is road
        closures to motorized vehicle travel. Over half the road mileage in the area has been closed
        yearlong to benefit big game or watershed health. The most common information provided to
        visitors is related to vehicle travel, i.e. road numbers, mile markers, traffic control signs. Nearly all
        signs in the planning subunit are riddled with bullet holes.
     5. Facilitites and Site Management - The McGillivray Recreation Area and Barron Creek Boat Ramp
        are developed recreation sites that are intensively managed from Memorial Day through Labor Day
        within the Bristow area. Several non-motorized hiking trails are positioned near the perimeter of the
        area. These are maintained every 2-3 years.
     6. Visitor Impacts - The most common impacts of visitors are spread of noxious weeds and littering.
        Vandalism to gates, once common is now declining. Cross country OHV use has resulted in the
        creation of new travel ways, vegetation elimination, soil erosion and weed spread.
     7. Naturalness - Visual quality objectives are used to quantify the degree of landscape naturalness.
        This has been discussed extensively in the scenic resource section.

   The Bristow planning subunit provides important recreation settings, ranging from semi-primitive
   motorized to roaded modified, for a wide spectrum of recreation activities. The area is important due to its'
   proximity to Koocanusa Reservoir, ease of access from the FDR 228 corridor, and numerous roads which

                                          Chapter 3                                                          199
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  provide loop driving opportunities. Developed recreation activities are camping, picnicing, and water
  sports. Important dispersed recreation activities are driving to view scenery and wildlife, gathering forest
  products (firewood, berries, Christmas trees, mushrooms, antlers, etc.), hunting, hiking, horseback riding,
  and OHV use.

  There are no inventoried roadless areas within the Bristow planning subunit. Primitive and semi-primitve
  non-motorized recreation settings are lacking due to the high level of development (road construction and
  tree harvest). The majority of the planning subunit is inventoried a roaded natural area. There is one
  outfitter/guide permitted in the planning subunit.

  Managed trails in the area are:
       12w - Blue Mountain, 2.5 miles
       12s - Rainy Divide, 10.01 miles
       70 - Lost Soul Divide, 5 miles
       261 - Hickey Creek, 1.5 miles
       270 - Alexander Mountain, 4.26 miles
       356 - Ziegler Mountain, 2.21 miles.
  There are vistas along these trails that offer panoramic views of Koocanusa Reservoir, the Purcell Range
  and the East Cabinet Range.

  Currently, stock use of the planning subunit is judged to be low. The distance of this area to private
  property near Libby leads to little use of the area by residents as an equestrian opportunity. Loop
  opportunities are present which would allow a rider to cover new terrain for most of a ride.

  OHV use within the planning subunit is presently light. Four wheelers and motorcycles are the two major
  OHV types. OHV use of roads that are closed to motor vehicles is common.

  Snowmobile use is mostly light and concentrated in the Blue Mountain and Banfield Mountain areas and
  upper elevation slopes in the planning subunit.

  People participating in activities where a semi-primitive experience is desired are, for the most part,
  dependant upon road management. Currently the yearlong and seasonal closures on spur roads is doing
  a marginal job of maintaining this setting. Violations of these road closures by four wheelers and
  motorcycles are common and limit the opportunity for a semi-primitive experience in the planning subunit.

  The Bristow area is used by recreationists at all seasons. Peak use periods are during the fall for hunting,
  and summer for camping, picnicing, and water sports. Libby/Montana residents make up the highest
  percentage of visitors to the area. Recreation activities are dispersed over time and space. The
  concentrated use at McGillivray Recreation Area is where the greatest diversity of recreationists can be
  encountered.

Environmental Consequences
 Alternative 1
  Direct, Indirect and Cumulative Effects
  Implementation of the no-action alternative would retain current vehicle access levels to the project area.
  No additional road closures would be implemented and current levels of access for berry picking, fire
  wood gathering, hunting and other activities facilitated by vehicle access would be retained. Gated road
  recreation opportunities would remain the same also, and walk-in hunting and horseback opportunities
  would not be increased. The four additional camping sites at Barren Meadows would not be created,
  keeping developed camping sites in the area at current levels. Dispersed recreation sites along the
  reservoir would not be reduced to protect cultural resource sites. No timber harvest, fuels treatment or
  precommercial thinning would occur, and stand densities would not be reduced allowing easier travel or
  increased visibility of big game animals.

  Road decommissioning and storage activities would not occur, which would allow easier travel of
  restricted roads proposed for such activity by some modes of travel such as bicycles and foot travel due
  to stream road crossings remaining in place.


  200                                    Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Action Alternatives
 Direct and Indirect Effects
 The action alternatives propose 34 to 54 treatment units totaling 2,252 to 3,169 acres, and 2.48 to 5.26
 miles of temporary road construction. Additional road closures are proposed to meet watershed/fisheries
 and big game security goals. Road decommissioning and storage is proposed to improve water quality
 and hydrologic function. Refer to Chapter 2 for a complete description of the action alternatives. In a
 roaded natural setting, access management is the focus of public attention and agency analysis as well.

 The proposed actions will change settings for a variety of activities and ultimately, the experience levels
 derived by recreationists. For example, a road closure would make gathering for products (berry picking,
 Christmas tree cutting) more difficult or impossible (firewood cutting). However, that same road closure
 would enhance walk-in hunting or horseback riding. Therefore, effects analysis often looks at access
 management to determine if a balance of recreation opportunity is available. In the Bristow area, a
 reasonable balance of open and closed road-related recreation settings would be available under the no-
 action and action alternatives.

 Proposed tree harvest/fuel treatments would largely enhance hunting opportunities by allowing easier
 travel by hunters, and big game animals to be more easily seen. The scenic quality of proposed
 vegetation treatments is discussed in the scenic resource section of Chapter 3.

 Alternatives 2 and 4 include road closures, but the closures proposed do not access important recreation
 destinations. However, Alternative 3A proposes to close the Banfield Mountain road 4859 and Lost Soul
 road 4851. Camp Creek road 6236 is also proposed for closure. These closures would restrict recreation
 access to the upper Bristow Creek basin where berry picking and hunting are favored activities. These
 closures would also restrict access to trailheads serving the Banfield Ridge trail #822 and Lost Soul
 Divide trail #70. Both trails are located at the northwest boundary of the planning subunit. Alternative 3B
 also closes the Camp Creek road 6236, but closes road 4874 in the vicinity of Ziegler Mountain instead of
 Banfield Mountain and Lost Soul roads. Alternative 3B is therefore less impactive to recreational trailhead
 access than Alternative 3A. Alternatives 2 and 4 are less impactive to vehicular recreational traffic than
 either 3A or 3B. Visitor impacts on the environment may be decreased due to the decreased ability of
 some users to access the area. Naturalness would increase due to road storage and decommissioning
 activities.

 Additional dispersed camping sites are proposed along the edge of Barron Meadow near the boat ramp.
 This proposal would enhance settings for spring through fall camping and picnicking through creation of
 fire pit, parking pad, and table at each site.

 All action alternatives propose to restrict access to several user-created dispersed recreation sites to
 protect a cultural resource site. These sites are adjacent to Lake Koocanusa. Thus, several dispersed
 camping sites will no longer be available for vehicle-assisted camping. It is anticipated that the public may
 create additional dispersed campsites that are vehicle-accessible, but would not impact the cultural
 resource site.

 Recreation use of developed sites will remain moderate. Recreation opportunities will continue to be
 varied and dispersed through the area. Trails located near the perimeter of the planning subunit will be
 maintained at longer intervals as the Forest Service manages declining maintenance budgets. The need
 for public outfitter/guide services will remain low due to the area's high level of roading. While substantial
 amount of road will be stored or decommissioned, and access changes will restrict public access in the
 analysis area, many open roads will still be available for traditional motorized recreation activities in the
 analysis area.

 Recreational activity at the McGillivray boat ramp may be affected during the treatment of units 68, 68A
 and 69. All of these proposed treatments lay along the road access to the ramp. The ramp is open
 yearlong, snow permitting. Closure of the ramp may be necessary for public safety during treatment
 activities. Provisions in the timber sale contract would protect recreation facilities from damage by
 treatment activities.

 Tree harvest activities would have indirect effects on recreationists and their activities. Increased traffic
 levels would be expected on many of the area roads. Increased opportunities to gather firewood and
                                         Chapter 3                                                           201
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                     Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  mushrooms would be expected for the short term following tree harvest and slash burning. There would
  be short-term displacement of recreationists from harvest activity areas due to noise, traffic and for safety
  reasons.

  Table 3.104, below compares all four alternatives by the seven recreation setting indicators described
  above. Comparisons are qualitative rather than quantitative.

                            Table 3.104 – Recreation Setting Indicator by Alternative

      RECREATION
        SETTING        ALTERNATIVE 1             ALTERNATIVE 2             ALTERNATIVE 3A/B         ALTERNATIVE 4
       INDICATOR
  Access             High                    Somewhat reduced            Greatly reduced          Somewhat reduced
  Remoteness         Low                     Slightly increased          Most increased           Slightly increased
  Social             Low, higher during      Slightly increased due to   Most increased due to    Slightly increased
  Encounters         peak use                road closures               road closures            due to road closures
  Visitor            Moderate road           Slight increase in road     Large increase in road   Slight increase in
  Management         restrictions existing   closures                    closures                 road closures
  Facilities, Site   Existing                User developed              User developed           User developed
  Management         campgrounds, trails     dispersed campsites         dispersed campsites      dispersed campsites
                     maintained              closed; USFS developed      closed; USFS             closed; USFS
                                             dispersed campsites         developed dispersed      developed dispersed
                                             increased                   campsites increased      campsites increased
  Visitor            Existing impacts        Slightly reduced impacts    Moderately reduced       Slightly reduced
  Impacts            maintained              due to increased road       impacts due to           impacts due to
                                             restrictions                increased road           increased road
                                                                         restrictions             restrictions
  Naturalness        Low                     Slightly increased by       Moderately increased     Slightly increased by
                                             road closures;              due to road closures;    road closures; least
                                             moderately decreased        slightly decreased by    decreased by fewer,
                                             by large opening size of    smaller harvest units    smaller harvest units
                                             harvest units

Cumulative Effects
 The cumulative effects of the action alternatives on recreation use are largely access driven. Alternative
 3A creates the largest change in accessibility of the project area for recreational hiking using trails, and
 may have the ultimate effect of causing trail users to hike in other areas of the forest. All action
 alternatives restrict current vehicular access, with Alternatives 3A and 3B restricting public access the
 most. Summer and fall activities such as berry gathering, fire wood cutting and hunting will likely be the
 most affected activities, with road closures causing increased traffic for these activities on the roads that
 remain open, either in the analysis area, or in other portions of the district or forest.

  Increased road closures will increase non-vehicular opportunities in the area, as displayed above. But
  over time, particularly decommissioned and stored roads will brush in and no longer provide high-quality
  walk-in hunting, mountain bike or horseback opportunities unless funding to maintain these roads as trails
  is secured.

  Opportunities for remoteness would increase in the analysis area over time due to decreased roaded
  access, with Alternatives 3A and 3B increasing remoteness the most.

  Continued emphasis is expected on existing developed recreation sites, so those opportunities are
  expected to remain the same.

Forest Plan Consistency
 The environmental consequences of all alternatives on recreation settings, activities, and experiences
 would be consistent with goals, objectives, and standards of the Forest Plan.

  .




  202                                      Chapter 3
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

11. Consultation with American Indian Tribes
 Planning subunit
   The area analyzed for Cultural Resources is the Bristow Creek planning subunit which lies on the west
   side of the Koocanusa Reservoir and includes the Bristow Creek, the Barron Creek, and the Jackson
   Creek drainages. The project area includes Ziegler Mountain to the north and the divide between the
   Jackson Creek and Rainy Creek drainages to the south.

 Analysis Methods
  Federal guidelines direct federal agencies to consult with modern American Indian tribal representatives
  and traditionalists who may have concerns about federal actions that may affect religious practices, other
  traditional cultural uses, as well as cultural resource sites and remains associated with American Indian
  ancestors.

   The project area lies within the aboriginal territory of the Kootenai Tribe. The Confederated Salish and
   Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho represent modern members of the Kootenai
   Tribe. The Salish also occasionally passed through the project area. The Salish are also represented by
   the CSKT.

   Analysis methods used in this section consists of consultation with the tribes who have been identified as
   having an interest in the project area. The concerns of the CSKT and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho were
   solicited through project scoping. In addition, the CSKT has provided a Tribal Liaison to work in
   partnership with the Kootenai National Forest to review project proposals and provide Tribal input.
   Information obtained from the CSKT and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho is taken into account to assess impact
   to issues related to cultural sites, traditional plants, and other resources related to treaty rights.
   Information exchanged through consultation is considered confidential.

 Affected Environment
   The project area is within the aboriginal territory of the Kootenai Tribe, and was occasionally used by the
   Salish. There was consultation with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe and Kootenai Tribe of
   Idaho centered on the project area but took into account any outside area that might affect the project
   area.

 Forest Plan Standards and Guidelines
  American Indian Tribes are afforded special rights under various federal statues including those listed
  below. The Indian Sacred Sites Executive Order 13007 of June 1996 directs Federal land managers to
  "(1) accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practitioners
  and (2) avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites", and to "maintain the
  confidentiality of sacred sites" where appropriate. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978
  preserves the inherent rights of American Indians "for freedom to believe, express and exercise" their
  traditional religions. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 as amended through 1992 requires
  federal agencies take into consideration the effects of their activities on cultural properties, and provides
  for the participation of Indian tribes where there is the potential to affect sites culturally significant to
  Americans Indians. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA)
  recognizes the rights of the Indian Tribes and Native American organizations as caretakers of human
  remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony with which they can
  demonstrate a reasonable biological or cultural affiliation, and conveys to such groups the rights to decide
  upon the disposition of such items.

   In addition to the general federal statutes listed below, the Salish (Flathead), Kootenai and Upper Pend
   d'Oreille tribes have rights under the Hellgate Treaty of 1855. The Forest Plan recognizes these treaty
   rights on the Kootenai National Forest (FP Vol.I pg V-4). These reserved rights include the "right of taking
   fish at all usual and accustomed places, in common with citizens of the Territory, and of erecting
   temporary buildings for curing; together with the privilege of hunting, gathering roots and berries, and
   pasturing their horses and cattle upon open and unclaimed land". The federal government has trust
   responsibilities to Tribes under a government-to-government relationship to insure that the Tribes'
   reserved rights are protected.



                                          Chapter 3                                                        203
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Environmental Consequences
 Tribal comments on the environmental consequences have been received concerning a road in the
 Bristow planning subunit. The area of concern is located in the lower Jackson Creek area. Mitigation for
 the protection of that area is proposed in this analysis.




 204                                    Chapter 3
                    Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                  Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

12. Economics
 Introduction
   The combination of small town and rural settings, along with people from a wide variety of backgrounds,
   provide a diverse social environment for the geographical region around the Kootenai Forest. Local
   residents pursue a wide variety of life-styles, but many share a common theme, an orientation to the
   outdoors and natural resources. This is reflected in both vocational and recreational pursuits including
   employment in the logging and milling operations, outfitter and guide businesses, hiking, hunting, fishing,
   camping and many other recreational activities.

   Timber, tourism and agricultural industries are the mainstays of local areas. Despite the common concern
   for, and dependence on, natural resources within the local communities, social attitudes contrast sharply
   with respect to their management. Local residents offer a broad spectrum of perspectives ranging from
   complete preservation to maximum development and utilization of natural resources.

   The economic effects of management activities within the project area have the potential to ripple
   throughout a wide cross-section of nearby communities. However, it is unlikely that the effects of this
   project alone would be noticeable or "traceable" in these communities. Generally, a single timber sale
   project does not have an impact on employment and income. If a particular project were not approved,
   there would be other timber sales in other areas. The analysis of jobs and income was completed in the
   Forest Plan.

 Planning Subunit
   The planning subunit is located in Lincoln County, one of the 56 counties in Montana, and is not part of a
   Metropolitan area. It‟s 2000 population of 18,822, ranked 10th in the State. The population centers in
   Lincoln County include Eureka, Libby, and Troy, Montana. The Kootenai National Forest occupies
   approximately 75 percent of the land base in Lincoln County.

 Analysis Methods
  The economic efficiency analysis is specific to the timber harvest and ecosystem management activities
  associated with the proposal as directed in Forest Service Manual 2400- Timber Management (FSM
  2400) and guidance found in the Forest Service Handbook 2409.18 (FSH 2409.18). The changes to
  resources like wildlife and fisheries habitat have been measured using changes to habitat conditions and
  will not be described in financial or economic terms for this site-specific project. Non-market values such
  as dispersed recreation were not expected to change and were not included in the economic efficiency
  analysis. These were, however, analyzed at the Forest Plan level - refer to Appendix B, Chapter IV of the
  Forest Plan for more information. According to the FSM 2400 Sec. 2430.3, it is policy to “operate timber
  sale programs and projects in the most cost-efficient manner practicable within applicable standards and
  guidelines to achieve the objectives outlined in Forest Plans”. The purpose of this economic analysis is to
  provide financial and economic information in order to determine feasibility and "salability" of the timber
  sale proposed for this project.

   The indicators for economic issues are:
       Timber revenues.
       Present net value.
       Harvest volumes.
   Table 3.105 compares the indicators by alternative.

   Present Net Value: The present net value (PNV) is one indicator for comparing the financial efficiency
   between alternatives. PNV is the difference between the present value of the revenues and the present
   value of the expenses. PNV converts expenses and revenues over the entire time frame of the project
   into a single figure for a selected year. A positive PNV means that the project would generate more
   revenues than expenses.

   The computer program PLATA (Project Level Analysis of Treatment Alternatives) was used to predict
   timber values for each alternative and calculate PNV. The timber appraisal portion of PLATA was
   patterned after the "Transaction Evidence" type of appraisal system used to appraise sales within Region
   1 and uses regression formulas to estimate bid values. Forest Service planning and administration cost
   estimates within the PLATA database are specific to the Kootenai National Forest and were derived from

                                          Chapter 3                                                        205
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  the Timber Sale Program Annual Report for the Kootenai National Forest Fiscal Year 1998, (TSPIRS).
  Forest Service planning and administration costs used to estimate PNV are:
                               Analysis – Documentation           $    8.60/ccf
                               Stand Exams                        $    5.76/ccf
                               Transportation planning            $    2.06/ccf
                               Sale preparation                   $    9.49/ccf
                               Harvest Administration             $    7.99/ccf
                               Road Re-Const Admin                $ 1000.00/mile

  In addition, types of logging systems, timber species, road reconstruction, road maintenance, site
  preparation (burning, piling, etc.), tree planting, and environmental protection (slash disposal, erosion
  control seeding and fertilizing, noxious weed control, etc.) were considered in estimating timber values.

  Activities that are expected to be funded by non-protected KV collections or appropriated funds such as
  underburning to reduce natural fuel loadings and stimulate wildlife browse, road decommissioning and/or
  storage, and pre-commercial thinning were included in the PNV analysis although no monetary value was
  assigned to expected outputs. The changes to resources like wildlife and fisheries habitat have been
  measured using changes to habitat conditions. See the wildlife and fisheries sections of this EA for more
  information.

Affected Environment
1. The Economy
  Earnings by Industry - Forest products have historically represented the largest component of
  manufacturing in Lincoln County. The largest industries in 2000 were durable goods manufacturing, 21.5
  percent of earnings; services, 18.4 percent; and federal civilian government, 15.3 percent. In 1990, the
  largest industries were durable goods manufacturing, 29.8 percent of earnings; mining, 12.0 percent; and
  services, 11.2 percent. Of the industries that accounted for at least five percent of earnings in 2000, the
  slowest growing from 1990 to 2000 was durable goods manufacturing, which decreased at an average
  annual rate of 1.9 percent; the fastest was services, which increased at an average annual rate of 6.5
  percent (U.S. Dept. Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, BEARFACTS).

  As a result of the Fiscal Year 1998 (FY98) timber harvest program of 88.14MMBF on the KNF, it is
  estimated that approximately 3,439 private sector jobs were generated with an estimated $107,743,000 of
  local community income generated (1998 TSPIRS Appendix A).

  The Stimson Lumber plywood plant in Libby closed in December 2002, displacing about 300 mill workers.
  The pullout translates to the loss of a $14 million annual payroll that circulated through the Libby business
  network. Stimson officials cited increased costs for raw materials and a soft market for the final product as
  the primary reason for the mill closure, but also stated that timber supply is crucial to the long-term
  viability of the remaining mills in Montana and Idaho.

  Timber from the planning subunit would likely be processed at one or more of the mills located in Eureka,
  Kalispell, and Columbia Falls, Montana and Moyie Springs and Bonners Ferry, Idaho. These mills rely, in
  part, on a supply of timber from National Forest Systems land.

2. Income
  Per Capita Personal Income - In 2000, Lincoln County had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of
  $17,411. This PCPI ranked 45th in the State, and was 77 percent of the State average, $22,518, and 59
  percent of the national average, $29,469. In 1990, the PCPI of Lincoln was $13,096 and ranked 40th in
  the State. The average annual growth rate of PCPI over the past 10 years was 2.9 percent. The average
  annual growth rate for the State was 3.8 percent and for the nation was 4.2 percent (U.S. Dept.
  Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, BEARFACTS).

  Total Personal Income - In 2000, Lincoln County had a total personal income (TPI) of $327,717,000.
  This TPI ranked 11th in the State and accounted for 1.6 percent of the State total. In 1990, the TPI of
  Lincoln was $229,162,000 and ranked 11th in the State. The average annual growth rate of TPI over the
  past 10 years was 3.6 percent. The average annual growth rate for the State was 5.1 percent and for the
  nation was 5.5 percent (U.S. Dept. Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, BEARFACTS).

  206                                    Chapter 3
                     Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                   Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
  3. Payments to Counties from Kootenai National Forest Programs
    PILT - “Payments in lieu of taxes (PILT)” is a federal revenue-sharing program designed to compensate
    local governments for the presence of tax-exempt federal lands within their jurisdictions. PILT funds are
    paid annually and are calculated by a formula that considers the amount of Federal entitlement acres,
    county population, and “prior year payments”. In 2002, Lincoln County received $281,797.

    National Forest Fund - In the past, Lincoln County has received revenue from the federal treasury under
    16 U.S.C. 500, commonly known as the Twenty-five Percent Fund Act. These payments were based on
    the revenues received during the year from all revenue generated from the National Forest System Lands
    within the county for such things as mineral lease permits, grazing fees, campground collections, special
    use permits and timber sales. Twenty-five percent of the gross receipts were returned to the county
    governments for schools and roads. In Lincoln County, these revenues were primarily the result of timber
    sales. In 1998, gross timber revenues on the Kootenai National Forest returned $4,141,329 to the
    counties. Lincoln County received $3,651,000 in 1998, $2,319,200 in 1999, and $2,856,000 in 2000 for
    twenty-five percent of the revenue from all sources collected from the KNF (FS Historical Data on 25%
    Revenues by County). With the change in the Twenty-five percent Fund Act to the Secure Rural Schools
    and Community Self-determination Act, there is no effect to payments to counties from any alternative.

    With the October 30, 2000 signing of Public Law 106-393, the Secure Rural Schools and Community
    Self-Determination Act of 2000, eligible counties now have the option of:
          1) Continuing to receive their share of the State‟s payments under the twenty-five Percent Fund
              Act.
          2) Electing to receive their share of the average of the three highest twenty-five percent payments
              to the State during the period of fiscal year (FY) 1986 through FY 1999 (the full payment
              amount).
    An election to receive a share of the State‟s twenty-five percent payment will be effective for two years;
    an election to receive a share of the full payment amount remains in effect through FY 2006. Lincoln
    County has elected to participate in the “full payment amount”. The County‟s payment in 2001 was
    $5,658,719 and in 2002 was $5,096,514.

  Summary
   The Lincoln County residents and government recognize the need to create a diversified economy. The
   Lincoln County Commissioners, the Lincoln County Economic Development Council, as well as the city
   governments, strongly support rural development and economic diversification by participating in studies
   and by encouraging value-added wood product businesses and tourism activity within the county.
   Although tourism and recreational related industries are on the increase in Lincoln County, they are
   typically service industries where the wage rate is lower and stability is questionable. Lincoln County is
   attempting to increase its economic diversity, but timber harvesting and lumber mills are still important
   industries to the local economy.

Environmental Consequences
  Introduction
    A comprehensive socio-economic analysis was completed during the development of the Forest Plan. It
    assessed Lincoln and Sanders counties in northwest Montana as primary impact areas. Flathead County
    in Montana and Bonner and Boundary Counties in Idaho were assessed as secondary impact areas. The
    analysis estimated the relationship of Forest activities to communities. Short-term impacts were given
    primary emphasis with lesser consideration given to long-term effects. Many projects over a large area
    were consolidated so that socio-economic effects could be shown effectively (Kootenai Forest Plan,
    Appendix B, p. B-61). Although activities within the project area influence local socio-economic
    conditions, these influences and effects cannot be effectively analyzed at the project level. The
    comprehensive analysis conducted at the Forest Plan level can more readily project effects to the local
    and regional communities.

Effects Common to All Alternatives
    Analysis and documentation costs are the same for all alternatives, including the no-action alternative.




                                           Chapter 3                                                       207
                       Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Effects Common to All Action Alternatives
    Ecosystem Management Costs Common to All Action Alternatives (appropriated funding):

     Natural Fuels
       Slash and underburn                  676ac @ $150/ac                 = $101,400
       Underburn                             46ac @ 85/ac                   =    3,910
       Slash, pct, underburn                758ac @ 150/ac                  = 113,700
       Slash, handpile and bur               46ac @ 565/ac                  = 25,990
                                                                               $245,000

     Road Storage and Decommission
     These totals are common to each action alternative, although a portion of the storage costs were
     charged as costs against stumpage where required as mitigation for that alternative.

          Storage                           33.7 mi @ $1,500/mi              = $50,550
          Decommission                       2.4 mi @ 3,000/mi               = 7,200
                                                                                $57,750
                                         TOTAL           =      $302,750

 Alternative 1
   Direct and Indirect Effects
   Under alternative1, the no-action alternative, no timber harvest, natural fuels underburning, or road
   storage/decommissioning would occur. There would be no direct, indirect or induced jobs or income
   generated to the local communities other than those associated with preparation of the analysis. The PNV

   for this alternative is negative $350,000 because analysis costs were incurred with no outputs.

   Cumulative Effects
   Cumulative effects associated with the no-action alternative in combination with the downward trend in
   timber harvest on National Forest Land could contribute to long-term loss of jobs and infrastructure.

 Alternative 2
   Direct and Indirect Effects
   Alternative 2 proposes to harvest approximately 16,440 CCF on 1,643 acres (4% of the planning subunit).
   Two types of yarding systems would be used as follows: skyline 34% of harvest volume and tractor 66%
   of harvest volume.

   The estimated timber revenue from Alternative 2 is $1,273,000. The PNV for Alternative 2 is negative
   $424,000 when all proposed ecosystem projects are included or negative $116,000 for the timber sale
   and required mitigation alone.

   Alternative 2 would support existing jobs through timber harvest and restoration projects.

 Alternative 3
   Direct and Indirect Effects
   Alternative 3 proposes to harvest approximately 11,608CCF on 1,205 acres (3% of the planning subunit).
   Two types of yarding systems would be used as follows: skyline 34% of harvest volume and tractor 66%
   of harvest volume

   The estimated timber revenue from Alternative 3 is $885,000. The PNV for Alternative 3 is negative
   $542,000 when all proposed ecosystem projects are included or negative $235,000 for the timber sale
   and required mitigation alone.

   Alternative 3 would support existing jobs through timber harvest and restoration projects.




   208                                    Chapter 3
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                                 Bristow Area Restoration Project EA
Alternative 4
  Direct and Indirect Effects
  Alternative 4 proposes to harvest approximately 5,860CCF on 726 acres (2% of the planning subunit).
  Two types of yarding systems would be used as follows: skyline 20% of harvest volume and tractor 80%
  of harvest volume.

  The estimated timber revenue from Alternative 4 is $476,000. The PNV for Alternative 4 is negative
  $525,000 when all proposed ecosystem projects are included or negative $243,000 for the timber sale
  and required mitigation alone.

  Alternative 4 would support existing jobs through timber harvest and restoration projects.

Comparison of Action Alternatives
  Alternatives 2, 3, and 4 have the same planned levels of expenditures for ecosystem restoration projects,
  for example, additional gate installations for access management, natural fuels under-burning and road
  storage and/or decommissioning.

  Timber revenues vary considerably by alternative, but this is primarily a function of timber harvest volume,
  rather that a large difference between production costs and or environmental protection costs.

  Alternatives 2, 3, and 4 have similar logging, environmental protection, administrative, and reforestation
  costs on a per unit basis.

  Road reconstruction costs to implement best management practice (BMP) standards are similar between
  alternatives, although fewer haul miles are needed for Alternative 4. Heavier road reconstruction is
  needed on five miles of road in the Bristow drainage for Alternatives 2 or 3, but not for 4. Temporary
  development and reclamation costs vary by alternative but are consistent by associated harvest units.
  Approximately 6.5 miles ($21,000 total) of road storage in the Bristow drainage is required for watershed
  mitigation for Alternatives 2 and 3. Alternative 4 would still implement this road storage, but is not required
  for timber harvest in that alternative.

  The range of present net values between alternatives is directly tied to harvest levels and resulting timber
  revenues. The higher timber revenues offset similar analysis and ecosystem improvement project cost
  over the entire planning subunit. Table 3.105 displays the economic comparison between alternatives.

                     Table 3.105 - Direct and Indirect Economic Effects by Alternative

             VOLUME           TIMBER                                     PNV ($1,000)

   ALT                       REVENUE        ANALYSIS       TIMBER HARVEST AND            TIMBER HARVEST AND
           CCF    MMBF                        ONLY         REQUIRED MITIGATION           PLANNED ECOSYSTEM
                               ($1000)      NO ACTION             ONLY                        PROJECTS
    1      0         0            0            -$350                 N/A                          N/A
    2    16,440     6.7        $1,273           N/A                 -$116                        -$424
    3    11,608     4.8         $885            N/A                 -$235                        -$542
    4    5,860      2.4         $476            N/A                 -$243                        -$525

Cumulative Effects Common to Alternatives 2, 3 and 4
 As mentioned previously, a comprehensive socio-economic analysis was conducted on a Forest-wide
 basis for the Forest Plan, where many projects over a large area for a long period of time were
 consolidated and socio-economic effects could be shown effectively (Kootenai Forest Plan, Appendix B,
 p. B-61). Although activities within the project area influence local socio-economic conditions, these
 influences cannot be adequately analyzed at the project level because of the large-scale analysis that is
 necessary to assess the impacts of many projects.

  Many factors influence and affect the local economies, including changes to industry technologies,
  economic growth, international trade, and the economic diversity and dependency of the County. This
  project is not expected to add to any existing cumulative effect. However, the assurance of employment in
  the timber sectors under the action alternatives may bring the local economy some increased relative
  stability.
                                          Chapter 3                                                         209
                      Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences
                               Bristow Area Restoration Project EA

The level of timber harvest on the Kootenai National Forest has had, and will continue to have, an effect
on the economic stability of Lincoln County. The volume that would be sold as a result of this project is a
portion of the planned timber sell program for the Kootenai National Forest. A decrease in the economic
base of the timber industry could result in a decline in the income produced by both primary and
secondary businesses.

In addition, cumulative economic effects would be seen within the local community as a result of the
foreseeable actions, which result from timber sales. For example, precommercial thinning, data gathering,
and wildlife and watershed improvement projects would provide additional employment opportunities and
additional income to the local community.




210                                    Chapter 3
                   Affected Environment & Environmental Consequences

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:7
posted:7/31/2011
language:English
pages:210