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This is a text-only version of the document "Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, DOI, Feb 1995". To see the original version of the document click here.
United States Department
Bureau of Land Management

of the Interior

FINAL

Miles City District Office Big Dry Resource Area

February

1995

BIG DRY RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN/ ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT

The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for the stewardship of our public lands. It is committed to manage, protect, and improve these lands in a manner to serve the needs of the American people for all times. Management is based on the principles of multiple use and sustained yield of our nation's resources within a framework of environmental responsibility and scientific technology. These resources include recreation; rangelands; timber; minerals; watershed; fish and wildlife; wilderness; air; and scenic, scientific, and cultural values.

BLM/MT/PL-95/005+1610

United States Department of the Interior
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT Big Dry Resource Area Miles City Plaza Miles City, Montana 59301-2844
R

IN REPLY REFER TO:

Dear Reader: Enclosed is the proposed resource management plan and final environmental impact statement for the Big Dry Resource Area of the Miles City District. This document analyzes the environmental impacts of implementing the proposed plan and three other alternatives. It incorporates comments and suggestions made on the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement during the public review period which began in March 1993 and ended in June 1993. Any additions to the draft in chapters 1 through 4 and the appendixes are highlighted. Changes were made to the Preferred Alternative in the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement including: public lands along the Lewis and Clark Trail (Missouri and Yellowstone rivers) would be a special recreation management area, Ash Creek Divide and Smoky Butte would be designated as areas of critical environmental concern, and the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern would be expanded. Other changes made to the Preferred Alternative are described in detail in highlighted areas in chapter 2 under Alternative D. The proposed plan includes the Preferred Alternative and Management Common To All Alternatives to resolve the issues which are described in chapter 2. During the public comment period for the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement two new areas were proposed for area of critical environmental concern designation: Smoky Butte and the site of the Miles/Sitting Bull Cedar Creek Fight. BLM filed a notice in the Federal Register, November 26, 1993, asking for comments on these proposals. Comments were accepted for 60 days ending January 24, 1994. These comments and the comments received on the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement were considered and incorporated in chapter 5. The BLM’s responses to those comments are found in chapter 5. The resource management planning process includes an opportunity for review through a plan protest to the BLM’s Director. Any person or organization who participated in the planning process and has an interest which is or may be adversely affected by the approval of this resource management plan may protest the plan. Careful adherence to the following guidelines will assist in preparing a protest that will assure the greatest consideration to your point of view. (1) (2) (3) Only those persons or organizations who participated in the planning process may protest. A protesting party may raise only those issues which were commented on during the planning process. Additional issues may be raised at any time and should be directed to the Miles City District for consideration in plan implementation, as potential plan amendments, or as otherwise appropriate.

The period for filing protests begins when the Environmental Protection Agency publishes in the Federal Register a Notice of Receipt of the final environmental impact statement containing the proposed resource management plan. The protest period lasts 30 days. There is no provision for any extension of time. To be considered “timely,” your protest must be sent to the Director of the BLM and must be postmarked no later than the last day of the protest period. Although not a requirement, sending your protest by certified mail, return receipt requested, is recommended.

All protests must be filed in writing to: Director, BLM Resource Planning Team (WO-480) P.O. Box 65775 Washington, D. C. 20035

In order to be considered complete your protest must contain, at a minimum, the following information: 1. 2. 3. The name, mailing address, telephone number, and interest of the person filing the protest. A statement of the issue being protested. A statement of the portion of the plan being protested. To the extent possible, this should be done by reference to specific pages, paragraphs, sections, tables, and maps in the proposed resource management plan. A copy of all documents addressing the issue submitted during the planning process or a reference to the date the issue was discussed for the record. A concise statement explaining why the BLM State Director’s decision is believed to be incorrect is a critical part of a protest. Take care to document all relevant facts and to reference or cite the planning documents, environmental analysis documents, and available planning records (meeting minutes, summaries, correspondence). A protest without any data will not provide us with the benefit of your information and insight, and the Director’s review will be based on the existing analysis and supporting data.

4.

5.

At the end of the 30-day protest period, the BLM may issue a Record of Decision, approving implementation of any portions of the proposed plan not under protest. Until the protest is resolved, approval will be withheld on that portion of the plan. We thank the individuals and organizations who participated in the planning process, and assisted in preparing a plan that will lead to more effective and efficient management of public lands and minerals.

Sincerely,

David D. Swogger Area Manager Big Dry Resource Area

FINAL Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Big Dry Resource Area Miles City District, Montana

U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management 1995

Prepared by:
Area Manager, Big Dry Resource Area

Recommended by: Acting District Manager, Miles City District Office

State Director Montana State Office

FINAL Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Big Dry Resource Area Miles City District, Montana
Lead Agency: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management Type of Action: Administrative Jurisdiction: BLM-administered lands and minerals in Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, and Wibaux counties and portions of Carter, Custer, Rosebud, and Valley counties, Montana Abstract: This document addresses alternatives for managing federal land and mineral estate administered by the Big Dry Resource Area of the Miles City District, Bureau of Land Management. The area covered comprises 1,703,830 federal surface acres and 7,621,903 acres of federal mineral estate. The plan focuses primarily on two issues: (1) special management areas (these are areas that contain special values or resources); and (2) resource accessibility and availability (to use resources, access must be available). The preferred plan and the management actions listed in “Management Common to All Alternatives” in chapter 2 constitutes the proposed resource management plan.

CONTENTS SUMMARY

SUMMARY
INTRODUCTION Background
This proposed resource management plan and final environmental impact statement addresses options for the future management of federal land and federal mineral estate administered by the Big Dry Resource Area, Bureau of Land Management (BLM). When completed this document will provide a comprehensive framework for managing and allocating public land and resource uses. The planning area encompasses BLM-administered public lands in 13 counties in eastern Montana: Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, and Wibaux. The public lands within the Big Dry Resource Area excluded from this resource management plan and environmental impact statement (see map 1 in chapter 1) are the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the lands withdrawn for the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Station managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other lands excluded are the Fort Peck Indian Reservation managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Fort Peck Tribes in Valley County. This document focuses primarily on two planning issues: (1) the suitability of areas for special management designations, and (2) opportunities for access and use of resources. These issues were generated through a process involving input from the public, other agencies, and BLM personnel.

Resource Accessibility and Availability
For a resource to have value or useability, it must be accessible and available for development or use. The exploration, development, or use of oil and gas and other minerals, recreation opportunities, and other development activities on public lands should be managed in a manner that allows use while the integrity of nonrenewable fragile resources is protected. Too much accessibility and availability could degrade the value of visual resources, cultural resources, or wildlife habitat.

MANAGEMENT ACTIONS
This document presents management common to all alternatives and management actions that are specific to each alternative. For a complete understanding of the management actions that would be implemented under a given alternative, management common to all alternatives must be considered in conjunction with table 9 in chapter 2.

ALTERNATIVES
Alternative A, the “no action” alternative, would continue present management direction. No special management areas would be designated, and accessibility and availability to resources would remain the same. Alternative B, the “protection” alternative, presents management actions that designate special management areas with restrictive management actions, reducing resource accessibility and availability. Alternative C, the “development” alternative, presents management actions designating special management areas while allowing more resource accessibility and availability. Alternative D is the “preferred” alternative. This alternative presents management actions that designate special management areas. It allows accessibility and availability to resources when no significant impacts are anticipated.

PLANNING ISSUES Special Management Designations
There are areas, values, or resources in the planning area that meet the criteria for protection and management under special management designations. Some areas contain unique resources or values that warrant special management and may be suitable for designation as areas of critical environmental concern.

i

CONTENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS
SUMMARY .................................................................................................................................................................. i ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS ............................................................................................................................ ix CHAPTER 1: Purpose and Need; Issues and Criteria ...........................................................................................................1 Location of Planning Area ......................................................................................................................................1 Description of the Planning Area ............................................................................................................................1 The Planning System ..............................................................................................................................................3 Planning Issues ........................................................................................................................................................7 Planning Criteria .....................................................................................................................................................7 CHAPTER 2: Alternatives, Including the Preferred Alternative ..........................................................................................9 Alternatives Considered but Not Analyzed in Detail ..............................................................................................9 Alternatives Analyzed in Detail ............................................................................................................................11 Management Actions ............................................................................................................................................11 Air Quality ..............................................................................................................................................11 Cultural Resources ..................................................................................................................................13 Engineering .............................................................................................................................................15 Fire Management ....................................................................................................................................15 Forestry ...................................................................................................................................................16 Hazardous Materials and Waste Management .......................................................................................17 Lands .......................................................................................................................................................17 Livestock Grazing Management .............................................................................................................20 Minerals ..................................................................................................................................................22 Paleontology ...........................................................................................................................................29 Recreation ...............................................................................................................................................30 Soil and Water ........................................................................................................................................35 Vegetation ...............................................................................................................................................36 Wildlife ...................................................................................................................................................38 Comparison of Alternatives ..................................................................................................................................41 CHAPTER 3: Affected Environment ..................................................................................................................................71 Resources and Resource Programs .......................................................................................................................71 Air Quality ..............................................................................................................................................71 Cultural Resources ..................................................................................................................................71 Fire Management ....................................................................................................................................74 Forestry ...................................................................................................................................................74 Hazardous Materials and Waste Management .......................................................................................75 Lands .......................................................................................................................................................75 Livestock Grazing Management .............................................................................................................75 Minerals ..................................................................................................................................................76 Paleontology ...........................................................................................................................................81 Recreation ...............................................................................................................................................81 Socioeconomics ......................................................................................................................................83 Soil and Water ........................................................................................................................................92 Vegetation ...............................................................................................................................................97 Wilderness ............................................................................................................................................100 Wildlife .................................................................................................................................................101 CHAPTER 4: Environmental Impacts ..............................................................................................................................111 General Assumptions ..........................................................................................................................................111 Air Quality ..........................................................................................................................................................111

iii

CONTENTS

Cultural Resources ..............................................................................................................................................113 Fire Management ................................................................................................................................................116 Forestry ..............................................................................................................................................................117 Lands ..............................................................................................................................................................118 Livestock Grazing Management .........................................................................................................................119 Minerals ..............................................................................................................................................................125 Paleontology ........................................................................................................................................................132 Recreation ...........................................................................................................................................................133 Socioeconomics ..................................................................................................................................................137 Soil and Water .....................................................................................................................................................144 Vegetation ...........................................................................................................................................................148 Wildlife ..............................................................................................................................................................151 CHAPTER 5: Consultation and Coordination ..................................................................................................................157 Public Participation .............................................................................................................................................157 Comments and Responses ...................................................................................................................................158 Alternatives and Other Management Concerns ....................................................................................158 Cultural Resources ................................................................................................................................159 Fire Management ..................................................................................................................................161 Lands .....................................................................................................................................................161 Livestock Grazing Management ...........................................................................................................164 Minerals ................................................................................................................................................166 Paleontology .........................................................................................................................................172 Recreation .............................................................................................................................................173 Soil, Water, and Air Quality .................................................................................................................177 Vegetation .............................................................................................................................................179 Wild and Scenic Rivers ........................................................................................................................181 Wilderness ............................................................................................................................................181 Wildlife .................................................................................................................................................182 Respondents and Topics Addressed ....................................................................................................................186 Additional Comments .........................................................................................................................................189 Consistency .........................................................................................................................................................193 Distribution List ..................................................................................................................................................193 List of Preparers ..................................................................................................................................................205 APPENDIXES Areas of Critical Environmental Concern Appendix ..........................................................................................207 Engineering Appendix ........................................................................................................................................217 Lands Appendix ..................................................................................................................................................219 Livestock Grazing Management Appendix ........................................................................................................223 Minerals Appendix ..............................................................................................................................................285 Monitoring Appendix ..........................................................................................................................................331 Recreation Appendix ...........................................................................................................................................343 Socioeconomics Appendix ..................................................................................................................................345 Soil and Water Appendix ....................................................................................................................................357 Vegetation Appendix ..........................................................................................................................................361 Wild and Scenic Rivers Appendix ......................................................................................................................365 Wildlife Appendix ...............................................................................................................................................367 GLOSSARY ..............................................................................................................................................................381

BIBLIOGRAPHY .............................................................................................................................................................391 INDEX ..............................................................................................................................................................403

iv

CONTENTS

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

FIGURES Distribution of Surface Estate .............................................................................................................................4 Distribution of Mineral Estate .............................................................................................................................5 BLM Planning System Tiers ...............................................................................................................................6 Importance of Resource Protection on BLM Lands ..........................................................................................85 Favor/Disfavor Activities on BLM Lands .........................................................................................................85 Off-road Vehicle Use Management ...................................................................................................................87 Management of Recreation Areas .....................................................................................................................87 Water Bearing Formations ................................................................................................................................94 Estimated Total Annual Runoff Cherry Creek Drainage ..................................................................................96 Aquatic-Riparian-Upland Ecosystems ..............................................................................................................97 Cattle and Calves Inventory ............................................................................................................................121 Sheep and Lambs Inventory ............................................................................................................................122 Gas Well Spacing Section Plat ........................................................................................................................323 Oil Well Spacing Section Plat .........................................................................................................................324 Directional Drilling Accessibility Concept .....................................................................................................327 MAPS General Location Map .........................................................................................................................................2 Cultural ACECs ...............................................................................................................................................409 Fire Management .............................................................................................................................................410 Forestlands .......................................................................................................................................................412 Fallon County Sanitary Landfill ......................................................................................................................414 Coal Areas Available For Further Consideration For Leasing (Alternative A) ..............................................415 Coal Areas Available For Further Consideration For Leasing (Alternative D) ..............................................419 Geologic Features of the Big Dry Resource Area ...........................................................................................423 Locatable Mineral Claims and Occurrences ....................................................................................................424 Mineral Material Sites .....................................................................................................................................428 Paleontology ....................................................................................................................................................432 Significant Paleontological Formations ..........................................................................................................433 Open to Off-Road Vehicle Use .......................................................................................................................437 Smoky Butte ACEC ........................................................................................................................................438 Calypso ............................................................................................................................................................439 Cherry Creek ...................................................................................................................................................440 Makoshika State Park Recreation Area ...........................................................................................................441 Powder River Depot ........................................................................................................................................442 Visual Resource Management .........................................................................................................................443 South Pine Creek Groundwater Control Area .................................................................................................447 Noxious Weeds ................................................................................................................................................448 Ten Mile Creek Riparian Area ........................................................................................................................449 Black-footed Ferret Reintroduction Area ........................................................................................................450 Crucial Winter Range ......................................................................................................................................451 Fishing Reservoirs ...........................................................................................................................................452 Fox Creek ........................................................................................................................................................453 Piping Plover ...................................................................................................................................................454 Sage Grouse .....................................................................................................................................................455 Sharp-tailed Grouse .........................................................................................................................................456 Retention and Disposal Areas ............................................................................................................Map Packet .................................................................................................................................................Map Packet Coal Creek Area Calypso Trail Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Surface Ownership Transportation Wild and Scenic Rivers Wilderness Study Areas v

1. 2. 3A-3B. 4A-4B. 5. 6A-6D. 7A-7D. 8. 9A-9D. 10A-10D. 11. 12A-12D. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19A-19D. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31A-31D.

CONTENTS

32A-32D.

.................................................................................................................................................Map Packet Stipulated Areas for Oil and Gas

Tissue Overlays .................................................................................................................................................Map Packet Federal Mineral Ownership TABLES Administration and Ownership of Land Surface and Mineral Estate in the Big Dry Resource Area .................3 National and State Air Quality Standards .........................................................................................................12 Withdrawals .......................................................................................................................................................19 Summary of Oil and Gas Stipulations Common to All Alternatives ................................................................26 Summary of Oil and Gas Special Stipulations, Lease Terms, and Standard Stipulations - Alternative A .......27 Summary of Oil and Gas Stipulations and Closures - Alternative B ................................................................28 Summary of Oil and Gas Stipulations and Lease Terms - Alternative C ..........................................................28 Summary of Oil and Gas Stipulations and Lease Terms - Alternative D .........................................................29 Comparison of Alternatives ...............................................................................................................................42 Comparative Summary of Impacts ....................................................................................................................63 Habitation or Occupation Sites on Federal and Nonfederal Lands ...................................................................72 Historic Sites on Federal or Nonfederal Lands .................................................................................................73 Major Tree Species in the Planning Area ..........................................................................................................75 Generalized Stratigraphic Column for the Planning Area .................................................................................77 Federal Ownership of High and Moderate Development Potential Oil and Gas ..............................................80 Geologic Formations Containing Significant Paleontological Resources .........................................................81 Total Jobs ...........................................................................................................................................................88 1988 Employment .............................................................................................................................................88 Wage and Salary Employment ..........................................................................................................................88 Income and Earnings .........................................................................................................................................89 1987 Cash Receipts ...........................................................................................................................................89 Harvested Crop Acreage for 1988 .....................................................................................................................90 Livestock Inventory ...........................................................................................................................................90 1989 Oil Field Production .................................................................................................................................91 1988 Taxable Values .........................................................................................................................................91 Grazing Fee Payments Fiscal Year 1988 ...........................................................................................................92 Payments in Lieu of Taxes ................................................................................................................................92 Federal Oil and Gas Disbursements Fiscal Year 1989 ......................................................................................92 Special Status Plant Species ..............................................................................................................................98 Plants Utilized by Deer in Montana ................................................................................................................102 Food Habitats of Antelope in Montana ...........................................................................................................102 Plants Favored by Pronghorn Antelope in Montana .......................................................................................103 Vegetative Preferences of Elk .........................................................................................................................103 Plants Favored by Elk ......................................................................................................................................104 Nongame Fish in the Planning Area ................................................................................................................105 Fishery Reservoirs ...........................................................................................................................................105 Species of Special Interest or Concern ............................................................................................................106 Known Sharp-Tailed Grouse Leks in the Planning Area ................................................................................107 Known Sage Grouse Leks in the Planning Area .............................................................................................108 Drilling Rates for the Next 5 Years .................................................................................................................129 Surface Disturbance Areas for High and Moderate Development Potential Oil and Gas ...............................129 Changes in Output, Earnings, and Employment .............................................................................................139 Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area 50-Foot Pool Depth Dam and Reservoir Construction Changes in Output, Earnings and Employment .............................................140 Cherry Creek Reservoir ...................................................................................................................................140 Changes in Output, Earnings, and Employment .............................................................................................142 Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area 40-Foot Pool Depth Dam and Reservoir Construction Changes in Output, Earnings and Employment .............................................142 Cherry Creek Reservoir ...................................................................................................................................142 vi

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47.

CONTENTS

48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78.

Changes in Output, Earnings, and Employment .............................................................................................143 Areas of Critical Environmental Concern Nominations .................................................................................208 Existing Withdrawals ......................................................................................................................................219 Allotments With Livestock Use Reductions ...................................................................................................223 Range Condition on Allotments in the Planning Area ....................................................................................230 Planning Area Allotment Categorization ........................................................................................................251 Status of Existing Allotment Management Plans ............................................................................................282 Coal Bed Data - Identified High and Moderate Coal Areas ............................................................................287 High and Moderate Development Potential Tons and Acres for Identified Coal Areas .................................288 Federal Locatable and Mineral Materials - Alternative D ...............................................................................292 Monitoring and Evaluation Plan ......................................................................................................................332 Population of Counties and Communities in the Study Area ..........................................................................345 Objective Indicators of Social Well-being in the Study Area .........................................................................346 Output, Earnings and Employment Multipliers ...............................................................................................347 Mine and Coal-fired Electric Power Generation Plant ....................................................................................349 Direct Personal Income Generated by the Mine and Facility ..........................................................................350 Indirect Employment and Income for the Mine and Facility ..........................................................................350 Local Employment Generated by the Mine and Facility .................................................................................351 Population In-migration Associated with the Mine and Facility .....................................................................351 Cost Summary for 40-foot Pool Depth Earth-filled Dam ...............................................................................353 Cost Summary for 50-foot Pool Depth Earth-filled Dam ...............................................................................354 Annual Reservoir Costs ...................................................................................................................................354 Estimated Visitor Use Per 1,000 Population ...................................................................................................355 Estimated Visitor Population ...........................................................................................................................355 Estimated Willingness to Pay Values Per Visitor Day ....................................................................................356 Annual Visitor Use 40-foot Pool Depth Dam .................................................................................................356 Annual Visitor Use 50-foot Pool Depth Dam .................................................................................................356 Riparian/Wetland Communities in the Planning Area ....................................................................................362 Montana Noxious Weed List ...........................................................................................................................363 Maximum Herbicide Application Rates by Area ............................................................................................364 Special Status Species .....................................................................................................................................367

vii

ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
ACEC AMP ARM AUM BDRA BEA BLM CFR DSL EIS ESA IBLA MBFFWG MDFW&P mmhos n.d. NTL ORV PVC RMP SCS SMA SRMA T&E U.S. U.S.C. USDA USDI USFWS VRM Area of critical environmental concern Allotment management plan Administrative Rules of Montana Animal unit month Big Dry Resource Area Bureau of Economic Analysis Bureau of Land Management Code of Federal Regulations Department of State Lands Environmental impact statement Endangered Species Act Interior Board of Land Appeals Montana Black-footed Ferret Work Group Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks unit of measurement of conductivity No date Notice to Lessees off-road vehicle polyvinyl chloride Resource management plan Soil Conservation Service Surface Management Agency Special recreation management area threatened and endangered United States United States Codes U.S. Department of Agriculture U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Visual resource management

ix

CHAPTER 1 Purpose and Need; Issues and Criteria

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION
This ~~~~~ &xfie Qpo@@resourcemanagement plan and&& environmental imnact statement for the Big Drv

LOCATION

OF PLANNING AREA

Big ,@y Reso~ce: Area and t@s document, The planning area encompassesall, or portions of the following 13 eastern Montana counties: Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, and Wihaux (see map 1 in this chapter). pea is ~~~~~~

Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) responsibility and authority in writing this document are mandated by a series of legal and judicial acts. Some of the Acts are the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (Public Law 91190), Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 (43 United States Codes [U.S.C.] 315315r), the Classification and Multiple Use Act of 1964 (Public Law 8%6071), Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976 (Public Law 94-579), the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978 (Public Law 95514), and the 1974 federal court decision on Natural Resources Defense Council et al. v. Morton et al. This resource management plan and environmental impact statement applies mitigating measuresto resolve existing or projected management conflicts. Most mitigating measures are standard operating procedures. The BLM will rely on a review process of this resource management plan and environmental impact statement by individuals, other agencies, and local, county, state and tribal governments in determining consistency or conflicts. This resource management plan and environmental impact statement, with revisions as necessary, will be the basic planning document for management and for budget requests for the planning area. It contains multiple-use management decisions applicable to public lands and lands acquired by BLM through withdrawal revocation, exchange, or purchase. Management decisions will be consistent with existing laws, regulations, and policy. ‘:.in this ~~~~~ reflects cu formation as of October 3 1, 1 rr; approval of the ~~~~~~~~ any new policies, regulatory changes, or changes in management direction may require a pl&# amendment.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PLANNING AREA
Most of the planning area consists of open expanses of rolling prairie. Some evergreen trees and shrubs grow in the breaks along the Missouri, Yellowstone, and Powder rivers; with hardwood trees growing along the river bottoms.

Remote automated weather station located at Knowlton.

CHAPTER 1

GENERAL LOCATION MAP
Big Dry Resource Management Plan

•

Excluded Planning Area from County Seat
30
Scale in Miles

60

2

CHAPTER 1

The semiarid continental climate of the planning area is short summers with moderate to hot temperatures and long, cold winters. The average annual temperature is 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature average for January is 8 degrees Fahrenheit, while July temperatures average 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The growing season ranges from 110 to 150 days per year. Extreme weather variations occur on a yearly, seasonal, and daily basis. Most winters, for short periods, experience temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Temperatures ranging from 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit may occur during the summer months. Precipitation averages 12 to 16 inches per year (U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA], Soil Conservation Service [SCS] 1977). The amounts have varied as much as 15 inches from one year to the next. The largest amount of precipitation occurs April through June, with the remainder of the rainfall arriving as thundershowers during the summer months (U.S. Department of the Interior [USDI], BLM 1982a). In the planning area, rainfall totals 80 percent of the yearly precipitation. The remaining 20 percent arrives as snow during the winter months. The soil is frozen during snowmelt and this moisture contributes significantly to the yearly runoff. The average annual pan evaporation ranges from 25 to 35 inches per year, which affects open water in reservoirs and rivers. The population in eastern Montana is small and declining. Towns are at least 30 miles apart, with ranches and farms scattered throughout. Interstate 94 is the main transportation route, with Montana State Highways 12, 22, 200, and U.S. Highway 2 being the other major routes. Other state highways and county roads provide access to the remainder of the planning area (see maps 31A,B,C,D). Principal industries in the planning area are livestock ranching, farming, and oil and gas production. Livestock ranching is usually a cow and calf and/or sheep operation. Farm crops consist of grains, corn, hay and sugar beets. The major oil and gas developments are in Fallon, Richland, Roosevelt, Dawson, and Sheridan counties. Recreational use along the rivers in the planning area has increased in recent years. There are no BLM-developed recreational areas; however, there are recreational areas developed by other federal or state agencies. At present, there are no areas of critical environmental concern, but several are proposed and analyzed in this document. Most of the public lands in the planning area are scattered except for six blocks of public land larger than 20,000 acres. These public lands are rich in natural resources, such as wildlife and livestock forage, minerals, cultural resources, paleontological resources, recreation opportunities, and watershed values.

Lands in the Big Dry Resource Area managed by other federal agencies or the Fort Peck Tribes are (see map 1): Fort Peck Indian Reservation (2 million acres), the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge (206,976 acres), the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge (22,742 acres), the Bureau of Reclamation (1,971 acres), and the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Station (9,852 acres).

TABLE 1 ADMINISTRATION AND OWNERSHIP OF LAND SURFACE AND MINERAL ESTATE IN THE BIG DRY RESOURCE AREA Surface Estate BLM BLM Other Federal Private or State Private or State Fort Peck Indian Reservation Total Mineral Estate BLM Private or State BLM BLM Private or State Fort Peck Indian Reservation Total Acres 1,645,020 58,810 241,541 5,735,342 7,821,967 2,000,000

17,502,680

Figures 1 and 2 show the distribution of surface estate (see pocket maps 31A,B,C,D) and mineral estate (see tissue overlays in the pocket), respectively, in the Big Dry Resource Area.

THE PLANNING SYSTEM
The BLM’s planning system is in three distinct tiers (see figure 3). The first tier (policy) identifies goals, priorities, and other factors for use in managing the public land resources. Policy is established by public laws, regulations, executive orders, court orders, guidance from the BLM State Director and other approved documents issued by the President of the United States, the Secretary of Interior, and the Director of the BLM. The second tier (resource management plan) establishes combinations of land and resource uses, related levels of investment and production or protection to be maintained, and general management practices and constraints covered by the plan. This final resource management plan and environmental impact statement is part of the resource management plan tier. The third tier (activity plans) provides for the development of plans more detailed, more site-specific, and more limited

3

CHAPTER 1

FIGURE 1

DISTRIBUTION OF SURFACE ESTATE

4

CHAPTER 1

DISTRIBUTION

FIGURE 2 OF MINERAL

ESTATE

46% Private or State 43% Bureau of Land Management 11% Fort Peck Indian Reservation

5

CHAPTER 1

FIGURE 3 BLM PLANNING SYSTEM TIERS

Policy

Resource Management Plan

Activity Plans

6

CHAPTER 1

in scope than the resource management plan. A direct result of a developed resource management plan is activity plans. Activity plans show how site-specific actions accomplish the goals of the resource management plan. Some activity plans are allotment management plans, habitat management plans, cultural resource management plans, and use authorizations.

to the BLM, it would require a separate environmental impact statement and plan amendment. Multi-State Landfills — Proposed multi-state landfills in the planning area, which could affect BLM resources, would require separate National Environmental Policy Act analysis. Wildlife Population Targets — The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks sets the wildlife population targets. The BLM, or any other interested party, can only make suggestions to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks about these population targets.

PLANNING ISSUES Introduction
The BLM’s planning regulations focus on land use planning to resolve issues arising over the management and use of public lands and their resources. An issue may be an unrealized opportunity, an unresolved conflict or problem, or a concern about a resource value. The document addresses two issues defined by BLM specialists, state and federal agencies, and the public: (1) special management designations, and (2) accessibility and availability of resources. The first issue (special management designations) applies to those areas that contain special values or resources in the planning area and require special management. The second issue (resource accessibility and availability) refers to the value of, or ability to use, certain resources by improved accessibility and availability. This issue is separate from “access” to public lands that is covered under “Management Common to all Alternatives” sections in chapter 2. Resources must have legal and physical access to be used. The development of oil and gas, other minerals, forest products, recreational areas, and use of public land should be balanced to protect the integrity of other resource values. Uncontrolled access to areas could lead to degradation of resource values such as visual, cultural, or vegetative.

PLANNING CRITERIA Introduction
Planning criteria are the constraints or ground rules used by the BLM to guide and direct the development of a resource management plan. Planning criteria guide the resource specialists in the collection and use of inventory information, in analyzing the management situation, defining and analyzing the alternatives, and selecting the preferred alternative.

Overall Considerations
Private property rights will be respected. The management actions in this plan apply to public lands and minerals only. Where publicly owned minerals underlie privately owned surface, only management actions that are mandated by public law would be enforced, such as the public laws protecting endangered species or cultural resources. Other discretionary actions, such as visual protection measures, would be recommended to the private surface owner to be applied at their discretion. Baseline social and economic data were compiled from existing published sources, and a study of local economic and social characteristics. Management decisions considered demographic and economic trends related to current and future demands for public resources. They also considered public perceptions and attitudes of BLM-administered resources. Discussion of standard operating procedures for surfacedisturbing activities is in the “Management Common to all Alternatives” sections in chapter 2. These requirements will be applied, as appropriate, to meet resource management goals. In some cases, more specific stipulations were used to further protect the resource. This plan provides resource management direction to carry out a variety of activity plans. 7

Concerns Not Addressed
Some concerns introduced are beyond the scope of this resource management plan and environmental impact statement. Therefore, they cannot be addressed as issues in this document. The following concerns can be mitigated by activity planning, are outside the realm of BLM management responsibility, or are inconsistent with the BLM’s multiple-use policy. Livestock Grazing Fees — These fees are set by Congress. Therefore, they are beyond the scope of this document. National Guard Proposals — No National Guard proposals for acquisition of land now exist. If a proposal is made

CHAPTER 1

The BLM follows the program guidance provided by BLM’s Washington Office 1986 Supplemental Program Guidance (BLM Manual 1620-1625). Management guidance from existing documents is in the “Management Common to all Alternatives” sections of chapter 2. This document follows present rangeland policy and is consistent with the recommendations and decisions of the Missouri Breaks Grazing Environmental Statement Final (USDI, BLM 1979a), the Prairie Potholes Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Allocation Final (USDI, BLM 1981c), and the Big Dry Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Allocation (USDI, BLM 1982b). The purpose of a rangeland management program is to provide guidelines for managing resources and related ecosystems. The wilderness study process for the planning area was completed in 1991. BLM’s recommendations have been forwarded to Congress. Lands in the planning area not designated as wilderness by Congress will return to multiple-use management and will be managed according to the land use planning decisions in this resource management plan and environmental impact statement. Areas designated as wilderness by Congress will be managed according to the Wilderness Act of 1964 and “Management of Designated Wilderness Areas” (43 CFR 8560).

Forestry - An area located in the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area is important because of the presence of limber pine. Paleontological - The Bug Creek, Ash Creek Divide, Sand Arroyo, and the Hell Creek areas have important paleontological resources. Recreation - Smoky Butte is a unique geologic feature and a regional landmark in eastern Montana. Riparian/Wetlands - The Ten Mile Creek riparian area has high-yield freshwater springs and related hardwood draws. Wildlife - An area in Sheridan County provides highpriority habitat for the piping plover, a threatened species. The black-tailed prairie dog area in Custer and Prairie counties (see map 23) is considered as potential habitat for the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret. In addition, prairie dog towns provide habitat for other species, including the burrowing owl (species of special interest), swift fox (category 2), and the mountain plover (category 1). The BLM proposes a reintroduction site for the federally-endangered black-footed ferret on public lands in Custer and Prairie counties. The determination to reintroduce the blackfooted ferret will be a joint decision between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, BLM, and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Fox Creek was considered for its fisheries (see map 26). Bald eagle nests and least tern habitat were considered, as these species are endangered. OTHER SPECIAL MANAGEMENT AREAS Crucial Winter Ranges - There are 636,265 public acres in the planning area. These scattered areas provide winter habitat for antelope, mule and white-tailed deer, and sage grouse. Proposed Special Recreation Management Areas - The Powder River Depot, Cherry Creek, Makoshika State Park, Lewis and Clark Trail (Missouri and Yellowstone rivers), and the Calypso areas have recreational values with potential for development. Riparian/Wetlands - It is BLM’s policy to restore and maintain riparian/wetland areas. There are 10,000 public acres in the planning area. Wilderness Study Areas and Areas Recommended For Wilderness - Seven Blackfoot (20,330 acres); Terry Badlands (44,910 acres); Bridge Coulee (5,900 acres); Musselshell Breaks (8,650 acres); Billy Creek (3,450 acres). 8

Areas of Critical Environmental Concern and Other Special Management Areas
A Notice of Intent published in the Federal Register on October 3, 1989, asked for areas of critical environmental concern nominations. No nominations were received from outside the BLM. Two nominations were made during the comment period on the draft. AREAS OF CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN Within the planning area, 19 nominations for areas of critical environmental concern were evaluated. Twelve of these areas need special management attention and are addressed by alternatives in this document. The Areas of Critical Environmental Concern appendix explains the evaluation process. This section and chapter 2 provide information for the nominations. The areas considered for designation are: Cultural - The Hoe, Big Sheep Mountain, Powder River Depot, Jordan Bison Kill, Seline sites, Miles/Sitting Bull Cedar Creek Fight, and the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail contain important prehistoric and historic values or resources.

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives,
Including the

Preferred Alternative

CHAPTER 2

INTRODUCTION
This chapter presents four alternatives; all are consistent with BLM policy. These alternatives represent combinations of actions to guide land use and resource management on public lands and minerals in the planning area. The basic goal of each alternative is to resolve resource planning issues. Management Common to All Alternatives will continue regardless of which alternative is selected.

It should be the responsibility of the lessee to maintain BLM signs under penalty of loss of lease. This alternative is not consistent with existing laws, regulations, policies, or guidelines. There should be, at a minimum, a posted walk-in access to all BLM-administered tracts of land. Legal access to every scattered tract or parcel of public land is not practical or economical. Permittees should be required to provide legal access to isolated tracts of public lands under penalty of loss of their grazing lease. This alternative is not consistent with existing laws, regulations, policies or guidelines.

ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED BUT NOT ANALYZED IN DETAIL
The following management actions were considered for resolving planning questions or issues, but were not analyzed in detail because of technical, legal or other constraints.

Right-of-way Corridors
Establishment of right-of-way corridors was considered, but not carried forward due to the fragmented federal ownership pattern in the planning area. Establishment of corridors would not be effective because most of the land is controlled by other landowners and may interfere with private property (see figure 1 in chapter 1).

Cultural
Designate the Miles/Sitting Bull Cedar Creek Fight as an area of critical environmental concern. During consideration of this area of critical environmental concern nomination, it was determined that there were no BLMadministered lands involved. A Federal Register notice was published on November 26, 1993, asking the public for comments. During that period, it was determined that the site location was in question. Since the site location is undetermined there is not enough information to evaluate the site’s importance and relevance for area of critical environmental concern consideration. If the site is considered relevant and important in the future (the site is found on public land), further planning would be conducted.

Big Open
During the scoping process, several individuals suggested eliminating livestock grazing from most, if not all, lands of all ownerships in the Big Dry Resource Area. The “big open” concept, if implemented, would transform and restore the planning area and surrounding lands to a more naturally-functioning landscape, where wildlife production and tourism might be emphasized. This alternative was considered carefully and extensively but not analyzed in detail. Implementation of such an alternative by BLM or other federal agencies would not be reasonable, given present landownership patterns and apparent landowner preferences within the area. The BLM administers only 10 percent of all lands within the planning area, most of which consist of small, isolated parcels intermingled with private lands. The combined administration of all federal agencies within the planning area comprises only 12 percent of total ownership. While the BLM is clearly in a position to effect changes in the lands it administers, it can only indirectly influence management of intermingled and adjoining lands. There is little local, county, or state government-level support for transforming the Big Dry Resource Area and surrounding lands to a “big open” landscape and economy. In fact, these entities generally support existing social and

Access
BLM-administered lands should be posted every 1/2 mile as “BLM-administered Public Lands.” This alternative suggests that all public lands in the planning area be posted. To post public lands within the planning area every 1/2 mile would not be practical or economically feasible due to the fragmented public land pattern (see maps 31A,B,C,D). Signing of larger blocks of public land and areas of intensive public use is an ongoing project and accomplished as time and funding allows. BLM land along the river should be marked with signs that warn sportsmen to be aware of trespassing on the adjoining private land. Signing areas of intensive public use is an ongoing project and accomplished as time and funding allows.

9

CHAPTER 2

economic systems, lifestyles, and land and resource uses. It is unreasonable to expect BLM or any other federal agency to implement a “big open” type of alternative without the cooperation of the remaining 88 percent of landowners within the planning area, and the affected state and county government agencies.

Grazing Permits and Leases
Competitive bidding on grazing permits and leases should occur every five years. This alternative is not consistent with existing laws, regulations, policies, and guidelines.

Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. In 1989, BLM acquired lands through exchange in the Coal Creek and Terry Badlands areas. The parcels in the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area were recommended for wilderness when the recommendations for wilderness study areas were forwarded (USDI, BLM 1991d). The acquired land in the Coal Creek area created a block of public land about 11,000 acres in size (see pocket maps 31A,B,C,D). The inventory and evaluation of this area determined that although the area met the criterion for size, it lacked outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined recreation experience. Therefore, this parcel was not analyzed further in this planning process. The wilderness study process mandated by Section 603 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act has been completed. The results of the study, including impacts to lands under wilderness review, are contained in the Final Missouri Breaks Wilderness Suitability Study and Environmental Impact Statement (USDI, BLM 1987a) and the Montana Statewide Wilderness Study Report (USDI, BLM 1991d). Mineral leases will not be issued in wilderness study areas. Effective January 1, 1984, the Department of the Interior suspended all mineral leasing in BLM wilderness study areas. This was based on language contained in the Fiscal Year 1994 Interior Appropriations Act, P.L. 98146. In accordance with Section 603(c) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, during the period of review of lands under wilderness review and until congress has determined otherwise, the Secretary of the Interior shall continue to manage such lands in a manner that will not impair the suitability for preservation as wilderness. Therefore, the issue of wilderness and impacts to wilderness study areas are not carried forward in this planning effort. Lands in the planning area not designated as wilderness by Congress will return to multiple-use management and will be managed according to the land use planning decisions in this resource management plan and environmental impact statement. Areas designated as wilderness by Congress will be managed according to the Wilderness Act of 1964 and “Management of Designated Wilderness Areas” (43 CFR 8560).

Guide and Outfitter Permits
The issuing of guide and outfitter permits on public land should be eliminated. Commercial outfitting and guiding is recognized as a legitimate use of public lands and is authorized by regulation. Commercial outfitters provide services to people who otherwise could not enjoy recreation opportunities on public lands. Managing the conflicts that develop are addressed in this plan.

Wild and Scenic Rivers
Suitability for wild and scenic river designation was evaluated on 96 rivers and streams. The rivers and streams evaluated are listed in the Wild and Scenic River appendix. A complete list of free-flowing rivers was generated using the Bonneville Power Pacific Northwest Rivers Study data base. No additional rivers were identified through either public scoping or by the BLM planning team. No rivers or streams were recommended for further study for wild and scenic river designation. For each river and stream on the list, the extent of public shoreline ownership was evaluated. In all cases, there were no blocks of public shoreline ownership large enough to manage those values identified by the Bonneville Power Pacific Northwest Rivers Study (see pocket maps 31A,B,C,D). Two comments received on the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement requested the segment of the Yellowstone River that flows through the Fort Keogh Agricultural Experiment Station be considered for designation as a wild and scenic river. BLM considered the segment and determined the area to be under the administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, not the BLM.

Wild Horses
The Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971 authorizes BLM to manage wild horses and burros on public lands. The Act provides that wild and freeroaming horses and burros are protected from unauthorized capture, branding, harassment, or death. No wild horses or burros are known to inhabit the planning area. Therefore, management objectives and management areas for wild horses and burros are not analyzed in this plan. 10

Wilderness
Inventory and evaluate the Coal Creek area for wilderness characteristics as per Section 202 of the Federal

CHAPTER 2 Air Quality

Wildlife
A potential area of critical environmental concern for the black-footed ferret comprising 124,090 acres was considered but not analyzed in detail. This proposed area of critical environmental concern was reduced to the current 11,166 acres, all of which are public land. This reduction was done for several reasons. The first and most important reason is the excluded area is dominated by private land. BLM-administered lands outside of the revised area of critical environmental concern containing prairie dogs are small in size, scattered, and difficult to manage, although the BLM does have some significant acres south and east of the Yellowstone River. The prairie dogs on BLM-administered lands in this area are also limited and scattered. In addition, the combination of the Yellowstone River, state highway, county road, interstate, and active railroad would make migration of the blackfooted ferrets difficult, if not impossible. The BLM will continue to be proactive in the management of prairie dog towns as well as those wildlife species associated with prairie dog towns on BLM-administered lands outside of the proposed area of critical environmental concern.

Management actions within Alternatives A, B, and C were analyzed to identify significant impacts. Alternative D, the preferred alternative was developed by selecting among the various management actions within Alternatives A, B, C, or by considering new actions that would resolve the planning issues. The rationale for selecting Alternative D, the preferred alternative, was based on public comments from scoping meetings, public comments on the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement, current regulations, guidance, laws, current management policy, and the analysis of each alternative. The selection parameters used in selecting the preferred alternative were: Decisions would adhere to the goals and objectives established in the Planning Criteria. Decisions would be implementable and enforceable as BLM and the public would use this plan for the next 20 years. Decisions would be consistent with BLM’s multipleuse mission. Decisions would reflect and endeavor to be consistent with efforts to improve eastern Montana’s economy. Decisions would emphasize Recreation 2000, Wildlife 2000, Range of Our Vision, and riparian/wetlands management. Resource allocations were based on productivity and capability of lands and resources. Management actions for each resource in the planning area are in this chapter under “Management Common to All Alternatives” and “Management Actions Specific to Each Alternative.”

ALTERNATIVES ANALYZED IN DETAIL
During the development of the Management Situation Analysis (USDI, BLM 1990a), the current situation was analyzed, public demand was assessed, and the capability of the BLM to resolve the issues was evaluated. This analysis was the basis for formulating the alternatives. Each alternative represents a different approach for resolving the issues. Alternative A, the no action alternative, would continue present management. This includes protection of special management areas, soils, vegetation, watershed values, and maintaining existing resource accessibility and availability. Alternative B would increase protection of soils, vegetation and watershed. It would designate and provide restrictions in special management areas, and decrease resource accessibility and availability. Alternative C would emphasize development and use of the resources while mitigating impacts to soils, vegetation and watershed. It would designate special management areas but with fewer restrictions and would provide more opportunities for resource accessibility and availability than Alternative B.

MANAGEMENT ACTIONS AIR QUALITY Management Common To All Alternatives
The objectives for air resource management are to maintain or improve air quality in the short and long term. Standard operating procedures will limit unnecessary emissions from existing and new point or nonpoint sources and will prevent significant deterioration of air quality in Class I areas. The Class II air quality areas allow deterioration associated with moderate development and population growth. National

11

CHAPTER 2 Air Quality and state air quality standards will be met in the planning area (see table 2). No actions are anticipated in any designated nonattainment area. Under the requirements of the Clean Air Act, as amended, of 1979, federal agencies must abide by and support provisions of state implementation plans and state regulations.

TABLE 2 NATIONAL AND STATE AIR QUALITY STANDARDS

Pollutant Deeply inhalable particulates (PM-10)+ Sulfur Dioxide Carbon Monoxide

Federal Primary Standard Federal Secondary Standard 50 µg/m3 annual average 150 µg/m3 24-hr average* 50 µg/m3 annual average 150 µg/m3 24-hr average*

Montana Standard 50 µg/m3 annual average 150 µg/m3 24-hr average*

0.03 ppm annual average 0.14 ppm 24-hr average* 99 ppm 8-hr average* 35 ppm 1-hr average* 0.05 ppm annual average

0.5 ppm 3-hr average*

0.02 ppm annual average 0.10 ppm 24-hr average* 0.50 ppm 1-hr average** 35 ppm 1-hr average* 0.05 ppm annual average 0.30 ppm hourly average 0.10 ppm hourly average* 1.5 µg/m3 90-day average 35 µg/m3 grazing season average 0.05 ppm hourly average* 10 mg/m2 30-day average

9 ppm 8-hr average* 35 ppm 1-hr average* 0.05 ppm annual average

Nitrogen Dioxide

Photochemical Oxidants (ozone) Lead

0.12 ppm 1-hr average* 1.5 µg/m3 calendar quarter average None

0.12 ppm 1-hr average 1.5 µg/m3 calendar quarter average None

Foliar Fluoride

Hydrogen Sulfide Settled Particulate (dustfall) Visibility

None None

None None

None

None

Particle scattering coefficient of 3x10.5/m annual average (PSD Class I areas)

KEY:

PM-10 = particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 10 microns. µg/m3 = micrograms pollutant per cubic meter of sampled air. ppm = parts per million of sampled air. mg/m2 = milligrams per square meter PSD = prevention of significant deterioration

NOTES: +Statistical standards based on three years of data. *Not to be exceeded more than once per year. **Not be exceeded more than 18 times a year. 12

CHAPTER 2 Cultural Resources The BLM will conform with these regulations during prescribed burning as specified in the “9211-Fire Planning” section of the BLM Manual or when conducting other activities that may impact air quality. Project specific air quality impact analyses will be conducted as necessary to demonstrate compliance. Administrative actions on public lands will conform with the air quality classification for that specific area and will not impact downwind Class I areas. Principal authorities for cultural resources are the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966; the Archeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, as amended; the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR 800); the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978; and the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990. The National Historic Preservation Act identifies and establishes a system for addressing possible impacts to cultural resources resulting from federal actions. Section 106 directs federal agencies to consider the effects of their actions and authorizations on properties included in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act establishes definitions, permit requirements, criminal and civil penalties for unauthorized or attempted unauthorized excavation, removal, damage, alteration or defacement of any archeological resource found on public or Native American lands. In addition, the Act specifies that federal agencies will coordinate with Native Americans before issuing archeological permits that may result in harm to, or destruction of, their religious or cultural sites. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act protects the rights of Native Americans to practice their religions. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires federal agencies to consult with Native American groups for disposition of cultural items or Native American human remains found on public lands or in federal possession. The BLM coordinates with Native American tribes when its actions have the potential to affect their values or religious areas. Except for those actions identified in the BLM’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, the BLM conducts cultural resource inventories for lands that include surface disturbance as a part of the action. There are three classes of inventory (BLM Manual 8100). Class I inventories are reviews of existing cultural data from resource inventory files maintained by the BLM, the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, professional literature, and other sources. In Class II inventories, a sampling or percentage of the area is investigated for cultural resources. The results are projected for the entire land area. Class II inventories can be used to develop predictive models. Class III inventories consist of an on-the-ground investigation of a specific area for cultural resources. This inventory results in the maximum identification of cultural resources. Class III inventories are usually required before surface-disturbing actions authorized by BLM. Class III inventories are required before disposal actions.

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
There are no additional management actions for Alternatives A, B, C, and D.

CULTURAL RESOURCES Management Common To All Alternatives
The primary objectives are to manage the cultural resources under BLM jurisdiction through a system of identification, evaluation, interpretation, utilization, and reduction of conflict between cultural and other resources. The BLM has defined three categories to manage significant cultural properties. These categories are information potential, public values, and conservation for future use. Cultural resources which contain significant information on prehistory or history of the planning area will be managed for their information potential. These are cultural properties that consist of artifacts and features that have the potential to yield important information. Cultural resources that possess sociocultural, educational, and recreational attributes will be managed for their public values. These include cultural resources associated with Native American traditional lifeways values, and prehistoric or historic cultural properties which exhibit interpretive and/or recreational potential. Managing cultural properties used by Native Americans will focus on avoiding uses incompatible with traditional values. Special or unique cultural resources will be managed under the conservation objective. Included here are cultural properties that contain sensitive prehistoric religious features such as medicine wheels or burials; cultural properties that are of a nature that would not permit current archeological technology to adequately investigate the property; and cultural properties which are rare in the planning area. 13

CHAPTER 2 Cultural Resources The BLM evaluates the cultural resources identified during inventories in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office to determine if the resources are eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. BLM’s evaluation guidelines (BLM Manual 8143, appendix 7) supplement the National Register of Historic Places criteria for evaluation (36 CFR 60.4) and provide consistency across the state. Mitigation of impacts to cultural resources could include exchanging land so significant cultural resources are acquired. Other mitigation measures include site avoidance and data recovery (including excavation). Avoidance of the site area is the preferred mitigation measure. Consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is required when activities are expected to affect significant cultural resources. Monitoring will be conducted as described in table 58 in the Monitoring appendix. In emergency situations, 36 CFR Part 800.12 contains provisions for waiving Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act from compliance regulations. The State Historic Preservation Office must be notified within seven days after emergency procedures have been invoked. After issuance of the Record of Decision for the Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, a cultural resource management plan will be prepared for the planning area. The cultural resource management plan will establish management objectives and prescriptions for cultural resources in the area. This plan, in addition to allocating cultural resources to specific uses, will guide and focus active management of the planning area’s cultural resources. During the life of the resource management plan cultural resources will be managed according to recommendations made in the Big Dry Resource Area Cultural Resource Management Plan. Management objectives for significant cultural resource values will remain unchanged under all alternatives addressed in this resource management plan. The Big Dry Cultural Resource Management Plan will focus special management interest and attention on certain classes of cultural sites or individual properties as they may lend themselves to identified uses and will establish priority management for specific cultural resources. Management of individual properties will be addressed in site specific cultural resource project plans. Management emphasis will be placed on the following categories of sites: Special emphasis will continue to be focused on bison kill sites. These sites will be managed to facilitate scientific and conservation use. 14 In the planning area, stone ring sites are most prevalent near and north of the Missouri River. A study will be conducted to sample sites of this type for eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places and possible special designation. Sites with possible traditional religious values, such as medicine wheel sites, will be identified and managed for preservation and possible sociocultural use. Management will focus on the identification of ethnographic period sites. These would include early explorer, i.e. Lewis and Clark related sites and fur trade era sites. Sites with increasing public interest are Indian war period sites, including the Powder River Depot. Cultural material scatters will be examined for their information potential. The Cherry Creek archeological complex of sites will be protected and managed for scientific uses. Cultural sites in this complex will be treated as a unit. Attempts will be made to identify Lewis and Clark campsites within the planning area along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. Future plans may include interpretation and other uses for these sites. Identification of homestead period sites will continue with possible interpretation of a representative sample.

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A The Hoe, Big Sheep Mountain, Powder River Depot, Jordan Bison Kill, and Seline cultural resource sites would not be designated as areas of critical environmental concern. In these sites locatable mineral entry, mineral material sales and permits, nonenergy leasable mineral development, and coal leasing would be allowed. Geophysical exploration would not be allowed, and oil and gas leasing would be allowed with no surface occupancy on the Powder River Depot recreational area (19 acres) and the Seline site (80 acres). Oil and gas leasing with lease terms and geophysical exploration would be allowed on the remaining sites. Also, off-road vehicle use would be designated as open, and livestock grazing and rights-of-way construction would be allowed in these cultural resource sites.

CHAPTER 2 Fire Management
ALTERNATIVE B

Five cultural sites would be designated as areas of critical environmental concern (see map 2): Hoe (144 acres), Powder River Depot (1,386 acres), Big Sheep Mountain (360 acres), Seline (80 acres), and Jordan Bison Kill (160 acres). In these areas of critical environmental concern, locatable minerals would be withdrawn from entry, and mineral material salesand permits would not be allowed. Nonenergy leasable minerals, coal and oil and gas leasing would be closed. Geophysical exploration would not be allowed. Livestock grazing would be allowed, except on 171 acres in the Powder River Depot Area of critical environmental concern (for the Powder River Depot Special Recreation Management Area). Off-road vehicle use would be designated as limited to existing roads and trails, and rights-ofway construction would be excluded.
ALTERNATIVE C

Stock water tank.

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
There are no additional management actions for Alternatives A, B, C, and D.

The cultural areas of critical environmental concern would be designated as in Alternative B. These areas would be managed the same as described under Alternative A with one exception. Under this alternative rights-of-way would be avoided.
ALTERNATIVE D (PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE)

FIRE MANAGEMENT Management Common To All Alternatives
Fire management includes both wildfire actions and prescribed fire operations. Fire will be managed in the manner most cost-efficient and responsive to resource management objectives. The resource objectives identified in this document will provide the guidelines, direction and degree of suppression to be used. Fire use areas (see maps 3A, B) are designated areas where fuels management activities would benefit the fire suppression program and meet resource management objectives. Prescribed fire (planned and unplanned ignition) would be used throughout the planning area. The objectives are to improve vegetation production, reduce fuel loads, and maintain public safety. On areas identified for fire use, prescriptions would be written in fire management activity plans for planned and unplanned ignitions. The intensity level for the initial attack on fires is divided into two broad categories. These categories are as follows:
Intensive Fire Suppression - The objective of intensive fire suppression is to immediately suppress wildfires using available resources. The public lands designated for inten-

The cultural areas of critical environmental concern would be designated as in Alternative B. These areas of critical environmental concern would be managed as described under Alternative B, except under this alternative, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation andrights-of-way construction would be avoided.

ENGINEERING Management Common To All Alternatives
Construction and maintenance of structural improvements for watershed, wildlife, fisheries, recreation and livestock grazing would be allowed when consistent with resource management objectives for the allotments or areas (BLM Manual 9101). This process requires a feasibility analysis conducted by an interdisciplinary team of resource specialists. They would initiate projects and determine their cost, environmental impacts and mitigating measures (see the Engineering appendix).

15

CHAPTER 2 Fire Management sive fire suppression are areas with (1) large amounts of intermingled or adjacent private or state lands, and (2) high values-at-risk (items of human construction), high-value wildlife habitat, historic sites, or other resources. Wildfires in intensive fire suppression areas shall be suppressed immediately, and can include the use of dozers, motor graders, tractors with plows, air tankers, and firefighting crews. The guidelines for fire rehabilitation in the planning area are: Hand and dozer line berms will be rolled back, feathered out and blended in with the surrounding terrain. Surface disturbances on slopes greater than 10 percent will have angular water bars constructed perpendicular to the slope at intervals no less than 100 feet apart. Fire-killed trees that are determined to be a hazard to the user public will be felled and cut into firewood lengths. Tree stumps along roads or trails will be cut level to the ground to eliminate hazards to vehicles. Fires greater than 25 acres will be analyzed by a resource area advisor and fire staff for possible rehabilitation needs. BLM fire reports on fires greater than 25 acres will be accompanied by a fire rehabilitation report. This report can simply state that no rehabilitation work is required, or it can be as comprehensive as needed to assess environmental impacts, mitigation measures,and monitoring plans to measure success.

Fire suppression. Conditional Fire Suppression - The intensity level of conditional fire suppression is not predetermined and will vary with the conditions (impending weather forecasts, condition of vegetation, or firefighting forces committed to other fires). Cost, as well as consideration of resource loss, will be the basis of management decisions for conditional fire suppression. In areas designated for conditional fire suppression, management actions will restrict intensive fire suppression techniques. The fire situation would be carefully analyzed before committing heavy equipment.

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
There are no additional management actions for Alternatives A, B, C, and D.

FORESTRY Management Common To All Alternatives
Forestlands in the planning area with 10 percent or more canopy cover per acre are managed for the enhancement of other resources, not for the production of forest products or sawtimber. Wood product sales for posts and poles, Christmas trees, and firewood would be allowed only in the Knowlton, Pine Unit, and Missouri Breaks areas (see maps 4A,B). The harvesting of posts and poles is a selective cutting process, the preferred post size is 6 to 8 inches in diameter and 4 to 6 feet in height. Ponderosa pine is used for posts and poles, while juniper is used for posts. This harvesting is conducive to natural regeneration.

The areaswhere conditional suppression techniques would be implemented are: Hoe, Big Sheep Mountain, Jordan Bison Kill, and Seline cultural sites; Powder River Depot and Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail cultural and recreation areas; Cherry Creek and Calypso recreation areas; Hell Creek, Bug Creek, Ash Creek Divide, and Sand Arroyo paleontological areas;

Smoky Butte;
piping plover and black-footed ferret wildlife sites; and riparian/wetland areas.

16

CHAPTER 2 Lands For Christmas trees, an area is designated by the authorized officer and individuals are allowed to select a tree. Ponderosa pine and juniper are the most desirable and both regenerate naturally. Harvesting of firewood is allowed on designated public lands for dead trees, with ponderosa pine being the primary species. Wildings are live vegetative products sold off of public lands. They are used for landscaping and include yucca, cactus, grasses, pine trees, and willows. Sales for sawtimber would not be allowed except salvage harvest of ponderosa pine affected by insects, fire, or other natural causes. Harvest of cottonwood would be allowed on public land only when human safety is a factor, or when disease or insect infestations are threatening cottonwood stands. Surface disturbance in the limber pine stand in the Terry Badlands (see map 4B) would not be allowed. The only exception would be if disease or insect infestations were threatening the stand and control methods were necessary. direction of Congress, or for good cause with the approval of the Secretary. A contingency plan has been prepared to direct and coordinate a BLM response to any reported incident involving the accidental or intentional spill or release of potentially hazardous substances on public land. Clean up would be in cooperation with the Montana State Department of Health and Environmental Sciences, Solid and Hazardous Waste Bureau.

Management Actions Specific to Each Alternative
There are no additional management actions for Alternatives A, B, C, and D.

LANDS Management Common To All Alternatives
Access is one of the primary considerations in exchanges. Easements would be considered in areas where exchanges cannot be utilized to resolve access conflicts. The acquisition of additional public access is a recognized public need in some parts of the resource area. During the past 10 years, the resource area has acquired new access routes through the purchase of easements, land exchanges and negotiation of reciprocal rights-of-ways. An aggressive program will continue to acquire additional access where identified needs exist, utilizing purchase of easements, land exchanges which provide needed access points, validation of RS 2477 rights-of-ways and reciprocal rightsof-ways. The resource area will continue to pursue needed public access points identified by public interest groups. Emphasis would be placed on land tenure adjustment and easement acquisition within the planning area. All land exchanges will be based on willing buyer/willing seller. The goal of the lands program would be to consolidate the scattered public lands increasing management efficiency and accessibility. Prior to initiation of any land adjustment actions, consideration will be given to the impact on the affected county’s payment in lieu of taxes and consultation with the county government will be sought. The objective criteria for disposal and retention areas are as follows:

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
There are no additional management actions for Alternatives A, B, C, and D.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND WASTE MANAGEMENT Management Common To All Alternatives
The BLM will minimize future hazardous materials contamination and its associated risks, costs, and liabilities on public lands in authorizing activities. The BLM will protect the health and safety of public land users. No authorizations will be made for solid or hazardous waste disposal facilities on public land. Prior to the BLM acquiring land through purchase, exchange, or withdrawal relinquishment, the area shall be inventoried for hazardous substances or contamination in accordance with Department of Interior policy. The BLM will not acquire any contaminated real estate except at the

17

CHAPTER 2 Lands DISPOSAL AREAS The public land in the disposal areas (see map 30) consists of small tracts or parcels that are widely scattered, possess limited resource values, and are difficult to manage. BLM’s objective is to dispose of these types of public land in these areas. Disposal would be through sale or exchange consistent with Sections 203 and 206 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. Exchanges or acquisitions may be considered to acquire desirable tracts within the disposal areas or add to existing public lands within these areas meeting the long-term management objective criteria. Disposal Criteria The following criteria would be used to identify parcels for disposal: 1. 2. Lands of limited public value. Widely scattered parcels which would be difficult for BLM to manage beyond minimal custodial administration and have no significant values. Lands with high public values proper for management by other federal agencies, or state, or local government. Land which would aid in aggregating or repositioning other public lands or public land resource values to facilitate national, state, and local objectives. 8. 9. General Acquisition Criteria: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Facilitate access to areas retained for long-term public use. Enhance congressionally designated areas, rivers or trails. Enhance designated areas of critical environmental concern. Facilitate national, state, and local BLM priorities or mission statement needs. Stabilize or enhance local economies or values. Enhance the opportunity for new or emerging public land uses or values. Secure for the public significant water-related land interest. These interests would include lakeshore, riverfront, stream or pond sites. Important riparian/wetland areas. Acquisition of cultivated lands will be avoided, unless such acquisition is clearly necessary to attain a specific resource goal.

Program Specific Acquisition Criteria: Cultural Resources - Any cultural site to be acquired should meet the following evaluation standards: 1. 2. 3. High research values. Moderate scarcity. Possess some unique values, such as association with an important historic person or high aesthetic value. Contribute significantly to interpretive potential cultural resources already in public ownership.

3.

4.

4. Each parcel identified for sale or exchange would be subject to certain conditions before disposal: hazardous waste, wilderness, wildlife, riparian/wetland evaluations, and cultural and mineral clearances and reports. The results of the evaluations and reports would be included in an environmental analysis. A notice of realty action would be subsequently published. Parcels would be retained if the clearances, reports, or environmental analysis show any resource values worth retaining. RETENTION AREAS The BLM’s long-term objectives for retention areas (see map 30) are to retain and manage the public lands. Specific objectives are to consolidate public land with public access and resource values into units BLM can effectively manage. Individual tracts or parcels in the retention areas may be disposed or repositioned through sale or exchange when significant management efficiency, greater public values, or other objectives would be met.

Minerals 1. 2. Consolidation of mineral estates. Acquisition in response to a federal project need, as in the case of a dam project. Criteria for this type of acquisition would generally include: a. When the development of a federal project precludes the mineral estate owner from exercising development rights. b. When the exercise of the mineral estate owner’s right of development would materially interfere with the federal project.

Recreation - Acquire land with the following significant values: 1. 2. National values, such as Congressionally designated areas, rivers, or trails. State values that enhance recreation trails and waterways or the interstate, state, and multi-county use. Local values for extensive use, such as hunting, fishing, off-road vehicle, and snowmobile use.

3. 18

CHAPTER 2 Lands Wilderness - Acquire inholdings within wilderness study areas and within the boundaries of Congressionally designated wilderness areas under BLM administration. Wildlife Habitat Management - Areas for acquisition would be lands of any size with significant wildlife values as defined below: 1. Threatened and endangered species. a. Federally listed species. b. Federal candidate species. c. State listed species of special concern. Fisheries. Big game. Important habitat such as crucial winter areas, fawning, calving, and security areas. Upland game birds, migratory birds, and waterfowl. Crucial breeding, nesting, resting, roosting, feeding, and wintering habitat areas of complexes. Raptors. Existing and potential nesting areas for sensitive species or significant nesting complexes for nonsensitive complexes. Nongame. Crucial habitat complexes. OTHER LAND ACTIONS Whenever possible, major rights-of-way would be constructed within or next to existing rights-of-way, such as highways and railroads. Environmentally sensitive areas identified during the grant application examination would be avoided. In areas where rights-of-way are allowed, stipulations from the BLM Manual 2800 would be used to protect resource values. Land use permits, leases, and easements would be issued on a discretionary basis, consistent with Section 302 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. Unauthorized uses of public land will be resolved in an expeditious manner. Unauthorized uses include agricultural, occupancy, exclosures, and rights-of-way. Unauthorized users are liable for past rental, plus administrative costs, and costs for rehabilitation of the affected lands. Table 3 contains recommendations for the existing withdrawals.

2. 3. 4.

5.

6.

TABLE 3 WITHDRAWALS Acres Recommended for Continuation1 International Boundary Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge Fox Lake Game Management Area Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife Waterfowl Production Area Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge Corps of Engineers (Fort Peck) Fort Keogh Livestock Experiment Station Total Revocations of Withdrawals1 Lower Yellowstone Project Fort Buford Project Public Water Reserve 107 (McCone) Milk River Project Corps of Engineers (Fort Peck) Public Water Reserve 107 (Garfield) Buffalo Rapids Project (Bureau of Reclamation) Total
1

293.46 24,508.07 160.00 26.32 290,222.45 3,756.11 9,851.56 328,817.97

858.71 913.60 237.53 36.69 206,976.45 160.00 113.53 209,296.51

See the Lands appendix for further information on withdrawals.

19

CHAPTER 2 Lands

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A Rights-of-way would be allowed throughout the planning area. Public lands would not be transferred to Fallon County for a sanitary landfill (see map 5). The public lands (3,942 acres) next to the Makoshika State Park would not be disposed through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. ALTERNATIVE B Rights-of-way construction would be excluded from the cultural areas of critical environmental concern (2,130 acres), paleontological areas of critical environmental concern (39,996 acres), the Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (80 acres), wildlife areas of critical environmental concern (1,167 acres), the special recreation management areas (21,022 acres), and from December 1 through March 31 in crucial winter range (636,265 acres) and allowed elsewhere in the planning area. Public land (160 acres) would be sold to Fallon County for a sanitary landfill (see map 5). Land in T. 13 N., R. 51 E., sec. 32 (640 acres) would be acquired, preferably by exchange, into public ownership for the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area. Alternative methods of acquisition would be pursued only after all reasonable exchange proposals had been explored. To protect life or property approximately 203 acres in T. 12 N., R. 51 E., sec. 12 would be acquired through fee title or a conservation easement. Makoshika State Park Special Recreation Management Area (3,924 acres) would be managed through a cooperative agreement with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks; the recreation and public purposes application would not be approved. ALTERNATIVE C Right-of-way construction would be avoided in Makoshika State Park, in the areas of critical environmental concern, and in special recreation management areas (64,224 acres). Public lands (640 acres) would be exchanged with Fallon County for a sanitary landfill (see map 5). Land in T. 13 N., R. 51 E., sec. 32 (640 acres) would be acquired, preferably by exchange, into public ownership for the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area. Alternative methods of acquisition would be pursued only after all reasonable exchange proposals had been explored. To protect life or property approximately 203 acres in T. 12 N., R. 51 E., sec. 12 would be acquired through fee title or a conservation easement. Makoshika State Park (3,924 acres) would be

disposed through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act of 1926, as amended, to Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. ALTERNATIVE D (PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE) Rights-of-way would be avoided in cultural areas of critical environmental concern, in wildlife areas of critical environmental concern, in Makoshika State Park, in the special recreation management areas (33,110 acres) and excluded in the Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (80 acres). The Makoshika State Park recreation and public purposes application would be modified to consider transfer of 2,700 acres to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Fallon County would receive 640 acres of public land by sale for a sanitary landfill (see map 5). Land in T. 13 N., R. 51 E., sec. 32 (640 acres) would be acquired, preferably by exchange, into public ownership for the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area. Alternative methods of acquisition would be pursued only after all reasonable exchange proposals had been explored. To ensure no private development below Cherry Creek Dam approximately 200 acres in T. 12 N., R. 51 E., sec. 12 would be acquired through fee title or a conservation easement.

LIVESTOCK GRAZING MANAGEMENT Management Common To All Alternatives
Management actions are designed to maintain or improve vegetation condition. Management actions include grazing use, grazing activity plans and systems, utilization levels, range improvements, and vegetation treatment. Increases or decreases in grazing preference animal unit months may be implemented based on resource conditions within an allotment. Temporary adjustments may result, due to conditions such as drought, fire, flood, or insect infestation. Long-term adjustments are based on monitoring data that supports changes in grazing preference. These adjustments will be consistent with 43 CFR 4110.3 to 4110.3-3 and the Montana Drought Policy. Coordinated activity plans and allotment management plans are used to develop grazing management and multiple-use objectives, such as managing 80 percent of the uplands in late seral to potential natural community or in desired plant community, and 75 percent of the riparian areas in proper functioning condition by 1997. The Livestock appendix lists allotments with proposed allotment management plans, 20

CHAPTER 2 Livestock allotments with “I” category allotment management plans, the remaining “I” category allotments, and the status of existing allotment management plans. BLM will take immediate action to resolve the problems on “I” category allotments. The areas’ ability to respond to these management actions will vary: utilization objectives may be met within 1 to 3 years, riparian objectives may be met within 3 to 7 years, and ecological status or desired plant community objectives may be met within 5 to 15 years. Livestock grazing (36 animal unit months) would be canceled on the 160 acres sold to Fallon County for a sanitary landfill. ALTERNATIVE C This alternative would exclude livestock grazing on the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern (5 animal unit months). Federal grazing privileges would be canceled on Makoshika State Park (304 animal unit months) as 3,924 acres would be transferred to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act of 1926, as amended. Federal grazing privileges (145 animal unit months) would be canceled on the 640 acres exchanged for the Fallon County sanitary landfill, and 145 animal unit months would be acquired (one grazing permittee would lose 145 animal unit months, but another permittee would gain 145 animal unit months). Grazing would be canceled for coal development (640 to 830 animal unit months on 3,400 to 4,400 acres each year during the 40-year mine life). ALTERNATIVE D (PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE) Livestock grazing would be excluded from May 1 through July 15 in the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern (5 animals unit months). In addition, 558 animal unit months would be excluded in the Cherry Creek, Calypso, and Powder River Depot special recreation management areas. The sale of 640 acres to Fallon County for a sanitary landfill would cancel 145 animal unit months. The disposal of Makoshika State Park to Montana Department

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A Livestock grazing would be canceled for coal development (640 to 830 animal unit months on 3,400 to 4,400 acres each year) over the 40-year mine life. ALTERNATIVE B Livestock grazing would be excluded in the Lewis and Clark Trail (2,900 animal unit months), Cherry Creek (482 animal unit months), Powder River Depot (65 animal unit months), and Calypso (11 animal unit months) special recreation management areas, and the Piping Plover (5 animal unit months) and Smoky Butte (11 animal unit months) areas of critical environmental concern. Livestock grazing would be excluded from December 1 through March 31 in crucial winter ranges (8,880 animal unit months).

21

CHAPTER 2 Livestock of Fish, Wildlife and Parks would cancel 150 animal unit months. Grazing would be canceled for coal development (640 to 830 animal unit months on 3,400 to 4,400 acres each year) during the 40-year mine life. ALTERNATIVE D (PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE) Pending the application of the surface-owner consultation screen, coal would be acceptable for further consideration for leasing or exchange on 580,547 acres containing 6.18 billion tons of coal (see maps 7A,B,C,D).

MINERALS COAL Management Common To All Alternatives
The planning area is within the Fort Union Coal Region and competitive leasing is reviewed by the Regional Coal Team. At this time, the region is decertified (see BLM Manual H-3420-1) and not subject to regional coal sales. The coal planning process is described in the “Coal” section of the Minerals appendix. Since there has been no request for leasing, coal activity is not an issue in this document.

LOCATABLE MINERALS Management Common To All Alternatives
The Mining Law of 1872, as amended, governs the location of mining claims. It provides for exploration, discovery, and mining of metallic and certain nonmetallic minerals on federal lands. This law has five elements: (1) discovery of a valuable mineral deposit, (2) location of mining claims, (3) recordation of mining claims, (4) maintenance of mining claims, and (5) mineral patenting. The BLM manages the last three elements (see “Locatables” section in the Minerals appendix). The management program for locatable minerals is administered under federal regulations (43 CFR 3809) and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Montana Department of State Lands and the BLM (BLM Manual H3809-1, appendix 1). Minerals acquired by the federal government under the Bankhead Jones Act of 1937 are not subject to the General Mining Law of 1872, as amended; these minerals are leasable. Minerals acquired after the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended, are subject to the General Mining Law. There is no requirement to notify the BLM of casual use activities. These uses cause little disturbance and generally include activities not involving earth-moving equipment, blasting, or cyanide leaching. Operations consisting of fewer than 5 acres of disturbance require a notice of operations; more than 5 acres of disturbance requires a plan of operations and a reclamation plan. Special category lands defined in 43 CFR 3809.1-4 require a plan of operations, regardless of size of disturbance. Claim operations shall be reclaimed as outlined in 43 CFR 3809.1-1.

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A The BLM will provide for the development of federal coal in a systematical manner, consistent with the federal coal management program and policies, environmental integrity, and national energy needs. Only coal classified as suitable for leasing in past planning would be available. This coal was identified in the Fort Union Regional Coal Team call for expressions of interest (USDI, BLM 1982c). Pending application of the surfaceowner consultation screen, coal would be acceptable for further consideration for leasing or exchange on 354,641 acres containing 6.97 billion tons of coal (see maps 6A,B,C,D). ALTERNATIVE B No coal would be acceptable for leasing or exchange. ALTERNATIVE C Pending the application of the surface-owner consultation screen, coal would be acceptable for further consideration for leasing or exchange on 583,771 acres containing 6.22 billion tons of coal (see maps 7A,B,C,D).

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A There would be no new withdrawals from locatable mineral entry.

22

CHAPTER 2 Minerals - Locatable ALTERNATIVE B Lands would be withdrawn from entry under the General Mining Law of 1872, as amended, on the following areas of critical environment concern: wildlife (1,167 acres), paleontological (48,713 acres), and cultural (1,802 acres). Lands would also be withdrawn from entry on the Powder River Depot, Makoshika State Park, Cherry Creek, and Lewis and Clark Trail special recreation management areas (32,864 acres). In the Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern, 280 acres would be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry subject to valid existing rights. ALTERNATIVE C Lands would be withdrawn from entry under the General Mining Law of 1872, as amended, on the wildlife areas of critical environmental concern (1,167 acres), and Makoshika State Park (6,628 acres). Lands would be withdrawn from mineral entry subject to valid existing rights in the Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (280 acres). ALTERNATIVE D (PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE) Lands would be withdrawn from entry under the General Mining Law of 1872, as amended, on the cultural (1,802 acres), paleontological (48,713 acres), and Piping Plover (16 acres) areas of critical environmental concern and on the Powder River Depot , Cherry Creek special recreation management areas (2,236 acres) and Makoshika State Park (6,628 acres). The Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (280 acres) would be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry subject to valid existing rights. If a plan of operations is received, BLM will do a validity examination (see “Locatable Minerals” section in the Minerals appendix for a discussion of the process). Crucial winter range would be open to mineral material sales. Mineral material sales would not be allowed in Makoshika State Park (6,628 acres), according to the Memorandum of Understanding between the BLM, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Dawson County. Mineral material sales are valued according to the BLM statewide pricing schedule. Contracts valued at more than $5,000 require individual appraisals before sale. Environmental documentation for material sales or permits for fewer than 50,000 cubic yards and disturbing fewer than 5 acres may be processed with a Categorical Exclusion Review. Sales or permits more than 50,000 yards or 5 acres require an environmental analysis. A reclamation plan and operating stipulations to protect resources that are not mineral are included in the permit. The site reclamation bond is held by the Montana Department of State Lands. Material sales and permits are monitored for production verification, and for operating and reclamation compliance.

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A Mineral material permits and sales would be allowed. ALTERNATIVE B Mineral material sales and permits would not be allowed on the following areas of critical environmental concern: Smoky Butte (280 acres), cultural (1,802 acres), paleontological (48,713 acres), and wildlife (1,167 acres). Mineral material sales and permits would not be allowed on the Powder River Depot, Cherry Creek, and Lewis and Clark Trail special recreation management areas (26,236 acres) and the Fallon County sanitary landfill (160 acres). ALTERNATIVE C

MINERAL MATERIALS Management Common To All Alternatives
The BLM responds to the requests for sand and gravel used in road surfacing and maintenance. The BLM issues free use permits and sales contracts for mineral materials where disposal is considered to be in the public interest, while providing for reclamation of mined lands, and preventing undue and unnecessary degradation of nonmineral resources. Mineral materials permits are considered on a case-by-case basis and issued at the discretion of the area manager (see “Mineral Materials” section in the Minerals appendix). Mineral material sales and permits would not be allowed in the areas of critical environmental concern for wildlife (1,167 acres), in the Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (280 acres), and in the Fallon County sanitary landfill (640 acres). ALTERNATIVE D (PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE) Mineral material sales and permits would not be allowed on the following areas of critical environmental concern: Smoky Butte (280 acres), cultural (1,802 acres), paleontological (48,713 acres), and wildlife (11,182 acres). Mineral material sales and permits also would not be allowed on the Powder River Depot, Cherry Creek, and Lewis and Clark

23

CHAPTER 2 Minerals - Locatable Trail special recreation management areas (26,236 acres) and in the Fallon County sanitary landfill (640 acres). tural (1,802 acres), paleontology (48,713 acres), recreation (280), and wildlife (11,182 acres). Nonenergy leasable mineral leasing also would be closed in the Powder River Depot, Cherry Creek, Lewis Lewis and Clark Trail, special recreation management areas (26,236 acres), and Makoshika State Park (6,628 acres).

NONENERGY LEASABLE MINERALS Management Common To All Alternatives
Exploration and development of nonenergy leasable minerals are authorized under the Mineral Leasing Acts of 1920 and 1947, as amended. These minerals include, but are not limited to gypsum, sodium, and potassium. A plan amendment will be required before issuing surface mining leases. Prospecting permits will be available for all lands not withdrawn from mineral leasing in conformance with 43 CFR 3500. The leasing functions of the nonenergy leasable minerals program are prospecting permitting, preference right leasing, and competitive leasing (see “Nonenergy Leasable Minerals” section in the Minerals appendix for description).

OIL AND GAS Management Common To All Alternatives
Federal oil and gas leasing authority for public lands are found in the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended; and for acquired lands in the Acquired Lands Leasing Act of 1947, as amended. Leasing of federal oil and gas is affected by other acts such asthe National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, and the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act of 1987. Regulations governing fed-

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A

Leasing and development of nonenergy leasable minerals would be allowed. ALTERNATIVE B

Nonenergy leasable minerals would be closed to leasing in the following areas of critical environmental concern: cultural (1,802 acres), paleontology (48,713 acres), recreation (280 acres), and wildlife (1,167 acres). Nonenergy leasable mineral leasing also would be closed in the Powder River Depot, Cherry Creek, Lewis and Clark Trail, and Makoshika State Park special recreation management areas (32,864 acres). ALTERNATIVE C

Nonenergy leasable minerals would be closed to leasing in the wildlife areas of critical environmental concern (1,167 acres) and in Makoshika State Park (6,628 acres). ALTERNATIVE D (PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE)

Nonenergy leasable minerals would be closed to leasing in the following areas of critical environmental concern: cul-

24

CHAPTER 2 Minerals - Oil and Gas Onshore Operating Orders (43 CFR 3164.1), the Makoshika State Park Memorandum of Understanding (located in the Big Dry Resource Area files), and BLM manuals and instruction memorandums. A lease grants the right to explore, extract, remove, and dispose of oil and gas deposits that may be found on the leased lands. The lessee may exercise the rights conveyed by the lease, subject to lease terms and any lease stipulations (modifications of the lease), and permit approval requirements. When geophysical exploration is allowed, it will follow the procedures and regulations discussed in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix. Conditions for existing oil and gas leases (valid existing rights) cannot be changed by the decisions in this document until the lease expires. When the lease expires, the area will be managed for oil and gas according to the decisions reached in this document. The BLM planning process determines availability of federal lands for oil and gas leasing where BLM is the surface management agency. For federal oil and gas lands where the surface is managed by another federal agency such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Bureau of Reclamation, the BLM will consult with that agency before issuing leases. Oil and gas lands owned by Indians or Tribes are evaluated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs with subsequent leases issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In areas where oil and gas development may conflict with other resources, the areas may be closed to leasing. The regulations at part 43 CFR 3100.0-3(d); the Secretary’s general authority to prevent the waste and dissipation of public property (43 U.S.C. 1457(12) (1982); and the Attorney General’s Opinion of April 2, 1941 (Vol. 40 Op. Atty. Gen 41) allow the BLM to lease lands that are otherwise unavailable for leasing if oil and gas is being drained from such lands. If the unavailable lands are under the jurisdiction of another agency, leasing of such lands would only occur if the affected surface management agency grants authority to the BLM to lease. Unavailable lands under the administration of the BLM will be leased only if a state or fee well is completed within the same spacing unit. These lands will be leased with a no surface occupancy and no subsurface occupancy stipulation with no waiver, modification or exception provisions. There would only be a paper transaction with no physical impacts on the unavailable or unleased lands. There would be no exploration or development (drilling or production) within the unavailable or unleased lands and no additional exploration or development adjacent to these lands as a consequence of lease issuance. After issuance of a lease, the lease would be committed to a communitization agreement and the United States would then receive revenue in proportion to its acreage interest as it bears to the entire acreage interest committed to the agreement. Areas where oil and gas development could coexist with other resources uses would be open to leasing, with or without stipulations. Stipulations are a part of the lease only when environmental and planning records show the need for them. Three types of stipulations describe how lease rights are modified: no surface occupancy, timing limitation (seasonal restriction), and controlled surface use. (For descriptions see “Leasing Process” in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix.) Stipulations may be changed by application of waivers, exceptions, or modifications. The decision whether to grant waivers, exceptions, or modifications generally occurs during the Application for Permit to Drill approval process. If the authorized officer determines the change to be major or significant, the proposed action will be subject to a 30day public review period. Waivers are a permanent exemption from a lease stipulation. This occurs when the resource does not require the protection of stipulation. For example, a waiver would be granted to an area stipulated for steep slopes if the authorized officer determines that none of the leasehold includes slopes over 30 percent. Exceptions are granted on a case-by-case basis. Each time the lessee applies for an exception, the resource objective of the stipulation must be met. An example of an exception is the granting of access into crucial winter range before the end of the period specified by the timing stipulation; in this plan the period from December 1 though March 31. If an open winter has occurred and the winter range is no longer being used before March 31, an exception might be granted for entry before the time period has elapsed. The decision is granted only for the year in question. In the following year an exception would have to be evaluated on current seasonal conditions and use. Modifications are fundamental changes to the provisions of a lease stipulation either temporarily or for the term of the lease. A specific example of a modification to a stipulation in this plan is in an area of active coal mining. There is a no surface occupancy stipulation on coal mines with approved mine plans. When an area has been mined, there is no longer any need to restrict access for oil and gas development. The boundary of the coal mine area which is stipulated would be modified to allow oil and gas development to occur where the coal has been removed. If the lease is changed by a waiver or permanent modification, BLM would issue a written notice to the lessee and any other affected lessees. The notification to lessees is titled “Notice to Amend the Lease Terms.” 25

CHAPTER 2 Minerals - Oil and Gas Additional information can be provided to the lessee in the form of a lease notice. This notice does not place restrictions on lease operations, but does provide information about applicable laws and regulations, and the requirements for additional information to be supplied by the lessee. After lease issuance, the lessee may conduct lease operations with an approved permit (see “Conditions of Approval” in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix). Proposed drilling and associated activities must be approved before beginning operations. The operator must file an Application for Permit to Drill or Sundry Notice that must be approved according to (1) lease stipulations, (2) Onshore Oil and Gas Orders, and (3) regulations and laws (see “Permitting” in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix). Monitoring will be conducted as described in table 58 of the Monitoring appendix. On Bureau of Reclamation lands, stipulations that are recommended by the Bureau of Reclamation will be used (see “Oil and Gas” section in the Minerals appendix). Oil and gas leasing will be allowed in Makoshika State Park, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the BLM, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Dawson County. Oil and gas leasing would not be allowed (nondiscretionary) in the Fox Lake Game Management area (160 acres). For additional discussions on oil and gas recovery, regulations, lease stipulations, and permit processing see the “Oil and Gas” section in the Minerals appendix. Tables 4 through 8 present the lease stipulations and the acreage affected by each stipulation. Lease stipulations which would be applied in each alternative are presented in table 4 as Management Common to All Alternatives. Lease stipulations which change in each alternative and areas protected by lease terms or closed to leasing are in tables 5 through 8.

TABLE 4 SUMMARY OF OIL AND GAS STIPULATIONS AND CLOSURES COMMON TO ALL ALTERNATIVES High Development Potential Acres Stipulations 1 No Surface Occupancy Bald eagle nests Ferruginous hawk nests Grouse leks and nests Least tern habitat Limber pine area Paleontological localities Peregrine falcon nests VRM I Controlled Surface Use Makoshika State Park Prairie dog habitat VRM II Timing Restrictions Elk spring calving Grouse nesting zone Raptor nests Withdrawals (nondiscretionary) Fox Lake Game Management Area Moderate Development Total Mineral Potential Acres Acres Stipulated Acres Closed to Leasing

0 0 945 4,443 0 0 0 3,921

515 466 43,358 12,689 3,019 120 0 80,122

515 466 44,303 17,132 3,019 120 0 84,043

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 26,078

6,628 30,637 380,944

6,628 30,637 407,022

0 0 0

0 5,634 1,039

0 398,856 43,180

0 404,490 44,219

0 0 0

0

160

0

160

1See “Oil and Gas” in the Minerals appendix for descriptions.

26

CHAPTER 2 Minerals - Oil and Gas

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A TABLE 5 SUMMARY OF OIL AND GAS SPECIAL STIPULATIONS, LEASE TERMS, AND STANDARD STIPULATIONS (Alternative A) High Development Potential Acres Special Stipulations No Surface Occupancy Cultural sites Recreation areas Riparian/wetlands Piping plover site Controlled Surface Use Potential black-footed ferret habitat Steep slopes Timing Restrictions Crucial winter ranges Lease Terms and Standard Lease Stipulations Recreation areas Potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret Smoky Butte Paleontological areas Cultural sites 4,500 0 0 0 0 21,717 118,403 280 48,713 1,703 26,217 118,403 280 48,713 1,703 Moderate Development Potential Acres Total Mineral Acres Stipulated

80 0 1,660 16

19 19 3,690 0

99 19 5,350 16

0 33,422

5,687 685,680

5,687 719,102

69,373

631,606

700,979

27

CHAPTER 2 Minerals - Oil and Gas ALTERNATIVE B

TABLE 6 SUMMARY OF OIL AND GAS SPECIAL STIPULATIONS AND CLOSURES (Alternative B) High Development Potential Acres Special Stipulations No Surface Occupancy Piping Plover ACEC Fallon County sanitary landfill Moderate Development Potential Acres

Total Mineral Acres Stipulated

Mineral Acres Closed

16 160

0 0

16 160

0 0

Closed (Discretionary) Cultural ACECs 80 Black-footed Ferret ACEC, potential black-footed ferret habitat and potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret 0 Smoky Butte ACEC 0 Paleontological ACECs 0 Steep slopes 33,422 Crucial winter ranges 69,373 Special recreation management areas 4,500 Riparian/wetlands 1,660 ALTERNATIVE C

1,722

0

1,802

62,035 280 48,713 685,680 631,606 21,736 3,690

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

62,035 280 48,713 719,102 700,979 26,236 5,350

TABLE 7 SUMMARY OF OIL AND GAS SPECIAL STIPULATIONS AND LEASE TERMS (Alternative C) High Development Potential Acres Special Stipulations No Surface Occupancy Cultural ACECs Cherry Creek and Powder River Depot SRMAs Moderate Development Potential Acres

Total Mineral Acres Stipulated

Acres With Lease Terms

80 0

19 2,236

99 2,236

0 0

Lease Terms Cultural ACECs 0 Fallon County sanitary landfill 640 Smoky Butte ACEC 0 Paleontological ACECs 0 Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA 4,500 Steep slopes 33,422 Riparian/wetlands 1,660 Crucial winter ranges 69,373 Piping plover ACEC 16 Black-footed Ferret ACEC, potential black-footed ferret habitat and potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret 0

1,703 0 280 48,713 19,500 685,680 3,690 631,606 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

1,703 640 280 48,713 24,000 719,102 5,350 700,979 16

62,035

0

62,035

28

CHAPTER 2 Minerals - Oil and Gas ALTERNATIVE D (PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE) TABLE 8 SUMMARY OF OIL AND GAS SPECIAL STIPULATIONS AND LEASE TERMS (Alternative D) High Development Potential Acres Special Stipulations1 No Surface Occupancy Cultural ACECs Special recreation management areas Fallon County sanitary landfill Smoky Butte ACEC Paleontological ACECs Riparian/wetlands Piping Plover ACEC Moderate Development Potential Acres

Total Mineral Acres Stipulated

Acres With Lease Terms

80 4,500 640 0 0 1,660 16

1,722 21,736 0 280 48,713 3,690 0

1,802 26,236 640 280 48,713 5,350 16

0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Controlled Surface Use Steep slopes 33,422 Black-footed Ferret ACEC and potential black-footed ferret habitat 0 Timing Restrictions Crucial winter ranges Lease Terms Potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret

685,680 5,164

719,102 5,164

0 0

69,373

631,606

700,979

0

0

56,839

0

56,839

1

See the “Oil and Gas” section in the Minerals appendix for descriptions.

PALEONTOLOGY Management Common To All Alternatives
Surface-disturbing activities are subject to the following requirements. The lessee or operator shall immediately inform the BLM of paleontological resources discovered as a result of operations, and will stop until directed to proceed by the BLM. An on-the-ground survey for fossil material would be conducted by the BLM and the operator would be notified where and when to continue operations. If the fossil material is significant, the activity would be moved so the locality will not be disturbed. If the activity cannot be moved, mitigation measures would be completed. This may 29

be simply collecting the fossil(s) and associated data immediately, or it may require a major excavation of the site. Paleontological collecting permits are issued to institutions with the proper facilities for preparation, study, and storage of fossil material. The researchers in charge of the field work must be qualified to remove and handle the fossil material. The fossils and associated data are to remain available to researchers for study and for public display. A report of the results of the field work must be filed with the BLM. Excavations to recover paleontological materials or data will be backfilled. Topsoil is usually removed and stockpiled separately at the beginning of an excavation. It is spread over the backfilled material during reclamation. The area would be recontoured to match the original landscape, and reseeded with native species. On slopes exceed-

CHAPTER 2 Paleontology ing 30 percent, water bars (water diversions) or other methods to reduce erosion would be constructed. Monitoring will be conducted as described in table 58 of the Monitoring appendix. Surface-disturbing activities would not be allowed on the Garbani, Harbicht Hill, and Flat Creek paleontological localities. Management actions occurring within the Judith River Formation, Hell Creek Formation, and the Tullock Member of the Fort Union Formation will be analyzed for impacts to the paleontological resource (see maps 12A,B,C,D). Livestock grazing would be allowed on paleontological localities and on the Ash Creek Divide, Bug Creek, Sand Arroyo, and Hell Creek paleontological areas. mineral acres) would be designated as areas of critical environmental concern in this alternative (see map 11). These areas of critical environmental concern would be managed as described under Alternative B, except under this alternative oil and gas leasing would be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation and right-of-way construction would be allowed.

RECREATION Management Common To All Alternatives
In addition to existing policies and guidance, recreation management will follow Recreation 2000: A Strategic Plan (USDI, BLM 1989d) and Recreation 2000 Tri-State Strategy (USDI, BLM 1990b). Emphasis is directed toward five goals: (1) budgeting, (2) visitor information, (3) access and land tenure adjustments, (4) facilities, and (5) resource protection. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail will continue to be managed in accordance with the act which established the Trail in 1978. The Trail will be managed for public use and enjoyment, while preserving the historic and cultural resources that are related to the events that occurred during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Management objectives would be (1) at a minimum, maintain the existing public land base that adjoins the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers; (2) increase, where appropriate and consistent with this plan, the public land base that adjoins the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers; (3) increase public use and enjoyment opportunities; and (4) maintain an undeveloped visual setting near known expedition campsites. Any changes in the landscape within view of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail would be guided by Class II visual resource management objectives as described in this section. Future management actions would give full consideration to lessening adverse impacts to adjacent private landowners and users, and harmonize with and compliment existing multiple-use plans. Management actions would include acquiring and marking access to the Trail, installing interpretive signs, and developing interpretive brochures. Priority would be placed on developing partnerships with other federal, state and local agencies, and private entities when the partnership benefits the public. Examples include developing wildlife viewing areas, managing campgrounds, acquiring access to public lands, developing fishing reservoirs and associated facilities, constructing trails and developing informational and interpretive brochures.

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A No paleontological areas would be designated as areas of critical environmental concern. Activities would be allowed subject to standard procedures. ALTERNATIVE B Four paleontological areas (39,996 surface and 48,713 mineral acres), the Hell Creek, Bug Creek, Sand Arroyo, and Ash Creek Divide would be designated areas of critical environmental concern in this alternative. To insure protection and enhancement, these areas would be withdrawn from mineral entry and closed to mineral material sales and permits, nonenergy leasable minerals, coal and oil and gas leasing, and geophysical exploration would not be allowed. Off-road vehicle use would be designated as limited to existing roads and trails, and rights-of-way construction would not be allowed. ALTERNATIVE C The same paleontological areas of critical environmental concern would be designated as in Alternative B. These areas would be managed the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative rights-of-way construction would be avoided. ALTERNATIVE D (PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE) The Hell Creek, Bug Creek, Sand Arroyo, and Ash Creek Divide paleontological areas (39,996 surface and 48,713

30

CHAPTER 2 Recreation Priority would be placed on acquiring legal access to public lands through exchanges and easements. Signing and identifying through signing parcels that are legally accessible and provide important recreation opportunities. Guides and outfitters and other permitted recreational uses would be authorized according to the Special Recreation Permit Guidelines for Montana, North and South Dakota (USDI, BLM 1987c). Determination of maximum allowable use would be according to the criteria in the BLM Manual H-8372-1. Outfitting and guiding would be authorized on a first-come, first-served basis until an area’s maximum allowable use is being approached. The affected area’s maximum allowable use would be approached when one of the following conditions occur: user conflicts exist either among commercial outfitters or between the non-guided public and commercial outfitters; damage to resources from visitor use is considered unacceptable; enforcement and compliance problems exist; or conflicts with adjacent landowners exist. When one of the above conditions is reached, and the conflict cannot be resolved through negotiations with users, the following process would be in effect until an activity plan is completed and the carrying capacity is established: no new permits for the activity in conflict will be issued for the affected area; a temporary allocation will be established using criteria such as camp spacing, temporary use areas and day use limitations; and other types of commercial activities may be authorized if they do not add to the existing conflict. The activity plan will show desired use levels based on the area’s carrying capacity. The plan also will establish the method of distributing commercial use. The BLM would continue to cooperate with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and private landowners to improve hunter access.This would involve participation in block management or developing access agreements with private landowners. Visual resource management classifications (see maps 19A,B,C,D) on public land in the planning area are Class I (83,240 acres), Class II (424,492 acres), Class III (11,409 acres), and Class IV (1,184,689 acres). Surface occupancy 31

and use in visual resource management Class I areas applied to public lands would be managed according to Interim Management for Lands Under Wilderness Review (BLM Manual H-8550-1). Where publicly owned minerals underlie privately owned surface, visual protection measures would be recommended to the private surface owner to be used at their discretion. To maintain aesthetic values, semipermanent and permanent facilities in visual resource management Class II would require special design. This design would include location, painting, and camouflage to blend with natural surroundings and to meet visual quality objectives. Class I - The objective of this class is to preserve the existing character of the landscape. The goal of this class is to provide a landscape that appears unaltered by man. This class provides for natural ecological changes. It does not restrain limited management activity, or those activities specifically authorized by the Wilderness Act of 1964 and described in BLM Manual H-8550-1. This is an interim classification until Congress determines which areas are wilderness. Lands designated as wilderness by Congress would continue to be managed under Class I objectives. Lands not designated wilderness would be managed under visual resource management Class II objectives.

CHAPTER 2 Recreation Class II - The objective is to keep the existing character of the landscape. The level of change to the characteristic landscape should be low. Management activities may be seen, but should not attract the attention of the casual observer. Any changes must repeat the basic elements of form, line, color, and texture found in the dominant features of the landscape. Class III - The objective is to partially keep the existing character of the landscape. The level of change to the landscape should be moderate. Management activities may attract attention but should not dominate the view of the casual observer. Changes should repeat the basic elements found in the dominant features of the landscape. Class IV - The objective is to provide for management activities that require major changes of the existing landscape. The level of change to the landscape can be high. These management activities may dominate the view and be the major focus of viewer attention. However, every attempt should be made to lessen the impact of these activities through careful location, minimal disturbance, and repeating the basic elements. Monitoring will be conducted as described in table 58 of the Monitoring appendix. In the Wilderness Study Areas and areas recommended for wilderness (83,240 acres), off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails until Congress decides which areas to designate as wilderness. Those areas designated as wilderness will be closed to off-road vehicle use with exceptions as identified in the Wilderness Act or a future wilderness management plan. The areas Congress decides not to designate as wilderness will remain limited to off-road vehicle use. The one exception would be actions authorized by BLM. In Makoshika State Park, mineral material sales and permits, and oil and gas leasing and development would be conducted according to the Memorandum of Understanding between BLM, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Dawson County. The Park would be unsuitable for coal development. oped. There would be no recreation areas designated as special recreation management areas and Cherry Creek Dam would not be constructed. In the Powder River Depot recreation area oil and gas leasing would be allowed with no surface occupancy, and geophysical exploration would be closed (19 acres). Makoshika State Park would not be disposed to Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Park through a recreation and public purposes patent. There would be 1,620,590 acres open to off-road vehicle use. In areas open to off-road vehicle use, vehicles would be allowed without restrictions. ALTERNATIVE B Off-road vehicle use would be limited on 1,620,350 acres to protect vegetation, soil and water resources, and closed on 80 acres (Calypso Trail) to preserve the wilderness characteristics in the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area. In areas closed to off-road vehicle use, motorized vehicles are not allowed within the area except for emergency vehicles, fire suppression and rescue vehicles, BLM operation and maintenance vehicles, other federal, state, or local agency vehicles in the performance of an official duty and other motorized vehicles on official business specifically approved by the authorized officer of the Bureau of Land Management. In limited off-road vehicle use areas, parking or camping would be allowed within 100 yards of a road or trail. Special permits would be required for camps beyond that distance. Vehicle travel off existing roads and trails would be allowed only for authorized or permitted uses. These uses include medical or other emergencies, livestock management practices, geophysical exploration, firewood cutting, travel within active prairie dog colonies, retrieval of big game animals, and snow machines when snow cover is adequate. During particularly severe snow years, it may be necessary to consider limiting or closing some areas containing large numbers of wintering wildlife to snow machines. Special off-road vehicle permits for individuals with disabilities would be issued. Smoky Butte (80 acres) would be designated an area of critical environmental concern. Off-road vehicle use would be limited to protect the vegetation and soil resources. The area would be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry subject to valid existing rights. Mineral material sales, coal, oil and gas and nonenergy mineral leasing would be closed. Livestock grazing, geophysical exploration, and rights-ofway developments would be excluded. The following special recreation management areas would be designated and the remainder of the planning area would be designated as an extensive recreation management area: Calypso is a 69-acre parcel next to the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area, along the Yellowstone River.

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A The planning area would be designated as an extensive recreation management area. Development of recreation facilities would be minimal. Only the minimum facilities necessary to resolve resource conflicts would be devel-

32

CHAPTER 2 Recreation Management objectives include opportunities for camping, picnicking, day hiking, fishing, sightseeing and wildlife viewing. To achieve these objectives, the BLM would develop overnight tent campsites, restrooms, drinking water, picnic tables and fire rings. There are no federal minerals in the Calypso Special Recreation Management Area. Livestock grazing and rightsof-way construction would not be allowed. Off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails. Cherry Creek would provide additional recreational facilities in southeastern Montana. It would consist of 2,858 acres with a dam with a 50-foot pool depth (see the Recreation appendix for dam specifications). To provide fishing, boating, camping, picnicking and waterfowl hunting, the proposed facility should include overnight recreational vehicle and tent campsites, restrooms, drinking water, boat ramps, picnic tables and fire rings. Livestock grazing, mineral material sales and permits, rights-of-way construction, and geophysical exploration would not be allowed in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area. Locatable minerals would be withdrawn from entry. Coal, oil and gas, and nonenergy leasable minerals would be closed to leasing. Off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails. Makoshika State Park (3,924 acres) would be managed and developed according to the cooperative agreement between BLM and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. This agreement could provide the public with picnic tables and trails for day hiking, sightseeing and wildlife viewing. In this special recreation management area, rights-of-way construction would not be allowed. Off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails. Locatable minerals would be withdrawn from entry, and nonenergy leasable minerals would be closed to leasing. Powder River Depot would provide additional recreational facilities in southeastern Montana. It would be 171 acres with overnight campsites, and a display depicting the history of the area. Management objectives to provide fishing, river access,camping, and picnicking would be met with development of tent camping sites, restrooms, drinking water, boat ramps, picnic tables, and fire rings. Livestock grazing, mineral material sales and permits, rights-of-way construction, and geophysical exploration would not be allowed in the Powder River Depot Special Recreation Management Area. Locatable minerals would be withdrawn from entry. Coal, oil and gas, and nonenergy

Makoshika State Park, Glendive.

leasable minerals would be closed to leasing. Off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails.
Lewis and Clark Trail recreation area is 14,000 acres of public and along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers.
Management objectives are to enhance water-based recreation resource while meeting public demand for river

access. Facilities would consist primarily of boat ramps,
picnic tables and fire rings. Where use exceeds the carrying
capacity of the resource, additional facilities such as restrooms and campsites would be constructed. Develop-

ment would be designed to compliment, rather than compete with, any nearby state, federal, or private facilities. The

Calypso and Powder River Depot special recreation management areas would not be included within this corridor. Management for these areas is discussed above.

Rights-of-way construction, mineral material permits and
sales, and livestock grazing would not be allowed in the

Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management
Area. Oil and gas, coal and nonenergy mineral leasing
would be closed. Geophysical exploration would not be

allowed and off-road vehicle use would be limited to
existing roads and trails.

ALTERNATIVE

C

There would be 1,616,666 acres designated open to offroad vehicle use. SeeAlternative A for a description of open off-road vehicle use. Makoshika State Park would not be designated a special recreation management area and would be disposed to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The Park would be managed the same as described in Alternative B, except under this alternative, BLM-administered livestock

33

CHAPTER 2 Recreation grazing would be canceled and rights-of-way construction would be avoided. Smoky Butte (80 acres) would be designated an area of critical environmental concern. Off-road vehicle use would be open. The area would be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry subject to valid existing rights. Mineral material sales, and coal leasing would be closed. Livestock grazing, geophysical exploration, oil and gas, and nonenergy mineral leasing would be allowed. Rights-of-way developments would be avoided. The planning area would be designated as an extensive recreation management area, except the following 17,098 acres designated as special recreation management areas: Calypso would include the recreation improvements described in Alternative B. This area would be managed the same as Alternative A, except rights-of-way construction would be avoided under this alternative. Cherry Creek would be constructed with a 40-foot pool depth dam (see the Recreation appendix for dam specifications). Recreation improvements would be the same as those described in Alternative B. Cherry Creek would be managed the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative oil and gas leasing would be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation, geophysical exploration would not be allowed and rights-of-way construction would be avoided. Powder River Depot would include the recreation improvements described in Alternative B. This area would be managed the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative, rights-of-way construction would be avoided. Lewis and Clark Trail recreation area would include the recreation improvements described in Alternative B. This area would be managed the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative, rights-of-way construction would be avoided. for a definition of open off-road vehicle use and Alternative B for definitions of limited and closed off-road vehicle use. Makoshika State Park (2,700 acres) would not be designated a special recreation management area, as it would be disposed to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (see map 17). This area would be managed the same as Alternative B, except under this alternative rights-ofway construction would be avoided and BLM-administered livestock grazing would be canceled. Smoky Butte (80 acres) would be designated an area of critical environmental concern (see map 14). Off-road vehicle use would be closed. The area would be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry subject to valid existing rights. Mineral material sales, coal, and nonenergy mineral leasing would be closed. Oil and gas leasing would be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Geophysical exploration and livestock grazing would be allowed. Rights-ofway developments would be excluded. The planning area would be designated as an extensive recreation management area, except the following 17,098 acres areas designated as special recreation management areas: Calypso (see map 15) would be managed the same as alternative B, except rights-of-way construction would be avoided under this alternative. Cherry Creek (see map 16) would be constructed with a 50-foot pool depth dam. A separate environmental impact statement would be written to analyze impacts from the proposed dam. Funding for this environmental impact statement and costs for building the dam would require a supplemental appropriation from Congress. If the dam is not constructed, Cherry Creek will not be managed as a special recreation management area. The dam specifications are in the Recreation appendix. This area would be managed the same as described in Alternative B, except under this alternative oil and gas leasing would be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation, geophysical exploration would not be allowed, and rights-of-way construction would be avoided. Powder River Depot (see map 18) would be managed the same as Alternative B, except under this alternative, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation and rights-of-way construction would be avoided. Lewis and Clark Trail recreation area (see maps 31A,B,C,D) would be managed the same as Alternative B, except under this alternative livestock grazing would be allowed, rights-of-way construction would be avoided, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with a no surface occu-

ALTERNATIVE D (PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE) There would be 2,320 acres open to off-road vehicle use to provide recreational opportunities to off-road vehicle users (see map 13). To protect the vegetation, soil and water resources, 1,614,770 acres would be limited off-road vehicle use, and 80 acres (Smoky Butte) closed to off-road vehicle use (see map 14). The Calypso Trail (80 acres) would also be closed (see map 31D) to protect the wilderness characteristics of the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area. No vehicles would be allowed on areas closed, including on the existing roads and trails. See Alternative A

34

CHAPTER 2 Soil and Water pancy stipulation, and geophysical exploration would be allowed. tives include preventing the contamination of soils and water from spills. Vehicle and equipment servicing and refueling activities are conducted away from wet areas and drainages, except where present facilities exist. Proper techniques are used to collect petroleum products, and to clean up spills. The operator must develop a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan (40 CFR 112). Ground water wells, oil and gas, and facilities are to be completed in such a manner as to reduce the potential for contamination or depletion of the ground water aquifer. Wells will be constructed as regulated by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and Department of Health and Environmental Sciences. Protective measures must include, at a minimum, cementing or grouting the annulus of the borehole and grading the land surface to direct surface waters away from the wellbore. Federal oil and gas wells will be plugged according to federal regulations (see “Production and Development” under “Oil and Gas” section in the Minerals appendix). Surface disturbance on slopes 30 percent or greater will be avoided whenever possible. If the surface-disturbing action cannot be avoided, appropriate mitigation measures will be applied to lessen the impacts to the soil. The following are reclamation actions to mitigate the impacts to the soil and water resources from surface-disturbing activities: mulching and nurse crops; road surfacing (gravel, scoria, or other surface materials); surface water drainage (drop structures, culvert placement, water bars, erosion fabrics, gully plugs, contour furrows, ripping, chiseling, and pitting); development of seed mixture, site-specific, for revegetation; (example: 3 pounds per acre dryland alfalfa or 2 pounds per acre yellow sweet clover, 2 pounds per acre green needle grass, 4 pounds per acre western wheat grass, 5 pounds per acre slender wheat grass); topsoil removal, storage and replacement (site specific recommendations of depths); snow fencing for additional moisture in establishment of vegetation; proper seedbed preparation, including ripping depth, drill or broadcast seeding, raking and discing; produced water and mud pit design, including liners, proper compaction, and location away from perennial 35

SOIL AND WATER Management Common To All Alternatives
BLM consults and coordinates with other federal, state, and local agencies as required by the Watershed Protection and Flood Control Act, Clean Water Act, and Office of Management and Budget Circular A-81. The federal Clean Water Act (Public Law 92-500), section 305(b) and section 106(e)(1), requires each state to submit a biennial report on surface and ground water quality. The State of Montana’s 1992 305(b) report includes a listing of streams considered to be impaired within the Big Dry Resource Area (see Soil and Water appendix). Many of these streams have limited public lands along their stream reach. Impaired streams that have a significant portion of public lands in the stream’s basin are considered critical watersheds. Watershed activity plans, allotment management plans, and habitat management plans would be developed and implemented by consultation, coordination and cooperation with the operator, local and state agencies, other federal agencies, and interest groups (see Soil and Water appendix). BLM will file water rights with the state of Montana for water-related projects on public land. A data base containing pertinent information will be maintained for water rights held by the BLM. BLM activities conducted will meet Montana water quality standards (see “Water” section in the Monitoring appendix). BLM will manage the Cherry Creek watershed to improve the water quality by improving the riparian habitat along the channels of the ephemeral and intermittent streams. Riparian management is discussed under “Riparian” in the “Vegetation” section of this chapter. BLM will be involved in the Cherry Creek Water Quality Special Project according to the Memorandum of Understanding between the BLM, Prairie County Conservation District, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, Prairie County Cooperative State Grazing District, Cooperative Extension Service, Soil Conservation Service, and Montana Department of State Lands. This Memorandum of Understanding is available in the Big Dry Resource Area office. The BLM objectives, on upland areas and along stream bottoms, are to maintain adequate vegetation cover to increase soil productivity and stability. Management objec-

CHAPTER 2 Soil and Water and ephemeral streams. Ground water monitoring wells, if necessary; surface casing installed through the Fox Hills geologic formation to protect domestic ground water sources from possible contamination; reduced surface disturbance (smaller pad size, joint roads, pipeline rights-of-way, and selection of drill sites requiring least surface disturbance, shorter access roads). Monitoring will be conducted as described in table 58 of the Monitoring appendix. Prescribed burning is used to enhance growth, and vigor of certain species, and to maintain a specific vegetation community. Prescribed burning will be avoided on highly erodible slopes. Areas will be burned to leave a mosaic pattern, with sagebrush cover if possible. Livestock grazing is delayed for at least one growing season. A two-year delay may be necessary for browse regrowth or when artificial seeding is required. Prescribed burns are carried out according to the procedures in the BLM Manual 9214 and H-92111. Mechanical treatments will be avoided on slopes greater than 15 percent, on highly erodible soils, or in riparian/ wetland areas. Mechanically-treated areas will be rested for two growing seasons (April through September). Undisturbed areas will be left for livestock and wildlife walkways in contour furrowed areas, and waterways will not be disturbed. Mechanical treatments will be consistent with the 1971 Memorandum of Understanding (on file in the Big Dry Resource Area) between the BLM and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. This Memorandum of Understanding states that the BLM will advise the regional supervisor of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks of any proposed treatments and that the regional supervisor will be given the opportunity to provide comments on these treatments. Interseeding occurs when desirable species are not present in the treatment area or on highly erodible soils to stabilize the soils. The seed used must be tested for purity and free of noxious weed seeds. When seeding crested wheatgrass, an appropriate forb mix such as alfalfa or sweet clover could be included. Harvesting of nonnative hay or seed will be authorized when consistent with resource management objectives for the allotments or areas. The BLM has the option to reduce animal unit months during the year the hay is cut if the cutting of hay will result in a reduction of the carrying capacity for the allotment. The operator will be informed of any potential reduction at the time they request prior approval for haying. Harvesting will be restricted in grouse nesting habitat within 2 miles of a lek until June 15. Harvesting will be excluded within 1/2 mile of an active raptor nest until August 1. BLM will cooperate with county weed boards in the planning area for control efforts directed toward noxious weeds on public lands. This cooperation would consist of providing BLM funding, exchanging information, and control efforts by BLM crews to expand county efforts. Cooperation by BLM could be limited because of weed control funding and unavailability of staffing and equipment.

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
There are no additional management actions for Alternatives A, B, C, and D.

VEGETATION Management Common To All Alternatives
The vegetation management objective on public lands is to achieve plant communities with ecological status ranging from late seral to potential natural community within 20 years (see Vegetation appendix). Occasionally the desired plant community may have an ecological status less than late seral or potential natural community because of other management objectives taking precedence. Land treatments (chemical, fire, biological and mechanical) will be consistent with the guidelines stated in the Final Vegetation Treatment on BLM Lands in Thirteen Western States (USDI, BLM 1991b), Northwest Area Noxious Weed Program Final Environmental Impact Statement and Supplement (USDI, BLM 1987d), and BLM Manual H-1740-1. BLM Manual H-1740-1 stated guidelines for investment of public and private funds and documentation for resource improvements and treatments on public lands (see Engineering appendix). Manual vegetation treatment is not common in the planning area because of the costs involved. This treatment can be used for establishment of vegetation in riparian areas when other methods are not recommended. Hand planting of willow or cottonwood cuttings (sections of twigs or stems) or seedlings will be allowed in riparian areas.

36

CHAPTER 2 Vegetation BLM uses integrated pest management for noxious weed control (USDI, BLM 1985, 1987d, 1991b). This is an approach to reduce noxious weed damage to tolerable levels by using predators, parasites, genetically-resistant hosts, environmental modifications, and when necessary and appropriate, chemical pesticides (herbicides). Methods of treatment and acceptable levels of infestation will be described in a site-specific environmental analysis. An acceptable level of infestation may be incorporated into a desired plant community where total eradication is not economically or biologically reasonable. Weed control on public lands (seemap 21) is in cooperation with county weed programs. When county crews are unavailable, BLM crews and equipment may be used. Personnel involved in pesticide application must be trained and a certified licensed applicator must be present. Individuals involved in herbicide applications, or using contaminated tools or equipment will wear protective clothing and equipment (USDI, BLM 1991b, BLM Manual 9011, H-9011-1). Chemical treatment is designed for reduction of noxious weeds such as leafy spurge and knapweed species. Treatment occurs on Montana noxious weeds (see table 76 in the Vegetation appendix). Methods and rates are in the Vegetation Treatment on BLM Lands in Thirteen Western States Final Environmental Impact Statement (USDI, BLM 1991b), the Northwest Area Noxious Weed Control Program Final Environmental Impact Statement (USDI, BLM 1985) and the supplement (USDI, BLM 1987d). Herbicides and rates which can be used on public lands are identified in table 77 in the Vegetation appendix. Usually, the maximum rates would be used on small isolated infestations or newly introduced noxious weeds. The rates of herbicide application depend on species present, condition of the nontarget vegetation, soil type, water table depth, and other water sources. When applying herbicides, buffer strips will be provided next to dwellings, domestic water sources, agricultural land, streams, lakes, and ponds. A minimum buffer strip 100-feet wide must be provided for aerial application, 25 feet for vehicle application, and 10 feet for hand application. Deviations will be according to the herbicide label. The herbicide will be applied by hand on each plant within 10 feet of water (USDI, BLM 1991b, BLM Manual H9011-1). Biological weed control methods have been implemented to a limited extent. Grazing by sheep or goats helps to prevent leafy spurge from spreading. The effectiveness of insects is uncertain because an adequate population of insects and the right combination takes time to establish. The BLM will continue to work with agencies, universities and others using insects as a biological control agent.

The BLM contracted in 1992 with the Montana Natural Heritage Program to inventory plant communities. This inventory did not identify any rare plant communities (see the "Vegetation" section in chapte Species of special concern will be managed in accordance with BLM Manual H-6840. This manual provides guidance for the BLM to manage species of special concern in a manner which would not cause these species to become threatened or endangered. Inventories will continue as needed. A 50 percent browse utilization level is standard for the planning area, though other levels can be incorporated into the terms and conditions of a grazing permit or lease, or a grazing activity plan. If proper utilization levels are exceeded, adjustments are made in cooperation with the livestock operator. If an agreement cannot be reached, a decision concerning livestock use will be issued according to 43 CFR 4110.3-2(b) and 43 CFR 4160. Forage increases resulting from improved grazing management or vegetation treatment would be allocated consistent with the management objectives for the particular allotment or area.

Tenmile Creek riparian area, Prairie County.

Riparian/wetland objectives are to restore and maintain riparian/wetland areas so 75 percent or more are in proper functioning condition by 1997. All activity plans with riparian/wetland areas will have the same goal as well as specific objectives such as desired plant communities, stream channel conditions, water quality standards. maxi-

mum allowable streambank alteration by livestock, minimum stubble heights of herbaceous plants at the end of the

growing season, and a maximum allowable utilization level on woody plants. Management actions to accomplish those objectives include: Implementation of grazing systems, seasons of use adjustments, water developments, fencing, and livestock management.

37

CHAPTER 2 Vegetation Include in activity plans, the amount of seedling, sapling, pole, and mature and dead woody key species on sites with potential for woody species. Describe the desired condition of the areas as well as the desired ecological status. No trough or tank would be installed in areas containing important riparian/wetland vegetation, unless no possible alternative site exists. If the water source is necessary and no possible alterative site exists, appropriate mitigation measures (such as fencing or season of use adjustments) would be implemented. New spring developments would be fenced. Placement of salt and mineral blocks in riparian/wetland areas would not be allowed. Study enclosures would be established in riparian/ wetland sites to compare progress, evaluate management, and confirm recovery rates. This will be a cooperative effort with the permittees. Monitoring will be conducted as described in table 58 of the Monitoring appendix. Priority for fishing reservoir construction would be based on proximity to residential areas. The BLM would try to develop self-sustaining game fish populations; however, most reservoirs would be maintained as a put-and-take fishery (stocked yearly). The BLM would try to improve existing reservoirs for fisheries habitat. The BLM also will consider fisheries potential during the design phase of new reservoirs. Fishery habitat improvements could include planting of aquatic species, fencing of reservoirs, placement of structures to provide cover or spawning areas, or increasing reservoir depth for existing fisheries reservoirs (see map 25). In crucial winter range (see map 24), the following activities would be allowed: locatable mineral development, mineral material sales, and permits and nonenergy leasable mineral development. Crucial winter range will be unsuitable for coal development. Great blue heron and double-crested cormorant rookeries identified on the public lands will be protected. Surface disturbance will not be allowed within 1,000 feet of rookeries. Power lines will follow the recommendations in Suggested Practices for Raptor Protection on Power Lines (Olendorff et al. 1981). The piping plover site in Sheridan County will be unsuitable for coal development. Aerial hunting of predators will be permitted in the planning area subject to the stipulations outlined in the Annual Animal Damage Control Plan (USDA 1993). In the black-footed ferret area, livestock grazing will be allowed. The BLM will continue to be proactive in their management of threatened and endangered species, as well as those species which are candidates for listing. Management will Monitoring will be conducted as described in table 58 of the Monitoring appendix. Surface disturbance (other than water developments and fences) will not be authorized within 1/4 mile of sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse leks. Disturbance will not be authorized within 2 miles of a lek from March 1 through June 15 each year to protect sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse nesting habitat. In addition, no disturbance will be authorized within 1/2 mile of a raptor nest from March 1 to August 1 each year. Surface disturbance would not be allowed on least tern nesting habitat along the Yellowstone River.

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
There are no additional management actions for Alternatives A, B, C, and D.

WILDLIFE Management Common To All Alternatives
Specific measurable objectives are incorporated into coordinated resource management plans, habitat management plans or allotment management plans to meet wildlife habitat goals. Grazing methods, land treatments, or other improvements are designed and monitored to accomplish these objectives. Whenever possible and appropriate, habitat enhancements such as islands, or nesting platforms will be constructed on new or existing reservoirs, ponds, potholes, or river systems. Bird ramps will be installed in stock water tanks located on the public lands.

38

CHAPTER 2 Wildlife be directed at recovering those species which are currently listed as threatened or endangered, and maintaining and enhancing habitat for those species which are candidates for listing. The BLM “Special Status Species” list was approved on May 6, 1994, (see Wildlife appendix). These species include those that could easily become endangered or extinct in a state. These species will receive protection to that extent which is afforded to candidate species. This means BLM will conduct no actions which could contribute to these species being listed as threatened or endangered. BLM manages existing prairie dog habitat for black-footed ferret recovery, associated species, viewing, and recreational shooting. Actions affecting prairie dogs or their habitat is a cooperative effort among the affected landowners, the BLM, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Montana Department of State Lands, and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Management actions could include prairie dog expansion, reintroduction, management of the recreational shooting of prairie dogs, plague abatement, or prairie dog control. BLM would pursue exchanging lands with willing landowners to acquire additional prairie dog habitat. Management of prairie dog colonies on public lands is subject to the Miles City District Black-tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan (see Wildlife appendix). This plan states that prairie dog towns that occur on the public lands, and do not cause significant adverse impacts to the soil and vegetation resources, are to be managed for wildlife and recreational values. Prior to surface-disturbing activities, prairie dog complexes greater than 80 acres require a black-footed ferret clearance according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service standards. If black-footed ferrets are not evident, activities can be authorized. If prairie dog control is proposed, and state or private lands are involved, a cooperative effort will be employed. Before controlling prairie dogs on public lands, the BLM will: Consult with the grazing permittee and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Additional consultation would be conducted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as required by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Complete a damage assessment to determine the nature and extent of resource damage attributable to prairie dogs by identifying changes in condition, forage availability, and soil loss. Prepare or revise allotment management plans, habitat management plans, and coordinated resource management plans to include prairie dog management objectives and to identify management actions that provide for resource recovery. Complete an inventory on each prairie dog town for federally listed threatened and endangered species. The BLM will investigate the possibility of using nontoxic methods (perch poles, barriers, water and vegetation enhancement) for prairie dog control.

Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A No wildlife areas of critical environmental concern would be designated. In crucial winter range, oil and gas development would be allowed with a timing restriction from December 1 through March 31 each year on 700,977 public mineral acres. Geophysical exploration would not be allowed on those acres during that same period. Oil and gas leasing would be allowed in potential blackfooted ferret habitat, with controlled surface use (5,687). Geophysical exploration would not be allowed on those 5,687 acres. Oil and gas leasing would be allowed with no surface occupancy in the piping plover site (16 acres). Geophysical exploration would not be allowed on that site. ALTERNATIVE B Two wildlife areas would be designated as areas of critical environmental concern: the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern (1,151 acres) and the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern (16 acres). Active prairie dog colonies on public land (1,151 acres), as well as any future colonies inside a public land “core area” (10,015 acres), would be managed for black-footed ferret reintroduction and recovery. Prairie dog colonies within the core area would be designated the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern (see map 23). BLM will manage prairie dog colonies outside the core area as potential black-footed ferret habitat until such time as the BLM, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Montana Depart39

CHAPTER 2 Wildlife ment of Fish, Wildlife and Parks make a cooperative determination with the private landowners and the Department of State Lands on black-footed ferret reintroduction and recovery. If a cooperative agreement is reached, prairie dog colonies outside of the core area would become part of the reintroduction area. Should reintroduction occur, future BLM activities that could impact the black-footed ferret or its habitat will require formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If the decision is not to reintroduce the blackfooted ferret, the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern designation would be dropped and the area managed the same as other prairie dog towns. The following guidelines could be proposed in the Blackfooted Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern if the decision is made to reintroduce black-footed ferrets: Animal damage control would be allowed with restrictions about the placement of M44s, traps, and snares, to avoid accidental killing or loss of black-footed ferrets. Recreational activities (varmint shooting, camping, rock hounding, or sight-seeing) would be allowed, and managed to prevent adverse impacts to the blackfooted ferret. Hunting and trapping would be allowed according to state game laws and regulations. Predator control and monitoring for diseases could be necessary. A public education program would be developed to explain black-footed ferret management. The BLM will work with the Montana Black-footed Ferret Work Group on site evaluation as well as other aspects of black-footed ferret recovery. Within the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern, locatable minerals would be withdrawn from entry. Nonenergy leasable minerals, coal, and oil and gas would be closed to leasing. Geophysical exploration, mineral material sales and permits, and rights-of-way construction would not be allowed. Off-road vehicle use would be designated as limited to existing roads and trails. Within the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern, locatable mineral entry would be withdrawn. Nonenergy leasable mineral leasing would be closed. Rightsof-way construction, mineral material sales and permits, livestock grazing and geophysical exploration would not be allowed. Oil and gas leasing would be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Off-road vehicle use would be designated as limited to existing roads and trails. On crucial winter ranges, oil and gas leasing would be closed and geophysical exploration would not be allowed. Off-road vehicle use would be designated as limited to existing roads and trails. Rights-of-way construction and livestock grazing would not be allowed from December 1 through March 31 each year. ALTERNATIVE C The wildlife areas of critical environmental concern designated in Alternative B also would be designated in this alternative. The black-footed ferret and piping plover areas of critical environmental concern would be managed the same as described in Alternative B, except under this alternative, off-road vehicle use would be open, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with lease terms, geophysical exploration would be allowed, and rights-of-way construction would be avoided. Crucial winter ranges would be managed the same as described in Alternative A, except under this alternative, oil and gas leasing would be allowed with lease terms, and geophysical exploration would be allowed. ALTERNATIVE D (PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE) Prairie dog towns on public land (1,151 acres) and the public land core area around them (10,015 acres) would be designated the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern (11,166 acres). The piping plover (16 acres) site would be designated an area of critical environmental concern (see maps 23 and 27, respectively). The Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern would be proactively managed for prairie dogs and those species dependent on that habitat. Management actions are the same as Alternative B, except under this alternative locatable mineral entry would be allowed, rightsof-way construction would be avoided and the area of critical environmental concern would allow oil and gas leasing with a controlled surface use stipulation. The Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern would be managed the same as described under Alternative B, except under this alternative, rights-of-way construction would be avoided.

40

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives Crucial winter ranges (see map 24) would be managed the same as described in Alternative A, except under this alternative, off-road vehicle use would be designated as limited.

COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES
Table 9 compares management actions by issue. For additional management actions for Alternatives A, B, C, and D see “Management Common to All Alternatives” sections in this chapter. Table 10 compares the impacts resulting from the management actions described in chapter 2.

41

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 9 COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES Alternative A (No Action) THEME This alternative would continue existing management practices based on existing land use plans. Alternative B This alternative would resolve resource conflicts that occur under existing management by emphasizing protection of resources by minimizing development and use. Alternative C This alternative would resolve resource conflicts that occur under existing management by emphasizing development and use while mitigating impacts caused by surface-disturbing activities. Areas of special concern would be protected. Alternative D (Preferred) This alternative would resolve resource conflicts that occur under existing management by balancing the use of restrictions on development and use with intensive management in areas of special concern.

ISSUE 1: SPECIAL MANAGEMENT DESIGNATIONS Management Actions Affecting Special Management Areas Management Actions Affecting the Big Sheep Mountain (360 public surface and mineral acres), Hoe (144 public surface and mineral acres), Jordan Bison Kill (160 public surface and 120 public mineral acres), Powder River Depot (1,386 public surface and 1,098 public mineral acres), and Seline (80 public surface and mineral acres) cultural sites (total: 2,130 public surface acres and 1,802 public mineral acres). Would not be designated as ACECs. Off-road vehicle use would be open. Designate as ACECs. Same as Alternative B. Same as Alternative B (see map 2). Same as Alternative B.

42

Off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails. Withdraw from locatable mineral entry (discretionary closure). Close to mineral material permits and sales (discretionary closure).

Same as Alternative A.

Allow locatable mineral entry.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow mineral material permits and sales.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow nonenergy leasable mineral development.

Close to nonenergy leasable mineral leasing (discretionary closure). Coal leasing would not be allowed. Close to oil and gas leasing (discretionary closure) and geophysical exploration.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow coal leasing.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Geophysical exploration would not be allowed and oil and gas leasing would be allowed with no surface occupancy on the recreational site within the Powder River Depot site (19 public mineral acres) and the Seline site. The remaining sites would allow geophysical exploration and oil and gas leasing with lease terms.

Same as Alternative A.

Allow oil and gas leasing with a no surface occupancy stipulation and do not allow geophysical exploration.

Livestock grazing would be allowed.

Livestock grazing would be excluded on the Powder River Depot SRMA, located within the Powder River Depot ACEC (171 acres).

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

43
Management Actions Affecting Smoky Butte area (80 acres public surface; 280 acres public mineral and 400 acres public coal only).

Allow rights-of-way construction. Would not be designated an ACEC.

Exclude from rights-of-way construction. Designate as an ACEC.

Avoid from rights-of-way construction. Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative C.

Same as Alternative B.

ORV would be open.

ORV use would be limited.

Same as Alternative A.

ORV use would be closed.

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

Allow locatable mineral entry.

Area would be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry subject to valid existing rights (discretionary closure).

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 9 (continued) COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES Alternative A (No Action) Allow mineral material permits and sales. Alternative B Close to mineral material sales and permits (discretionary closure). Close to nonenergy leasable mineral leasing (discretionary closure). Close to coal leasing. Close to oil and gas leasing (discretionary closure) and geophysical exploration. Exclude livestock grazing. Alternative C Same as Alternative B. Alternative D (Preferred) Same as Alternative B.

Allow nonenergy leasable mineral development.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow coal leasing. Allow oil and gas leasing with lease terms and geophysical exploration. Livestock grazing would be allowed. Allow rights-of-way construction.

Same as Alternative B. Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B. Allow oil and gas leasing with a no surface occupancy stipulation and allow geophysical exploration. Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative A.

44
Management Actions Affecting the Ash Creek Divide (7,931 public surface and 8,172 public mineral acres), Bug Creek (3,840 public surface and mineral acres), Hell Creek (19,169 public surface and 25,902 public mineral acres), and Sand Arroyo (9,056 public surface and 10,799 public mineral acres) paleontological areas (total: 39,996 public surface acres and 48,713 public mineral acres).

Exclude from rights-of-way construction.

Avoid from rights-of-way construction.

Same as Alternative B.

Would not be designated as ACECs.

Designated as ACECs.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Off-road vehicle would be open.

Off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow locatable mineral entry.

Withdraw from locatable mineral entry (discretionary closure). Close to mineral material permits and sales (discretionary closure). Close to nonenergy leasable mineral leasing (discretionary closure). Close to coal leasing.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow mineral material permits and sales. Allow nonenergy leasable mineral development.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow coal leasing.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow oil and gas leasing and geophysical exploration.

Close to oil and gas leasing (discretionary closure) and geophysical exploration.

Same as Alternative A.

Allow oil and gas leasing with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Geophysical exploration would not be allowed. Same as Alternative A.

Allow rights-of-way construction.

Exclude rights-of-way construction.

Avoid rights-of-way construction.

45
Management Actions Affecting the Calypso Recreation Area (69 public surface acres; no public minerals). No SRMA designation and area would not be managed intensively for recreation. Designate as a SRMA. Recreation facilities would include boat ramps, picnic tables, campgrounds, potable water, and recreation vehicle access. Exclude from livestock grazing. Same as Alternative B. Same as Alternative B (see map 14). Allow livestock grazing. Same as Alternative A. Same as Alternative B. Off-road vehicle use would be open. Allow rights-of-way construction. Off-road vehicle use would be limited. Exclude from rights-of-way construction. Same as Alternative A. Same as Alternative B. Avoid from rights-of-way construction. Same as Alternative C.

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 9 (continued) COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES Alternative A (No Action) Management Actions Affecting the Cherry Creek Recreation Area (2,858 public surface acres; 2,217 public mineral acres). No SRMA designation, land would not be acquired, the dam would not be constructed and area would not be intensively managed for recreation. Alternative B Designate as a SRMA and allow construction of a dam with a 50foot pool depth, and acquire 843 acres into public ownership. Recreation facilities would include boat ramps, picnic tables, campgrounds, potable water, and recreation vehicle access. Exclude livestock grazing. Alternative C Same as Alternative B except construct a dam with a 40-foot pool depth (see map 15). Alternative D (Preferred) Same as Alternative B.

Allow livestock grazing.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Off-road vehicle use would be open. Allow locatable mineral entry.

Off-road vehicle use would be limited. Withdraw from locatable mineral entry (discretionary closure). No coal leasing allowed.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

46
Allow coal leasing. Allow mineral material permits and sales. Allow nonenergy leasable mineral development. Allow oil and gas leasing and geophysical exploration. Allow rights-of-way construction.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Close to mineral material permits and sales (discretionary closure). Close to nonenergy leasable mineral leasing (discretionary closure). Close oil and gas leasing (discretionary closure) and geophysical exploration. Exclude rights-of-way construction.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow oil and gas leasing with no surface occupancy stipulation. Close geophysical exploration. Avoid rights-of-way construction.

Same as Alternative C

Same as Alternative C.

Management Actions Affecting the Makoshika State Park Recreation Area.

(3,924 public surface and 6,628 public mineral acres). Would not be disposed to MDFW&P through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act of 1926, as amended. No SRMA designation.

(3,924 public surface and 6,628 public mineral acres). Cooperative agreement with MDFW&P.

(3,924 public surface and 6,628 public mineral acres). Dispose to MDFW&P through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act.

(2,700 public surface and 6,628 public mineral acres). Same as Alternative C (see map 17).

Designate as a SRMA. Recreational facilities could include picnic tables, trails for day hiking, sightseeing, and wildlife viewing. Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative A.

Allow livestock grazing.

Cancel BLM-administered livestock grazing. Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative C.

Off-road vehicle use would be open.

Off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails. Withdraw from locatable mineral entry (discretionary closure). Close nonenergy leasable minerals (discretionary closure). Exclude rights-of-way construction. Designate a SRMA. Recreation facilities would include boat ramps, picnic tables, campgrounds, potable water and recreational vehicle access. Exclude livestock grazing.

Same as Alternative B.

47
Allow locatable mineral entry. Allow nonenergy leasable mineral development. Allow rights-of-way construction. Management Actions Affecting the Lewis and Clark Trail Recreation Area (total: 14,000 public surface and 24,000 public mineral acres). No SRMA designation and the area would not be intensively managed for recreation. Allow livestock grazing.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Avoid rights-of-way construction. Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative C.

Same as Alternative B.

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative A.

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 9 (continued) COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES Alternative A (No Action) Off-road vehicle use would be open. Alternative B Off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails. Exclude rights-of-way construction. Alternative C Same as Alternative A. Alternative D (Preferred) Same as Alternative B.

Allow rights-of-way construction.

Avoid rights-of-way construction.

Same as Alternative C.

Allow locatable mineral entry.

Withdraw from locatable mineral entry (discretionary closure). Coal leasing would not be allowed. Close to mineral material permits and sales (discretionary closure). Close to nonenergy mineral leasing (discretionary closure). Close to oil and gas leasing (discretionary closure) and geophysical exploration.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative A.

Allow coal leasing.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow mineral material permits and sales. Allow nonenergy leasable mineral development. Allow oil and gas leasing and geophysical exploration.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

48
Management Actions Affecting the Powder River Depot Recreation Area (171 public surface acres; 19 public mineral acres).

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative A.

Oil and gas leasing would be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Geophysical exploration would be allowed.

No SRMA designation, and area would not be intensively managed for recreation.

Designate as a SRMA. Recreation facilities would include boat ramps, picnic tables, campgrounds, potable water, and recreation vehicle access. Exclude livestock grazing. Withdraw from locatable mineral entry (discretionary closure).

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow livestock grazing. Allow locatable mineral entry.

Same as Alternative A. Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B. Same as Alternative B.

Allow coal leasing.

Coal leasing would not be allowed. Close to mineral material permits and sales (discretionary closure). Close to nonenergy leasable mineral leasing (discretionary closure). Close to oil and gas leasing (discretionary closure) and geophysical exploration. Off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails. Exclude rights-of-way construction. Exclude livestock grazing December 1 through March 31.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow mineral material permits and sales. Allow nonenergy leasable mineral development.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow oil and gas leasing with no surface occupancy and close to geophysical exploration. Off-road vehicle use would be open.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow rights-of-way construction. Management Actions Affecting Crucial Winter Range (636,265 public surface acres; 700,979 public mineral acres). Allow livestock grazing.

Avoid rights-of-way construction. Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative C.

49

Same as Alternative A (see map 23).

Oil and gas development would be allowed with a timing restriction from December 1 through March 31. Geophysical exploration would not be allowed during that period. Off-road vehicle use would be open. Allow rights-of-way construction.

Close to oil and gas leasing and geophysical exploration.

Allow oil and gas leasing with lease terms. Geophysical exploration would be allowed.

Same as Alternative A.

Off-road vehicle would be limited. Rights-of-way construction would not be allowed December 1 through March 31.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative A.

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 9 (continued) COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES Alternative A (No Action) Management Actions Affecting the Black-footed Ferret Area (1,151 public surface acres; 124,090 public oil and gas acres; 1,151 other public mineral acres). Alternative B (1,151 public surface acres; 62,035 public oil and gas acres; 1,151 other public mineral acres). Alternative C (1,151 public surface acres; 62,035 public oil and gas acres; 1,151 other public mineral acres). Alternative D (Preferred) (11,166 public surface acres; 62,003 public oil and gas acres; 11,166 other public mineral acres). Designate 11,166 acres of public surface an ACEC (see map 23). Same as Alternative C.

No ACEC designation.

Designate 1,151 acres of public surface an ACEC. Exclude rights-of-way construction. Off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails. Withdraw from locatable mineral entry (discretionary closure). Close to mineral material sales (discretionary closure). Close to nonenergy leasable mineral leasing (discretionary closure). Coal leasing would not be allowed. Close to oil and gas leasing (discretionary closure) and geophysical exploration.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow rights-of-way construction. Off-road vehicle use would be open.

Avoid rights-of-way construction. Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow locatable mineral entry.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative A.

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Allow mineral material sales.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow nonenergy leasable mineral development.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow coal leasing.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow oil and gas leasing with controlled surface use (5,687 public mineral acres) and close to geophysical exploration on those 5,687 acres).

Allow geophysical exploration and oil and gas leasing with lease terms.

Same as Alternative A (5,164 public mineral acres).

There would be no black-footed ferret core area. Prairie dog colonies would be managed for prairie dogs and associated species subject to the Miles City District Black-tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan.

Prairie dog colonies would be allowed to expand on public lands within a black-footed ferret core area (10,015 acres). The remaining prairie dog colonies would be managed subject to the Miles City District Black-tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan.

Same as Alternative B.

Prairie dog colonies would be allowed to expand on public lands within the black-footed ferret area of critical environmental concern (11,166 acres). The remaining prairie dog colonies would be managed subject to the Miles City District Black-tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan. Same as Alternative B (see map 26).

Management Actions Affecting the Piping Plover Site (16 public surface acres; 16 public mineral acres).

No ACEC designation.

Designate as an ACEC.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow livestock grazing. Off-road vehicle use would be open.

Exclude livestock grazing. Off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails. Withdraw from locatable mineral entry (discretionary closure). Close to mineral material sales (discretionary closure). Close to nonenergy leasable mineral leasing (discretionary closure). Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B. Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B. Same as Alternative B.

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Allow locatable mineral entry. Allow mineral material sales. Allow nonenergy leasable mineral development. Allow oil and gas development with no surface occupancy and close geophysical exploration. Allow rights-of-way construction.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

Allow oil and gas leasing with lease terms. Allow geophysical exploration. Avoid rights-of-way construction.

Same as Alternative A.

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

Exclude rights-of-way construction.

Same as Alternative C

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 9 (continued) COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES Alternative A (No Action) ISSUE 2: RESOURCE ACCESSIBILITY AND AVAILABILITY Management Actions Affecting Resource Accessibility and Availability Sales and Acquisitions Landownership Adjustments Public land would not be transferred to Fallon County for a sanitary landfill (see map 5). Landownership Adjustments Ownership of 160 acres (T. 6 N., R. 60 E., sec. 14) would be transferred by sale to Fallon County for a sanitary landfill in accordance with standard operating procedures (see map 5). Landownership Adjustments Ownership of 640 acres (T. 6 N., R. 60 E., sec. 14) of public land would be transferred through exchange with Fallon County for a sanitary landfill in accordance with standard operating procedures (see map 5). Same as Alternative B. Landownership Adjustments Ownership of 640 acres (T. 6 N., R. 60 E., sec. 14) of public land would be transferred through sale to Fallon County for a sanitary landfill in accordance with standard operating procedures (see map 5). Same as Alternative B (see map 16). Alternative B Alternative C Alternative D (Preferred)

52
No lands would be acquired into public ownership on the Cherry Creek drainage. Public ownership of 640 acres (T. 13 N., R. 51 E., sec. 32) would be acquired for the Cherry Creek SRMA. Land would also be acquired or a conservation easement would be purchased in T. 12 N., R. 51 E., sec. 12 (203 acres). A cooperative agreement would be developed between MDFW&P and the BLM for managing Makoshika State Park SRMA. Recreation and Public Purposes Transfer Public land within Makoshika State Park would not be disposed through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act to MDFW&P. A total of 3,924 acres of public land would be disposed through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act to MDFW&P for Makoshika State Park. A total of 2,700 acres of public land would be disposed through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act to MDFW&P for Makoshika State Park (see map 17).

Rights-of-Way

Systems and Communication Sites Rights-of-way construction for transportation/utility systems and communication sites would be authorized in accordance with standard operating procedures.

Systems and Communication Sites Rights-of-way construction for transportation/utility systems and communication sites would be excluded in the following areas. The remainder of the planning area would authorize rights-ofway in accordance with standard operating procedures. ACRES Hell Creek ACEC 19,169 Bug Creek ACEC 3,840 Sand Arroyo ACEC 9,056 Ash Creek Divide ACEC 7,931 Smoky Butte ACEC 80 Hoe ACEC 144 Big Sheep Mountain ACEC 360 Seline ACEC 80 Jordan Bison Kill ACEC 160 Powder River Depot ACEC 1,386 Powder River Depot SRMA 171 Cherry Creek SRMA 2,858 Calypso SRMA 69 Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA 14,000 Makoshika State Park SRMA 3,924 Crucial winter range from December 1 through March 31 636,265 Black-footed Ferret ACEC 1,151 Piping Plover ACEC 16 Overlap acres (6,424) TOTAL 694,236

Systems and Communication Sites Rights-of-way construction for transportation/utility systems and communication sites would be avoided in the following areas. If management determines that there is no feasible alternative route, restrictions would be developed to ensure that the rights-of-way are compatible with the objective for the appropriate resource. The remainder of the planning area would authorize rights-of-way in accordance with standard operating procedures. ACRES Piping Plover ACEC 16 Black-footed Ferret ACEC 1,151 Hell Creek ACEC 19,169 Bug Creek ACEC 3,840 Sand Arroyo ACEC 9,056 Ash Creek Divide ACEC 7,931 Smoky Butte ACEC 80 Hoe ACEC 144 Big Sheep Mountain ACEC 360 Seline ACEC 80 Jordan Bison Kill ACEC 160 Powder River Depot ACEC 1,386 Powder River Depot SRMA 171 Makoshika State Park 3,924 Cherry Creek SRMA 2,858 Calypso SRMA 69 Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA 14,000 Overlap acres (171) TOTAL 64,224

Systems and Communication Sites Rights-of-way construction for transportation/utility systems and communication sites would be avoided or excluded as noted below for the following areas. The remainder of the planning area would authorize rights-ofway in accordance with standard operating procedures. ACRES Avoided: Hoe ACEC 144 Big Sheep Mountain ACEC 360 Seline ACEC 80 Jordan Bison Kill ACEC 160 Powder River Depot ACEC 1,386 Powder River Depot SRMA 171 Makoshika State Park 2,700 Cherry Creek SRMA 2,858 Calypso SRMA 69 Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA 14,000 Black-footed Ferret ACEC 11,166 Piping Plover ACEC 16 Excluded: Smoky Butte ACEC 80 Overlap acres (171) TOTAL 33,019

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CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 9 (continued) COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES Alternative A (No Action) Off-road Vehicle Designations Off-road vehicle use would be designated on public lands as listed below. ACRES Open Limited Closed Management Actions Affecting Livestock Grazing Accessibility and Availability Exclusion Livestock grazing use would not be excluded in the planning area. The following areas would exclude livestock grazing use. This would require 266 miles of fence. Cherry Creek SRMA 2,858 acres, 482 AUMs, 6 miles offence. Powder River Depot SRMA 171 acres, 65 AUMs, 3 miles of fence. Calypso SRMA 69 acres, 11 AUMs, 1 mile of fence. Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA 14,000 acres, 2,900 AUMs, 200 miles of fence. Smoky Butte ACEC 80 acres, 11 AUMs, 1 1/2 miles of fence. Piping Plover ACEC 16 acres, 5 AUMs, 1/2 mile of fence. Crucial winter range from December 1 through March 31, 636,265 acres, 8,880 AUMs, 75 miles of fence. Overlap (575 AUMs, 21 miles of fence) Livestock grazing use on the Piping Plover ACEC, 16 acres, 5 AUMs, would be excluded. This would require 1/2 mile of fence. The following areas would exclude livestock grazing use. This would require 10.5 miles of fence. Cherry Creek SRMA 2,858 acres, 482 AUMs, 6 miles of fence. Powder River Depot SRMA 171 acres, 65 AUMs, 3 miles of fence. Calypso SRMA 69 acres, 11 AUMs, 1 mile of fence. Piping Plover ACEC from May 1 through July 15, 16 acres, 5 AUMs, 1/2 mile of fence. 1,620,590 -0-0Open Limited Closed Alternative B Off-road vehicle use would be designated on public lands as listed below. ACRES 0 1,620,350 80 Open Limited Closed Alternative C Off-road vehicle use would be designated on public lands as listed below. ACRES 1,616,666 -0-0Open Limited Closed Alternative D (Preferred) Off-road vehicle use would be designated on public lands as listed below. ACRES 2,320 1,614,770 160

54

Cancellation

BLM-administered livestock grazing would be canceled as follows: AUMs Coal development 640 to 830 ACRES 3,400 to 4,400

BLM-administered livestock grazing would be canceled as follows: AUMs Fallon County sanitary landfill ACRES

BLM-administered livestock grazing would be canceled as follows: AUMs Makoshika State Park 304 Fallon County sanitary landfill 145 Coal 640 development to 830 and acquired from the following: Fallon County 145 ACRES

BLM-administered livestock grazing would be canceled as follows: AUMs Fallon County sanitary landfill 145 Makoshika State Park (MDFW&P) 150 Coal 640 development to 830 ACRES

36

160

3,924 640 3,400 to 4,400

640

2,700 3,400 to 4,400

640

55

Management Actions Affecting Coal Accessibility and Availability

A total of 354,641 acres of public coal containing 6.97 billion tons with high or moderate development potential would be acceptable for further consideration through a lease or exchange pending application of the surface-owner consultation screen in accordance with the standard operating procedures (see “Coal” in Minerals appendix and maps 6A,B,C,D).

No coal development through a lease or an exchange would be acceptable for further consideration under this alternative.

A total of 583,771 acres of public coal containing 6.22 billion tons with high or moderate development potential would be acceptable for further consideration through a lease or exchange pending application of the surface-owner consultation screen in accordance with the standard operating procedures (see “Coal” in Minerals appendix).

A total of 580,547 acres of public coal containing 6.18 billion tons with high or moderate development potential would be acceptable for further consideration through a lease or exchange pending application of the surface-owner consultation screen in accordance with the standard operating procedures (see “Coal” in Minerals appendix and maps 7A,B,C,D).

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 9 (continued) COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES Alternative A (No Action) Management Actions Affecting Locatable Minerals Accessibility and Availability There would be no new withdrawals from locatable mineral entry. Alternative B The following would be new withdrawals (discretionary closure) from locatable mineral entry. MINERAL ACRES Hoe ACEC 144 Seline ACEC 80 Jordan Bison Kill ACEC 120 Big Sheep Mountain ACEC 360 Cherry Creek SRMA 2,217 Makoshika State Park SRMA 6,628 Powder River Depot SRMA 19 Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA 24,000 Powder River Depot ACEC 1,098 Smoky Butte ACEC (subject to valid existing rights) 280 Hell Creek ACEC 25,902 Bug Creek ACEC 3,840 Sand Arroyo Divide ACEC 10,799 Ash Creek Divide ACEC 8,172 Piping Plover ACEC 16 Black-footed Ferret ACEC 1,151 Overlap acres (19) TOTAL 84,807 Alternative C The following would be new withdrawals (discretionary closure) from locatable mineral entry. MINERAL ACRES Piping Plover ACEC 16 Black-Footed Ferret ACEC 1,151 Smoky Butte ACEC (subject to valid existing rights) 280 Makoshika State Park 6,628 TOTAL 8,075 Alternative D (Preferred) The following would be new withdrawals (discretionary closure) from locatable mineral entry. MINERAL ACRES Hoe ACEC 144 Seline ACEC 80 Jordan Bison Kill ACEC 120 Big Sheep Mountain ACEC 360 Powder River Depot ACEC 1,098 Smoky Butte ACEC (subject to valid existing rights) 280 Powder River Depot SRMA 19 Cherry Creek SRMA 2,217 Makoshika State Park 6,628 Hell Creek ACEC 25,902 Bug Creek ACEC 3,840 Sand Arroyo ACEC 10,799 Ash Creek Divide ACEC 8,172 Piping Plover ACEC 16 Overlap acres (19) TOTAL 59,656

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Management Actions Affecting Mineral Materials Accessibility and Availability

Mineral material permits and sales would be allowed.

Mineral material permits and sales would not be allowed (discretionary closure) on the following areas. MINERAL ACRES Hoe ACEC 144 Seline ACEC 80 Big Sheep Mountain ACEC 360 Jordan Bison Kill ACEC 120 Powder River Depot ACEC 1,098 Smoky Butte ACEC 280 Powder River Depot SRMA 19 Cherry Creek SRMA 2,217 Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA 24,000 Hell Creek ACEC 25,902 Bug Creek ACEC 3,840 Sand Arroyo ACEC 10,799 Ash Creek Divide ACEC 8,172 Piping Plover ACEC 16 Black-footed Ferret ACEC 1,151 Fallon County sanitary landfill 160 Overlap acres (19) TOTAL 78,339

Mineral material permits and sales would not be allowed (discretionary closure) on the following areas. MINERAL ACRES Piping Plover ACEC Black-footed Ferret ACEC Smoky Butte ACEC Fallon County sanitary landfill TOTAL 16 1,151 280 640 2,087

Mineral material permits and sales would not be allowed (discretionary closure) on the following areas. MINERAL ACRES Hoe ACEC Seline ACEC Big Sheep Mountain ACEC Jordan Bison Kill ACEC Powder River Depot ACEC Smoky Butte ACEC Powder River Depot SRMA Cherry Creek SRMA Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA Hell Creek ACEC Bug Creek ACEC Sand Arroyo ACEC Ash Creek Divide ACEC Black-footed Ferret ACEC Piping Plover ACEC Fallon County sanitary landfill Overlap acres TOTAL 144 80 360 120 1,098 280 19 2,217 24,000 25,902 3,840 10,799 8,172 11,166 16 640 (19) 88,834

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CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 9 (continued) COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES Alternative A (No Action) Management Actions Affecting Nonenergy Leasable Minerals Accessibility and Availability Leasing of nonenergy leasable minerals would be allowed. Alternative B Close leasing of nonenergy leasable minerals (discretionary closure) in the following areas: MINERAL ACRES Powder River Depot ACEC 1,098 Hoe ACEC 144 Seline ACEC 80 Big Sheep Mountain ACEC 360 Jordan Bison Kill ACEC 120 Smoky Butte ACEC 280 Hell Creek ACEC 25,902 Bug Creek ACEC 3,840 Ash Creek Divide ACEC 8,172 Sand Arroyo ACEC 10,799 Piping Plover ACEC 16 Black-footed Ferret ACEC 1,151 Powder River Depot SRMA 19 Cherry Creek SRMA 2,217 Makoshika State Park SRMA 6,628 Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA 24,000 Overlap acres (19) TOTAL 84,807 Alternative C Close leasing of nonenergy leasable minerals (discretionary closure) in the following areas: MINERAL ACRES Piping Plover ACEC Black-footed Ferret ACEC Makoshika State Park TOTAL 16 1,151 6,628 7,795 Alternative D (Preferred) Close leasing of nonenergy leasable minerals (discretionary closure) in the following areas: MINERAL ACRES Powder River Depot ACEC Hoe ACEC Seline ACEC Big Sheep Mountain ACEC Jordan Bison Kill ACEC Smoky Butte ACEC Hell Creek ACEC Bug Creek ACEC Sand Arroyo ACEC Ash Creek Divide ACEC Powder River Depot SRMA Cherry Creek SRMA Makoshika State Park Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA Piping Plover ACEC Black-footed Ferret ACEC Overlap acres TOTAL

1,098 144 80 360 120 280 25,902 3,840 10,799 8,172 19 2,217 6,628 24,000 16 11,166 (19) 94,822

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Management Actions Affecting Oil and Gas Accessibility and Availability Timing Restrictions Oil and gas development and geophysical exploration would not be allowed on crucial winter ranges from December 1 through March 31. MINERAL ACRES Crucial winter ranges 700,979 No areas in addition to management common would be stipulated with a timing restriction. Same as Alternative B. Same as Alternative A.

Controlled Surface Use

Oil and gas leasing and development would be allowed with controlled surface use. MINERAL ACRES

No areas in addition to management common would be stipulated controlled surface use.

Same as Alternative B.

Oil and gas leasing and development would be allowed with controlled surface use. MINERAL ACRES Geophysical exploration would not be authorized: Black-footed Ferret ACEC 5,164 Geophysical exploration would be authorized: Steep slopes 719,102 Total 724,266

59
Geophysical exploration would not be authorized: Black-footed ferret area 5,687 Geophysical exploration would be authorized: Steep slopes 719,102 Total 724,789

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 9 (continued) COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES Alternative A (No Action) No Surface Occupancy Oil and gas leasing and development would be authorized with no surface occupancy. Alternative B Oil and gas leasing and development would be authorized with a no surface occupancy stipulation and geophysical exploration would not be allowed in the following areas. MINERAL ACRES Fallon County sanitary landfill Piping Plover ACEC TOTAL Alternative C Oil and gas leasing and development would be authorized with a no surface occupancy stipulation, and geophysical exploration would not be allowed in the following areas. MINERAL ACRES Cherry Creek SRMA Powder River Depot SRMA Seline ACEC TOTAL 2,217 19 80 2,316 Alternative D (Preferred) Oil and gas leasing and development would be authorized with a no surface occupancy stipulation.

MINERAL ACRES Geophysical exploration would not be authorized: Powder River Depot recreation site 19 Seline site 80 Piping plover site 16 Geophysical exploration would be authorized: Riparian/wetlands 5,350 TOTAL 5,465

MINERAL ACRES Geophysical exploration would not be authorized: Powder River Depot SRMA 19 Cherry Creek SRMA 2,217 Powder River Depot ACEC 1,098 Hoe ACEC 144 Big Sheep Mountain ACEC 360 Seline ACEC 80 Hell Creek ACEC 25,902 Bug Creek ACEC 3,840 Sand Arroyo ACEC 10,799 Ash Creek Divide ACEC 8,172 Fallon County sanitary landfill 640 Jordan Bison Kill ACEC 120 Piping Plover ACEC 16 Geophysical exploration would be authorized: Riparian/wetlands 5,350 Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA 24,000 Smoky Butte ACEC 280 Overlap acres (5,369) TOTAL 77,668

160 16 176

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Areas Closed

No areas in addition to management common would be closed to oil and gas leasing or geophysical exploration.

The following areas would be new closures (discretionary) to oil and gas leasing and geophysical exploration. MINERAL ACRES Hoe ACEC 144 Big Sheep Mountain ACEC 360 Seline ACEC 80 Jordan Bison Kill ACEC 120 Powder River Depot ACEC 1,098 Powder River Depot SRMA 19 Cherry Creek SRMA 2,217 Hell Creek ACEC 25,902 Bug Creek ACEC 3,840 Sand Arroyo ACEC 10,799 Ash Creek Divide ACEC 8,172 Crucial winter range 700,979 Steep slopes 719,102 Riparian/wetlands 5,350 Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA 24,000 Smoky Butte ACEC 280 Black-footed Ferret ACEC, potential black-footed ferret habitat and potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret 62,035 Overlap acres (297,942) TOTAL 1,266,555

Same as Alternative A

Same as Alternative A

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CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 9 (concluded) COMPARISON OF ALTERNATIVES Alternative A (No Action) Lease Terms The following areas would be open to oil and gas leasing subject to lease terms and standard lease stipulations. MINERAL ACRES Cherry Creek recreation area 2,217 Powder River Depot cultural site (excluding recreation portion within site area) 1,079 Lewis and Clark Trail 24,000 Hoe cultural site 144 Big Sheep Mountain cultural site 360 Jordan Bison Kill cultural site 120 Potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret 118,403 Smoky Butte Area 280 Hell Creek paleontology area 25,902 Bug Creek paleontology area 3,840 Sand Arroyo paleontology area 10,799 Ash Creek Divide paleontology area 8,172 TOTAL 195,316 Alternative B None of these areas would be open to oil and gas leasing subject to lease terms. Alternative C The following areas would be open to oil and gas leasing subject to lease terms. Alternative D (Preferred) The following areas would be open to oil and gas leasing subject to lease terms.

MINERAL ACRES Powder River Depot ACEC (excluding SRMA portion) 1,079 Hoe ACEC 144 Big Sheep Mountain ACEC 360 Jordan Bison Kill ACEC 120 Piping Plover ACEC 16 Black-footed Ferret ACEC, potential black-footed ferret habitat and potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret 62,035 Crucial winter range 700,979 Steep slopes 719,102 Riparian/wetlands 5,350 Lewis and Clark Trail SRMA 24,000 Smoky Butte ACEC 280 Hell Creek ACEC 25,902 Bug Creek ACEC 3,840 Sand Arroyo ACEC 10,799 Ash Creek Divide ACEC 8,172 Fallon County sanitary landfill 640 Overlap acres (297,942) TOTAL 1,264,876

MINERAL ACRES Potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret TOTAL

56,839 56,839

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TABLE 10 COMPARISON SUMMARY OF IMPACTS Alternative A (No Action) AIR QUALITY Impacts to air quality would be short term and localized under this alternative. Surface disturbance from construction activities and fire suppression would cause temporary short-term increases of dust particulates. Gas line breakages, and flaring from oil and gas production would cause temporary short-term air pollution from odor and fumes. Alternative B The impacts would be the same as Alternative A, except there would be no impacts to air quality under Alternative B from coal mining or development. Alternative C Same as Alternative A. Alternative D (Preferred) Same as Alternative A.

CULTURAL RESOURCES

Impacts to cultural resources would be minimal as cultural class III surveys would identify the majority of significant sites. Surface-disturbing activities and land tenure adjustment could encounter 910 cultural sites. Approximately 90 to 129 of these sites could be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

The impacts to cultural resources would be similar to those in Alternative A except under this alternative there would be no impacts on the 2,130 acres of cultural ACECs, or from coal development and there could be 3 to 4 eligible sites affected by construction of the Cherry Creek Dam. Potential impacts from offroad vehicle use would be less than Alternative A as 1,620,350 acres would be limited. A total of 1,422 to 1,424 cultural sites could be encountered under this alternative with a potential of 141 to 201 of these sites eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Same as Alternative A, except under this alternative the excluding of livestock grazing and concentrating people in the SRMAs could create a potential for wildfires in these areas.

Impacts on cultural resources would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative there would be a potential for impacts in the construction of the Cherry Creek Dam and SRMA. A total of 2,057 to 2,059 cultural sites could be encountered under this alternative with a potential of 204 to 291 of these sites eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Same as Alternative B, except a total of 2,092 cultural sites could be encountered in this alternative with a potential of 208 to 296 of these sites eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Open off-road vehicle use on 2,320 acres could encounter 23 sites with a potential of 2 to 3 of these sites being eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

63
FIRE MANAGEMENT

Intensive and conditional fire suppression designations would increase efficiency of extinguishing fires with minimal suppression costs and losses. Prescribed fire would reduce fire hazard by reducing fuel accumulation.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative A, except under this alternative the excluding of livestock grazing and concentrating people in the Calypso, Cherry Creek and Powder River SRMAs could create a potential for wildfires in these areas.

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 10 (continued) COMPARISON SUMMARY OF IMPACTS Alternative A (No Action) FORESTRY Management actions under this alternative would not adversely affect the forestry resources. Limber pine would be protected. Public landownership pattern would be adjusted due to exchanges or acquisitions. Alternative B Same as Alternative A. Alternative C Same as Alternative A. Alternative D (Preferred) Same as Alternative A.

LANDS

Public land acreage would decrease by 160 acres because of the public sale to Fallon County. Exchanges and acquisitions would cause an adjustment in the public land ownership pattern. Rights-of-way development would be excluded on 693,594 acres, a significant impact, requiring rerouting.

The recreation and public purposes sale of 3,924 acres to MDFW&P would decrease the public land acreage.

Public land acreage would decrease 640 acres because of the public sale to Fallon County, and the recreation and public purposes disposal of 3,924 acres to MDFW&P. Rights-of-way development would be avoided on 32,939 acres. This would be less of an impact than exclusion, as the rights-of-way could be constructed if no feasible alternative route existed. There would be increased costs to operators on those areas where rights-of-way were avoided. The 80 acres excluded from rights-of-way development would not be a significant impact. Same as Alternative C, except under this alternative 858 animal unit months of livestock forage would be affected (10 grazing permittees).

There would be no impacts to rights-of-way development in Alternative A.

Rights-of-way development would be avoided on 63,073 acres. This would be less of an impact than exclusion, as the rights-of-way could be constructed if no feasible alternative route existed. There would be increased costs to operators on those areas where rights-of-way were avoided.

64
LIVESTOCK GRAZING MANAGEMENT Riparian/wetland vegetation and forage would improve. Visual resource management I designation on 83,240 acres would limit the opportunities to develop water or fences. Impacts would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative 11,815 animal unit months would be affected. This would increase costs and cause management changes for 102 grazing permittees in the planning area.

Same as Alternative A, except under this alternative 309 animal unit months would be affected (five grazing permittees).

MINERALS Coal

A total of 354,641 acres of federal coal with an estimated 6.97 billion tons of coal would be available for further consideration.

Federal coal (847,379 acres) with an estimated 9.16 billion tons of high and moderate coal would be unavailable for coal development. This would result in lost revenues to the public.

The application of 20 unsuitability criteria has removed 263,608 acres with 2.94 billion tons of coal from further consideration (see the “Coal” section in the Minerals appendix). A total of 583,771 acres of federal coal with an estimated 6.23 billion tons of coal would be available for further consideration. A total of 8,075 acres would not be available for mineral entry.

The application of 20 unsuitability criteria has removed 266,805 acres with 2.99 billion tons of coal from further consideration (see the “Coal” section in the Minerals appendix). A total of 580,547 acres of federal coal with an estimated 6.18 billion tons of coal would be available for further consideration. A total of 59,656 acres would not be available for mineral entry.

Locatable Minerals

There would be no impacts to locatable mineral development in Alternative A. During coal development, scoria would be buried or moved, eliminating the scoria from future use.

A total of 84,807 acres would not be available for mineral entry.

Mineral Materials

Mineral materials (78,339 acres) would be closed to extraction. This would result in a potential loss of income from mineral material sales. This would be a minimal impact as mineral materials are readily available in most of the planning area. During coal development scoria would be buried eliminating the scoria from future use. A total of 84,807 acres would be closed to nonenergy leasable mineral leasing. The likelihood of development would be minimal. There would be no impacts.

Mineral materials (2,087 acres) would be closed to extraction. This would result in a potential loss of income from mineral material sales. This would be a minimal impact as mineral materials are readily available in most of the planning area.

Same as Alternative C, except under this alternative 88,834 acres would be closed to mineral material extraction.

65
Nonenergy Leasable Minerals There would be no impacts to nonenergy leasable mineral development in Alternative A. Oil and Gas Three oil and gas wells would not be drilled in the next 20 years. PALEONTOLOGY Surface disturbance would have minimal impact on paleontological resources.

A total of 7,795 acres would be closed to nonenergy leasable mineral leasing. The likelihood of development would be minimal. There would be no impacts.

A total of 94,822 acres would be closed to nonenergy leasable mineral leasing. The likelihood of development would be minimal. There would be no impacts.

A total of 174 oil and gas wells would not be drilled in the next 20 years. Same as Alternative A, except under this alternative paleontological resources would be protected and enhanced on 39,996 acres of paleontological ACECs.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative A.

Same as Alternative B.

Same as Alternative B.

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 10 (continued) COMPARISON SUMMARY OF IMPACTS Alternative A (No Action) RECREATION Land exchanges and access acquisitions would improve recreational opportunities. Opportunities to improve recreation would be lost by not developing SRMAs. Visual resources would be minimally impacted by surface-disturbing activities and open off-road vehicle use on 1,620,590 acres. Off-road vehicle enthusiasts would benefit from the open offroad vehicle use designation. Alternative B Land exchanges and access acquisitions would improve recreational opportunities. The developed SRMAs would significantly enhance recreation use and management and satisfy some of the local, regional and national demand for additional facilities. Hunters would benefit from excluding leasing of oil and gas development and livestock grazing in the crucial winter range. The sanitary landfill would distract recreational use on adjacent lands. A limited off-road vehicle use designation on 1,620,350 acres and closure on 80 acres would enhance visual resources by the elimination of new trails, but would restrict offroad vehicle enthusiasts. Alternative C Land exchanges and access acquisitions would improve recreational opportunities. The developed SRMAs would significantly enhance recreation use and management. The sanitary landfill would distract recreational use on adjacent lands. Visual resources would be minimally impacted by coal development and open off-road vehicle use on 1,616,666 acres. Off-road vehicle enthusiasts would benefit from the open offroad vehicle use designation. Alternative D (Preferred) Land exchanges and access acquisitions would improve recreational opportunities. The SRMAs would ensure high quality, intensive recreational use. The sanitary landfill would distract recreational use on adjacent lands. Visual resources would be minimally impacted by coal development and open offroad vehicle use on 2,320 acres. Off-road vehicle enthusiasts would benefit from the open offroad vehicle use designation. The 1,614,770 acres limited to offroad vehicle use would restrict off-road vehicle enthusiasts.

66
SOCIOECONOMICS Economics Economic impacts would result in little change from the existing situation and would not significantly affect the economy in the future.

Impacts on economic activity would be less than 1 percent. Employment opportunities would decrease by a total of approximately 90 jobs. Jobs related to the livestock industry would decrease by 17, jobs related to the oil and gas industry would decrease by 136 and jobs related to recreation would increase by 63. The jobs lost would have a higher income than the jobs created. Decreased oil and gas development and exploration would decrease local economic activity.

Impacts on economic activity would be less than 1 percent. Employment opportunities would increase by a total of approximately 32 jobs. Jobs related to the livestock industry would decrease by 1 and jobs related to recreation would increase by 33. Jobs in the oil and gas industry would not change.

Impacts on economic activity would be less than 1 percent. Employment opportunities would increase by a total of approximately 33 jobs. Jobs related to the livestock industry would decrease by 1 and jobs related to recreation would increase by 34. Jobs in the oil and gas industry would not change.

A long-term net decrease in local business activity (recreation increases would not offset the livestock grazing and oil and gas decreases). Sociology Impacts to social well-being would be: Livestock grazing would not be affected, which would enhance the social well-being of the operators and people involved with agricultural production. Opportunities for off-road vehicle enthusiasts would not be limited. Decline in the condition of wildlife habitat would diminish the social well-being of people interested in resource protection. Impacts to social well-being include: Developed recreation opportunities. Enhanced resource protection. Increased employment related to recreation. A short-term increase in employment in construction of and for local business due to the Cherry Creek SRMA. Reduced opportunities for offroad vehicle enthusiasts Reduction of livestock animal unit months for 102 operators which could reduce the standard of living of the operators and people involved with agricultural production. Impacts to social well-being include: Developed recreation opportunities. Enhanced resource protection. Increased employment related to recreation. A short-term increase in employment in construction of and for local business due to the Cherry Creek SRMA. Decline in the condition of wildlife habitat would impact the social well- being of people interested in resource protection. Reduction of animal unit months for 5 livestock operators would reduce their standard of living and social well- being. People concerned about new recreational development, limiting off-road vehicle use, and protection of wildlife, would be disappointed. Impacts to social well-being include: Developed recreation opportunities. Enhanced resource protection. Increased employment related to recreation. A short-term increase in employment in construction of and for local business due to the Cherry Creek SRMA. Reduced opportunities for offroad vehicle enthusiasts. Reduction of animal unit months for 10 operators would reduce their standard of living and social well-being.

67
People concerned about new recreational opportunities, limiting off-road vehicle use, protection of wildlife, and enhancing local economic development would be disappointed.

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

TABLE 10 (concluded) COMPARISON SUMMARY OF IMPACTS Alternative A (No Action) SOIL AND WATER Impacts to soil and water would vary. Surface-disturbing activities would cause minimal impacts to soil and water resources by increased soil erosion and sedimentation. Riparian/wetland management and livestock grazing systems would enhance the watershed, decreasing soil erosion, and enhancing water quality. Off-road vehicle use causes soil erosion which may impact water quality. Vegetation would improve over the next 20 years. Surface disturbance would cause shortterm adverse impacts, but vegetation would increase in the long term. Coal mining would be the most significant impact voiding 340 acres of vegetation at any given time. Riparian/wetland management and implementation of grazing systems would enhance vegetation. Alternative B Impacts to soil and water would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative there would be no impacts from coal mining, or off-road vehicle use, and there would be conflicts with upstream water users in Cherry Creek. Alternative C Impacts to soil and water would be the same as Alternative A. Alternative D (Preferred) Impacts to soil and water would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative, impacts from off-road vehicle use would be lessened from a limited designation on 1,614,770 acres.

VEGETATION

Impacts to vegetation would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative there would be no impacts from coal mining, off-road vehicle impacts would be reduced, and prairie dogs would continue to remove 40 to 90 percent of the vegetation in prairie dog colonies.

Impacts from the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern would be the same as Alternative B. The remaining impacts to vegetation would be the same as Alternative A.

Impacts to vegetation would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative off-road vehicle impacts would be reduced, and prairie dogs would continue to remove 40 to 90 percent of the vegetation in prairie dog colonies.

68

WILDLIFE

Wildlife habitat would decline in some areas and improve in others. In areas not under intensive livestock management practices, early spring grazing and overutilization of wildlife forage would adversely affect habitat and wildlife. Allotment management plan implementation, riparian/wetland management, and managing browse utilization would increase cover and wildlife forage. Managing surface disturbance in and around nesting areas and crucial winter ranges during the winter would enhance survival of the species dependent upon those habitats. Black-footed ferret reintroduction would not be allowed, impacting the continuation of this species.

Impacts to wildlife would be positive in this alternative. Big game would not be harassed from oil and gas activities in crucial winter range. Positive benefits to wildlife would occur in riparian/wetland areas and nesting habitat. Designation and management of the Black-footed Ferret and Piping Plover ACECs would enhance the survival and existence of these threatened and endangered species.

The impacts would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative the Piping Plover and Black-footed Ferret ACECs would be enhanced.

The impacts would be the same as Alternative B, except under this alternative the Black-footed Ferret ACEC would be enlarged, resulting in a greater potential for reintroduction of the black-footed ferret, as well as a positive benefit to prairie dogs and associated species.

69 CHAPTER 2 Alternatives

CHAPTER 3 Affected Environment

CHAPTER 3 Cultural Resources

INTRODUCTION
This chapter contains a description of the natural resources, economic and social conditions found in the planning area. More detailed information about the affected environment is contained in the Management Situation Analysis (USDI, BLM 1990a), a preliminary report prepared earlier in the planning process. The Management Situation Analysis is available for public review at the Big Dry Resource Area office.

CULTURAL RESOURCES
Less than 1 percent of the entire planning area has been surveyed for cultural resources and 6.6 percent of federal surface and split estate lands have been surveyed for cultural resources. More than 975 cultural resource surveys and tests have been conducted in response to proposals in the range, lands and minerals programs. About 112,415 acres of federal surface have been surveyed at the Class III level, which resulted in the recording of 1,134 cultural resource sites. There are 650 cultural resource sites on federal surface and 484 sites are located on split estate lands. Based on archaeological investigations and BLM’s “Prehistoric Cultural Resource Overview of Southeast Montana” (Deaver and Deaver 1988), it is estimated that the average site density for the planning area is approximately 1 site per 100 acres, 6 sites per section, or 10 sites per 1,000 acres. Through consultation with the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, 38 cultural properties (26 on federal surface and 12 on split estate) have been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places; and 160 properties have been determined ineligible (59 federal surface and 101 split estate). The National Register of Historic Places eligibility status for the remaining 936 properties is undetermined or not available.

AIR QUALITY
The public land in the planning area has a Class II air quality rating. The Fort Peck and Fort Belknap Indian reservations, the U L Bend Wilderness Area in Montana, and the Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park in North Dakota are rated as Class I. Air quality is excellent in the planning area because of the sparse population and limited industrial activity. Particulate concentrations are highest during spring and summer due to farming operations and high winds. The lowest concentration is measured during the winter, when the ground is frozen and there are no activities on the land. A planning and management process, for prevention of significant deterioration of air quality, was introduced in the 1977 Clean Air Act amendments. This process sets limits for increases in ambient pollution levels and establishes a system for reviewing proposed pollution sources. This system has three classes: Class I is designed for areas where little deterioration to air quality would be allowed. Class II allows for moderate, well-controlled growth; and Class III allows pollutant levels to increase the most. Potential pollution sources on or near public lands are: asphalt plants (particulates) coal mine at Savage (particulates) gravel crushers (particulates) agricultural activities (particulates) wind erosion (particulates) automobiles (carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, entrained particulates) oil and gas operations (hydrogen sulfide gas, sulfur dioxide gas from venting and flaring activities, dust particulates from surface-disturbing activities) prescribed fire (particulates)

-

Cultural resources represent human occupation throughout two broad overlapping periods: prehistoric and historic. Prehistoric period cultural resource sites in the planning area are classified into four functional types: habitation or occupation, procurement, industrial and ritual.

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CHAPTER 3 Cultural Resources Habitation or occupation sites contain features and materials which show everyday domestic activities (manufacture of tools, clothing and ornaments; the preparation of food and medicine; and securing shelter and warmth). These sites include lithic scatters, fire hearths, stone circles, cairns or rock piles, rock shelters, sometimes in combination. There are 842 habitation or occupation sites recorded in the planning area (535 sites on federal surface, with 24 considered eligible to the National Register of Historic Places; and 307 sites on nonfederal surface, with 12 considered eligible to the National Register of Historic Places). Several sites may have ritual or ceremonial significance. These sites include rock art (petroglyphs and pictographs), burials, medicine wheels, intaglios, cairns, rock or wooden structures (used as shaman or vision quests). Rock art sites that include petroglyphs or pictographs, could be considered important for their stylistic or artistic qualities. Three sites have been identified (one rock art site and one medicine wheel site on federal surface, and one burial site on nonfederal surface). These sites have the potential to be traditional cultural properties and may be of special concern to Native American tribes. One sensitive area was identified as a result of an American Indian Religious Freedom Act background study conducted in 1986 for BLM (Deaver 1986). This area was identified as sensitive to the Assiniboine tribe of the Fort Peck Reservation. The area is important for medicinal herbs and roots. This area does not include any federal surface but does include federal mineral estate. The transition of the prehistoric period into the historic period was marked by the acquisition of the horse by Native Americans around 1720, and by increased contact between Native Americans and Euro-Americans (late 1700s). The historic period began with explorers and fur trade expeditions including Lewis and Clark (Moulton 1991). Late in the historic period, homesteading brought settlers into the area by the thousands. By the end of World War I, severe drought began and agricultural prices fell drastically. By 1925, one out of every two homesteader had lost or abandoned a farm. Many of these homesteads reverted to the federal government through provisions of the BankheadJones Farm Tenant Act and other acts that authorized the government to buy and rehabilitate homestead lands for grazing use. These lands are now public lands. Historic cultural resource properties are those considered at least 50 years old. There have been 225 historic period sites recorded in the planning area (74 federal surface and 151 split estate). Of these, the Powder River Depot and the Buffalo Rapids Irrigation project have been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The predominate type of historic site is from the homestead era. The distribution of most historic sites on federal land in the planning area, coincides primarily with the BankheadJones lands. Homestead sites consist mainly of foundations, depressions, artifact scatters, farmsteads, townsites, railroad sidings, rural schools, and churches from 1910 to 1925.

TABLE 11 HABITATION OR OCCUPATION SITES ON FEDERAL AND NONFEDERAL LANDS
Federal Nonfederal Surface Surface Total Lithic scatters Lithic debris, hearths and other material Stone piles Stone rings Stone rings, lithics and/or cairns Earthen mounds Rock shelters Total 369 63 12 38 52 0 1 535 218 13 15 21 36 2 2 307 587 76 27 59 88 2 3 842

Procurement sites consist of game drive lines, animal kills and processing locations. These sites contain features representing specific subsistence activities (hunting of bison, deer or antelope and the gathering of wild plants). Buffalo jumps, traps and impoundments with associated cairn alignments and processing areas are the most common types of procurement sites. These sites are characterized by large deposits of bone at the base of bluffs, cliffs, or in steep coulees. There are 20 procurement sites known to exist in the planning area (eight kill and three alignment sites on federal surface, and nine kill sites on nonfederal surface). Of these procurement sites, the Hoe site has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The remaining procurement sites are considered eligible. Industrial sites are made up of lithic material quarries that consist of scatters of stone debris, hammer stones, rough or damaged tools and chunks of fine-grained stone and quartzite. Nine industrial sites have been recorded in the planning area (six federal surface and three nonfederal surface). None are considered eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

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CHAPTER 3 Cultural Resources TABLE 12 HISTORIC SITES ON FEDERAL AND NONFEDERAL LANDS Federal Surface Homestead remains 42 Stage trails 0 Ferry landings 1 Supply depots and military 2 Coal mines 4 Oil and gas 0 Towns 2 Buildings 0 Schools 0 Railroads 0 Graffiti 5 Rock piles 2 Graves and cemeteries 1 Bridges 0 Hearths 0 Irrigation projects 2 Civilian Conservation Corps Camps 1 Trash scatters 12 Total 74 Nonfederal Surface 104 2 0 1 3 1 0 1 2 1 6 8 4 2 1 0 0 15 151 The Seline site (80 public surface and public mineral acres) represents the trap method of bison kill sites. This site is significant because of the middle prehistoric period remains. The trap method is more common than the jump method of bison procurement. Bison were herded up a draw to the point where the draw narrowed or came to a steep end, and the bison were killed using spears or arrows. The trap method served to slow and concentrate the bison, making them easier prey for the Native Americans. This site yields two preserved bone beds with projectile points and butchering tools. This site is considered eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. prehistoric period. The outstanding feature of this site is three bison scapulas (shoulder blades) used as gardening hoes. Several fragments of pottery, a bone awl, stone tools and flakes, and fire-cracked rock show a farming and nonnomadic lifestyle. This is typical of the tribes in the middle Missouri River region in North and South Dakota. They lived in permanent villages and tended gardens. Sites of this type are usually not found in Montana because of the short growing season. This site represents the most western findings of possible agriculture practices of the middle Missouri tradition. This site has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Jordan Bison Kill Site
This site (160 public surface acres and 120 public mineral acres) is a significant Late Prehistoric bison jump. Bison jump kill sites are rare within the planning area. A sandstone cliff forms the main part of the kill site, and a nearby campsite is associated with the jump. The campsite was used at least twice, based on carbon-dating results. This site is considered eligible to the National Register of Historic Places.

Seline Site
In addition to the above site types, 35 historic and 35 prehistoric sites have been recorded (22 federal surface and 13 nonfederal surface). These sites consist of prehistoric lithic scatter and occupation sites mixed with historic homestead remains, graffiti and trash scatters. None have been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The following five prehistoric and historic sites warrant special protection and recognition.

Big Sheep Mountain Site
This site (360 public surface and public mineral acres) is located near Big Sheep Mountain. This property is considered significant for its range of cultural periods dating back to some 10,000 years. This site was used repeatedly, and the buried material would provide important information about time sequences and changes in use. The site contains projectile points, fire hearths, bone and tooth fragments, and stone tools and rock chips. This site is considered eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Powder River Depot Site
The Powder River Depot (1,386 public surface acres and 1,098 public mineral acres) reflects the military campaigns in 1876. As General Alfred Terry’s column moved westward from Fort Abraham Lincoln (now central North Dakota), supply depots were established along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. One of these is the Powder River Depot. Most of Terry’s command, including George A. Custer, rested and then proceeded west to the Little Bighorn. Left behind at the depot were three infantry companies, the 7th Cavalry band, personnel lacking proper equipment or suitable mounts, some civilian personnel, and the wagons used in the march from Fort Lincoln. As many as 73

Hoe Site
The projectile points and pottery fragments found on the Hoe site (144 public surface and public mineral acres) show the area was used by Native Americans during the late

CHAPTER 3 Cultural Resources 3,000 soldiers camped at the depot during the peak of the occupation. This property is considered significant for its association with the Indian War period of 1876. Following its use as a supply depot for General Terry’s and Custer’s commands, before heading to the Battle of Little Big Horn, this site remained as the main supply depot for the armies that pursued the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes throughout the remainder of the summer of 1876. The site contains a wealth of archeological information on the camp and the everyday life of the soldiers. The Powder River Depot site has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Nearby is Sheridan Butte that was used for sending messages with special mirrors, called heliographs. Etched in sandstone on this butte are the names of two soldiers who spent some time at the Powder River Depot. Public lands in this area also contain a Lewis and Clark campsite. The location is on the north side of the Yellowstone River near the confluence with the Powder River. This is a site where Clark camped and he referred to the Powder River as the “red stone river” (Moulton 1991).

FIRE MANAGEMENT
Climate and vegetative conditions are the primary factors contributing to wildfires. Timbered breaks and shrub-grass prairie produce ample amounts of fuels. Most of the large fires caused by lightning storms occur in the Missouri River and Musselshell Breaks areas.Large fires usually are associated with years of drought conditions that consist of below-normal precipitation and above-normal temperatures. In addition, moderate to strong winds provide ideal conditions for wildfires. In the planning area about 26 wildfires occur per year, burning 9,058 acres. Less than seven percent of the wildfires are man-caused and the remainder are caused by lightning. From mid-June through August, wildfires spread faster, burn hotter, and are more difficult to control. Aggressive initial attack by fire suppression forces, combined with lack of fuel, has restricted most fires to fewer than 40 acres. Less than 10 percent of wildfires exceed 240 acres. Fire suppression efforts the past 20 years have reduced burned acreage, but have created a fuel buildup in some areas. Examination of fire-scarred ponderosa pine shows that large intense fires historically occur every 50 to 100 years. It also is believed that less intense fires occur as often as every 10 to 15 years, with an average complete burned-over cycle of 25 years (USDI, BLM n.d.).

FORESTRY
The planning area has about 185,553 acres of forestland, with none classified as commercial (see maps 4 A,B). The BLM manages forestlands in the planning area for the enhancement of other resources such as wildlife, recreation, and watershed. Public demand for wood products has been about 25 permits for 125 cords of firewood per year, 100 permits for 100 Christmas trees, and 1 permit for 100 posts and poles per year. Wildings are vegetative products sold as live plants. The most common species of trees are ponderosa pine, juniper, and cottonwood. These species have little commercial value but are important when other resource values such as wildlife habitat and recreation are considered. There are about 3,000 acres of limber pine (see map 4B) in the Terry Badlands. Various ecological factors, particularly climate and soils, determine where these different species of trees occur.

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CHAPTER 3 Lands TABLE 13 MAJOR TREE SPECIES IN THE PLANNING AREA Common Name Great plains cottonwood Green ash Limber pine Ponderosa pine Rocky Mountain juniper Scientific Name Populus denttoides Fraxinus pennsylvanica Pinus flexillis Pinus ponderosa Juniperus scopulorum from private ownership under the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937.

Land Use
Rights-of-way are used for various utility and transportation purposes, communication sites, oil and gas pipelines, and water related facilities such as ditches, canals, dikes, wells, and water pipelines. A right-of-way for the Garfield TV Club exists within the Smoky Butte area (T. 18 N., R. 36 E., sec. 12, NW1/4 SW1/4). This right-of-way was issued in 1983 and will expire in 2008. Any land use restrictions in the Smoky Butte area will be subject to valid existing rights. Twelve rights-of way exist on public lands along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. Rights-of-way include highways, railroads, power lines, pipelines and irrigation ditches. Several unauthorized land uses have been identified. Most of these unauthorized use cases are small, agricultural trespasses that are fewer than 10 acres in size. Three occupancy trespass cases exist and are in the process of being resolved. One case involves a mobile home whose owner is unknown; one case involves an abandoned oil refinery on public land; and one case involves a barn used in an active ranch operation. A recreation and public purposes lease was issued to Prairie County in 1976 for the Terry Badlands Scenic Overlook. An easement has been issued to Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for a fishing access site near the Fallon Bridge. Twelve withdrawals exist in the planning area. These public lands were withdrawn from specific uses including locatable mineral entry. The acreage and status of these withdrawals are shown in the Lands appendix. The Bureau of Reclamation withdrawals under review are mandated by the process described in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, Section 204(L). Five temporary land use permits have been issued: three for agricultural purposes, one occupancy permit, and a land use permit to Prairie County for a shooting range.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
Hazardous materials are used with a variety of authorized activities. Mining, oil and gas activity, military facilities, power line and pipeline rights-of-way, weed and insect control, and prairie dog control are a few examples. Transporting hazardous materials into or through the planning area occurs by truck and rail traffic. Major routes used by trucks are Interstate 94, U.S. Highway 2, and Montana State Highways 12, 22 and 200. There is one site on public land suspected to be contaminated with hazardous materials. This site is the abandoned Mosby refinery in the northwestern portion of the planning area. A Class III landfill is authorized by a highway rightof-way east of Jordan, Montana, at Flowing Wells. This was authorized prior to BLM’s policy of not allowing landfills on public land.

LANDS
Public landownership pattern in the planning area is highly fragmented. Access to the majority of the 1.7 million acres of BLM-administered lands is difficult limiting their public use. Access is often controlled by landowners whose private land surround the public land. Approximately 120 miles of road including two-track roads are under the BLM’s jurisdiction (USDI, BLM 1987e). Approximately 10 miles of road are maintained annually. This ownership pattern also affects BLM’s ability to manage the public lands in accordance with the multiple-use mandate (see maps 31A,B,C,D). Consolidated public lands lie within Garfield, McCone, Fallon, and Prairie counties. The majority of public lands within Prairie and Fallon counties are lands reacquired

LIVESTOCK GRAZING MANAGEMENT
On the basis of a 1973 court decision (Natural Resource Defense Council et. al. versus Rogers C.B. Morton et. al.), 75

CHAPTER 3 Livestock BLM was ordered to prepare site-specific environmental impact statements for livestock grazing activities on BLMadministered lands. The Missouri Breaks Grazing Environmental Statement (USDI, BLM 1979a) encompasses 537,000 acres in the planning area. The Big Dry Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Allocation (USDI, BLM 1982b) addresses grazing on the remainder of the planning area. The Prairie Potholes Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Allocation (USDI, BLM 1981c) covers 3,700 acres in Daniels, Sheridan and Roosevelt counties. The ecological condition of each grazing allotment is shown in table 52 of the Livestock Grazing Management appendix. Current authorized livestock use is presented in table 53 in the Livestock Grazing Management appendix. Currently, 353,160 animal unit months are available for livestock use on the public lands within this planning area. Studies (USDI, BLM 1979a, 1982b) and the Vegetation appendix discuss how approximately 86 percent of the vegetation is in good to excellent condition, and that the authorized stocking rates are consistent with the vegetation resource. Authorized livestock use has not changed significantly since the above documents were issued; however, changes in livestock grazing management have improved resource values and benefitted livestock production. The planning area contains; 977 allotments. There are 486 allotments (50 percent) with 640 or fewer acres of public land per allotment, including 340 allotments (35 percent) containing 320 or fewer acres of public land per allotment. Twenty-nine allotments graze both sheep and cattle, 18 allotments graze only sheep, and 930 allotments graze cattle. The combination of cattle and sheep varies with market conditions. Permits and leases that allow horses have been identified in table 53 in the Livestock Grazing Management appendix. One allotment is permitted to graze bison, There are about 240 ranches within the crucial winter ranges. Usually the ranching operations are cow and calf. The calves are sold at weaning time, with most of the yearlings on public land being replacement heifers. Approximately one-half of the ranches have cow herds ranging in size from 151 to 375; one-fourth to one-third of the ranches average 150 cows. The remaining ranches have cow herds totaling more than 376 cows (USDI, BLM 1982b). Allotments are divided into three major categories: “M” maintain, “I” improve, and “C” custodial. (See the Livestock Grazing Management appendix for information on allotment categorization.) Allotments in this planning area are: 498 in“M” category, 71 in the “I” category, and 408. the in the “C” category as shown in table 53 of the Livestock

Grazing Management appendix. Criteria for allotment categorization is taken from BLM Manual 1622. Allotments proposed for allotment management plans and activity plans are discussed in the Livestock Grazing Management appendix.

MINERALS
Minerals in the planning area include leasable energy minerals (oil, gas, and coal), mineral materials (sand, gravel, and scoria), and locatable minerals (primarily bentonite). Nonenergy leasable minerals (potash and sodium) are also present. Industry has not shown an interest in producing potash or sodium because of insufficient quantities.

GEOLOGY
The bedrock underlying the subject lands is composed of sedimentary geologic units ranging in age from Late Cretaceous to Paleocene, which overlie older rocks ranging in age from Precambrian to Cretaceous (see table 14). During the Late Cretaceous Period, eastern Montana was flooded by a large shallow sea.The shoreline moved back and forth several times leaving alternating beds of marine and continental deposits. Upper Cretaceous units underlying these lands include the Bearpaw Shale, the Fox Hills Sandstone, and the Hell Creek Formation. The Bear-paw Shale consists primarily of massive gray to black marine shale, and shaley claystone containing local thin beds of siltstone, silty sandstone, and bentonite. The Fox Hills Sandstone consists of lower and upper predominantly fine to medium-grained sandstone units separated by a thin shale bed. The Hell Creek Forma-

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CHAPTER 3 Minerals - Geology TABLE 14 GENERALIZED STRATIGRAPHIC COLUMN FOR THE PLANNING AREA
Age Mya1 0 Formations Western ALLUVIUM Eastern ALLUVIUM Typical Fossils

Era

Period

Epoch RECENT

C E N O Z O I C C E N O Z O I C 64 TERTIARY PALEOCENE 60 UNION FM
2

QUATERNARY

PLEISTOCENE 4

RIVER GRAVELS

RIVER GRAVELS

MAMMOTH PETRIFIED WOOD

TERTIARY

PLIOCENE

FLAXVILLE FORMATION

8

56 FORT

TONGUE RIVER MEMBER FORT LEBO MEMBER TULLOCK MEMBER UNION FM
2

TONGUE RIVER MEMBER

PETRIFIED WOOD

LUDLOW MEMBER

SNAILS CLAMS MAMMALS

HELL CREEK FORMATION 68

HELL CREEK FORMATION

DINOSAURS

FOX HILLS SANDSTONE 72 BEARPAW SHALE M E S O Z O I C TELEGRAPH CREEEK FM2 84 COLORADO GROUP 88 80 EAGLE SANDSTONE CRETACEOUS UPPER CLAGGETT SHALE 76 JUDITH RIVER FORMATION

FOX HILLS SANDSTONE

PIERRE SHALE

BACULITES DINOSAURS CLAMS BACULITES

CLAMS

92
1 2

mya = million years ago FM = formation

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CHAPTER 3 Minerals - Geology tion is composed of sorted medium-grained sandstone in the lower part of the unit and soft claystone, shale, siltstone, fine to medium grained sandstone, and thin coal beds in the upper part. The continental deposits of the Hell Creek Formation are world-famous for fossil remains of Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops (see “Paleontology” in this chapter). The Paleocene Fort Union Formation is composed of the Tullock, Lebo Shale, and Tongue River Members in ascending order. Interbedded shale, siltstone, sandstone, and thin coal beds of the lower Tullock Member grade upward into silty or sandy shale and local sandstone. The Lebo Shale Member is mostly dark shale containing interbeds of siltstone and thin coal beds. The Tongue River Member is composed of alternating sandstone, siltstone, shale, and thick, extensive coal beds. During the Late Cretaceous and early Tertiary periods, a great amount of volcanic activity occurred in western and central Montana. Many clouds of volcanic ash and dust settled in the planning area. As this ash weathered, it eventually became bentonite (or bentoniferous clay) which is common throughout the area. Outcrops of clinker (locally called red shale or scoria) also are common. Clinker deposits, composed of the residue from burned coal beds and baked and fused overlying layers, occur throughout the coal-bearing formations. Alluvium of Quaternary Age and terrace deposits of Quaternary and Tertiary Age are composed of interbedded clay, silt, sand, and gravel, and make up the youngest geologic units in the area. Terraces occur mainly near valley sides and uplands along the Yellowstone River. Alluvium is thickest along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers and their major tributaries, but is present along many smaller streams. Glacial drift of Wisconsin age, principally consisting of ground earth and stone, and outwash deposits, occurs in the northern part of the planning area. The ground moraine consists of a compact mixture of clay, silt, sand, pebbles, cobbles, and boulders. Outwash deposits resulting from receding glacial ice are present in channels that have eroded into the moraine (Slagle 1984). Glaciers of the Wisconsin stage of the Pleistocene epoch, within the last million years of geologic time, covered the northern half of the planning area. The glaciers covered everything north of the Missouri River and extended as far south as Intake on the Yellowstone River. The major drainages south of the Missouri River flow north. These drainages were blocked or dammed by the glacier. This created three large lakes along the drainages; Lake Glendive, Lake Jordan, and Lake Musselshell. Each of these would have been several times larger than the present Fort Peck Reservoir.

COAL
Coal beds of economic interest in this area are in the Tongue River Member of the Fort Union Formation (Paleocene Age, about 60 million years old). The Fort Union Formation covers the eastern two-thirds of the planning area. The formation is alternating layers of sandstone, siltstone, claystone, and lignite coal. The Fort Union Formation is located mainly in the Williston basin. The southern edge is bounded by the Miles City arch which separates the Williston basin from the Powder River basin farther south. The Cedar Creek anticline is a prominent structural feature as it enters the southeast corner of the planning area, passes near Baker south of Glendive, and stops 15 miles northwest of Glendive. Erosion on the Cedar Creek anticline has cut through the Tongue River Member to the formations underneath. As a result, the area of the anticline is a strip 4 to 10 miles wide and 80 miles long where the coal beds have no economic potential. The coal beds of the Fort Union Formation range in thickness from thin films to a reported 40 feet. Generally, only beds at least 5 feet thick are considered of economic interest. Fort Union coal is ranked as lignite and has a heating value range from 5,000 to 7,500 British thermal units per pound. Eastern Montana coal typically has high moisture, and low ash and sulfur content (see table 55 in “Coal” section of the Minerals appendix). Coal resources in the planning area total 19.276 billion tons (of which 47.5 percent or 9.164 billion tons is federal). (See table 56 in the “Coal” section of the Minerals appendix.) The method for identifying coal with development potential is discussed in the “Coal” section in the Minerals appendix. The acquisition of new data would refine or allow for additional areas identified with coal development potential. The Knife River Coal Company holds the only federal coal lease in the planning area. The lease is for 440 acres at Savage, about 24 miles southwest of Sidney. The mine produced 283,173 tons of lignite in 1991. The coal is mined for use in the power plant at Sidney. It is the only operating coal mine in the planning area. At present the Fort Union Coal Region is decertified. In a decertified (deactivated) federal coal region, interest in coal leasing has decreased to the point that the Regional Coal Team and the BLM Director agree that regional planning of coal leasing is no longer necessary. Coal is subject to individual tract analysis and lease-by-application rules (43 CFR 3420.1, BLM Manual H-3420-1). Any party desiring a coal lease can apply, and the application would be consid-

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CHAPTER 3 Minerals - Oil and Gas beds with an average grade of about 0.01 percent uranium have been found between Wibaux and Baker, Montana (Jarrard 1957). There are two uranium claims on an unnamed coal bed in the Hansen coal bed zone near Wibaux. Testing by the Atomic Energy Commission in the 1950s (Denson and Gill 1965) showed that extraction of the uranium was not possible. Gold placer mining from the gravels of the Yellowstone River as far downstream as Miles City (Ronning 1991) occurred in the 1930s; there is no record of the quantity. Gold mining is recreational in the planning area, as is agate hunting in the gravels of the Yellowstone River.
Knife River Coal Mine, Savage.

MINERAL
ered on its own merits. The coal planning process is described in the “Coal” section of the Minerals appendix.

MATERIALS

LOCATABLE

MINERALS

Locatable minerals include uranium, gold, agates and bentonite. Bentonite is exposed extensively, but there is little

data that can specifically give us precise quantity and grade to accurately evaluate resource potential. Bentonite is the most likely to have development potential, but industry

interest has been little to none. Locatable mineral claims and occurrences are shown on maps 9A,B,C,D. Bentonite is the major locatable mineral in the planning area. Bentonite clay is common in the Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation and Bearpaw Shale that underlies the coal bearing Fort Union Formation. It is exposed along the Missouri River as far downstream as Brockton on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, and along the center of the Cedar Creek anticline from Baker to Glendive. There are five mining claims for bentonite; one is near Vananda, Montana, and four are south of Mosby.
Mining claims have been staked on Smoky butte from 1938
to the present. A shaft has been dug into a small vein, but it

Scoria, sand and gravel are the major mineral materials found in the planning area (see maps 10 A,B,C,D). Most of the deposits are privately owned. Scoria deposits are the result of the baking of overlying rock by burning coal beds. Scoria is associated with most lignite coal occurrences. Sand and gravel are found in alluvial, terrace, and glacial deposits. Alluvium is thickest along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers and their tributaries, but also along many smaller streams. Terraces are mainly near valley sides and uplands along the Yellowstone River. Glacial deposits cover the northern part of the planning area. Streams at the front of retreating glaciers concentrated sand and gravel in outwash channels.

OIL AND GAS
The planning area has the largest number of oil and gas fields (more than 170) in the state. These fields produced 15.1 million barrels of oil in 1989, which was 70 percent of Montana’s total oil production for 1989 of 21 million barrels. Federal oil and gas lands total 2,333,489 acres in the planning area, with 531,168.364 acres leased as of April 1991. Of the producing fields reported at the end of 1988, only two were gas fields: Cedar Creek on the Cedar Creek anticline, and Charlie Creek North in the Williston basin. Several geologic features (Cedar Creek, Cat Creek, and Redwater anticlines) dominate oil and gas production (see map 8). Structures include Ekalaka, Sheep Mountain, Opheim, and Blood Creek synclines. Three major fault zones are in the areaof the Vandalia, Weldon, and BrocktonFroid faults. Major domes include the Porcupine and Poplar domes. The Miles City arch forms most of the southwest edge of the planning area, The Williston basin is the only large basin in this area. Oil and gas production is concen-

has not been recorded as produced. There is low potential anticipated for locatable minerals such as gold, chromium,
titanium, zeolite, and associated minerals such as copper,

lead, and zinc. The similarity between Smoky Butte

intrusives and diamond-bearing deposits found elsewhere
in the world suggests that there is a potential for diamonds.

Uranium exists in some coal beds as a combination of metal and organic compounds. In general, the coal beds of the planning area are barren of uranium. However, thin coal

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CHAPTER 3 Minerals - Oil and Gas trated in the Cedar Creek anticline and the Williston basin. Gas was discovered on the Cedar Creek anticline in 1920, and oil in 1936. This anticline is in the southwestern limit of the Williston basin and trends northwest-southeast. Oil was discovered in the Williston basin in 1951. The opener for production in Montana was the Richey field about 55 miles northwest of Glendive. Areas classified as high oil and gas development potential consist of 237,014 public mineral acres. The remainder of the planning area (2,096,475 acres) is classified as moderate development potential. The high development potential classification is based on: (1) a sedimentary package of Paleozoic and Cretaceous rocks more than 5,000 feet thick, and several formations within the package that are productive in this area or elsewhere in the state, and (2) a geologic setting with potential for structural and stratigraphic traps. The moderate occurrence classification is based on: (1) a sedimentary package believed to contain source beds of marine shales or fossiliferous carbonates, and (2) a geologic setting with potential for structural and stratigraphic traps. TABLE 15 FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF HIGH AND MODERATE DEVELOPMENT POTENTIAL OIL AND GAS Percent High Areas Cedar Creek anticline Williston basin Cow Creek/Richey Mosby dome Sumatra Moderate Areas Planning Area sissippian/Devonian Bakken, the Devonian Nisku, Duperow, and Winnipegosis, the Ordovician Gunton, and Red River Formations. These multiple zones give the Williston basin high potential despite the depth of most of these formations. Many fields include combination traps (small structural closures with lithologic variations) that control the location of oil in the structure. During the 16 years before 1988, 90 townships with high potential in the Williston basin were tested. About 14 wells (most with spacing of 160 acres) were drilled in each township; many were wildcats. Another high potential area is the Cow Creek/Richey field in McCone County. Over the last 16 years, six townships have been tested. The drilling targets are shallower than those in the Williston basin; well spacing averages 40 acres. The last two areas of high oil and gas potential are in Garfield and Rosebud counties. Mosby dome is on the Cat Creek anticline and is a location for development drilling. Twelve wells have been drilled in the last 16 years. The second area is the east end of the Sumatra anticline. Production is primarily from the Pennsylvanian Tyler sands. Fluvial beds that fill channels were eroded into Mississippian-age marine shales and limestones resulting in oil traps that can be abruptly discontinuous. Smaller tributary channels are the current targets for drilling. There have been 218 wells drilled in the area and spacing is 40 acres. The remaining land in the planning area is identified as having moderate oil and gas potential. The area is subject to shallow wildcat drilling and spacing is usually 40 or 160 acres.

17 2 8 71 14 17 17

The producing townships along the trend of the Cedar Creek anticline have been identified as having high oil and gas development potential. Primary drilling targets along the anticline are the Cretaceous Eagle Gas Sands, and the Mississippian Madison, Silurian, and Ordovician Red River Formations. In this area, 29 townships were tested in the last 16 years with an average of 13 wells per township. Most wells drilled here are oil tests and development wells for established fields, with well spacing commonly 80 to 160 acres (see figures 13 and 14 in the Minerals appendix). The largest area of high oil and gas potential is the portion of the Williston basin extending into the planning area. Oil fields in the Williston basin are predominantly in Richland, Roosevelt, and Sheridan Counties. The following Formations are productive: the Mississippian Madison, the Mis-

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CHAPTER 3 Recreation

PALEONTOLOGY
There are three classes of fossils: vertebrate, invertebrate, and plant fossils. Significant fossils are defined as fossils from vertebrate animals and other rare or unusual fossils, or fossils from unusual situations. Vertebrate fossils discovered in formations or sediments with low discovery potential are often considered significant because of the rarity of these types of localities. Invertebrate and plant fossil localities can also be considered significant due to their rarity. Three formations noted for their significant fossil material are the Judith River Formation, the Hell Creek Formation, and the Tullock Member and its equivalent portion of the Ludlow Member of the Fort Union Formation (see maps 12A,B,C,D). The Judith River Formation preserves the remains of ancient environments ranging from shallow ocean to deltas and rivers to freshwater swamps and lakes. In addition to plant remains, many animal species are found in this formation. Mollusks, fish, amphibians, lizards, dinosaurs, other reptiles, and small mammals are represented in the fossil record. The Hell Creek Formation was deposited as low plains interrupted by broad swampy river bottoms and deltas. The fossils show a tropical to subtropical climate and a wide diversity of plants are evident. Mollusks, fish, amphibians, dinosaurs (Triceratops, Anatosaurus, Tyrannosaurus), other reptiles, birds, and small mammals are abundant in the Hell Creek fossil record. An important event in time is represented at the contact of the Hell Creek Formation and the Tullock and Ludlow members of the Fort Union Formation. This contact represents the time of the worldwide extinction of many life forms, most notably the dinosaurs, and the beginning of rapid mammal evolution. The Fort Union Formation has a wide variety of plant fossils that show streamside swamps, bottomlands, and riparian communities along well-established river courses. Channel fillings in the formation contain an abundance of freshwater clams and snails. Most of the significant fossils (turtles, fish, reptiles, and mammals) are found in the Tullock Member, and the equivalent beds in the lower part of the Ludlow Member. There are 2,653,303 acres of geologic formations that may contain significant paleontological resources in the planning area; 560,243 acres (21 percent) are located on public lands.

TABLE 16 GEOLOGIC FORMATIONS CONTAINING SIGNIFICANT PALEONTOLOGICAL RESOURCES
Total Acres Public Acres 8,609 350,068

Geologic Formation

Judith River Formation 220,453 Hell Creek Formation 1,463,193 Tullock Member and its equivalent in the Ludlow Member of the Fort Union Formation 969,657

201,566

The Hell Creek Formation contains the best example of the last period of the Age of Dinosaurs in the United States. The Hell Creek Formation and the Tullock Member exhibit an uninterrupted sequence of the last of the dinosaurs, their extinction, and the beginning of the Age of Mammals. Four specific areas with high concentrations of significant paleontological resources are within the planning area. They are the Hell Creek (19,169 acres), Bug Creek (3,840 acres), Sand Arroyo (9,056 acres), and Ash Creek Divide (7,931 acres) areas. The Hell Creek area includes a portion of the Hell Creek National Natural Landmark (see map 12A). Since collecting began in 1903, the planning area has been important for paleontological research. Rock exposures that produce significant fossils, particularly vertebrate fossils, are of considerable scientific value and interest. Several localities have yielded the only known fossil record for various extinct animals. A total of 940 recorded localities lie within the boundary of the planning area. The Garbani, the Harbicht Hill, and Flat Creek localities are considered significant, which means they have produced important paleontological data and have the potential to produce more.

RECREATION
Traversing the planning area are U.S. Highway 2 and Interstate 94. The residents and tourists can experience a variety of recreational opportunities: fishing, hunting, sightseeing, boating, camping, hiking, picnicking, agate hunting, off-road vehicle use, bird watching, and winter activities such as snowmobiles and cross-country skiing. Other than picnic tables at some of the more popular fishing areas, there are no developed recreation sites on BLMadministered lands. The Montana Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan shows a high participation of recreational activities and cites fishing as the one most in

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CHAPTER 3 Recreation need of additional facilities (State of Montana, MDFW&P 1988). Off-road vehicle use on public lands is any motorized vehicle traveling off the existing roads and trails. This travel is usually associated with hunting and fishing as well as mere pleasure driving. The two areas where off-road vehicle use is popular are south of Makoshika State Park, and next to the Terry Badlands and the Yellowstone River. Many fishery reservoirs offer trout and bass; some reservoirs have northern pike. Winter months provide opportunities for ice fishing. To a limited extent, the public lands have access to the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers where fishermen can catch catfish, walleye, sauger, sturgeon, paddlefish, pike and bass. Deer, elk, antelope, waterfowl, and upland game birds provide hunting opportunities. Most of the Yellowstone River’s shoreline is privately-owned, access is limited, especially for hunting. Legal access is available by the river (streamside access). The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks provides some marked fishing access sites. Calypso and the Powder River Depot areas also provide access. The Calypso area (69 acres) is next to the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area, along the Yellowstone River, west of Terry, Montana. The area is undeveloped, but has potential for a developed recreation area and could provide the local region additional recreational opportunities for developed camping and picnicking, especially for visitors using the Terry Badlands area. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail traverses the planning area along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers
(see pocket maps 31 A,B,C,D). There are approximately 14,000 acres of public lands along these rivers with potential for recreation development including fishing access, camping and picnicking. Public land acres are scattered

along the trail. The Missouri River has no public land parcels close enough to the Lewis and Clark campsites to warrant on-site interpretation. The only known place where Clark camped (on what is now public land in this planning area) is a site on the north side of the Yellowstone River near the confluence with the Powder River. The Calypso Trail is the only other established trail in the planning area. It is a motorized trail bordered on both sides by the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area. The original trail was located mainly to the east and was used as a freight hauling route during construction of the Milwaukee Railroad. The Calypso Trail is used primarily by hunters in the fall and livestock grazing permittees to access rangeland improvements. Other recreation opportunities on the trail include pleasure driving, sightseeing, hiking, and mountain biking.
Smoky Butte (80 acres) is located near Jordan, Montana. It

is a landmark feature that guided early day travelers through

the area. The rocks present at Smoky Butte consist of rare
minerals, including Armalcolite, a mineral found in samples

of rock from the moon (see "Smoky Butte" in the Areas of

Calypso area.

The Cherry Creek area (2,858 acres) is located north of Terry, Montana. The area is undeveloped, but has potential for a developed recreation area if a dam is constructed. The area could provide a fishing reservoir with an overnight campground and day-use facilities.

Smoky Butte.

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CHAPTER 3 Socioeconomics - Sociology grasses on the uplands. The history of the Powder River Depot is discussed in the "Cultural Resources" section of

this chapter.
Some public lands are physically inaccessible due to the lack of roads or trails, others do not have legal accessacross private lands. Due to the scattered land pattern, access to many small parcels of public land frequently is blocked by private land (seepocket maps 31 A,B,C,D). Acquiring legal access is an active BLM program and is accomplished by land exchanges and purchasing easements.

Visual Resources
Visual resources are the visible features in a landscape. The physical features are the landform, water, vegetation, animals, structures, and other man-made or natural features. Visual resource management is the art of managing change in a landscape so the change is in harmony with the physical features of the landscape. Because it is neither desirable nor practical to provide the same level of visual management on public lands across the planning area, an evaluation process is used. The evaluation considers three factors: scenic quality (visual appeal), sensitivity (public concern for scenic quality) and the distance that the landscape is from the observer. Based on these three factors, the public lands are placed into one of four visual resource inventory classes. Classes I and II are the most valued, class III is moderate, and class IV is the least valued.

Powder River Depot.

Critical Environmental Concern appendix). Smoky Butte

has been reported in scientific trade journals and other The visual resources in the planning area were inventoried
"Locatable Minerals" section of the Minerals appendix for

from 1977 to 1982. The 13 counties portray a variety of publications. It is not legally accessible. Mining claims landscape habitats, with most of the land being prairie. have been staked, but no mining has taken place. (See the
a description of the mining process).

Makoshika State Park (8,123 acres) near Glendive, Montana, is managed by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (see map 17). This park contains 3,924 acres of public lands next to its boundaries. Makoshika State Park is characterized by rough breaks and badlands. In 1976, Prairie County was issued a 42-acre lease under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act for the Terry Badlands Scenic Overlook. This area offers an excellent view of the Terry Badlands area and is also identified as a wildlife viewing area. Existing facilities include a outdoor toilet facilities and directional signs. The Powder River Depot (171 acres) is next to the Powder and Yellowstone rivers. This area is popular for fishing access,camping, casual day use such as walking, photography, and wildlife observation. The area supports cottonwoods and willows on the bottomlands with sagebrush and

There also are woody draws, riparian/wetlands, cottonwood river bottoms, badlands and river breaks, all having different visual qualities, character, and natural beauty. These landscapes vary in the ability to absorb change without significant project design.

SOCIOECONOMICS SOCIOLOGY
The planning area encompasses all, or portions of, 13 counties in eastern Montana. The counties analyzed were Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, McCone, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Wibaux and part of Garfield. Parts of Custer, Rosebud, and Carter counties also lie within the planning area, but are not discussed in this analysis because the amount of public land in the planning area in these counties is minimal. Counties with the most BLM-administered surface land are Garfield (493,552 acres), Prairie 83

CHAPTER 3 Socioeconomics - Sociology (447,427 acres), McCone (200,622 acres), and Fallon (120,009 acres). The community of Miles City, located in Custer County south of the planning area, is included in this discussion because it is a major trade and service center for the planning area. equally; living without fear of crime or personal attack; and feeling confident that children get a fair start in life (USDI, BLM 1982d). Information on local social conditions (based on discussions with 100 residents in the planning area [Trent 1991]) showed that most residents felt their lifestyle needs were being met. Those who say their needs are not being met said that lack of cultural activities and tough economic times are the reasons. The most important aspects of their area and community are the outdoors and wide open spaces, good people, small town atmosphere, keeping the community alive, the ability to earn a living, enjoying outdoor recreation, and that the area is a good place to raise children (see Socioeconomics appendix).

Demographics
In 1990, 47,760 people lived in the planning area, a decline of 12 percent from 1980. In Fallon, Garfield, McCone, and Prairie counties, the population declined 16 percent to 8,351 between 1980 and 1990. Miles City had a 1990 population of 8,461, which was 12 percent lower than the 1980 population (see table 59 in the Socioeconomics appendix). The planning area population is expected to continue to decline through the year 2005 due to young people leaving for advanced education, military service, and employment. Other population trends include migration from farm and ranch to town due to retirement, farm or ranch consolidation, and population aging.

Social Trends
The anticipated trends related to recreation are: changes in types of recreation due to the aging population; increasing leisure time; and growth in tourism, vacation and travel. These latter two trends will occur at the state and national level. Trends related to services are: changes in the types of service due to aging populations, and a decreasing tax base to provide these services. In addition, increased concern about environmental effects on the earth will become clearer among the general public, the media, and politicians. Attitudes About Land Management This information reflects discussions with about 100 area residents and interested individuals who represented a variety of viewpoints (Trent 1991). Discussions in March and April of 1991 revealed the respondents’ ideas about land use and preferences for land management by the BLM. Respondents were likely to have multiple interests in public lands including ranching, hunting, concern for community development, and concern for protection of soils and vegetation. These multiple interests gave them a broad perspective on BLM management. Many respondents stated the importance of multiple uses and support for resource protection (see figure 4) while allowing a variety of activities on public lands (see figure 5). Vegetation and soils were identified as the resources most important to protect, with livestock grazing and hunting the most favored activities. Many respondents said that BLM is managing the public lands well. One-half said they saw no problems, and about one-third said they did not think there was a threat to the resources or use of the public lands. Concern about local economic conditions was predominant among the respondents. They were concerned about young people and families leaving the area to seek employment

Social Well-Being
Social well-being indicators present the mix of positive and negative factors associated with rural areas. Positive factors include the area’s remoteness and sparse population that result in freedom from urban problems such as high crime rates and overcrowding. Divorce rates are low compared to state statistics, outdoor recreational opportunities are plentiful, and family ranching operations remain predominant (see Socioeconomics appendix). Negative factors include the lack of some services. The number of physicians per 100,000 population is lower than the ratio for the nation and the state. Education levels are lower than the state level. The proportion of housing lacking some or all plumbing (a housing quality indicator) is higher in several of the counties than for the state. In some counties, average family incomes are much lower than statewide. The percent of families below the poverty level is higher in all counties (except Richland and Dawson) than statewide. Unemployment has been a chronic problem, resulting in a loss of people in the working age group (18 to 64 years). They move out of the area to attend school or find employment (see table 60 in the Socioeconomics appendix). Many qualities of life are called intangibles, because they are difficult to quantify. At a personal level, these qualities are a real part of what makes life pleasurable and worth living. They include a sense of belonging in one’s community; having control over the decisions that affect the future; knowing that one’s government strives to benefit everyone

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CHAPTER 3 Socioeconomics - Sociology elsewhere, declining farm populations, local businesses closing, and lack of funds for public services because of the declining tax base. Most respondents said that BLM does affect their community and economy. In addition, respondents felt BLM should consider economic impacts to local communities when making land use decisions, and should manage lands with high recreational potential more aggressively because communities could benefit economically. Respondents were concerned about the livestock industry. They said livestock grazing was their main interest, as well as the most threatened use on public lands, and they perceive a push from the outside to deemphasize grazing. The importance of livestock grazing is recognized by most area residents, not just those directly associated with ranching. An interest in resource protection was evident during many of the discussions. Respondents said that land use was the second most threatened resource on the public lands. In addition, disturbance to lands from overgrazing and off-road vehicle use was a concern. These respondents, as well as other local and regional individuals and groups, are concerned with resource protection and preserving special resource values such as wildlife habitat and riparian/wetlands. FIGURE 5 FIGURE 4 IMPORTANCE RESOURCE PROTECTION ON BLM LANDS IMPORTANCE OFOF RESOURCEPROTECTION ON BLM LANDS
RESOURCE: Wetlands Vegetation Soils Habitat for Nongame Habitat for T & E Paleo Sites Cultural Sites Riparian Areas Habitat for Game 1 2 3 4 3.6 3.6 3.7 4.1 4.4 5 4 3.8 4.8 4.7

NOT IMPORTANT

VERY IMPORTANT AVERAGE

Number of Respondents = 100 SOURCE: Trent 1991

FIGURE65 FIGURE FAVOR/DISFAVOR ACTIVITIES ON BLM LANDS FAVOR/DISFAVOR ACTIVITIES ON BLM LANDS
ACTIVITY: Oil/Gas Development Coal Development Other Mineral Development Livestock Grazing Hunting Recreation 1 2 3 4 4.1 5 4.3 3.7 3.5 3.5 4.6

STRONGLY DISFAVOR

STRONGLY FAVOR AVERAGE

SOURCE: Trent 1991

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CHAPTER 3 Socioeconomics - Sociology Respondents indicated that outdoor recreation was important. Land use changes observed in the past 10 years include loss of access. Many said that demand for recreation would increase in the future, with at least some of that demand coming from outside the area. Most of the respondents engage in outdoor recreation with the average person participating in 2 to 3 activities with hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping being the most popular. Nearly half the respondents said they have difficulty identifying public lands; ten percent indicated they can sometimes identify public lands. Respondents were given a list of resources and asked to choose items they wished to discuss. Topics that generated the most interest were off-road vehicle use, recreational area management, crucial winter range management, development in high potential oil and gas areas, and blackfooted ferret reintroduction. At least 58 percent discussed each of these resources or uses and the responses varied. In some cases, such as big game crucial winter range, respondents felt current management practices were acceptable. In other cases, such as off-road vehicle use and recreation area management, changes in current management practices were suggested. The responses were fairly uniform about off-road vehicle use and recreation, but divided about the black-footed ferret reintroduction and land transfers. Off-road vehicle use was the most popular topic, with substantial agreement on its management (see figure 6). Sixty-five percent said off-road vehicle use should be limited. Fewer than 20 percent said off-road use should be open. Respondents were asked whether off-road vehicle use should be limited in areas such as paleontological and cultural sites, crucial winter habitat for wildlife, special management recreation areas and the black-footed ferret reintroduction area. In all cases, respondents indicated use should be limited. Strong support was given for recreational development, particularly the Cherry Creek and the Powder River Depot sites (see figure 7). Support for Cherry Creek is due to increased recreational and economic opportunities that could occur if the area were developed. Respondents were divided on whether use of the special management recreational areas should be limited to recreation or whether grazing and other activities should be allowed. Respondents who discussed crucial winter ranges, said they prefer livestock grazing, aerial shooting of predators, oil and gas development, rights-of-way construction and range improvement construction to continue at present levels. Slightly more than one-half said that the BLM should acquire additional crucial winter range through trade or purchase as it becomes available. Ranchers were more likely to favor current management practices. Responses of individuals who discussed oil and gas development in high potential areas were divided. Approximately one-third of the respondents said development should be restricted to protect crucial winter ranges for wildlife; about two-thirds said development should not be restricted. About two-fifths felt oil and gas development in high potential areas should be restricted in riparian habitat and piping plover habitat, with the same number saying it should not be restricted. More than one-half said oil and gas development should be restricted in high potential areas to protect cultural and paleontological resources. Responses of individuals who discussed black-footed ferret reintroduction were divided. More than one-half of the respondents support making land available for black-footed ferret reintroduction. Those who felt land should be made available, said it is important to preserve species and blackfooted ferrets to control prairie dogs. Those who felt land should not be made available indicated a concern about prairie dogs and how they destroy land. If reintroduction should occur, respondents said recreational shooting of prairie dogs should be allowed. Nearly three-fourths felt prairie dog populations should be managed at their present level, limited or reduced. Fewer than one-third said BLM should acquire additional land in the black-footed ferret reintroduction area. Respondents discussing the Fallon County sanitary landfill had divided responses. Forty-two percent said BLM should transfer the 640 acres to the county through exchange. Twenty-seven percent said the application should be rejected, 15 percent said BLM should sell all or part of the 160 acres to the county, and 6 percent said the land should be sold or transferred to the county. Reasons for accepting the proposal were that the county needs the site for a landfill, and the proposal would promote economic development. Reasons for rejecting the proposal included a need for more information and a study to make sure the site would be safe. These respondents also indicated that Montana should not be a garbage dump for other states. About one-half of the respondents who discussed the transfer of land next to Makoshika State Park felt BLM should develop a cooperative agreement with Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. One-fourth felt BLM should transfer the land to Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks; and less than one-fifth said BLM should reject the proposal and continue current multipleuse management. Those supporting joint management felt it would increase recreational opportunities. Some respondents fear the loss of multiple-use management and livestock grazing. Respondents discussing paleontological and cultural site management said some present activities (oil and gas, and

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CHAPTER 3 Socioeconomics - Sociology
FIGURE 6 FIGURE 7 OFF-ROAD VEHICLE USE OFF-ROAD VEHICLE USE MANAGEMENT MANAGEMENT

Limited 68%

Open 18% Closed 7%
Number of Respondents = 76 SOURCE: Trent 1991

Limit in Some Areas 7%

FIGURE 8 FIGURE 7 MANAGEMENT OF RECREATION AREAS MANAGEMENT OF RECREATION AREAS

Develop Cherry Creek Restrict Uses at Cherry Creek* Develop PWD RI Depot Develop Calypso Site 0 20 40 60

79 79 79 79 80 100

Number of Respondents YES DON'T KNOW PWD RI = Powder River *Uses other than recreation at Cherry Creek SOURCE: Trent 1991 NO ALLOW GRAZING

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CHAPTER 3 Socioeconomics - Economics other minerals development, and rights-of-way) should be limited when necessary, or excluded. They prefer not to exclude recreation or livestock grazing in cultural areas. More than one-half said BLM should acquire additional land with paleontological or cultural values by purchase or trade. TABLE 18 1988 EMPLOYMENT Proprietors County Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Prairie Richland Roosevelt Sheridan Wibaux Total Wage & Salary 803 3,904 1,085 496 712 432 4,065 3,809 1,547 270 17,123 Farm 369 451 270 222 342 156 519 562 530 181 3,602 Nonfarm 238 994 304 155 219 180 1,174 792 287 167 4,510

ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
The economy of the planning area depends on natural resources. These include the land that is used for crops and livestock production, mining, oil and gas production; and the water and wildlife that offers recreational opportunities. Many of the economic sectors are directly related to the production, extraction, or use of natural resources, many of which are located on public lands in the planning area. This generates income and employment the most commonly used measure of economic well-being. Employment and earnings data focus on the 10 counties entirely within the planning area. Rosebud and Custer counties and Miles City were not included as they are not located entirely within the planning area.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, BEA 1989.

Employment and Income
The number of jobs was 25,235 in 1988, down 18 percent from a peak of 30,850 in 1981 (see table 17). Three counties (Dawson, Richland, and Roosevelt) accounted for 64 percent of the jobs in 1988, down from 66 percent in 1981. Regional trade centers are Glendive in Dawson County, Sidney in Richland County, and Wolf Point in Roosevelt County. Jobs include proprietors and wage and salary employment (see table 18). TABLE 17 TOTAL JOBS County Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Prairie Richland Roosevelt Sheridan Wibaux Total 1969 1,620 5,405 1,774 961 1,488 848 4,382 4,621 2,631 681 24,411 1979 1,517 6,385 2,116 878 1,462 907 6,376 5,025 2,879 699 28,244 1981 1,512 7,020 2,123 868 1,370 813 8,313 5,128 3,016 687 30,850 1988 1,410 5,349 1,659 873 1,273 768 5,758 5,163 2,364 618 25,235

Wage and salary employment was 68 percent of the total in 1988, down from 75 percent in 1981. The statewide average for 1988 was 75 percent. The decrease in wage and salary employment was due primarily to the reduction in oil and gas and related activities (see table 19). Employment in most of the nongovernment sectors (mining, construction, wholesale and retail trade) declined significantly. TABLE 19 WAGE AND SALARY EMPLOYMENT 1981 Nongovernment Sectors Agriculture 249 Mining and oil & gas 4,046 Construction 1,758 Manufacturing 828 Transportation & public utilities 2,250 Wholesale trade 1,217 Retail trade 4,732 Finance insurance & real estate 1,203 Services 5,114 Subtotal 21,397 Government State & local Federal Subtotal Total 1988

345 1,043 1,081 1,070 1,629 820 3,788 1,202 5,024 16,002

3,089 787 3,876 25,273

3,381 902 4,283 20,285

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) 1989. 88

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, BEA 1990.

CHAPTER 3 Socioeconomics - Economics Total personal income is the most comprehensive measure of income in an area. Total personal income includes wages and salaries; employee benefits; proprietors; property income (interest, dividends, and rent); and government transfer payments (social security, medical payments, and unemployment insurance). Total personal income in 1981 was influenced by two major factors: nonfarm and farm earnings (see table 20). The peak in nonfarm earnings was related to oil and gas exploration. The fall in oil and gas prices and exploration, with the steady decline in farm earnings between 1981 and 1985, resulted in a 20 percent decrease in total personal income over the period. Farm earnings rebounded in 1986 and more than offset the continued decline in nonfarm earnings. AGRICULTURE Most of the agricultural operators raise livestock and grain. Over the years, the typical farm has become larger, more mechanized, and more efficient. Statewide from 1950 to 1989, the number of farms has decreased by one-third; however, the average farm has increased by 2,453 acres, or 40 percent. The farmland acreage has decreased by 4.4 million acres, or 7 percent. Agriculture accounted for 9 percent of the total jobs in Montana in 1986, down from 14 percent in 1969 (State of Montana, Department of Commerce 1989). In this area, agriculture accounted for 15 percent of the total jobs in 1988. This includes farm proprietors and agricultural services (farm management, contract labor, crop dusting and spraying, storage, and shipping). Major agricultural crops are wheat, barley and oats. Government payments and cash receipts for livestock and crops marketed in 1987 are shown in table 21. Richland County ranked tenth in the state in cash receipts, excluding government payments.

Conditions by Economic Sector
Following is a discussion of the economic sectors most directly affected or dependent on the management of the federally-owned resources in the planning area.

TABLE 20 INCOME AND EARNINGS (Thousands of Dollars) 1979 Transfer Payments Nonfarm Earnings Farm Earnings Total Personal Income 176,932 418,152 40,559 635,643 1981 203,087 481,419 87,541 772,047 1983 248,739 396,605 10,892 656,236 1985 229,730 382,671 4,011 616,412 1986 241,485 348,446 77,563 667,494

SOURCE: State of Montana, Department of Commerce 1989.

TABLE 21 1987 CASH RECEIPTS (Thousands of Dollars) County Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Prairie Richland Roosevelt Sheridan Wibaux Total Livestock& Products 4,479 10,108 10,067 16,448 6,769 11,286 18,129 4,981 4,645 4,369 91,281 Crops 10,392 13,144 4,237 6,074 12,565 5,326 26,521 17,438 12,259 2,537 110,493 587,140 19 Marketing Total 14,871 23,252 14,304 22,522 19,334 16,612 44,650 22,419 16,904 6,906 201,774 1,471,313 14 Gov't Payments 11,176 7,935 4,380 6,003 10,568 2,930 9,406 12,317 15,027 3,020 82,762 352,330 23 All Cash Receipts 26,047 31,187 18,684 28,525 29,902 19,542 54,056 34,736 31,931 9,926 284,536 1,823,643 16

State Totals 884,173 Percent of State Total 10

SOURCE: State of Montana, Department of Agriculture 1989.

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CHAPTER 3 Socioeconomics - Economics In 1988, about 9 percent of the area’s total acreage was harvested for crops (see table 22). Most of the marginal cropland under cultivation during the Homestead Era was returned to grazing, either through the Bankhead-Jones Act of 1937 or by economic constraints. The Bankhead-Jones Act of 1937 provided for the government to buy marginal farms and return them to grazing. TABLE 23 LIVESTOCK INVENTORY (January 1, 1988) County Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Prairie Richland Roosevelt Sheridan Wibaux Total State Total Sheep 1,800 3,400 6,400 68,300 16,000 3,600 5,900 6,500 5,000 2,700 119,600 503,000 Cattle & Calves 13,000 34,000 36,000 49,000 29,000 36,000 39,700 19,000 16,500 18,500 290,700 2,350,000

TABLE 22 HARVESTED CROP ACREAGE FOR 1988
Total Acres 913,572 1,519,846 1,044,814 2,875,160 1,681,178 1,108,835 1,332,266 1,508,963 1,076,184 568,502 13,629,320 Irrigated Nonirrigated Total Acres Acres Harvest Acres 1,500 16,340 3,900 6,900 7,400 14,950 46,000 12,520 4,930 2,900 117,340 171,500 149,500 44,900 113,900 196,600 29,000 149,600 246,400 272,800 44,200 1,418,400 173,000 165,840 48,800 120,000 204,000 43,950 195,600 258,920 277,730 47,100 1,534,940

County Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Prairie Richland Roosevelt Sheridan Wibaux Total

SOURCE: State of Montana, Department of Agriculture 1989.

COAL The Fort Union Coal Region contains lignite. Estimates range up to 19 billion tons, in coal beds up to 40 feet thick. Coal characteristics and thickness are highly variable. The heating values range from about 5,000 to 7,500 British thermal units per pound. Ash and sulfur values are variable over such a large area, but as is typical with Montana coal, the sulfur content generally remains low. In 1958, Montana-Dakota Utilities at Sidney, Montana, began using coal for electricity generation. The Knife River Coal Company at Savage, Montana, reached a maximum production of 300,000 tons per year by 1965. The Savage Mine is the only active coal mine in the area, and produced 283,000 tons in 1991. It has provided income and jobs for more than 30 years. Although coal production has not played a significant role in the economy to date, the potential is there if these vast resources should ever be tapped.

SOURCE: State of Montana, Department of Agriculture 1989; and USDI, BLM 1989a.

In the early 1980s, some grazing land was broken up for wheat production. As a result, the federal government introduced the Conservation Reserve Program in the Food Security Act of 1985. This program pays farmers to reseed marginal cropland to grass and leave it idle for 10 years; each county has a quota. Some farmers are putting land into the Conservation Reserve Program while others are breaking up and planting more land. Whether or not the Conservation Reserve Program will have any affect on crop production in this area is difficult to determine now. The BLM’s relationship to the agricultural economy of the area involves the leasing of the public lands for livestock grazing. Table 23 shows the sheep and cattle inventory for each county in the area for 1988.

OIL AND GAS More than 170 oil fields in this area produced more than 15 million barrels of oil in 1989. This was 70 percent of Montana’s total production (see table 24).

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CHAPTER 3 Socioeconomics - Economics TABLE 24 1989 OIL FIELD PRODUCTION Gas (thousand) Gas Liquids cubic feet) (gallons) 0 13,459 1,144,430 0 0 344 1,923,944 496,749 1,079,949 79,177 4,738,052 42,870,343 0 0 158,227 0 0 0 3,756,499 439,486 166,161 0 4,520,373 5,323,401 year from 1981 to 1988. Local government, which includes the public school districts, is the largest employer. State and federal jobs provide salaries above the area’s average and are important to the regional economy.

County Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Prairie Richland Roosevelt Sheridan Wibaux Total State Total

Oil (barrels) 0 454,321 3,472,483 78,542 62,833 60,381 3,900,941 1,730,288 2,638,477 1,103,393 13,501,659 21,998,880

Local Government Revenues
PROPERTY TAX Property taxes are the principal source of revenue in this area. Property tax liability is based on market value, statutory tax rates, and local mill levies. Each county’s total taxable value is shown in table 25.

TABLE 25 1988 TAXABLE VALUES County Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Prairie Richland Roosevelt Sheridan Wibaux Total Dollar Amount 6,608,820 22,395,861 70,173,645 6,568,235 8,544,826 4,329,250 66,414,381 44,533,497 38,804,161 16,700,971 285,073,647

SOURCE: State of Montana, Department of Revenue n.d.

The income and employment generated by the oil and gas exploration and production activities have a significant impact on the area’s economy. Wages and salaries paid by the industry are higher than the statewide averages for all industries. The average earnings were $27,146 in 1988, compared to an average of $16,958 for other economic sectors (State of Montana, Department of Labor and Industry 1988). The timing, size, and duration of oil and gas activity are determined by price fluctuations. The “boom and bust” cycles tend to be more abrupt than other resource developments. WHOLESALE AND RETAIL TRADE AND SERVICES Trade and service sectors provide substantial employment: 9,632 jobs (47 percent) of the wage and salary employment for 1988. Wholesale trade is important in Wolf Point, Sidney, and Glendive, Montana. Jobs and income in these sectors depend on the health of other industry sectors (principally, agriculture and oil and gas extraction). In addition, many of the jobs associated with recreation and tourism are included in these sectors. GOVERNMENT In 1988, government provided 4,283 jobs (21 percent) of the total wages and salaries in the area. This was an increase of 407 government jobs (10.5 percent) since 1981. Government employment increased an average of 1.2 percent per

SOURCE: State of Montana, Department of Revenue n.d.

BLM’S CONTRIBUTION TO LOCAL REVENUE The BLM’s principal contribution to the taxable value of the counties is based on the value of the production of federal oil, gas, and coal. The BLM also administers other programs resulting in disbursements to local governments. Major sources of these revenues are federal mineral leases, grazing leases, and payment in lieu of taxes payments. GRAZING FEES The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 stipulates that states receive a 12.5 percent share of grazing fees collected inside grazing districts (Section 3 payments). The states also receive a 50 percent share of grazing fees collected outside organized grazing districts (Section 15 payments). Under the law, each state’s legislature decides how to spend the

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CHAPTER 3 Socioeconomics - Economics money for the benefit of the counties. Payments disbursed to the counties for fiscal year 1988 are shown in table 26. TABLE 26 GRAZING FEE PAYMENTS FISCAL YEAR 1988 Section 15 Payments Section 3 Payments Dollar Amount Dollar Amount 39 0 0 0 0 0 23,764 1,914 99 10,699 36,515 0 17,082 19,510 156,295 63,474 15,383 0 0 0 0 271,744 MINERAL RECEIPTS The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended, provides that one-half of the bonuses, rents, and royalties derived from federal mineral leases be returned to the state and counties for stated purposes. Federal oil and gas disbursements for fiscal year 1989 (October 1, 1988 to September 30, 1989) are shown in table 28.

County Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Prairie Richland Roosevelt Sheridan Wibaux Total

TABLE 28 FEDERAL OIL AND GAS DISBURSEMENTS FISCAL YEAR 1989 County Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Prairie Richland1 Roosevelt Sheridan Wibaux Dollar Amount 4,144 203,492 1,524,526 95,192 24,475 103,658 425,497 21,228 29,310 287,789

SOURCE: USDI, BLM 1991c.

PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF TAXES The federal government makes payments to counties in lieu of taxes for certain federal lands. The amount is calculated by using two formulas, and the larger of the two is the amount given to the county. Table 27 shows the amount of payments in lieu of taxes payments for each county in this area for fiscal year 1989. Funding for payments in lieu of taxes must be appropriated by Congress each year. Actual amounts paid to counties are based on the funding level and the amount calculated. TABLE 27 PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF TAXES (Fiscal Year 1989) County Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Prairie Richland Roosevelt Sheridan Wibaux SOURCE: USDI, BLM 1989a. 92 Dollar Amount 143 49,412 72,764 81,597 132,919 42,866 36,294 2,880 1,021 18,743 SOURCE: USDI, Minerals Management Service 1989. 1Includes $165,550 for one producing federal coal lease.

SOIL AND WATER SOILS
Soils in this area result from soft, sedimentary bedrock (sandstone, siltstone, shale), local and regional alluvium, and a small amount of glacial till. The complex and diverse soil patterns vary in character and productivity. The Soil Conservation Service has published soil surveys for Daniels, Dawson, McCone, Richland, Roosevelt, and Sheridan counties. Soil surveys nearing completion cover Custer, Fallon, Garfield, Prairie, and Rosebud counties. An Order III soil survey of BLM-administered lands in Custer, Fallon, Garfield, Prairie, and Rosebud counties was completed in 1980. This survey grouped the soils into 15 subgroups. Each subgroup has unique capabilities and limitations based upon parent material, climate, topography, and soil properties. The unpublished legends, maps, and descriptions relevant to the Order III soil survey are at the Big Dry Resource Area Office in Miles City.

CHAPTER 3 Soil and Water DISSECTED SEDIMENTARY PLAINS AND HILLSThese soils are found on level to steep (0-45 percent) slopes and on sedimentary bedrock plains and hills (soil subgroups 3, 4, 8, 9, 12, and 13). Soil depths range from shallow to deep, and have low to high water and wind erosion susceptibility. Soil textures are clayey, loamy and sandy, and are formed in shale, siltstone, and sandstone.

WATER
GROUND WATER Quaternary alluvium is located along the major streams and rivers and contains the shallowest aquifers. The yield of water may range from 1 gallon per minute in the areas of fine-grained valley fill to several hundred gallons per minute along the rivers where material is coarse. Water quality depends on the soil materials and the water source; depth ranges from a few feet to 50 feet. Along the upper benches of the Yellowstone River from Custer County to North Dakota, and along the Redwater River-Yellowstone River divide, the alluvial gravel deposits produce yields of 1 gallon per minute up to 20 gallons per minute. Less than 2 gallons per minute is too low for use. Gravel deposits produce springs at the interface of the underlying geologic formations (the Lebo and the Tongue River members). The yields vary from a few gallons per day to more than 80 gallons per minute. The water is adequate for livestock and domestic uses. The availability of ground water is related to the geologic formations that are sedimentary in nature. The Fort Union, the Hell Creek, and Fox Hills formations provide aquifer systems (see figure 8). The Fort Union Formation consists of the Tongue River, Lebo, and Tullock members (USDI, BLM 1982b). Wells range from 50 to 500 feet in depth. The Tongue River Member is the most widely used. The Lebo Member is exposed along major drainages, the Cedar Creek anticline, and the Porcupine dome area. The Tullock Member is exposed in a similar way. The Lebo Member is generally not capable of producing water of adequate quantity and quality for livestock and domestic purposes. The Tullock and the Ludlow members contain aquifers that will supply 6 to 15 gallons per minute of water that is suitable for livestock use. The Hell Creek Formation has aquifers that supply water of adequate quantity and quality for livestock and domestic use. The Hell Creek Formation surfaces along the Musselshell River, Cedar Creek anticline, Missouri River, and the Porcupine dome areas. Water depth here is 100 to 300 feet, although the remainder of the area has a water depth of 400 to 600 feet due to the overlying Fort Union Formation. The best quality water in the planning area is located in the lower part of the Hell Creek Formation and upper part of the Fox Hills Formation. The aquifer is 30 to 60 feet wide and produces 30 to 100 gallons per minute. Water depth in the northern part is as shallow as 40 feet, but reaches a depth of 1,800 feet where the Tongue River Member of the Fort

FLOODPLAINS, FANS, AND LOW TERRACES These soils are located in riparian/wetland areas on level to rolling (0-15 percent) slopes along the major floodplains and streams. They are important because of their high production potential. The soil textures, depth and chemical properties are highly variable over short distances. These riparian/wetland soils usually are water-saturated in the spring. Water is lost through evaporation and growing plants. These riparian/wetlands produce abundant forage, and provide access to water and shade. Most riparian/ wetland soils occur within soil subgroup 1.

GLACIATED TILL PLAINS - These soils are located on level to rolling and steep (0-45 percent) slopes of the glacial till plains in the northeast part of the planning area. Soil textures are mainly loamy and clayey. Erosion of these soils is slight to moderate because of the gently rolling topography with the prominence of dense clubmoss and blue grama sod in many areas. Mechanical treatment of these soils can increase vegetative productivity (soil subgroups 5, 6, and 10).

SOILS ON FANS, BENCHES, AND TERRACES These soils are found on level to steep (0-45 percent) slopes on fans, benches, and terraces close to the rivers. Soil textures are mainly loamy and sandy, and have formed in an alluvium. There is moderate water-erosion and high winderosion hazard (soil subgroups 2, 7, and 11).

DISSECTED SHALE PLAINS - These soils occur on level to steep (0-45 percent) slopes on dissected shale plains in the southwestern portion of the planning area. Soil texture is predominantly clayey; there is moderate to high water-erosion (soil subgroup 14).

DISSECTED BADLAND AREAS - These soils are located on steep (25-70 percent) slopes of dissected breaks along the rivers. Soil textures are predominantly loamy and clayey. Because of properties such as high clay content, reduced permeability, rapid surface runoff, and sparse vegetative cover, these soils are fragile and extremely erosive (soil subgroup 15).

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CHAPTER 3 Soil and Water Union Formation is in place. The aquifer is under artesian pressure and will flow at the surface in the river and stream valleys. The Bearpaw Formation does not contain an aquifer. This formation (which surfaces along the Missouri River Valley and along the Porcupine dome area) has a depth of approximately 1,000 feet which prevents the development of wells. Springs occur at the contact point of the sandy Fox Hills and the shaley Bearpaw formations with yields adequate for livestock and wildlife. However, the water quality is poor (measuring 12,000 milligrams per liter of total dissolved solids), barely adequate for animal use, and livestock deaths have resulted from using this water. The South Pine Creek Groundwater Control Area (see map 19) is located along the western portion of the Cedar Creek anticline on the eastern edge of Prairie County. The area was established in 1967 by the Board of Natural Resources and Conservation for protecting the rights of existing water users and controlling the decline in the water level of the Fox Hills-Hell Creek aquifer. The main objective was control of the withdrawals for secondary oil recovery. In 1981, the ground water control area had shown a progressive rise in the static water level over the previous 4 to 5 years. The only areas continuing to decline were the southeast quarter of T. 12 N., R. 55 E., and the northwest quarter of T. 11 N., R. 55 E. This decline was due to domestic and stock wells, and to a lack of conservation measures such as uncapped wells flowing freely (Rediske 1981). and rainfall. Intense flows of short duration occur throughout the summer following thunderstorms. There are 150 miles of major intermittent streams with about 960 reservoirs on the public lands in this area. Total dissolved solids in these streams are generally high enough to prevent human consumption (Montana Testing Labs 1981). Standing water is beneficial for wildlife. There are 2,836 miles (10,000 acres) of potential riparian/wetlands along the floodplains of the intermittent streams in this area. Water quality of streams is affected by leaching of soluble minerals from the surface soils and from the aquifers underlying the drainage basin. The dissolved solids are composed largely of the cations (calcium, magnesium, and sodium), and the anions (bicarbonate, sulfate, and chloride). During base (or low) flows, water primarily comes from ground water sources and has a high concentration of dissolved solids because of long-term contact with minerals in the aquifers. Concentrations ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 mg/l are common, and may exceed 5,000 milligrams per liter. The water reflects the type and quantity of minerals in the aquifer from which it was derived. The ions present during base flow are generally sodium and sulfate (Slagle 1984). During direct (or high) flows, most of the water entering the streams is from recent precipitation runoff. Runoff water quickly enters the stream channels and is in contact with the soils for a short time, allowing little opportunity for the minerals to leach out of the soil. The result is a dilution of the mineral concentrations normally carried by the base flow. Concentrations of dissolved solids during direct flows generally range from 150 to 600 milligrams per liter. The ion concentrations during high flows tend to have more calcium and bicarbonate, but usually does not exceed the sodium and sulfate found during base flow (Slagle 1984). Streams draining into the Yellowstone River have a high concentration of magnesium; streams draining into the Missouri have a high percentage of sodium. Chloride is found in small amounts in any size streamflow (Slagle 1984), but is found in large quantities in waste water associated with oil and gas production. Chloride can be sampled as part of the base flow in streams near producing oil fields, especially Pennel Creek. Average annual runoff in this area is about 1/2 inch. Stream water is suitable for irrigation during moderate to high flows from melting snow or spring rains. Waters of the Yellowstone and Missouri are good for wildlife, domestic, stock, and irrigation uses. The Musselshell River is marginal for domestic and irrigation uses, but satisfactory for livestock and wildlife. The Powder River is high in total dissolved solids and suspended sediment; rates good for wildlife, fair to good for livestock and is unsatisfactory for other uses (USDI, BLM 1982b). 95

SURFACE WATER The Missouri and Yellowstone rivers are the major drainages in the planning area. The Missouri River drains the northern portion of the planning area and flows east, with an average annual discharge of 7.8 million acre-feet. Tributaries of the Missouri River include the Musselshell River with an average annual discharge of 206,500 acre-feet; Big Dry Creek with an annual average discharge of 38,180 acrefeet; and Redwater River with an annual yield of 9,420 acrefeet. The Yellowstone River drains the southern and eastern portion and flows northeast. The average discharge is 9.3 million acre-feet per year. Tributaries of the Yellowstone River include the Powder River that discharges an annual average of 431,800 acre-feet and O’Fallon Creek that has an annual measured discharge of 12,900 acre-feet (Shields et al. 1988). The lower end of Fox Creek in Richland County is the only known perennial creek in the area; remaining creeks are intermittent or ephemeral. The streams are semi-arid and provide a highly-variable streamflow. Peak flows generally occur March through May, resulting from melting snow

CHAPTER 3 Soil and Water Hydrologists from the Bureau of Reclamation estimate the average water yield of the drainage at the Cherry Creek dam site to be 4,900 acre-feet per year. This estimate comes from a comparison of the runoff from four gaged drainages: Burns Creek, Pumpkin Creek, Mizpah Creek, and Redwater River. Figure 9 shows the estimated runoff from 1973 to 1985. The Bureau of Reclamation used a computer model to synthesize the stream flow data and working parameters at the different reservoir locations. Estimated water yields for the Cherry Creek Reservoir exceed contributed runoff by approximately 2,265 acre-feet annually. The additional amount of water needed may be obtained for this project, through the conversion of water reservations held by BLM, to water rights. Sediment yields from the drainage were estimated at 104 acre-feet. Although the size of the Cherry Creek drainage is only .5 percent to .6 percent of the Yellowstone River drainage, the sediment yield is 1.0 to 1.8 percent of the total sediment of the river. BLM will consider requesting water from Yellowtail Dam. This would increase the flow of the Yellowstone River an estimated .02 to .60 percent. WATER RIGHTS Some BLM water rights are protected by the Federally Reserved Water Rights for Public Springs and Water Holes, Public Water Reserve 107, pursuant to Executive Order dated April 17, 1926. Water rights adjudication began in Montana in the late 1970s. BLM water rights are filed in compliance with the state of Montana. This includes filing on new developments, transferring rights, abandoning rights, proof of pre- and post-1973 filings, and filing on any disputes. Developments include springs, wells, reservoirs, pits, and natural potholes. In some cases, instream water was filed for livestock and wildlife use. Those called pre-1973 developments total 1,418; post-1973 developments total 416 filings. Proof of the date of development is required on filings. Based on that proof by the state of Montana, present and past water rights are being adjudicated by basin. This area has 13 water rights basins; 8 are in the preliminary stage. Five basins have been adjudicated, two of which could be reopened because of disputes. In December 1990, the BLM filed for water rights for the Cherry Creek Dam. The BLM is considering the feasibility of obtaining 2,380 acre-feet of water annually from Yellowtail Dam for supplementing the flow from Cherry Creek. If possible, the water would be pumped from the Yellowstone River after it is released from Yellowtail Dam.

FIGURE 9 ESTIMATED TOTAL ANNUAL RUNOFF CHERRY CREEK DRAINAGE

25000

ANNUAL RUNOFF (acre feet)

20000
17321

20427

15000

10000
5560 3511 1719 2120 528 1436 1946 522 5780 3098 432

5000

0

1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985

YEAR
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CHAPTER 3 Vegetation

VEGETATION
Vegetation protects the soils, stabilizes the watershed and riparian/wetlands, and provides forage for livestock as well as for wildlife. Vegetative types on the public lands in the planning area include grasslands (47 percent), badlands and river breaks (22 percent), sagebrush grasslands (21 percent), forestlands (3 percent), tame grass (3 percent), broadleaf trees, and mesic-shrubs (2 percent), and halophytic shrubs (2 percent) (USDI, BLM 1979a, 1982b). Grasslands are dominated by short to mid-grasses with forbs making up a minor part. Common grasses are needleandthread, green needle, June grass, western wheatgrass, crested wheatgrass, and blue grass. The vegetation in the badlands and river breaks are mixed and include grassland, sagebrush, juniper, limber and ponderosa pine. Sagebrush grasslands consist of big sagebrush and silver sagebrush, with mixed grasses and forbs. However, sagebrush makes up more than 25 percent of the total species composition in these grasslands.

Forestlands are dominated by ponderosa pine, although meadows of herbaceous vegetation are interspersed with ponderosa pine. Tame vegetation refers to that vegetation not native to the area. This vegetation had been planted for forage production and soil stabilization. Most of these plantings are crested wheatgrass. Another vegetation type is broadleaf and mesic shrubs, consisting of cottonwoods, willows, green ash, snowberry, chokecherry, and buffaloberry. They are extremely diverse and thrive in areas receiving abundant moisture from runoff to subsurface springs or in drainage bottoms. A halophytic shrub is a type of vegetation that occurs in areas where salt and alkali gather. Greasewood and saltbush are common shrubs; saltgrass and alkali sacaton are common grasses.

Riparian/Wetlands
Riparian/wetlands overlap with broadleaf trees and mesic shrub communities and are interspersed within other vegetative communities (see figure 10). A riparian/wetlands

FIGURE 10 AQUATIC-RIPARIAN-UPLAND ECOSYSTEMS

Source: Modified from Thomas et al. 1979. 97

CHAPTER 3 Vegetation area is defined as land directly influenced by permanent water. It has visible vegetation or physical characteristics reflective of permanent water influence. Lakeshores and stream banks are typical riparian/wetlands. Excluded are such sites as ephemeral streams or washes that do not exhibit the presence of vegetation dependent upon free water in the soil. In Montana, the definition is further interpreted to include areas that have the potential to meet the definition. The benefits of riparian/wetlands exceed the small area they occupy. Trees and other woody vegetation are highly valued in the prairie environment, for they provide many benefits to animals. The planning area contains 150 miles of major intermittent streams with about 960 reservoirs on public lands. There are 2,836 miles (10,000 acres) of potential riparian/wetlands along the floodplains of the ephemeral streams in this area. There are 21 major and 5 minor riparian/wetland habitat types involved; more than 25 community types make up the various seral stages for them. Table 75 in the Vegetation appendix contains a complete listing of the riparian/wetlands habitat and community types in the planning area. The areas range from the major rivers such as the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, to woody draws with water available. Due to the scattered land pattern, many of these areas are not manageable without commitment from landowners on adjacent property.

Special Status Plant Species
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not listed any plants as threatened or endangered in Montana. There are 13 plant species that may be considered for special status, but more information is needed to list or delist. The BLM has contracted with the Montana Natural Heritage Program to

TABLE 29 SPECIAL STATUS SPECIES USFWS Status Rareness Codes Global/State

Scientific Name Species That May Be Considered Ammania coccinea Aster ptarmicoides Astragalus racemosus A. barrii A. geyeri Bidens comosa Bidens vulgata var. schizantha Celastrus scandens Cyperus schweinitzii Linaria Canadensis Mentzelia nuda Phacelia thermalis Ririppa calycina SOURCE: Lesica and Shelly 1991.

Common Name

scarlet ammania prairie aster alkali milkvetch barr milkvetch geyer milkvetch begger-ticks tall begger-ticks bittersweet schweinitz faltsedge blue toadflax bractless blazing star hotspring phacelia persistent sepal yellowcress

C2 -

G5/S1 G5/S1 G5/S1 G3/S2 G5/S1 G5/S1 G5/S1 G5/S1 G5/S1 G4G5/S1 G5/SU G3G4/S1 G5/S1

C2 means a plant is a candidate for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listing as threatened and endangered, but more information is needed to list or delist. G3 means either very rare and local throughout its range or found locally (even abundantly at some of its locations) in a restricted range, or vulnerable to extinction throughout its range because of other factors; in the range of 21 to 100 occurrences. G4 means The Nature Conservancy feels a plant is apparently globally secure. G5 means The Nature Conservancy, of which the Montana Natural Heritage Program is a part, considers the plant demonstrably globally secure. Globally secure, by The Nature Conservancy’s definition, means there is no danger of the plant becoming extinct in the world, but is sensitive in Montana. S1 means critically imperiled in Montana because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences, or very few remaining individuals), or because of some factor of its biology making it especially vulnerable to extirpation from the state. SU means possibly in peril in Montana, but status uncertain; more information needed.

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CHAPTER 3 Vegetation gather information needed to determine the status of the species. Global and state rareness codes based on current information are shown in table 29 for plants that may be found in the planning area. clude urban and built-up areas or water areas. To qualify as prime farmland, the land must be used either for producing food or fiber or be available for those uses. Prime farmland includes gently sloping upland areas, terraces, land adjacent to streams, and river valleys. The following is prime farmland acreage by county (more than 80 percent is private): Custer: Approximately 35,000 acres; exact acreage will not be available until soil survey is complete. Daniels: 22,030 acres. Dawson: 279,800 acres. Fallon: 280,000 acres. Garfield: Approximately 134,000 acres; exact acreage will not be available until soil survey is complete. McCone: 133,945 acres. The Big Dry Vegetation Allocation Environmental Impact Statement (USDI, BLM 1982b) states that noxious weeds invade ranges which are in excellent condition and displace useful forage. For example, leafy spurge can out compete native vegetation. If proper weed management programs are not implemented, noxious weeds will spread at a rate of 12 to 14 percent annually, depending upon the weed species present. Ultimately, the weeds could dominate the area, with a tendency to create a monoculture. Treatment efforts have not kept up with the increase in weeds. Noxious weed control practices are consistent with the Northwest Area Noxious Weed Control Program Final Environmental Impact Statement (USDI, BLM 1985) and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (USDI, BLM 1987d) and the Final Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Treatment on BLM Lands in Thirteen Western States (USDI, BLM 1991b). Prairie: 34,960 acres. Richland: 315,500 acres. Roosevelt: 103,130 acres. Rosebud: 85,000 acres. Sheridan: 348,338 acres. Valley: 306,650 acres. Wibaux: 51,507 acres.

Noxious Weeds
Noxious weeds (see map 21) occur in any vegetative type or ecological seral stage. Leafy spurge is the dominant species (4,500 acres) in the planning area. Leafy spurge is a perennial that creates serious problems because it spreads rapidly and is extremely difficult to eradicate once established. Other noxious weeds infesting the public lands are knapweed species (spotted, diffuse, and Russian), hoary cress (whitetop), field bindweed, Canada thistle, houndstongue, and cocklebur. An isolated patch of poisonous halogeton occurs occasionally in this area. Table 76 in the Vegetation appendix contains a list of Montana’s noxious weeds.

Condition, Production, and Trend
Vegetation condition is expressed as excellent, good, fair, poor, unclassified, or tame (see Vegetation appendix). It reflects the current vegetation composition of the rangeland in relation to the potential natural plant community. The range condition of the public lands in the planning area is 86 percent good to excellent, 8 percent fair, 1 percent poor, and 1.6 percent unclassified. The remaining 3.4 percent is tame (see table 52 in the Livestock Grazing Management appendix). This information was summarized from the Missouri Breaks Environmental Statement and Big Dry Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Allocation and has been updated with monitoring data (USDI, BLM 1979a, 1982b).

Prime Farmland
The 13 counties in the planning area contain some prime farmland which is, by U. S. Department of Agriculture’s definition, the land that is best suited for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops. It has the soil quality, length of growing season, and moisture supply necessary to produce a sustained high yield of crops when properly managed. Prime farmland produces the highest yield with minimal energy and economic resources. It can be cultivated cropland, rangeland, or woodland, but does not in-

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CHAPTER 3 Vegetation The opportunity for improving vegetation conditions and production is greater on clayey or loamy sedimentary uplands, on alluvial terraces, and on floodplains. Silty and clayey soils are dominant, and are among the most productive and responsive. Vegetation production on the rangelands varies widely by soil type and range site, and is subject to effective precipitation (amount and season). Timing is critical as low precipitation during plant dormancy results in low production. Critical rainfall periods are the fall before freezing and the spring during early plant growth (USDI, BLM 1982b). Trend is defined as the direction of change, over a period of time, in vegetation condition. The planning area shows a trend in a stable or slightly upward direction as indicated by a comparison of range surveys, and as shown by the amount of range in good or excellent condition (USDI, BLM 1982b).

WILDERNESS Wilderness Study Areas
The wilderness study areas include Bridge Coulee, Musselshell Breaks, Billy Creek, Seven Blackfoot, and the Terry Badlands (see pocket maps 31 A,B,C,D). The Final Missouri Breaks Wilderness Suitability Study and Environmental Impact Statement (USDI, BLM 1987a) contains detailed descriptions of the wilderness study areas’ affected environments and the alternatives, The BLM’s wilderness recommendations for these wilderness study areas are discussed in detail in Volume II of the Montana Statewide Wilderness Study Report (USDI, BLM 1991d). The following is a summary of the recommendations:

Acres Recommended for Wilderness
Seven Blackfoot Terry Badlands
5,790 33,024

Seven Blackfoot Wilderness

Study Area.

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CHAPTER 3 Wildlife

Acres Not Recommended for Wilderness
Bridge Coulee Musselshell Breaks Billy Creek Seven Blackfoot Terry Badlands 5,900 8,650 3,450 14,540 11,886

brush, skunkbrush sumac, chokecherry, rubber rabbitbrush, western snowberry, and rose. Table 30 shows the plants most favored by Montana’s deer. Basically nonmigratory, they concentrate on south and southwest facing slopes which contain important species of browse. In winters of heavy snowfall, these areas are crucial to the mule deer. Escape and thermal cover also are important to mule deer for maintenance and survival. Doghair stands of ponderosa pine and juniper are examples of important escape and thermal cover. Without this cover, deer (especially fawns) are susceptible to predators and severe weather. Mule deer use this cover for loafing during the day. White-tailed deer occupy 30 to 35 percent of the planning area (Martin 1990). The white-tailed deer prefer the drainage bottoms along the major streams and rivers, pinecovered hills, and the woody vegetation adjacent to croplands. The planning area has 2,836 miles of riparian/ wetland bottoms, containing 10,000 acres of public lands of habitat (Griffith 1990). This public land is considered crucial white-tailed deer habitat. Their population remains relatively constant despite periodic outbreaks of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, a noncontagious viral disease characterized by extensive hemorrhaging. White-tailed deer food habitats are similar to the mule deer. In the spring green grasses are utilized until forbs appear. Forbs, grasses and browse are utilized from mid-spring through the summer; and alfalfa and grain crops from summer into the winter. Important browse from mid-fall through early spring includes big and silver sagebrush, chokecherry, rubber rabbit brush, western snowberry, buffaloberry and rose. Escape and thermal cover are also important to the white-tailed deer for survival. Pronghorn antelope are the second most numerous big game animal in this area. Density averages two per square mile; however, large variations in density can occur (Ensign 1990). The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks data indicates an increase in the antelope population from mid-1980s, probably due to mild winters. Antelope prefer the open, rolling grasslands and shrub-grassland in addition to agricultural vegetation in the spring, summer, and early fall. There are an estimated 236,800 acres of crucial winter range on the public lands in the planning area. Sagebrush constitutes a large part of their year-round forage and at least 80 percent of their winter diet (see table 31). Plants favored by antelope are listed in table 32. Vegetative cover is necessary for fawning as it protects the young from predators and weather.

Monitoring will be conducted as described in table 58 of the Monitoring appendix.

WILDLIFE
Three agencies share responsibility for wildlife management on the public lands. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks manages the animals; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for the coordination of threatened and endangered species habitat management; and the BLM manages the wildlife habitat. Although management of threatened and endangered species is a cooperative program among the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, BLM, other agencies, organizations, and interest groups, the BLM is responsible for the conservation of threatened and endangered species on the public lands. Within the area, the diversity of wildlife habitat includes grasslands, grasslands-shrublands, badlands, ponderosa pine forests, woodlands, riparian/wetlands, and agricultural lands. Rivers, streams, potholes, cliffs, snags, springs, potholes, reservoirs, and islands provide food, nesting habitat, and cover for a variety of wildlife species. The greatest vegetative diversity generally is found in the riparian/wetlands.

Big Game
The planning area supports a variety of big game species. (See map 24 for crucial winter ranges.) Mule deer occupy 90 percent or more of the planning area and approximately 224,000 acres are mule deer crucial winter range (Martin 1990, Wentland 1990). The mule deer population peaked in the early 1980s, and then declined for 4 to 5 years as a result of drought, poor winter survival, and liberal harvests (Giddings 1993). Their numbers are now increasing. In the spring, mule deer feed extensively on green grasses until forbs become available. Forbs, grasses, and browse are utilized from mid-spring through summer. The primary component of the mule deer’s diet in the fall, winter, and early spring is browse which includes big and silver sage-

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CHAPTER 3 Wildlife TABLE 30 PLANTS UTILIZED BY DEER IN MONTANA Browse Big sagebrush Common juniper Rabbit brush Rose Snowberry Chokecherry Silver buffalo berry Skunkbush sumac Willow Cottonwood Silver sagebrush Redosier dogwood Serviceberry Plains poplar Winter fat Nuttall saltbush Creeping juniper Forbs Alfalfa American vetch Common bastard toadflax Common dandelion Hood’s phlox Lomatium Prairie onion Summer cypress Prairiesmoke Pussytoes Sagebrush buttercup Scarlet gaura Yellow fritillary Yellow salsify Yellow sweetclover Prickly lettuce Small soapweed American licorice Fringed sagewort Wild buckwheat Clover Fireweed Grasses Prairie June grass Sandberg bluegrass Western wheatgrass Wheat Barley

SOURCE: USDI, BLM 1981b.

TABLE 31 FOOD HABITATS OF ANTELOPE IN MONTANA Vegetative Preference Season Spring Summer Fall Winter First Browse (71%) Forbs (66%) Browse (50%) Browse (98%) Second Forbs (21%) Browse (33%) Forbs (48%) Grass (1.5%) Third Grass (8%) Grass (1%) Grass (2%) Forbs (0.5%)

SOURCE: USDI, BLM 1981b.

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CHAPTER 3 Wildlife TABLE 32 PLANTS FAVORED BY PRONGHORN ANTELOPE IN MONTANA Browse Big sagebrush Silver sagebrush Greasewood Winterfat Rabbitbrush Rose Skunkbrush sumac Western snowberry Nuttall saltbrush Forbs Common bastard toadflax Western yarrow Hairy seed lomatium Hood’s phlox Knotweed Cudweed sagewort Fringed sagewort Scarlet globemallow Silver scurfpea Small soapweed Yellow sweetclover Thistle (all species) Onion Sagebrush buttercup Wavyleaf agoseris Yellow salsify Alfalfa Aster Field bindweed Prickly lettuce Common dandelion Prairie clover Grasses Bluegrass Wheat Barley Blue grama Brome grass Wheatgrass

SOURCE: USDI, BLM 1981b.

The Rocky Mountain Elk is one of the most prized trophy animals in the United States. In this part of the country, elk are found in the rough breaks and pine-covered hills adjacent to the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in Garfield County (Hildebrand 1990). The elk herd continues to increase. Habitat types crucial to the elk are grasslands, grasslands-shrub, woodlands, and riparian/wetlands. Elk habitat boundaries have not been defined. Vegetative preferences and food plants utilized by elk are shown in tables 33 and 34.

TABLE 33 VEGETATIVE PREFERENCES OF ELK Habitat Preference Season Spring Summer Fall Winter First Grass (90%) Forbs (91%) Grass (83%) Grass (90%) Second Forbs (7%) Grass (6%) Forbs (14%) Browse (7%) Third Browse (3%) Browse (3%) Browse (3%) Forbs (3%)

SOURCE: Rouse 1957.

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CHAPTER 3 Wildlife TABLE 34 PLANTS FAVORED BY ELK Grasses Bluebunch wheatgrass Bluegrasses Canada bluegrass Green needlegrass Idaho fescue Prairie June grass Rough fescue Sandberg bluegrass Western wheatgrass Common Timothy Mountain brome Spike trisetum Plains muhly Forbs American vetch Chicory lettuce Common bastard Toadflax Common dandelion Fringed sagewort Hairyseed lomatium Nodding microseris Pale agoseris Prairie onion Yellow salsify Yellow sweetclover Arnica sororia American licorice Cinquefoil Common yarrow Prickly lettuce Richardson geranium Sticky geranium American licorice Fireweed Lupine Sedges Browse Common chokecherry Rose Skunkbrush sumac Snowberry Spiraea Whitestem currant Big sagebrush Creeping barberry Rabbitbrush Quaking aspen Rocky Mountain juniper Shrubby cinquefoil Silver sagebrush Douglas fir Saskatoon serviceberry Threetip sagebrush

SOURCES: Kirsch 1962; Mackie 1965; Rouse 1957.

Fisheries
Fisheries are primarily confined to the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers, and their major tributaries (see map 25). The semiarid climate is not conducive to maintaining fish habitat and populations in most intermittent streams. Fish populations and fish habitat in perennial and intermittent streams are impacted by drought and hot temperatures, prolonged cold, heavy icing, and by flooding. Most ponds and streams, including the major ephemeral and intermittent drainages, were inventoried for fish distri-

bution (Elser and Denson 1977, Elser et al. 1980). Abundant and widespread nongame fish are: white sucker, longnose dace, fathead minnow, plains minnow, western silvery minnow, brassy minnow, and flathead chub (see table 35). The Yellowstone, Missouri, Musselshell, and Redwater rivers provide sport fisheries as do the tributary streams of Fox Creek, Big Dry Creek, Little Dry Creek, and Beaver Creek. The Missouri River is typically a warmwater fishery that offers sturgeon, northern pike, channel catfish, burbot, white crappie, pumpkinseed, and sauger. The Yellowstone River yields catches of sturgeon, walleye, channel catfish, burbot, green sunfish, bluegill, crappie, sauger, and paddlefish (Elser et al. 1980).

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CHAPTER 3 Wildlife TABLE 35 NONGAME FISH IN THE PLANNING AREA Common Name Pallid sturgeon Carp Golden shiner Pearl dace Creek chub Northern redbelly dace Flathead chub Sturgeon chub Lake chub Emerald shiner Sand shiner Brassy minnow Plains minnow Western silvery minnow SOURCE: Elser et al. 1980. Fathead minnow Longnose dace River carpsucker Blue sucker Smallmouth buffalo Bigmouth buffalo Shorthead redhorse Longnose sucker White sucker Mountain sucker Stonecat Brook stickleback Iowa darter Freshwater drum Name Beardsley Boulware Clark Harms Homestead Maier Oil Pump Silvertip South Fork LEGEND: TABLE 36 FISHERY RESERVOIRS Location T. 9 N., R.52 E., sec.14 T. 6 N., R.54 E., sec.5 T. 13 N., R.48 E., sec.18 T. 13 N., R.48 E., sec.31 T. 14 N., R.49 E., sec. 7 T. 8 N., R.58 E., sec.24 T. 13 N., R.56 E., sec.30 T. 13 N., R.48 E., sec.24 T. 13 N., R.48 E., sec.17 CR = Crappie LMB = Largemouth Bass RBT = Rainbow Trout SMB = Smallmouth Bass YP = Yellow Perch Species RBT RBT RBT RBT LMB, SMB LMB, CR, YP RBT LMB, SMB RBT

Nongame
Fish Species of Special Interest and Concern in the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers are the paddlefish, pallid sturgeon, shortnose gar, and the sturgeon chub. Paddlefish is a species of concern because only seven populations are thought to be in existence in the world at the present time. The Yellowstone and Missouri rivers contain one of the last stable populations of paddlefish. The planning area has 9 livestock reservoirs that support fisheries on the public lands (see table 36). Major species include rainbow trout, largemouth bass, crappie, and yellow perch. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks monitors the fish populations and stocks the ponds regularly. Rainbow trout do not reproduce in stock ponds so are restocked, except in low-water years. Largemouth bass, crappie, and yellow perch will reproduce in most stock ponds. Pond fisheries have cycles of dry, low-water years when summer heat causes major fish kills; winters with extended periods of ice and snow have the same effect. The stock ponds need a minimum depth of 10 to 15 feet to support the fish populations; however, a greater depth is preferred to minimize winterkill and to avoid oxygen depletion. New fishery reservoirs should be at least 20 feet deep to compensate for siltation. Nongame animals are those not commonly pursued, hunted, or used for food, sport, or profit. Often, they are enjoyed by wildlife viewers or photographers. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has identified Species of Special Interest or Concern (Flath 1993) whose numbers or habitat may be limited in the foreseeable future, if not properly managed. For those species potentially found within the planning area, see table 37. Numerous nongame birds occupy various habitats; some are specific to a particular kind, but the highest densities occur in the riparian/ wetlands. Most nongame birds are migratory. Black-tailed prairie dogs occupy approximately 2,500 acres of public land within the resource area and are normally found on flat to gently rolling grasslands. Prairie dog towns provide habitat for more than thirty animal species, including the burrowing owl (species of special interest), swift fox (category 2 species), mountain plover (category 1 species), and black-footed ferret (endangered). Prairie dogs compete for forage with wildlife and livestock. In the past, prairie dog towns covered thousands of acres, but disease, improved grazing, and control programs have reduced the number significantly. Current management allows for the natural fluctuations of prairie dog populations. In the past 15 years two small control efforts have been conducted in cooperation with private landowners. One of the control efforts was successful, while the second was unsuccessful.

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CHAPTER 3 Wildlife TABLE 37 SPECIES OF SPECIAL INTEREST OR CONCERN

Mammals Northern long-eared bat Spotted bat Black-footed ferret Swift fox Lynx Meadow jumping mouse Fringed myotis Black-tailed prairie dog Merriam’s shrew Preble’s shrew

Birds Whooping crane Dickcissel Bald eagle Peregrine falcon Northern goshawk Ferruginous hawk White-faced ibis Common loon Burrowing owl Mountain plover Piping plover Loggerhead shrike Bairds sparrow LeContis sparrow Sage sparrow Black tern Least tern

Reptiles

Amphibians

Fish Sticklefin chub Sturgeon chub Pearl dace Shortnose gar Paddlefish Northern redbelly x Finscale dace Pallid sturgeon Blue sucker

Snapping turtle Canadian toad Spiny softshell turtle Milk snake Smooth green snake Western hognose snake

SOURCE: Flath 1993.

The “Wildlife” section in the Big Dry Resource Area’s Management Situation Analysis contains a list of the vertebrate species that inhabit the planning area (USDI, BLM 1990a). This includes 7 species of amphibians, 14 species of reptiles, 61 species of mammals, and 306 species of birds.

waterfowl and fish are available. Bald eagles currently are expanding their nesting territories down the Yellowstone River (Flath 1990). The least tern is known to nest in the planning area. Its habitat includes graveled islands associated with major rivers; one island adjacent to public land contains a colony of nesting least terns. During spring and fall migrations, the least tern uses stockwater reservoirs. The piping plover exist in the northern part of the planning area. Most sightings are north of the Missouri River. Its high value habitat is associated with natural saline wetlands. Recent surveys show that there is one parcel of public land used by piping plover for nesting and brood rearing. Although the minerals are federally owned in the piping plover habitat, there is no federal coal suitable for development. As opposed to the piping plover, the mountain plover is associated with the short-grass prairie. In this area, the prairie dog colonies provide the best habitat for the mountain plover. The mountain plover is a category 1 species and may be listed as threatened or endangered.

Threatened and Endangered Species
The bald eagle and the least tern are federally-listed endangered birds, and the piping plover is a federally-listed threatened bird. Bald eagle recovery zones include the Powder and Missouri rivers. The Missouri River has no known nesting bald eagles. Bald eagles nest along the Yellowstone River in Rosebud and Custer counties. The Yellowstone River is used during spring and fall migrations. Peak occurrence is November through April. The Missouri, Yellowstone, Musselshell, and Powder rivers provide habitat during migration as well as during the winter months. Bald eagles concentrate in and around areas of open water where

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CHAPTER 3 Wildlife The endangered whooping crane and the peregrine falcon migrate through the planning area, but do not nest or winter here. Although the habitat is conducive to the endangered black-footed ferret. This species is not believed to be present in the area at this time. The federally-endangered pallid sturgeon exists in the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers within the planning area. It relies on free-flowing river habitat with rocky or sandy bottoms. The Montana Black-footed Ferret Working Group has studied prairie dog towns capable of supporting blackfooted ferrets. They are assessing the possibility of blackfooted ferret reintroduction, and released a paper (Clark et al. 1986) suggesting eight possible reintroduction sites in Montana. One of these sites is located in Custer and Prairie counties. If a proposal is made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to reintroduce the black-footed ferret, further planning would be needed.

Game Birds
Sharp-tailed grouse are abundant in the planning area (see map 28), and are found in grasslands, grassland-shrubs, woodlands, riparian/wetlands, and agricultural habitats. The residual vegetation associated with these habitats are important for food and cover. Residual vegetation of 4 to 6 inches in height provides important nesting cover as well as security for broods. Nests normally are found within two miles of leks (dancing grounds). The planning area contains 310 known leks; 45 are on the public lands (see table 38). Sharp-tailed grouse prefer grasses, forbs, and cultivated grains in the spring; insects, leaves, dry seed, and fruits in the summer; grasses, seed, cultivated grains, and fruits of various trees and shrubs in the fall. Important food plants include alfalfa, clover, chokecherry, dandelion, and buffaloberry. During winter, the woody draws contain buffaloberry, snowberry, juniper, and wild rose for food and cover. If snow is not available for burrowing during severe winters, shrubs must be available for thermal cover. Studies show that sharp-tailed grouse can move some distance to find these shrubs (Nielson 1978).

TABLE 38 KNOWN SHARP-TAILED GROUSE LEKS IN THE PLANNING AREA Other Federal and State Land 0 2 10 1 0 0 3 0 1 0 20 1 38

County Custer Daniels Dawson Fallon Garfield McCone Prairie Richland Roosevelt Rosebud Sheridan Wibaux Total

Private Land 3 17 73 5 11 7 22 16 20 7 26 20 227

BLM-Administered Land 1 0 0 4 3 3 25 0 0 0 0 0 36

Mixed1 0 1 3 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 9

Total 4 20 86 12 14 10 51 18 21 7 46 21 310

SOURCE: BLM, Big Dry Resource Area files.
1

Includes public and private ownership

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CHAPTER 3 Wildlife There was a sighting that could possible be a northern swift fox. This may indicate the species is present within the planning area. Northern swift fox habitat is present on
public land within the planning area.

Sage grouse occupy approximately 247,500 acres on the public lands (see map 28), 16,000 acres of which are considered crucial winter range (see map 24). Sage grouse are primarily associated with big and silver sagebrush communities in grassland-shrub and shrub vegetation types. The importance of sagebrush to sage grouse is well documented. Sage grouse wintering and nesting habitats are managed to sustain a sagebrush component of 15 to 30 percent canopy coverage. Nesting habitat is located under sagebrush, and within 2 miles of leks (strutting grounds) (Wallestad and Pyrah 1974; Martin 1970). Sagebrush provides 80 to 100 percent of their winter diet (Wallestad and Schladweiler 1975, Martin 1970, Eng and Schladweiler 1972). For winter, the sage grouse prefer an area where shrubs are at least 12 inches high, and within 2 miles of their leks. Forbs, especially dandelion and salsify, are an important dietary component for the juveniles and adults in the spring and summer. The planning area has 148 known leks in the planning area,with 46 on the public lands.

Sharp-tailed

grouse.

TABLE 39 KNOWN SAGE GROUSE LEKS IN THE PLANNING AREA Other Federal and State Land 1 0 2 0 1 2 6

County Custer Fallon Garfield McCone Prairie Rosebud Total

Private Land 6 1 40 0 7 42 96

BLM-Administered Land 3 1 12 1 14 4 35

Mixed1 0 1 4 0 3 3 11

Total 10 3 58 1 25 51 148

SOURCE: BLM, Big Dry Resource Area files. Includes public and private ownership

The largest game bird in Montana is Merriam’s wild turkey. Although native to North America, it was first introduced to Montanain 1954 (Walchek 1990). Wild turkeys occupy the timbered streams, rivers, and the ponderosa pine hills and areas in proximity to agricultural lands and ranches where they can easily obtain food, especially in winter. Large

roosting trees such as cottonwoods and ponderosa pine are important year-round. In the spring and summer, green grasses and forbs provide food for the adult birds. Small grains, weed seed, and pine seeds are consumed during the fall and winter months. Poults (young turkeys) primarily eat insects during their first spring and summer.

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CHAPTER 3 Wildlife 1989b). In wet years, the Prairie Potholes region has the potential to produce more than half the annual duck population in North America. The Northern Great Plains region directly south of the Prairie Potholes region is not as productive, but vital, nevertheless. Water is the paramount factor in duck production; ducks nest within 2 miles of permanent water sites. Native grassland communities adjacent to wetlands are important nesting habitats for mallards and pintails. Although natural potholes are crucial for waterfowl nesting, reservoirs have become increasingly important in dry years and are often the only water source during drought periods. There are approximately 960 reservoirs, averaging 3-surface acres in size, located on the public lands in the planning area. In the spring, waterfowl depend primarily on upland areas near reservoirs and islands for nesting. Duck production varies from one to nine per surface acre of water, depending on their nesting cover. Early nesters such as mallards and pintails begin nesting in late April and depend on residual cover from the previous year. Blue-winged teal, American widgeon, and gadwall begin nesting about four weeks later, and are dependent upon the current vegetative cover. Broods use emergent aquatic and shoreline vegetation for food and cover during the late spring and summer. Both the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers are important waterfowl areas. Canada goose production on the Yellowstone River and its tributaries is significant. Islands constructed on 35 public land reservoirs are important to Canada geese and some duck species because they provide security from predators during nesting and brood rearing. Canada geese appear to be expanding their range from large historical breeding waters to reservoirs throughout the planning area. The largest variety and number of waterfowl occur during fall and spring migrations when the birds utilize standing grain crops and wetlands. Migratory waterfowl use the major rivers for roosting, cover, and feeding.

Merriam’s wild turkey.

Waterfowl are the most prominent and economically important migratory birds in North America, The planning area contains Canada geese, as well as 19 species of ducks, including the mallard, pintail, blue-winged teal, greenwinged teal, American widgeon, gadwall, and northern shoveler. The planning area’s northern portion contains part of the Prairie Potholes region (covering five states) which is widely acknowledged as the most important waterfowl producing area in North America (USDI, BLM

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CHAPTER 4

Environmental
Impacts

CHAPTER 4 Air Quality

INTRODUCTION
This chapter presents the environmental impacts of management actions described in chapter 2. Both the beneficial and the adverse impacts are described. Assumptions used in analyzing the environmental impacts are described for each resource. These assumptions include the demand for various resources, the ability of the resources to meet the demand, and how the actions would be carried out. The assumptions are based on previous events, experience of personnel, and knowledge of the resources in the planning area. This chapter is outlined alphabetically by resource and by alternative. Under each alternative the following are addressed: assumptions, impacts from management common to all alternatives, which sometimes includes cumulative impacts, impacts from management actions for each alternative, and conclusion. The conclusion contains a summary of impacts. This summary includes cumulative impacts, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and contains short-term impacts versus long-term productivity. For the purpose of analysis, “short-term” impacts described in this document are those that would last five years or less; “long-term” impacts would last six years or more. The analyses presented in this chapter were based on available information and on the professional judgment of resource specialists. It is difficult to assess the environmental impacts of land management without considering the interrelationships between various resource values and future development activities. For instance, impacts to big game would affect not only the wildlife population, but also the recreational use that depends on that resource. Conversely, environmental protection measures may raise costs of oil and gas exploration and production or make many areas unavailable for development. A road that serves oil and gas development and production enhances vehicular recreational opportunities for many people, but recreational usage of roads could create impacts to big game on crucial winter ranges. These factors are considered in the succeeding pages. This document does not consider impacts resulting from site-specific coal mining as there are no current coal lease applications. When a coal lease application and mine plan is submitted, a site-specific environmental impact statement of all resources, including prime or unique farmland, would be completed. The Cherry Creek Dam and associated special recreation management area proposals are discussed in this chapter. The anticipated impacts from creating a reservoir at the dam

site, development of a recreation area and obtaining the water are in this document. Environmental impacts from the actual construction of the dam will be addressed in another document.

GENERAL ASSUMPTIONS
The following assumptions apply to all analyses presented in this chapter. The BLM will comply with applicable laws, regulations, and policies in implementation of this resource management plan. Compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies is a part of day-to-day business. Such regulations deal with all resources and environmental components. The management actions will be carried out if adequate personnel and funding are available.

AIR QUALITY Assumptions
Air quality has the potential to be affected by mineral development, lands and realty actions, forestry practices, livestock grazing management activities, off-road vehicle uses, recreation activities, wildlife development, and fire control efforts. Management actions would comply with applicable federal, state, and local standards for air quality.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
The following are cumulative impacts to air resources. In the past, volcanoes in the west spewed enormous volumes of volcanic ash. Pushed by the prevailing winds, this ash was deposited tens of feet thick across eastern Montana. As evidenced by more recent volcanic eruptions in the Philippines and Washington state, particles can have a regional and even global affect on air quality. Volcanic activity also releases gases, degrading air quality downwind from the point of discharge. These gases include chlorides, hydrochloric acid, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide. Widespread use of internal combustion engines and improvement of agricultural implements started to affect air quality in the region in the 1920s. Pollution from combustion by-products on such a widespread scale could be absorbed and dissipated by the atmosphere without appreciable effects. The amount of soils exposed to wind erosion and the potential for particle suspension increased as acre-

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CHAPTER 4 Air Quality age plowed increased. Climatic conditions during the 1920s seemed optimal for small grain crops. Promotion by railroads and the Homestead Act, allowing individuals to patent land, increased acreage being farmed in this region. The drought of the 1930s resulted in high wind erosion rates and effected the air quality as far away as the East coast, resulting in days of perpetual twilight in New York. The arrival of the internal combustion engine affected air quality in other areas. Emissions from use and numbers of personal automobiles affected the air quality of the region. Increased use of the personal automobile expanded exploration for fluid minerals and construction of suitable roads, resulting in impacts to air quality. The need for energy producing minerals increased the exploration for these minerals and when found, extraction released particulates and volatile compounds. Lands put into the Conservation Reserve Program of the Food Security Act of 1985 resulted in less soil erosion, improving air quality by reducing particulates. Chemical spraying for noxious weed control is an air pollutant that would dissipate rapidly. Oil and gas exploration and development results in surface disturbance and release of volatile compounds affecting the atmosphere. While the areas affected are relatively small, the areas of oil and gas exploration and development are concentrated based on geologic characteristics. This concentration of exploration and development has a greater effect locally and downwind. Suspended particles from soil disturbance and flaring and venting of gas would continue to affect air quality locally and downwind. Air quality related values downwind from oil and gas producing areas may detrimentally affect Class I airsheds by emissions as activity increases. Mining, shipping, and burning of coal resources can add to particulate suspension as well as sulfur dioxide pollution. Particle suspension occurs on a localized, short-term basis when construction takes place in recreation areas, linear rights-of-way, and reservoir and pit construction. In fire areas (planned and unplanned ignition), a short-term degradation in air quality occurs from suspended particulates and gases. Wind erosion and effects on air quality would continue until vegetation has reestablished. Air quality in this region is probably affected more by activities outside the region. Large population centers upwind, such as Billings, Montana, continue to affect the region’s air quality. Refineries and manufacturing processes produce pollutants that are brought into the region with the wind. 112

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
Surface disturbance from structural improvement construction, coal mining, locatable mineral development, mineral material development, nonenergy leasable mineral development, oil and gas development, and open off-road vehicle use would cause dust and exhaust emissions. Gas vapors or other emissions from oil well blowouts, gas line ruptures, flaring and venting of produced gas would cause odors from nonpoisonous gases and fumes. The dust from surface disturbance and nonpoisonous gas odors would be short term and insignificant. Given its toxicity, if hydrogen sulfide emissions occur, they would be localized but possibly significant. Standard operating procedures for oil and gas development and production include appropriate mitigation measures to lessen the likelihood of such impacts.

Conclusion
Management actions which could contribute to cumulative affects on air quality are flaring from oil and gas wells, and air pollutants from a coal fired generation plant. The primary areas of concern for cumulative effects are classified as Class I areas. Class I areas in or next to the planning area are Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Fort Peck Indian Reservation, U L Bend Wilderness Area, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Potential air polluting activities affecting these areas would have to be mitigated. There would be no unavoidable adverse, irretrievable or irreversible impacts to air quality. There would be shortterm impacts but no long-term impacts from surface disturbance, oil and gas flaring, fire smoke, coal development and use.

ALTERNATIVE B
The impacts would be similar to those in Alternative A. The primary differences are in special management areas and there would be no coal leasing under this alternative. The special management areas are Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (80 surface and 680 minerals acres), the cultural areas of critical environmental concern (2,130 surface and 1,802 mineral acres), Lewis and Clark Trail, Makoshika State Park, Calypso, Powder River Depot, and Cherry Creek special recreation management areas (21,022 surface and 32,864 mineral acres), the paleontological (39,996 surface and 48,713 mineral acres) and wildlife areas of critical and environmental concern (1,167 surface

CHAPTER 4 Cultural Resources and mineral acres), and crucial winter ranges (636,265 surface and 700,979 mineral acres). There would be no air quality impacts associated with coal leasing in these areas. tion, and significance throughout the planning area. Surface disturbance has the potential to affect cultural resources. There is an average of one cultural site for every 100 acres of public land. One excavation to research a cultural resource property will be conducted every five years. Each excavation would disturb l/4 acre. Approximately one property out of 7 to 10 is found to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative there would be no impacts from coal development.

ALTERNATIVE

C

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
Surface-disturbing activities have the potential to cause adverse impacts to cultural resources. Activities using heavy equipment cause the most surface disturbance and impacts on cultural properties. These activities include mineral development (mineral materials, leasable, and locatable); road building; and site development (such as recreation sites). Off-road vehicle use, some recreational activities, and unauthorized collecting of artifacts have the potential to impact cultural resources. Natural processes (such as erosion and animal burrowing) have the potential to remove, damage or destroy cultural resources and result in the loss of important data. Other activities and actions also have the potential to affect cultural resources, such as fire, wood product sales, hazardous waste cleanups, land tenure adjustments, construction of livestock wells, springs, pipelines, fences and reservoirs, vegetative treatments and wildlife developments.

The impacts to air quality would be the same as Alternative A.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

ALTERNATIVE

D (Preferred Alternative)

The impacts to air quality would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative impacts from mineral development or open off-road vehicle use would not occur on the following special management areas: cultural areas of critical environmental concern (2,130 surface and 1,802 Adherence to the cultural resource laws and regulations will minimize and mitigate nearly all anticipated impacts to mineral acres), paleontological areas of critical environcultural resources. mental concern (39,996 surface and 48,713 mineral acres, wildlife areas of critical environmental concern (11,182
surface and mineral acres), Smoky Butte Area of Critical
Environmental Concern (80 surface and 680 mineral acres)
and the special recreation management areas (17,098 sur-

The cultural inventory process attempts to identify all previously unknown properties in a target area prior to

face and 26,236 mineral acres).

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative B.

CULTURAL RESOURCES Assumptions
Cultural resources would be treated as similar and equally distributed in terms of density, distribution, type, composi113 Archaeological site test excavation.

CHAPTER 4 Cultural Resources their being impacted, disturbed or destroyed. Cultural properties not located during inventory or mitigated through the application of BLM’s identification, evaluation and treatment procedures could otherwise be disturbed or destroyed by surface disturbing activities. In nearly all situations, cultural properties could be avoided by project redesign or relocation (BLM’s preferred standard practice) negating the need for additional mitigation measures. Significant cultural properties that cannot be avoided, could be mitigated through data recovery or excavation prior to allowing a project to proceed. The practice of applying archaeological mitigation measures to affected significant cultural resources offsets some of the impacts caused by surface disturbing activities. However, residual impacts would still occur. Inventory and mitigation increases the cultural resource database and scientific body of knowledge. Surface-disturbing activities also have the potential to discover properties that would otherwise be unknown by locating properties that were buried or not found during inventory. Chance discovery by the public also can identify previously unknown properties. Recovery or preservation of data from these finds is dependent on the find being brought to the attention of the scientific community or the BLM. If a significant property is being impacted by natural means, such as erosion, steps would be taken to reduce those impacts and prevent further degradation. The property could also be subjected to salvage mitigation measures. Ninety-one cultural sites could be encountered per year by wildfire and fire line construction activity. Of these sites, 9 to 13 would be potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Intensive fire suppression, in emergency situations, is regulated by the requirements listed in 36 CFR 78 and 800.12. Fire rehabilitation activities generally do not cause additional disturbance beyond the fire emergency situation. These impacts can be mitigated. The retention of public ownership and the acquisition of lands and minerals in the areas of important cultural properties would benefit cultural resources. Approximately 25 cultural properties could be found by inventories associated with 2,500 acres of land adjustments per year. Of these sites, 2 to 3 could be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. This would require mitigation. Over the 20-year life of this plan, the 50,000 acres of land adjustments could identify 500 cultural resource properties with 50 to 71 properties considered eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. At present, there are some 228 cultural resource sites recorded in the high oil and gas development potential 114 areas. These 228 cultural sites are located on both BLMadministered federal surface (171 sites, 2 eligible and 1 site potentially eligible), and on private surface overlying BLMadministered federal oil and gas mineral estate (57 ineligible sites). Three sites would require mitigation should they be impacted by future oil and gas developments. In the next 20 years, it is projected that 24 cultural properties would be encountered by proposed oil and gas development activities. It is also projected that between two to three of those properties could be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places requiring mitigation. Surface disturbance for range improvement projects could encounter 92 sites over a 20-year period with 9 to 13 of these 92 sites found eligible for the National Register of Historic Places necessitating mitigation. Over a 20-year period, 40 waterfowl projects would identify 2 to 4 ineligible cultural properties. Allowing prairie dog expansion could affect significant cultural sites, as prairie dog burrowing disturbs the context and relationships of buried cultural materials in soil profiles, causing the loss of archeological data. Impacts could also occur to cultural resource properties or areas which derive their significance from their topographic setting and religious values. Impacts to sites which have religious values (traditional cultural properties and localities with traditional lifeway values) usually are not able to be mitigated through standard mechanical or archival means, and there are some sites that cannot be mitigated at all. Consequently, there would be continuing impacts from off-site development causing disturbances to the setting and feeling of the site.

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
The Hoe, Big Sheep Mountain, Jordan Bison Kill, Seline, and Powder River Depot sites would not be designated as areas of critical environmental concern. These properties would be managed through the cultural resource planning process. Over the 20-year life of the plan, 63 cultural sites could be identified from rights-of-way. Of these, 6 to 9 could be found eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and would require mitigation.

CHAPTER 4 Cultural Resources One projected mine (location unknown at this time) would disturb 14,000 acres over the 40-year life of the mine and 140 cultural sites would be encountered by coal mine development. Of these sites, 14 to 20 could be found eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, requiring mitigation. Before coal leasing, cultural resource properties that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places would be declared unsuitable for coal leasing. Cultural resource properties that have been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but have not been listed, would not fulfill the unsuitability criterion. These sites would still be subject to mitigation before disturbance. Impacts to cultural resources would be the same as those in Alternative A, except in Alternative B there would be no impacts from rights-of-way and coal development. Construction of the Cherry Creek Dam would encounter 32 cultural properties. It is projected that 3 to 4 sites could be found eligible to the National Register of Historic Places requiring mitigation. Surface-disturbing activities in the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern would be restricted. This would reduce impacts to cultural properties. To date, seven sites have been recorded in this area with three additional sites projected to be found. Allowing expansion of prairie dogs in the core area, could affect a projected 7 to 10 eligible sites requiring mitigation due to prairie dog burrowing. Prairie dog burrowing can damage cultural values by disturbing the context and relationships of buried cultural materials in soil profiles, causing the loss of archeological data.

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts on cultural resources would not be significant. Over the next 20 years, surface-disturbing activities, land tenure adjustments, oil and gas developments, and coal leasing could identify 910 cultural properties with 90 to 129 eligible to the National Register, requiring mitigation. Not designating the five cultural areas of critical environmental concern would not insure long-term protection, but these properties would be managed consistent with existing laws and regulations. Unavoidable adverse impacts would occur to any cultural resources not discovered during survey, those damaged or destroyed by unauthorized surface disturbance, and vandalism. Although mitigation by excavation recovers valuable data, the process of archeological excavation using the most current archeological methods and technology, still results in the destruction of cultural properties and the destruction and loss of some data. Irretrievable, irreversible impacts would occur to cultural resources that are mitigated. Surface-disturbing activities that impact, disturb or destroy buried cultural resource properties can result in the irretrievable loss of previously undetected buried cultural resource values and data. Some data may also be lost through archeological excavation. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity of cultural resources.

Conclusion
Five cultural areas managed as areas of critical environmental concern would improve protection of these cultural resources. Over the next 20 years, surface-disturbing activities, land tenure adjustments, and oil and gas developments could encounter 1,422 to 1,424 cultural properties with 141 to 201 properties considered eligible to the National Register requiring mitigation. Unavoidable, irreversible, and irretrievable impacts would be the same as Alternative A. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity of cultural resources.

ALTERNATIVE C
This alternative would designate the five cultural areas of critical environmental concern as in Alternative B. The areas of critical environmental concern would be protected through mitigation. Rights-of-way would be avoided from the areas of critical environmental concern. For the remainder of the planning area, impacts from rights-of-way development would be the same as Alternative A. Within the 583,771 acres available for further consideration for coal leasing, of the 584 sites that could be identified, some 273 cultural sites have been recorded. These 273 cultural sites are located on both BLM-administered federal surface (112 sites, 11 eligible) and on private surface overlying BLM-administered federal coal mineral estate (161 sites, none eligible). A total of 11 of these sites have been determined eligible for the National Register of His-

ALTERNATIVE B
Designating the Hoe, Big Sheep Mountain, Seline, Powder River Depot, and Jordan Bison Kill sites as cultural areas of critical environmental concern and excluding all surfacedisturbing activities in these areas would enhance preservation and protection of the areas of critical environmental concern.

115

CHAPTER 4 Cultural Resources toric Places, requiring mitigation should they be impacted by future coal developments. In addition 57 to 81 sites could be found eligible for the National Historic Register of Historic Places, requiring mitigation. New properties discovered as part of cultural resource surveys conducted during mine plan development and mitigation efforts would add information to the cultural resource data base. This would benefit cultural resources. There are 32 cultural properties identified in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area. Special recreation management area developments could affect 3 to 4 sites that could be found eligible to the National Register of Historic Places, requiring mitigation. Surface-disturbing activities in the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern would be restricted. This would reduce impacts to cultural properties. To date, seven sites of the projected 10 have been recorded within this area. Allowing expansion of prairie dogs on public lands in the core area could affect a projected 7 to 10 eligible sites requiring mitigation due to prairie dog burrowing. Prairie dog burrowing can damage cultural values by disturbing the context and relationships of buried cultural materials in soil profiles, causing the loss of archeological data. Impacts from coal leasing would be the same as Alternative C. Open off-road vehicle use on 2,320 acres in two areas near Terry and Glendive, Montana, could encounter some 23 cultural resource properties in these areas with 2 to 3 cultural properties found to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, requiring mitigation. To date, some 12 sites are known to exist and have been recorded within these areas. At present none have been found eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Buried cultural material could be uncovered and damaged by off-road vehicle activities. If monitoring determines this to be the case, mitigation of significant cultural properties would occur.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irretrievable and irreversible impacts would be the same as Alternative B. Over the next 20 years, surface-disturbing activities, land tenure adjustments, oil and gas developments, coal leasing, Cherry Creek Dam development, and intensive off-road vehicle use areas could encounter 2,092 cultural properties with 208 to 296 of those properties eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, requiring mitigation. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity of cultural resources.

Conclusion
Over the next 20 years, cumulative impacts could occur as a result of surface-disturbing activities, land tenure adjustments, and oil and gas developments. These actions encounter 2,057 to 2,059 cultural properties with 204 to 291 of those properties eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, requiring mitigation. Unavoidable adverse impacts would occur to any cultural property not discovered during a Class III inventory. Any cultural property not discovered during inventory would be irretrievable and irreversible. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity of cultural resources.

FIRE MANAGEMENT Assumptions
The number of fire occurrences in the planning area would consist of about 26 wildfires per year, averaging 348 acres per fire. The fires would range in size from 1/4 acre to 1,000 acres. Surface disturbance caused from fire lines would average 3 acres per fire or a total of 78 acres per year.

ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
Impacts to cultural resources would be the same as Alternative B, except those impacts from rights-of-way, coal leasing, and off-road vehicle use. In Alternative D avoiding the cultural areas of critical environmental concern when rights-of-way are constructed would reduce impacts. Most the cultural areas of critical environmental concern are small so avoidance could occur. For the remainder of the planning area, rights-of-way development would have the same impacts as Alternative A. 116

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
Not allowing wood product sales for firewood except in the Knowlton, Pine Unit, and Missouri Breaks would result in minor impacts to fire suppression from accumulation of downed and dead fuels. Prescribed fire can reduce fire hazards that are present because of an accumulation of fuels.

CHAPTER 4 Forestry

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
There are no specific management actions that would result in a significant impact to the fire program.

the Powder River Depot (171 acres) special recreation management areas would create a greater potential for wildfires.

Conclusion
There are no cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irretrievable or irreversible impacts to fire management. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity.

Conclusion
There are no cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irretrievable or irreversible impacts to fire management. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity.

FORESTRY Assumptions

ALTERNATIVE B
Excluding livestock grazing and concentrating public use in the Lewis and Clark Trail (14,000 acres), Calypso (69 acres), Cherry Creek (2,858 acres), and the Powder River Depot (171 acres) special recreation management areas would create a greater potential for wildfires. There is a small demand for major wood products (saw timber sales) in the planning area. The demand for minor wood products (firewood, post and poles, and Christmas trees) and other vegetative products (wildings, boughs for Christmas wreaths) would be met and would remain constant over the next 20 years. Minor wood product sales would average about 25 permits for firewood (5 cords each), one permit for 100 trees for posts and poles, and 100 Christmas trees per year.

Conclusion
There are no cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irretrievable or irreversible impacts to fire management. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
Limber pine would be enhanced and other forest resources would not be significantly impacted.

ALTERNATIVE C
The same impacts would occur to the fire management program as Alternative B, except under this alternative there would not be as great an accumulation of fire fuels as livestock grazing would be allowed in the special recreation management areas.

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
There would be no significant impacts to forest resources under Alternatives A,B,C, and D.

Conclusion
There are no cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irretrievable or irreversible impacts to fire management. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity.

Conclusion
There are no cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irretrievable or irreversible impacts to forestry in any of the alternatives. There would be no short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity.

ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
Excluding livestock grazing and concentrating public use in the Calypso (69 acres), Cherry Creek (2,858 acres), and

117

CHAPTER 4 Lands

LANDS Assumptions
An average of 2,500 acres of land adjustments would be completed each year. It is projected that 12,500 acres of land would be exchanged over a 5-year period, and 50,000 acres would be adjusted in 20 years. Since land is exchanged on a fair-market value basis, there would be no net change in the value of public and private lands from exchanges, but rather a shifting of the existing public and private land base. When possible, lands would be exchanged within county boundaries to lessen the effects on tax base and payment in lieu of taxes payments. An average of 13 linear rights-of-way (roads, overhead power lines, pipelines, or buried cables) would disturb 55 acres per year. A total of 65 linear rights-of-way would disturb 275 acres over a 5-year period, and 260 linear rightsof-way would disturb 1,100 acres over a 20-year period. Only one major pipeline (10 inches or greater in diameter) is expected to be built across public lands in the planning area over the next 20 years. This project would require a right-of-way 50 feet wide and 40 miles long and would disturb 240 acres. An average of two nonlinear rights-of-way (communication sites or facilities) would disturb 10 acres per year. A

total of 10 nonlinear rights-of-way would disturb 50 acres over a 5-year period, and 40 nonlinear rights-of-way would disturb 200 acres over a 20-year period. The total disturbance for rights-of-way would be 1,540 acres over a 20-year period. Fifty percent of this disturbance would be reclaimed within the 20-year period after the rights-of-way are relinquished. Approximately three land use permits or leases would be issued each year. These vary in size from 1 acre to more than SOacres, depending upon use. A majority of permits are issued with temporary work areas or emergency road repair. One easementwould be acquired per year to increase access to public lands.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
Lands not meeting the criteria for disposal would not be available for exchange or sale following site specific inventories. This would not significantly impact the lands program. Resolution of unauthorized uses of public lands would produce positive environmental impacts and economic

Geologic formations in Makoshika State Park.
118

CHAPTER 4 Livestock Grazing Management impacts. These lands would be reclaimed, benefitting multiple-use management. tivity due to exclusion of rights-of-way development would be the increased distances.

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
There are no specific management actions that would result in a significant impact.

ALTERNATIVE C
Rights-of-way development would be affected within the special recreation management areas, Makoshika State Park, and areas of critical environmental concern. Approximately 64,224 acres within these areas would be avoided from rights-of-way development. Rights-of-way would be rerouted if an alternative route exists. As rights-of-way would be allowed when necessary, the impact to companies would not be as significant as Alternative B.

Conclusion
There would be no cumulative impacts for the lands program. Land exchanges and sales would adjust the public land pattern to better manage public lands. There would be no cumulative impacts to rights-of-way in this alternative. Unavoidable adverse impacts could occur on public lands transferred to other ownerships due to changes in land use. Payments in lieu of taxes and county tax base would be affected, but this impact is not expected to be significant. There would be no irreversible or irretrievable impacts to the lands program. The short-term impacts of land adjustment would affect the long-term managing of public lands in the planning area.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irretrievable and irreversible impacts, and short-term impacts on long-term productivity would be the same as Alternative A. When rights-of-way development is avoided, the impacts would be the same as Alternative B.

ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
Rights-of-way development would be significantly affected from the cultural and wildlife areas of critical environmental concern, Makoshika State Park, and the special recreation management areas. These areas would be avoided and the Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern excluded from rights-of-way development. The impacts to companies would be the same as Alternative C, but under this alternative on 33,019 acres.

ALTERNATIVE B
Rights-of-way development (694,236 acres) would be significantly affected within the special recreation management areas, crucial winter ranges, and areas of critical environmental concern. Rights-of-way for irrigation pumping stations would be affected the greatest by the exclusion of rights-of-way. This is due to ditching elevations necessary to irrigate adjacent private lands. It is estimated that one facility would be affected throughout the life of the plan. Companies would be required to reroute new developments in the special recreation management areas and areas of critical environmental concern, and delay construction in crucial winter ranges. This would increase their costs.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irretrievable, irreversible impacts and short-term impacts on long-term productivity would be the same as Alternative A. When rights-ofway development is avoided, the impacts would be the same as Alternative B.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irretrievable, irreversible and short-term impacts on long-term productivity of land tenure adjustment actions would be the same as Alternative A. Cumulative impacts to rights-of-way applicants would be increased costs. There would be no unavoidable adverse, irretrievable or irreversible impacts to rights-ofway applicants. Short-term impacts on long-term produc-

LIVESTOCK GRAZING MANAGEMENT Assumptions
Livestock grazing management actions would be implemented focusing on “I” category allotments. Improvement 119

CHAPTER 4 Livestock Grazing Management
Drought was prevalent in the area in the 1930s. Livestock
died, soil blew away, and people left the ranges and nonirrigated lands.

In 1935, two grazing districts were formed under the Taylor

Grazing Act. All of the public domain lands, which were
lands that were never homesteaded, were administered by the Grazing Service who in 1946 became part of the BLM
(USDI, BLM 1958). The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, as amended, proposed "to stop injury to the public grazing lands by preventing overgrazing and oil deterioration, to provide for their orderly use, improvement and develop-

ment to stabilize the livestock industry dependent upon the
public rangeland and for other purposes."

Prior to this time the public land was grazed by whoever

projects funded by BLM over the next 20 years would be 200 reservoirs, 65 wells, 70 springs, 225 miles of pipelines, 100 miles of fence, 5,000 acres of prescribed burns, and 4,000 acresof mechanical treatments. Improvement projects funded by livestock operators on public land would be 120 reservoirs, 35 wells, 50 springs, 135 miles of pipelines, 150 miles of fence, and 4,000 acres of mechanical treatments. Implementation of grazing management actions or activity plans would occur at a rate of two to three allotments per year. Over the next 20 years the rate of project development by livestock operators and the BLM would be 320 reservoirs, 100 wells, 100 to 120 springs, 360 miles of pipeline, 250 miles of fence, and 8,000 acres of land treatments.

used the forage first. This promoted overgrazing. The

Taylor Grazing Act began the process of attaching grazing
use on the public lands to private land that was capable of
supporting livestock during the winter.

These past events have helped to bring stability to the
livestock operations in the area. Fluctuations in livestock numbers since the 1960s have primarily been affected by
economics, weather, and insects. The drought and grass-

hopper infestations in the 1980s brought about substantial reductions in livestock numbers. The graph of cattle and calves for Montana (figure 11) shows the trend in cattle
numbers since 1940. This graph can be compared to the

graph of mean annual precipitation for northeastern Montana which shows the good moisture years of the 1960s and

1970s and the erratic precipitation in the 1980s.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
The following are cumulative impacts to livestock grazing.
In the early 1880s trail herds came up from Texas and Kansas. These cattle thrived on the open range until the severe winter of 1886. "Of a herd of 2,000 which the Hashknife threw onto the range late in the fall, only six were

Sheep numbers peeked in the early 1940s. The reduction in fur values and restrictions on predator control has provided for increases in predator populations. This factor combined with decreasing returns for sheep products have helped fuel
a steady decline in sheep populations since 1960 (see figure

12). Reductions in grazing use imposed by the U.S. Fish and

found alive" (Brown 1991). More than half of the cattle in
eastern Montana perished that winter. After this, stockmen

Wildlife Service on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in the late 1980s has reduced livestock production on ranches bordering the refuge.

began to settle in the area and commenced to put up hay and
care for their livestock in the winter.

The spread of noxious weeds has also impacted livestock
The Buffalo Rapids irrigation project added 22,938
irrigatable acres to the area near Terry, Montana, in 1939. production. Leafy spurge is currently estimated at 4,500

acres. Patches of knapweed have been found and have a high potential for spreading. Some infestations of leafy spurge have resulted in significant impacts to individual

These projects helped to add hay and crops for winter feed

(USDI, BLM 1958). This added to stabilization and increases in livestock production.
Construction of railroads from 1908 to 1928 and the increase in the prevalence of the automobile helped improve

livestock operators but the overall current impact to livestock production in the planning area has been minor.

Ecological status is expected to improve due to efforts of livestock operators; county agents and boards; Montana

marketability if livestock (USDI, BLM 1958).

120

CHAPTER 4 Livestock Grazing Management FIGURE 11

CATTLE & CALVES INVENTORY: January 1, 1940-1991
5

4

Million Head

3

2

1

0 1940

1945

1950

1955

1960

1965

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

Source: USDA, Montana Agricultural Statistic Services 1991.

Source: USDA, Montana Agricultural Statistic Services 1991.

25

20

Precipitation in inches

15

10

5

0 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1992.

Cluster 3 (years)

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1992
121

CHAPTER 4 Livestock Grazing Management FIGURE 12

SHEEP AND LAMBS INVENTORY: January 1, 1940-1991
5

4

Million Head

3

2

1

0 1940

1945

1950

1955

1960

1965

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

Source: USDA, Source: USDA,Montana Agricultural Statistic Services 1991. Montana Agricultural Statistic Services 1991.

Department of State Lands; Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Soil Conservation Service and Agricultural Stabilization Service; and the BLM. These efforts and improvements in range management will help to stabilize and increase livestock production. Factors which could negatively affect livestock production in the next 20 years are economics, national policy, weather, insects, and the spread of noxious weeds. All alternatives for this plan will provide for a stable or increased amount of forage available for livestock production. Fire suppression efforts would limit forage loss caused by wildfires. Fires would reduce forage from 1 to 2 years, and livestock grazing would be lost (1,812 animal unit months per year) until vegetation recovers. In an average year this impact would only be significant if the animal unit months lost were on one allotment. Prescribed fire can be used to enhance vegetative cover for livestock grazing. Thick stands of ponderosa pine without grass and forbs understory may have no value for grazing, yet following a fire these areas would provide up to 0.16 to 0.22 animal unit months per acre, or 800 to 1,100 animal unit months over the next 20 years. Ponderosa pine areas with a grass and forb understory would increase production by 1/3 to 1/2 following a fire. These benefits may be realized for 10 to 15 years following a fire.

Allowing prairie dog expansion causes a 40 to 90 percent loss of forage (Heitschmidt 1991). The loss in forage would become most critical during dry years, when forage is limited. There may also be some benefit to livestock grazing in prairie dog towns due to the higher protein concentration in forage (Whicker, April D. and James K. Detling 1988 and Michael E. O’Meilia 1976). Activity plans would be developed with priority given to 12 allotments containing riparian areas that are not properly functioning or in poor condition. Livestock grazing would benefit from improvement of the vegetative resources in riparian areas. Management of these areas would cause minor impacts to livestock operators as changes are implemented. Visual resource management Class I (83,240 acres) limits the options available for livestock management. In the next 20 years, proposed range improvements which may not be authorized as a result of visual resource management Class I designations are 3 miles of fence, 10 reservoirs, 2 wells, and 4.5 miles of pipeline.

122

CHAPTER 4 Livestock Grazing Management

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
Open off-road vehicle use designation is a management action that may cause impacts to livestock grazing. Open off-road vehicle use may cause a decrease of desirable forage, an increase in noxious weeds, and create an opportunity for disturbance to livestock. The planning area has been open for off-road vehicle historically, and there is no evidence of significant impacts, but the potential exists if an increase in off-road vehicle use occurs. As lands are reclaimed and new areas are mined, coal development would cancel 640 animal unit months per year, or a maximum of 640 to 830 animal unit months at any one time.

lessees. A total of approximately 2,900 animal unit months would be lost to livestock grazing. The most significant impact would be when grazing use shifts to a different season of use (8,880 animal unit months) from excluding grazing on crucial winter ranges from December 1 through March 31. There are 42 allotments affected during that period. The BLM would need to construct 75 miles of fence in this crucial winter range, and the operators would be responsible for the maintenance. Available animal unit months in the planning area would decrease by 574 from excluding grazing on the Calypso, Cherry Creek, and Powder River Depot special recreation management areas; and the Smoky Butte and the Piping Plover areas of critical environmental concern. The Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area would have a reduction of 482 animal unit months. These animal unit months are spread among three allotments and the largest reduction to one allotment would be 10 percent. Based on total animal unit months in these allotments, these impacts are not significant. BLM would protest water rights applied on Cherry Creek for more than 15-acre feet. Impacts to upstream users applying for these water rights would not be significant as 15-acre feet allows for most developments needed for livestock operations. Designating the planning area as limited for off-road vehicle use would reduce the off-road vehicle impacts described in Alternative A.

Conclusion
Vegetation and forage would increase due to enhancement of riparian/wetland areas, prescribed burning, mechanical treatment and development of rangeland improvements. There would be no unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts to livestock grazing. Short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity would be from the development of new allotment management plans and open off-road vehicle use. The development of new allotment management plans could change management practices for livestock operators. This could result in an increase of more dependable forage and development of new range improvements that could enhance the manageability of the livestock operations. Open off-road vehicle use would increase noxious weeds, which would increase costs and decrease desirable forage.

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative the decrease in forage in the core area for the black-footed ferret and in the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern becomes more critical during dry years. Unavoidable adverse impacts would occur to those livestock operators affected by the exclusion of livestock in the Lewis and Clark Trail, Cherry Creek, Powder River Depot and Calypso special recreation management areas, the Smoky Butte and the Piping Plover areas of critical environmental concern, Fallon County sanitary landfill, and the seasonal use restrictions on crucial winter ranges. These actions would affect 102 allotments by causing them to change management practices, acquire other lands or reduce herds. There would be no irreversible and irretrievable impacts. Development of new allotment management plans would have the same short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity as in Alternative A. Limited offroad vehicle use would decrease the spread of noxious weeds in the short-term. This also would decrease control costs and increase desirable forage.

ALTERNATIVE B
When 160 acres are sold to Fallon County for a sanitary landfill, 36 animal unit months would be canceled. There are 1,151 acres of active prairie dog towns on public lands in the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern. There would be a 40 to 90 percent loss of forage due to prairie dogs (Heitschmidt 1991). Allowing prairie dog expansion in the black-footed ferret core area could affect 10,015 acres of public land. The decrease in forage would become the most critical during dry years, when forage is limited. Excluding livestock from the Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management Area would result in partial or complete loss of animal unit months for 66 permittees and

123

CHAPTER 4 Livestock Grazing Management

ALTERNATIVE

C

administration of 295 animal unit months. Allotments affected in Makoshika State Park are:
Ferguson, 356 public animal unit months, 22 animal
unit months would be cancelled from BLM-adminis-

Impacts from off-road vehicle use and coal development would be the same as Alternative A. Impacts from the black-footed ferret core area, the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern, the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern; and the Cherry Creek, Powder River Depot, and Calypso special recreation management areaswould be the same asAlternative B. Approving the recreation and public purposes application for Makoshika State Park (3,924 acres) to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks would result in canceling BLM-administration of 304 animal unit months for the three operators that would be affected. Exchanging the 640 acres to Fallon County for a sanitary landfill would result in the cancellation and acquisition of 145 animal unit months.

tration:

Nemitz-Engle common allotment, Nemitz: 451 public
animal unit months, 61 animal unit months would be cancelled from BLM-administration and Engle: 217

public animal unit months, 29 animal unit months

would be cancelled from BLM-administration.

Engle (Individual) allotment, 68 public animal unit
months an 38 animal unit months would be cancelled

from BLM-administration.

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative the decrease in forage in the black-footed ferret core area and in the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern becomes more critical during dry years. Unavoidable adverse impacts would be the same as Alternative B, except under this alternative they would only occur on five allotments from the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Makoshika State Park, and the Fallon County sanitary landfill. There would be no irreversible and irretrievable impacts and short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

As lands for coal development are reclaimed and new areas are mined, animal unit months would be canceled at a rate of 640 per year, or a maximum of 640 to 830 animal unit months at any one time. This impact is not significant.

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative the decrease in forage in the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern becomes more critical during dry years. Unavoidable adverse impacts would be the same as Alternative B, except they would only occur on ten allotments in the special recreation management areas, the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Makoshika State Park, and the Fallon County sanitary landfill. There would be no irreversible and irretrievable impacts. Short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity would be the same as Alternative B, except under this alternative there would be an increase of noxious weeds on the 2,320 acresopen to offroad vehicle use.

ALTERNATIVE

D (Preferred Alternative)

Management actions would not significantly impact livestock grazing. Areas excluded from livestock grazing would be the Cherry Creek, Powder River Depot, and Calypso special recreation management areas, and from May 1 through July 15 in the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The impacts for these areaswould be the same as Alternative B. These actions would reduce 563 available animal unit months and require an additional 10 l/2 miles of fence. Impacts from the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern are the same as in Alternative B.
Since most of the planning area would be limited off-road vehicle use, disturbance to livestock may increase in the areas designated as open.

Disposal of public lands for the Fallon County sanitary landfill and Makoshika State Park would cancel BLM-

Eastern Montana prairie.

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CHAPTER 4 Minerals - Coal

MINERALS COAL Assumptions
The uncertainty now of mine location and size will limit analysis to a general discussion, and some of the assumptions are on the basis of best estimates. Other assumptions are on the basis of existing literature, research, and industry input. Coal in the planning area has low potential for underground mining, so coal analysis is based on surface mining only. This analysis is not meant as a substitute for a detailed site-specific evaluation for an environmental impact statement that will be required when a mining project is actually proposed (the “Coal” section in the Minerals appendix has additional assumptions and explains the coal planning process applied when a specific tract is under consideration). There would be no new coal mines developed in the next 5 years. If leasing occurs, one mine would be developed in the next 20 years. It would take about 7 years from the date of issuance of a coal lease to develop the mine and start coal production. The mine would disturb about 340 acres of land per year for a total of approximately 14,000 acres over a 40year mine life. The production rate would be 5.5 million tons per year for a total of 220 million tons. Each year’s disturbance area would take from 10 to 13 years for completion of the cycle (from initial disturbance, through mining, reclamation, and bond release). Reclamation from previous years would be during mining in later years. Final reclamation would be complete 9 to 12 years after mining has ceased. When the mine is in full production, the total area under either active mining or reclamation in any given year would range from 3,400 to 4,400 acres. The reasonably foreseeable development scenario for coal in the planning area was developed by updating the Fort Union Long Range Coal Market Analysis (USDI, BLM 1987b). Since 1987, several changes have occurred in the management of federal coal in the region. The most significant change was on May 23, 1989, when the Fort Union Regional Coal Team decided not to start coal activity in the region and to decertify the region so as to allow coal leasing by application. The forecast balance between coal supply and demand in the region through the year 2000 was an important factor in that decision.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
Coal-for-coal exchanges compensate the BLM by providing coal of equal value. If the BLM does not receive lands containing coal, the net impact would be a diminished federal coal estate.

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
After application of 20 unsuitability criteria (43 CFR 3461.1) as conducted for Fort Union Round II regional coal leasing in the planning area, there would be 354,641 acres of federal coal, with an estimated 6.97 billion tons of coal available for further consideration for coal activity. Oil and gas production could present minor conflicts with coal development in these areas. Mineral material and locatable mineral development could be in conflict with coal development if they are available on the same site. However, sand and gravel would be available elsewhere and the likelihood of a locatable mineral claim on the same property would be minimal.

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts would be positive for coal production in Alternative A. There is more than enough federal coal in the planning area available to meet the demand of one coal mine in the next 20 years. There might be a shift in location of the mine due to restrictions. If BLM managed coal is available, it will probably be included in a mine plan. This is because use of federal coal will allow a wide choice of mine sites. Unavoidable adverse impacts would be the unavailability of about 3 billion tons of coal after application of the 20 unsuitability criteria. Irreversible and irretrievable impacts could be the mining and removal of 220 million tons of coal from the federal coal reserve. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity.

ALTERNATIVE B
A total of 847,379 acres of federal coal containing an estimated 9.16 billion tons of high and moderate potential

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CHAPTER 4 Minerals - Coal development coal would be unavailable for coal leasing. This would result in a significant loss of federal revenues from rents, royalties, and bonus bids.

LOCATABLE MINERALS Assumptions

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts would be negative for coal production in this alternative. The reasonably foreseeable development for coal is one mine in the next 20 years. Under Alternative B, the demand probably can be met with private and state coal. There would be no income to the federal government and no involvement of BLM in management decisions. Not making coal available is an unavoidable adverse impact. There would be no irretrievable or irreversible impacts. Short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity would be the unavailability of 2.95 billion tons of coal on 847,379 acres of federal mineral estate. Five claims per year would be filed (most likely for bentonite), but only one mine would be active in the next 20 years. Each mining claim would cover an estimated 20 acres. Mineral claims for bentonite, gold, and uranium exist in the planning area; however, no development for locatable minerals has been recorded. The likelihood of future development is minimal. If bentonite becomes an issue in the future, further planning would be needed. The chance of a coal developer and a mineral claimant leasing or claiming the same property is minimal.

ALTERNATIVE C
The application of the 20 unsuitability criteria (43 CFR 3461.1) would remove 263,608 federal acres with 2.94 billion tons of coal from coal leasing (see the “Coal” section in the Minerals appendix). A total of 583,771 federal coal acres with an estimated 6.23 billion tons of coal would be available for further consideration. The impacts would be the same as Alternative A.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
There are no impacts to locatable minerals from management common actions.

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A

Conclusion
The cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity resulting from management actions would be the same as Alternative A.

ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
The application of the 20 unsuitability criteria (43 CFR 3461.1) would remove 266,805 federal acres with 2.99 billion tons of coal from coal leasing (see the “Coal” section in the Minerals appendix). A total of 580,547 federal coal acres with an estimated 6.18 billion tons of coal would be available for further consideration. The impacts would be the same as Alternative A.

The continuing availability of coal identified in the Fort Union Region II coal leasing creates potential conflicts with locatable minerals. Coal development would prevent operations for other minerals on the same site unless operators reach a mutual agreement for timing of each activity. The chance of a coal developer and a claim on the same property would be remote.

Conclusion
As the likelihood of future locatable mineral development is expected to be minimal, there would be no cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity.

Conclusion
The cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity resulting from management actions would be the same as Alternative A.

ALTERNATIVE B
The withdrawal of public land from locatable mineral entry (84,807 acres) would prevent locatable minerals from be-

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CHAPTER 4 Minerals - Mineral Materials ing claimed. Impacts would occur to individuals who lose access to potential mineral resources; however, these impacts would be insignificant. Smoky Butte intrusives consist of mineral assemblages which are not considered economically valuable. About 100 acres of the proposed withdrawal are located as active lode claims. Surface mining of 100 acres would destroy the main butte in the west one-half of section 12 and obliterate all of the locatable resource values. Any chance of mining is very remote. When withdrawing the locatable minerals from entry, the rights of the existing claimants will still allow them to hold these claims under the General Mining Laws. The claimants can only lose title to the claims if they abandon the claims or if the claims are determined to be invalid.

Conclusion
As the likelihood of future locatable mineral development is expected to be minimal, there would be no cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity.

MINERAL MATERIALS Assumptions
Three mineral material sales or permits (probably for sand and gravel) would be issued per year. Each mineral site would disturb about 5 acres, and would yield 10,000 yards of material. Each pit would operate about 5 years.

Conclusion
As the likelihood of future locatable mineral development is expected to be minimal, there would be no cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
Mineral material sales would not be allowed in Makoshika State Park. Timing limitations for upland game bird leks and nests, and raptor nests and buffer zones could interfere with some pit operations. Approximately 100 acres may have activities curtailed due to visual resource class III management objectives. The relative abundance of mineral materials versus the low demand makes these impacts minimal.

ALTERNATIVE C
Impacts from coal development would be the same as in Alternative A. Impacts from withdrawing public land from locatable mineral entry would be the same as Alternative B, except under this alternative withdrawals would occur on 8,075 acres.

Conclusion
As the likelihood of future locatable mineral development is expected to be minimal, there would be no cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity.

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
There are no specific management actions that would result in significant impacts.

Conclusion ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
Impacts would be the same as Alternative C, except under this alternative a total of 59,656 acres would be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry (see table 57 in the “Locatable Minerals and Mineral Materials” section in the Minerals appendix). Cumulative impacts to mineral materials would be positive. There are no management actions that would significantly affect the availability of mineral materials. There would be no unavoidable adverse impacts. The irreversible and irretrievable impacts would be the 10,000 cubic yards extracted yearly from each pit. These mineral materials would not be replaceable. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity.

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CHAPTER 4 Minerals - Mineral Materials

ALTERNATIVE B
Closure of mineral material sales in the Fallon County sanitary landfill, the Powder River Depot, Lewis and Clark Trail, and Cherry Creek special recreation management areas and the areas of critical environmental concern would prevent access to mineral materials on 78,339 federal mineral acres. There are approximately 300 acres of mineral materials in the Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management Area estimated to contain about 6.7 million cubic yards of sand and gravel reserves. The amount assumed to be permitted each year (30,000 cubic yards) is about 0.44 percent of the estimated reserve base for sand and gravel. Closure would result in lost revenue from those permits that are not for free-use. The availability of other public land would reduce this loss.

Additional mineral material sites in the planning area could satisfy the demand.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

NONENERGY LEASABLE MINERALS Assumptions
The likelihood of future development is minimal to none.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
There are no impacts to nonenergy leasable minerals from management common actions.

ALTERNATIVE C
The unavailability of mineral material sales in the Piping Plover, Smoky Butte, and Black-footed Ferret areas of critical environmental concern and in the Fallon County sanitary landfill would prevent access to mineral materials. Additional sites would be available to satisfy the mineral demand.

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
There are no impacts to nonenergy leasable minerals under Alternatives A,B,C, and D.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

Conclusion
As the likelihood of future nonenergy leasable mineral development is anticipated to be minimal, there would be no cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible, or irretrievable impacts. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity.

ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
Mineral materials would be unavailable in the Powder River Depot, Lewis and Clark Trail, and Cherry Creek special recreation management areas, areas of critical environmental concern and the Fallon County sanitary landfill. These areas total 88,834 federal mineral acres (see table 57 in the “Locatable Minerals and Mineral Materials” section in the Minerals appendix). The lack of access to these areas results in the potential loss of income to the federal government. An undetermined amount of scoria would be buried or moved during surface mining of coal. This disturbance would eliminate scoria sites from future commercial use.

OIL AND GAS Assumptions
Drilling in the planning area would proceed at a rate of 686 oil and gas wells during the next 5 years and 2,744 wells during the next 20 years regardless of mineral ownership.

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CHAPTER 4 Minerals - Oil and Gas Table 40 shows the predicted development rates for the next 5 years for each of the identified high and moderate oil and gas potential development areas. Table 41 shows maximum surface disturbance likely to occur in the high and moderate development potential areas. Producing oil and gas wells in the planning area have an average life span of 25 years, which includes 20 years of production and 5 years for reclamation. Wells completed as dry holes have a 5-year reclamation life span.

TABLE 40 DRILLING RATES FOR THE NEXT 5 YEARS Producing Wells High Areas Cedar Creek anticline Williston basin Cow Creek/Richey Mosby dome Sumatra Moderate Potential Areas Total Dry Wells

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
The following are cumulative impacts to oil and gas resources. In the past, most of the federal oil and gas acreage in the planning area was made available for leasing with only the terms of the lease affording protection to other resources from oil and gas activities. Under current land use planning and environmental protection requirements, most of the federal oil and gas acreage in the planning area is available for leasing. All federal leases are issued with standard stipulations which provide protection to other resources from oil and gas activities. Nonfederal oil and gas resources, such as Indian and fee, are available for leasing by the mineral owner with lease terms or other contractual agreements. The cumulative impact to oil and gas resources has been a reduction of the resources from the removal of oil and gas from producing wells. The cumulative impact to leases is a reduction in lease value from stipulations and regulations. The cumulative impacts to lease developments are a reduction in wells drilled on leases encumbered with stipulations, an increase in wells drilled on leases with minimal constraints, and an increase in operating costs because of land use decisions, lease stipulations and regulations. Leases would be issued with stipulations to protect other resources from impacts associated with oil and gas operations. Leases would be issued with a no surface occupancy stipulation to protect bald eagle, ferruginous hawk, peregrine falcon and grouse nests, least tern habitat, grouse leks, limber pine, paleontological localities, and Visual Resource Management Class I areas. The stipulation would affect 8,947 acres of lands classified as high development potential oil and gas, and 129,309 acres of lands classified as moderate development potential oil and gas for a total of 138,256 acres. The areas affected by the no surface occupancy stipulation would be accessible by directional drilling, except for 19,383 acres within the Visual Resource Management Class I areas where the interior of large blocks of no surface occupancy acreage would not be accessible by directional drilling. Impacts from the stipulation would be a decrease in lease value, increase in operating costs, relocation of wellsites, hinderance of orderly field development, possible loss of revenues, and loss of oil or gas resources from drainage by off-lease wells. The inaccessible areas would result in one well not being drilled in 20 years. 129

84 107 4 1 13 29 238

34 288 11 1 36 78 448

TABLE 41 SURFACE DISTURBANCE AREAS FOR HIGH AND MODERATE DEVELOPMENT POTENTIAL OIL AND GAS 5 years High Areas Cedar Creek anticline Williston basin Cow Creek/Richey Mosby dome Sumatra Moderate Potential Areas Total

649 2,171 68 7 177 483 3,555

Surface disturbance for a typical shallow oil well (less than 5,000 feet deep) includes 1.5 acres for a 1-mile bladed trail and 2 acres for the well pad for a total of 3.5 acres disturbed. Surface disturbance for a typical deep oil well (from 5,000 to 12,000 feet deep) includes 1.5 acres for a 1-mile bladed trail and 4 acres for the well pad for a total of 5.5 acres. Surface disturbance for a typical shallow gas well (less than 2,000 feet deep) includes 0.5 acres for the well pad and no disturbance for a trail.

CHAPTER 4 Minerals - Oil and Gas Leases would be issued with a controlled surface use stipulation to protect prairie dog habitat, Visual Resource Management Class II areas, Makoshika Park and a timing limitation stipulation to protect raptor nests, grouse nesting zones, and elk spring calving areas. These stipulations would affect 94,564 acres of lands classified as high development potential oil and gas, and 1,456,889 acres of lands classified as moderate development potential oil and gas for a total of 1,551,453 acres. Impacts from these stipulations would be a decrease in lease value, increase in operating costs, possible relocation of wellsites, hinderance of orderly field development, possible loss of revenues, and loss of oil or gas resources from drainage by off-lease wells. The planning area includes 160 acres closed to oil and gas leasing. Impacts from no leasing would be the possible loss of oil or gas by drainage from nearby off-lease wells, possible loss of revenues, loss of scientific information and possible hinderance to orderly field development. logical areas, and the Big Sheep Mountain, Hoe, Jordan Bison Kill, and the Powder River Depot (excluding the recreation area) cultural sites. A total of 195,316 acres would be affected. Impacts from lease terms and standard stipulations could be a decrease in lease value, an increase in operating costs, relocation of wellsites, delay in operations, hinderance in orderly field development, uncertainty by the operator regarding restrictions at lease issuance, possible delay or loss of revenues and possible loss of oil or gas from drainage by off-lease wells. Impacts from the closure of areas to geophysical operations would be the inability to acquire subsurface data in those areas and interference with complete data acquisition in an area. Lack of or incomplete geophysical data could affect leasing and lease development decisions. The number of leases sold and the number of wells drilled could be reduced because of the lack of data.

Conclusion

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
Leases would be issued with a no surface occupancy stipulation to protect the Seline, the recreation area within the Powder River Depot cultural sites (Powder River Depot recreation site), riparian/wetland areas, and the piping plover site. The no surface occupancy stipulation would affect 1,756 acres of lands classified as high development potential oil and gas, and 3,709 acres classified as moderate development potential oil and gas, for a total of 5,465 acres. Impacts from the stipulation would be the same as in the Management Common section with an additional two wells not being drilled in 20 years. Leases would be issued with a controlled surface use stipulation to protect potential black-footed ferret habitat, steep slopes, and a timing limitation stipulation to protect crucial winter ranges. These stipulations would affect 87,250 acres of lands classified as high development potential oil and gas, and 1,071,827 acres of lands classified as moderate development potential oil and gas for a total of 1,159,077 acres. Impacts from these stipulations would be the same as in the “Management Common” section. Leases would be issued with lease terms and standard lease stipulations to protect the Lewis and Clark Trail area, Smoky Butte, Cherry Creek recreation area, potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret, the Hell Creek, Bug Creek, Sand Arroyo and Ash Creek Divide paleonto-

In this alternative, no federal oil and gas acreage in addition to management common would be closed to leasing. Federal leases would continue to be issued with standard stipulations in addition to lease terms. Wells will continue to be drilled in the planning area that are considered to be the most economically viable. Leases with the most constraints or requirements will probably be the least developed or not purchased. Areas that are closed to oil and gas leasing will preclude the drilling of wells. The cumulative impacts to oil and gas resources will be the continued removal of the resources by producing wells on leases with the fewest restrictions and lowest operating costs. Leasing and drilling should continue during the next 20 years at almost the same rate as during the last 20 years, except that three fewer wells would be drilled because of lease development constraints. The impacts are unavoidable because of the need to protect other resources from oil and gas operations; however, the impacts are short-term and do not affect the long-term production except in area inaccessible to drilling. Production of oil and gas results in the irreversible and irretrievable loss of those natural resources.

ALTERNATIVE B
In addition to the stipulations identified in the “Management Common” section, leases would be issued with a no surface occupancy stipulation to protect the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern and the Fallon County sanitary landfill. The no surface occupancy stipulation would affect 176 acres of lands classified as high development potential oil and gas. Impacts from the stipu-

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CHAPTER 4 Minerals - Oil and Gas lation would be the same as in the “Management Common” section. To protect crucial winter ranges; riparian/wetlands; Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern; steep slopes; the cultural, paleontological, and black-footed ferret areas of critical environmental concern; potential black-footed ferret habitat, and the special recreation management areas, 1,266,555 acres of oil and gas would be closed to leasing. This would affect 87,250 acres of lands classified as high development potential oil and gas, and 1,179,305 acres classified as moderate development potential oil and gas. As a result, 173 wells would not be drilled in 20 years. Impacts from no leasing would be the same as in the “Management Common” section. Unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

ALTERNATIVE C
In addition to the stipulations identified in the “Management Common” section, leases would be issued with a no surface occupancy stipulation to protect the Seline cultural area of critical environmental concern, and the Powder River Depot and Cherry Creek special recreation management Areas. The no surface occupancy stipulation would affect 80 acres of lands classified as high development potential oil and gas, and 2,236 acres of lands classified as moderate development potential oil and gas. Lease terms would be used to protect crucial winter ranges, steep slopes, Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management Area, riparian/wetlands, Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern, the Fallon County sanitary landfill, the remaining areas of critical environmental concern, potential black-footed ferret habitat, and potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret. Lease terms would affect 1,264,876 acres.

Conclusion
In addition to management common, 1,266,555 federal oil and gas acres would be closed to leasing. Federal leases would be issued with stipulations when needed to protect other resources. Wells will continue to be drilled in the planning area that are considered to be the most economically viable. Leases with the most constraints or requirements would probably be the least developed or not purchased. Areas that are closed to oil and gas leasing would preclude the drilling of wells. The cumulative impacts to oil and gas resources will be the continued removal of the resources by producing wells on leases with the fewest restrictions and lowest operating costs. The value of federal leases would decrease with the addition of restrictive stipulations which also increase operating costs. Compliance with stipulations could force the well to be moved to an adjacent lease with fewer restrictions. Leasing and drilling activities would decline on federal oil and gas acreage because of closures and lease restrictions. Drilling could decrease on Indian and fee lands if those lands are closed to leasing or if additional restrictions are placed on lease development. Areas closed to leasing would not provide the opportunity for protection of drainage from adjacent wells which would increase the loss of federal revenues. The decline of leasing and drilling would result in less oil and gas production. Less production would leave more of the oil and gas resources in place except for that removed by adjacent wells. The reduced ability to drill wells in the planning area would cause more wells to be drilled in other areas. The closure of federal lands to oil and gas leasing and addition of restrictive lease stipulations would result in a dramatic reduction of federal acreage available for leasing and wells being drilled. During the next 20 years 174 wells would not be drilled.

Conclusion
Federal leases would be issued with stipulations as needed to protect other resources. Wells would continue to be drilled in the planning area that are considered to be the most economically viable. Leases with the most constraints or requirements will probably be the least developed or not purchased. Areas that are closed to oil and gas leasing will preclude the drilling of wells. Areas open to leasing with only lease terms would provide the most opportunities for exploration and development, and protection of federal oil and gas resources from drainage by off-lease wells. These areas could experience the greatest loss of federal oil and gas resources from production. Areas open to leasing with stipulations would provide fewer opportunities for exploration and development and protection of federal oil and gas resources from drainage by off-lease wells. Lease stipulations could decrease the value of the lease, impose restrictions on lease activities and increase costs of lease activities. Compliance with stipulations could force the well to be moved to a lease with fewer restrictions. The cumulative impacts to oil and gas resources will be the continued removal of the resources from producing wells on leases with the fewest restrictions and lowest operating costs. Leasing and drilling should continue during the next

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CHAPTER 4 Minerals - Oil and Gas 20 years at almost the same rate as during the last 20 years except that three fewer wells would be drilled because of lease development constraints. Unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity would be the same as Alternative A. exploration and development, and protection of federal oil and gas resources from drainage by off-lease wells. These areas could experience the greatest loss of federal oil and gas resources from production. Areas open to leasing with stipulations would provide fewer opportunities for exploration and development and protection of federal oil and gas resources from drainage by off-lease wells. Lease stipulations could decrease the value of the lease, impose restrictions on lease activities and increase costs of lease activities. Compliance with stipulations could force the well to be moved to a lease with fewer restrictions. The cumulative impacts to oil and gas resources will be the continued removal of the resources from producing wells on leases with the fewest restrictions and lowest operating costs. Leasing and drilling should continue during the next 20 years at almost the same rate as during the last 20 years, except three wells would not be drilled in 20 years because of lease stipulations. In this alternative, oil and gas leasing would be open with controlled surface use or timing restrictions on 1,462,415 acres of federal minerals classified as moderate development potential and 99,295 acres of federal minerals classified as high development potential oil and gas. Oil and gas leasing would be open with no surface occupancy stipulations on 183,050 federal mineral acres of moderate development potential and 9,500 federal mineral acres of high development potential oil and gas. There would be 160 federal mineral acres closed to leasing. Unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
In addition to the stipulations identified in the “Management Common” section, leases would be issued with a no surface occupancy stipulation to protect the special recreation management areas, the Fallon County sanitary landfill, Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern, riparian/wetlands, and the cultural resource, paleontological resource and piping plover areas of critical environmental concern. The no surface occupancy stipulation would affect 5,236 acres classified as high development potential oil and gas, and 72,432 acres classified as moderate development potential oil and gas. Impacts from the stipulation would be the same as in the “Management Common” section with one well not being drilled in 20 years. Leases would be issued with a controlled surface use stipulation to protect steep slopes, Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern and potential blackfooted ferret habitat, and with a timing limitation stipulation to protect crucial winter ranges. These stipulations would affect 87,250 acres of lands classified as high development potential oil and gas, and 1,071,304 acres of lands classified as moderate development potential oil and gas, for a total of 1,158,554 acres. Impacts from these stipulations would be the same as in the “Management Common” section with one well not being drilled in 20 years. Leases would be issued with lease terms to protect the potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret. Lease terms would affect 56,839 acres. Impacts from lease terms would be the same as Alternative A. No additional lands would be closed to leasing.

PALEONTOLOGY Assumptions
The entire planning area is underlain by geologic formation that could produce fossil material. The Judith River and Hell Creek formations, and the Tullock Member and its equivalent in the Ludlow Member of the Fort Union Formation generally produce most of the significant paleontologic values. Occurrences of significant fossils in the other geologic formations are rare. An average of 50 new paleontology localities would be identified each year. Two excavations over the next 5 years could be conducted to retrieve fossils. Excavation and the associated facilities would dis-

Conclusion
Federal leases would be issued with stipulations as needed to protect other areas. Wells would continue to be drilled in the planning area that are considered to be the most economically viable. Leases with the most constraints or requirements will probably be the least developed or not purchased. Areas that are closed to oil and gas leasing will preclude the drilling of wells. Areas open to leasing with only lease terms would provide the most opportunities for

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CHAPTER 4 Recreation turb an average of 1/4 acre per excavation. Paleontological material is fragile and can be irretrievably lost if exposed at the surface for a long period of time and not collected for research purposes.

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts to paleontological resources would be positive. Four paleontological areas managed as areas of critical environmental concern would insure protection and enhancement of the paleontological resources, by preserving significant paleontological resources for future study by the scientific community. Unavoidable, irreversible and irretrievable impacts would be the same as Alternative A. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity of paleontological resources.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
Surface-disturbing activities could cause insignificant impacts to paleontologic resources. Emergency activities, such as wildfire and hazardous material cleanup after accidents that require the use of heavy equipment, would have the potential to damage or destroy paleontologic resources. These activities would occur randomly. The potential of damaging or destroying fossil material would be low in emergency situations.

ALTERNATIVE C
Surface-disturbing activities would have the same impacts as Alternative A. The designation of four paleontological areas of critical environmental concern would be a positive impact, but to a lesser degree than Alternative B because of allowing more surface-disturbing activities within the areas of critical environmental concern.

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
Impacts to the paleontologic resource would be minimal because of the application of mitigation measures.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irretrievable irreversible impacts would be the same as Alternative B. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity of paleontological resources.

Conclusion ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
Cumulative impacts on paleontological resources would not be significant. Not designating the four paleontological areas of critical environmental concern would not insure long-term protection. These properties would be managed consistent with existing policy and guidance. Unavoidable adverse impacts would occur to paleontological resources not discovered during survey, those damaged or destroyed by unauthorized surface disturbance, and vandalism. Irretrievable and irreversible impacts would occur to paleontological resources removed from localities for mitigation. There would be no short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity of paleontological resources. The impacts would be the same as Alternative B.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative B.

RECREATION Assumptions
The 1988 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (State of Montana, MDFW&P 1988) estimates that future recreational demand and participation in activities should increase at the same rate as the expected population growth. Because of the Montana State 1990 population of 799,065 people, the plan estimate was incorrect. Population

ALTERNATIVE B
Surface-disturbing activities would have the same impacts as Alternative A. The designation of four paleontological areas of critical environmental concern would be a positive impact from not allowing surface-disturbing activities.

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CHAPTER 4 Recreation in the planning areahas declined and is expected to continue to decline until the year 2000. This could be offset by demand from out-of-state users. Lands in the planning area form a large portion of Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Park’s Region 7 and a small portion of Region 6. A comparison of the resident recreation participation shows there is minor differences in participation between the two regions (State of Montana, MDFW&P 1988). Therefore, the recreational participation figures for Region 7 were used to determine impacts, It is expected that six recreational facilities in 20 years would be developed in the Big Dry Extensive Recreation Management Area. Development would be in response to the need for additional fishing access, picnic sites, and camping areas. Each facility would disturb 1 acre and would require a new accessroad. Each road would disturb 2.4 acres. Reasonably foreseeable development for the proposed special recreation management areas are: Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area Development would consist of a reservoir with an earthen dam, an overnight campground, day-use facilities, and an access road (see the Recreation appendix). An 18-inch pipeline to pump water from the Yellowstone River to the reservoir would maintain a certain pool depth for fisheries. Two reservoir sizes are considered for this planning effort: a 40-foot pool depth and a 50-foot pool depth. The 40-foot pool depth reservoir would cover 455 acres; the 50-foot pool depth reservoir would cover 569 acres. In both cases, the dam would be an earthen structure built mostly with materials taken from within the project area. restrooms, drinking water, hiking trails, parking lots, and a swimming beach. Also, a daytime recreation complex would be developed that includes a ball field, volleyball area and a lawn area, Facilities would be designed for the physically impaired. It is expected that fees would be charged for day use and overnight camping. Surface disturbance for the improvements would be about 20 acres. Access to the site would require upgrading 2.5 miles of an existing road, and constructing 3 miles of new roads (includes recreation site interior roads). Based on a disturbance width of 30 feet, upgrading the existing road would result in a surface disturbance of 3.5 acres. New road construction would result in a surface disturbance of 11 acres. The pipeline would be an l8-inch polyvinyl chloride line, with a pumping station. Based on a pipeline length of 10,560 feet and disturbance width of 30 feet, about 7 acres would be disturbed during construction. The pipeline would be reclaimed with native vegetation. Powder River Depot Special Recreation Management Area - Development would consist of overnight camping, day use, river access and interpretive (Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail) facilities. The accessroad would be upgraded, resulting in 5 acres of surface disturbance. Constructing the campsites, picnic tables, boat ramp and information pavilion would disturb 1 acre. Calypso Special Recreation Management Area - Development would consist of overnight camping, picnicking facilities, and a boat ramp. Development would result in 1 acre of surface disturbance.
Lewis and Clark Special Recreation Management

Area - Development would consist of those facilities necessary to improve access, while maintaining an overall primitive setting of the Lewis and Clark Trail. Development would primarily be access roads, boat ramps, picnic
tables, fire rings, and direction and interpretive signs. It is anticipated that 10 river access sites would be developed over the 14,000-acre area. Development would result in a

total of 60 acres of surface disturbance, 50 acres for the roads, and 10 acres for the boat ramps and picnic sites.

Cherry Creek.

Day-use and overnight camping facilities would be developed on 80 acres. Improvements would include a boat ramp, pavilion, shower facility, administrative site, visitor contact station and fee collection area, recreational vehicle camping area, walk-in tent camping area, picnic area, 134

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
Recreation developments, such as small fishing access sites, would benefit the public. This would satisfy some of

CHAPTER 4 Recreation the demand for additional fishing facilities identified in the Montana Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. Interpretive signing would benefit the public by providing information on public land resources and use management. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail would be protected from visual intrusions, whenever possible. This would benefit those wishing to experience a “Lewis and Clark” setting. The extensive recreation management area would be open to rights-of-way and communication site locations. It is expected that this would result in some localized negative impacts to recreation opportunities. Where the view is a key element in the recreation setting, visual intrusions from power lines and communications sites could result in sightseeing opportunities being foregone. However, these impacts would not be widespread. Recreation use could shift to other public lands in the planning area. Land exchanges and access acquisitions would continue. Exchanges would combine small, scattered parcels of public lands into larger blocks, while access acquisitions would make more public lands accessible. These actions would increase dispersed recreation opportunities, such as sightseeing, hiking, hunting, and picnicking throughout the planning area. Managing livestock grazing in riparian/wetland areas would increase recreation opportunities. Improved vegetative conditions and the resulting increase in diversity and numbers of wildlife would create additional recreation opportunities, such as wildlife viewing and hunting. landscape. After operations cease and reclamation is completed, the visual impacts would be minimal. The open off-road vehicle designation would benefit offroad enthusiasts by allowing use to continue throughout most of the planning area. Current use is not expected to be widespread in the planning area and is not expected to significantly increase in the future. Most use occurs near communities where public lands are readily accessible and during the hunting season. Managing the planning area as an extensive recreation management area would adversely impact the opportunities for developed recreation. The camping, fishing, and picnicking opportunities associated with development of Cherry Creek, Calypso, Lewis and Clark Trail, and Powder River Depot would be foregone. BLM management would not contribute toward satisfying the demand for additional fishing related facilities identified in the Montana Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (State of Montana, MDFW&P 1988).

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts to recreation would be positive from land exchanges, access acquisition and managing livestock to enhance riparian/wetland areas Management of public land would emphasize dispersed recreation opportunities. Public demand for developed recreation facilities would continue to exceed supply. With public recreation facilities remaining constant, many existing recreation facilities, sites and resources will likely sustain overuse. Demand for more access to public lands is expected to increase. Access for the general public to private lands is expected to decrease. This is due to a number of factors. The public is becoming more aware of public land recreation opportunities that exist. Visitation is expected to increase as the result of federal, state, and local agency marketing to increase tourism. With an increase in nonlocal users, demand for commercially guided activities such as hunting, fishing and sightseeing will increase. This will result in more private lands being leased by outfitters. Added to this are the ranches in eastern Montana being purchased by owners who are not allowing public access. Although cooperative access programs will provide additional public and private land opportunities, these programs are not anticipated to keep up with demand. Acquiring additional access to public lands will also help meet some of the demand. However, demand is expected to increase much faster than BLM’s ability to acquire new access. With the decrease in availability of private lands, local users will be looking more toward using public land. This may increase public pressure to eliminate commercial outfitting on public land. 135

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
Impacts to visual resources from coal development, locatable mineral entry, mineral material development, and oil and gas activities would be minimal over the long term. Visual impacts would be reduced through project design prior to project approval. After the activities are completed, reclamation would, as much as possible, return the landscape to its original contour, color and vegetative composition. The greatest impacts would be the short-term impacts that would occur during operations. Activities such as excavation, road construction, building construction, and dust and movement from heavy equipment would introduce new elements that would dominate and contrast with the

CHAPTER 4 Recreation There would be no unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, or short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity. short-term impacts of construction and management of the Makoshika State Park, Calypso, Cherry Creek, Powder River Depot, and Lewis and Clark Trail special recreation management areas would significantly affect the recreation opportunities over the long term and satisfy some of the local, regional, and national demand for additional facilities. Additional recreation facilities would significantly increase fishing, camping, and boating opportunities.

ALTERNATIVE B
Cherry Creek, Powder River Depot, Calypso, Lewis and Clark Trail, and Makoshika State Park special recreation management areas would emphasize recreation as the primary use and management concern. Recreational improvements would be developed in these areas. These actions would contribute toward satisfying the demand for additional fishing facilities identified by the Montana Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (State of Montana, MDFW&P 1988). Recreation opportunities such as wildlife viewing and hunting would increase as the diversity and numbers of wildlife increase from improved crucial winter ranges. Recreation opportunities associated with wildlife would increase as the result of actions to improve crucial winter ranges. Recreation opportunities associated with viewing cultural, paleontological and geologic resources would increase by designating and managing areas of critical environmental concern. Recreation would be enhanced in several areas (crucial winter ranges, and cultural and paleontological areas of critical environmental concern) and provided in the remaining areas of the planning area. Hunters and fishermen would benefit from management emphasizing recreation, wildlife, and fisheries. Off-road vehicle use would be limited to existing roads and trails and closed on the Calypso Trail. Recreational vehicle use opportunities would not be available. The greatest impact would be near communities where recreational vehicle use is highest. Closing the Calypso Trail would result in both positive and negative impacts. By eliminating the off-road travel that occurs primarily during the hunting season, scenic quality would slightly improve. The absence of vehicle tracks off the trail and the reduced motorized use of the trail would result in a setting that appears less altered by man. This is consistent with the management objectives of the adjacent wilderness study area. The negative impact would be the loss of motorized access for hunting and sightseeing. Recreationists would have to walk, shift their use to other areas, or forego the opportunity. Abundant hunting opportunities using motorized access are available throughout the planning area. There is limited motorized sightseeing that occurs along the trail. Similar opportunities are available at nearby Makoshika State Park.

ALTERNATIVE C
The impacts to the recreation opportunities resulting from development in the special recreation management areas would be the same as Alternative B. Impacts from open off-road vehicle use would be the same as Alternative A. Allowing livestock grazing within the developed recreation sites would adversely impact the recreation experience, the visual setting and the facilities. The sights, sounds, and smells of livestock would be offensive to some recreationists. Livestock grazing would prohibit the establishment of new landscaping and opportunities to manage the vegetative landscape would be foregone. Maintenance costs would increase from livestock rubbing on interior fences, signs, and picnic tables. The cost of landscaping would increase because of the need to protect new plants with livestockproof fences.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts would be the same as Alternative A. The short-term impacts of construction and management of the Calypso, Cherry Creek, Lewis and Clark Trail, and Powder River Depot special recreation management areas would significantly affect the recreation opportunities over the long term. Fishing, camping, and boating opportunities would dramatically improve.

ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
Limiting off-road vehicle use throughout the planning area would result in these opportunities being lost, except in the open areas near Glendive and Terry. Outside of the big game hunting season, off-road travel is minimal. The loss of these opportunities would not be considered significant. During the big game hunting seasons when the majority of off-road travel occurs, hunters would either have to shift to a nonmotorized means of access or use roaded areas. Although this would be an inconvenience, big game re-

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts would be the same as Alternative A. The 136

CHAPTER 4 Socioeconomics trieval is allowed and public lands would continue to be accessible. The impacts are not considered significant. In some areas, hunting opportunities would be expected to improve because the game animals would not be spooked by vehicles driving cross-country. Closing the Calypso Trail would result in the unavailability of recreational use opportunities. The greatest impact would be near communities where recreational vehicle use is highest. Closing the Calypso Trail would result in both positive and negative impacts. By eliminating the off-road travel that occurs primarily during the hunting season, scenic quality would slightly improve. The absence of vehicle tracks off the trail and the reduced motorized use of the trail would result in a setting that appears less altered by man. This is consistent with the management objectives of the adjacent wilderness study area. The negative impact would be the loss of motorized access for hunting and sightseeing. Recreationists would have to walk, shift their use to other areas or forego the opportunity. Abundant hunting opportunities using motorized access are available throughout the planning area. There is limited motorized sightseeing that occurs along the trail. Similar opportunities are available at nearby Makoshika State Park. Although geophysical exploration would be allowed within the Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management Area, the impacts would be minimal. For any exploration that would occur, the sights, sounds and visual impacts would be short term. Preserving Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern will ensure the public of a unique recreation opportunity. There would be no impacts to recreation from allowing livestock grazing to continue throughout the Lewis and Clark Trail Special Management Recreation Area.

SOCIOECONOMICS Assumptions
BLM resource decisions could affect social well-being in a variety of ways. These include: -changes in the amount and quality of resources such as recreational opportunities and livestock grazing -resolution of problems related to resource use such as access problems -changes in the ability to earn a living from a resource due to changes in the amount and quality of the resource, which could affect standard of living and therefore social well-being. Other intangible affects to social well-being include individuals having a sense of control over the decisions that affect their future, and feeling that the government strives to act in ways that benefit everyone equally, rather than a few.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
Management actions could affect local and nonlocal residents concerned about land management in the planning area. Impacts to social well-being include: addressing access problems could enhance the social well-being of people who recreate outdoors; and protecting nesting sites for game birds, raptors, the least tern, and bald eagles which could increase the social well-being of people interested in resource protection. For additional social impacts see the Socioeconomics appendix. In general, the management actions described in the “Management Common” sections involve the application of current BLM policies and the utilization of best management practices for surface-disturbing activities. The economic impacts of the proposed management actions would be insignificant when compared to the existing situation. These impacts can be accommodated within the existing BLM program budgets.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts would be the same as Alternative A. The short-term impacts of construction and management of the Lewis and Clark Trail, Calypso, Cherry Creek, and Powder River Depot special recreation management areas would significantly affect the recreation opportunities over the long term. Fishing, camping, and boating opportunities would dramatically improve.

137

CHAPTER 4 Socioeconomics The costs of range improvements would increase due to the restrictions imposed in grouse nesting areas and visual resource management Class I areas. Costs associated with administering the land exchange program would increase. There would be no long-term changes in the amount of public land in the planning area, so there would be only minor adjustments in payment in lieu of taxes to the counties depending on the location of the lands exchanged. Oil and gas operators would experience increased costs due to site relocations and delays in grouse leks and nesting sites. near the center of a ranch could seriously interfere with the movement of livestock, fencing and pasture arrangements, livestock water supplies and distribution, and a general disruption of the overall operation. Compensation by the mining company to the farm and ranch operator will depend upon the type of landowner lease, land ownership pattern, and percentage of land owned versus land leased. The greatest impacts would occur to operators who lease the land that is removed from production; no compensation will be made for the lost leases. See the Socioeconomics appendix for additional discussion. Special recreation management areas would not be designated, but recreation would continue to be available to the public. By not developing special recreation management areas, the BLM would forego new construction costs. Opportunities would be lost for increased recreational experience. Hunting gains would be offset by the decline in big game habitat conditions in the crucial winter ranges. The overall impact on the local economy would be minimal.

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
Impacts to social well-being include: increases in dispersed recreation opportunities which could enhance the social well-being of people who recreate in this type of setting. This alternative addresses some of the concerns of area residents and other interested individuals about preserving the agricultural way of life because few changes to livestock grazing are proposed. Some individuals favor the development of new recreation opportunities at Cherry Creek, placing limits on off-road vehicle use, providing habitat for black-footed ferret reintroduction, and enhancing local economic development; however, these concerns are not addressed. The economic impacts on farm and ranch operations from developing coal can be assessed by expressing in dollar terms, the agricultural, livestock and crop, production lost. Agricultural productions are examined using the average value for production for counties in the planning area. The average per acre value of agriculture in the counties was $16 per acre in 1987 (State of Montana, Department of Agriculture 1989). In the long term, based on a 12-year reclamation period, 3,900 acres would be out of production each year. This would result in an annual reduction of $62,400 in agricultural production. This represents less than 0.1 percent of the 1987 value of the agricultural production of the counties in the planning area. Impacts of strip mining on the management and operations of livestock ranches could be more severe than on dryland farming (USDI, BLM 1981a). Mine development located 138

Conclusion
The social well-being of people satisfied with present management would be enhanced. The concerns of residents and others interested in preserving the agricultural way of life would be addressed. The concerns of those interested in developed recreation opportunities, enhancing habitat for wildlife and enhancing local economic development through recreation improvements would not be addressed. The cumulative economic impacts of implementing the management actions in Alternative A would result in little change from the existing situation and would not significantly affect the regional economy. There would be no unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts or short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity on social or economic conditions.

ALTERNATIVE B
Impacts to social well-being include the following: increases in the number and types of developed recreational opportunities for people who recreate in this type of setting; enhanced protection of wildlife and fisheries which could enhance the social well-being of people interested in resource protection; increased employment related to recreation (including a short-term increase in construction employment related to the Cherry Creek dam and reservoir) which would enhance the standard of living for those indi-

CHAPTER 4 Socioeconomics viduals who become employed; increased local business activity related to recreation (including construction for the Cherry Creek dam in the short term) that stimulates the local economy; reduced off-road vehicle recreational opportunities which could reduce the social well-being of people who enjoy off-road travel; reduced animal unit months for livestock grazing on approximately 102 operations which could reduce the standard of living of affected ranchers; decreased economic activity related to oil and gas exploration and development could reduce the standard of living of affected employees; and decreased oil and gas exploration and development on federal land could positively or negatively affect production on adjacent private lands; this could result in more revenue to the landowner in some cases, and less in others. This alternative would address the concerns of some area residents and other interested individuals through the provision of new recreational opportunities, limiting off-road vehicle use, and protection of wildlife. However, potential negative impacts to the agricultural way of life due to the loss of income from livestock grazing and loss of local business activity are not consistent with the concerns about the health of the livestock industry or local economic development. The jobs lost would have a higher average income than the jobs created. Long-term net decrease in local business activity (livestock grazing and oil and gas related decreases would not offset recreational increases) could negatively affect the local economy. Livestock grazing on public lands would be reduced. About 102 permittees and operators would see a reduction in animal unit months as a result of the development of the Cherry Creek, Powder River Depot, Calypso, and Lewis and Clark Trail special recreation management areas; the management of crucial winter ranges through fencing and seasonal use restrictions; and the sale of land for a sanitary landfill in Fallon County. Except for the landfill site, portions of the affected allotments are in five counties (Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, and Richland) between the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. An estimated 3,510 animal unit months would be lost to operators in the special recreation management areas, Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and the sanitary landfill site. An additional 8,880 animal unit months would be affected due to seasonal use restrictions on the crucial winter ranges. The seasonal use restrictions could result in increased costs by shifting grazing to private lands, or feeding the livestock hay during the December 1 through March 31 period. About 20 percent of the cattle and sheep permittees in the crucial winter ranges could be affected. For analysis, the animal unit months were valued according to the number of cattle they could sustain. The impacts on output, earnings, and employment for livestock, oil and gas, and recreation are in table 42. A description of the economic analysis methodology and assumptions is in the “Economics” section in the Socioeco-

TABLE 42 CHANGES IN OUTPUT, EARNINGS, AND EMPLOYMENT (Thousands of Dollars) Total Economic Activity1 - 1,410 -18,500 1,970 -17,940 Employment All Sectors -17 -136 63 - 90

Economic Sector Livestock Oil and Gas Recreation2 Total
1

Direct Output - 568 -13,380 1,106 -12,842

Household Earnings -281 -2,770 709 -2,342

Total economic activity includes the direct and secondary spending changes that occur in all industries.

2

The impacts to output, earnings, and employment for developing the Powder River Depot and the Calypso special recreation management areas and constructing a dam and reservoir in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area are included in the recreation sector. 139

CHAPTER 4 Socioeconomics nomic appendix. There would be an estimated $22,400 in federal grazing fees lost annually from managing the special recreation management areas, Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern, sanitary landfill, and seasonal use restrictions on crucial winter ranges. Oil and gas leasing, exploration, and development activities would be restricted. The average annual production lost is based on the average production from 43 producing wells. About $1.34 million of federal production royalties would be lost annually. There would be a loss of $516,000 in federal lease rents for the acres closed to leasing. The state of Montana’s share of federal rents and royalties foregone would be $926,000 annually. There would be increased visitor use of the public lands for nonconsumptive and consumptive activities. Nonconsumptive recreational activities include camping, hiking, bird watching, and cross-country skiing. Consumptive activities include rockhounding, hunting, and fishing. With the improvement in wildlife habitat, hunting days should increase. The increases would occur primarily on public lands in the five counties (Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, and Richland) between the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. The development of the Lewis and Clark Trail, Cherry Creek, Powder River Depot, Makoshika State Park, and Calypso special recreation management areas would provide a variety of recreational activities. The Lewis and Clark Trail, Powder River Depot and Calypso special recreation management areas and nearby Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area (a watchable wildlife area) are now used by the public even though few improvements exist. Construction and maintenance of visitor facilities at these sites and in the Makoshika State Park Special Recreation Management Area and improved access to the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers would enhance the users’ experience and result in increased visitor use. The proximity of Powder River Depot and Calypso special recreation management areas and Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area to one another and to the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area has the potential to make the area a major recreational destination in eastern Montana. This would provide economic benefits to the planning area from Miles City to Glendive. Construction of the dam and reservoir in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area is an important part of developing the recreational potential of the area. It would provide recreational opportunities for many people in the planning area and would provide continued economic benefits to the regional economy. The town of Terry would benefit from the construction of the dam and associated facilities. The construction would take an estimated two 140 years of summer construction seasons with peak employment of 90 workers. The construction costs for the 50-foot pool depth dam, reservoir and recreation facilities are now estimated at $13 million spread over a 2-year period. The regional economy would benefit from the construction as shown in table 43. TABLE 43 CHERRY CREEK SPECIAL RECREATION MANAGEMENT AREA 5O-FOOT POOL DEPTH DAM AND RESERVOIR CONSTRUCTION CHANGES IN OUTPUT, EARNINGS AND EMPLOYMENT (Millions of Dollars) Year 1 Year 2 Direct Construction Expenditures Total Economic Activity Earnings Employment1 6.50 12.48 4.07 229 6.50 12.48 4.07 229

1The total number of temporary jobs in economic sectors generated by the direct construction expenditures during the construction period.

The benefit to cost ratio for the 50-foot pool depth dam and reservoir is summarized in table 44. TABLE 44 CHERRY CREEK RESERVOIR Pool Depth Feet 50
1

Annual Benefits 1,243,750

Annualized Costs 1,357,965

Benefit to Cost Ratio1 .92

The benefit to cost ratio is calculated by dividing the estimated annual benefits by the annualized costs (see the “Economics” section of the Socioeconomics appendix for visitor use, economic benefits and cost summary).

The increased one-time construction, maintenance, and annual administrative costs to BLM to carry out this alternative include: construction and maintenance of 266 miles of fence in the crucial winter ranges, special recreation management areas, and areas of critical environmental concern; costs associated with the joint management of Makoshika State Park Special Recreation Management Area; increased costs of signs and enforcement of off-road vehicle use; and the construction and maintenance of the dam and reservoir in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area.

CHAPTER 4 Socioeconomics The annual net impacts on the regional economy, excluding the one-time benefits of constructing the dam and reservoir in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area, would be negative under this alternative (see table 42). The direct output of goods and services would decrease $12.8 million, total economic activity would decrease $17.9 million, household earnings would decrease $2.3 million, and employment would decrease by 90 jobs. The fact that the jobs that are lost are primarily in the agricultural and oil and gas sectors that have higher than average earnings, and the jobs that are created are in the retail trade and services sectors, which have lower than average earnings. The average earnings lost per job are $19,600, and the average earnings of the jobs created are $11,250 compared to the planning area average earnings per job of $16,100. The net impacts on economic activity would be less than one percent. However, there would be a 36 percent reduction in federal oil and gas rents and royalties, and a 7 percent reduction in the federal grazing fees compared to the fiscal year 1989 receipts. increased developed recreational opportunities which could enhance the social well-being of people who recreate outdoor; increased employment related to recreation which could enhance the standard of living of individuals who become employed; increased local business activities related to recreation (including construction for the Cherry Creek Dam in the short term) which would help to stimulate the local economy; reduced and canceled animal unit months for livestock grazing which could reduce the standard of living of five operators. This alternative addresses many of the concerns of area residents through the provision of new recreational opportunities, limited change to livestock grazing and enhanced local economic development. Those who wish to limit offroad vehicle use, or to enhance habitat for wildlife, may not feel their concerns are addressed. Livestock grazing on public lands would be reduced. Animal unit months would be reduced as a result of designation of the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern; the transfer of the public lands in Makoshika State Park to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the temporary loss of grazing in the development of coal mining. There would also be an estimated $800 federal grazing fees lost each year. The impacts or output, earnings, and employment are summarized in table 45. For a description of the economic analysis methodology see the “Economics” section in the Socioeconomics appendix. Oil and gas operators would experience increased costs due to site relocations and delays from lease terms in crucial winter ranges, and no surface occupancy stipulations in the Cherry Creek and Powder River Depot special recreation management areas and the Seline Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The net impact would be insignificant. Impacts from coal mining would be the same as Alternative A. Construction and maintenance of visitor facilities at the special recreation management areas would enhance the users’ experience and result in increased visitor use. The 40-foot pool depth dam, reservoir and recreation facilities would be constructed in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area. Visitor use would increase, but less than in Alternative B. These developments could provide economic benefits to the area from Miles City to Glendive.

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts would be that people concerned with the agricultural way of life and local economic development may not feel their concerns are addressed; social wellbeing may decline for these individuals and for those who lose employment in ranching or oil and gas related fields. People interested in developed recreation areas and protecting wildlife would feel their concerns are addressed; social well-being could be enhanced for these individuals and those who obtain recreation related employment. Cumulative impacts to economic conditions from the Cherry Creek Dam and special recreation management area would produce a positive impact on the economic conditions in Prairie County and particularly, the town of Terry. There would be an increase of new jobs during construction and in the town of Terry after completion of the special recreation management area. There would be no unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts on social economic conditions. The short-term impacts of changing the work force from production jobs to retail and service jobs would be a decrease in earnings as production jobs generally have a higher pay scale than retail jobs. Negative short-term impacts would occur for those who enjoy production jobs, such as oil field and agricultural work.

ALTERNATIVE C
Impacts to social well-being include:

141

CHAPTER 4 Socioeconomics TABLE 45 CHANGES IN OUTPUT, EARNINGS, AND EMPLOYMENT (Thousands of Dollars) Total Economic Activity 1 - 31.6 1,031.1 999.5 Employment All Sectors - >1 33 +32

Economic Sector Livestock Recreation2 Total
1 2

Direct Output - 12.7 579.2 566.5

Household Earnings - 6.3 371.0 364.7

Total economic activity includes the direct and secondary spending changes that occur in all industries.

The impacts to output, earnings, and employment for developing the Powder River Depot and the Calypso special recreation management areas and construction a dam and reservoir in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area are included in the recreation sector.

Construction of the 40-foot pool depth dam and reservoir in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area is an important part of developing the recreational potential of the area. It would provide recreational opportunities for people in the planning area, and would provide continued economic benefits to the regional economy. The town of Terry would benefit from the construction of the dam and associated facilities. The construction would take an estimated 2 years of summer construction seasons with peak employment of 90 workers. The construction costs for the 40-foot pool depth dam, reservoir and recreation facilities are currently estimated at $10.8 million dollars spread over the 2-year period. The regional economy would benefit from the construction as shown in table 46.

The benefit to cost ratio for the 40-foot pool depth dam and reservoir is summarized in table 47.

TABLE 47 CHERRY CREEK RESERVOIR Pool Depth Feet 40
1

Annual Benefits 1,077,500

Annualized Costs 1,161,967

Benefit to Cost Ratio1 .93

The benefit to cost ratio is calculated by dividing the estimated annual benefits by the annualized costs (see the “Economics” section of the Socioeconomics appendix for visitor use, economic benefits and cost summary).

TABLE 46 CHERRY CREEK SPECIAL RECREATION MANAGEMENT AREA 4O-FOOT POOL DEPTH DAM AND RESERVOIR CONSTRUCTION CHANGES IN OUTPUT, EARNINGS AND EMPLOYMENT (Millions of Dollars) Year 1 Year 2 Direct Construction Expenditures Total Economic Activity Earnings Employment 1 5.40 10.38 3.38 191 5.40 10.38 3.38 191

The changes in one-time construction, maintenance, and federal annual administrative costs include: the cost savings associated with the disposal of public lands in Makoshika State Park, and the construction and maintenance of the dam and reservoir in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area. The net impacts to the regional economy on an annual basis, excluding the one-time benefits of constructing the dam and reservoir in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area would be positive. The direct output of goods and services would increase $561,000, total economic activity would increase $987,000, household earnings would increase $362,000, and employment would increase by 32 jobs (see table 45). The jobs that would be created are primarily in the retail trade and services sectors with average earnings of $11,100 compared to the planning area’s average earnings per job of $16,100. In summary, the net impacts on economic activity would be less than one percent. 142

1The total number of temporary jobs in economic sectors generated by the direct construction expenditures during the construction period.

CHAPTER 4 Socioeconomics

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts to social well-being would generally be positive due to limited changes to livestock grazing, provision of new recreation opportunities and enhanced local economic development. However, some individuals may feel not enough protection would be given to wildlife. Unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

decreased off-road vehicle opportunities for recreation purposes which could decrease social well-being for people who participate in this activity; and reduced animal unit months for livestock grazing on ten operations which could reduce the standard of living of affected ranchers. This alternative would address most of the concerns of area residents and other interested individuals through the provision of new recreation opportunities, limiting off-road vehicle use, enhanced protection of wildlife, and enhanced local economic development. Changes to livestock grazing are limited but some individuals may be concerned about the loss of livestock grazing due to designation of special recreation management areas, the Fallon County land sale, and making land available for black-footed ferret reintroduction. Livestock grazing on public lands would be reduced in this alternative. Approximately ten operations would see a reduction in animal unit months as a result of the development of the Cherry Creek, the Powder River Depot, and the Calypso special recreation management areas, the disposal of 640 acres to Fallon County for a sanitary landfill, the designation of the areas of critical environmental concern; the transfer of the public lands in Makoshika State Park to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Impacts from coal mining would be the same as Alternative A. There could be an estimated $1,800 in federal grazing fees lost each year. The impacts or output, earnings, and employment are summarized in table 48.

ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
Impacts to social well-being include: increases in the number and types of recreational opportunities; enhanced protection of wildlife and fisheries for people interested in resource protection; increased employment related to recreation which would enhance the standard of living of individuals who obtain employment; increased local business activity related to recreation (including construction for the dam and reservoir in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area in the short term) which would help to stimulate the local economy;

TABLE 48 CHANGES IN OUTPUT, EARNINGS, AND EMPLOYMENT (Thousands of Dollars) Total Economic Activity 1 -88.2 1,058.9 970.7 Employment All Sectors -1 34 +33

Economic Sector Livestock Recreation2 Total
1

Direct Output -35.6 594.9 559.3

Household Earnings -17.1 381.1 363.5

Total economic activity includes the direct and secondary spending changes that occur in industries.

The impacts to output, earnings, and employment for developing the Powder River Depot and the Calypso special recreation management areas and developing a dam and reservoir in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area are included in the recreation sector.
2

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CHAPTER 4 Socioeconomics The development of the Lewis and Clark Trail, Cherry Creek, the Powder River Depot, and the Calypso special recreation management areas would provide a variety of recreation activities. The Powder River Depot, Lewis and Clark Trail, and Calypso special recreation management areas and nearby Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area (a watchable wildlife area) are now used by the public even though few improvements exist. Construction and maintenance of visitor facilities at these areas would enhance the users’ experience and result in increased visitor use. The proximity of these sites to one another, and to the dam and reservoir in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area, have the potential to make the area a major recreational destination in eastern Montana. These developments could provide economic benefits to the planning area from Miles City to Glendive. Construction of the dam and reservoir in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area is an important part of developing the recreational potential of the area. It would provide recreational opportunities for most of the people in the planning area and would provide continued economic benefits to the regional economy. The town of Terry would benefit from the construction of the dam and associated facilities. The construction would take an estimated two years (two summer construction seasons) with peak employment of 90 workers. The regional economy would benefit from the construction as described in table 43 under Alternative B. For a benefit to cost ratio, see table 44 in Alternative B. The changes in one-time construction, annual federal maintenance and administrative costs to implement this alternative include: the construction and maintenance of 10.5 miles of fence and 35 water developments in crucial winter ranges, special recreation management areas, and the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern; the cost saving with the transfer of the public lands in Makoshika State Park; increased costs of signs and enforcement of limited off-road vehicle use; and the construction and maintenance of the dam, reservoir and recreation facilities in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area. The net impacts on the regional economy on an annual basis, excluding the one-time benefits of constructing the dam and reservoir for the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area, would be positive under this alternative (see table 48). The direct output of goods and services would increase $559,000, total economic activity would increase $971,000, household income would increase $364,000, and employment would increase by 33 jobs. The jobs that would be created are primarily in the retail trade and services sectors, with average earnings $11,300 compared to the planning area’s average earnings per job of $16,000. The net cumulative impacts on economic activity would be less than one percent. 144

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts would be that people concerned with local economic development, developed recreation areas, and enhanced wildlife habitat would feel their concerns are addressed. Social well-being could be enhanced for these individuals and those who obtain recreation related employment. Although impacts to livestock grazing would be limited, these changes may concern some individuals and could diminish their social well-being. Unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

SOIL AND WATER Assumptions
A certain level of soil erosion, sedimentation, and associated water quality degradation would occur from natural causes. The assumption is made that these impacts to the soil and water resources are accelerated by human related surface-disturbing activities. The necessary water rights would be obtained.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
The following are cumulative impacts to soil and water resources. Before the coming of the white man, bison herds and natural disasters had the greatest affect on soil and water resources in the area. As herds traveled the region in mass, they stripped the land of vegetation, decimated riparian areas, and trampled stream banks. Without vegetation, winds would remove topsoil. Without the filtering effect of vegetation, floods and runoff would remove more soil and deliver it to streams and rivers. Suspended sediments and dissolved salts would result in degraded water quality. Until the vegetation was reestablished, wind continued to remove topsoil, delaying surface soils development. Man-caused impacts to water quality in the planning area began with the military presence from the late 1860s through the 1890s. During that time, large numbers of domesticated animals (horses, mules, sheep, and cattle) were introduced, which heavily utilized areas including stream bottom riparian areas. As homesteaders settled the area, coal mining and agricultural development added to the water quality impacts.

CHAPTER 4 Soil and Water Agriculture contributes to nonpoint source water pollution in the area. The Conservation Reserve Program of the Food Security Act of 1985 is in the process of idling much of the highly erodible cropland, decreasing the amount of soil erosion from cropland. Fields determined to have highly erodible soils are contracted to be planted to protect the soil and will remain undisturbed for a period of ten years. As the acreage in Conservation Reserve Program increases, the amount of soil erosion decreases, enhancing water quality. Conservation Reserve Program acreage may be released and could be cropped at the end of the contract period. Soil erosion and water quality degradation would increase if Conservation Reserve Program land is released and converted to cropland. Use of conservation tillage practices will increase in the future. These practices leave more crop residue on the surface to reduce the amount of soil being eroded by wind and water, benefiting soil and water resources. Certain conservation tillage practices are dependent on herbicides, and the misuse of these herbicides could prove detrimental to water quality. Vegetation recovery takes several years depending on many environmental conditions, including soil type and precipitation. Compaction affects the hydrology of a watershed by significantly reducing infiltration and increasing surface runoff. Excessive vegetation removal can also increase surface runoff. Routing of surface runoff results in rapid delivery of water to stream channels, possibly increasing the size of peak flows, which may result in increased channel degradation and downstream sedimentation. The effects of soil compaction persist without mechanical amelioration, and require up to seven years for full recovery. Range management activities affect watershed hydrology, mainly due to vegetation removal and soil compaction associated with grazing and ground disturbance caused by road and reservoir construction. Implementing grazing systems and management practices for grazing (including utilization levels for herbaceous and woody species, limits on streambank alteration by livestock, season of use, or fencing to improve or maintain riparian/wetland areas) lessens soil erosion, compaction, runoff, sedimentation, and improves stream channel integrity. Management practices are used to maintain or improve soil and vegetative productivity which will improve water quality. Mining of coal, oil and gas exploration and development, and energy transmission corridors have impacted watershed condition. The degree to which a watershed recovers from these activities corresponds with vegetative recovery. Surface water resources are disrupted by overburden removal in coal mining. Coal seams typically serve as groundwater aquifers. As they are removed, groundwater is impacted in quality and quantity. Oil and gas affects relatively small areas, which are concentrated based on geologic characteristics. Oil and gas well sites are not allowed in areas which may be flooded or where activities could damage water quality. All oil and gas wells are required to have cement placed in the annulus to ensure no cross-contamination of the aquifers. Water quality could be affected from increased salt and sediment load in these areas. Oil spills would have an effect on water quality and soil productivity. As activity increases, the potential for damaging soil and water increases. Vegetative treatments in areas would result in a temporary loss of existing vegetative ground cover and a corresponding temporary increase in soil erosion, runoff, sedimentation, and water quality degradation. Over a 2-year period soil and vegetation productivity would be improved. A short-term increase in soil erosion, compaction, runoff, sedimentation, and water quality degradation would occur on structural improvements that involve surface disturbance. However, these impacts would be minimal. Depending on the management objectives for that area, a long-term benefit would result to the soil and water resources. Implementing grazing systems, season of use, or fencing to improve or maintain riparian/wetland areas would lessen soil erosion, compaction, runoff, sedimentation, and stream channel integrity. Soil and vegetative productivity, and water quality would also be maintained or improved. The Cherry Creek Special Water Quality Project (USDA, SCS 1991) could enhance the watershed in Cherry Creek, as both private and federal lands could improve. When the results of vegetation monitoring for ecological status shows an increase in forage productivity, that increase would be distributed in accordance with resource objectives for the allotment. This would reduce soil erosion, runoff, and sedimentation. Soil and vegetative productivity would be maintained or improved in areas where adequate vegetative cover is lacking. In fire use areas (planned and unplanned ignition), a shortterm increase in soil erosion, runoff, sedimentation, and water quality degradation would occur from the loss of vegetative ground cover. As the vegetation becomes reestablished these impacts would diminish. If intensive fire suppression is used an increase in soil erosion and compaction would occur. The affects to soil and water would be minimal. Future impacts to water resources on public lands will decrease compared to past impacts. Effects on soil and

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CHAPTER 4 Soil and Water water quality will be transitory and remedied by natural processes. usable water zone could occur upon failure of the casing and the equipment used to isolate the disposal zone (tubing and packer). There are numerous standards to insure that underground injection wells do not result in pollution of usable water sources, including periodic pressure testing of well casing, tubing and packers to confirm integrity of the system and isolation of disposal zones. Plugging programs for abandoned wells are designed to secure the well bore and prevent contamination to mineral or water bearing formations. Cement is pumped into the wellbore to seal any perforations. Cement is also pumped into the wellbore at certain formations to act as plugs to prevent migration of any fluids or gases that might enter the wellbore. The “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix includes a more complete description of drilling operations, disposal of produced water and abandonment procedures, and the measures employed to protect usable water. In linear rights-of-way (buried pipe or power lines) impacts to soil and water resources would occur during construction. The impacts from road and facility rights-of-way would continue for as long as they are used. When these rights-of-way are no longer used, mitigation of the impacts to soil and water resources would occur as it does for a buried pipe and power line rights-of-way. Multiple traverses of an area during off-road vehicle use causes soil erosion which may impact water quality.

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
Soil erosion, compaction, sedimentation, and water quality degradation would result wherever a surface-disturbing activity occurred. Standard operating procedures, in addition to those measures in management common to all alternatives, will cause these impacts to be short term and insignificant. The surface-disturbing activity which has the greatest potential to impact soil and water is coal development. This activity would require mitigation measures to lessen any impacts. Some potential exists for contamination of subsurface aquifers during oil and gas drilling and production operations. This potential is mitigated by the casing and cementing requirements of Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Order No. 2. This order specifies that all usable water zones must be protected. Protection involves setting and cementing casing through usable water producing sections encountered during drilling. This would prevent drilling fluids, as well as fluids and gases from other formations encountered in the wellbore from contaminating aquifers. This measure, when properly completed, adequately mitigates the anticipated impacts to ground water. The BLM reviews, and modifies as needed, each proposed drilling program to determine the adequacy of the casing and cementing program. A cement bond log may be required to verify the integrity of the cement. Operators of onshore Federal and Indian oil and gas leases must comply with Onshore Order No. 7 prior to disposal of produced water. Produced water is often highly saline and the potential exists for contamination of surface and ground water, soil and vegetation. The Onshore Order provides requirements and standards for the protection of surface and subsurface resources. Injection wells that are used to dispose the produced water must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Underground Injection Control program. Information submitted in support of obtaining a underground injection control permit is accepted by the BLM in approving the disposal method, provided the information submitted in support of obtaining such a permit satisfies all applicable BLM statutory responsibilities and relevant requirements (including but not limited to drilling safety, down hole integrity, and protection of mineral and surface resources). Migration of produced water from the intended disposal zone and leakage to a 146

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts would be as stated in management common. Vegetation treatments, riparian/wetland management, forage allocations and construction of structural improvements would enhance vegetation, decrease soil erosion and enhance water quality. There would be no unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts to soil or water. Short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity would be management actions for vegetation improvements requiring surface disturbance. There would be a temporary increase in soil erosion, runoff, sedimentation and water quality degradation. Depending on the management objective for the area, a long-term benefit could result to soil and water resources.

ALTERNATIVE B
The impacts affecting soil and water are the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative they would not occur on areas where surface disturbance is excluded. There would be no impacts from coal development as coal

CHAPTER 4 Soil and Water leasing is not allowed under this alternative. Impacts to soil and water from off-road vehicle use would be reduced under this alternative.
Off-road vehicle use impacts vegetation, causing soils to
erode, which may impact water quality. The damage from

off-road vehicle use is lessened when vehicles are limited to existing roads and trails.

The following scenarios were used to analyze the impacts of dam failure under conditions where such failure would have the most noticeable impact downstream. The development for the concurrent flood is 200,000 cubic feet-persecond, the level at which permanently-inhabited structures begin to experience flooding (the incipient danger flood). The discharge for the concurrent flood is 200,000 cubic feet-per-second, the level at which permanentlyinhabited structures begin to experience flooding. 1. 2. 3. 4. Sudden failure of the dam; no flood (sunny day failure). Dam failure during the probable maximum flood. Routing the probable maximum flood with no dam in place. Dam failure during a flood that is equivalent to 22 percent of the probable maximum flood. Such a flood would overtop and fail Cherry Creek Dam. Routing 22 percent of the probable maximum flood with no dam in place. Dam failure during a flood that is equivalent to 50 percent of the probable maximum flood. The discharge of this flood, combined with the incipient danger flood, could potentially endanger inhabitants of structures in the downstream floodplain. Routing 50 percent of the probable maximum flood with no dam in place.

Impacts from the construction of the Cherry Creek Dam would not be significant. There is a potential for conflicts from the upstream users if they were to apply for water rights for more than 15-acre feet as the BLM would protest. The extent of fecal coliform in the Cherry Creek drainage caused by livestock is unknown. This information will be determined in the Cherry Creek Water Quality Special Project (USDA, SCS 1991). If borrow for construction of the dam is taken from above the mean high water line there would be a short-term negative impact from wind and water erosion. Mitigation and reclamation measures would reduce this impact. There would be some impacts to the Yellowtail Dam and the Yellowstone River from water being pumped into the Cherry Creek Dam. The water would be released from Yellowtail Dam during April through October. The maximum released would be 10 cubic feet-per-second. This would drop the level of the lake at Yellowtail Dam by 0.2 feet and increase the flow of the Yellowstone River by 0.6 percent in August and 0.05 percent in June. This would not cause significant impacts. Sediment load increases in the Yellowstone River from releasing water in the Yellowtail Dam are not anticipated.

5. 6.

7.

The results of the analyses indicate that the failure of Cherry Creek Dam would not have any significant impact on permanently inhabited structures in the downstream floodplain. Therefore, selection of an inflow design flood greater than the 500-year flood does not provide any additional protection against loss of life.

Clark Reservoir.

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CHAPTER 4 Soil and Water

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
The following are the cumulative impacts to vegetation. Cumulative impacts to vegetation began when European man first arrived in eastern Montana. Journals of early explorers include descriptions of areas dominated by cactus and a lack of forage and large herds of bison. The area around Fort Union at the junction of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers was described in the early 1830s as “... The hills were partly bare, and very few flowers were in blossom; the whole country was covered with short, dry grass, among which were numerous round spots with tufts of Cactus ferox, which was only partly in flower” (Brown 1969). The killing of the bison in the early 1880s made room for large numbers of cattle and horses. The riparian areas were the primary source of water. Without fencing, grazing was uncontrolled. During a severe winter in 1886 in which many cattle died, the “cattle congregated in the valleys and browsed on the shoots of willow and cottonwood, gnawed the bark from brush too large to eat, and even consumed the unpalatable sagebrush. Pieces of wood the diameter of a lead pencil were seen in the manure” (Brown 1969). Military forts were constructed along major rivers. The rivers were used as travel routes and were the first areas to be settled. Steamboats traveled the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers and trees were removed to fuel the boats. Adjacent to major rivers, extensive prairie dog towns could be found on suitable soils. These areas were in poor and fair conditions. Poisoning efforts in the 1920s and 1930s brought substantial reductions. The listing of the black-footed ferret as endangered is a sign of the success of this campaign. Areas further from the river corridors were settled in the early 1890s during the homestead days. With these homesteads was a requirement to farm a portion of the land. These lands were often not suitable for intensive agricultural use. The population of these rural areas had reached their highest level in recorded history. The farming combined with uncontrolled grazing during these years took its toll on the native prairie. The drought of 1919 slowed population growth and the droughts of the 1930s caused mass exodus. The population in the planning area was cut in half from 1930 to 1940. At this time the federal government purchased 368,107 acres of abandoned homesteads under the Bankhead-Jones Act. Purchased rangeland had been in units which were submarginal in size and were in poor condition. After purchase, this federal land was operated under conservation

ALTERNATIVE C
Impacts to soil and water would be the same as Alternative B, except multiple traverses of an area during off-road vehicle use causes soil erosion which may impact water quality.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
Impacts to soil and water from Alternative D would be the same as Alternative B, except under this alternative those impacts would occur on less acres. There would be reduced impacts from limiting off-road vehicle use, and impacts from the Cherry Creek Dam would be the same as Alternative B.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

VEGETATION
Assumptions
Vegetation treatment includes grazing management, prescribed burns, mechanical, chemical, and biological. Activity plans would be implemented at a rate of two to three per year. A total of 8,000 acres would be mechanically treated over the next 20 years. About 5,000 acres would be prescribed burned over the next 20 years. It is estimated that, at present, 12,000 acres need chemical (aerial and ground application) and biological (grazing, insects, and pathogens) treatment for noxious weed control.

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CHAPTER 4 Vegetation practices and management. Crested wheatgrass was sown on much of the former farmland while others returned gradually to native prairie (USDI, BLM 1958). The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 began the process of attaching federal lands to a private base which was used during the winter months. This helped bring more control to grazing in the area. Although season long grazing was common, there was a move toward a proper stocking level. Since that time, livestock operators, county agents and boards, Montana Department of State Lands, the Soil Conservation Service, Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service, and the BLM have taken steps toward steady improvement in range condition by implementing improved range management principles. Animal science has also played a role in livestock production and impacts to vegetation caused by livestock. Steers weighing 350 pounds at weaning were once common. Now steer weights of 500 pounds or more are common. Mature cow weights have also increased from 800 to 1,000 pound cows to 900 to 1,400 pound cows. The increase in cattle size has resulted in increased forage removal on some BLM allotments since the 1960s. The Conservation Reserve Program began in the early 1980s and is administered by the Soil Conservation Service and the Agricultural Stabilization Conservation Service. This was another effort to bring marginal cropland back to grassland. Most of these lands were planted to crested wheatgrass or other introduced grasses. This has further changed the vegetation types in the area. It is estimated that 50 to 65 percent of the land will return to cropland in the mid 1990s if there is no further incentive to keep it in grass. Agriculture has been the major use of vegetation in the area. Development of the roadway and interstate system has been a steady impact and caused removal of vegetation. Oil and gas development was one of the more recent impacts to the vegetation resource. In 1979, seismic activity began in earnest and tapered off by 1985. This activity was exploratory in nature and consisted primarily of cross-country travel in large drilling rigs. Coupled with this was development of oil and gas wells. Over the last 16 years a total disturbance of approximately 10,000 acres has resulted due to oil and gas development. Some of these sites have been abandoned and reclaimed with native species. The spread of noxious weeds in all alternatives threatens to be a major negative impact on the ecological status of the vegetation. With 4,500 acres infested by leafy spurge alone on public land and limited funding for weed control, noxious weeds will continue to spread. Scattered patches of knapweed have been found. Knapweed has high potential for spread. Tamarisk or salt cedar, an introduced ornamental, has had devastating effects in the southwest. It has completely dried up some riparian areas due to its high water requirements and it has out- competed native riparian plants. Its potential for spread in the northern states is unknown. It has already been observed along the Yellowstone River and other major tributaries. Tamarisk is not on the Montana Noxious Weed List and no control efforts by the BLM have been undertaken. Since Tamarisk is transported along rivers and creeks, a control effort would have to be supported by other agencies and private landowners. Vegetation within the riparian/wetland areas would improve. There would be increased forage for livestock and wildlife, and soil protection. Vegetative cover and species diversity would be enhanced from allocating vegetation increases based on allotment objectives. Plant vigor of crested wheatgrass would be enhanced from haying and harvesting of seed. These benefits would result primarily from vegetation treatments and grazing management. Generally, prescribed fires are planned to remove vegetation susceptible to mortality from fires and favor vegetation which returns shortly after fire. A thick stand of ponderosa pine would be a likely vegetation type for prescribed fire. Some thick stands of ponderosa pine have little vegetation ground cover. Following a fire, the vegetation community would change to a grass, forb, and shrub community. In the absence of fire, these areas will gradually revert back to ponderosa pine. Young trees will reach 5 to 10 feet within 15 years following fire. Tree density will depend on grass competition within the burn area. Limber pine would be maintained and other forest resources would not be significantly impacted. As prairie dog colonies expand, 40 to 90 percent of the vegetation will continue to be removed by prairie dogs and the vegetation will remain in early to mid seral status.

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A
Surface-disturbing activities would not significantly impact vegetation during construction. If a permanent facility was constructed the actual site would be void of any vegetation. On projects where a permanent facility is not constructed, reclamation would be implemented and the impacts would be minimized. Coal development would significantly impact vegetation during the 40-year life of the mine. The actual pit of 340 149

CHAPTER 4 Vegetation acres would be void of vegetation and 3,400 to 4,400 acres would be in varying stages of reclamation. Off-road vehicle use causes approximately 0.15 acres of vegetation damage per mile of travel. This loss may be temporary or perpetuated if the trail is continually reused. Vegetation loss from off-road vehicle use occurs due to soil erosion. There is concern that catalytic converters may catch dry vegetation and start fires. Seven percent of the fires which occur in the resource area are caused by man. The actual ignition source of these man-caused fires is not identified. The vegetation loss may be significant locally. Potential for spread of noxious weeds through off-road vehicle use is one of the more troublesome impacts to the native vegetation. Weed infestations can displace native vegetation even in good and excellent conditions and are costly to control. Vehicles are a common source of new weed infestations.

ALTERNATIVE B
Impacts would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative those impacts would not occur on areas where surface disturbance is excluded. Closing the Calypso Trail would result in revegetation of vehicle tracks where soils are suitable. There would be a minor increase in vegetation disturbance due to development of access and small scale campground development. Riparian vegetation would be removed during boat ramp construction. These actions would comply with the Clean Water Act and Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act of 1975. Impacts from off-road vehicle use also would be reduced. Off-road vehicle use impacts vegetation, causing soils to erode, which may impact water quality. The damage from off-road vehicle use is lessened when vehicles are limited to existing roads and trails. There would be no impacts from coal mining. Within the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern, 40 to 90 percent of the vegetation will continue to be removed by prairie dogs and the vegetation will remain in early to mid seral status.

Conclusion
Cumulative impacts to vegetation would be positive in this alternative. Activities proposed in this plan and future activities of livestock producers and other agencies will result in gradual improvement in ecological status of the upland vegetation over the next 20 years. The greatest potential for improvement will be found in riparian/wetland areas. Improvement of these areas in the past was overlooked as these were considered “sacrifice zones.” Attention for improvement has recently focused on these areas on private and public lands. The 1988 reauthorization of the Clean Water Act has added emphasis for improvement in riparian areas. Riparian/wetland areas would improve, increasing livestock and wildlife forage, providing soil protection, enhancing water quality and provide cover for wildlife. Limber pine would be protected insuring the continuation of the species. Unavoidable adverse impacts would be from permanent structures or improvements such as roads or buildings. The actual site occupied by a reservoir or permanent structure would be void of vegetation. There would be no irreversible and irretrievable impacts to vegetation. Short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity would be from surface-disturbing activities, such as construction of structural improvements, rights-of-way, mining, oil and gas development and mechanical treatments. Mechanical treatments would adversely affect vegetation in the short term resulting in increased vegetation in the long term.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative the rate of improvement to riparian areas would be the greatest, and there would be a reduction of vegetation loss from restricting oil and gas and coal development.

ALTERNATIVE C
Impacts from special recreation management areas and prairie dog colonies in the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern would be the same as Alternative B. The remaining impacts to vegetation would be the same as Alternative A.

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
Impacts to vegetation would be the same as Alternative A, except under this alternative those impacts would occur on less acres; and 40 to 90 percent of the vegetation in the

150

CHAPTER 4 Wildlife prairie dog colonies of the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern will continue to be removed by prairie dogs. The vegetation would remain in early to mid seral status. There would be a minor increase in vegetation disturbance due to development of access and small scale campground development. Riparian vegetation would be removed during boat ramp construction. These actions would comply with the Clean Water Act and Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act of 1975. Closing the Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management Area to mineral material permits and sales would prevent removal of 300 acres of riparian and upland vegetation over the next 20 years. Off-road vehicle use impacts vegetation, causing soils to erode, which may impact water quality. The damage from off-road vehicle use is lessened when vehicles are limited to existing roads and trails. With a limited designation for the planning area, and closure of the Calypso Trail and in the Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern, off-road vehicle use may increase in the areas designated open. This would result in increased vegetation loss. The potential for vegetation production on the open off-road vehicle area near Glendive is lower than the average for Dawson County due to the soils and steeper slopes. The riparian vegetation is limited to ephemeral streams. Every mile of a 15 inch trail that is developed will result in a loss of approximately 0.15 acre of vegetation. The open designation will also allow for increased potential for spread of noxious weeds and displacement of native vegetation. Closing Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern to vehicle use would prevent potential for future loss of vegetation. Cover will increase on existing trails. Closing the Calypso Trail would result in revegetation of vehicle tracks where soils are suitable. Yearly developed waterfowl projects would disturb 10 to 20 acres per project.

Impacts From Management Common To All Alternatives
The following are cumulative impacts to wildlife. In the past, wildlife such as the wolf, grizzly bear and prairie dog were reduced or eliminated as they were viewed as an impediment to “progress.” Millions of acres of habitat in the United States have been altered, not because wildlife occupying these acres were undesirable, but because the habitat was desired for other uses. The best example is the conversion of millions of acres of native prairie to farmland, hay ground or tame pasture. The overall condition of wildlife habitat since the turn of the century has declined. Buffalo and livestock were generally restricted to those areas with a permanent source of water, such as rivers and streams and in some cases natural springs. These areas received heavy use and were in a deteriorated state. As such, millions of acres were unavailable to livestock, but were available to the more mobile wildlife. With the installation of fences and mechanized equipment capable of providing water to arid areas, many areas previously unavailable to livestock were now available. Many of these areas were not managed, resulting in a decrease in the condition of the habitat. This is especially true of many of the green ash draws characteristic of this planning area. Prairie dogs once occupied thousands of acres in Montana. This habitat for the black-footed ferret was reduced to the point where the black-footed ferret could no longer survive. Present policy is to protect what habitat remains on public land. Actions conducted within the planning area in the past impacted many of those animals now listed as federally endangered or threatened. These species included the piping plover, least tern, black-footed ferret, whooping crane, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, and pallid sturgeon. Current activities on BLM lands within the planning area have little impact on these species. The greatest impact to other wildlife on private and public lands is livestock grazing. In some cases, the impacts associated with agriculture have been beneficial to specific species of wildlife (wild turkeys, pheasants, Canada geese and white-tailed deer). In other instances, the impact of livestock grazing and its associated activities has been negative to wildlife (sage grouse). Currently, within the planning area native range is being converted to farmland, hay land or tame pasture. This 151

Conclusion
Cumulative, unavoidable adverse, irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting longterm productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

WILDLIFE Assumptions
Impacts to wildlife in oil and gas moderate potential development areas would be the same as in the high potential areas.

CHAPTER 4 Wildlife beneficial or adverse for any type of treatment depending on project design. Riparian habitats would be avoided. If proper project design and mitigation are used, there will be no significant direct impacts to riparian wildlife species. Sagebrush treatments can be detrimental to sage grouse year-round and #wintering big game in years when snow depths make low-growing plants unavailable. Generally, impacts to wildlife from livestock grazing are increased as the level of utilization increases. Nesting birds are not impacted provided adequate residual vegetation remains following grazing. Big game species would not be negatively impacted when a minimum of 50 percent of the available, current year’s growth of browse remains following grazing by livestock. When these conditions are not provided, wildlife will be negatively impacted. A 50 percent limit on the utilization of upland browse will provide for the improvement of the condition of these browse species. This same level of utilization in the riparian areas will result in the downward trend of the browse component.

Sage grouse.

conversion is primarily limited to private land. Although

BLM lands are not farmed, some are being converted to tame pasture for the benefit of livestock. The impact to wildlife such as sage grouse and antelope is negative.

Livestock producers are becoming better informed and the

Impacts From Management Actions Specific To Each Alternative
ALTERNATIVE A

trend is toward better range management practices. With the continued installation of livestock reservoirs, the habitat for species such as waterfowl and fisheries is enhanced.

Historically, these habitats were not present or if present,
rare. New water developments such as reservoirs will

benefit those species dependent on aquatic habitat. Canada
geese is one species that has grown significantly as a result

of water development and agriculture.

Crucial winter ranges would be protected from oil and gas development by application of a timing restriction from December 1 through March 31. This restriction in development would provide a one-year positive benefit to wintering wildlife. However, the overall impact to wildlife would be negative as subsequent production type activities would
be authorized year-round. Geophysical exploration could negatively affect wildlife, especially nesting raptors. The level of impact will be determined by the type and duration
of the geophysical exploration. The impact could be locally

There may be an eventual loss of opportunity for reestab-

lishing the black-footed ferret due to the eradication of the
prairie dog on nonfederal lands. Prairie dogs are enhanced

by excessive grazing. Improved grazing management practises will have a negative impact on the prairie dog and

significant. Developing locatable minerals and removal of

those species associated with their habitat. Removal of
prairie dog habitat will have a significant impact to the

mineral materials would have a minimal impact on wildlife habitat.
Allowing the installation of rights-of-ways could have a

associated species, including the black-footed ferret.

The potential for negative impacts to wildlife from vegetative manipulation (mechanical treatments, fire, hay cutting, firewood cutting, etc.) is highest when large areas are treated. The greatest positive impacts are achieved when small, irregular shaped blocks are treated. Proper project design can ensure improved wildlife habitat and increased species diversity. Impacts on upland wildlife species can be 152

significant adverse impact to wildlife, depending on the

size, location, and duration of the disturbance. Disturbance

to animals on their crucial winter ranges, nesting and roosting sites may be locally significant.
If a coal mine is developed, impacts to wildlife would be significant; however, through unsuitability criterion, the

CHAPTER 4 Wildlife most valuable habitats would be protected. The impacts of allowing other mineral development activities could be severe on those animals that inhabit Smoky Butte. Because of the terrain associated with Smoky Butte, this area provides habitat for numerous species of wildlife. Removal of part of this butte could be detrimental to the wildlife. It is suspected a snake den exists in the butte. Should the rocks adjacent to this den be removed, the snake den may be lost. Activities associated with removal of the minerals could negatively impact nesting raptors, wintering big game, and other small game and nongame birds. Wildlife habitat within the Powder River Depot and Calypso areas would benefit as recreational use would not be encouraged. Loss of habitat and displacement of wildlife associated with recreational activities would be reduced. Intensive off-road vehicle use would occur during the hunting season, with less use throughout the year from other activities. Habitat disturbance resulting from unrestricted off-road vehicle use includes the compaction of vegetation. Off-road vehicle use and presence of humans on crucial winter ranges may cause wildlife to move from a specific area due to intolerance of disturbance. Off-road vehicle use in riparian bottoms causes abandonment of nests by raptors. Ground nesting birds could have nests destroyed or abandoned from off-road vehicle activity during the nesting season (March through June). Off-road vehicle use could result in increase in soil erosion (sedimentation) and a decrease in the quality of nearby fisheries habitat. The impacts are not expected to be significant. Smoky Butte is not legally accessible. It is not anticipated a great deal of off-road vehicle activity would take place. With the steepness of this site, should off-road vehicle use occur, impacts could occur to nesting raptors and wintering wildlife. This area is also big game crucial winter range. Cherry Creek drainage would continue to provide a fishery and habitat for upland species. difficult to achieve. The rate upland habitat needed by ground nesting birds improves would be slow. Livestock grazing would impact important habitat types. Areas where livestock are not properly managed would deteriorate or remain at less than potential, causing an unavoidable adverse impact to wildlife habitat. Allotments where interdisciplinary management plans have been implemented would improve. Habitat would improve through livestock management and managing surface-disturbing activities in riparian areas. As disturbance activities are authorized, potential impacts to wintering wildlife on crucial winter ranges would continue. Oil and gas development would be restricted from December through March, however, production is authorized year round, resulting in unavoidable adverse impacts to wildlife. Crucial winter ranges are unsuitable for coal development and so are protected. Habitat would not be available for reintroduction of the black-footed ferret. This may delay the recovery of the black-footed ferret.

ALTERNATIVE B
Generally, the impacts to wildlife from surface-disturbing activities such as rights-of-ways, off-road vehicle use, mineral material sales, locatable minerals, nonenergy leasable minerals, and oil and gas development would be minor as these activities would be eliminated or restricted. Excluding livestock grazing in the special recreation management areas would improve vegetation for wildlife. However, encouraging recreational use in the special recreation management areas would result in some loss of habitat, displacement of wildlife, and increased stress to wildlife. Livestock grazing would be excluded on the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management Area and from December 1 through March 31 in crucial winter ranges. Competition for forage between livestock and wildlife would be eliminated, resulting in a significantly positive impact to wildlife. No oil and gas would be leased in the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern; crucial winter ranges; steep slopes; Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern; riparian/wetlands; cultural areas of critical environmental concern; or in the Cherry Creek, Lewis and Clark Trail, and Powder River Depot special recreation management areas. This restriction would provide a permanent positive benefit to wildlife habitat. Not only would wildlife be protected from disturbance associ153

Conclusion
The cumulative impacts to wildlife are generally positive; however, the speed at which habitats improve would be slow. Future actions and activities by the BLM will have little impact on the overall populations of wildlife as only 10 percent of the planning area is BLM-administered lands. On the lands we do manage, the level of emphasis will improve wildlife habitat. Disturbance associated with oil and gas leasing and development will continue to negatively impact wildlife. However, based on the projected number of wells to be drilled over the life of this plan, the impact is not significant. The riparian objective of having 75 percent of the riparian areas in proper functioning condition by 1997 would be

CHAPTER 4 Wildlife ated with the development of new wells, but wildlife would also be protected from disturbance resulting from the maintenance. Many of the steep slopes are crucial winter ranges for wildlife. By protecting these steep slopes, habitat crucial to wildlife would also be protected. In addition, other wildlife inhabiting these slopes either seasonally or yearlong may also be protected. The probability of oil and gas development on steep slopes is not likely; therefore, the impact to wildlife would not be great. Keeping development out of riparian/wetland sites is a positive benefit to wildlife. It is estimated that approximately 90 percent of the wildlife in the planning area are dependent on riparian/wetlands at some point in time. Over 5,000 acres of riparian/wetland sites overlie federal oil and gas. This would be a positive benefit for wildlife. Although small in size, Smoky Butte provides locally unique habitat. Closing this area to oil and gas development would be positive. The area provides habitat for raptors, mule deer, as well as numerous species of small mammals and nongame birds. Smoky Butte may contain a snake den, which would be protected. With the steepness of Smoky Butte, the potential for oil and gas development is remote. Whatever protection could be provided would be positive. The Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern (1,151 public surface acres) would be designated. Prairie dog colonies and their expansion on public land would be managed for the reintroduction and recovery of the black-footed ferret as well as associated species (see map 23). New prairie dog colonies on public lands would be important for black-footed ferret recovery. A 50-foot pool depth dam for the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area would impact the area in a positive and negative manner. When the dam is constructed, existing habitat would be lost. However, this habitat would be replaced with high-value wetland habitat. The lost habitat consists of sagebrush-grasslands. The dam site is habitat for antelope and sage grouse, as well as other upland wildlife species. The fishery in the Cherry Creek drainage would be altered. About 569 acres of uplands would be altered by construction of this dam. The loss of the current habitat would not constitute a significant impact. A significant impact would result when the dam is constructed, as an estimated 9.9 miles of shoreline would be created, of which 3.2 miles would be high-value waterfowl habitat. Of the 569 surface acres, 25.2 acres would be high-value waterfowl habitat. The effects of removing water from Yellowtail Dam or directly from the Yellowstone River is not expected to be significant. The increase in the flow of water released from the Yellowtail Dam is estimated to be between .02 percent and .6 percent of the normal flow of the Yellowstone River. The Cherry Creek drainage comprises .5 percent to .6 percent of the flow for the Yellowstone River. Habitat could be created for piping plovers, least terns, and whooping cranes. Reducing the amount of sediment which is allowed to enter the Yellowstone River may be the most serious impact to threatened and endangered species. It is estimated Cherry Creek provides 1.0 percent to 1.8 percent (5,400 to 9,800 tons) of the total sediment for the Yellowstone River. Some native river fish such as blue suckers, paddlefish and sturgeons are dependent on turbid water for survival. The amount of sediment provided by Cherry Creek drainage although small (1.0 percent to 1.8 percent) may be locally significant. Should this sediment be removed in that portion of the Yellowstone River directly below the mouth of Cherry Creek, that portion may no longer provide suitable habitat for the survival of some river fishes. The impact to wildlife from limiting off-road vehicle use to existing roads and trails would be positive. The potential to disturb wintering wildlife, ground-nesting birds, and raptors would decrease.

Conclusion
Future actions and activities by the BLM will have little impact on the overall populations of wildlife as only 10 percent of the planning area is BLM-administered lands. On the lands BLM manages, the level of emphasis will result in a slow rate of improvement, although more rapid than in Alternative A, and more positive than the other alternatives, resulting in the quickest and greatest positive benefit to wildlife. The closing of crucial winter ranges to oil and gas leasing will be beneficial to wildlife, especially in the future as long-term production of wells would be eliminated. Other surface-disturbing activities affecting wildlife habitat are not expected to be significant, as some crucial habitats will be excluded and other crucial habitat mitigated. Although fish habitat in the Yellowstone River may be slightly altered, the cumulative impact of the Cherry Creek Dam would be positive. However, should other large diversion dams be constructed on the tributaries of the Yellowstone River, a significant negative impact to the ecosystem could result. The impact to wildlife habitat as a result of controlled livestock grazing would be positive. Disturbance to wintering wildlife and competition for forage would be reduced. Impacts to the uplands and to the riparian areas are similar to those impacts in Alternative A.

154

CHAPTER 4 Wildlife Prairie dog habitat would be managed for black-footed ferret reintroduction. Prairie dog habitat would be available for reintroduction of the black-footed ferret. Reintroduction of the black-footed ferret would expedite the recovery of this species.

ALTERNATIVE C ALTERNATIVE D (Preferred Alternative)
Avoiding construction of rights-of-way in the cultural, wildlife, and Smoky Butte areas of critical environmental concern; Makoshika State Park; and the special recreation management areas would benefit wildlife. Allowing the construction of rights-of-way on crucial winter ranges from December through March would negatively impact wintering wildlife during severe winters. Depending on the amount and the longevity of the construction, this disturbance could result in loss of wintering wildlife. Oil and gas leasing subject to a no surface occupancy stipulation would benefit wildlife by eliminating the alternation of habitat and by reducing disturbance to the animals. The Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern (16 acres of high oil and gas potential development) would be protected through the application of lease terms. Geophysical exploration could negatively affect wildlife, especially nesting raptors. The level of impact will be determined by the type and duration of the geophysical exploration. Developing locatable minerals and removal of mineral materials would have a minimal impact on wildlife habitat. Encouraging recreational use in the special recreation management areas would result in loss of habitat and the displacement of wildlife. These impacts would be insignificant. Open off-road vehicle use would have the same impacts as Alternative A. The impacts to the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern would be the same as Alternative B. The impacts to wildlife and fish from the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area would be the same as Alternative B, except under this alternative there would be 455 acres flooded, and 6.9 miles of shoreline with 2.2 miles of high-value waterfowl habitat. There would be a total of 21.9 acres of waterfowl habitat. Generally, the impacts to wildlife from surface-disturbing activities such as rights-of-way, off-road vehicle uses, mineral material sales, locatable minerals, and nonenergy leasable minerals would be lessened as these activities would be restricted. Stress to the wildlife and habitat disturbance would be reduced. Allowing oil and gas development on steep slopes could result in a negative impact to wildlife, especially on crucial winter ranges. Wintering wildlife often seek out these slopes due to the availability of forage, as well as the thermal properties associated with these slopes. Oil and gas development on the slopes in crucial winter ranges would result in a negative impact to wildlife. No surface occupancy for oil and gas development on Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern would be a positive impact to wildlife, especially to nesting raptors. This area is also big game crucial winter range. Crucial winter ranges would be protected from oil and gas drilling activities by application of timing restrictions from December 1 through March 31. This restriction would provide a one-year benefit to wintering wildlife. However, the overall impact to wildlife would be negative as subsequent production type activities would be authorized yearround. About 180 public acres of crucial winter range would be altered or lost, based on the projected number of wells to be drilled during the life of this plan. Geophysical exploration could negatively affect wildlife, especially nesting raptors. The level of impact will be determined by the type and duration of the geophysical exploration. Impacts to the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern would be the same as Alternative B, except in this alternative locatable mineral entry would be allowed in the area of critical environmental concern. Impacts to prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets from the extraction of locatable minerals is expected to be minimal based on historic permits. However, should a large amount of prairie dog habitat be altered or if the removal of the locatable minerals occur over an extended period of time, the impacts would be significant. Removal of critical blackfooted ferret habitat or disturbance to individual populations of prairie dogs or black-footed ferrets would constitute the greatest impact. 155

Conclusion
The cumulative impacts to wildlife are positive, and more rapid than Alternative A, but substantially less than alternatives B and D. The cumulative impacts are similar to those identified in Alternative A, except for the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret.

CHAPTER 4 Wildlife Excluding livestock grazing in the Calypso, Powder River Depot, and Cherry Creek special recreation management areas would have a positive impact on wildlife habitat. Vegetation associated with riparian areas would improve, as would the vegetation needed by ground nesting birds. Excluding livestock grazing on the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern from May 1 through July 15 would protect piping plover eggs and young from trampling. Encouraging recreational use of the special recreation management areas would result in the displacement of wildlife. Of the 2,320 acres open to off-road vehicle use, 1,920 acres have been designated as mule deer crucial winter range. Designating the area near Glendive as open to off-road vehicle use will have a detrimental effect to wintering mule deer. Mule deer will move off this area due to their intolerance to disturbance. The net result will be adjacent crucial winter range could be overutilized or the mule deer will be forced onto less desirable winter habitat. In areas where oil and gas is leased with a no surface occupancy stipulation, wildlife would benefit by minimizing the alteration of habitat and by reducing disturbance to the animals. In areas where locatable minerals would be withdrawn, mineral material sales, and nonenergy leasable minerals would be closed, wildlife habitat would not be altered and disturbance to animals would be reduced. The impacts from Cherry Creek Dam and special recreation management areas would be the same as Alternative B.

Conclusion
The cumulative impact to wildlife is generally positive. The speed at which habitats improve would be more rapid than Alternatives A or C, but less than Alternative B. Future actions and activities by the BLM will have little impact on the overall populations of wildlife, as only 10 percent of the planning area is BLM-administered lands. The lands BLM manages will slowly improve. The riparian objective of having 75 percent of the riparian areas in proper functioning condition by 1997 would be difficult to achieve. Uplands, needed by nesting birds, would improve at a slow rate. Livestock grazing would impact important habitat types. Those habitat areas where livestock are not properly managed would deteriorate or remain at less than potential, causing an adverse impact to wildlife habitat. Allotments where interdisciplinary plans have been implemented, wildlife habitat should gradually improve through livestock management and managing surface-disturbing activities in riparian areas. As disturbance activities on crucial winter ranges are authorized, potential impacts to wintering wildlife would occur. Oil and gas development would be restricted from December through March; however, production would be authorized year-round, resulting in adverse impacts. Crucial winter ranges are unsuitable for coal development and are so protected. Habitat would be made available for black-footed ferret reintroduction and for associated species. Expansion of prairie dogs within the 11,166 acres would be allowed. Irreversible and irretrievable impacts, and short-term impacts affecting long-term productivity would be the same as Alternative A.

156

CHAPTER 5

Consultation
and Coordination

CHAPTER 5

INTRODUCTION
The Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement was prepared by an interdisciplinary team of specialists from the Big Dry and Powder River resource areas, the Miles City District Office and the Montana State Office of the BLM. Reviews for adequacy and consistency were provided by the district and state office staffs. Consultation, coordination, and public involvement have occurred throughout the process through scoping meetings, informal meetings, individual contacts, newspaper releases, and Federal Register notices. Preparation of the document began in the fall of 1989. Data used was from inventories before that time, from information received from the public and other agencies, and knowledge of the resource area specialists.

A total of 64 written responses were received after the public scoping meetings. Most of these written comments were a reiteration of the oral comments received at the public meetings. Oral and written comments covered the entire spectrum of issues, but the majority were concerned with resource management in the lands, range, recreation, and wildlife programs. One special interest group commented on the coal program, but this was the only specific comment received on mineral activities. Records of public comments and concerns are on file in the Big Dry Resource Area office. As part of the analysis process, a telephone interview was conducted with 100 people representing the full range of resource interests in the planning area. The results of these interviews and all other public involvement were used during selection of the preferred alternative (Trent 1991). In February 1993, approximately 1,500 copies of the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement were distributed for public comment at a cost of $25,000. A Federal Register notice was published March 19, 1993, beginning the comment period on the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement. The comment period on the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement closed June 18, 1993. A Federal Register notice asking for comments on two newly proposed areas of critical environmental concern was published on November 26, 1993, with the comment period ending January 25, 1994. Public meetings were held to gather comments on the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement at nine locations.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
A public participation plan was prepared to provide management and team guidance for developing the resource management plan and environmental impact statement and to insure public involvement during the entire resource management plan and environmental impact statement preparation process. During scoping of the plan, formal and informal public input was encouraged and sought after. Federal Register notices were published on October 3, 1989, and May 3, 1990, informing the public of the notice of intent to plan, calling for coal information and areas of critical and environmental concern identification, and announcing the notice of availability for the planning criteria. Several news releases were published in local papers. The releases announced the beginning of the plan, encouraged public involvement and the availability of planning criteria. Brochures were mailed to more than 1,000 individuals, groups, and agencies in December 1989 notifying the public of the expected issues and upcoming public scoping meetings. Brochures also were mailed in April 1990 summarizing the comments received from the public scoping meetings. Public scoping meetings were conducted at 9 towns in the planning area with a total attendance of 214 people. Individual meetings were held with commissioners in 10 counties; the Assiniboine, Sioux, and Northern Cheyenne Native American tribes; and 2 special interest groups.

PLACE Wolf Point Sidney Jordan Circle Glendive Terry Baker Forsyth Miles City Total

DATE May 3, 1993 May 4, 1993 May 5, 1993 May 6, 1993 May 10, 1993 May 11, 1993 May 12, 1993 May 13, 1993 May 17, 1993

ATTENDANCE 0 6 46 16 16 19 22 1 3 129

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CHAPTER 5

Consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Threatened and Endangered Species
As required by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, on July 14, 1994, the BLM submitted a biological assessment to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This document defined potential impacts to threatened and endangered species as a result of management actions proposed in this resource management plan and environmental impact statement. In their letter received July 21, 1994, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated “Based on information in the July 14, 1994, biological assessment for the Big Dry Resource Management Plan, (we) concur with the “may affect - beneficial” finding for the piping plover and with the “is not likely to adversely affect” finding for bald eagle, whooping crane, peregrine falcon, least tern, blackfooted ferret, and pallid sturgeon” (see Wildlife appendix).

plan were considered to be the appropriate response; this is noted where appropriate. Expressions of personal preference and opinions are listed following the responses to the substantive comments. Preferences or opinions received more than once are indicated by the number of respondents who made the comment. Although no specific response is made to these statements, they have been considered in the resource management plan development and have been carefully considered along with the environmental analysis in the decision-making process.

ALTERNATIVES AND OTHER MANAGEMENT CONCERNS Substantive Comments
1. The Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, Montana Office has rated the draft environmental impact statement as category EC-2 (Environmental Concerns - Insufficient Information). The document does not adequately display environmental effects of the proposed action. A cumulative effects analysis of past and projected activities was not completed. A greater range of alternatives should have been considered. Analyze in detail the Big Open concept as a separate alternative or as a component of an already analyzed alternative. The level of analysis of the alternatives is inadequate. For example, in chapter 4, oil and gas only looks at the impact of stipulations on the development of oil and gas resources and fails to look at whether the stipulations proposed adequately protect the important values of the resource area. BLM should include the “Ecological Health” idea into their land management polices. Adequate protection of all areas of critical environmental concern needs to be implemented, including protection from oil, gas, mining, and grazing developments, and off-road vehicle use. The maps need numbers. The federal government must include analyses of historic cultural, economic, social or health effects. The scale of government financial support is not adequately accounted for in the document.

Comments and Responses
In the oral statements given during the public meetings, the 170 letters received on the Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, and the two letters received on the newly proposed areas of critical environmental concern were over 400 individual comments. These letters are available at the Big Dry Resource Area office. Approximately 75 percent of the comments were considered to be substantive comments on the content of the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement. The comments (1) addressed the adequacy, inaccuracies, and discrepancies in the analysis; (2) identified what were considered to be either new impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures, or (3) disagreed with significance determinations. The remainder of the comments were considered to be expressions of personal preference or opinion. Comments received on the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement and the newly proposed areas of critical environmental concern have been grouped below by major topic. Some comments could have been placed under more than one topic, but were placed only under one. For example, the comment that the public land open to off-road vehicle use is fragile and susceptible to erosion is listed under the recreation topic, but could have been listed under soil, water, and air. Those comments considered to be substantive appear first under each topic heading. Appropriate discussion or responses to substantive comments appears next under each topic. Often text revisions to the final resource management

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7. 8.

9.

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CHAPTER 5 Cultural Resources

Responses
1. See text changes in impact analyses and cumulative impact analyses, chapter 4. Alternatives must be “reasonable” and include a “no action” (current situation) alternative per the National Environmental Policy Act. A range of alternatives were formulated during scoping and have been refined throughout the environmental impact statement process. All alternatives suggested by the public were considered. Those not selected for further analysis appear in the beginning of chapter 2 with associated rationale. Each alternative represents an alternative means of satisfying or resolving the issues. See the beginning of chapter 2 under “Big Open” for why the Big Open concept was considered but not analyzed in detail in the document. The “Oil and Gas” section of chapter 4 only shows impacts to oil and gas. To see impacts to other resources, look under that resource heading. For example, impacts to wildlife are under “Wildlife.” BLM is in the process of formulating policy that directs the Bureau to do ecosystem management, which is ecological health. The preferred decisions will protect the areas of critical environmental concern (see chapter 4 addressing impacts). The maps now have numbers. See chapter 4 for impacts to those items listed. The scope of the analyses is limited to analyzing the economic impacts of a range of management actions for BLM-administered resources. This document does discuss BLM’s contribution to the area economy.

5. 6. 7.

Alternative C should be adopted (6). Alternative D should be adopted (4). The Plan should manage for nature and offer more protection from economic interests (6). Revise the plan to consider long-term sustainability and ecosystem conservation. The scoping process relies too much on input from a small core of local individuals who desire to preserve the status quo. Not all of the BLM area of critical environmental concern nominations are viable. Support the designation of additional areas of critical environmental concern and the improvements in environmental protection. In light of industry downsizing, the economic hardships on resource producers and the ever-shrinking public land base available for multiple-use activities, the BLM should retain and enhance the substantial economic base which is provided by the principal industries in the Big Dry Resource Area - livestock, ranching, farming, oil and gas, and hunting (5). Allow oil and gas leasing except in areas of environmental concern to enhance the economy and instead of obtaining it from overseas.

2.

8.

9.

10.

3.

11.

4.

12.

5.

13.

6.

7. 8. 9.

CULTURAL RESOURCES Substantive Comments
1. There are no records of findings of eligibility for the Big Sheep Mountain, Jordan Bison Kill or Seline sites. As part of their designation as areas of critical environmental concern each of the cultural sites should be formally nominated for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in consultation with the Keeper of the National Register. As relatively few sites have been formally evaluated, the number of significant sites may well exceed the 1 to 7 to 10 figure used in predicting or projecting future impacts to “eligible” cultural resources. Of the approximately 350 historic and prehistoric sites formally evaluated statewide in consultation with the Montana State Historic Preservation Office in 1992,

Preferences and Opinions
1. 2. Alternative A should be adopted (2). Support commercial use of public lands done in an environmentally responsible manner. Neither Alternative B nor Alternative C is the answer. Alternatives B and D are improvements over Alternative A. 159

2.

3.

3.

4.

CHAPTER 5 Cultural Resources over one- third of these sites were determined to be eligible for the National Register. 4. Consideration of the sites in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area as a unit is an appropriate approach. Mitigation pertains to impacts and not to cultural resources. Distinguish those sites which have been recommended as eligible or ineligible by the BLM and those for which consultation has occurred with Montana State Historic Preservation Office or the Keeper of the Register. Fire suppression is not exempt from Section 106 compliance. Effects of fire on archaeological sites indicate that rehabilitation activities have a high potential for impact. For the purposes of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, no distinction is made between properties that are formally nominated and listed on the National Register and properties that are determined to be eligible for the National Register through consultation. There should be no distinction in relation to coal leasing between “determined eligible” and “listed.” Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site is mentioned only briefly on maps. The Powder River Depot site does not have associations with fur traders and Lewis and Clark. BLM should mention the partnership potential with Burlington Northern Railroad for the Powder River Depot. The Miles/Sitting Bull site of October 21, 1876, located on Cedar Creek warrants inclusion as an area of critical environmental concern. BLM should reconsider its recommendation of not making the Miles/Sitting Bull Fight an area of critical environmental concern. Mineral activities should be prohibited. The bibliography should acknowledge Lisle G. Brown’s, “The Yellowstone Supply Depot,” and “Yellowstone Command: Colonel Nelson A. Miles and the Great Sioux War, 1876-1877” (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1991). The text and bibliography should also acknowledge the Lewis and Clark journals prepared by Gary Moulton. 16. The monitoring plan for cultural resources is insufficient to protect critically valuable resources. The effects to historic values of pre-columbian cultures need to be considered. BLM should not set goals to acquire so many properties each year or in 20 years. The 500 cultural properties would be a negative impact on the economy of our area, limiting multiple use. There are two graves at the Powder River Depot.

5.

17.

6.

18.

19.

7.

20.

8.

Responses
1. The text has been changed to reflect: formal determinations of eligibility on cultural resource sites, mitigation wording, fire impacts and wording, incorrect references to the Powder River Depot, and bibliography changes. See chapter 4, “Cultural Resources” for impacts to pre-columbian cultures. As part of the development of cultural resource area of critical environmental concern management plans, sites will be considered for formal nomination for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Sites determined by BLM to be significant, but not evaluated by the Montana State Historic Preservation Office were also used in making the assumption for number of significant sites in the planning area. Assumptions were not made statewide. This accounts for the difference in figures. The Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area sites will be considered as a unit. See response 1 above. See response 1 above. See response 1 above. See response 1 above. The finding of areas unsuitable for coal leasing is not a distinction that BLM makes. This distinction is clearly made in 43 CFR 3461.5 (g) (1) regulations,

9.

2.

10.

3.

11.

12.

4.

13.

5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

14.

15.

160

CHAPTER 5 Lands criterion 7, which states that only sites formally listed can be found unsuitable. 10. Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site is not mentioned in the document because there is no BLMadministered land in the site’s immediate vicinity. BLM has no control or opportunity to manage the lands surrounding the site. See response 1 above.

Preferences and Opinions
1. Mitigation of the transfer of significant cultural resources out of federal ownership by eligible site acquisition is not a preferred mitigative alternative.

FIRE MANAGEMENT Substantive Comments

11. 12.

Partnership potential with Burlington Northern will be explored at the activity planning stage. The exact location of the Miles/Sitting Bull site has not yet been determined. If the site is found to be important and relevant in the future, further planning would be conducted (see beginning of chapter 2 for further discussion). In the meantime, the site is protected from BLM authorized activities in that when a project is proposed, an archaeological survey of the area is conducted. If the site is found during the survey, the site would be recommended as eligible to the National Register of Historic Places, and avoided from activity, including oil and gas development and mineral material permits and sales; thereby protecting the site. See response 13 above. See response 1 above. The monitoring schedule for cultural resources has been sufficient to detect any deteriorating trends, of which there have been little or none. See response 1 above.

1.

Will prescribed burning be used to burn sagebrush as a range management tool?

13.

Responses
1. Sagebrush will be managed but not eliminated. As the document states, sagebrush cover will be left if possible.

Preferences and Opinions
1. Advocate properly managed sagebrush burning as a range improvement tool (2).

14. 15. 16.

LANDS Substantive Comments
1. The Prairie County Commissioners have taken the road through our ranch in T14N, R51E off the county tax maps. The road identified as public access in sections 11, 12, 14, 15, 19, 20, and 21; T. 17 N., R. 31 E., was abandoned by the County Commissioners on August 10, 1992, and therefore is no longer a public access road. Are the BLM roads open to public use? Are they maintained? Are there signs? No mention is made of the need for any public access to the 6 tracts in excess of 20,000 acres or any of lesser magnitude. BLM land along the river should be marked with signs that warn sportsmen to be aware of trespassing on the adjoining private land.

17. 18.

2. BLM does not propose to acquire a set number of cultural properties per year or in 20 years. BLM does have figures for how many sites could be acquired due to land adjustments for other resources or “blocking.” As lands are exchanged, so (generally) are the cultural properties located within them. Development may be restricted on the 50 to 71 significant cultural sites. See response 18 above. See response 1 above. 5.

3.

4. 19. 20.

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CHAPTER 5 Lands 6. Oppose any involvement with the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Block Management Program without site specific public hearings on any deviation from current BLM access policies. The landowner should be notified when BLM issues paleontology permits because paleontology permittees are crossing private lands without permission. A map sent BLM asked for 300 acres for the landfill due to the need for a buffer zone, we did not want 640 acres. The landfill site is on top of a hill with dams to the east and south, and a running creek to the north. Where is the drainage to go and what about seeping and runoff? Why after all these years did the reclamation on the road near the proposed landfill happen now? The county land use plan should be referred to before any acquisition or exchange takes place. Will direct sales or trades be emphasized? Why did you not make a tissue overlay, as you did for locations of federal minerals, to show areas that are proposed for retention or disposal? “Both parties willing” language should be added to the general criteria for acquisition. Townships 17N-R39E, 18N-39E, 17N-40E, and 18N40E should not be targeted for retention because of the numerous tracts of small BLM acreages such as 40 to 120 acres. The map of lands to be “retained” leaves out lands north of the Yellowstone and west of Miles City. Oppose the disposal through Recreation and Public Purposes Act for Makoshika State Park based on: the lands are not accessible from existing park boundaries or from existing park roads because these lands intermingle with private lands; these lands are within areas with noxious weeds; are extremely fragile and will not withstand any off-road motorized traffic and increased accessibility to the Park would increase soil erosion; ranches involved with these lands would need to reduce livestock numbers or may be forced out of business, further reducing the county tax valuation and hence, public services. If the area proposed for off-road vehicle use has no public benefit, why does the retention and disposal area map show the areas south and east of Glendive as retention areas? 162 18. BLM administers considerably more than 10 percent of the land within the confines of the Big Open and total public landownership is closer to 40 percent. It was precisely the point of the concept that new arrangements between private and public land managers would have to be made if wildlife were to flourish, because the landownership was intermingled. No laws are violated in the Big Open concept. The BLM is already involved cooperatively with other agencies and private landowners. As the manager of the largest land area in the Big Open, the BLM is the senior entity and should take a leadership role in new land management concepts.

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Responses
1. The roads that are no longer public access have been deleted on the maps in this final document. See response 1 above. BLM roads provide legal access for the public. Some signing and maintenance exists; however, this is an ongoing project. Access needs are identified on map 29. See also additional text in “Lands” section in chapter 2, under “Management Common to All Alternatives”. Signing public lands along the rivers was considered but not analyzed in detail. Signing areas of intensive public use is an ongoing project and accomplished as time and funding allows. The BLM enters into agreements with Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks in block management areas. When legally accessible public lands are proposed for closure (for access) during hunting season, the public would be notified in the Federal Register. BLM issues paleontological permits for scientific study on public lands. These permits in no way authorize permittees to cross private lands, and state that permission must be obtained by the permittee prior to crossing private lands to access public lands. The Fallon County Commissioners requested 640 acres for a proposed landfill in a letter dated February 8, 1990. Less acreage was considered as an alternative. The landfill site is proposed on top of a hill, where run-in water is minimal and is seen as optimal for a landfill site. This reduces the amount of water with

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CHAPTER 5 Lands the potential to percolate through the landfill and carry with it substances to the ground or surface waters. Dams below will not be impacted as the landfill is designed so minimal water run-off (such as constructing leachate ponds) would occur. Fallon County must submit a plan of operations for controlling run-off to the state of Montana prior to approval for the site. The road near the proposed landfill was constructed by an oil company to provide access to an oil well. The oil well was abandoned and the oil company was required to reclaim the oil pad and access road on the public land. 10. In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, BLM will use germane county land use plans in the development of land use plans for the public. With the emphasis on land trades (versus sales), “both parties willing” language has been added to the plan. The four retention zones in T. 17 N., 18 N. and R. 39, 40 E. contain over 32 sections of blocked land within two large blocks and numerous scattered tracts. The scattered tracts will be retained for exchanging to facilitate access and increase block size. Rather than a tissue overlay, this map was created to provide the viewer with a general idea of land acquisition and disposal areas. The retention area around Miles City has been corrected. See response 11 above. See response 11 above. See response 12 above. After considering comments on the Recreation and Public Purposes Act for Makoshika State Park (such as some sections not legally accessible) the proposed area was modified. For impacts to resources from the new decision, see Alternative D in chapter 4. Increased activity into the Park will increase erosion above the amount that is natural. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks will be the managers for the area. Impacts from loss of animal unit months are found in chapter 4, “Livestock” and “Socioeconomic” sections. The area south and east of Glendive does have public values, one of which is off-road vehicle use. For discussion on the “Big Open” see “Alternatives Considered But Not Analyzed In Detail” at the beginning of chapter 2 under “Big Open”. 11. 10.

Preferences and Opinions
1. 2. Provide more public access. Oil and gas companies should arrange for permanent legal public access to public lands via the company roads. Avoid getting involved in the block management program of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Support selling Fallon County 300 acres of BLM land in Section 14, T6N, R60E, Fallon County, MT., to be used for future landfill expansion of the Coral Creek Landfill (9). Public land is not needed for the Fallon County landfill as the county can acquire land through private sources. At a maximum, BLM should provide 160 acres for the Fallon County landfill. The county should recycle, then the existing 80 acre landfill will suffice. Opposed to a mega landfill (2). Opposed to any change in the management or control of lands now administered by the BLM or the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (2). Turn Makoshika over to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Opposed to blocking, trading, selling or in any way changing the pattern of public land (3). Support blocking public lands (2). Support blocking public land, but not to service particular individuals or interest groups. Establish significant blocks of public lands for management as the Big Open. Support exchanging adjacent land. BLM should retain section 6, instead of transferring it to the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for Makoshika State Park. Don’t set a goal to acquire so many acres into public ownership.

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CHAPTER 5 Lands 18. There should be no increase of public land acreage through sales or trades in Prairie County. Support no net loss of BLM lands (2). Current users should be given the option to buy BLM land. Sell areas BLM cannot manage to the Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy or to the state of Montana. Existing rights-of-way do not adversely effect the environment, so future rights-of-way wouldn’t either. Opposed to the recreation and public purposes transfer for Makoshika State Park. Opposed to converting existing agricultural land into public access/recreational use (for Makoshika State Park). Opposed to the Fallon County Sanitary Landfill. 8. 26. Support selling public land. 9. When calculating carrying capacity, some areas are unsuitable but the same amount is paid. Livestock grazing will be cancelled on public lands transferred for Makoshika State Park. Does that mean there will be no grazing? In spring developments are we going to be held to use corrugated pipe or can we use plastic or cement systems? Where are the 950 acres that are in fair condition on allotment 1288? In allotment 1123, 128 animal unit months per section times 3 sections in this unit equals a total of 384 animal unit months. The charge is for 491 animal unit months. Either there is an error or an overcharge of 107 animal unit months on allotment 1123. The total acres for allotment 347 is 1,000 versus 960. Apparently, the 40 acres in NENE Section 18, T. 12 N., R. 36 E., was overlooked in your acreage compilations. Please adjust your records accordingly. We must maintain a responsible cooperative effort in managing public lands. The permittee should be more involved in decisions, each permittee affected should personally be contacted. The livestock tables are confusing. 5. Aren’t Livestock Management Agreements really subleasing agreements? Does the BLM get fair market value for hay? Are environmental assessments written on these actions? How many cuttings are allowed? Some allotment management plans have not been revised since 1966. Many allotments do not have allotment management plans including some that are good-sized, such as Pasture 4 common (1341) with 12,360 public acres. What is being done to address the backlog? Has an economic assessment been performed on how the loss of animal unit months in the areas described under the preferred alternative would affect the rancher? While 5 animal unit months may not be excessive, 558 animal unit months could have a substantial effect on an individual operation. This economic effect will in turn be passed on to the community businesses and will have an effect on the local tax base.

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LIVESTOCK GRAZING MANAGEMENT Substantive Comments

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11. 1. Don’t include “no feeding livestock” on BLM land in whatever plan you adopt. The draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement states, “Public lands are managed for multiple use. Livestock grazing is a viable use of public lands.” The Multiple Use Act of 1964 states that multiple use is two or more uses so livestock grazing does not have to be included in multiple use management. The resource management plan and environmental impact statement should incorporate the Montana Grazing Best Management Practices into allotment management plans. BLM policy is to restore and maintain riparian/ wetland areas so that 75 percent or more are in proper functioning condition by 1997. What is “proper functioning” condition? Will BLM achieve this policy objective? 12.

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Responses
1. BLM national directions and standards do not allow maintenance feeding of hay on public lands. The decision to allow maintenance feeding cannot be made at the resource level. Supplemental feeding is allowed with the approval from the authorized officer. The authorizations and requirements of the Classification and Multiple Use Act were terminated. See the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 for the definition of “multiple use.” The document follows present rangeland policy and is consistent with the recommendation and decisions of the Missouri Breaks Grazing Environmental Statement Final (USDI, BLM 1979a), the Prairie Potholes Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Allocation Final (USDI, BLM 1981c), and the Big Dry Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Allocation (USDI, BLM 1982b). The purpose of a rangeland management program is to provide guidelines for managing resources and related ecosystems. The BLM will use the Montana Grazing Best Management Practices as guidelines for grazing in riparian/wetland areas. Those draft best management practices were included in the “Vegetation” section of chapter 2. A BLM Technical Reference entitled “Process for Assessing Proper Functioning Condition” (TR 17379) defines proper functioning condition. This definition has been added to the glossary. As stated in the “Livestock Grazing Management” section in chapter 4, 12 allotments in need of riparian improvement will be given priority for activity plan development. Those allotments are identified in the Livestock appendix. In addition, priority will be given to other allotments as they are identified and in need of riparian improvement. Attainment of the goal of having 75 percent or more of the riparian/wetland areas in proper functioning condition by 1997 will depend on funding. The issue of subleasing and its definition is determined by national BLM policy. The current livestock management agreement form is identified as MT4100-1 (February 1989). This form is approved by the BLM Montana State Office and is currently under revision. The BLM does get fair market value for haying. The charge is based on a Montana Agricultural Lease Survey compiled by the BLM Montana State Office, which is based on an average for dryland hay within the Miles City trade area. The guidelines for cutting hay are identified in the resource 165 6.

management plan and the impacts analyzed. Each request for hay cutting requires preauthorization. Some of the allotment management plans that were written in 1966 are in need of revision. Others are meeting the objectives and have no need for revision. The allotment identified as number 1341 is categorized as an “I” or “Improve” category allotment. These allotments receive the highest priority as discussed in the Livestock appendix. Economic assessments were not performed on individual ranch units as part of this analysis. Before grazing reductions are implemented, there would be a separate analysis which would include an economic assessment. Economic assessments have been made for the planning area. See changes in the Livestock appendix, table 53. Some areas are rougher and not as valuable for livestock grazing, which is taken into consideration when calculating carrying capacity. The Big Dry Resource Area does not have any latitude to make fee adjustments. Grazing fees are set at a national level. When the public lands are transferred for Makoshika State Park, BLM administration on those lands will be cancelled. Grazing authorized would be managed by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has indicated “Grazing will be allowed in the Park where it does not detract from park or wildlife values. Grazing would be continued on the transferred lands. Suitable grazing management plans would be developed for the properties. When existing leases expire they would be offered for competitive bid with the current lessee(s) given the right to meet the high bid.” (Letter to Governor dated June 14, 1993.) 11. 12. See text changes in Engineering appendix (springs). Allotments 347 and 1288 had data errors. See those changes in the Livestock appendix. In allotment 1123, the carrying capacity of the section in question is 145 animal unit months. Another section in the allotment was given a higher rating giving the unit a total of 491 animal unit months on public land. The billing for each allotment is based on the application that the livestock operator submits each year. A livestock operator can request temporary changes in livestock numbers, season of use, or

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CHAPTER 5 Livestock Grazing Management class of livestock each year during application time. A temporary reduction may be requested due to drought or insect damage. Permanent reductions may be made following consultation and coordination with the livestock operator if resource conditions or conflicts warrant a permanent change. At this point in time, resource data does not exist which would support a permanent change in the animal unit months for allotment 1123. 14. 15. See response 12 above. Consultation, cooperation and coordination with affected interests, such as a livestock permittee is an integral part of the system. Cooperation by the permittee and lessee has been a key element in the overall good and excellent range conditions in the resource area. The Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement offers permittees an opportunity for involvement in longterm planning for the resource area. environment; therefore, requires a separate environmental impact statement, not merely an environmental assessment. 3. Why haven’t thresholds for coal development impacts been considered in the resource management plan and environmental impact statement? BLM must address the negative social, environmental, and economic impacts of coal development on rural communities and agriculture, including the effects of decreased water quality and quantity, and the damage to crops and livestock from air pollution. The projections made in this resource management plan and environmental impact statement on construction, employment, and income are meaningless until a site specific proposal is made. This analysis is biased and unrealistic because it quantifies the payroll figures but does not quantify the costs to the community from increased demand for services from immigrating workers or the loss of agricultural productivity from coal development. Why haven’t any screens been applied to federal coal? Why didn’t the BLM apply unsuitability criteria to coal areas considered acceptable to leasing? Why haven’t any federal coal acres been found unacceptable for further consideration for coal leasing due to surface owner consultation? Why hasn’t BLM taken steps to consult landowners who have subsurface rights about federal coal? Why isn’t the surface owner consent done after the first screen? BLM appears to have confused the timing of surface owner consultation and surface owner consent. It has been in the past the policy of BLM to not put up for lease blocks of coal that had a surface owner refusal to consent. This policy should remain and also apply to an action on exchanging of coal. BLM should advocate recertifying the Fort Union Coal Region should significant interest in coal leasing be shown. This would provide for more adequate planning and analysis of impacts from coal leasing and exchanges. If the Fort Union Coal Region is decertified and if coal development is not an issue in this document, the line “Grazing would be canceled for coal development (640 to 830 animal united months on 3400 to 4400 acres each year) during the 40 year mine life” should be deleted. This is the only negative impact on agriculture from coal development that is quantified in this document but it is not mentioned in the

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Preferences and Opinions
1. 2. Utilize the grazing lands by livestock grazing. Adjust grazing fees according to resource conditions as they change due to rainfall. No restrictions on livestock grazing in crucial winter range areas. Wildlife numbers are at an all time high and livestock and wildlife are compatible. Encourage multiple use (including livestock grazing) of public lands.

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MINERALS COAL
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Substantive Comments
1. The resource management plan and environmental impact statement adopts a first-come, first-served approach to resolve coal versus oil and gas production conflicts. A best use resource management approach should consider the development of coal first. By considering coal first both resources may be developed rather than one at the expense of the other. Federal coal exchange or leasing constitutes a major federal action that significantly affects the human

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CHAPTER 5 Mienrals - Coal Socioeconomics appendix where the impacts are discussed. 10. BLM should commit to an aggressive public participation program that will involve the people of the region in future permitting, plan amendments and other land use planning and coal management decisions. Socioeconomics appendix. The specific cost to a community to provide needed services depends upon a community’s existing capacities. Because there are no existing development proposals, it was decided to discuss impacts in general terms. 5. The “Coal” section of the Minerals appendix details the unsuitability screening that was done on the identified coal areas. All but identification of alluvial valley floors and landowner consultation are in this document. Alluvial valley floor designation is in the purview of the state of Montana and is normally done by the Department of State Lands when a specific application area is under consideration. In the absence of any expressed interest in further coal leasing for the near future, and no specific geographic area to focus on, the process of landowner consultation could not be conducted at this time. The Surface Mining and Control Act (1977) Section 714(d) states: “.... the secretary [of Interior] shall consult with any surface owner whose land is proposed to be included in a leasing tract....” At this time BLM has no proposals for leasing. BLM recognizes that surface owner consultation and consent are distinctly different things. Consultation will be focused on areas of expressed interest at the start of activity planning. Areas which fail this screen will be dropped from further consideration and planning. Final qualified surface owner consent is provided by the interested company(ies) following tract delineation and before any sale can be held. 7. BLM requires the consent of qualified surface owners prior to issuance of a coal lease. This is a matter of law in the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. Present law makes no provision for surface owner consent for exchanging coal. If significant interest in coal leasing in the Fort Union Region develops, the BLM and the Governors of Montana and North Dakota will consider recertifying the region. Impacts from coal mining are discussed in the Socioeconomics appendix and chapter 4. Minimum time frames for public participation activities are: 15 days any notice request inviting the public to attend a public participation activity notice of a hearing on potential coal leasing

Responses
1. The issue of coal versus oil and gas conflicts is currently under review by BLM. While favoring coal over oil and gas has its logic, such a system creates a problem of how long to hold off development of a well while waiting for interest in the overlying coal to evolve. The introduction to chapter 4 states that an environmental impact statement would be done if BLM receives a site-specific coal lease application and mine plan. BLM Manual Handbook 3420-1 outlines how an environmental assessment would appropriate in the case of a coal license or most small lease modifications. In instances where the acreage involved is small (a few acres) or the action is merely a continuance within an existing mine, an environmental assessment may satisfactorily address any issues. The environmental assessment would provide sufficient evidence and analysis of impacts on the quality of the human environment to support a determination of no significant impacts or a determination to prepare an environmental impact statement. If the impacts require a more comprehensive analysis, an environmental impact statement would be done. Because there were no specific coal development proposals, a generic mine and power plant proposal was used to discuss the type of impacts and activities associated with typical mine-mouth plants in the Fort Union Region. Impacts are included by alternative for each resource. Threshold analysis is usually only called for where proposed development is pushing some resource values to its limit; mostly threatened and endangered species habitat. There is no development proposed in this case. The impacts to communities and agriculture are discussed in the Socioeconomic appendix. Because there are no specific proposals, the impacts are qualitative rather than quantitative. Employment levels, income, and population in-migration have been quantified in previous analyses of development proposals and included in the 167

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CHAPTER 5 Minerals - Coal 30 days any notice requesting written comments, unless otherwise stipulated Annual Schedule and Status Report notice at the outset of the planning process (Notice of Intent) notice of the availability of proposed planning criteria period for surface owners to express preference when coal is involved period BLM record of a public participation activity is open notice (Environmental Protection Agency) of filing of final environmental impact statement on resource management plan or category 2 plan amendment notice of effective date for plan amendment not requiring an environmental impact statement period for filing a protest period Governor may appeal unresolved inconsistencies to the Director notice of any significant change made to a proposed plan or amendment as a result of protest or Governor’s review for consistency 60 days period for Governor’s review of proposed plan or plan amendment for inconsistencies notice of potential area of critical environmental concern in draft plan or plan amendment 90 days notice (Environmental Protection Agency) of filing of draft environmental impact statement and resource management plan or category 2 plan amendment impacts to bentonite. To assess the impacts to bentonite resources, a mineral potential map showing areas of high and moderate potential needs to be completed. These potential areas then need to be compared to areas where other management priorities will conflict. Similar comparisons as this were done in the resource management plan for coal, and oil and gas. This should also be done for bentonite resources; the only locatable mineral resource within the Big Dry Resource Area with any apparent potential for future development.

Responses
1. Analyses were conducted assuming only one active locatable permit in 20 years. There is minimal potential for locatable mineral development in the planning area; therefore the resource management plan does not project future conflicts. Should locatable mineral development become an issue in the future, further planning would be conducted. The occurrence and distribution of bentonite minerals are the same beneath the entire planning area, in Cretaceous and Tertiary sedimentary rocks (Berg 1969). The resource management plan shows the occurrences of interest (mining claims) on maps 9A,B,C, and D for all locatable minerals.

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MINERAL MATERIALS Preferences and Opinions
1. BLM should continue to allow the retrieval of gravel from federal lands.

LOCATABLES Substantive Comments
1. The resource management plan should contain sufficient detail on potentially developable mineral resources, including locatable minerals, so that potential multiple-use conflicts can be identified and mitigated. It is far more appropriate in an assessment of impacts to resources to determine the quantity and quality of potentially developable mineral resources, rather than the amount of federal mineral estate being affected by other resource management priorities. This concern holds particularly true for the assessment of

OIL & GAS Substantive Comments
1. There is no discussion or listing of area-wide operating standards, guidelines, or mitigation measures for oil and gas companies with which they must comply during the various phases of operations. Disclosure of this information would be in compliance with Council on Environmental Quality and National Environmental Policy Act regulations. This information is vital to the industry for a variety of reasons. Among the most important, the potential for an increased cost of doing business in this area.

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CHAPTER 5 Minerals - Oil and Gas 2. There are no maps showing the location of federal oil and gas estate, areas with potential for oil and gas, or areas currently under oil and gas lease. Oil and gas potential should be considered in resource allocation decisions. It must be specifically shown that less restrictive measures were considered but found inadequate to protect the resource in question. The possibility that there may be conflicts between certain uses or values does not necessarily warrant the use of restrictive stipulations. BLM fails to include an alternative for leasing with standard terms and conditions. The plan has not met the analytical specifications of the fluid minerals supplemental program guidance or the disclosure requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The BLM needs to clearly define potential impacts to sensitive resource values. For example, in chapter 4, BLM discusses environmental consequences of alternative management scenarios on cultural resources. It states, “Over the next 20 years, cumulative impacts could occur as a result of surface disturbing activities, land tenure adjustments, and oil and gas developments.” There is no discussion detailing the potential conflicts between oil and gas development and cultural resources or the types of impacts which could occur or whether they could be mitigated. It should be noted that were it not for oil and gas activities, many valuable cultural sites would not have been discovered because they would not have been encountered. Not only do companies conduct archaeological surveys prior to commencing activities, if a company unearths a cultural site, the law requires companies to halt operations and to notify the proper authorities who will decide how to proceed in the area. BLM intends to close certain areas to geophysical exploration, and admits in the Minerals appendix that there are several types of geophysical operations which do not cause surface disturbance, such as remote sensing, gravity sensing and aeromagnetic surveying. In fact, in most cases, geophysical operations do not result in any appreciable surface disturbance. Oddly, the BLM states “Blading and road construction for seismic operations are not usually allowed so that environmental impacts are minimized.” Unaware of any seismic exploration techniques which require a road or trail to be constructed. Believe it would be more reasonable for the BLM to consider geophysical operations on a case-by-case basis in sensitive areas rather than imposing a blanket prohibition. 6. Disagree with the assertion in the “Wildlife” section of chapter 4 that the negative impacts of oil and gas development on wildlife are of high magnitude. The plan states, “....the overall impact to wildlife from (oil and gas development) would be negative as subsequent production type activities would be authorized year-round. Developing locatable minerals and removal of mineral materials would have a minimal impact on wildlife habitat.” This discussion maintains that oil and gas production has a significant impact on wildlife habitat while other mineral development activities have minimal impacts. The plan later states, “about 180 public acres of crucial winter range would be altered or lost, based on the projected number of wells to be drilled during the life of this plan.” To put this in its proper context, there are over 700,000 acres of crucial winter range located on public lands in the planning area. The effects from projected oil and gas activities would affect far less than one-half of one percent of the total winter range. This is not a significant impact or a permanent condition. Once operations are completed, impacted areas would be returned to their original condition: productive winter range habitat. The draft environmental impact statement lacked data to support the projected number of wells to be drilled. In regard to surface disturbance figures, the BLM does not always distinguish between short-term disturbance associated with exploration, and disturbance associated with long-term production activities in its analysis, because it is assumed that it takes 5 years to reclaim a site. Nevertheless, the assumption that 3,555 acres will be disturbed (5.5 acres per well) over the next five years is not entirely accurate because, according to BLM’s figures, 2,311 acres would be abandoned and reclaimed and therefore unoccupied for the entire 5-year period. Reclamation must be considered when calculating long-range impacts over the life of the plan. Recommend a slight modification in the wording of the stipulations so they apply only when the resource being protected is present on the lease or, more specifically, in the area proposed for activity. This strategy would avoid needless delays in operations and would eliminate the need for insignificant waiver, exceptions, or modifications. Stipulations intended to limit oil and gas activities during elk spring calving or other periods less than 60 days are unnecessary. As is noted in the regulations at 43 CFR 3101.1-2, Surface Use, and recently estab-

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CHAPTER 5 Minerals - Oil and Gas lished BLM policy, under standard lease terms and conditions, the BLM has the authority to restrict activity for up to 60 days in any lease year. Therefore, all timing stipulations less than 60 days in duration should be eliminated and a lease notice should be used in their place. 11. The BLM has not discussed that valid existing rights will be honored under the new plan. BLM needs to specify in the final planning documents if and how valid existing lease rights could be impacted by the new leasing decisions. Object to BLM’s discussion contained in the summary and chapter 1 of the draft environmental impact statement for the second issue which deals with Resource Accessibility and Availability of public lands. Perhaps a better way to characterize the situation BLM is trying to avoid would be to use the term “unlimited” access because “open” access merely implies that lands are available to multiple-use activities. Most of the 2,096,475 acres designated as “moderate” should be upgraded to “high” potential. Fort Peck Indian Reservation production should also be included in BLM’s oil and gas potential analyses because it is part of the same producing basin and adds 76 million barrels of oil and 8 thousand cubic feet of gas from 27 fields. Geophysical data is a key element in exploration and development in the Big Dry Resource Area and, therefore, the status of geophysical operations relative to limited off-road rules should be specified. Perhaps geophysical operations should be designated as a “necessary task.” The plan indicates there are 531,168,364 oil and gas acres leased in the Big Dry Resource Area. This must be a typographical error. The plan failed to provide any protective stipulations for areas such as steep slopes, areas of critical environmental concern, unstable soil areas, riparian areas, raptor nesting sites, river corridors, potential wilderness areas, special recreation management areas, riparian/wetland areas, steep slopes, federal lands that lie within or adjacent to state parks (for example Makoshika State Park near Glendive), crucial wildlife habitat, and important cultural sites. All of these areas should have been given some level of protection in the plan, or not leased at all. 2. 18. Areas that include stipulations common to all alternatives should be shown on maps. The plan provides for almost uncontrolled oil and gas development throughout the resource area. It proposes leasing over 99.9 percent of the available lands and mineral estate open to oil and gas development. The timing stipulations to protect crucial winter ranges are only applicable during exploration and development and not during the production phase of oil and gas development. Since the production phase can last decades, wildlife would be displaced. Less than .1 percent of the planning area will receive a no surface occupancy stipulation. A controlled surface use stipulation is placed on the black-footed ferret area of critical environmental concern. How will this stipulation protect a reintroduced black-footed ferret population if oil and gas development occurs in the oil and gas area? Why are there no waivers, exceptions, or modification provisions for the controlled surface use stipulation in visual resource management class II areas. Williston Basin (Montana Dakota Utilities) has been misappropriating natural gas from adjacent mineral owners.

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Responses
1. The text has been changed in the Minerals appendix to include a list of other types of mitigation measures that may be required in addition to lease stipulations. The list is not all inclusive nor are the listed mitigation measures imposed on all lease operations. The mitigation measures are included as needed as Conditions of Approval on approved permits. The federal oil and gas estate in the planning area has been classified as either moderate or high potential. These areas were considered during impact analyses and consequent decisions. The classifications were based upon the results of previous drilling and the geology of an area. The maps showing the classifications are included in the planning record which is available in the resource area office. Land and mineral ownership status plats, including current federal oil and gas leases and high and moderate oil and gas potential development maps, are maintained in each BLM office and are available for public inspection. Printed copies of the plats are available by purchase. Lease status can change on a daily basis; therefore it would not be accurate or beneficial in the long term to include such a map in the document.

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CHAPTER 5 Minerals - Oil and Gas 3. During analysis of the management situation, BLM resource specialists determined the least restrictive form of oil and gas management that could be used while still protecting other resources. Leasing with standard terms and conditions was considered during this process. These determinations are summarized in table 4 of Minerals in chapter 2, under the “Oil and Gas” section. A comparison of lease constraints is presented in tables 4-8. Alternative C (table 7) represents the alternative that considers the greatest area for leasing under standard terms and conditions out of all of the alternatives analyzed in detail. The impacts to resources from oil and gas activities and the need for resource protection are described in chapter 4 as well as the adequacy of protection afforded by lease terms and lease stipulations. 4. Each alternative in the “Cultural Resources” section of chapter 4, combined with the Management Common section, addresses impacts from oil and gas activities. See changes in text. Impacts from oil and gas activities are similar in nature to other actions, and have been grouped together in surface disturbing activities. In the opening paragraph of the “Cultural Resources” section in chapter 3, it states that most of the inventories conducted within the planning area have been a result of project initiated survey of which oil and gas activities would be included. Bladed trails have occurred from snow removal for geophysical exploration. Geophysical exploration has the potential to alter underground burrows. These are protected from geophysical exploration. The impacts to wildlife from geophysical exploration involve more than surface disturbance, such as the noise and visual disturbances to wintering wildlife. The statement that BLM has closed crucial winter range to geophysical exploration is not correct; geophysical exploration would not be allowed from December 1 through March 31, but is open the remainder of the year. It would appear that 180 acres of crucial winter range out of 700,000 is insignificant. However, the crucial winter range in the planning area is not contiguous. Losing a parcel could be significant for those animals dependent on that parcel of crucial winter range, through elimination of habitat and disturbance to the animals. In addition, usually rehabilitated oil pads have shrub communities that were replaced with grass. In terms of locatable mineral and mineral material removal, generally their impact to wildlife is minimal as bentonite mining has a low probability of occurring; sand and gravel has the highest probability for extraction and is regulated to minimize the impact to wildlife. 7. Projections for the number of wells drilled were made by reviewing geologic and drilling data from the past 15 years. Data sources used are referenced in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix. Table 41 in the “Oil and Gas” section of chapter 4 shows the maximum acreage likely to be initially disturbed for well sites during the next 5 years. Of the total 3,555 acres projected to be disturbed (5.2 acres per well), 1,238 acres would be associated with wells completed for production and 2,317 acres would be associated with wells completed as dry holes. For the purpose of impact analyses, the maximum acreage projected to be disturbed by a well site and access road were evaluated, although reclamation will restore the disturbed acreage in both the short term and the long term. Reclamation work would be conducted at producing well sites for the area not needed for production activities and for the remainder of the disturbed area at the time of abandonment and immediately for the entire disturbed area at dry holes. The stipulations to oil and gas have been worded to address a specific resource or resource need. Based upon existing information at the time of lease issuance, a stipulation would only be attached to the lease when the resource has been identified on the lease area. If circumstances or information are different at the time lease operations are proposed, the Operator can apply for a waiver, exception or modification which should be approved during normal application processing time frame. Timing limitation stipulations included in the document are for time periods greater than the 60 days provided for in the regulations. As an example, the stipulation for elk spring calving range is from April 1 to June 15, or 76 days. The text in the “Oil and Gas” section of chapter 2, “Management Common To All Alternatives,” has been changed to include a discussion about valid existing lease rights. See text change in chapter 1 from “open” access to “uncontrolled.” The high and moderate classifications are based upon the geologic environment and the reported mineral occurrences. The purpose of classifying an area was to help develop the Reasonably Foreseeable Devel-

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CHAPTER 5 Minerals - Oil and Gas opment scenario which provides a projection of possible drilling in the area in the next 20 years. The classification should not affect leasing decisions or the application of lease stipulations. 14. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has responsibility for issuing oil and gas leases and conducting the associated environmental analysis for the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The production history and potential does not affect the impact analysis for the planning area except for cumulative effects such as air quality. As stated under the “Recreation” section in chapter 2 for the “limited” off-road vehicle definition, geophysical exploration is allowed in the list of “authorized or permitted uses.” For those areas closed to any type of geophysical exploration, see the “Oil and Gas” section in chapter 2, table 9 under Alternative D. See text change from 531,168,364 to 531,168.364 oil and gas acres. The plan shows areas of the federal oil and gas estate which are closed to leasing because of the incompatibility of oil and gas activities, including mitigation measures, with other resources or land uses. See text changes in Alternative B for additional areas considered for closure to oil and gas leasing. The plan also shows areas of the federal oil and gas estate which are open to leasing. Oil and gas development would be controlled by lease terms, lease stipulations and permit requirements which will protect other resources from oil and gas lease activities. The controlled surface use stipulation allows for development of oil and gas, provided there is no adverse impact to the resource. After analyzing potential impacts to resources from oil and gas lease activities, it was determined that special recreation management areas, wetland areas, riparian areas, steep slopes, paleontological areas of critical environmental concern, and certain wildlife habitat could be adequately protected by a “No Surface Occupancy” or “Controlled Surface Use” lease stipulations as well as lease terms and permit requirements. Oil and gas in Makoshika State Park is managed according to a memorandum of understanding between BLM, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Dawson County. Areas that include stipulations common to all alternatives are included in pocket maps 31A, B, C, and D. In accordance with BLM Manual 1624 requirements, maps have been included showing stipulations for the Preferred Alternative. Maps of the specific areas are available for public inspection at the Big Dry Resource Area office. 19. 20. See response to 17 above. There are no waivers, exceptions, or modifications because a land use plan amendment would be needed to change the classification of lands. In order to maintain the visual qualities of class II lands, the operations plan for the well must meet the objectives for that class. Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Company is the approved unit operator for shallow gas on leases included in federally supervised Unit Agreements in the Cedar Creek Anticline area. The Unit Agreements include federal, private and state leases. The Unit Agreements provide for the orderly development of gas resources, conservation of gas resources for optimum recovery, and proper allocation and payment of royalties.

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PALEONTOLOGY Substantive Comments
1. The BLM should designate the Ash Creek fossil area as an area of critical environmental concern. The Ash Creek area contains significant fossil resources, including rare fossils from the end of the age of dinosaurs. The area would be best protected with the area of critical environmental concern designation. In the paleontological areas of critical environmental concern, why do you include private land on your maps? Several dinosaur remains have been found in McCone County and one should be returned to the county for display. If a new site for extraction of dinosaur remains is discovered, the county would work with the BLM in developing an on-site permanent visitation observatory in an effort to become an enddestination for tourists, as well as to preserve the history of the area.

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Responses
1. The Ash Creek Divide area is considered for area of critical environmental concern designation in the preferred alternative of the resource management plan and final environmental impact statement.

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CHAPTER 5 Recreation 2. Due to the size of the paleontological areas of critical environmental concern, the scale of map used did not lend itself to mapping out the private or state surface ownerships. Federal minerals that underlie those lands have special management prescriptions as outlined in this document. BLM would be willing to work with the county to explore opportunities for development of a tourist site. private land being covered with silt making them unusable for production of feed. Not all of the open off-road vehicle sections are legally accessible. 6. With the current budget problems the government is having, it doesn’t make any sense to give up the lease money the land produces by breaking the lease the affected ranches pay to the BLM for Makoshika State Park. These ranchers also buy their supplies locally and by having less land they would have fewer cattle to buy supplies for, thus resulting in fewer dollars being spent which means less income for local governments who have enough trouble trying to balance their budgets now. Some consideration should be given to that ranch family. Strongly oppose off-road vehicle use in Makoshika State Park. The Park “Management of Concern area” should be excluded from any and all public printed maps. To include any private land is a breach of private rights and is no concern of any public agency. BLM sections contiguous to the Park south along the existing Park area should be left in BLM management with joint cooperation management of the land. Section 6 could be used as “off-road vehicle-motorcycle” area that would serve that portion of the public well. No rules or restrictions were mentioned for mountain bikes in the plan. The visual resource management Class II areas seem to cover a very large area and would preclude most activities, including utility and telecommunications infrastructure development, county road improvements, stock and wildlife water developments, as well as most recreational projects. Restrictions on the visual resource management class 2 and 3 should be loosened to be a little less restrictive on range improvements and management. Water development could be limited by the restrictions on visual resource changes under classes 2 and 3. Concerned that designating visual resource management areas will be establishing them as quasi-wilderness areas. What is the criteria which lead to the classification of areas as I, II, II, III, and IV? This was not clearly identified in the document except in the glossary and maps. The Cherry Creek and Brockway roads, Terry Badlands and Big Sheep Mountain will have restricted development because of visual resource management.

3.

RECREATION Substantive Comments
7. 1. Are there changes to the Preferred Alternative for off-road vehicle based on other comments? 8. 2. Any factor which will negatively affect the resource and in turn the permittee’s ability to continue livestock grazing on the public lands in Makoshika State Park must be evaluated. Watering facilities will bear the brunt of uncontrolled recreational use (target practice). The public is already causing damage on private land near the proposed Glendive open offroad vehicle area by shooting holes in water tanks, shooting water hydrants, and destroying fences. These same problems are occurring on BLM land, where the BLM has worked with the current lease holders to improve the grazing conditions. These projects improve the wildlife populations. Opening this land up to off-road use would create problems for the ranchers because of the extra maintenance on fences and watering facilities, the public overstepping the BLM territory, and increased potential for fires. There is not sufficient evidence of environmental damage occurring as a result of open off-road vehicles to warrant limiting off-road vehicles. The Preferred Alternative for off-road vehicle use was arrived at from public input, expressed mostly from local landowners concerned about hunters driving on public land during the hunting season. 12. 5. Alternative D includes too many acres of open offroad vehicle use near Glendive for the following reasons: gentle grassy grazing terrain; good wildlife habitat, and the wildlife would vanish; zero use by off-road vehicles in most of the sections; the land erodes easily and off-road vehicles would accelerate this erosion creating ravines bare of vegetation, resulting in stock dams filling up, highway and railroad culverts filling up, and hay meadows and cropland on 173

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CHAPTER 5 Recreation 13. Will BLM try to gain easements or do (land) trades along the Lewis and Clark Trail? That would affect landowners along the Trail. BLM should look at one certain area, rather than the whole trail. The same goes for visual considerations. Oppose off-road vehicle areas, unless there is a plan in place to “reclaim” those areas. Recommend BLM designate both the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers corridors as special recreation management areas, and develop a system of put-ins, take-outs and picnic and camping spots along the rivers. The two rivers are tremendous recreational resource and their potential values are not being recognized in the resource management plan. Why is there no mention of the use by guides and outfitters? BLM needs to be mindful of the situation and not permit overuse of the public lands. Will the information be forthcoming in a future BLM document, such as a supplement to the resource management plan and environmental impact statement? Limit or close the Calypso Trail to motorized use. Leaving it open could impact the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area. 23. 18. Cherry Creek dam should be dropped from the plan. Purchasing water from the Bureau of Reclamation for $1,300,000 per year plus the pumping costs of $75,000 far exceed the economic benefits derived from the dam. The cost of building the dam will exceed the projected costs due to gravel and coal seams. The number of visitor days is questionable and their value to the economy. Twenty-five thousand visitor days is way more than will use the dam based on past visits to Fort Peck. The estimated value of those visitor days at $83 seems extremely high. When all the costs are added up the dam will not return enough to the economy to cover the operational costs let alone any return on the investment in the dam. The figures in the plan were used to make the dam look feasible rather than more realistic projections that represent actual use. Cherry Creek dam should not be constructed because $13 to $15 million cost is excessive when our national debt is so high, the $1.5 + million each year to pump water from the Yellowstone River to maintain Cherry Creek dam water level does not make sense, and around the dam, probably back on private groundunkept buildings and shacks will appear. No sewer no running water - no electricity - all in a shantytown appearance. Garbage will be everywhere. Area roads and trails will be explored, gates will be left open, livestock will get out. Vandalism and thievery will occur at area farms and ranches. 20. Sufficient water is available from the Yellowstone River for the proposed Cherry Creek dam and should be pumped to help maintain water levels in the proposed reservoir needed to maintain a good fishery and attractive recreational area. Impacts would be significant from the Cherry Creek dam construction, with increased soil erosion, possible contamination from equipment, and a change in water quality from pumping, construction, and flow variations. The severity would depend on the amount of precipitation and the construction stage. Water quality should be closely examined in the Cherry Creek Water Quality Special Project to determine the affect of increased turbidity, flow variations, increased dissolved solids, and presence of fecal coliform caused by livestock. The Cherry Creek reservoir site and riparian areas along Cherry Creek are heavily grazed by livestock and provide little fish and wildlife habitat or recreational use. Construction of the Cherry Creek dam would provide a good reservoir fishery provided suitable game fish species are stocked initially and maintained throughout the project life. A sub-impoundment in the Cherry Creek reservoir should be developed to create a wetland area suitable for waterfowl and other wildlife species and aquatic organisms commonly associated with wetland areas. Suitable recreational-use facilities should be constructed in the Cherry Creek project area. All costs associated with the Cherry Creek’s initial construction and subsequent maintenance and management of fish, wildlife, recreational developments and facilities should be project costs. To satisfy the requirements of Montana Environmental Policy Act, BLM must submit an environmental assessment specifically for the Cherry Creek project, unless BLM is planning a specific environmental impact statement. Smoky Butte deserves protection and should have been considered for area of critical environmental concern designation in your plan.

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CHAPTER 5 Recreation 29. Is the mineral armacolite contained in the shale at Smoky Butte? 7. BLM is not proposing off-road vehicle use in Makoshika State Park. Makoshika State Park is managed by another agency, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Section 6 in T. 14 N., R. 56 E. has been dropped from the area to be transferred and would be managed with a limited off-road vehicle use designation. Section 6 in T. 16 N., R. 56 E., remains part of the Recreation and Public Purposes Act application, where off-road vehicle use and other management would be controlled by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The “Area of Management Concern” was provided to BLM by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. See response 7 above. Prescriptions for managing mountain bikes were considered but current and projected use did not warrant management attention at this time. Under visual resource management Class II, project development would be severely restricted where the project would be visible from major travel routes. Visual resource management restrictions apply only to public lands. To become a wilderness study area, certain criteria must be met. Visual resource management classifications were based on the professional judgment of the recreation specialist. BLM will acquire, from willing landowners, easements and nonagricultural lands along the Lewis and Clark Trail. No acres within the areas open to off-road vehicle use were identified for revegetation. See text changes and decision for considering the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers (Lewis and Clark Trail) as a special recreation management area. Guidelines for administering commercial guides and outfitters are addressed under “Recreation” in chapter 2. See text and decision changes under “Recreation” in chapter 2, for considering closing the Calypso Trail to motorized traffic. The 1.3 million dollar figure for purchasing water from the Bureau of Reclamation for Cherry Creek is the cost over a 25 year contract. Acquiring this water

Responses
1. Due to public comments and analyses of the impacts, the area open to off-road vehicles (see map 13) and the area transferred to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks have been modified (see map 17). Vandalism could occur no matter where the area is designated. The area designated open would be monitored to minimize the problems listed. See text changes in the “Vegetation” and “Soil” sections of chapter 4 for additional impacts identified from open off-road vehicle use. The preferred decision for the open off-road vehicle areas was made after gathering public input and reviewing impacts from leaving the areas open versus limiting the off-road vehicle use. See response 1 above. Most of section 3 in the open off-road vehicle area near Glendive is a thin, hilly range site that has slopes greater than 5 percent. It is a moderately productive range site producing anywhere from 100 to 1,200 pounds of air-dry herbage, per acre, per year. This is in comparison to a silty range site which is the most common range site in Dawson County and produces 800 to 1,500 pounds of air-dry herbage, per acre, per year. The range in airdry herbage production is based on the variation in precipitation from year to year and range condition. Off-road vehicle use will increase erosion in the area, above the amount that is natural. A series of sediment dams may be required to limit the soil being eroded off the area. See impacts to wildlife from off-road vehicle use in chapter 4. All of the sections now included have legal access. The 150 animal unit months for the three operators affected by the land transferred for Makoshika State Park would generate $279 of grazing fee receipts. Of that total, $140 would be retained by BLM, $105 would be returned to the Federal Treasury, and $34 would go the state government. The loss of 150 animal unit months would require the operators to find alternate feed sources or cut back approximately 12 head of cattle. Either option would likely result in less income. It was determined that the benefits of approving the Recreation and Public Purposes Act application outweighed the loss of revenues. 8.

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CHAPTER 5 Recreation is only an option, as a recently proposed settlement with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe may eliminate any excess water being available for BLM use from the Bureau of Reclamation. The benefit and cost analysis for Cherry Creek reservoir was prepared using the Economic and Environmental Principals and Guidelines for Water and Related Land Resource Implementation Studies adopted by the Water Resource Council. The derivation of the estimated benefits and costs are included in the “Cherry Creek” section of the Socioeconomics appendix, as is the derivation of the estimated visitor days and the net economic values. 19. Pumping the water for Cherry Creek dam is necessary to sustain a fishery. The facilities will be maintained. BLM cannot control actions taken on private land. See response 18 above. Construction of the Cherry Creek dam may temporarily increase soil erosion. The potential for contamination from equipment exists as does a potential for water quality degradation. During construction, efforts will be made to limit the amount of soil erosion by wind and water. Contamination from onsite equipment should not be a problem. Water quality is being monitored, and will continue to be monitored after the dam is in place. The greatest effect on water quality is from natural agents. The headwaters of the basin contain areas which have high rates of geologic erosion, greater than will be produced from construction. An effort has been undertaken to reduce the natural erosion in the watershed to a minimum and to trap sediments and salts before they reach the future site of the dam. The Cherry Creek dam site had been heavily grazed. This has not been the case since 1992. Steps are being taken to improve the riparian area. This allotment has been designated an “I” category allotment. Trout would be initially stocked in the Cherry Creek dam and then warmwater species such as northern and large-mouth bass. It would be a self-sustaining fishery. A sub-impoundment and a fully equipped campground will be addressed during the design phase. See response 24 above. The resource management plan makes the decision to designate the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Man10. agement Area. BLM will do a separate environmental impact statement analyzing the construction of the Cherry Creek dam if funding is available through a supplemental appropriation from Congress. Costs for constructing the dam would also require a supplemental appropriation from Congress. If the dam is not constructed, Cherry Creek will not be managed as a special recreation management area. 27. 28. See response 26 above. Smoky Butte has been considered for area of critical environmental concern designation in the final resource management plan/environmental impact statement. The mineral armalcolite is contained in the basaltic rock at Smoky Butte.

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Preferences and Opinions
1. Hunting, fishing, bird watching, photography, camping and other public recreational activities are important on the BLM lands proposed for oil and gas development. Agriculture will be replaced by tourism and recreation in the future. Opposed to the preferred plan for recreation as it would have a negative impact on bordering ranches. Need camping and picnic areas. Emphasize the sensitive environment and recreational potential of the region to widen the economic base. Support designation of Smoky Butte as an area of critical environmental concern (2). Prevent overuse along the river corridors. Powder River Depot and Calypso should be removed from grazing, construction of rights-of-way, off-road vehicle travel, mineral material sales and oil and gas leasing. Powder River Depot, Cherry Creek and Calypso should be developed by private interests and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks; not BLM. Visual resource management Class II areas should be changed to Class III or IV.

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CHAPTER 5 Soil, Water, and Air Quality 11. There’s too much visual resource management II and III, restricting developments. Advocate eliminating visual resource management from the resource management plan. Opposed to constructing the Cherry Creek dam (2). Opposed to the open off-road vehicle use area near Glendive (2). Support preferred plan for off-road vehicle use (3). Support open off-road vehicle use (Alternative A). Opposed to any open off-road vehicle use (5). 2. 18. An alternative to the Glendive “open” off-road vehicle area should be the large block of land around Cedar Creek south of Glendive (3). In limited and open off-road vehicle areas, cooperation with the permittee must be stressed for general policing and management. Off-road vehicles and livestock do not mix. Limit off-road vehicle use during hunting season only. BLM land in section 6, bordering Makoshika State Park, should not be opened up for use of off-road vehicles (2). Support open off-road vehicle use in T. 14 N., R. 55 E., Sec. 21: E1/2. Leave section 6 open to off-road vehicle use. Less motorized traffic and more wilderness. More conservation and nonmotorized recreation. 4. 27. Opposed to Cherry Creek Water Quality Special Project. The document states that proposed well pads can be required to be moved only up to 200 meters to avoid wetlands and riparian zones. This statement needs to be modified to reflect concerns relevant to section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Methods which prevent the discharge of hazardous materials and waste products should be outlined that declare that these actions are prohibited. The BLM needs to be concerned that BLM land is washing downriver, losing acres that BLM is currently administering. 3. Describe plans for mitigating the impacts of air pollution to address conformity requirements of the Clean Air Act, with a full analysis of existing and potential visibility impact to Class I lands, and analysis of the impacts of prescribed burning upon Class I areas. Air quality monitoring, screening analyses, and the modeling used in BLM’s analyses should be described. Air quality impacts of significant activities will need to be analyzed to ensure that air quality criteria are met. The Soil and Water appendix identifies critical watersheds needing continued or improved management and monitoring. It is not clear how the selections were made. Many other watersheds in the area covered by the resource management plan are listed as impaired by the Montana Water Quality Bureau and have similar resource values and needs. The Montana Water Quality Bureau’s water quality assessment (305[b] report) has identified streams in the Big Dry Resource Area that have water quality problems and impaired support of beneficial uses. The Environmental Protection Agency asks BLM to direct and focus BLM resources and management activities to address the water quality problems. evidence. Air pollution from a coal-fired power plant is long term. An individual oil well can be a major source of air pollution. Any new oil and gas or other energy development and use in the vicinity of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge, (the Class I sulfur dioxide increment [air quality standard] for those areas has already been exceeded), may lead to adverse impacts on their air quality related values. The resource management plan should state that mitigating measures may reduce, but not eliminate air quality impacts, and it should conclude that potential energy developments could have a long term as well as shortterm adverse air quality impact on the nearby Class I areas.

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SOIL, WATER, AND AIR QUALITY Substantive Comments
5. 1. The conclusion that air quality over the long term would not be affected as dissipation would mitigate the impacts is not substantiated by any supporting

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CHAPTER 5 Soil, Water, and Air Quality 6. The statement in chapter 2, “Soil and Water,” Management Common regarding water quality standards should be revised to state BLM activities will follow the Montana Water Quality Standards. The “Soil and Water” section of chapter 2 includes general goal statements. Specific BLM management direction that will accomplish these goals should be identified and described in the Final Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. What practices will BLM use, particularly livestock grazing, to protect and improve watershed and riparian areas? What are the monitoring and evaluation standards for grazing? What are the livestock utilization standards for vegetation? Describe the BLM management direction that will be taken to reverse the downward trends shown in table 54 “Status of Existing Allotment Management Plans”. The Monitoring appendix indicates very little water quality monitoring, stream channel and stream bank integrity assessment will be carried out. How will BLM fulfill Montana Water Quality standards from the level of monitoring indicated? The general statements in chapter 4 that water quality impacts “would be minimal” cannot be verified or supported without adequate monitoring. The threat of groundwater contamination from oil and gas development has not been adequately presented. Specifically the threat from improper casing and cementing of production and disposal wells is not adequately described. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires that a permit or permits be obtained from the Corps of Engineers when construction involves wetlands and waters of the United States. For example, easily obtainable nationwide permits may be required for construction of road crossings while individual permits would be necessary when known significant impacts will occur. 5. 3. not require reanalysis for implementation. Those areas that are not site-specific such as a potential coal mine will require further analyses in future planning documents. Critical watershed determinations were based on a number of factors including amount of public land in the watershed, BLM activities affecting the watershed, operator cooperation, regional or community interest, amount of finances required, and whether or not the watershed could be improved; these are the priority areas. BLM will try to improve other areas as time and funding allows. BLM reviewed report 305(b). In most cases, BLM had no jurisdiction over any of the lands containing the streams mentioned (see Soil and Water appendix for text changes). The stipulation for riparian and hydrology areas states that oil and gas surface occupancy and use is prohibited within riparian areas, 100-year floodplains of major rivers, and on water bodies and streams. Well pad locations and other disturbances can be moved up to 200 meters without additional justification. The site can be moved farther than 200 meters with justification from the area manager. With the no surface occupancy stipulation in these areas and the ability to move the site, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act would not come into force in almost all instances. If the activities would still come under Section 404, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would have to review the activity and issue a permit. If a 404 permit had not been issued by the Army Corps of Engineers, the BLM would discontinue processing the application. Erosion along the rivers is a natural process of the river system. The BLM is concerned about erosion that is above the natural geologic erosion. Management practices will continue to be used to limit erosion that is caused by BLM’s activities. See text changes in chapter 2 referencing Montana Water Quality Standards. The BLM will use the Montana Best Management Practices as guidelines for grazing in riparian/wetland areas. These draft practices were included in the “Vegetation” section of chapter 2. See text changes. Guidance for utilization levels of browse is also found under “Vegetation” in chapter 2. The monitoring standards are located in the Monitoring appendix. Management of allotments in downward trends is discussed under “Allotment Categorization” in the Livestock appendix.

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Responses
1. See text changes pertaining to impacts on air quality under “Air Quality” in chapter 4. There are no prescribed burns proposed near Class I areas. Air monitoring is described in the Monitoring appendix. Air quality impacts have already been analyzed for areas mentioned specifically in this document, such as the Powder River Depot and will

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CHAPTER 5 Vegetation 9. As stated in the “Soil and Water” section of the Monitoring appendix, BLM will monitor 10 to 15 times per year, which will meet Montana water quality standards. To our knowledge, the impacts are minimal. For water quality impacts from oil and gas development, see the “Soil and Water” section in chapter 4. BLM will obtain Section 404 permits as required by the Clean Water Act. run for that year. How in January can it be known if there will be hay to cut in June and reduce the numbers accordingly? 7. Would like to see the appendixes of this management plan contain a paragraph or paragraphs as appropriate, describing how each activity type or need would generally affect wetlands and/or waters of the United States. In addition, what specific measures will be utilized to avoid, minimize or mitigate use related impacts or potential impacts? Immediate and secondary impacts as well as cumulative impacts should be considered in the evaluations. In order to maintain any involvement or changes with the land (not minerals), consideration should be made for the art of range science that includes the entire ecosystem; vegetation is the basis for all of BLM surface activities. Wildings should not be sold commercially. This is not addressed. When doing seeding, it should be mixed (seed), rather than just native (get rid of crested wheat). Mechanical treatment areas will be rested for two years. With the appropriate rainfall, one is only needed. The Vegetation appendix includes the climax theory. The quote states “...absence of disturbance such as fire, grazing, or plowing.” Plowing should not be included. That needs to be changed or addressed. The plan assumes that where prairie dog resources are present and where there are impacts to soil and vegetative resources that prairie dogs are the cause of the problem and should be controlled. Are there documented prairie dog induced soil or vegetative resource problems in any areas in the absence of cattle? Data should be gathered.

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VEGETATION Substantive Comments
1. Acreage indicated as being in fair condition is not accurate for allotment 1288 (950 acres). These acres should be classified as being in better than fair condition in 1993. In the late 1970s and 1980s when someone was through this area, why wasn’t anyone notified? Practices to correct the problem could have been taken. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks does not know anything about weed control nor have they implemented an acceptable grazing program in Makoshika State Park. There is spotted knapweed and leafy spurge just getting started within the Park boundaries and is well established on both the north and south sides at this time. Most of the land swap sections have leafy spurge well established. The noxious weed program must not be held up because of sagebrush. BLM has excluded from the planning area, the land bordering Fort Peck waters in McCone County. This is the biggest potential threat for noxious weed infestation spreading to private land; request that this be reconsidered. Would like to meet with BLM to formulate a safe means to control the spread of noxious weeds from the Corps of Engineers, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and BLM lands in McCone county. Federal land managers should eliminate noxious weeds on federal ground - especially leafy spurge and spotted knapweed. There should be no acceptable level of noxious weeds and the Plan should be designed to work toward zero level. If hay is cut on BLM, the number of cattle run in that pasture are supposed to be reduced. Sign up is in January to let BLM know how many cattle are to be 179

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Responses
1. See table 52 for corrected figure for allotment 1288. A discussion on vegetation condition is found in the Vegetation appendix. Inventories conducted in 1979 and 1980 used the soil vegetation and inventory method which did require on the ground sampling. The helicopter was the mode of transportation. Methodology for the inventory and the results of the inventory were made available to the public in the Big Dry Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Allocation (USDI, BLM 1982b).

5.

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CHAPTER 5 Vegetation 2. The BLM has not received sufficient funding to adequately control noxious weeds on public land. Not controlling noxious weeds, whether by this agency or others is a negative impact to the vegetation resource resulting in a negative impact on other resources. The primary discussion on noxious weeds is found in the “Vegetation” section of chapter 2. At times the BLM may specify the type of herbicide, rates, or application methods to protect various nontarget species. The Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge is excluded from the planning area because those lands are not managed by the BLM. Prioritization for weed control within the county should be reviewed annually with the county weed board, the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge Manager and the BLM. See response 2 above. See the “Vegetation” section in chapter 2 for changed text in regard to haying. Riparian areas include wetlands. References to management prescription mitigations are under “Vegetation,” “Fire,” “Forestry,” and other sections in chapter 2. Impacts to riparian areas are discussed under “Vegetation” in chapter 4. Vegetation impacts and management is discussed in chapters 2 and 4. The concept of ecosystem management is in developmental stages. Range science will play a major role. Regardless of whether a request for harvest of wildings is for private or commercial use, proposals that would cause significant impacts would be rejected. When approved, fair market value would be charged. Seeding of native species is preferred in most cases although seeding of introduced species such as crested wheatgrass may be authorized. These seedings will include forbs such as clover for wildlife benefit. Some areas mechanically treated may recover within one year given adequate precipitation; however, this is the exception rather than the rule. Most areas that are mechanically treated are in poor or fair range condition and plants have low vigor. Following the mechanical disturbance, these plants need sufficient recovery time. Grazing too soon could result in conditions worse than pretreatment conditions. Soil Conservation Service standards call for two years of 13. rest. The BLM has defined the growing or rest period as April through September. In this way, an operator is not totally prevented from using the treated area. 12. Plowing is included in the climax theory as it is a disturbance that affects plant species composition and therefore seral status. Although the BLM does not normally allow plowing on public land, some BLM lands were farmed during the homestead days and this continues to affect plant species’ composition. Anytime that the soil is exposed, whether by prairie dogs or other agents, there is a potential for increased soil erosion. The grasslands within the Big Dry Resource Area would be included in the mixed grass prairie ecosystem. Based on the Soil Conservation Service Technical Guide for range site description, the range sites where prairie dogs are commonly found in this area should have 75 to 85 percent midgrasses, 5 to 15 percent short grasses, 5 percent forbs, and 5 to 10 percent shrubs. Shortgrasses and weedy forbs commonly increase and midgrasses decrease due to continuous overgrazing in prairie dog towns. One study in a mixed grass prairie in South Dakota with bison and prairie dogs showed that when prairie dogs were removed, available grass material remaining on the site at the end of the year increased by 36 to 43 percent. Similar results were obtained when bison were removed and prairie dogs remained. The increase in available grass doubled when both prairie dogs and bison were removed (Cid et al. 1991). Available grass decreases and vegetation condition declines following prairie dog colonization (Koford 1958, Bonham and Lerwick 1976, Delsted et al. 1981, Coppock et al. 1983, Archer et al. 1987). In the absence of prairie dogs, vegetation can be managed for additional livestock forage and allow for increased grass material remaining at the end of the year. Contact the Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station in Rapid City, South Dakota for further studies.

3.

4.

5. 6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

Preferences and Opinions
1. 2. The plan gives attention to riparian areas. BLM should maintain the land in Makoshika State Park as is and let the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks figure out how to maintain an acceptable grazing and weed program on 10 to 12 acres of public fishing access sites, and islands that they already own and control, rather than try to mismanage a few thousand acres.

11.

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CHAPTER 5 Wilderness

WILD AND SCENIC RIVERS Substantive Comments

3.

The proposed Terry Badlands wilderness area northeast of the Calypso Trail meets the criteria for wilderness, the rest of the Terry Badlands does not. BLM’s evaluation of the Coal Creek area for wilderness consideration was biased, and shows an insensitivity to prairie areas which are rare within the National Wilderness Preservation System. Coal Creek would be an excellent representative of the severely underrepresented mixed-grass prairie ecosystem. The BLM needs to reconsider its recommendation and open the process to public input. The decision not to recommend the area had absolutely no public review. Calypso Trail should be closed to motorized vehicles. This Trail crosses the Terry Badlands proposed wilderness and seriously compromises the integrity of the wilderness, and resource management plan should have addressed this concern. The Terry Badlands Wilderness area should be off limits to motorized use. Calypso Trail should be a wilderness area. The Terry Badlands, Ash Creek, and Coal Creek areas need to be protected from off-road vehicle degradation and made wilderness areas.

4. 1. Why wasn’t the segment of the Yellowstone River flowing through the Fort Keogh Agricultural Experiment Station considered for Wild and Scenic River status? The land is in the hands of federal agencies on both sides along with some islands. There is nearly 10 miles of good river front (“riparian”). Could the research areas be protected by fencing and signs? The BLM plan fails in providing adequate protection for a 100-mile free flowing stretch of the Missouri River below Fort Peck Dam and a 200-mile stretch of the Yellowstone River.

2.

5.

Responses
1. The segment of the Yellowstone River flowing through the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Station was not considered for fencing, signing, or Wild and Scenic River status because BLM has no authority over these lands. The Yellowstone and Missouri rivers (Lewis and Clark Trail) were considered in the final resource management plan/environmental impact statement for special management. See changes in text in “Recreation” chapter 2.

6.

2.

Responses
1. In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, Section 603, the BLM has already reviewed the planning area for those roadless areas of 5,000 acres more for wilderness characteristics. It is not intended that this resource management plan evaluate or make further recommendations on those areas for wilderness (see the “Planning Criteria” section in chapter 1). This process was concluded in September 1991. Comments from the public were gathered before the wilderness study environmental impact statements were finalized. BLM’s recommendations were forwarded to Congress by former President Bush in January 1993. Wilderness recommendations were included to make the resource management plan as complete a document as possible. See response 1 above. See response 1 above. After wilderness study environmental impact statements were completed, a land exchange occurred in the Coal Creek area (see “Wilderness” under the “Alternatives Considered But Not Analyzed in Detail” section in chapter 2) that resulted in 5,000 acres

Preferences and Opinions
1. Designate the 96 streams as National Wild and Scenic rivers.

WILDERNESS Substantive Comments
1. Designating Seven Blackfoot as a wilderness area would cause local taxpaying ranchers to lose existing animal unit months and could result in lower livestock numbers, thereby causing a loss of taxable valuation to Garfield County. The resource management plan recommends a Seven Blackfoot wilderness of 5,790 acres, but there is good wilderness potential to the south. If there are private inholdings and a state section, then why not pursue these as land exchanges. Road closures are possible too. 181

2. 3.

2.

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CHAPTER 5 Wilderness or greater public lands that had not been evaluated for wilderness study; the area is evaluated in the resource management plan and environmental impact statement. Before an area can be considered for wilderness study, it must first be evaluated on whether it meets the criteria for study. The wilderness study evaluation conducted on Coal Creek noted the following: the area has an access trail (easement) from the county road to the west side of the unit as a result of the land exchange. Permanent improvements include fences, and other range improvements. Vegetation consists of juniper/pine, grasses, shrubs, and sage. The area was not recommended for further wilderness consideration because it did not meet the evaluation criteria for outstanding opportunity for solitude or a primitive recreation experience or unique supplemental values. The area is open and the visitor could view a county road, power lines, or buildings, and therefore would not be provided solitude or a primitive experience. No supplemental values such as unusual geologic, scenic, wildlife, vegetation, or recreation values were noted during the field inventory phase. The public had the opportunity to comment on BLM’s recommendation that the Coal Creek area is unsuitable for wilderness study during the comment period for the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. 5. Off-road vehicle use is not allowed in the wilderness study areas within the planning area. Also see text changes in the “Recreation” section in chapter 2 for considering closing the Calypso Trail, and response 1 above. See responses 1, 4 and 5 above. 6. Wild and scenic, wilderness, or critical habitat acreage should equal development acreage.

WILDLIFE Substantive Comments
1. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service supports BLM’s effort to identify and manage habitat for potential black-footed ferret reintroduction. However, identifying an area of critical environmental concern for black-footed ferret reintroduction within the planning area prior to development of a reintroduction and management plan is probably not necessary and could be counter-productive to potential black-footed ferret reintroductions in the future. The viability of the prairie dog complex in the planning area for a possible ferret reintroduction is unknown at this time. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines state that any site of 1,000 acres of prairie dogs or more should be evaluated for a possible black-footed ferret reintroduction. Since reintroduction evaluation and/or planning has not been completed, the resource management plan should not refer to this complex as a black-footed ferret reintroduction site. We recommend the BLM concentrate on actively managing and enhancing prairie dog resources on public lands in this area as well as the surrounding public lands. If these efforts are successful, habitat for many wildlife species and habitat capable of supporting a future black-footed ferret reintroduction would be available. The resource management plan should clearly acknowledge the BLM’s commitment to work with the Montana Black-footed Ferret Work Group on site evaluation as well as other aspects of possible ferret recovery in the future. This commitment should also include acknowledging that prior to any black-footed ferret reintroduction, a site-specific management plan will be required. This plan will be prepared in cooperation with all affected landowners and permittees. The black-footed ferret reintroduction does not meet the criteria. The area has too much private land and without a cooperative effort between the BLM and the adjoining landowners it would be difficult to manage as an endangered species reintroduction area. Protecting only the small isolated prairie dog towns within the black-footed ferret reintroduction area without looking at management of the entire reintroduction area does not protect the black-footed ferrets

2.

6.

Preferences and Opinions
1. Opposed to Seven Blackfoot becoming a wilderness area. Manage the Big Dry Resource Area as a National Natural Preserve. Eliminate oil and gas and mining activities. The Terry Badlands should become a wilderness area. Opposed to any wilderness in eastern Montana. 4. 3.

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3. 4.

5.

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CHAPTER 5 Wildlife migration routes between towns. BLM should use the original boundary outlined rather than using the replacement map. 5. Regarding possible black-footed ferret reintroduction, would advocate the designation of the population (if and when the time comes) as nonessential experimental, and stress the importance of including the private landowners in any possible reintroduction. An example to follow would be the effort taking place in south Phillips County. Long-term black-footed ferret recovery in Montana will probably be contingent on maintaining and enhancing habitats for black-footed ferrets at some time in the future. Private property rights should be considered and respected even with the black-footed ferret. The prairie dog management plan does not contain any enhancement features even though the plan acknowledges that prairie dogs have never reoccupied all of the areas in the Miles City District where they occurred prior to intensive poisoning programs. The Miles City District Black-tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan and/or the draft resource management plan should be revised following guidance contained in Montana Prairie Dog Management Guidelines, May 1988. Opportunities to use public lands to offset losses of prairie dog habitats occurring on adjoining private lands should be considered. Efforts to actively manage prairie dog habitats in other areas, which have been impacted by a sylvatic plague epizootic, are being initiated. The resource management plan should address strategies the BLM will use to address this difficult management problem. Strategies and opportunities to reestablish or enhance prairie dog colonies within the planning area on public lands where they occurred historically should be developed. A level of prairie dog acreage should be established. Any expansion over this acreage must be controlled. If prairie dog expansion occurs, mitigation measures should occur (range improvements) which would allow existing livestock animal unit months to be maintained. The management of the prairie dogs necessary for the black-footed ferrets would have a negative impact on range management and improvement for livestock and other wildlife. 20. 15. 11. It is important to recognize shooting prairie dogs as a legitimate recreational activity which does not adversely impact a renewable resource. Prairie dog resources in the planning area should be inventoried so data on long-term trends of prairie dog populations will be available. Recommend mapping at approximately 5-year intervals. The resource management plan should commit BLM to a program to evaluate the location, size, and status of all prairie dogs complexes of 1,000 acres or more in the planning area at 5-year intervals. The black-footed ferret will not become an endangered species if it is not reintroduced on federal lands. The Miles City District Black-tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan should be added as an appendix to the final resource management plan. The wildlife that grazes or lives on federal land also graze and live on private land, therefore early spring grazing would not have that much effect on the habitat on federal land. Big game animals do not have to compete with livestock for forage in crucial winter range, as the rancher is feeding livestock and the big game animals that are nearby as well. BLM did not address predator control in this environmental impact statement. The Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement does not discuss bison, wolf, grizzly bear, or swift fox reintroductions. The “Species of Special Interest or Concern” (table 37) in the “Wildlife” section of chapter 3 briefly lists a number of sensitive species but no special interest is shown in the document nor is any special concern shown for them in the alternatives. Sensitive animal species which may exist in the area and which appear to be overlooked entirely are the least weasel, long-legged bat, masked shrew, northern three-toed woodpecker, vesper sparrow, blue sucker, finescale dace, shortnose gar, cheek chub, and endangered invertebrate species (various). The planning area constitutes habitat or potential habitat for an enormous number of species, and full study and consideration of these species would result in additional alternatives being considered. In table 36, “Fisheries Reservoirs,” in “Wildlife” section of chapter 3, not all of these reservoirs sup-

12.

6.

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14. 7.

8.

16.

17.

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CHAPTER 5 Wildlife port fish and some do not support the species indicated. Correct information is found in the “1993 Fishing Pond Booklet for Southeastern Montana” which is available at the Region Seven Headquarters. 21. The social impact assessment in the Socioeconomics appendix does not consider alternatives to preserving the agricultural way of life. Since the outflow of population is so readily known and graphically depicted, why not recognize the Popper’s “Buffalo Commons” proposal as a distinct alternative to an outmoded, albeit romantic, way of life? The BLM lists least tern nests as not needing protection. Identifying one or more gravel islands in the Yellowstone River as areas of critical environmental concern for possible tern nesting is not warranted at this time, but BLM will monitor. If the least tern takes up residence then BLM can manage the islands accordingly. By manage, all BLM needs to do is post some signs and hope the people and their dogs will leave the least terns alone. Any objections? Wildlife do winter in those areas BLM has identified as “crucial”, but those areas are not crucial. There are no studies indicating that excluding livestock in special recreation management areas would be positive to wildlife. 5. “Nonessential experimental” would be considered if and when the ferret is reintroduced and would be a part of the reintroduction plan. Should the decision be made to reintroduce ferrets, private landowners would be an integral part of the effort. See chapter 2, “Wildlife” for prairie dog habitat discussion. BLM has decided to manage the area as an area of critical environmental concern, until the decision has been made to reintroduce or not reintroduce the black-footed ferret. BLM is committed to working with private landowners if the decision is to reintroduce ferrets. Management actions for prairie dogs are under “Management Common To All Alternatives” in the “Wildlife” section in chapter 2. Prairie dog towns are desirable not only for potential black-footed ferret reintroduction but for the large number of wildlife species that are dependent on this habitat. Control of prairie dogs on public lands is subject to the Miles City District Black-tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan (see Wildlife appendix). No cap is placed on the number of acres of prairie dogs on public lands, because prairie dog numbers are well below where they were in recent years. This is due primarily to periodic outbreaks of sylvatic plague. Restrictions on control of prairie dogs would allow for continued reduction in available forage and limit improvement of ecological status. See response 9 above. Shooting may need to be managed on prairie dog towns, but no proposal has been made to eliminate recreational shooting. The BLM will commit to sampling prairie dog complexes of 1,000 acres or more, every 5 years. The black-footed ferret is currently federally endangered and reintroduction will only serve to possibly remove this species from the endangered list. The Miles City District Black-tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan has been added to the Wildlife appendix. Grazing of livestock on winter ranges can impact wintering wildlife (see the “Wildlife” section in chapter 4).

6.

7.

22.

8.

9.

23.

24.

Responses
1. After considering comments from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Montana Black-footed Ferret Work Group and many others, BLM will be proactive and designate the area as a black-footed ferret reintroduction area. This area has not been deemed suitable for black-footed ferret reintroduction, but does meet the 1,000 acre criterion for reintroduction. These prairie dog towns would be managed for prairie dogs, potential black-footed ferret reintroduction, associated species and recreational shooting. See “Management Common to All Alternatives” section under “Wildlife” in chapter 2. See change in text in the “Wildlife” section of chapter 2. The public prairie dog colonies on Custer Creek meet the minimum criteria of a prairie dog complex, at least 1,000 acres in size. There is no private land within the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern. See discussion in chapter 2, “Alternatives Considered But Not Analyzed in Detail” under “Wildlife”. 184 14. 3.

10. 11.

12.

13.

2.

15.

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CHAPTER 5 Wildlife 16. Predator control is discussed in another document “Environmental Assessment for Predator Management in Montana” (USDI, BLM 1993). In regard to any introduction or reintroduction of wildlife, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has the lead. BLM can and does make lands available. However, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has not approached the BLM in regard to the bison, wolf, grizzly bear, or swift fox reintroductions. Species listed under “Species of Special Interest or Concern” are described in the “Wildlife” section in chapter 2, under “Management Common to All Alternatives”. For example, wildlife objectives are incorporated into BLM’s plans to meet wildlife habitat goals. In consultation with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, none of the bird or mammal species in the following list are Species of Special Interest in Montana. Information is limited for some. Least weasel: there is not much data available on distribution due to the little effort being spent looking for them. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks suspects this weasel is in fact quite common within the planning area. Long-legged bat: there is no data. Masked shrew: one of the most common shrews; abundant. Northern three-toed woodpecker: This species is found in coniferous forest and is often associated with burned timber. Although Skaar’s book does not list this bird as a possible resident of eastern Montana, it is conceivable they could be found in the Missouri River Breaks. Yellowstone National Park contains the closest known habitat for these birds. Vesper sparrow: this bird is common and widespread throughout eastern Montana. The blue sucker was addressed in the resource management plan (see the “Wildlife” section in chapter 4) in relation to the construction of the Cherry Creek dam. This is the only BLM action which could affect this species. The cheek chub is abundant within the planning area. The finescale dace is not found in Montana; the hybrids (N. redbelly dace and finescale dace) are found in the Missouri River drainage. This fish of special concern in Montana is not expected to be impacted by any BLM decisions. The shortnose gar is found in the Missouri River below the Fort Peck Dam. It is a Species of Special Concern in Montana. The BLM’s management actions are not expected to impact this species. The BLM has no data on invertebrate species or their habitats. See text changes in table 36. 21. See “Alternatives Considered But Not Analyzed In Detail” in chapter 2, pertaining to the “Big Open”. This discussion would also generally apply to “Buffalo Commons.” Current habitat for the least tern on the Yellowstone River is comprised solely of graveled islands. The large majority of these islands are unsurveyed and are the jurisdiction of the state. At this time, there are no BLM islands considered suitable for least terns. BLM does manage graveled shoreline. Currently the least terns are not found using this habitat in the planning area. Wildlife crucial winter ranges were designated as being crucial, but not critical to wildlife. Studies, such as “Effects of Livestock Grazing on Neotropical Migratory Landbirds in Western North America” (Bock et al. n.d.) present findings on how wildlife habitat improves for some species in the absence of livestock. Additional studies may be reviewed upon request at the Big Dry Resource Area office.

17.

22.

18.

23.

24.

19.

Preferences and Opinions
1. 2. Prairie dogs should be eliminated. Support maintaining prairie dog acreages and allowing for natural prairie dog expansion on appropriate public lands. Support position that existing animal unit months will not be reduced for prairie dog expansion. Support black-footed ferret reintroduction. Support designation of the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern, but do not allow locatable mineral mining. Do not hold up the economy for the black-footed ferret by protecting prairie dog towns. Opposed to the reintroduction of the black-footed ferrets in the planning area. Do not introduce the black-footed ferret because of the Endangered Species Act. It is ironic that BLM which has an American bison symbol writes a document that totally ignores the bison.

3.

4. 5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

20.

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CHAPTER 5 Wildlife 10. 11. 12. The plan leaves nothing for wildlife and public use. There is too much crucial winter range. Opposed to the present policy prohibiting predator control on public lands. Favor the increase in providing enhancements for wildlife. Support development of new small fishing reservoirs.

RESPONDENTS AND TOPICS ADDRESSED
The following list of individuals, businesses, or organizations have commented on the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement and on the two newly proposed areas of critical environmental concern. The topics that each individual, business, or organization addressed are also listed. In some letters the name was illegible, and in some meetings the speaker was not identified.

13.

14.

Adamson, Julie Advocacy Unlimited Foundation Andrews, Scott ARCO Oil and Gas Company Arsian, Norman P. and Dunuac, Judy Billing, May BLM Advisory Council, Miles City District Bordenkircher, Dave Brittsan, Joe Carter County Chamberlin, Lyle Charlottesville Wellness Center Citizens for Freedom City of Baker City of Bowman, N. D. City of Scranton, N. D. Close, Caroline S. Coburn, Jason Connecting Point For Public Lands Copple MD, Nathan Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers Dansereau III, Richard C. Danzeisen, Cathy Dawson County Arts Unlimited Dawson County Conservation District Dawson County Farm Bureau Dawson County Weed Board Dawson Resource Council Defenders of Wildlife Dennett, Kerry DEUCE DiChiara, Tim Durbin, Jean Elder, Jim Elliott, Burton Fallon County Fallon County Stockgrowers and Landowners Association Feldman, Cliff Fell, David

Oil and Gas, Wildlife, Recreation, Paleontology, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Paleontology, Other, Recreation, Wildlife Oil and Gas, Recreation Oil and Gas Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Recreation Recreation Oil and Gas, Lands, Other Recreation, Paleontology, Oil and Gas, Wilderness Lands Other Recreation, Wilderness, Oil and Gas, Paleontology Extension Request Lands Lands Lands Oil and Gas, Wildlife, Paleontology Wildlife Oil and Gas, Recreation Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness, Recreation, Oil and Gas Soil, Water, Air, Vegetation Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Paleontology, Wilderness, Recreation Recreation Lands, Recreation Recreation, Lands Lands, Vegetation Lands, Recreation, Alternatives Extension Request Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Oil and Gas Other, Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wilderness, Wildlife, Paleontology Oil and Gas, Wildlife, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wilderness, Wildlife Lands Lands Recreation, Wildlife, Wilderness Recreation, Oil and Gas, Wilderness 186

CHAPTER 5 Respondents Ford, Fannie Lee Freese, Bill Friends of Makoshika Fries, John P. Garfield County Commissioners Gibson, Sarah L. Girdler, Barbara K. Glendive Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture Goodall, Doug Gravitt, Mary A. Great Plains Resources Incorporated Groell, Paul T. Grue, Clinton, C. Gunderson, George Haas, John N. Harris, Dave Harbaugh Ranch Company Haughian, Quinn Haughian, Terry Hayes, Tavia Hillhouse Ph.D, Joel and Adler Ph.D, Christine Hingtgen, John Hoffman, Roland J. Howard, Jennifer Hubbell, William S. Huston, Dave Irvine, Robert J. Jennings, David Johnson, Gene Johnson, Norman Keith, Alan Kellner, Bill Keltner, Lawrence and Kim Kubesh, Nell Kuehn, Alyce Kuehn, Wayne Laue, Peter Levin, Edward W. Jr. Linell, Thomas A. Linn, David Lnomas, Natalie Lone Pine Ranch Incorporated Loughney, R. D. Lynn, John and Tracey Mackay, Shelley Madler, Mike Mahnke, Robert Mainwaring, Scott Markeloff, Robert McAlpine, Alison McBride, John and Candace McCall, William A. Recreation, Other, Wildlife, Paleontology, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Recreation Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness, Oil and Gas Lands, Mineral Materials, Wildlife, Wilderness Recreation Paleontology, Recreation, Wilderness Lands, Recreation Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness, Recreation Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Cultural, Wildlife, Alternatives Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Wildlife, Recreation, Lands Oil and Gas Recreation, Vegetation, Lands, Alternatives, Wildlife Recreation, Wildlife Lands Wilderness, Wildlife, Other, Livestock Wildlife Paleontology, Recreation, Oil and Gas Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Recreation, Wilderness, Wildlife, Vegetation, Other Recreation, Oil and Gas, Other, Alternatives Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wildlife, Wilderness, Paleontology Recreation Alternatives, Livestock, Recreation Lands, Livestock, Wildlife Recreation, Oil and Gas, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Recreation, Other, Paleontology, Wilderness, Wildlife, Vegetation, Cultural Paleontology, Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wildlife, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wilderness, Wildlife, Paleontology Recreation, Oil and Gas, Wilderness, Paleontology Wildlife Coal Soil, Water Recreation Other, Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Recreation Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wildlife, Paleontology, Wilderness Recreation Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Soil, Water, Livestock, Lands Recreation Other, Oil and Gas, Paleontology, Wildlife, Recreation, Wilderness Cultural, Extension Request Lands Recreation, Wildlife, Oil and Gas, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Recreation, Oil and Gas, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wildlife, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness

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CHAPTER 5 Respondents McCone County Commissioners McElderry, Michele A. McGraw, Jean Meridian Oil Mitchell, Terry and Jean Moffett, Irene Montana Audubon Council Montana Department of Agriculture and Montana Board of Livestock Montana Department of Health and Environmental Sciences, Water Quality Bureau Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Montana Public Lands Council Montana State Historic Preservation Office Montana Stockgrowers Association Montana Wildlife Federation Mueller, Mrs. Catherine K. Museum of the Rockies National Wildlife Federation Navratil, Unmack, & Herring, Attorneys at Law, P.C. Needleman, Art Nelson, John and Sharon Nemitz, Kenny Nemitz, Merlin Norris, Taffie Northern Plains Resource Council O’Neill, Frank and Dianne Overby, Kirk Pamperin, John Pelech, Walter and Dorothy Perhman, J Phebus, Drury and Iona Pinnow, Wanda Pollard Ranch Company Partnership Porter, Rob Public Lands Foundation Reichel, Jason E. Reukauf, Robert Rich Ranch Company Riggs, Beth Ritchey, Kathie S. Robbins, Jack Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association Roney, Linda Rosche, Olga M. Rusley, Truman Gary Savine, Joseph F. Schwartz, Todd Shell Western E&P Incorporated Shoup, Paul D. Sierra Club, Northern Great Plains Region Vegetation, Alternatives, Paleontology Oil and Gas, Wildlife, Paleontology, Recreation Other, Oil and Gas, Recreation Oil and Gas, Cultural, Wildlife, Alternatives Recreation Coal, Recreation Lands, Wild and Scenic, Wilderness, Recreation, Wildlife, Other, Paleontology, Livestock, Oil and Gas Livestock, Vegetation Vegetation, Soil, Water, Livestock Wildlife, Lands, Livestock, Recreation Recreation Alternatives, Lands, Livestock, Fire, Wildlife, Recreation Alternatives, Cultural Recreation, Livestock, Lands Lands, Recreation, Wildlife, Vegetation Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wildlife, Wilderness, Other Recreation Extension Request Recreation Oil and Gas, Other, Recreation, Wilderness, Paleontology Recreation, Wildlife, Oil and Gas, Paleontology, Wilderness Recreation, Lands Lands, Recreation Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife Coal, Extension Request Lands, Vegetation, Livestock, Recreation, Wildlife Recreation Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Recreation, Oil and Gas, Wilderness, Paleontology, Wildlife Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wildlife, Wilderness Lands Lands Lands Recreation, Oil and Gas, Wilderness, Wildlife Lands Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Recreation, Wildlife Lands Lands, Wilderness, Recreation, Wildlife, Wild and Scenic Oil and Gas Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wildlife, Wilderness, Paleontology Oil and Gas, Cultural, Wildlife, Alternatives Recreation Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness, Oil and Gas Lands, Livestock Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Recreation, Lands Oil and Gas, Wildlife, Alternatives Livestock Other, Alternatives, Oil and Gas, Wilderness, Paleontology, Wildlife, Recreation, Cultural 188

CHAPTER 5 Additional Comments Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Chapter Sierra Club, Southern New Mexico Group Smith, Jeffrey Southeastern Montana Sportsmen Association Sparks, Tom Stickel, Ervin F. Stifler, John R. Swanson, John R. Taylor, Karen Teague, Jonathan M. Texaco Exploration and Production Incorporated The Big Open Project Thomas, Lee Thomason, Dan Toulousse, Margaret E. Town of Ekalaka Town of Wibaux Trudell, Dennis Trumbo Ranch U.S. Environmental Protection Agency USDI, Bureau of Mines USDI, Fish and Wildlife Service USDI, National Park Service van Doren, Jason Warble, Sletten Wibaux County Commissioners Williston Basin Wilson, George T. Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Richard C. Wilson, Robert Wineteer Jr., Stephen A. Worldview, Ltd Wurr, C. Peter Zadis, P. Z. Zeller, Ruth W. and Robert A. Zimmerman, Duane Recreation, Oil and Gas, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife Recreation, Oil and Gas, Wildlife, Wilderness Recreation, Lands, Oil and Gas, Alternatives Other, Livestock, Wildlife, Fire, Lands, Vegetation, Cultural, Coal, Recreation Vegetation Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wildlife, Wilderness Wilderness, Wild and Scenic, Livestock, Recreation, Lands, Wildlife Livestock Oil and Gas, Wilderness, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife Oil and Gas, Cultural, Wildlife, Other, Alternatives Other, Alternatives, Wildlife, Lands, Recreation Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wilderness, Wildlife Cultural Recreation, Oil and Gas, Wilderness, Wildlife, Other, Paleontology Lands Lands Lands, Vegetation Paleontology Other, Soil, Water, Air, Livestock, Extension Request Locatables, Coal Wildlife, Livestock, Vegetation Air, Cultural, Wildlife Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wildlife Oil and Gas, Paleontology, Wilderness, Recreation, Wildlife Lands Oil and Gas, Cultural, Wildlife, Alternatives Alternatives, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Wilderness, Other, Recreation, Wildlife Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wildlife Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wilderness, Wildlife Other, Oil and Gas, Recreation, Wildlife, Paleontology, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Recreation, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness Oil and Gas, Paleontology, Wildlife, Wilderness, Recreation Recreation

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS
During the comment period on the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks indicated that a Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern designation may not be warranted at this time. With that in mind, BLM requested comments from interested parties (those who commented on the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern) who were within a commuting distance. Seven letters were received containing 36 comments. Those substantive comments are listed below with the preferences and opinions following.

Substantive Comments
1. The prairie dog complexes alone warrant area of critical environmental concern designation whether or not reintroduction of black-footed ferrets occurs. BLM should include all of the public land in the area of critical environmental concern as shown on map 22 of page 367 of the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement rather than the revised map that was sent out at a later date. The first map includes a viable number of complexes and would allow for protection of migration routes between complexes.

2.

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CHAPTER 5 Additional Comments 3. The resource management plan and environmental impact statement does nothing to maintain or enhance prairie dog towns for associated species. The resource management plan and environmental impact statement fails to establish prairie dog acreage targets. Until BLM reaches a target, control programs should be minimized and expansion efforts maximized. The resource management plan and environmental impact statement does not disclose present range or distribution of prairie dogs. The final resource management plan and environmental impact statement should identify several other areas for existing or potential prairie dog complexes. Associated species have been depleted because prairie dog complexes have not been maintained. Recommend that BLM inventory and monitor prairie dog towns so it can respond appropriately to decreases or increases in population. The resource management plan and environmental impact statement does not reveal the extent to which poisoning programs have reduced or eliminated prairie dog complexes on private lands. 19. 9. The resource management plan and environmental impact statement has no alternative that allows prairie dogs to exist in the ecosystem at natural levels. Every alternative is constrained by the same control program. There should be a “no control” alternative, as well as an alternative that recommends varying levels of control based on resource concerns. The Miles City District Prairie Dog Management Plan fails to establish standards or guidelines for measuring “significant adverse impacts to soil and vegetative resources” that provide for prairie dog control. There is no scientific literature that can be referenced showing damage caused to soil or vegetation by prairie dogs in the absence of livestock. BLM must exercise caution in promoting recreational shooting of prairie dogs as they are the primary food source for several associated species and that food source is declining. The resource management plan and environmental impact statement fails to address sylvatic plague that has decimated prairie dog population in many areas. 14. The combined impacts of long-term poisoning, unrestricted shooting and plague have brought prairie dog populations to historic lows. The resource management plan and environmental impact statement fails to consider whether the cost of controlling prairie dogs outweighs the benefits. The final resource management plan and environmental impact statement should recommend that BLM do a cost/benefit analysis prior to control. The Big Dry has been considered by state and federal agencies as a black-footed ferret recovery zone. The resource management plan and environmental impact statement should examine the potential for black-footed ferret recovery in the resource area; explain the management changes that would be necessary to create black-footed ferret habitat and contain an alternative that provides for sufficient habitat for a successful black-footed ferret recovery. Designate the 10,000 acre area described on page 367 of the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement as an area of critical environmental concern for prairie dogs and associated species. Prairie dogs on public lands should be controlled so they do not interfere with private lands, or obstruct the traditional multi-use approach to the management of BLM-administered lands. Prairie dogs should be maintained at a predetermined population level so the possibility of the prairie dog becoming an endangered species is eliminated. Need to broaden the scope of those who should receive knowledge of proposed changes. Comment periods should be extended to allow all affected interests ample time to comment. Need to work closely with all affected landowners on all aspects and phases of this proposed plan. Need to address whether or not the current number of prairie dogs can be maintained without negatively affecting the viability of landowners operations. Any loss of animal unit months by the livestock producer should be compensated by the Department of Interior.

4.

15.

5.

16.

6.

17.

7.

18.

8.

20.

10.

21.

22.

11.

23.

24. 12.

25.

13.

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CHAPTER 5 Additional Responses 26. A ceiling level of prairie dog numbers must be agreed to by the affected landowners. Artificially expanding prairie dog populations can be an immense cost and an additional burden on our government. All costs incurred through this plan should be made readily available to the public. 11. 28. Any land exchange with willing landowners must not result in any loss of existing animal unit months. 10. Impacts to soil and vegetative resources must be considered on a case-by-case basis for each specific site. Should a request be made to control prairie dogs on public land, an interdisciplinary team of BLM specialists would evaluate the request and decide if any control would be necessary. Protein concentrations in vegetation in prairie dog towns is greater than protein concentrations in vegetation outside the towns. However, there is no conclusive evidence that plant productivity increases on prairie dog towns (O’Meilia, Eugene M. 1976; April D. Whicker and James K. Detling 1988; Daniel W. Uresk 1984 and Cid et.al 1991). The range sites where prairie dogs are commonly found in this area should have 75 to 85 percent midgrasses, 5 to 15 percent short grasses, 5 percent forbs, and 5 to 10 percent shrubs. Shortgrasses and weedy forbs commonly increase and midgrasses decrease due to continuous overgrazing in prairie dog towns. One study in a mixed grass prairie in South Dakota with bison and prairie dogs showed that when prairie dogs were removed, available grass material remaining on the site at the end of the year increased by 36 to 43 percent. Similar results were obtained when bison were removed and prairie dogs remained. The increase in available grass doubled when both prairie dogs and bison were removed (Cid et al. 1991). Available grass decreases and vegetation condition declines following prairie dog colonization (Koford 1958, Bonham and Lerwick 1976, Delsted et al. 1981, Coppock et al. 1983, Archer et al. 1987). In the absence of prairie dogs, vegetation can be managed for additional livestock forage and allow for increased grass material remaining at the end of the year. Contact the Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station in Rapid City, South Dakota for further studies. Recreational shooting of prairie dogs is done in cooperation with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. BLM recognizes the potential impact sylvatic plague can have on prairie dogs. Chapter 2, “Wildlife” lists plague abatement as a management action BLM could consider. See response 8 above. Also, BLM is committed to proactive management of prairie dogs (see chapter 2, “Wildlife”). It would be difficult to prepare one benefit cost analysis to cover any and all prairie dog control

27.

Responses
1. See text changes in chapters 1, 2, 3, and Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern discussion in the area of critical environmental concern appendix. This area was considered but not analyzed in detail (see chapter 2, “Alternatives Considered But Not Analyzed In Detail” under “Wildlife”). See text changes in chapter 2, “Wildlife”. BLM has provided management to allow prairie dogs to expand by several different means. There are no targets because of lack of data for habitat potential. The area where the greatest amount of information on the size and distribution of prairie dogs was presented in the resource management plan (see map 23). There are other prairie dog towns on public land in Custer, Prairie, Rosebud, McCone, and Garfield counties, but little is known about these other towns. BLM is committed to inventorying prairie dog towns every five years. See chapter 2, “Wildlife”. Also, BLM monitors prairie dog towns at five year intervals (see monitoring table for information that may warrant a decision change). Inventories of prairie dogs are conducted every five years. This information is not available and therefore is unknown. However, general statements are found in chapter 4 under “Management Common To All Alternatives” (cumulative impact analyses). Current management essentially allows prairie dogs to fluctuate at natural levels. In the past 15 years, only two control efforts have been conducted.

2.

3. 4.

5.

6.

12.

7.

13.

8.

14.

9.

15.

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CHAPTER 5 Additional Responses proposals. Benefit cost analyses will be a part of any control program on public land where federal dollars are being used. 16. The site in Custer and Prairie counties (Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern) has been recognized as being a potential recovery area. At this point, the decision as to whether this area is or is not suitable for black-footed ferret reintroduction has not been completed. See chapter 2, “Wildlife”. See text change in chapter 2 under “Wildlife” Alternative D. The “Black-tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan for the Miles City District” provides the BLM the opportunity to manage prairie dogs when they impact adjacent private land. Prairie dog habitat is an integral part of the prairie ecosystem and as such, is a vital part of multiple-use management on public lands. See response 9 above. Due to budget constraints and for expediency, only those people who commented on the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern and were within commuting distance were notified of a proposed change. All persons who had concerns about the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern were given the opportunity to comment during the draft resource management plan and environmental impact statement comment period. The public presently has the opportunity to review this plan through a plan protest to the Director. BLM commonly meets with interested groups to gather comments, but no decisions are made until the impacts from alternative management prescriptions are considered. BLM then makes the final decision. It is difficult to schedule a comment period that does not conflict with the public’s schedule. Whether or not a deadline is met, all comments are taken into consideration in the record of decision. See chapter 2, “Wildlife”, under “Management Common To All Alternatives”. There is no proposal for reduction in stocking rates due to prairie dogs in the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern. 43 CFR 4130.2(b) states that “Grazing permits or leases convey no right, title, or interest held by the 28. 26. United States in any land or resources”. The BLM has no authority to compensate livestock operators for forage consumed by wildlife. BLM will continue to work with affected interests in prairie dog and black-footed ferret management. Costs associated with this program are available at the Big Dry Resource Area office. If a specific area is proposed for expansion, cost estimates will be part of that activity plan. Impacts to landowners would also be identified in that environmental analysis. There is no proposal for reducing stocking rates due to prairie dogs in this document.

27.

17. 18.

19.

Preferences and Opinions
1. Favor maintaining the area of critical environmental concern designation (2). Favor the removal of the area of critical environmental concern designation, but continue to study the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret in the Big Dry Resource Area. Favor the removal of the area of critical environmental concern designation. The Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement would have been an excellent forum for discussing the ecological role of prairie dogs, but BLM instead wrote the same plan it has been writing for 30 years. There is not enough emphasis on control measures for prairie dog colonies. The BLM has an obligation to undertake reasonable control measures where adjacent property may be threatened by prairie dog colonies. Prairie dog control is most efficiently conducted by a cooperative effort between BLM and affected landowners.

2.

20. 21.

3.

4.

5.

6.

22.

7.

23.

24.

The following names are the seven parties who responded to BLM’s letter on the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Defenders of Wildlife and the Natural Wildlife Federation Garfield County Board of County Commissioners Haughian Livestock Co. Montana Stockgrowers Association Beth Riggs 192

25.

CHAPTER 5 Distribution List Sierra Club Southeastern Montana Livestock Association USDI, Bureau of Land Management USDI, Bureau of Mines USDI, Bureau of Reclamation USDI, Fish and Wildlife Service USDI, National Park Service USDI, Office of Environmental Project Review

CONSISTENCY
Coordination with other agencies and organization and consistency with other plans were accomplished through frequent communication and cooperative efforts. Local groups have been consulted to insure awareness of the plan and objectives. The Montana Governor’s Clearinghouse have been supplied copies of this final document for review to insure consistency with the state’s plans. The BLM also has coordinated with the Native American tribes and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Individuals
Diane Adams Julie Adamson Dr. Christine Adler Barb Albers Henry Aldrich Allen Alerding Joyce Almy Dayton Alsaker Edwin H. Ames Jr. Jerry Amsler Arthur (Andy) Anderson Dewey Anderson Loyd Anderson Robert M. Anderson Scott Andrews Genevieve Arensdorf Norman P. Arsian Berdette or Vilma Askin Kermit Askin Dave Atkinson Tom and Edna Atkinson Atwood Estate Norman C. Atwood Francis Ausk Jim and Jo Ausk Grace Baker et al David A. and Benjamin A. Balducki Brian Ban Frank Ban Alex Barclay David Barnick Al Bassett Arnold Bejot Milton Benge Dave and Jessie Bennett Joe Benson Waldo Bentley Dennis Berg Paul Berg Paul and Rosie Berger Bill and Bruce Bergerson Clifford M. and Clifton M. Berglee Tim Bernardis Bonnie Berry Delbert J. Berry Ken Berry 193

DISTRIBUTION LIST
The BLM requested comments from industries, businesses, individuals, and special interest groups, federal, state, and local agencies, and from Native American tribes. Information has been distributed to the organizations, agencies, and individuals listed. This plan is available at the Montana State Office, Miles City District, Big Dry Resource Area, and Jordan field offices; and county libraries.

Congressional Offices
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs Representative Pat Williams Senator Max Baucus Senator Conrad Burns

Federal Agencies
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Department of Energy Department of the Army Department of the Interior Environmental Protection Agency Federal Highway Administration Office of the Field Solicitor Office of Surface Mining U. S. Army Corps of Engineers USDA, Agricultural Stabilization Conservation Service, State Office USDA, Forest Service USDA, Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Station USDA, Montana Soil Conservation Service State Office USDA, Soil Conservation Service Offices USDI, Bureau of Indian Affairs

CHAPTER 5 Distribution List Wilson Scott Berry Lynn Bice Jean Bidegaray Don Bidwell Richard Biery Leo and Judy Billing May Billing Monte Billing Ross A. Billing Frank Birtic Bobbi Blankenship K. L. Bliss JL Bloom Michael W. Bobock Dave Bode Nels Boe Kevin Boehler Henry and Mae Bohle Ira and Ethel Bond Larry Bond E. B. Bondell Claribel Bonine Stan Boone Duwayne and Nellie Booth et al Dave Bordenkircher Milo and Karsten Borg Sam Borla Arthur and Verna Bouchard et al Russell Boulding Steve Boysun Tom Breitbach Joe Brittsan Mr. and Mrs. Doug Bronson Bill Brown Jr Bruce Brown Dale Brown Thominna W. Brown Ted Browning Jack and Virginia Brubaker Elwyn Brunner Bill and Susan Buckingham Fred Buldhaupt Janet A. Buldhaupt Terry L. Burbach Dan Burgess Viola and Bruce Burgess Mary Burman Ed Burritt Gentry Bush Doug Buxbaum Gene Buxcel Pastor Harvey Bybee Mike Cadwell Loren Cale et ux Chris Cameron Clyde S. Cameron Colin E. and Jean Cameron Neal C. Cameron Alfred Candee Robert Candee Ernest Carlson Charles Carranco George Carter Tim Carter Willard Carter G. J. Cayer John Cayko Gary Ceynar Don H. Chaffee Donald Bruce Chaffee Lyle Chamberlin Lee and Helen Chapman A. Chavan Ross Childers Eva M. Clark Karla Clark Mr. and Mrs. Walter Clark Newell Clarke Duane Claypool Caroline S. Close Jason Coburn Doug Coffman Cole Coldwell Jerry Coldwell Leah Cole Reland and Eleanor F. Cole Alex Collie Walt Collins John Colness Don B. Colton Mel Conley Sue Connors Burhl Cooke Jerome D. Cooksey Betty Jean Cooley George Coon Rod J. Cooper Nathan Copple Virgil Cornelia E. and Leonard Corneliusen Kenneth A. Coulter Rod Coulter Jim Courtney Dave Covert Larry J. Cox Vince Crago Clyde Crawford Stella Crawley Bill Cundiff Jr. Dan Currie

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CHAPTER 5 Distribution List Jerry Curtis Russel and Maureen Curtiss Welcome J. Curtiss Leonard Daniel Frank Daniels Richard Dansereau Robert E. Danskin Cathy Danzeisen Bruce Daughton Lorn Davis Rich Day Willie and Katheryn Day Jean Dekker Mr. and Mrs. Harley Delange Robert Delp Kerry Dennitt Scott Denson Ernest Dent Bill Deshaw Mearle or Irene Detienne Tod and Ron Devlin Tim DiChiara Rudy and Marie Diegel Neva Dissly Paul Dobbin Gene Domagala Edith H. and E. J. Doncaster John F. and Clair Marie Doran Elmo Dreyer L. Dschaak Daniel D. Dukart Peter J. Duke Bette Dunnam Jean Durbin Ingrid (Senner) Dviraak Sherman Dynneson Elner Eaton Lawrence Edwards Rose Edwards Leonard Ehret Connie Eissinger Jim Elder Burton Elliott Lester D. Engdahl Mary Ann Engdahl John Ensign Carl J. Erickson Dale Erickson Harold D. Erlenbusch Carl Etzel John Fahdl Jean and Bud Failing Ed Falkenstern Janelle Fallan Tony Feisthamel Cliff Feldman David A. Fell Dale Fellman Phillip and Ethel Fellman Jim Ferch Charles Ferguson Steve Ferrin Don and Dorothy Finneman Ernest E. Fischer Gerald Fischer Ken Fischer Alvin O. Fisher Michael Fisher Fred A. Fitch Mark Fix Bill Flekkenstein Ted Fletcher Glenn Follmer Fannie Lee Ford Bernie Forman Elmer Gene Foss Harry and Mary Foss Kenneth Foss Gerald Frank Charles Franks Bill Freese Larry French Emil Fried John W. Friede John P. Fries William Roger Fuchs Hal Fuglevand John Fuller Dale A. and Florence J. Funk Alvin Gackle Galland Family Edward Gaub Henry Gaub John Gauer Pam Gauer Roy W. Gentry Lee Gibbs Sarah Gibson Clarence and Audry Gilge Barbara K. Girdler Gus Glasscock Ray Glueckert Iva Mae Goff Doug Goodall Bud and Bette Goplen Gary Graves Mary Gravitt Robert J. Gray Scotty Gray Lyla Green

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CHAPTER 5 Distribution List Larry Greenlee Emmett Gregerson Bob Gregg Grant and Alta M. Greiman Michael Grende Buford Griffin Mark Griffith Marty Griffith Bill and Lyle Grist Glen and Loraine B. Grist Paul T. Groell Jim Groh Sid Grovenstein Allen R. Grow et al Clinton Grue Tom Grunhuvd Mike Guelff Conrad W. Gustafson John N. Haas Don and Marj Haber Harold R. Hafeman Anton Hafla Arthur Hagen William Haggerty Anna Hahn Fred Haidle Freda R. Haidle Kevin Haidle Lynn Haidle Diane Halverson R. A. Hamman James Hanks Penny Hanna Walter J. Hanratty Duane A. Hanson Keith Hanson Randy Hanson Charles M. and Victoria E. Hardy Vernon Harms Dave I. and Joanne Harris Paula Harrison Marge Hart Alvin Hasty Mary Haughian Quinn Haughian C. M. Hauptman Dave A. Hayden Tavia Hayes A. R. Hays Harold Heafield Karl Hedrick Dr. George L. Hegge Edmund E. Heinle Dale Hellman Larry Helvik Bob Henriksen George A. Hensleigh Jim Hentges Carl Hepperle Ted Hepperle Alida Herigstad Gerald Herigstad Richard P. Herman John Herzberg Aileen Hess Dick Hess Richard G. Hess Vera Heurer Mrs. Leon Hicks Royce Higgins Clifford Highland Dr. Joel Hillhouse Nora O. Hilliard John Hingtgen Helmut and Nina Hintz Jacob Hirsch Fred Hoeger Neil Hoff Paul Hoff Gary Hoffer Roland Hoffman Gary and Linda Holman Wayne Holmlund Al Homme Bill Hopkins Leo J. Horgan Tom Horn Roland C. Hoselton Don Hotter Dean Houck Cliff Householder Lynn H. Householder May G. Hovland Jennifer Howard Solvejg Nelson Howard Dale Hubber Dale Hubbert Walter E. Hubble Virgil T. Huffman Kurt Hughes Donald G. and Marian M. Huseby David Huston Vi Irion Harry Ironstad Robert J. Irvine Harold Lee Isaacs Matthew James Nick Janich Monte Jarvis Joan O. and Waring S. Jenkins

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CHAPTER 5 Distribution List David Jennings Larry Jens Lester Jens Bob Jensen Marshall D. and Gordon D. Joelson Cody Johnson David W. Johnson D.D.S. Floyd Johnson Gene Johnson Melvin P. Johnson Norman Johnson Harold A. and Laverne A. Jorgensen Dale J. Josewski Alan and Janice Just Frank Kanta (Heirs) Glen Kapitzke Dave Kasten Fred J. Kaul Dean Keirle Ervin H. Keirle Alan Keith Claude Keith Bill Kellner Pat Kelly Rodney A. and Marilyn K. Kelly Chris and Christine Keltner Lawrence and Kim Keltner Joseph Kimball Boyd Kincheloe Don and Jacquia King Jack E. King Ron Kiosse Eugene K. and Barbara Ann Kirchner Dorothy S. Kirk James Kirkland Elroy Kittleson Ronald Kjelgaard Martha Klempel et al Kim Knudson Greg Koczer Walt and Linda Koehler Walt Koenig Kirk Koepsel Melvin Kohlman Howard Kohn Jim Kolden Elizabeth and David Koster Dick Kranzler Butch Krutzfeldt T. C. Kryzer Kenneth Kubesh Nell Kubesh John Kuehn Kevin Kuehn Len J. Kuntz George Kurkowski Charles A. Kutzler Curt Kyle Jordon Labree Ervin Laib Matthew Lane Christ Lang Bruce Lantis Gary Larsen Arnie Larson Herb and Helen Larson Rodney Larson Daniel Lassle David C. Lassle Lum Latimer Peter Laue Mr. and Mrs. George B. Laughlin Geraldine Lawson J. R. Lee Joe K. Leland Harold and Twyla Ler Arnold Lesmeister Theo H. Leuenberger Nora Levalley Edward Levin Jr. Keith Lewis Kent Liles Mike and Cathy Liles LH Vern Lindquist Thomas A. Linell Mary Linford David A. Linn Natalie Lnomas Clara Loberg Gardner Loberg Jane Logan Mabel Loomis Craig Lorntson Robert Loughney Dr. Adele Lukaszewics John and Tracey Lynn Chester Macioraski Mary Mackay et al Mike Madler William Magelssen Estate Robert Mahnke Scott Mainwaring Ken and Mac Makelky James R. Malkuch Robert Markeloff Amy Martin Ford Martin Irene Martinson Ralph C. Mason Buzz Mattelin

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CHAPTER 5 Distribution List Bruce Mayes Alison McAlpine John and Candace McBride Jr. William McCall Betty McCarthy Gary McCrea Gary McDanold Archie G. McDonald Michele A. McElderry Elvis McGee Charles McGinnis Charles and Clifford McGinnis Mary F. McGlynn Tom McGonigal Kevin McGovern Jean McGraw Mike and Noreen McKeever John McKerlick Mike McManus Linda McMullen Charles McRae Donald, Duncan, and Arthur McRae David and Sonia Meccage Kenneth Meccage Curt Meeds Glen Meidinger Harold and Delynn Meidinger Murray and Pauline Melcher C.E. Mendenhall Glenn Mendenhall Russell G. Mercer Harold E. Meyer James Michels Sylvia and Fred Mickelson Bruce Miller Suzanne R. and Tom H. Miller Henry A. Miller Jr. Donald J. and April Milroy Bill Milton Henry Mischel Scotty Mitchell Terry and Jean Mitchell John Henry Patrick Moerman Donald W. Moffett Irene Moffett Ruthyn Mohl Charles Moline James N. and Bertha Moline L. M. Moline DDS Wayne Moline Carter Mollgaard Heather Moon Neil Morck Sia Morhardt Robert and Evelyn Morrison Robert C. Mothershead Catherine K. Mueller Wayne and Geraldine Mulkey Clark Murnion Coleman Murnion John Daniel Murnion Larry Murnion Arling and Ruth Myhre Art Needleman William Nefsy Bob Nefzger Eugene C. Nelson John and Sharon Nelson June Nelson Lyle Nelson Margaret Scott Nelson Robert Nelson Kenny Nemitz Merlin Nemitz Floyd Neumann Jane Neumann Bob Neumenn Jack W. Nickels Lester Nickels Russell Nickels H. A. Niemeyer Rocky Niles Mike Nitschke Taffie Norris Peter Novakovich Laurel O’Connor Alfreda Ofstedal Les Ollerman Ben G. Olson Frank and Diane O’Neill Amanda O’Reilly Jack O’Reilly Kirk Overby John Pamperin Mark Parman Parsons Estate Delbert H. and Sandra Jo Pawlowski Wendell Pawlowski Wilma Pawlowski Harold Peabody Rachel Pederson Alice and Charley Pehl Walter and Dorothy Pelech Dave Peplinski Paul P. Peplinski J. Perhman Arthur Perschke Robert A. Petermann Carol and Larry Peterson John A. Peterson

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CHAPTER 5 Distribution List Marian Rita and George Petrie Paul Petrusha Bob Phipps Robert Phipps Don R. Piesik Wanda Pinnow Joe Pisk Jr. Wes and Elza Plann Russell Pluhar Olive Pointer Clifford Pollert Frank and Debra Popper Rob Porter Vernon Preuss Stanley Price John Prince Duane and Kathleen Pust Jeff Qualley Lyle and Donna Quick James N. Rahr Bill Raisl Jackie and Bernie Rakes Fred Rambur Jean E. Rankin Bill Rathert George Raths Dr. Rauh Don Record Alice M. Belisle Reed Jason Reichel Jack A. Reichert R. H. Reidinger Doug Rein David E. Reis Paul Renn Robert H. Renz Rob Reukauf Rodger Reuther Floyd Revell Robert F. and Ruth Reynolds Elden Rice Velma Rice Lee Richardson Carl Rieckmann Edwin Rieger Helen Rieger M. Roy Rieger Wayne Rieger Beth Riggs Ralph Rising Kathie S. Ritchey George Rittal Jim Rittal Tim Rittal David Rivenes Jack Robbins Roy Roesler Mrs. Rogerson Edwin R. Rogge Linda Roney John P. Roos Ruth V. Roos Roger Root Newell S. Rosaaen Olga M. Rosche Clair L. Ross Mervin Rost Alice M. and Morris J. Royan David L. Rummel Howard and Cheryl Ruppel Truman Gary Rusley Jim Ryan Gary Ryti Isador Sackman Lyle Sackman E. Edgar Salsbury Carol Samuelson James Sanchez Rick Sandberg Forrest Sanders Richard Saunders Don Sautner Joseph F. Savine Claude Saylor Jerome Saylor Lewis M. Saylor Walter D. Saylor C. B. and Cliff Schantz Richard H. and Elaine O. Schara John Scheuering Allan P. and Shirley Schillinger Ray and Fern Schillreff Emma Schipman Theodore Schmidt Lois N. and Albert J. Scholz Rob and Marjorie Schriver Archie Schroeber Richard R. Schueler Marlene Schultz Daniel C. Schumacher Fred E. Schumacher Todd Schwartz Alice Kay Schweigert Jim Schweigert Jack Schwend Don Seleski Chris Severson Alan Sevier Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Shaffer Norm Shannon

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CHAPTER 5 Distribution List Boyd and Marion Shaver Ray Shawver David Shearer Donald J. Shearer Orville J. Shefelbine Sr. Ernest E. Shireman Ray Shore P.D. and Ests of W.A. and R.S. Shoup Scott Sigel Don Silbernagel Wilhelm Singer Doug Singleton Clarence Sipma Anton Sir Edward A. Skaar Kris Skyberg M. D. Slehofer Pat Sloan Jerry Smalis Doug Smith H.I. and Annette Smith Jeffrey Smith Roy Smith Lloyd Sohl Ed Solle R. W. Sonsalla Gill Sorg Clifton A. and Calvin D. Sowle James Frank and Goldie E. Sparks Thomas Sparks Eva E. Spaulding Dr. and Mrs. Stanley B. Speck Elmer Spidel Christian Spies Jack Spithoven Lee Stafford Margaret Stafford Charles Steadman Eric Steadman Clarence A. Steffen John W. Steffen Bud Stevenson Albert M. Stewart Phil Stewart Alvin Stickel Ervin Stickel John W. Stifler Dale A. Stirling John A. Stolen Glen Stone Bob Stordahl Neal Strand Raymond Strasheim Arthur Straub Helmut and Edna Straub Reiny Straub Terry Straub Dale Strobel Ray Stubberud Ned Summers Phyllis Sundherg Harold C. Sutherland Orville and Inez E. Svingen Carl A. Swanson Jr. Jim Swanson John R. Swanson Mary Cato Swayne Lyle Swenson Larry J. Switzer Dr. HT Swogger Tom and Liz Swogger Jack Swope Lyle Tauck Bernis E. Taylor Clay and Karen Taylor Dallas Taylor Dr. John Taylor Ken Taylor Rex Taylor Steve and Margie Taylor Jonathan M. Teague Dwight E. Thiessen Peter D. and Nancy Mae Thiessen Steve Thoeny Carl Thomas Lee Thomas Melvin Thomas Don Thomason Kevin Thomason Daniel Thompson Ty Throop Ron Tibbetts Steve Tibbetts Jerry Tillman Dr. Greg Tooke Larry Torstenbo Margaret E. Toulouse Harry F. and Minerva Townley Lorraine Traeger John Trask Mark Trask Jim Trogden Dennis Trudell John Trumbo Maurice Tunby Neil Turnbull Art Turner Kenneth Turner Robert Tveten Judd Twitchell

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CHAPTER 5 Distribution List Agnes Ueland Glenda Ueland Donald and Kurt Ulrich Mrs. Gudrun K. Undem Bruce Unger Leslie R. and Marie J. Unruh Floyd Usselman James Vaira Jason Van Doren Charles P. Van Epps Don Varner Marvin Varner Rocco Varriano Delbert Vine P. L. Vogel Robert G. Voorhees Bill Wahl Eldfon Wahl Loren L. Wahl Matt Wald Richard and Marge Waldo Roland J. Walker Beulah and Sander Waller Glen Waller Helen and Harold Waller Dulane and AnnaMae Wang S. Warble Brent Ward Mrs. Dorothy K. Ward Marie and Harry Ward Jonathan Watt Harvey Watts Henry Watts Ed Weidemann Willie Weigum David A. Welliever Clarence Wenz Richard Wenz Jean Armour Whaley Wheatcroft Trust Jim Whiteside Lloyd P. and Rosalie Wicks Tim Wildman Burl Willardson Jeff Williams Charles Wilson George T. Wilson H. B. Wilson Richard C. Wilson Robert Wilson Kenenth Wiman Janine Windy Boy Stephen A. Wineteer Jr. Duane Winters Melva C. Wirth Hans Wischmann Ms. Pauline E. Wischmann James Wiseman Jr. Melvin Wolenetz Bernard Wolff Dennis Wolff James Wolff T. Z. Wood Alex Woodruff Ronald Woodruff C. Peter Wurr William H. Wyman Don and Gladys Helen Young Ione Young James A. Young P.Z. Zadis Ruth Zeller Assistarles Zielsdorf Duane Zimmerman William Zumpf Pete Zwaneveld

Industry and Business
7W Ranch Abraxas Petroleum Corp. Adobe Oil and Gas Corp. Agri Resources Allerdings Ranch Inc. American Petroleum Institute American Rivers, Inc. Amoco Production Co. ANR Production Co. ANR Production Co. Arco Oil & Gas Co. Arnston Ranch Inc. B E G Inc. Baker Livestock Exchange/Keystone Ranches Balcron Oil Co. Bar B Q Beef Ranch Inc. Bassett Land & Livestock Beartooth Oil & Gas Co. Bechtold Ranch Inc. Beecher Ranch Inc. Bickle Inc. Big Timber Livestock Co Billingsley Ranch Outfitters Boucher Ranch Inc. BP Exploration Chris Branger Outfitter Breck Operating Corp. Broschat Engineering & Management Services Brown Dental Clinic Browning Brothers Buerkle Brothers 201

CHAPTER 5 Distribution List Butte Pipeline Co. Butte Resources Inc. Buxbaum Brothers BWAB Inc. Cenex Cherry Creek Ranch Chevron USA Inc. Coastal Oil & Gas Corp. Coca Cola Bottling Co., Inc. Conoco Inc. Coon Creek Ranch Co. Cottonwood Ranch Inc. Crissafulli A & M Rental & Farms Cusker Inc. D K Incorporated Davis Oil Co. Devon Energy Corporation Diamond Ring Ranch Double H Ranch DX Land & Livestock Co. Ehret Land Co. EIK Exploration The Ellis Co. Empire Sand and Gravel F & W Enterprises Flying V Apts Inc Frady Ranch Garber Land & Livestock Co. Great Plains Resources, Inc. Grue Ranch Gumbo Ranch Inc. Haglof Ranch Corp. Halliburton Services Hancock Enterprises Harbaugh Ranch Hay Creek Inc. Helmerich & Payne Inc. Herigstad Ranch Inc. Hillside Ranch Historical Research Associates Hondo Oil & Gas Co. Hot Bar Land & Cattle Co. Hubbard Ranch Inc. Hubing Ranch Inc. Hunters Montana Husky Oil Service Independent Petroleum Association Mountain States Island Creek Coal Co. Jensen Bros of Circle Inc. Jones Outfitting Service Jordan Insurance Service Kendrick Cattle Co. Kibler Outfitting & Guide Service Knife River Coal Mining Co. Koch Exploration Co. Lange Inc. Lazy Seven-Up Ranch LCM, LTD LO Bar Cattle Co. Lone Pine Ranch Inc. Loomis & Sons Inc. Lost Coulee Outfitters Luff Exploration Co. Lund Implement MacDonald and Sons Mackay & Mackay Ranch Mackay Ranch Mahlstedt Ranch Inc. Mann Farms Inc. Marathon Oil Co. Materi Exploration Inc. MBT Inc. McCone Electric Coop Inc. McMullin Brothers Meidinger & Son Meridian Minerals Co. Meridian Oil Inc. Mid Rivers Telephone Coop Milan Basin Creek Miles City Packing Co. Mondalin Inc. Montana Electric Coop Assoc Mountain States Telephone/Telegraph Mountain West Research Mullendore Farms Munsell Ranch Inc. Murphy Oil Corp. Mysse Ranch Co. Nash Bros Inc. Navratil, Unmack & Herring, Attorneys at Law Nemitz Ranch Nerco Coal Corp. North American Coal Corp. Oryx Energy Co. Peabody Development Co. Peabody Western Coal Co. Perkins and Son Outfitters Pfaff Ranch Inc. PIC Technologies Pinnacle Ranch Pollard Ranch Comp Partnership Powers Elevation Prairie Elk Ranch Inc. Prod. Co. Land Department Quarter Circle db Inc. Frank A. Radella Inc. Reno Creek Ranch Reynolds Warehouse Grocery Rich Ranch Rio Algom Mining Corp.

202

CHAPTER 5 Distribution List Rogerson Auto Repair and Gift Roundup Resources S-X Ranch Sante Fe Energy Co. Schiffer Ranch Co. Schillinger & Sons Inc. Schmidt Herfords Inc. Seteren Ranch Shell Oil Shell Western E & P Co. Sidney Oil Company Snap Creek Ranch Snell & Sons Snowbelt Angus Ranch Spear J. Inc. Stark Livestock Steffes Inc. Stovall Oil Company Straub Bros. Strobel & Son Inc. Terrett Ranch Inc. Texaco Inc. Thielen Ranch Co. Inc. Thiessen Inc. Tierra Tecumseh Tom Brown Inc. Towe Farms Inc. True Oil Co. Tuck & Assoc. Union Pacific Railroad Union Pacific Resources Wagner Inc. Waters Inc. Wenz and Sons Westech Western Oil World Western Utilities Group Wheatcroft & Sons White & Assoc. Williston Basin Int. Pipeline Wittkopp Inc. Wolff & Sons Inc. Yerbalinda Ranch Inc. Dawson County Arts Unlimited Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Dawson Resource Council Defenders of Wildlife East Custer Coop State Grazing District Eastern Montana College The Ecology Center Fallon County Chamber of Commerce Fallon County Stockgrowers and Landowners Assoc. Fallon County Taxpayers Assoc. Farm Credit Services Friends of Makoshika Garfield County Chamber of Commerce Glendive Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture Glendive Jaycees Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States Land Trust Alliance McCone Agricultural Protective Organization McCone County Chamber of Commerce Miles City Jaycees Miles Community College Mineral Exploration Coalition Montana Association of State Grazing Districts Montana Black-footed Ferret Work Group Montana Bowhunters Association Montana Cattlemans Association Montana Chapter of American Fisheries Society Montana Chapter Sierra Club Montana Chapter Wildlife Society Montana College of Minerals, Science, and Technology Montana Farmers Union Montana Geological Society Montana Guides and Outfitters Assoc. Montana Mining Association Montana Native Plant Society Montana Petroleum Association Montana Public Lands Council Montana State University Montana Stockgrowers Association Montana Wilderness Association Montana Wildlife Federation Montana Wool Growers Museum of the Rockies (Montana State University) National Audubon Society National Coal Association National Heritage Program National Wildlife Federation Natural Resources Council Natural Resources Defense Council Nature Conservancy North Dakota Lignite Council Northern Plains Resource Council Northwest University People for Economic Progress Plattsburgh State University of New York

Interest Groups
Advocacy Unlimited Foundation American Rivers American Wildlands Audubon Council Big Open Project Citizens for Freedom Connecting Point for Public Lands Culbertson Chamber of Commerce Custer County Chamber of Commerce 203

CHAPTER 5 Distribution List Prairie County Chamber of Commerce Prairie County Coop State Grazing District Red Buttes Coop State Grazing District Richland County Chamber of Commerce Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Rosebud Audubon Society Rosebud Treasure Wildlife Association Sierra Club Smith Creek Grazing Association Southeastern Sportsmen Association United Mine Workers University of California University of Idaho University of Montana University of North Dakota University of Notre Dame Valley County Chamber of Commerce Vets Club Western Environmental Trade Association Wibaux County Chamber of Commerce Wilderness Society Williams Coulee Coop State Grazing District Women Involved in Farm Economics Yellowstone Valley Chapter of Audubon Society McCone County Commissioners McCone County Extension Agent Miles City-City/County Planning Office Prairie County Commissioners Prairie County Disaster and Emergency Services Prairie County Extension Agent Richland County Agent Richland County Commissioners Roosevelt County Commissioners Rosebud County Commissioners Rosebud County Extension Office Sheridan County Commissioners Sidney City Planning Board Town of Ekalaka Town of Wolf Point Valley County Commissioners Wibaux County Commissioners Wibaux County Planning Board Wolf Point Service Director Planning Board Coordinator

State Government
Central Montana Resource Conservation and Development Areas Culbertson-Bainville County Conservation District Custer County Conservation District Daniels County Conservation District Daniels County Conservation Service Dawson County Conservation District Eastern Plains Resource Conservation and Development Energy Development Impact Office Garfield County Conservation District Governor of Montana Governor’s Office Policy Advisor Little Beaver Conservation District McCone Conservation District Montana Association of Conservation Districts Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Montana Coal Board Montana Department of Agriculture Montana Department of Budget and Planning Montana Department of Commerce Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Montana Department of Health and Environmental Sciences Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Montana Department of State Lands Montana Division of Federal Highway Administration Montana Environmental Quality Council Montana Farm Bureau Montana State Board of Oil and Gas Conservation Montana State Historic Preservation Office Montana Water Courts

Local Government
Carter County Commissioners City of Baker City of Bowman, North Dakota City of Circle City of Culbertson City of Glendive City of Jordan City of Miles City City of Plentywood City of Poplar City of Scobey City of Scranton, North Dakota City of Sidney City of Terry Custer County Commissioners Daniels County Commissioners Dawson County Commissioners Dawson County Farm Bureau Dawson County Planning Board Dawson County Weed Board Ekalaka Town Administrator Fallon-City/County Planning Office Fallon County Commissioners Fallon County Extension Agent Fallon County Planning Board Fort Peck Planning District Garfield County Commissioners 204

CHAPTER 5 List of Preparers North Dakota Energy Development Impact Office Prairie County Conservation District Richland Conservation District Rosebud Conservation District Sheridan Conservation District State Representative Ernest Bergsagel State Representative Ellen Bergman State Representative Marian Hanson State Representative John Johnson State Representative Betty Lou Kasten State Representative Don Holland State Representative William Rehbein, Jr. State Representative Dore Schwinden State Representative Charles Devaney State Representative Tom Zook State Senator Linda Nelson State Senator Gerry Devlin State Senator Daryl Toews State Senator Larry Tveit State Senator Ric Holden Valley County Conservation District Wibaux Conservation District Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

Support Team
Dan Benoit: Solid Minerals Geologist, Miles City District Office. B.A. Geology, University of Montana. BLM 9 years, private industry 3 years. Gary Berg: Geology/Minerals Resource Specialist, Powder River Resource Area. B.A. Geology University of Montana. USGS 8 years, MMS 1 year, BLM 11 years. Kent Bowen: Vegetation, Livestock Grazing/Resource Area Range Conservationist, Big Dry Resource Area. B.S. Range-Forest Management, Colorado State University. BLM 5 years. David Breisch: Oil and Gas/District Mineral Resource Specialist, Miles City District Area. B.S. Geography, University of Wisconsin. BLM 15 years. Jerry Chapman: Fire and Forestry/District Fire Management Officer, Miles City District Office. BLM 29 years. Dex Hight: Hazardous Material, Hydrology, Air Quality/ District Hydrologist, Miles City District Office. B.S. Watershed Sciences, Colorado State University. BLM 19 years. Will Hubbell: Cultural/District Archeologist, Miles City District Office. B.A. Anthropology, University of Colorado. BLM 16 years. Replaced Dale Hanson for paleontology information. Edward Hughes: Economics/Regional Economist, Montana State Office. B.S. Mineral Economics, Pennsylvania State University. BLM 14 years, private industry 7 years. Allen Kutt: Team Leader for the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, Supervisory Land Use Specialist, Miles City District Office, B.S. Forestry, University of Montana. BLM 27 years. Brian Lynnes: Lands/Resource Area Realty Specialist, Big Dry Resource Area. B.S. Natural Heritage, Western Montana College. BLM 15 years. Robert A. Mitchell: Soil, Water and Air/District Soil Scientist, Miles City District Office. B.S. Geology, University of Wyoming, M.S. Soil Science/Agronomy, University of Wyoming. BLM 2 years, SCS 5 years, private industry 3 years. John Spencer: Minerals/Geologist, Montana State Office. M.S. Earth Science, Iowa State University; B.S. Geology University of California. U.S.G.S. 8 years, Minerals Management Service 1 year, BLM 10 years.

Tribal Government
Crow Tribe Tribal Chairman Fort Peck Tribal Mineral Resources Fort Peck Tribes Fort Peck Water Resources Office Northern Cheyenne Cultural Commission Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council Turtle Mountain Band Tribal Office

LIST OF PREPARERS Core Team
Mary Bloom: Team Leader/Technical Coordination/Land Use Specialist, Big Dry Resource Area. B.A. Anthropology, University of Montana. BLM 14 years. Gloria Gunther: Editing/Editorial Assistant, Miles City District Office. BLM 13 years, private industry 15 years. Debra Sloan: Typing/Staff Assistant, Big Dry Resource Area. BLM 4 years, private industry 14 years.

205

CHAPTER 5 List of Preparers David Squires: Recreation, Wilderness, Wild and Scenic Rivers/Recreation Planner, Miles City District Office. B.S. Wildlife and Range Management, Texas Tech University. BLM 15 years. Joan Trent: Sociology/Sociologist, Montana State Office. B.A. Psychology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; M. En. Environmental Science with a concentration in Social Sciences, Miami University. BLM 14 years. Dale Tribby: Wildlife/Threatened and Endangered Species/Fisheries/Wildlife Biologist, Big Dry Resource Area. B.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, S. D. State University. BLM 15 years. Tim Welna: Engineering/District Engineer, Miles City District Office. B.S. Civil Engineering, North Dakota State University. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 2 years, USAF Design 4 years, BLM 6 years. Keith Wittenhagen: Natural Resource Specialist, Big Dry Resource Area. B.S. Wildlife/Range, Humboldt State University. BLM 16 years.

Technographics Support and Printing
The following personnel from the BLM Montana State Office provided technographics and printing support in preparation of this document: Greg Bergum - Supervisory Cartographic Technician Chuck Sigafoos - Supervisory Cartographic Technician (retired) Shelly (McGlothlin) Johnson - Cartographic Technician Elaine Bartley - Cartographic Technician Corla DeBar - Cartographic Technician Rick Kirkness - Supervisory Printing Specialist Kathy Ives - Printing Specialist Kelly Lennick - Printing Technician (retired) Bob Allen - Visual Information Specialist Ted Bailey - Offset Photographer

Coordination, Support, and Review
Montana State Office and Miles City District Office Staffs: Division of Lands and Renewable Resources Division of Mineral Resources Division of Operations Fire Management and Aviation Division of Administration

Miles City District Management Team
Charles R. Frost, District Manager Sandra E. Sacher, Associate District Manager Arnold E. Dougan, Assistant District Manager, Division of Mineral Resources (retired) Darrel G. Pistorius, Assistant District Manager, Division of Lands and Renewable Resources Donald E. Nelson, Assistant District Manager, Division of Operations (retired) Janet Edmonds, Assistant District Manager, Division of Administration David D. Swogger, Jr., Big Dry Resource Area Manager Mary Alice Spencer, Assistant District Manager, Division of Mineral Resources former Powder River Resource Area Manager

206

GLOSSARY

GLOSSARY
ACQUIRED LANDS. Those lands that have been reconveyed to the United States under authorities which do not expressly provide that the lands become subject to the public land laws (land, mineral and leasing) upon acquisition, such as the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937, the National Industrial Recovery Act, and others. ACRE-FOOT. A term used in measuring the volume of fluid. An acre-foot is the amount of fluid required to cover 1 acre to a depth of 1 foot, or 43,540 cubic feet (325,829 gallons). ACTUAL USE. The number of livestock actually grazing on a given allotment. The use made of forage by livestock or wildlife without reference to permitted or recommended use. AIR QUALITY. Air quality is based on the pollutants emitted into the atmosphere and the dispersion potential of an area to dilute those pollutants. There are three classes of air quality. Class I. Any area which is designated for the most stringent degree of protection from future degradation of air quality. The Clean Air Act designates as mandatory Class I areas each national park over 6,000 acres and each national wilderness area over 5,000 acres. Class II. Any area cleaner than federal air quality standards which is designated for a moderate degree of protection from future air quality degradation. Moderate increases in new pollution may be permitted in a Class II area. Class III. Any area cleaner than federal air quality standards which is designated for a lesser degree of protection from future air quality degradation. Significant increases in new pollution may be permitted in Class III area. ALLOTMENT CATEGORIZATION. The grouping of livestock grazing allotments into the categories “M” (maintain current satisfactory condition), “I” (improve current unsatisfactory condition), and “C” (manage custodially while protecting existing resource values). ALLOTMENT MANAGEMENT PLAN. A written program of livestock grazing management, including range development if required; designed to attain specific management goals in a grazing allotment. ALLUVIUM. General term for debris deposited by streams on river beds, floodplains, and alluvial fans, especially deposits brought down during a flood. Applies to stream deposits of recent time. Does not include below water sediments of seas and lakes. ANIMAL UNIT. A standardized unit of measurement for range livestock or wildlife. Generally, one mature cow, one horse, five sheep, 9.6 antelope, 5.8 deer, or 1.9 elk, based on an average forage consumption of 26 pounds of dry matter per day. ANIMAL UNIT MONTH. A standardized unit of measurement of the amount of forage necessary for the complete sustenance of one animal for one month; also, the measurement of the privilege of grazing one animal for one month. ANTICLINE. An arched, inverted-trough configuration of folded and stratified rock layers. AQUIFER. A body of rock that is sufficiently permeable to conduct ground water and to yield economically significant quantities of water to wells and springs. AREA OF CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN. An area which needs special management attention to preserve historic, cultural, or scenic values; to protect fish and wildlife resources or other natural systems or processes; or to protect life and provide safety from natural hazards. ARTESIAN. Ground water with sufficient pressure to flow without pumping. BANKHEAD-JONES FARM TENANT ACT OF 1937. This Act enabled the government to buy marginal farms and to put the farms back into grazing. BEDROCK. The solid, unweathered rock underlying soils. BLOCK MANAGEMENT. Through cooperation with the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, a Memorandum of Understanding allows the BLM, the private landowners, and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to close off some public lands administered by BLM in exchange for opening up private lands to hunting. This is done on a rotating basis from year to year. BROWSE. As a verb, to consume or to feed on (as a plant); as a noun, the tender shoots, twigs, and leaves of trees and 381

GLOSSARY

shrubs, often used as food by cattle, antelope, deer, elk, and other animals. CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION. A category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment and which have been found to have no such effect in procedures adopted by a federal agency in implementation of these regulations, and neither an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement is required. CHANNEL INTEGRITY (STABILITY). A relative term describing erosion or movement of the channel walls or bottom due to water flow. CHECKERBOARD PATTERN. One in which ownership of sections of land alternates between federal and other ownership, usually private. On a map with different colors denoting type of ownership, the pattern resembles a checkerboard. CLAYEY. A soil containing more than 35 percent clay. The textural classes are sandy clay, silty clay, clay, clay loam, and silty clay loam. CONTINENTAL DEPOSITS. A sedimentary deposit laid down on land (whether a true continent or only an island) or in bodies of water (whether fresh or saline) not directly connected with the ocean, as opposed to a marine deposit; a glacial, stream, lake, or wind-borne deposit formed in a nonmarine environment. CORRIDOR. A strip of land through which one or more existing or potential facilities may be located. COW-CALF OPERATION. A livestock operation in which a basic breeding herd of cows, heifers, and bulls is maintained. The operation keeps some heifer calves from each crop for breeding herd replacements and sells the rest of the calf crop between the ages of 6 to 12 months along with old or nonproductive cows and bulls. CRITICAL WILDLIFE HABITAT. That area of land, water and airspace required for the normal needs and survival of threatened or endangered species. CRUCIAL WILDLIFE HABITAT. Parts of the habitat necessary to sustain a wildlife population during periods of their life cycle. This is often a limiting factor on the population, such as nesting habitat or winter habitat. CRUCIAL WINTER RANGE. That portion of the winter range on which a wildlife species is dependent for survival during periods of heaviest snow cover.

CULTURAL RESOURCE. A term that includes items of historical, archaeological, or architectural items; a remnant of human activity. CULTURAL RESOURCE INVENTORY CLASSES. Class I inventory of a defined area provides a narrative overview derived from existing information and a compilation of existing data on which to base the development of the BLM’s site record system. Class II inventory is a sample-oriented field inventory designed to locate and record, from surface and exposed profile indications, all cultural resource sites within a portion of a defined area to make possible an objective estimate of the nature and distribution of cultural resources in the entire defined area. Class III inventory is an intensive field inventory designed to locate and record all cultural resource sites within a specified area. Upon completion of such an inventory, no further cultural resource inventory work is normally needed in that area. CULTURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN. A plan to inventory, evaluate, protect, preserve, or make beneficial use of cultural and natural resources. Objectives are conservation, preservation, scientific study, and protection of the cultural values. CUMULATIVE IMPACT. The impact on the environment which results from the positive or negative impacts of an action when added to other past, present, and reasonable foreseeable future actions, regardless of what agency or person performed such action(s). DANCING GROUNDS. An area used in the spring by sharp-tailed grouse for courtship displays and breeding. DISCRETIONARY CLOSURE. Areas where the BLM has determined that energy and/or mineral leasing, entry or disposal, even with the most restrictive stipulations or conditions, would not be in the public’s interest. DISPOSAL. Transfer of ownership of a tract of public land from the United States to another party through sale, exchange, or transfer under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act. DOGHAIR STANDS. A thick stand of undersized trees; in this planning area, generally ponderosa pine. DROP STRUCTURE. An in-stream structure of various materials designed to reduce the energy and force of stream flow.

382

GLOSSARY

EASEMENT. The right afforded a person or agency to make limited use of another’s real property for access or other purposes. ECOLOGICAL CONDITION. The present state of vegetation of a site in relation to the potential natural community for the site. Ecological status is use independent. It is an expression of the relative degree to which the kinds, proportions, and amounts of plants in a plant community resemble that of the potential natural community. Four ecological status classes correspond to 0-25, 26-50, 51-75, or 76-100 percent similarity to the potential natural community and are generally called early seral, mid-seral, late seral, and potential natural community, respectively. ECOLOGICAL SITE. A kind of land with a specific potential natural community and specific physical site characteristics, differing from other kinds of land in its ability to produce vegetation and to respond to management. ECOSYSTEM. A biological community, together with its nonliving environment, forming an interacting system inhabiting an identifiable space. EMERGENT AQUATIC VEGETATION. An aquatic plant having part of its vegetative parts above water. ENDANGERED SPECIES. Those species of plants or animals classified by the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Commerce as endangered pursuant to Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. See also Threatened and Endangered Species. ENTRAINED PARTICULATES. Particulates contained within auto exhaust; mainly made of carbons. ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT. A record of the environmental factors involved in a land management action. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT. An analysis of site-specific BLM activities used to determine whether such activities have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment, and whether a formal environmental impact statement is required. EPHEMERAL STREAM. A stream that flows only after a storm or during snowmelt, and whose channel is, at all times, above the water table. EPOCH. An interval of time based on similar rock formations and fossil groups. Used primarily as subdivisions of the Tertiary and Quaternary Periods.

EQUAL VALUE (EXCHANGE). An exchange of lands where fair market valuations show that the interests being exchanged are equal. EROSION. The wearing away of the land surface by running water, wind, ice or other geologic agents. EROSION FABRIC. Various types of synthetic fabrics that are used to cover or line exposed or unvegetated soil surfaces to reduce soil erosion. Often used in reclamation projects on steep, unvegetated slopes. EXTENSIVE RECREATION MANAGEMENT AREA. An area where recreation management is only one of several management objectives, where limited commitment of resources provides extensive and unstructured recreational opportunities; such areas can contain recreation sites. Such areas consist of the remainder of land not included in special recreation management areas within the resource area. FEDERAL LANDS. As used in this document, lands owned by the United States, without reference as to how the lands were acquired or what federal agency administers them. Also see Public Land. FIRE MANAGEMENT. The integration of knowledge of fire protection, prescribed fire, and fire ecology into multiple use planning, decisionmaking, and land management activities. Fire management places fire in perspective with overall land management objectives. PRESCRIBED FIRE: application of fire (by planned or unplanned ignitions) to fuels in either their natural or modified state, under specified conditions to allow the fire to burn in a predetermined area while producing the fire behavior required to achieve certain management objectives. PLANNED IGNITION: a deliberately preplanned and scheduled fire started in order to accomplish a management action in suppression, or prescribed fire operations. UNPLANNED IGNITION: a fire started at random by either natural or human cause, or a deliberate fire. FIRE MANAGEMENT PLAN. An activity plan developed to support and accomplish resource management objectives and applicable land-use decisions authorized in BLM resource management plans. It contains an economic analysis, establishes the basic direction for fire management, identifies priorities for execution, and determines levels of fire resources (personnel, engines, aircraft, and facilities).

383

GLOSSARY

FISCAL YEAR. A period of 12 months established for accounting purposes. For the BLM the fiscal year is from October 1 through September 30. FLOODPLAIN. The relatively flat area or lowlands adjoining a body of standing or flowing water which has been or might be covered by floodwater. FORAGE. Forms of vegetation available for animal consumption. FORMATION (GEOLOGIC). A rock body distinguishable from other rock bodies and useful for mapping or description. Formations may be combined into groups or subdivided into members. GABIONS. A hollow cylinder of wickerwork or strap iron constructed like a basket, filled with stones and sunk to form a bar, dike, or similar structure. GLACIAL DRIFT. Sediment deposited by glaciers. GLACIAL TILL. Unstratified glacial drift deposited directly by the ice, consisting of clay, silt, sand, gravel and boulders intermingled in any proportion. GRAZING LEASE. A document authorizing the grazing of a specified number and kind of livestock on a designated area of BLM-administered public land for a specified period. GRAZING SYSTEM. The manipulation of livestock grazing to accomplish a desired result. GROUND COVER. Vegetation, mulch, litter, or rocks. GROUND WATER. Subsurface water that is in the zone of saturation. The top surface of the ground water is the “water table”. Source of water for wells, seepage, and springs. GULLYING. The erosion process whereby water accumulates in narrow channels and, over short periods, removes the soil from the narrow area to considerable depths, ranging from 2 feet to as much as 80 to 100 feet deep. GULLY PLUG. Any form of material placed in an existing gully to reduce the erosional effects of moving water and thereby starting a healing process of the gully. HABITAT CONDITION. The condition of seasonal habitat as it relates to the needs of a particular wildlife species. Condition is determined by factors such as browse vigor, forage quality, cover factors, human interference, and water distribution. Habitat condition is similar to, but not the same as, existing or potential range condition. 384

HABITAT MANAGEMENT PLAN. An officially-approved activity plan for a specific geographic area of public land. A habitat management plan identifies wildlife habitat and related objectives, defines the sequence of actions to be implemented, and outlines evaluation procedures. HAZARDOUS WASTE. Those materials defined in Section 101 (14) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, and listed in 40 CFR 261 GROUP I WASTES. Including, and limited to, those solid wastes classified or identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as hazardous waste in 40 CFR 261.3. GROUP II WASTES. Including decomposable wastes and mixed solid wastes containing decomposable material, but excluding hazardous wastes (ARM Title 16). GROUP III WASTES. Includes wood wastes and non-water soluble, essentially inert solids (Administrative Rules of Montana [ARM] Title 16). CLASS I DISPOSAL SITE. Generally, may accept solid wastes from Groups I, II, and III. Such a site usually is able to accept all kinds of solid waste (ARM Title 16). CLASS II DISPOSAL SITE. Sites generally licensed to operate as Class II solid waste management system sites; capable of receiving Group II and III wastes, but not Group I (ARM Title 16). CLASS III DISPOSAL SITE. May accept only Group III wastes which are primarily inert wastes (ARM Title 16). HERBACEOUS. Having little or no woody tissue and persisting usually for a single growing season. HYDROLOGY. The science dealing with the behavior of water as it occurs in the atmosphere, on the surface of the ground, and underground. INTAGLIO. An impression design or figure created by man, on the ground, by the placement of rocks or mounding of earth. INTENSIVE SUPPRESSION. To suppress wildfires as quickly as possible, using all available resources without regard to cost of suppression or techniques. INTERMITTENT STREAM. A stream which flows most of the time but occasionally is dry or reduced to pool stage

GLOSSARY

when losses from evaporation or seepage exceed the available streamflow. INVERTEBRATE FOSSIL. Remains of animals without a backbone, such as clams, snails, and crabs. IRREVERSIBLE OR IRRETRIEVABLE IMPACTS. Impacts which make recovery of a resource impossible. LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUNDS. Federal revenues generated by a tax on federal off-shore oil and gas development through the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act; used to acquire highly desirable lands for the United States by the various governmental agencies. LAND TENURE ADJUSTMENT. Repositioning the ownership of land surface or mineral estate by exchange or sale. LAND TREATMENT. All methods of artificial range improvement and soil stabilization such as reseeding, brush control, pitting, furrowing, and water spreading. See Mechanical Treatment. LAND UTILIZATION LANDS. Lands reacquired by the federal government as a result of the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937. LEASABLE MINERALS. Federal minerals subject to lease under the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended, and supplemented. Includes minerals, such as oil, gas, coal, geothermal, tar sands, oil shale, potassium, phosphate, sodium, asphaltic materials. LEK. A traditional breeding area for grouse species where territorial males display and establish dominance. LITHIC SCATTER. The waste material, chips, and flakes resulting from stone tool manufacture. LITHOLOGIC VARIATIONS. The individual character of rocks in terms of mineral composition, structure, and so forth. LOAMY. Soil that is intermediate in texture and properties between sandy and clayey soils. Textural classes are sandy loam, fine sandy loam, very fine sandy loam, loam, silt loam, sandy clay loam, and clay loam with clay content between 18 and 35 percent. LOCALITY. The area where paleontologic material is discovered. LOCATABLE MINERALS. Minerals or materials subject to disposal and development through the Mining Law

of 1872 (as amended). Generally includes metallic minerals such as gold and silver and other materials not subject to lease or sale. MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK PLAN. A planning decision document prepared before the effective date of the regulations implementing the land use planning provisions of Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. Until replaced by resource management plans, management framework plans were used as a basis for management actions as provided for in 43 CFR 1610.8. MECHANICAL TREATMENT. Treatment of an area by mechanical means, such as contour furrowing, pitting, plowing and seeding, chiseling, scalping, and water spreading. MINERAL MATERIALS. Widespread deposits of common clay, sand, gravel, or stone which are not subject to disposal under the 1872 Mining Law, as amended. MITIGATION MEASURES. Methods or procedures developed for the purpose of reducing or lessening the impacts of an action. MONITORING. Specific studies that evaluate the effectiveness of actions taken toward achieving management objectives. MORAINE. An unsorted accumulation of rocky, earthy debris deposited by glacial activity, whose typical landform manifestations can dominate original land surfaces. MULTIPLE USE MANAGEMENT. Coordinated management of the various surface and subsurface resources, without permanent impairment of the productivity of the land, that will best meet the present and future needs of the people. NO SURFACE OCCUPANCY. Use or occupancy of the land surface for fluid mineral exploration or development is prohibited to protect identified resource values. NONDISCRETIONARY CLOSURES. Areas specifically closed to energy and/or mineral leasing, entry or disposal by law, regulation, Secretarial Decision or Executive Order. OFFERED LANDS. Lands offered to the BLM in an exchange. OFF-ROAD VEHICLE. Any motorized track or wheeled vehicle designed for cross-country travel over any type of natural terrain. These vehicles are subject to designated area and trail use (open, limited, and closed).

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OPEN. Vehicles are allowed without restrictions. LIMITED. Vehicle travel off existing roads and trails would be allowed only for authorized or permitted uses. CLOSED. Vehicle travel is closed in the area including existing roads and trails, except for authorized uses. PARENT MATERIAL. The unconsolidated and chemically-weathered mineral or organic matter from which the horizons of soils develop by natural processes. PARTICULATES. Finely divided solid or liquid particles in the air or in an emission, including dust, smoke fumes, mist, spray and fog. PERENNIAL STREAM. A permanent stream which flows 9 months or more out of the year. PERMEABILITY. The ease with which gases, liquids or plant roots pass through a layer of soil. Accepted as a measure of this property is the rate at which soil transmits water while saturated, and may imply how well water passes through the least permeable soil layer. PETROGLYPH. A figure or design that was carved, abraded, or pecked on rock. PICTOGRAPH. A figure or design that was painted or drawn on rock. POTENTIAL NATURAL COMMUNITY. The biotic community that would become established if all successional sequences were completed without interferences under the present environmental conditions. PARTS PER MILLION. A measurement to identify the amount of particulates in air or water. PRAIRIE DOG COLONY COMPLEX. A group of prairie dog colonies distributed so that individual blackfooted ferrets can migrate among them commonly and frequently. This distance has been determined to be 7 kilometers (4.4 miles). PREFERENCE. Grazing privileges established following the passage of the Taylor Grazing Act; based on use of the federal range during the priority period. Active preference and suspended preference together make up the total grazing preference. PROJECTILE POINT. Any sharp tip of an arrow, spear, or dart.

PROPER FUNCTIONING CONDITION. Riparian/ wetland areas are functioning properly when adequate vegetation, landform, or large woody debris are present to dissipate stream energy associated with high water flows, thereby reducing erosion and improving water quality; filter sediment, capture bedload, and aid floodplain development; improve floodwater retention and groundwater recharge; develop root masses that stabilize streambanks against cutting action; develop diverse ponding and channel characteristics to provide the habitat and the water depth, duration, and temperature necessary for fish production, waterfowl breeding, and other uses; and support greater biodiversity. The functioning condition of riparian/ wetland areas is a result of interaction among geology, soil, water, and vegetation. PUBLIC LANDS. Surface and mineral estate owned by the United States and administered by the Bureau of Land Management. See Federal Lands. QUALIFIED SURFACE OWNER. According to federal coal regulations (43 CFR 3400), is a person(s): (a) holding legal or equitable title to the surface of split estate lands; (b) having one’s principal residence on the land or personally conducting farm or ranch operations on a unit to be affected by surface mining operations, or directly receiving a significant portion of income, if any, from such farm or ranch operations; and (c) meeting conditions (a) and (b) for a period of three years minimum, with the exception of person(s) who have given written consent to conditions (a) and (b) and for less than three years. The three year period includes period during which title was owned by a relative of the person by blood or marriage, if during such time, the relative met the specified requirements. RANGE CONDITION. See Ecological Status. RANGELAND MONITORING PROGRAM. A program designed to measure change in plant composition, ground cover, animal populations, and climatic conditions on the public rangeland. Studies monitor changes to determine cause. Also monitors actual use, forage utilization, trend, and climatic conditions. RAPTOR. Bird of prey with sharp talons and strongly curved beaks (hawks, falcons, owls, and eagles). RECLAMATION. Rehabilitation of a disturbed area to make it acceptable for designated uses. This normally involves regrading, replacement of topsoil, revegetation, and other work necessary to restore it for use. RECREATION AREA MANAGEMENT PLAN. A plan that sets forth the direction for management of recreation uses and resources. The plan identifies specific manage-

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ment actions to be taken and establishes the sequence of implementing these actions. RIGHT-OF-WAY. A legal right of passage over another person’s land. RILL. Small, conspicuous water channel or rivulet that concentrates runoff; usually less than six inches deep. RIPARIAN/WETLAND AREA. An area of land directly influenced by permanent water. It has visible vegetation or physical characteristics reflective of permanent water influence. Lakeshores, streams and permanent springs are typical riparian areas. Excluded are such sites as ephemeral streams or washes that do not exhibit the presence of vegetation dependent upon free water in the soil. ROAD. A vehicle route which has either been improved and maintained by mechanical means to ensure relatively regular and continuous use, or been established where vehicle travel has created two parallel tracks lacking vegetation. ROOKERIES. The breeding and nesting areas of birds that flock, such as the great blue herons and double-crested cormorants. SEASON OF USE. The time during which livestock grazing is permitted on a given range area, as specified in the grazing lease. SEDIMENT. Soil, rock particles and organic or other debris carried from one place to another by wind, water, gravity, ice, or other geologic agent. SEDIMENTARY ROCK. A layered rock resulting from the consolidation of sediment, such as shale, sandstone, and limestone. SELECTED LANDS. BLM lands selected for exchange to other agencies or private individuals. SERAL COMMUNITY. One of a series of plant communities that follow one another in time on any given area. SERAL STAGE. A potential plant community made up of a mix of trees and shrubs. SHEET EROSION. The detachment of soil material from the land surface by raindrop impact and its subsequent removal by runoff. SHORT-TERM IMPACTS VS LONG-TERM PRODUCTIVITY. The trade-offs between short-term use and long-term productivity of the resources involved in the alternatives. 387

SOIL SURVEY. The systematic examination, description, classification, and mapping of soils in an area, usually a county. Soil surveys are classified according to the level of detail of field examination. Order I is the most detailed, then Order II, on to Order V which is the least detailed. Most BLM soil surveys are Order II or III. SOLID WASTE. Any solid, semi-solid, liquid, or contained gaseous material which is intended for disposal. SPACING UNIT. The number of acres that one oil or gas well will efficiently drain. The Montana Oil and Gas Commission establishes the size of spacing units for each oil and gas field. SPECIAL RECREATION MANAGEMENT AREA. Areas where intensive recreation management would be applied and where recreation is the principal management objective. SPECIES OF SPECIAL INTEREST OR CONCERN. Animals not yet listed as endangered or threatened but which are undergoing status review by a federal or state agency. This may include animals whose populations could become extinct by any major habitat change. A species that is particularly sensitive to some external disturbance factors. SPLIT ESTATE. Surface and minerals of a given area in different ownerships. Frequently, the surface is privatelyowned while the minerals are federally- owned. SPUDDING. To begin drilling; to start the hole. STEEP SLOPE. Slope greater than 30 percent. STIPULATION. A condition or requirement attached to a lease or contract, usually dealing with protection of the environment, or recovery of a mineral. STRUCTURAL IMPROVEMENTS. Improvements such as fences, reservoirs, springs, pipelines, waterspreaders, wells, water troughs, land treatments and instream structures. These improvements are for the livestock grazing, wildlife, recreation, watershed and soils programs. STRUTTING GROUND. An area used in the spring by sage grouse for courtship displays and breeding. Synonymous with the term “lek.” SURFACE DISTURBANCE. Any disturbance by mechanical actions which alters the soil surface. SYNCLINES. A downward, trough-shaped configuration of folded, stratified rocks.

GLOSSARY

THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES. These species of plants or animals classified as threatened or endangered pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act. Any species which is in danger of extinction, or is likely to become so within the foreseeable future. Category 1 - substantial biological information on file to support the appropriateness of proposing to list as endangered or threatened. Category 2 - current information indicates that proposing to list as endangered or threatened is possibly appropriate, but substantial biological information is not on file to support an immediate ruling (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). TIMING LIMITATION (SEASONAL RESTRICTION). Prohibits surface use during specified time periods to protect identified resource values. This stipulation does not apply to the operation and maintenance of production facilities unless the findings of analysis demonstrate the continued need for such mitigation, and that less stringent, project-specific mitigation measures would be insufficient. TOPOGRAPHY. The physical features and surface configuration of a place or region. The detailed and accurate description of the landforms of a place or region. TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS (TDS). The dry weight of dissolved material, organic and inorganic, contained in water. TRAIL. A single-tracked route lacking vegetation. Trails can be routes that have been established through previous use by two-wheeled vehicles such as motorcycles or bicycles, or livestock and game trails which lack vegetation. For the purpose of this document, a trail constructed primarily for the purpose of hiking is not available for travel by four- or two-wheeled vehicles unless otherwise indicated. TREND. The direction of change in vegetation condition over a period of time; expressed as upward, downward, or static. Factors influencing trend are changes in plant composition, abundance of young plants, plant residues, plant vigor, and the condition of the soil surface. UNDERGROUND INJECTION CONTROL PROGRAM. A program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, primacy State, or Indian Tribe under the Safe Drinking Act to ensure that subsurface waste injection does not endanger underground sources of drinking water. UNAVOIDABLE ADVERSE IMPACTS. The adverse impacts that would remain if the alternatives are imple-

mented and the mitigating measures developed by BLM are applied. UNSUITABILITY CRITERIA. Criteria of the federal coal management program by which lands may be assessed as unsuitable for all or certain stipulated methods of coal mining. USABLE WATER. Those waters containing up to 10,000 parts per million of total dissolved solids. VERTEBRATE FOSSIL. Remains of animals that possessed a backbone; examples are fish, amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, and mammals. VIEWSHED. Landscape that can be directly seen under favorable atmospheric conditions, from a viewpoint or along a transportation corridor. VISUAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT CLASSES. Class I - The objective of this class is to preserve the existing character of the landscape. This class provides for natural ecological changes; however, it does not preclude very limited management activity. It also would not preclude those activities specifically authorized by the Wilderness Act of 1964 and described in BLM Manual H-8550-1. This is an interim classification until Congress determines which areas are wilderness. Lands designated as wilderness by Congress would continue to be managed under Class I objectives. Lands not designated wilderness would be managed under VRM Class II objectives. Class II - The objective is to retain the existing character of the landscape. The level of change to the characteristic landscape should be low. Management activities may be seen, but should not attract the attention of the casual observer. Any changes must repeat the basic elements of form, line, color, and texture found in the predominate natural features of the characteristic landscape. Class III - The objective is to partially retain the existing character of the landscape. The level of change to the characteristic landscape should be moderate. Management activities may attract attention but should not dominate the view of the casual observer. Changes should repeat the basic elements found in the predominant natural features of the characteristic landscape. Class IV - The objective is to provide for management activities which require major modification of the existing character of the landscape. The level of change to the characteristic landscape can be high. These

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management activities may dominate the view and be the major focus of viewer attention. However, every attempt should be made to minimize the impact of these activities through careful location, minimal disturbance, and repeating the basic elements. WATER GAP. Access to water; passage to a reservoir for livestock. WETLANDS. Permanently wet or intermittently flooded areas where the water table (fresh, saline, or brackish) is at, near, or above the soil surface for extended intervals; where hydric wet soil conditions are normally exhibited, and where water depths generally do not exceed two meters.

WILDCAT. A well drilled in an area where no oil or gas production exists. WILDINGS. Wildings are live vegetative products sold off the public lands, and generally used for landscaping purposes. They include plants such as yucca, cactus, grasses, pine trees, and willows. WITHDRAWAL. Segregating an area of federal land, from settlement, sale, location, or entry under some or all of the general land laws, for the purpose of limiting activities under those laws in order to maintain other public values or reserve the area for a particular purpose, or transferring jurisdiction over an area of federal land.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Ahern, J.J., and J.A. Fraizer 1981. Water Quality Changes at Underground Coal Gasification Sites, A Literature Review. Water Resources Research Institute, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming. Alt, David and Donald W. Hyndman. 1986. Roadside Geology of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, Montana. American Petroleum Institute. 1988. Survey on Drilling Costs. Finance, Accounting and Statistics Department, Washington, D.C. Archer, S., M.G. Garrett, and J. K. Detling. 1987. Rates of Vegetation Change Associated with Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) Grazing in North American Mixed-Grass Prairie. Vegetation 72:159-166. Archibald, David J. 1982. A Study of Mammalia and Geology Across the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary in Garfield County, Montana. University of California Press, Berkeley, California. Arnold, F.B., and D.J. Dollhoph 1977. Soil and Water Solute Movement in Montana Strip Mine Spoils. Montana Agricultural Experiment Station. Research Report 106. Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. Banet, Arthur C., Jr. 1979. Preliminary Geologic Investigation of the West Glendive Lignite Deposits, Dawson County, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 79-275. 1981. Proposed Hodges Known Recoverable Coal Resource Area Map. (Unpublished). Miles City District Office, Miles City, Montana. 1980. Leasable Mineral and Waterpower and Classification Map: Wolf Point, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 78-725.

Beekly, A.L. 1912. The Culbertson Lignite Field, Valley County, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 471-D:319-358. Bentley, Craig B. and George D. Mowat. 1967. Reported Occurrences of Selected Minerals in Montana Map. U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Investigations Resource Map MR50. Berg, Gary. 1977. Sidney Known Recoverable Coal Resource Area, Montana Coal Land Leasing Minerals 9 (Unpublished). Bureau of Land Management, Powder River Resource Area office, Miles City, Montana. Berg, R.B. 1969. Bentonite in Montana, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Bulletin 74. 1970. Bentonite deposits in the Ingomar-Vananda area, Treasure and Rosebud counties, Montana, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Special Publication 51.

Billings Geological Society. 1951. “The well that focused national attention on Montana’s vast unexplored oil potentialities.” In Second Annual Field Conference Guidebook, p.67. Bock, Carl E., Victoria A. Saab, Terrell D. Rich, and David S. Dobkin. n.d. Effects of Livestock Grazing on Neotropical Migratory Landbirds in Western North America. Copy of paper at Big Dry Resource Area Office. Bonham, C.D., and A. Lerwick. 1976. Vegetation change induced by prairie dogs on shortgrass range. J. Range Manage. 29:221225

Bateman, Andrew F., Jr., et al. 1978. Leasable Mineral and Waterpower and Classification Map: Jordan Quadrangle, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Misc. Geologic Investigations Map I-1102.

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Bowen, C. F. 1910. The Baker Lignite Field, Custer County, Montana. U.S.S.G. Bulletin 471:202-226.

Colton, R.B. and Others. 1978. Preliminary Photogeologic Map of the Four Buttes, Scobey, and Flaxville Quadrangles, Daniels County, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 78-898. Coppock, D.L., J.K. Detling, J.E. Ellis, and M.I. Dyer. 1983. Plant-Herbivor Interactions in a North American Mixed-Grass Prairie. I. Effects of BlackTailed Prairie Dogs on Intraseasonal Aboveground Plant Biomass and Nutrient Dynamics and Plant Species Diversity. Oecologia 56:1-9. Culbertson, W.C. 1954. Three Deposits of Strippable Lignite West of the Yellowstone River, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 995-H:293-332. Dalsted, J., S. Sather-Blair, B.K. Worcester, and R. Klukas. 1981. Application of Remote Sensing to Prairie Dog Management. J. Range Manage. 34:218223. Deaver, Sherri. 1986. American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) Background Data. Prepared by Ethnoscience for BLM. Billings, Montana. Deaver, Sherri and Ken. 1988. Prehistoric Cultural Resource Overview of Southeast Montana. 2 vols. Prepared by Ethnoscience for BLM. Billings, Montana. Denson, N.M. and J.R. Gill. 1965. Uranium-bearing Lignite and Carbonaceous Shale in the Southwestern Part of the Williston basin. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 463. Detling, James K. 1991. Personal communication with Kent Bowen, Range Conservationist, BLM Big Dry Resource Area office. Detling is a Senior Research Scientist, National Resource Ecology Lab at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. Dobbin, C.E., and C.E. Erdmann. 1955. Structure contour map of the Montana Plains. U.S. Geological Survey Map OM-178A and B.

Brown, Lisle G. 1991. The Yellowstone Supply Depot in Yellowstone Command: Colonel Nelson A. Miles and the Great Sioux War, 1876-1877. Lincoln and London, University of Nebraska Press. Brown, Mark H. 1969. The Plainsmen of the Yellowstone. A History of the Yellowstone Basin. University of Nebraska Press. Christopherson, Dennis. 1989. Personal communication with Dale Tribby, Wildlife Biologist, BLM Big Dry Resource Area office. Christopherson is a Staff Biologist with the USFWS, Billings, Montana. Cid, M. Silvia, James K. Detling, April D. Whicker, and Miguel A. Brizuela. 1991. Vegetational Responses of a Mixed-Grass Prairie Site Following Exclusion of Prairie Dogs and Bison. Journal of Range Management 44(2), pp. 100-105. Clark, T.W., J. Grensten, M. Gorges, A. Crete, and J. Gill. 1986. “Analysis of Black-footed Ferret Translocation Sites in Montana.” In Prairie Naturalist 19(1):43-56. Collier, A.J. and M.M. Knechtel. 1939. The Coal Resources of McCone County, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 905. Collier, A.J. and C.D. Smith. 1909. The Miles City Coal Field, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 341-A:36-61. Collier, A.J. 1924. The Scobey Lignite Field, Valley, Daniels, and Sheridan Counties, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 751:157-230. Collins, Alan R., John P. Workman, and Daniel W. Uresk 1984. “An Economic Analysis of Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) Control.” In Journal of Range Management, 37(4):358.

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Dollhoph, D.J., W.M. Schafer, E.J. DePut, R.L. Hodder, and C. Cooney. 1978. Effects of Selective Replacement of Coal Surface Mined Overburden on Soil and Hydrology Relationships. Report 1: Data Base. Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. Elser, Allen A., and Scott Denson. 1977. The Fishery Potential of Stockwater Reservoirs on Bureau of Land Management Lands in Garfield and McCone Counties. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks in cooperation with the BLM. Miles City, Montana. Elser, Allen A., Mark W. Gorges, and Lani M. Morris. 1980. Distribution of Fishes in Southeastern Montana. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Miles City, Montana. Ensign, John T. 1990. Personal communication with Dale Tribby, Wildlife Biologist. BLM, Big Dry Resource Area office, about antelope in the planning area. Ensign is a Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Glendive, Montana. Eng, R.L. and P. Schlandweiler. 1972. “Sage Grouse Winter Movements and Habitat Use in Central Montana.” In Journal of Wildlife Management, 36(1):141-146. Flath, Dennis L. 1984. Vertebrate Species of Special Interest or Concern. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Helena, Montana. 1990. Personal communication with Dale Tribby, Wildlife Biologist, Big Dry Resource Area office, about bald eagles in the planning area. Flath is the Nongame Coordinator with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Bozeman, Montana. Species of Special Interest or Concern. Revised. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Helena, Montana.

(1985/86), Elsevier Publishers B., V., Amsterdam, p. 57-70. Giddings, Brian. 1993. Personal communication with Dale Tribby, Wildlife Biologist, Big Dry Resource Area office, about deer management in Region 7 of the planning unit. Giddings is a Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Forsyth, Montana. Gilmore, E.H. and G.G. Dahl, Jr. 1967. Montana Coal Analyses. Special Publication 43. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Butte, Montana. Greene, Jerome A. 1991. Yellowstone Command. Colonel Nelson A. Miles and the Great Sioux War, 1876-1877. University of Nebraska Press. Griffith, M.G. 1990. Personal communication with Dale Tribby, Wildlife Biologist, BLM Big Dry Resource Area office. Griffith was the BLM Miles City District Soil Scientist. Groenewold, G.H. and R.W. Rehm. 1980. Instability of Contoured Surface-Mined Landscapes in the Northern Great Plains: Causes and Implementation. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 1980-134. Groenewold, G.H., LeRoy A. Hemish, John A. Cherry, Bernd W. Rehm, Gary N. Meyer, and Laramie M. Winsczewski. 1979. Geology and Geohydrology of the Knife River basin and Adjacent Areas of West-central North Dakota. North Dakota Geological Survey Report of Investigation No. 64, 402 pp. Gruber, James R., Jr. 1980. Geologic Investigation of the Northwest Scobey Lignite Area, Daniels and Valley Counties, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 80-486. 1986. Coal Development Potential of the Northwest Scobey Area, Daniels and Valley counties, Montana. Geology Map 42. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Butte, Montana.

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Hance, J.J. 1912. The Glendive Lignite Field, Dawson County, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 471-D:271-283. Hansen, Paul, Keith Boggs, Robert Pfister and John Joy. 1990. Classification and Management of Riparian and Wetland Sites in Central and Eastern Montana. University of Montana, Missoula, Montana. Hardaway, J. and D. Kimball. 1979. “Coal Mining and Ground Water.” In Coal Surface Mining and Power Production in the Face of Environmental Protection Requirements. Second U.S.-Polish Symposium. Sept. 26-28. Report EPA-60017-79-159. Environmental Protection Agency. Cincinnati, Ohio. Hares, C.J. 1928. Geology and Lignite Resources of the Marmarth Field, Southwestern North Dakota. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 775. Harksen, J.C. 1978. Geophysical and Lithologic Logs for 1977 Coal Drilling in Wibaux County, Montana and Golden Valley County, North Dakota. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 78251. Hearn, B.C. Jr., F.O. Dudas, D.H. Eggler, D.W. Eggler, H.E. O’Brien, I.S. McCallum, A.J. Irving, and R.B. Berg. 1989. 28th International Geological Conference, Montana High Potassium Igneous Province Field Trip Guidebook T346, (Smoky Butte), p. 1-5, p. 75-78. Heitschmidt, R.K. 1991. Personal communication with Kent Bowen, Range Conservationist, BLM, Big Dry Resource Area office. Heitschmidt is the Senior Research Leader of the USDA, Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Station. Miles City, Montana. Herald, F.A. 1910. The Terry Lignite Field, Custer County, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 471:227-270. Hildebrand, Bernie D. 1990. Personal communication with Dale Tribby,

Wildlife Biologist, Big Dry Resource Area office, about elk in the planning area. Hildebrand is a Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Miles City, Montana. Howard, D.A. 1960. Cenozoic History of Northeastern Montana and Northwestern North Dakota with Emphasis on the Pleistocene. U.S. Geological Survey Professional paper 326. Jarrard, Leonard D. 1957. Some Occurrences of Uranium and Thorium in Montana. Misc. contributions 15. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Montana School of Mines, Butte, Montana. Kirsch, J.B. 1962. Range Use: Relationships to Logging and Food Habits of Elk in the Little Belt Mountains, Montana. M.S. thesis. Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. Koford, C. B. 1958. Prairie Dogs, Whitefaces and Blue Grama. Wildl. Monogr. 3. Leonard, A.G. and C.D. Smith 1909. The Sentinel Butte Lignite Field, North Dakota and Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 341-A:15-35. Lesica, P. and J.S. Shelly. 1991. Sensitive, Threatened and Endangered Vascular Plants of Montana. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Occasional publication 1. Helena, Montana. 88pp. Lewis, Robert C. 1980. Coal Geology of the Wibaux-Beach Area, Wibaux County, Montana, and Golden Valley County, North Dakota. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 80-166. Logan, Bob and Mark Lennon. 1990. Forestry BMP’s. Montana Department of State Lands, Helena, Montana. Mackie, R.J. 1965. Range Ecology and Relations of Mule Deer, Elk, and Cattle in the Missouri River Breaks, Montana. Thesis (Ph.D.). Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana.

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Mallory, W.W. (ed). 1972. “Geologic Atlas of Rocky Mountain Region.” In Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists. p. 56. Martin, N.S. 1970. “Sagebrush control related to habitat and sage grouse occurrence.” In Journal of Wildlife Management, 34(2):313-320. 1990. Personal communication with Dale Tribby, Wildlife Biologist, BLM Big Dry Resource Area Office about deer in the planning area. Martin is Regional Wildlife Manager with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Miles City, Montana.

McKinley, P.W. 1979. Water Quality of Selected Streams in the Coal Area of East-central Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations 78-142. Mitchell, R.H. and S.C. Bergman. 1991. Petrology of Lamproites, Plenum Press, p. 50-52. Mitchell, R.H., R.G. Platt, and M. Downey. 1987. Petrology of Lamproites from Smoky Butte, Montana. Journal of Petrology, v. 28, p. 645677. Montana Testing Laboratories, Inc., and Systems Technology, Inc. 1981. Final Report on Water Quality in the Big Dry Resource Area, Montana for May 1980 to April 1981. Great Falls, Montana. Moran, S.R., J.A. Cherry, B. Rehm, and G.H. Growenewold. 1979. “Hydrologic Impact of Surface Mining of Coal in Western North Dakota.” In Symposium on Surface Mining Hydrology Sedimentation and Reclamation. University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. Moulton, Gary. 1959. Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804-1806. Antiquarian Press LTD. New York. 1991 The Lewis and Clark Journals March 23-June 9, 1806. University of Nebraska Press.

Marvin, R.F., B.C. Hearn, Jr., H.H. Mehnert, C.W. Naeser, R.E. Zartman, and D.A. Lindsey. 1980. Late Cretaceous-Paleocene-Eocene Igneous Activity in North-Central Montana. U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado. Matson, R.E. 1958. Petrography and Petrology of Smoky Butte Intrusives Garfield County, Montana, Masters Thesis. Montana State University, p. 174. 1970. Preliminary Report, Strippable Coal Resources, McCone County, Montana. Bulletin 78. Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Montana School of Mines, Butte, Montana. Evaluation of Smoky Butte, Garfield County, Montana, for Eligibility as a Natural Landmark. Prepared for the National Park Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Contract No. CX 600-3-0060, p. 1-10.

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1985.

1986a. Draft North Dakota Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. Dickinson District Office, Dickinson, North Dakota. 1986b. Miles City District Black-tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan. Miles City District Office, Miles City, Montana. 1986c. Montana Bald Eagle Management Plan. Montana State Office, Billings, Montana. 1987a. Final Missouri Breaks Wilderness Suitability Study and Environmental Impact Statement. Miles City District Office, Miles City, Montana. 1987b. Fort Union Long Range Coal Market Analysis. Division of Mineral Policy and Analysis. Washington, D.C. 1987c. Special Recreation Permit Guidelines for Montana, North and South Dakota. Miles City District Office, Miles City, Montana. 1987d. Supplement to the Northwest Area Noxious Weed Control Program. Final Environmental Impact Statement. Oregon State Office, Portland, Oregon. 1987e. Transportation Plan. Miles City District Office, Miles City, Montana. 1988. Medicine Bow-Divide (Great Divide Resource Area) Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. Rawlins District Office, Rawlins, Wyoming.

n.d.

1989a. Annual Statistical Summary. Montana State Office, Billings, Montana.

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1990b. Reconnaissance Geologic Report for the Cherry Creek Dam and Reservoir. Billings, Montana. Fish and Wildlife Service 1990. Guidelines for Oil and Gas Activities in Prairie Dog Ecosystems Managed for Blackfooted Ferret Recovery (Draft). Fish and Wildlife Enhancement, Denver Regional Office. Denver, Colorado. Mineral Management Service. 1989. Federal Disbursements by State and County. Unpublished. Federal Service Center, Denver, Colorado. Uresk, Daniel W. 1984. “Black-tailed Prairie Dog Food Habits and Forage Relationships in Western South Dakota.” Reprinted from Journal of Range Management, Vol. 37, No. 4, p. 325-329. Van Voast, W.A. 1981. Symposium on Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation in the Northern Great Plains. An update on mine spoils hydrology, southeastern Montana. Montana Water Resources Research Center, Report No. 125. Van Voast, W.A., R.B. Hedges, and J.J. McDermott. 1977. Hydrogeologic Conditions and Projections Related to Mining Near Colstrip, Southeastern Montana. Geology Bulletin 102. Montana Bureau of Mines, Butte, Montana. 1978. Strip Coal Mining and Mine-land Reclamation in the Hydrologic System, Southeastern Montana. Project Completion Report of Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, and Montana College of Mineral Science for the Old West Regional Commission, Billings, Montana.

Walchek, Ken. 1990. Personal communication with Dale Tribby, Wildlife Biologist, BLM Big Dry Resource Area Office. Walchek is the Regional Information Officer with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Miles City, Montana. Wallestad, R., and P. Schladweiler. 1975. “Breeding Season Movements and Habitat Use of Male Sage Grouse in Central Montana.” In Journal of Wildlife Management, 38(4):634-637. Wallestad, R., and D.B. Pyrah. 1974. “Movements and Nesting Requirements of Sage Grouse Hens in Central Montana.” In Journal of Wildlife Management, 38(4):630633. Wallwork, Susan Selig, L. Lenihan, and Paul E. Polzin. 1980. Montana Outdoor Recreation Survey. Prepared for Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks. University of Montana, Missoula, Montana. Weiland, James S., and Others. 1977. Characteristics and settlement patterns of energy related operating workers in the northern great plains. North Dakota State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. Agricultural Economics Report No. 123. Wentland, Harold J. 1990. Personal interview with Dale Tribby, Wildlife Biologist, Big Dry Resource Area office, about game management in Region 6, within the planning area. Wentland is Regional Wildlife Manager with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Glasgow, Montana. Whicker, April D., and James K. Detling 1988. “Ecological Consequences of Prairie Dog Disturbances.” In Bioscience, Vol. 38, No. 11, p. 778. Wincentsen, Herbert. 1978. Preliminary Study of the Coal Deposits in the Circle Area, McCone, Dawson, and Garfield Counties, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 78-367.

Velde, D. 1975.

Armalcolite-Ti-Phlogopite-Diopside-Analcite-Bearing Lamproites from Smoky Butte, Garfield County, Montana, American Mineralogist, v. 60, p. 566-573.

Wagner, C., and D. Velde. 1986. Davanite, K2TiSi6015, in Smoky Butte (Montana) Lamproites, American Mineralogist, v. 71, p. 1473-1475.

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1979a. Coal Deposits of the Hedstrom Lake Area, McCone, Garfield, Prairie, Custer, and Rosebud Counties, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 79-1578. 1979b. Coal Geology of the Northeast Circle Area, McCone and Dawson Counties, Montana. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 791052.

401

INDEX

INDEX
Access,3,7,9,17-18,30-31,33,66,75,82-83,86,118-119, 134-137,139. See also Lands Agriculture,73,88-91,138,145 Air quality,11,63,71,111,177,332. See also Monitoring appendix alternative A,13,112 alternative B,13,112 alternative C,13,113 alternative D,13,113 assumptions,111 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,112 impacts from management common to all alternatives,111 management actions specific to each alternative,13 management common to all alternatives,11 standards,12 Alternatives,i,158 analyzed in detail,11 comparison,41,42 not analyzed in detail,9 Areas of critical environmental concern,8,20,24. See also Ash Creek Divide; Big Sheep Mountain; Blackfooted Ferret; Bug Creek; Hell Creek; Hoe; Jordan Bison Kill; Piping Plover; Powder River Depot; Sand Arroyo; Seline; Smoky Butte appendix,207 evaluation process,207 Ash Creek Divide,16,30,44,53,81,130 area of critical environmental concern,8,56-58,6062,208,212,299-300 Big Open,9 Big Sheep Mountain area of critical environmental concern,8,14-16,42,53,56-58,60-62,73,114115,130,208,300-301,359 Billy Creek,8,101,338 Black-footed ferret,8,11,16,27-29,38-39,50-51,59,62, 69,86,107,130-131,138,143,150-153,156,286, 305-306,339,370-372,374. See also Wildlife area of critical environmental concern,8,28-29, 39,53,56-59,61-62,68-69,115-116,123-124,153155,208,215,296 Bridge Coulee,8,101,338 Bug Creek area of critical environmental concern,8,16, 30,44,53,56-58,60-62,81,130,208,212,299-300. See also Areas of Critical Environmental Concern appendix Calypso special recreation management area,8,16,21,3234,45,53-54,63,82,112,117,123-124,134-137, 139,140-141,143-144,150-151,153,155-156,352 Calypso trail,32,34,82,136,137 403 Cherry Creek,14,3334,46,52,62,68,82,86,130,138,145,151,153,357 dam,32,46,63,96,111,115-116,139-142,144,147148,154,156,343,352-353,355-356 special recreation management area,8,16,20-21,2324,28,46,53-54,56-58,60-61,63,67,112,116117,123-124,128,131,134-136,139-144,153, 156,301 watershed,3,11,15,35,74,97,145 Coal,14-15,22,25,30,32-33,40,43-46,48-50,55,63,65, 68,78,90,112,115-116,123-125,145,149-150, 152,166,285,287-288,306,349 alternative A,22,125 alternative B,22,125 alternative C,22,126 alternative D,22,126 appendix,285 assumptions,125 generic mine scenario,289 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,125 impacts from management common to all alternatives,125 management actions specific to each alternative,22 management common to all alternatives,22 Congressional offices,193 Crucial winter range,8,20-21,25,27-29,38-41,53-54,59, 61-62,66,69,86,112,131-132,139-140,152-156, 309,338. See also Wildlife. Cultural resources,13,18,27-29,63-64,71,86,88,113, 119,131-132,153,155,159,308,310,332. See also Monitoring appendix alternative A,14,114 alternative B,15,115 alternative C,15,115 alternative D,15,116 assumptions,113 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,114 impacts from management common to all alternatives,113 management actions specific to each alternative,14 management common to all alternatives,13 Easements,17,19,31,83,118,286 Engineering,15,113 alternative A,15 alternative B,15 alternative C,15 alternative D,15 appendix,217 management actions specific to each alternative,15

INDEX

management common to all alternatives,15 roads,218 structural projects,218 Exchanges,17-18,31,66,83,118-119,135. See also Lands Fallon County sanitary landfill,20-21,23-24,28-29,52, 55,57,60,62,64,66,86,123-124,131-132,139140,143. See also Lands Federal agencies,3-4,193 Ferruginous hawk,26,28,308. See also Wildlife Fire management,15,64,74,111,113,116,122,133,161 alternative A,16,117 alternative B,16,117 alternative C,16,117 alternative D,16,117 assumptions,116 conditional fire suppression,16,63 fire use areas,15,145 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,117 impacts from management common to all alternatives,117 intensive fire suppression,15,63 management actions specific to each alternative,16 management common to all alternatives,13,36,63,116,122-123,148-149 prescribed burn,13,36,63,116,122-123,148-149,218 Fisheries,38,82,104,152,154,339. See also Wildlife species of special interest and concern,105 fishery reservoirs,82,105,308 Forestry,8,16,64,74,97,111,113 alternative A,17,117 alternative B,17,117 alternative C,17,117 alternative D,17,117 assumptions,117 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,117 impacts from management common to all alternatives,117 management actions specific to each alternative,17 management common to all alternatives,16 Fox Creek,8,26,95,104,208,215 General assumptions,111 Geology,30,32,36,76-79,81,93-95,112,132 Geophysical exploration,14-15,24-25,33-34,39,46,4850,59,60,130,137,152,155,302. See also Oil and gas Guide and outfitters,10,31 Hazardous materials,17,75,113,133 alternative A,17 alternative B,17 alternative C,17 alternative D,17 management actions specific to each alternative,17 management common to all alternatives,17

Hell Creek area of critical environmental concern,8,16,30,44,53,56-58,6062,81,130,208,213,297,300-301. See also Areas of Critical Environmental Concern appendix Hell Creek National Natural Landmark,81,426 Hoe area of critical environmental concern,8,14-16,42, 53,56-58,60-62,73,114-115,130,208,300-301. See also Areas of Critical Environmental Concern appendix Jordan Bison Kill area of critical environmental concern,8,14-16,42,53,56-58,60-62,73,114-115, 130,208-209,300-301. See also Areas of Critical Environmental Concern appendix Lands,15,17,63-64,66,75,111,114-116,118,138,161. See also access; easements; exchanges; Fallon County sanitary landfill; Makoshika State Park; rights-of-way; withdrawals acquisition criteria,17-18 alternative A,20,119 alternative B,20,119 alternative C,20,119 alternative D,20,119 appendix,219 assumptions,118 disposal areas,17-18 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,119 impacts from management common to all alternatives,118 management actions specific to each alternative,20 management common to all alternatives,17 retention areas,17-18 Least tern,8,26,106,129,137,151,208,215,307,370,373. See also Wildlife. Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail,8,14,16,30,82,134-136,208-209,286 Lewis and Clark Trail, special recreation management area,21,23-24,3334,47,53-58,60-62,112,117,123,128,135, 137,139-140,144,151,153,292 Limber pine,26,64,75,129,149-150,208,214,306. See also Forestry Livestock grazing management,14-15,30,32-33,37-38, 40,43-44,46-47,49,51,54,63-64,66-69,75,8486,88,90,95,111,113,119,135-139,141-145,149153,156,164,352 allotments,76,123-124categories,119,224,251-281 management plans,20,123,223,225-227,230250,282-283range condition,251,230 alternative A,21,123 alternative B,21,123 alternative C,21,124 alternative D,21,124 appendix,223 assumptions,119

404

INDEX

grazing fees,7,91-92,352 grazing permits,10,91 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,117,123 impacts from management common to all alternatives,120 management actions specific to each alternative,21 management common to all alternatives,20 monitoring,223 Locatable minerals,14-15,22,32-33,43,45,51,56,65, 79,112,125-126,152-153,155-156,168,290 alternative A,22,126 alternative B,22,126 alternative C,22,127 alternative D,22,127 appendix,285 assumptions,126 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,126 impacts from management common to all alternatives,126 management actions specific to each alternative,22 management common to all alternatives,22 mineral patents,291 Mailing list,193 government,204-205 individuals,193-201 industry and business,201-203 interest groups,203-204 Makoshika State Park,8,20-21,23-24,26,32-34,47,5253,55-56,58,64,82-83,86,112,119,124,127, 130,136-137,140-144,155,305,352 Merriam’s wild turkey,108. See also Wildlife Miles/Sitting Bull Cedar Creek Fight,8-9 Mineral estate,3,5 Mineral materials,14-15,23,32-33,40,42,44-51,57,65, 79,88,112,151-153,155-156,168,290 alternative A,23,127 alternative B,23,128 alternative C,23,128 alternative D,23,128 assumptions,127 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,127 impacts from management common to all alternatives,127 management actions specific to each alternative,23 management common to all alternatives,23 mineral patents,291 Minerals,18,22,65,76,92,125,166,332. See also Monitoring appendix; coal; locatable minerals; mineral materials; nonenergy leasable minerals; oil and gas; appendix,285 Monitoring appendix,331 Musselshell Breaks,8,338 405

Nonenergy leasable minerals,14-15,30,32-33,40,43,51, 58,65,112,128,153,155-156,302 alternative A,24,128 alternative B,24,128 alternative C,24,128 alternative D,24,128 appendix,285 assumptions,128 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,128 impacts from management common to all alternative,128 management actions specific to each alternative,25 management common to all alternatives,24 Off-road vehicle,14-15,30,32-34,40,42-51,54,63,66-68, 82,85-87,111-113,116,123-124,135-139,143144,146-148,150-151,153-156,172 Oil and gas,14-15,24-26,30,32-33,35,39-40,43-44,46,4851,59-63,65-66,79-80,86,89-92,111-112,115116,125,128,139-141,144,146,150,152-156, 168,302,332,352. See also Monitoring appendix alternative A,27,130 alternative B,28,130 alternative C,28,131 alternative D,29,132 appendix,285 assumptions,128 controlled surface use,59,304,374 drilling operations,321,327 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,130 impacts from management common to all alternatives,129 lease notices,310 lease terms,27,62 leasing process,304 management actions specific to each alternative,27 management common to all alternatives,24 no surface occupancy,60,306,326,373-374 permitting,315 stipulations,25-29,304,311-314 timing restrictions,59 Paleontology,26-29,65,81,86,88,112,129,131-132,309, 334. See also Monitoring appendix alternative A,30,133 alternative B,30,133 alternative C,30,133 alternative D,30,133 assumptions,132 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,133 impacts from management common to all alternatives,133 management actions specific to each alternative,30 management common to all alternatives,29 Pallid sturgeon,107,151,370-371. See also Wildlife

INDEX

Peregrine falcon,26,107,151,370-371,373-374 Permits, grazing,10 guide and outfitter,10,31 land use,19,118 Piping plover,16,27-29,38,40,56-58,60,69,106,124, 128,130,139-141,144,151,153,155-156,286, 301,307,340,370-371,373. See also Areas of Critical Environmental Concern appendix; Monitoring appendix area of critical environmental concern,8,21,28-29, 39,53-54,60,62,69,123,132 Planning, area,1 criteria,7 description,1 issues,i,7 location,1-2 system,3,6 Powder River Depot,14,16,32,42-43,60,73,83,86,114, 130,135,153,352. See also Areas of Critical Environmental Concern appendix area of critical environmental concern,8,15,42, 43,53,56-58,60-62,115,128,208,210,300 special recreation management area,8,21,23-24,28, 33-34,53-54,56-58,60-61,63,112,117,123-124, 128,131,134,136,140-141,143-144,153,156,301 Prairie dog,8,26-29,39-40,51,68-69,105,114-116,122123,130,132,149-152,154-155,305,339,372, 374-375. See also Wildlife Preparers,205-206 Public participation,157 Raptors,19,26,36,38,127,130,137,152-155,309 Recreation,18,27-30,45-47,66-67,81,86-88,111,133,137138,140-141,143,155-156,173,218,306,334, 352,359. See also Monitoring appendix alternative A,32,135 alternative B,32,136 alternative C,33,136 alternative D,34,136 appendix,343 assumptions,133 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,135 impacts from management common to all alternatives,134 management actions specific to each alternative,32 management common to all alternatives,30 Rights-of-way,9,14-15,19-20,32-33,40,43-51,53, 64,75,88,115,119,135,146,152-153,155,286, 290. See also Lands Riparian/wetlands,8,16,20,27-29,35,37,60-62,64,68-69, 85,97-98,122-123,130-132,135,145-146,149154,156,306,337,362. See also Monitoring appendix; Vegetation

Sage grouse,26,38,107-108,127,129,130,308-309,340, 378. See also Wildlife Sand Arroyo area of critical environmental concern,8, 16,30,44,53,56-58,60-62,81,130,208,213, 298,300. See also Areas of Critical Environmental Concern appendix Seline,14,42,43,60,73,114,130. See also Areas of Critical Environmental Concern appendix area of critical environmental concern,8,15,16,53,56-58,60-61,141,208,210,301 Seven Blackfoot,8,100-101,338 Sharp-tailed grouse,26,38,107-108,127,129,130,308309,340. See also Wildlife Smoky Butte,8,16,20-21,23,27-29,32,34,43,53-54,56-58, 6-62,75,79,82-83,112-113,119,123-124,128, 130-132,137,139-140,151,153-155,208,210, 297. See also Areas of Critical Environmental Concern appendix Socioeconomics,66,83,137,346 alternative A,138 alternative B,138 alternative C,141 alternative D,143 appendix,345 assumptions,137 demographics,84 economics,66,88,89,346-347 government,91 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,138 impacts from management common to all alternatives,137 payments in lieu of taxes,91-92 sociology,67,345 Soil and water,35,68,84,92,93,144,177,305,335. See also Monitoring appendix alternative A,36,146 alternative B,36,146 alternative C,36,148 alternative D,36,148 appendix,357 assumptions,144 ground water,93,94 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,146 impacts from management common to all alternatives,144 management actions specific to each alternative,36 management common to all alternatives,35 surface water,95 water bearing formations,94 water rights,35,96 watershed,357,359 South Pine Creek Groundwater Control Area,95 Special management designations,42

406

INDEX

Special recreation management areas,20,131,138. See also Calypso; Cherry Creek; Lewis and Clark Trail; Powder River Depot Steep slopes,25,27-29,131-132,154-155. See also Oil and Gas Surface estate,3,4. See also Lands. Ten Mile Creek,8,208,214 Terry badlands,8,32,34,82-83,100-101,140,144,286, 306,332,338 scenic overlook,75 Vegetation,36,68,84,97-100,136,145-148,156,179,223, 336. See also Monitoring appendix; Riparian/ wetlands alternative A,38,149 alternative B,38,150 alternative C,38,150 alternative D,38,150 appendix,361 assumptions,148 desired plant community,361-362 farmland,99,151 harvesting,36 impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,149 impacts from management common to all alternatives,148 land treatments,218 management actions specific to each alternative,38 management common to all alternatives,36 mechanical treatment,36,123,148,150 noxious weeds,36-37,99,120,123-124,149-150, 218,337,363 special status plants,38,98 Visual resource management,26,3132,64,66,83,122,127,129-130,135,307 classifications,31-32 Wild and scenic rivers,10,181 appendix,365 Wilderness study areas,8,10,19,31-32,100,137,144, 181,286,338. See also Monitoring appendix

Wild horses,10 Wildlife,8,11,19,38,67,69,85,95,101,111-113,119,135136,138,143,150-151,182,307,338,378. See also fisheries; Monitoring appendix; crucial winter range; raptors aerial hunting,38 alternative A,39,152 alternative B,39,153 alternative C,40,155 alternative D,40,155 appendix,367 assumptions,151 bald eagle,8,26,106,129,137,151,208,288,307,340, 369,371,374 big game,19,101,107,136-137,338 biological assessment,369 elk,103,104,130,310 game birds,19,107,127,137,151-152. See also sage grouse; sharp-tailed grouse; Merriam’s wild turkey; impacts from management actions specific to each alternative,152 impacts from management common to all alternatives,151 management actions specific to each alternative,39 management common to all alternatives,38 mule deer,101-102,156,379 nongame,19,105 population targets,7 pronghorn antelope,101-103,152,379 raptors,19,26 special status species,39,367 species of special interest or concern,8,19,106 threatened and endangered species,19,106,288,339. See also bald eagle; least tern; piping plover waterfowl,109,151,341 white-tailed deer,101,102,151 Withdrawals,19,75,219. See also Lands; Mineral appendix

407

United States Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management

Miles City District Office Big Dry Resource Area

April 1996

The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for the stewardship of our public lands. It is committed to manage, protect and improve these lands in a manner to serve the needs of the American people for all times. Management is based on the principles of multiple use and sustained yield of our nation’s resources within a framework of environmental responsibility and scientific technology. These resources include recreation; rangelands; timber; minerals; watershed; fish and wildlife; wilderness; air; and scenic, scientific, and cultural values.

BLM/MT/PL-96/008+1020

United States Department of the Interior
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Miles City District Office 111 Garryowen Road Miles City, Montana 59301

Dear Reader: This is a copy of the record of decision and the approved resource management plan for the Big Dry Resource Area. This record of decision approves BLM’s decisions for managing approximately 1.7 million surface acres and 7.6 million mineral acres of BLM-administered estate in the Big Dry Resource Area of the Miles City District. The 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement was published in February 1995. Copies of this document are available at local libraries and the BLM Miles City District Office. This record of decision has been approved as the land use plan for the Big Dry Resource Area. The resource objective decisions, the land use allocation decisions, and the management action decisions in this plan will guide all future uses and activities within the resource area. Planning and public participation information is summarized in this document. Decisions are listed alphabetically by program. The reader should refer to the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for appendix materials which are also approved in this record of decision. For example, the reference “see Wildlife appendix” would direct the reader to consult the Wildlife appendix in the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement. A copy of the appendixes may be obtained upon request. The reader should also refer to the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for maps, glossary, and bibliography information. Please note that additional planning has been conducted for the decision on the Calypso Trail. The public was asked to assist BLM during a public comment period October through November, 1995. The results of that further planning and BLM’s proposed decision for the Calypso Trail are presented in the 1996 Calypso Trail Supplement to the Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. We thank you for your assistance and extend our appreciation for your cooperation during the planning process.

RECORD OF DECISION AND APPROVED BIG DRY RESOURCE AREA MANAGEMENT PLAN

Prepared by: UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT MILES CITY DISTRICT, MONTANA BIG DRY RESOURCE AREA April 1996

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DECISIONS Air Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Cultural Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Engineering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Fire Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Forestry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Hazardous Materials and Waste Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Livestock Grazing Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Minerals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Paleontology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Recreation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Soil and Water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Vegetation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Wildlife . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 TABLES 1. National and State Air Quality Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2. Withdrawals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 3. Summary of Oil and Gas Stipulations and Lease Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
ACEC BLM CFR U.S. U.S.C. USDA USDI VRM Area of Critical Environmental Concern Bureau of Land Management Code of Federal Regulations United States United States Code U.S. Department of Agriculture U.S. Department of the Interior Visual resource management

INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this document is to approve the BLM management decisions on approximately 1.7 million acres of BLM-administered land and 7.6 million acres of BLMadministered mineral resources in the Big Dry Resource Area. This Record of Decision approves the decisions made in the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement published in February 1995, with the exception of decisions relating to the Calypso Trail near Terry, Montana.

National Wildlife Refuge managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the lands withdrawn for the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Station managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other lands excluded are the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Fort Peck Tribes in Valley County.

THE PLANNING SYSTEM
Development of an approved resource management plan occurs within the framework of the BLM planning system. The planning system is divided into three distinct tiers: policy planning, land use planning and activity planning. The completion of this approved resource management plan along with the previously completed steps in the land use planning process: the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (February 1993), and the1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement(February1995), satisfies the requirements for the land use planning tier of the Bureau planning system.

DECISION
The decision is hereby made to approve the proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan as described in the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement with the following exception. This plan was prepared under federal regulations including the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended. The preferred alternative (Alternative D) in the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement has been selected as the approved resource management plan.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
The Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement was prepared by an interdisciplinary team of specialists from the Big Dry and Powder River resource areas, the Miles City District Office and the Montana State Office of the BLM. Reviews for adequacy and consistency were provided by the district and state office staffs. Consultation, coordination and public involvement have occurred throughout the process through scoping meetings, informal meetings, individual contacts, newspaper releases, and Federal Register notices. Preparation of the document began in the fall of 1989. Data was used from inventories before that time, from information received from the public and other agencies, and knowledge of the resource area specialists. A public participation plan was prepared to provide management and team guidance for developing the resource management plan and to insure public involvement during the entire process. During scoping of the plan, formal and informal public input was encouraged and sought after. Federal Register notices were published on October 3, 1989, and May 3, 1990, informing the public of BLM’s intent to plan, calling for coal information and area of critical environmental concern identification, and announcing the notice of availability of the planning criteria.

EXCEPTION
Additional planning has been conducted for the decision regarding the Calypso Trail. Comments have been gathered, and a protest period on the Calypso Trail decision only will be reopened. This information may be found in the 1996 Calypso Trail Supplement to the Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. The public will have the opportunity to review the Calypso Trail Supplement to the Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement through a protest to BLM’s Director. Any person who participated in the planning process and has an interest which is or may be adversely affected may protest the plan for the Calypso Trail. After resolution of any protests, a record of decision will be issued regarding Calypso Trail.

LOCATION OF PLANNING AREA
The planning area encompasses BLM-administered public lands in 13 counties in eastern Montana: Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, and Wibaux. The public lands within the Big Dry Resource Area excluded from this resource management plan are the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and the Medicine Lake

1

Several news releases were published in local papers. The releases announced the beginning of the plan, encouraged public involvement, and the availability of planning criteria. Brochures were mailed to over 1,000 individuals, groups and agencies in December 1989 notifying the public of the expected issues and upcoming public scoping meetings. Brochures were also mailed in April 1990 summarizing the comments received from the public scoping meetings. Public scoping meetings were held in nine towns in the planning area with a total attendance of 214 people. Individual meetings were held with commissioners in 10 counties; the Assiniboine, Sioux and Northern Cheyenne Native American tribes; and special interest groups. A total of 64 written responses were received after the public scoping meetings. As part of the analysis process, a telephone interview was conducted with 100 people representing the full range of resource interests in the planning area. The results of these interviews and all other public involvement were used during selection of the preferred alternative. In February 1993, approximately 1,500 copies of the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement were distributed to the public at a cost of $25,000. A Federal Register notice was published March 19, 1993, beginning the comment period on the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. That comment period ended June 18, 1993. A Federal Register notice asking for comments on two newly proposed areas of critical environmental concern was published November 26 , 1993, ending January 25, 1994. Public meetings were held to gather comments on the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (1993) at nine locations in eastern Montana: Wolf Point, Sidney, Jordan, Circle, Glendive, Baker, Terry, Forsyth, and Miles City. A total of 170 letters were received on the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (1993), and two letters were received on the newly proposed areas of critical environmental concern. As required by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, BLM submitted a biological assessment to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This document defined potential impacts to threatened and endangered species as a result of management actions approved in this resource management plan. In their letter received July 21, 1994, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated

“Based on information in the July 14, 1994 biological assessment for the Big Dry Resource Management plan (we) concur with the “may affect beneficial” finding for the piping plover and with the “is not likely to adversely affect” finding for bald eagle, whooping crane, peregrine falcon, least tern, black-footed ferret, and pallid sturgeon” (see Wildlife appendix). After considering and analyzing the comments, the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement was prepared for the public. Prior to issuance, BLM sent a letter to the mailing list asking the public if they would like a copy of the entire final document, or a Summary of decisions that had changed between the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (1993) and the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement. In February 1995, a total of 400 copies of the Summary and 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement were made available to the public at a cost of $13,000. The Director of BLM received 13 protests by the April 17 deadline on the following: the Fallon County landfill; the open off-road vehicle area near Glendive; noxious weed management; prairie dog management; Ash Creek Divide ACEC; public lands considered for transfer to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for Makoshika State Park through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act;and the proposed closure of Calypso Trail to motorized vehicles. Further planning was needed before approving the decision for Calypso Trail and a separate Record of Decision will be made available for that decision. The remaining protests did not result in any changes to the resource management plan.

IMPLEMENTING AND MONITORING DECISIONS
Decisions in this plan will be implemented over a period of years and must be tied directly to the BLM budgeting process. Funding levels can affect the timing and implementation of management actions and project proposals, but will not affect the decisions made under this resource management plan. An implementation schedule will be developed to provide for the systematic accomplishment of decisions in the approved resource management plan. Monitoring will be conducted to evaluate the continuing effectiveness of the decisions in this plan. Monitoring will provide the needed information to determine if the plan is meeting the stated goals and objectives including: if the management prescription is fulfilling the purpose for which it was designed; if predictions of impacts were accurate; to reveal unanticipated impacts, including those off-site; if

2

mitigation measures are satisfactory and effective; if threshold levels have been met or exceeded; to provide for continuing evaluation of consistency with federal, state, and local government and Indian tribes; and to determine the rate and degree to which the plan is being implemented.

activities. This is followed closely by the approved alternative, Alternative D, in providing environmental protection. Rather than eliminating uses, special management tools are used to provide environmental protection while allowing use to occur.

MAINTAINING AND AMENDING DECISIONS
Decisions in this plan will be maintained to reflect minor changes in information. Maintenance is limited to refining or further clarifying a plan decision and cannot expand the scope of the decision nor change the terms nor conditions of the decision Maintenance will be documented in supporting records. A plan amendment may become necessary if major changes are needed or to consider a proposal or action that is not in conformance with the plan. Plan amendments are accomplished with public input and environmental analyses.

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATION
Decisions were based on the following rationale and factors. Private property rights were to be respected. The management actions in this plan apply to BLM-administered lands and minerals only. Baseline social and economic data were compiled from existing published sources, and a study of local economic and social characteristics. Management decisions considered demographic and economic trends related to current and future demands for public resources. Public perceptions and attitudes of BLM-administered resources were also considered. Standard operating procedures were applied, as appropriate, to meet resource management goals. In some cases, more specific stipulations were used to further protect the resource. The BLM followed program guidance including the BLM’s Washington Office 1986 Supplemental Program Guidance (BLM Manual 1620-1625), the Missouri Breaks Grazing Environmental Statement Final (USDI, BLM 1979), the Prairie Potholes Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Allocation Final (USDI, BLM 1981), the Big Dry Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Allocation (USDI, BLM 1982), and other guidance referred to below.

ALTERNATIVES INCLUDING THE PROPOSED ACTION
The following four management alternatives were considered in the development of the plan. Each alternative was described and analyzed in the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (1993) and the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement. Alternative A, the “no action” alternative continues present management direction. No special management areas are designated and accessibility and availability to resources remains the same. Alternative B, the “protection” alternative presents management actions that designate special management areas with restrictive management actions, reducing resource accessibility and availability. Alternative C, the “development” alternative, presents management actions designating special management areas while allowing more resource accessibility and availability. Alternative D is the approved alternative. This alternative presents management actions that designate special management areas. It allows accessibility and availability to resources when no significant impacts are anticipated.

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN
The following decisions will guide future management of land and minerals administered by the BLM within the Big Dry Resource Area. Also discussed are monitoring and mitigation measures. Decisions found in the Appendixes of the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement and the following resource management decisions constitute the resource management plan for the Big Dry Resource Area. The rationale for selecting Alternative D, the preferred alternative, was based on public comments from scoping meetings, public comments on the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (1993), current regulations, guidance, laws, current management policy, and the analysis of each alternative. The selection parameters used in selecting the approved alternative were:

ENVIRONMENTALLY PREFERRED ALTERATIVE
Alternative B is the environmentally preferred alternative, providing the greatest protection from surface-disturbing

3

Decisions would adhere to the goals and objectives established in the Planning Criteria. Decisions would be implementable and enforceable. Decisions would be consistent with BLM’s multipleuse mission. Decisions would reflect and endeavor to be consistent with efforts to improve eastern Montana’s economy. Decisions would emphasize Recreation 2000, Wildlife 2000, Range of Our Vision, and riparian/wetland management. Resource allocations would be based on productivity and capability of lands and resources.

defined three categories to manage significant cultural properties. These categories are information potential, public values, and conservation for future use. Cultural resources which contain significant information on prehistory or history of the planning area will be managed for their information potential. These are cultural properties that consist of artifacts and features that have the potential to yield important information. Cultural resources that possess sociocultural, educational, and recreational attributes will be managed for their public value. These include cultural resources associated with Native American traditional lifeways values, and prehistoric or historic cultural properties which exhibit interpretive or recreational potential. Managing cultural properties used by Native Americans will focus on avoiding uses incompatible with traditional values. Special or unique cultural resources will be managed under the conservation objective. Included here are cultural properties that contain sensitive prehistoric religious features such as medicine wheels or burials; cultural properties that are of a nature that would not permit current archeological technology to adequately investigate the property; and cultural properties which are rare in the planning area. Except for those actions identified in the BLM’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, the BLM conducts cultural resource inventories for lands that include surface disturbance as a part of the action. There are three classes of inventory (BLM Manual 8100). Class I inventories are reviews of existing cultural data from resource inventory files maintained by the BLM, the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, professional literature, and other sources. In Class II inventories, a sampling or percentage of the area is investigated for cultural resources. The results are projected for the entire land area. Class II inventories can be used to develop predictive models. Class III inventories consist of an on-the-ground investigation of a specific area for cultural resources. This inventory results in the maximum identification of cultural resources. Class III inventories are usually required before surface-disturbing actions authorized by BLM. Class III inventories are required before disposal actions. The BLM evaluates the cultural resources identified during inventories in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office to determine if the resources are eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. BLM’s

AIR QUALITY
The objectives for air resource management are to maintain or improve air quality in the short and long term. Standard operating procedures will limit unnecessary emissions from existing and new point or nonpoint sources and will prevent significant deterioration of air quality in Class I areas. The Class II air quality areas allow deterioration associated with moderate development and population growth. National and state air quality standards will be met (see table 1). No actions are anticipated in any designated nonattainment area. The BLM will conform with provisions of state regulations and implementation plans during prescribed burning as specified in the “9211-Fire Planning” section of the BLM Manual or when conducting other activities that may impact air quality. Project specific air quality impact analyses will be conducted as necessary to demonstrate compliance. Administrative actions on public lands will conform with the air quality classification for that specific area and will not impact downwind Class I areas.

Rationale
Under the requirements of the Clean Air Act, as amended (1979), federal agencies must abide by national air quality standards, and support provisions of state regulations.

CULTURAL RESOURCES
The primary objectives are to manage the cultural resources under BLM jurisdiction through a system of identification, evaluation, interpretation, utilization, and reduction of conflict between cultural and other resources. The BLM has

4

TABLE 1 NATIONAL AND STATE AIR QUALITY STANDARDS Pollutant Inhalable particulates (PM-10)+ Sulfur Dioxide Carbon Monoxide Federal Primary Standard 50 Fg/m3 annual average 150 Fg/m3 24-hr average* 0.03 ppm annual average 0.14 ppm 24-hr average* 9 ppm 8-hr average* 35 ppm 1-hr average* 0.05 ppm annual average Federal Secondary Standard 50 Fg/m3 annual average 150 Fg/m3 24-hr average* 0.5 ppm 3-hr average* Montana Standard 50 Fg/m3 annual average 150 Fg/m3 24-hr average* 0.02 ppm annual average 0.10 ppm 24-hr average* 0.50 ppm 1-hr average** 35 ppm 1-hr average* 0.05 ppm annual average 0.30 ppm hourly average 0.10 ppm hourly average* 1.5 Fg/m3 90-day average 35 Fg/m3 grazing season average 0.05 ppm hourly average* 10 mg/m2 30-day average

9 ppm 8-hr average* 35 ppm 1-hr average* 0.05 ppm annual average

Nitrogen Dioxide

Photochemical Oxidants (ozone) Lead

0.12 ppm 1-hr average* 1.5 Fg/m3 calendar quarter average None

0.12 ppm 1-hr average 1.5 Fg/m3 calendar quarter average None

Foliar Fluoride

Hydrogen Sulfide Settled Particulate (dustfall) Visibility

None None

None None

None

None

Particle scattering coefficient of 3x10.5/m annual average (PSD Class I areas)

KEY:

PM-10 particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 10 microns. mg/m3 = micrograms pollutant per cubic meter of sampled air. ppm = parts per million of sampled air. Fg/m2 = milligrams per square meter PSD = prevention of significant deterioration +Statistical standards based on three years of data. *Not to be exceeded more than once per year. **Not be exceeded more than 18 times a year.

NOTES:

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evaluation guidelines (BLM Manual 8143, appendix 7) supplement the National Register of Historic Places criteria for evaluation (36 CFR 60.4) and provide consistency across the state. Mitigation of impacts to cultural resources could include exchanging land so significant cultural resources are acquired. Other mitigation measures include site avoidance and data recovery (including excavation).Avoidance of the site area is the preferred mitigation measure. Consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is required when activities are expected to affect significant cultural resources. In emergency situations, 36 CFR Part 800.12 contains provisions for waiving Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act from compliance regulations. The State Historic Preservation Office must be notified within seven days after emergency procedures have been invoked. After issuance of the Record of Decision, a cultural resource management plan will be prepared for the planning area. The cultural resource management plan will establish management objectives and prescriptions for cultural resources in the area. This plan, in addition to allocating cultural resources to specific uses, will guide and focus active management of the planning area’s cultural resources. During the life of the resource management plan, cultural resources will be managed according to recommendations made in the Big Dry Resource Area Cultural Resource Management Plan. Management objectives for significant cultural resource values will remain unchanged under all alternatives addressed in this resource management plan. The Big Dry Cultural Resource Management Plan will focus special management interest and attention on certain classes of cultural sites or individual properties as they may lend themselves to identified uses and will establish priority management for specific cultural resources. Management of individual properties will be addressed in site specific cultural resource project plans. Management emphasis will be placed on the following categories of sites: Special emphasis will continue to be focused on bison kill sites. These sites will be managed to facilitate scientific and conservation use. In the planning area, stone ring sites are most prevalent near and north of the Missouri River. A study will be conducted to sample sites of this type for eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places and possible special designation.

Sites with possible traditional religious values, such as medicine wheel sites, will be identified and managed for preservation and possible sociocultural use. Management will focus on the identification of ethnographic period sites. These would include early explorer, i.e. Lewis and Clark related sites and fur trade era sites. Sites with increasing public interest are Indian war period sites, including the Powder River Depot. Cultural material scatters will be examined for their information potential. The Cherry Creek archeological complex of sites will be protected and managed for scientific uses. Cultural sites in this complex will be treated as a unit. Attempts will be made to identify Lewis and Clark campsites within the planning area along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. Future plans may include interpretation and other uses for these sites. Identification of homestead period sites will continue with possible interpretation of a representative sample. Five cultural sites will be designated areas of critical environmental concern on the following public surface acres (see ACEC appendix and map 2): Hoe (144 acres), Powder River Depot (1,386 acres), Big Sheep Mountain (360 acres), Seline (80 acres), and Jordan Bison Kill (160 acres). In these areas of critical environmental concern, locatable minerals will be withdrawn from entry, and mineral material sales and permits will not be allowed. Nonenergy leasable minerals, and coal leasing will be closed. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Geophysical exploration will not be allowed. Livestock grazing will be allowed, except on 171 acres in the Powder River Depot Area of Critical Environmental Concern (for the Powder River Depot Special Recreation Management Area, see map 18). Off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails, and rights-of-way construction will be avoided. Monitoring will be conducted as described in Table 58 in the Monitoring appendix.

Rationale
The Big Dry Resource Area contains many important and unique cultural resource sites. Principal authorities for cultural resources are the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966; the Archeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, as amended; the Code of Federal Regulations (36

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CFR 800); the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978; and the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990. The National Historic Preservation Act identifies and establishes a system for addressing possible impacts to cultural resources resulting from federal actions. Section 106 directs federal agencies to consider the effects of their actions and authorizations on properties included in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act establishes definitions, permit requirements, criminal and civil penalties for unauthorized or attempted unauthorized excavation, removal, damage, alteration or defacement of any archeological resource found on public or Native American lands. In addition, the Act specifies that federal agencies will coordinate with Native Americans before issuing archeological permits that may result in harm to, or destruction of, their religious or cultural sites. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act protects the rights of Native Americans to practice their religions. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires federal agencies to consult with Native American groups for disposition of cultural items or Native American human remains found on public lands or in federal possession. The BLM coordinates with Native American tribes when its actions have the potential to affect their values or religious areas. Designation of five sites as areas of critical environmental concern will help protect those sites with special management and enhance the values that make the sites significant.

most cost-efficient and responsive to resource management objectives. The resource objectives identified in this document will provide the guidelines, direction and degree of suppression to be used. Fire use areas (see maps 3A-B) are designated areas where fuels management activities will benefit the fire suppression program and meet resource management objectives. Prescribed fire (planned and unplanned ignition) will be used throughout the planning area. The objectives are to improve vegetation production, reduce fuel loads, and maintain public safety. On areas identified for fire use, prescriptions will be written in fire management activity plans for planned and unplanned ignitions. The intensity level for the initial attack on fires is divided into two broad categories. These categories are as follows: Intensive Fire Suppression - The objective of intensive fire suppression is to immediately suppress wildfires using available resources. Wildfires in intensive fire suppression areas shall be suppressed immediately, and can include the use of dozers, motor graders, tractors with plows, air tankers, and firefighting crews. Conditional Fire Suppression - The intensity level of conditional fire suppression is not predetermined and will vary with the conditions (impending weather forecasts, condition of vegetation, or firefighting forces committed to other fires). Consideration of resource loss, as well as cost will be the basis of management decisions for conditional fire suppression. The areas where conditional suppression techniques will be implemented are: Hoe, Big Sheep Mountain, Jordan Bison Kill, and Seline cultural sites (see map 2); Powder River Depot (see map 2 and map 18) and Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (see maps 31A-D) cultural and recreation areas; Calypso (see map 15) and Cherry Creek (see map 16) recreation areas; Hell Creek, Bug Creek, Ash Creek Divide, and Sand Arroyo paleontological areas (see map 11); Smoky Butte (see map 14); piping plover (see map 27) and black-footed ferret (see map 23) wildlife sites; and riparian/wetland areas. The guidelines for fire rehabilitation in the planning area are:

ENGINEERING
Construction and maintenance of structural improvements for watershed, wildlife, fisheries, recreation and livestock grazing will be allowed when consistent with resource management objectives for the allotments or areas (BLM Manual 9101). An interdisciplinary team of resource specialists will initiate projects and determine their cost, environmental impacts and mitigating measures (see Engineering appendix).

Rationale
BLM Manual 9101 requires a feasibility analysis conducted in the field by an interdisciplinary team of resource specialists. This method is more time efficient and provides for better decisions.

FIRE MANAGEMENT
Fire management includes both wildfire actions and prescribed fire operations. Fire will be managed in the manner

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Hand and dozer line berms will be rolled back, feathered out and blended in with the surrounding terrain. Surface disturbances on slopes greater than 10 percent will have angular water bars constructed perpendicular to the slope at intervals no less than 100 feet apart. Fire-killed trees that are determined to be a hazard to the user public will be felled and cut into firewood lengths. Tree stumps along roads or trails will be cut level to the ground to eliminate hazards to vehicles. Fires greater than 25 acres will be analyzed by a resource area advisor and fire staff for possible rehabilitation needs. BLM fire reports on fires greater than 25 acres will be accompanied by a fire rehabilitation report. This report can simply state that no rehabilitation work is required, or it can be as comprehensive as needed to assess environmental impacts, mitigation measures, and monitoring plans to measure success.

Harvesting of firewood is allowed on designated public lands for dead trees, with ponderosa pine being the primary species. Wildings are live vegetative products sold off of public lands. They are used for landscaping and include yucca, cactus, grasses, pine trees, and willows. Sales for sawtimber will not be allowed except salvage harvest of ponderosa pine affected by insects, fire, or other natural causes. Harvest of cottonwood will be allowed on public land only when human safety is a factor, or when disease or insect infestations are threatening cottonwood stands. Surface disturbance in the limber pine stand in the Terry Badlands (see map 4B) will not be allowed. The only exception will be if disease or insect infestations threaten the stand making control methods necessary.

Rationale
Approximately 10 percent of the planning area is forested, and none are classified as commercial. Management direction is to protect and enhance this resource, while providing limited use for the public.

Rationale
Public lands are designated for intensive fire suppression in order to protect areas with (1) large amounts of intermingled or adjacent private or state lands, and (2) high values-at-risk (items of human construction), high-value wildlife habitat, historic sites, or other resources. In areas designated conditional fire suppression, management actions restrict intensive fire suppression techniques, such as committing heavy equipment, in order to minimize cost or damage to a resource.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
The BLM will minimize future hazardous materials contamination and its associated risks, costs, and liabilities on public lands in authorizing activities. The BLM will protect the health and safety of public land users. No authorizations will be made for solid or hazardous waste disposal facilities on public land. Prior to the BLM acquiring land through purchase, exchange, or withdrawal relinquishment, the area shall be inventoried for hazardous substances or contamination in accordance with Department of Interior policy. The BLM will not acquire any contaminated real estate except at the direction of Congress, or for good cause with the approval of the Secretary. A contingency plan has been prepared to direct and coordinate a BLM response to any reported incident involving the accidental or intentional spill or release of potentially hazardous substances on public land. Clean up will be in cooperation with the Montana State Department of Environmental Quality.

FORESTRY
Forest lands in the planning area with 10 percent or more canopy cover per acre are managed for the enhancement of other resources, not for the production of forest products or sawtimber. Wood product sales for posts and poles, Christmas trees, and firewood will be allowed only in the Knowlton, Pine Unit, and Missouri Breaks areas (see maps 4A-B). The harvesting of posts and poles is a selective cutting process; the preferred post size is 6 to 8 inches in diameter and 4 to 6 feet in height. Ponderosa pine is used for posts and poles, while juniper is used for posts. This harvesting is conducive to natural regeneration. For Christmas trees, an area is designated by the authorized officer and individuals are allowed to select a tree. Ponderosa pine and juniper are the most desirable and both regenerate naturally.

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Rationale
In order to comply with the appropriate state and federal laws, BLM provides management for hazardous materials and waste.

LANDS
Access is one of the primary considerations in exchanges. Easements will be considered in areas where exchanges cannot be utilized to resolve access conflicts. Emphasis will be placed on land tenure adjustment and easement acquisition within the planning area. All land exchanges will be based on willing buyer/willing seller. The goal of the lands program will be to consolidate the scattered public lands increasing management efficiency and accessibility. Prior to initiation of any land adjustment actions, consideration will be given to the impact on the affected county’s payment in lieu of taxes and consultation with the county government will be sought. The objective criteria for disposal and retention areas are as follows:

Each parcel identified for sale or exchange will be subject to certain conditions before disposal: hazardous waste, wilderness, wildlife, riparian/wetland evaluations, and cultural and mineral clearances and reports. The results of the evaluations and reports will be included in an environmental analysis. A notice of realty action would be subsequently published. Parcels will be retained if the clearances, reports, or environmental analyses show any resource values worth retaining.

RETENTION AREAS
The BLM’s long-term objectives for retention areas (see map 30) are to retain and manage the public lands. Specific objectives are to consolidate public land with public access and resource values into units BLM can effectively manage. Individual tracts or parcels in the retention areas may be disposed or repositioned through sale or exchange when significant management efficiency, greater public values, or other objectives will be met.

ACQUISITION AREAS
Criteria to be reviewed when considering lands or minerals for acquisition are the following. General Acquisition Criteria: 1. Facilitate access to areas retained for long-term public use. 2. Enhance congressionally designated areas, rivers or trails. 3. Enhance designated areas of critical environmental concern. 4. Facilitate national, state, and local BLM priorities or mission statement needs. 5. Stabilize or enhance local economies or values. 6. Enhance the opportunity for new or emerging public land uses or values. 7. Secure for the public significant water-related land interest. These interests include lakeshore, riverfront, stream or pond sites. 8. Important riparian/wetland areas. 9. Acquisition of cultivated lands will be avoided, unless such acquisition is clearly necessary to attain a specific resource goal. Program Specific Acquisition Criteria: Cultural Resources - Any cultural site to be acquired should meet the following evaluation standards: 1. High research values.

DISPOSAL AREAS
The public land in the disposal areas (see map 30) consists of small tracts or parcels that are widely scattered, possess limited resource values, and are difficult to manage. BLM’s objective is to dispose of these types of public land in these areas. Disposal will be through sale or exchange consistent with Sections 203 and 206 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. Exchanges or acquisitions may be considered to acquire desirable tracts within the disposal areas or add to existing public lands within those areas meeting the long-term management objective criteria.

Disposal Criteria
The following criteria will be used to identify parcels for disposal: 1. Lands of limited public value. 2. Widely scattered parcels which will be difficult for BLM to manage beyond minimal custodial administration and have no significant values. 3. Lands with high public values proper for management by other federal agencies, or state, or local government. 4. Land which will aid in aggregating or repositioning other public lands or public land resource values to facilitate national, state, and local objectives.

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2. Moderate scarcity. 3. Possess some unique values, such as association with an important historic person or high aesthetic value. 4. Contribute significantly to interpretive potential cultural resources already in public ownership. Minerals 1. Consolidation of mineral estates. 2. Acquisition in response to a federal project need, as in the case of a dam project. Criteria for this type of acqisition generally include: a. When the development of a federal project precludes the mineral estate owner from exercising development rights. b. When the exercise of the mineral estate owner’s right of development would materially interfere with the federal project. Recreation - Acquire land with the following significant values: 1. 2. 3. National values, such as Congressionally designated areas, rivers, or trails. State values that enhance recreation trails and waterways or the interstate, state, and multi-county use. Local values for extensive use, such as hunting, fishing, off-road vehicle, and snowmobile use.

OTHER LAND ACTIONS
Whenever possible, major rights-of-way will be constructed within or next to existing rights-of-way, such as highways and railroads. Environmentally sensitive areas identified during the grant application examination will be avoided. In areas where rights-of-way are allowed, stipulations from the BLM Manual 2800 will be used to protect resource values. Land use permits, leases, and easements will be issued on a discretionary basis, consistent with Section 302 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. Unauthorized uses of public land will be resolved in an expeditious manner. Unauthorized uses include agricultural, occupancy, exclosures, and rights-of-way. Unauthorized users are liable for past rental, plus administrative costs, and costs for rehabilitation of the affected lands. Table 2 below contains recommendations for the existing withdrawals. TABLE 2 WITHDRAWALS Acres Recommended for Continuation International Boundary Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge Fox Lake Game Management Area Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife Waterfowl Production Area Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge Corps of Engineers (Fort Peck) Fort Keogh Livestock Experiment Station Total
1

Wilderness - Acquire inholdings within wilderness study areas and within the boundaries of Congressionally designated wilderness areas under BLM administration. Wildlife Habitat Management - Areas for acquisition will be lands of any size with significant wildlife values as defined below: 1. Threatened and endangered species. a. Federally listed species. b. Federal candidate species. c. State listed species of special concern. 2. Fisheries 3. Big game. Important habitat such as crucial winter areas, fawning, calving, and security areas. 4. Upland game birds, migratory birds, and waterfowl. Crucial breeding, nesting, resting, roosting, feeding, and wintering habitat areas of complexes. 5. Raptors. Existing and potential nesting areas for sensitive species or significant nesting complexes for nonsensitive complexes. 6. Nongame. Crucial habitat complexes.

293.46 24,508.07 160.00 26.32 290,222.45 3,756.11 9,851.56 328,817.97

Revocations of Withdrawals Lower Yellowstone Project 858.71 Fort Buford Project 913.60 Public Water Reserve 107 (McCone) 237.53 Milk River Project 36.69 Corps of Engineers (Fort Peck) 206,976.45 Public Water Reserve 107 (Garfield) 160.00 Buffalo Rapids Project (Bureau of Reclamation) 113.53 Total 209,296.51

1

See the Lands appendix for further information on withdrawals.

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Rights-of-way construction will be avoided in cultural areas of critical environmental concern (see map 2), in wildlife areas of critical environmental concern (see maps 23 and 27), in Makoshika State Park (see map 17), in the special recreation management areas (33,110 public surface acres, see maps 15, 16, and 18) and excluded in the Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (80 public surface acres, see map 14). The Makoshika State Park recreation and public purposes application will be modified to consider transfer of 2,700 public surface acres to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (see map 17). Fallon County will receive 640 acres of public land by sale for a sanitary landfill (see map 5). Land in T. 13 N., R. 51 E., sec. 32 (640 acres) will be acquired, preferably by exchange, into public ownership for the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area (see map 16). Alternative methods of acquisition will be pursued only after all reasonable exchange proposals had been explored. To ensure no private development below Cherry Creek Dam approximately 200 acres in T. 12 N., R. 51 E., sec. 12 will be acquired through fee title or a conservation easement.

late seral to potential natural community or in desired plant community, and 75 percent of the riparian areas in proper functioning condition by 1997. The Livestock appendix lists allotments with proposed allotment management plans, allotments with “I” category allotment management plans, the remaining “I” category allotments, and the status of existing allotment management plans. BLM will take immediate action to resolve the problems on “I” category allotments. The areas’ ability to respond to these management actions will vary: utilization objectives may be met within 1 to 3 years, riparian objectives may be met within 3 to 7 years, and ecological status or desired plant community objectives may be met within 5 to 15 years. Livestock grazing will be excluded from May 1 through July 15 in the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern (5 animals unit months, see map 27). In addition, 558 animal unit months will be excluded in the Cherry Creek (see map 16), Calypso (see map 15), and Powder River Depot (see map 18) special recreation management areas. The sale of 640 public surface acres to Fallon County for a sanitary landfill (see map 5) will cancel 145 animal unit months. The 2,700 public surface acre disposal to Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for Makoshika State Park (see map 17) will cancel 150 BLMadministered animal unit months. Grazing will be canceled for coal development (640 to 830 animal unit months on 3,400 to 4,400 acres each year) during the 40-year mine life.

Rationale
Public access is a recognized need in the resource area. During the past 10 years, the resource area has improved access by acquiring new access routes through the purchase of easements, land exchanges and negotiation of reciprocal rights-of-ways. Access will continue to improve by acquiring additional access, utilizing purchase of easements, conducting land exchanges, validation of RS 2477 rightsof-ways and reciprocal rights-of-ways. Public landownership pattern in the resource area is highly fragmented. Land exchanges will be continue to be conducted to improve access and management of the resources.

Rationale
Management actions are designed to maintain or improve vegetation condition. By emphasizing action on “I” category allotments, BLM will be concentrating first on those areas with unique values that can improve. Livestock grazing is excluded from May 1 to July 15 in the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern in order to protect the piping plover eggs from trampling. Where people are concentrating in small areas and these areas are designated Special Recreation Management Areas, livestock grazing is excluded in order not to detract from the recreational experience. Livestock grazing is canceled in areas where BLM will no longer be administering the livestock grazing.

LIVESTOCK GRAZING MANAGEMENT
Management actions include grazing use, grazing activity plans and systems, utilization levels, range improvements, and vegetation treatment. Increases or decreases in grazing preference animal unit months may be implemented based on resource conditions within an allotment. Temporary adjustments may result, due to conditions such as drought, fire, flood, or insect infestation. Long-term adjustments are based on monitoring data that supports changes in grazing preference. These adjustments will be consistent with 43 CFR 4110.3 to 4110.3-3 and the Montana Drought Policy. Coordinated activity plans and allotment management plans are used to develop grazing management and multiple-use objectives, such as managing 80 percent of the uplands in

MINERALS COAL
The planning area is within the Fort Union Coal Region and competitive leasing is reviewed by the Regional Coal Team. At this time, the region is decertified (see BLM

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Manual H-3420-1) and not subject to regional coal sales. The coal planning process is described in the “Coal” section of the Minerals appendix. Pending the application of the surface-owner consultation screen, coal will be acceptable for further consideration for leasing or exchange on 580,547 public mineral acres containing 6.18 billion tons of coal (see maps 7A-D).

subject to the General Mining Law of 1872, as amended; these minerals are leasable. Minerals acquired after the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended, are subject to the General Mining Law. In order to protect important resource values, the Hoe, Seline, Big Sheep Mountain, Powder River Depot, Hell Creek, Bug Creek, Sand Arroyo, Ash Creek Divide, Smoky Butte and Piping Plover areas of critical environmental concern will be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry, subject to valid existing rights. In order to protect significant recreational values, the Powder River Depot, Cherry Creek, and Lewis and Clark Trail special recreation management areas and Makoshika State Park will also be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry.

Rationale
This management was selected as it will allow the BLM to comply with the multiple use mandates established by FLPMA and the 43 CFR 1600 regulations governing multiple use planning. It will allow BLM to comply with the Surface Mining Control Reclamation Act and the 43 CFR 3400 regulations established to govern the federal coal management program.

MINERAL MATERIALS
The BLM responds to the requests for sand and gravel used in road surfacing and maintenance. The BLM issues free use permits and sales contracts for mineral materials where disposal is considered to be in the public interest, while providing for reclamation of mined lands, and preventing undue and unnecessary degradation of nonmineral resources. Mineral materials permits are considered on a case-by-case basis and issued at the discretion of the area manager. Mineral material sales are valued according to the BLM statewide pricing schedule. Contracts valued at more than $5,000 require individual appraisals before sale. Environmental documentation for material sales or permits for fewer than 50,000 cubic yards and disturbing fewer than 5 acres may be processed with a Categorical Exclusion Review. Sales or permits more than 50,000 yards or 5 acres require an environmental analysis. A reclamation plan and operating stipulations to protect resources that are not mineral are included in the permit. The site reclamation bond is held by the Montana Department of State Lands. Material sales and permits are monitored for production verification, and for operating and reclamation compliance. Crucial winter range will be open to mineral material sales (see map 24). Mineral material sales will not be allowed in Makoshika State Park (6,628 public mineral acres, see map 17) according to the Memorandum of Understanding between the BLM, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Dawson County. Mineral material sales and permits will not be allowed on the following public mineral acres: Smoky Butte (280 acres, see map 14), cultural (1,802 acres, see map 2), paleontological (48,713 acres, see map 11), and wildlife (11,182 acres, see maps 23 and 27) areas of critical environmental concern. Mineral material sales and permits will not be allowed on the Powder River Depot (see map 18), Cherry

LOCATABLE MINERALS
Lands will be withdrawn from entry under the General Mining Law of 1872, as amended, on the cultural (1,802 public mineral acres, see map 2), paleontological (48,713 public mineral acres, see map 11), and Piping Plover (16 public mineral acres, see map 27) areas of critical environmental concern and on the Powder River Depot (see map 18), and Cherry Creek (see map 16) special recreation management areas (2,236 public mineral acres) and Makoshika State Park (6,628 public mineral acres, see map 17). The Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (280 public mineral acres, see map 14) will be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry subject to valid existing rights. If a plan of operations is received, BLM will do a validity examination (see “Locatable Minerals” section in the Minerals appendix).

Rationale
Locatable minerals are managed in order to comply with the Mining Law of 1872, as amended. It provides for exploration, discovery, and mining of metallic and certain nonmetallic minerals on federal lands. This law has five elements: (1) discovery of a valuable mineral deposit, (2) location of mining claims, (3) recordation of mining claims, (4) maintenance of mining claims, and (5) mineral patenting. The BLM manages the last three elements. The management program for locatable minerals is administered under federal regulations (43 CFR 3809) and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Montana Department of State Lands and the BLM (BLM Manual H3809-1, appendix 1). Minerals acquired by the federal government under the Bankhead Jones Act of 1937 are not

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Creek (see map 16), and Lewis and Clark Trail (see maps 31A-D) special recreation management areas (26,236 public mineral acres) and in the Fallon County sanitary landfill (640 public mineral acres, see map 5).

OIL AND GAS
Federal oil and gas leasing authority for public lands are found in the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended; and for acquired lands in the Acquired Lands Leasing Act of 1947, as amended. Leasing of federal oil and gas is affected by other acts such as the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, and the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act of 1987. Regulations governing federal oil and gas leasing and lease operations are contained in 43 CFR 3100, Geophysical Exploration (43 CFR 3150), Onshore Operating Orders (43 CFR 3164.1), the Makoshika State Park Memorandum of Understanding (located in the Big Dry Resource Area files), and BLM manuals and instruction memorandums. A lease grants the right to explore, extract, remove, and dispose of oil and gas deposits that may be found on the leased lands. The lessee may exercise the rights conveyed by the lease, subject to lease terms and any lease stipulations (modifications of the lease), and permit approval requirements. When geophysical exploration is allowed, it will follow the procedures and regulations discussed in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix. Terms and conditions for existing oil and gas leases (valid existing rights) cannot be changed by the decisions in this document until the lease expires. When the lease expires, the area will be subject to the decisions reached in this document. Unavailable lands under the administration of the BLM will be leased only if a state or fee well is completed within the same spacing unit. These lands will be leased with a no surface occupancy and no subsurface occupancy stipulation with no waiver, modification or exception provisions. There will be no exploration or development (drilling or production) within the unavailable or unleased lands and no additional exploration or development adjacent to these lands as a consequence of lease issuance. After issuance of a lease, the lease will be committed to a communitization agreement and the United States will then receive revenue in proportion to its acreage interest as it bears to the entire acreage interest committed to the agreement. Areas where oil and gas development could coexist with other resources uses will be open to leasing, with or without stipulations. Stipulations are a part of the lease only when environmental and planning records show the need for them. Three types of stipulations describe how lease rights are modified: no surface occupancy, timing limitation (seasonal restriction), and controlled surface use. (For descrip-

Rationale
Scoria, sand, and gravel are the major mineral materials found in the planing area. Most of the deposits are privately owned. The Mineral Materials Act of 1947, as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 give federal agencies the authority to manage public lands under the principles of multiple use and sustained yield by regulating the use, occupancy, and development of public lands. Areas that are closed to permits and sales contain important resource values that would be removed or destroyed if mineral material extraction were to take place. In order to help protect these areas, mineral material sales and permits are not allowed.

NONENERGY LEASABLE MINERALS
A plan amendment will be required before issuing surface mining leases. Prospecting permits will be available for all lands not withdrawn from mineral leasing in conformance with 43 CFR 3500. The leasing functions of the nonenergy leasable minerals program are prospecting permitting, preference right leasing, and competitive leasing. Nonenergy leasable minerals will be closed to leasing in the following public mineral acres: cultural (1,802 acres, see map 2), paleontology (48,713 acres, see map 11), recreation (280 acres, see map 14), and wildlife (11,182 acres, see maps 23 and 27) areas of critical environmental concern. Nonenergy leasable mineral leasing will be closed in the Powder River Depot (see map 18), Cherry Creek (see map 16), and Lewis and Clark Trail (see maps 31A-D) special recreation management areas (26,236 public mineral acres), and Makoshika State Park (6,628 public mineral acres, see map 17).

Rationale
Exploration and development of nonenergy leasable minerals are authorized under the Mineral Leasing Acts of 1920 and 1947, as amended. These minerals include, but are not limited to gypsum, sodium, and potassium. Areas closed to nonenergy leasable mineral leasing have significant values that would be removed or destroyed if mining were to take place. In order to protect these important values, these areas are closed to leasing.

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tions see “Leasing Process” in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix.) Stipulations may be changed by application of waivers, exceptions, or modifications. The decision whether to grant waivers, exceptions, or modifications generally occurs during the Application for Permit to Drill approval process. If the authorized officer determines the change to be major or significant, the proposed action will be subject to a 30day public review period. Waivers are a permanent exemption from a lease stipulation. This occurs when the resource does not require the protection of stipulation. For example, a waiver will be granted to an area stipulated for steep slopes if the authorized officer determines that none of the leasehold includes slopes over 30 percent. Exceptions are granted on a case-by-case basis. Each time the lessee applies for an exception, the resource objective of the stipulation must be met. An example of an exception is the granting of access into crucial winter range before the end of the period specified by the timing stipulation; in this plan the period from December 1 though March 31. If an open winter has occurred and the winter range is no longer being used before March 31, an exception might be granted for entry before the time period has elapsed. The decision is granted only for the year in question. In the following year an exception will have to be evaluated on current seasonal conditions and use. Modifications are fundamental changes to the provisions of a lease stipulation either temporarily or for the term of the lease. A specific example of a modification to a stipulation in this plan is in an area of active coal mining. There is a no surface occupancy stipulation on coal mines with approved mine plans. When an area has been mined, there is no longer any need to restrict access for oil and gas development. The boundary of the coal mine area which is stipulated will be modified to allow oil and gas development to occur where the coal has been removed. If the lease is changed by a waiver or permanent modification, BLM will issue a written notice to the lessee and any other affected lessees. The notification to lessees is titled “Notice to Amend the Lease Terms.” Additional information can be provided to the lessee in the form of a lease notice. This notice does not place restrictions on lease operations, but does provide information about applicable laws and regulations, and the requirements for additional information to be supplied by the lessee. After lease issuance, the lessee may conduct lease operations with an approved permit ( see “ Conditions of Ap-

proval” in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix). Proposed drilling and associated activities must be approved before beginning operations. The operator must file an Application for Permit to Drill or Sundry Notice that must be approved according to (1) lease stipulations, (2) Onshore Oil and Gas Orders, and (3) regulations and laws (see “Permitting” in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix). On Bureau of Reclamation lands, stipulations that are recommended by the Bureau of Reclamation will be used (see “Oil and Gas” section in the Minerals appendix). Oil and gas leasing will be allowed in Makoshika State Park (see map 17) in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the BLM, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Dawson County. Oil and gas leasing will not be allowed (nondiscretionary) in the Fox Lake Game Management area (160 acres). For additional discussions on oil and gas recovery, regulations, lease stipulations, and permit processing see the “Oil and Gas” section in the Minerals appendix (see maps 32A-D). Table 3 below presents the lease stipulations and the acreage affected by each stipulation. Monitoring will be conducted as described in Table 58 of the Monitoring appendix.

Rationale
The BLM planning process determines availability of federal lands for oil and gas leasing where BLM is the surface management agency. For federal oil and gas lands where the surface is managed by another federal agency such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Bureau of Reclamation, the BLM will consult with that agency before issuing leases. Oil and gas lands owned by Native Americans or Tribes are evaluated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs with subsequent leases issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In areas where oil and gas development may conflict with other resources, the areas may be closed to leasing. The regulations at part 43 CFR 3100.0-3(d); the Secretary’s general authority to prevent the waste and dissipation of public property (43 U.S.C. 1457(12) (1982); and the Attorney General’s Opinion of April 2, 1941 (Vol. 40 Op. Atty. Gen 41) allow the BLM to lease lands that are otherwise unavailable for leasing if oil and gas is being drained from such lands. If the unavailable lands are under the jurisdiction of another agency, leasing of such lands will only occur if the affected surface management agency agrees to lease issuance. To provide a greater degree of protection to important resource values, leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy, controlled surface use, or timing stipulation.

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TABLE 3 SUMMARY OF OIL AND GAS SPECIAL STIPULATIONS, LEASE TERMS AND WITHDRAWALS High Development Potential Acres
1

Moderate Total Development Mineral Potential Acres Acres Stipulated

Acres With Lease Terms

Acres Closed To Leasing

Special Stipulations

No Surface Occupancy Cultural ACECs Special recreation management areas Fallon County sanitary landfill Smoky Butte ACEC Paleontological ACECs Riparian/wetlands Piping Plover ACEC Bald eagle nests Ferruginous hawk nests Grouse leks and nests Least tern habitat Limber pine area Paleontological localities Peregrine falcon nests VRM I

80 4,500 640 0 0 1,660 16 0 0 945 4,443 0 0 0 3,921

1,722 21,736 0 280 48,713 3,690 0 515 466 43,358 12,689 3,019 120 0 80,122

1,802 26,236 640 280 48,713 5,350 16 515 466 44,303 17,132 3,019 120 0 84,043

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Controlled Surface Use Steep slopes 33,422 Black-footed Ferret ACEC and potential black-footed ferret habitat 0 Makoshika State Park 0 Prairie dog habitat 0 VRM II 26,078 Timing Restrictions Crucial winter ranges Elk spring calving Grouse nesting zone Raptor nests Lease Terms Potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret Withdrawals (nondiscretionary) Fox Lake Game Management Area

685,680 5,164 6,628 30,637 380,944

719,102 5,164 6,628 30,637 407,022

0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0

69,373 0 5,634 1,039

631,606 0 398,856 43,180

700,979 0 404,490 44,219

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0

56,839

0

56,839

0

0

160

0

0

160

1

See “Oil and Gas” in the Minerals appendix for descriptions.

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PALEONTOLOGY
Surface-disturbing activities are subject to the following requirements. The lessee or operator shall immediately inform the BLM of paleontological resources discovered as a result of operations, and will stop until directed to proceed by the BLM. An on-the-ground survey for fossil material will be conducted by the BLM and the operator will be notified where and when to continue operations. If the fossil material is significant, the activity will be moved so the locality will not be disturbed. If the activity cannot be moved, mitigation measures will be completed. This may be simply collecting the fossil(s) and associated data immediately, or it may require a major excavation of the site. Paleontological collecting permits are issued to institutions with the proper facilities for preparation, study, and storage of fossil material. The researchers in charge of the field work must be qualified to remove and handle the fossil material. The fossils and associated data are to remain available to researchers for study and for public display. A report of the results of the field work must be filed with the BLM. Excavations to recover paleontological materials or data will be backfilled. Topsoil is usually removed and stockpiled separately at the beginning of an excavation. It is spread over the backfilled material during reclamation. The area would be recontoured to match the original landscape, and reseeded with native species. On slopes exceeding 30 percent, water bars (water diversions) or other methods to reduce erosion would be constructed. Surface-disturbing activities will not be allowed on the Garbani, Harbicht Hill, and Flat Creek paleontological localities. Management actions occurring within the Judith River Formation, Hell Creek Formation, and the Tullock Member of the Fort Union Formation will be analyzed for impacts to the paleontological resource (see maps 12A-D). Four paleontological areas: the Hell Creek (19,169 public surface acres), Bug Creek (3,840 public surface acres), Sand Arroyo (9,056 public surface acres), and Ash Creek Divide (7,931 public surface acres) will be designated areas of critical environmental concern (see ACEC appendix and map 11). These areas will be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry and closed to mineral material sales and permits, nonenergy leasable mineral leasing, and coal leasing. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Geophysical exploration will not be allowed. Off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails, and rights-of-way construction will be allowed. Livestock grazing will be allowed on paleontological localities and on the Ash Creek Divide, Bug Creek,

Sand Arroyo, and Hell Creek areas of critical environmental concern. Monitoring will be conducted as described in Table 58 of the Monitoring appendix.

Rationale
To help protect their special values, BLM is designating four paleontological areas of critical environmental concern and will not allow surface disturbing activities in the Garbani, Harbicht Hill and Flat Creek localities.

RECREATION
In addition to existing policies and guidance, recreation management will follow Recreation 2000: A Strategic Plan (USDI, BLM 1989d) and Recreation 2000Tri-State Strategy (USDI, BLM 1990b). Emphasis is directed toward five goals: (1) budgeting, (2) visitor information, (3) access and land tenure adjustments, (4) facilities, and (5) resource protection. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail will continue to be managed in accordance with the act which established the Trail in 1978 (see maps 31A-D). The Trail will be managed for public use and enjoyment, while preserving the historic and cultural resources that are related to the events that occurred during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Management objectives will be (1) at a minimum, maintain the existing public land base that adjoins the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers; (2) increase, where appropriate and consistent with this plan, the public land base that adjoins the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers; (3) increase public use and enjoyment opportunities; and (4) maintain an undeveloped visual setting near known expedition campsites. Any changes in the landscape within view of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail will be guided by Class II visual resource management objectives as described in this section. Future management actions will give full consideration to lessening adverse impacts to adjacent private landowners and users, and harmonize with and compliment existing multiple-use plans. Management actions will include acquiring and marking access to the Trail, installing interpretive signs, and developing interpretive brochures. Priority will be placed on developing partnerships with other federal, state and local agencies, and private entities when the partnership benefits the public. Examples include developing wildlife viewing areas, managing campgrounds, acquiring access to public lands, developing fishing reservoirs and associated facilities, constructing trails and developing informational and interpretive brochures.

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Priority will be placed on acquiring legal access to public lands through exchanges and easements. Signing and identifying through signing parcels that are legally accessible and provide important recreation opportunities. Guides and outfitters and other permitted recreational uses will be authorized according to the Special Recreation Permit Guidelines for Montana, North and South Dakota (USDI, BLM 1987c). Determination of maximum allowable use will be according to the criteria in the BLM Manual H-8372-1. Outfitting and guiding will be authorized on a first-come, first-served basis until an area’s maximum allowable use is being approached. The affected area’s maximum allowable use will be approached when one of the following conditions occur: user conflicts exist either among commercial outfitters or between the non-guided public and commercial outfitters; damage to resources from visitor use is considered unacceptable; enforcement and compliance problems exist; or conflicts with adjacent landowners exist. When one of the above conditions is reached, and the conflict cannot be resolved through negotiations with users, the following process will be in effect until an activity plan is completed and the carrying capacity is established: no new permits for the activity in conflict will be issued for the affected area; a temporary allocation will be established using criteria such as camp spacing, temporary use areas and day use limitations; and other types of commercial activities may be authorized if they do not add to the existing conflict. The activity plan will show desired use levels based on the area’s carrying capacity. The plan also will establish the method of distributing commercial use. The BLM will continue to cooperate with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and private landowners to improve hunter access. This will involve participation in block management or developing access agreements with private landowners. Visual resource management classifications (see maps 19AD) on public land in the planning area are Class I (83,240 acres), Class II (424,492 acres), Class III (11,409 acres),

and Class IV (1,184,689 acres). Surface occupancy and use in visual resource management Class I areas applied to public lands will be managed according to Interim Management for Lands Under Wilderness Review (BLM Manual H-8550-1). Where publicly owned minerals underlie privately owned surface, visual protection measures will be recommended to the private surface owner to be used at their discretion. To maintain aesthetic values, semipermanent and permanent facilities in visual resource management Class II will require special design. This design will include location, painting, and camouflage to blend with natural surroundings and to meet visual quality objectives. Class I - The objective of this class is to preserve the existing character of the landscape. The goal of this class is to provide a landscape that appears unaltered by man. This class provides for natural ecological changes. It does not restrain limited management activity, or those activities specifically authorized by the Wilderness Act of 1964 and described in BLM Manual H-8550-1. This is an interim classification until Congress determines which areas are wilderness. Lands designated as wilderness by Congress will continue to be managed under Class I objectives. Lands not designated wilderness will be managed under visual resource management Class II objectives. Class II - The objective is to keep the existing character of the landscape. The level of change to the characteristic landscape should be low. Management activities may be seen, but should not attract the attention of the casual observer. Any changes must repeat the basic elements of form, line, color, and texture found in the dominant features of the landscape. Class III - The objective is to partially keep the existing character of the landscape. The level of change to the landscape should be moderate. Management activities may attract attention but should not dominate the view of the casual observer. Changes should repeat the basic elements found in the dominant features of the landscape. Class IV - The objective is to provide for management activities that require major changes of the existing landscape. The level of change to the landscape can be high. These management activities may dominate the view and be the major focus of viewer attention. However, every attempt should be made to lessen the impact of these activities through careful location, minimal disturbance, and repeating the basic elements. The Wilderness Study Areas and areas recommended for wilderness (83,240 public surface acres, see maps 31A-D)

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will be managed according to the Interim Management for Lands Under Wilderness Review (BLM Manual H-8550-1) until Congress designates areas wilderness. Those areas designated wilderness will be managed according to the Wilderness Act. Those areas not designated wilderness will be managed the same as like adjacent lands. Off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails until Congress decides which areas to designate as wilderness. Those areas designated as wilderness will be closed to off-road vehicle use with exceptions as identified in the Wilderness Act or a future wilderness management plan. The areas Congress decides not to designate as wilderness will remain limited to off-road vehicle use. The one exception will be actions authorized by BLM. There will be 2,320 public surface acres open to off-road vehicle use to provide recreational opportunities to off-road vehicle users (see map 13 in the “Dear Reader” letter to the public March 2, 1995). In areas open to off-road vehicle use, vehicles will be allowed without restrictions. To protect the vegetation, soil and water resources 1,614,770 public surface acres will be limited off-road vehicle use, and 80 public surface acres (Smoky Butte, see map 14) closed to off-road vehicle use. No vehicles will be allowed on areas closed, including on the existing roads and trails. Motorized vehicles are not allowed within areas closed to off-road vehicles, except for emergency vehicles, fire suppression and rescue vehicles, BLM operation and maintenance vehicles, other federal, state, or local agency vehicles in the performance of an official duty and other motorized vehicles on official business specifically approved by the authorized officer of the Bureau of Land Management. In limited off-road vehicle use areas, parking or camping will be allowed within 100 yards of a road or trail. Special permits will be required for camps beyond that distance. Vehicle travel off existing roads and trails will be allowed only for authorized or permitted uses. These uses include medical or other emergencies, livestock management practices, geophysical exploration, firewood cutting, travel within active prairie dog colonies, retrieval of big game animals, and snow machines when snow cover is adequate. During particularly severe snow years, it may be necessary to consider limiting or closing some areas containing large numbers of wintering wildlife to snow machines. Special off-road vehicle permits for individuals with disabilities will be issued. Public lands within Makoshika State Park (2,700 acres, see map 17) will not be designated a special recreation management area as these lands will be considered for transfer to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act. Rights-of-way construction will be avoided. Off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails. Locatable minerals will be withdrawn from entry, and nonenergy leasable

minerals will be closed to leasing. BLM-administered livestock grazing will be canceled. In Makoshika State Park, mineral material sales and permits, and oil and gas leasing and development will be conducted according to the Memorandum of Understanding between BLM, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Dawson County. These lands will be unsuitable for coal development. Smoky Butte (80 public surface acres, see map 14) will be designated an area of critical environmental concern (see ACEC appendix). Off-road vehicle use will be closed. The area will be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry subject to valid existing rights. Mineral material sales and permits, coal leasing, and nonenergy mineral leasing will be closed. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Geophysical exploration and livestock grazing will be allowed. Rights-of-way construction will not be allowed. The planning area will be designated as an extensive recreation management area, except for the following 17,098 public surface acres designated as special recreation management areas: Calypso Special Recreation Management Area (see map 15) is a 69-acre parcel next to the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area, along the Yellowstone River. Management objectives include opportunities for camping, picnicking, day hiking, fishing, sightseeing and wildlife viewing. To achieve these objectives, the BLM will develop overnight tent campsites, restrooms, drinking water, picnic tables and fire rings. There are no federal minerals in the Calypso Special Recreation Management Area. Livestock grazing will not be allowed. Rights-of-way construction will be avoided. Offroad vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails. Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area (see map 16) will provide additional recreational facilities in southeastern Montana. It will consist of 2,858 public surface acres and a dam with a 50-foot pool depth (see the Recreation appendix for dam specifications). To provide fishing, boating, camping, picnicking and waterfowl hunting, the proposed facility should include overnight recreational vehicle and tent campsites, restrooms, drinking water, boat ramps, picnic tables and fire rings. A separate environmental impact statement will be written to analyze impacts from the proposed dam. Funding for this environmental impact statement and costs for building the dam will require a supplemental appropriation from Congress. If the dam is not constructed, Cherry Creek will not be managed as a special recreation management area and will be managed the same as like adjacent lands.

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Livestock grazing, mineral material sales and permits, and geophysical exploration will not be allowed in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area. Rights-ofway construction will be avoided. Locatable minerals will be withdrawn from entry. Coal, and nonenergy leasable mineral leasing will not be allowed. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation, and offroad vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails. Powder River Depot Special Recreation Management Area (see map 18) will provide additional recreational facilities in southeastern Montana. This 171 public surface acre special recreation management area is located with the Powder River Depot Area of Critical Environmental Concern. BLM will manage the special recreation management area with overnight campsites, and a display depicting the history of the area. Management objectives to provide fishing, river access, camping, and picnicking will be met with development of tent camping sites, restrooms, drinking water, boat ramps, picnic tables, and fire rings. Impacts to the Powder River Depot Area of Critical Environmental Concern from recreational developments for the special recreation management area will be mitigated. Livestock grazing, mineral material sales and permits, and geophysical exploration will not be allowed in the Powder River Depot Special Recreation Management Area. Rightsof-way construction will be avoided. Locatable minerals will be withdrawn from entry. Coal, and nonenergy leasable minerals will be closed to leasing. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails. Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management Area (see maps 31A-D) is 14,000 acres of public land along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail lies within this area. BLM will manage the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail in accordance with the act which established it in 1978. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail will be managed for public use and enjoyment, while preserving the historic and cultural resources that are related to the events that occurred during the Lewis and Clark expedition. Future management actions will give full consideration to lessening adverse impacts to adjacent private landowners and suers, and harmonize with and compliment existing land use plans. Management objectives in the Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management Area are to enhance waterbased recreation resources while meeting public demand for river access. Facilities will consist primarily of boat ramps, picnic tables and fire rings. Where use exceeds the

carrying capacity of the resource, additional facilities such as restrooms and campsites will be constructed. Development will be designed to compliment, rather than compete with, any nearby state, federal, or private facilities. The Calypso (see map 15) and Powder River Depot (see map 18) special recreation management areas are not included within this corridor. Management for those areas is discussed above. In the Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management Area, rights-of-way construction will be avoided. Mineral material permits and sales will not be allowed. Locatable mineral entry and livestock grazing will be allowed. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Coal and nonenergy mineral leasing will be closed. Geophysical exploration will be allowed and off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails. Monitoring will be conducted as described in Table 58 of the Monitoring appendix.

Rationale
BLM issues Special Recreation Use permits in order to protect resources, control visitor use and provide opportunities for commercial, competitive, noncommercial, noncompetitive, and special recreation uses on public lands. Outfitting and guiding is permitted to help satisfy the public’s demand for use in an area. Visual resource management classifications are made in order to manage lands in a manner which will protect scenic values. Open off-road vehicle designations are made to provide for public needs or demands. Limited off-road vehicle designations are made to help protect natural resources, and minimize conflicts among various users of the public lands. To help protect the area, the Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern is closed to off-road vehicle use. The Extensive Recreation Management Area is designated to manage the majority of public lands for traditional dispersed recreational use. Special Recreation Management Areas are designated to manage areas where outdoor recreation is a high priority, require a greater recreation investment, and more intensive recreation management is needed.

SOIL AND WATER
The federal Clean Water Act (Public Law 92-500), section 305(b) and section 106(e)(1), requires each state to submit

19

a biennial report on surface and ground water quality. The State of Montana’s 1992, 305(b) report includes a list of streams considered to be impaired within the Big Dry Resource Area. Many of these streams have limited public lands along their stream reach. Impaired streams that have a significant portion of public lands in the stream’s basin are considered critical watersheds (see Soil and Water appendix). Watershed activity plans, allotment management plans, and habitat management plans will be developed and implemented by consultation, coordination and cooperation with the operator, local and state agencies, other federal agencies, and interest groups. BLM will file water rights with the state of Montana for water-related projects on public land. A data base containing pertinent information will be maintained for water rights held by the BLM. BLM activities conducted will meet Montana water quality standards (see “Water” section in the Monitoring appendix). BLM will manage the Cherry Creek watershed to improve the water quality by improving the riparian habitat along the channels of the ephemeral and intermittent streams. Riparian management is discussed in the “Vegetation” section. BLM will be involved in the Cherry Creek Water Quality Special Project according to the Memorandum of Understanding between the BLM, Prairie County Conservation District, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, Prairie County Cooperative State Grazing District, Cooperative Extension Service, Soil Conservation Service, and Montana Department of State Lands. This Memorandum of Understanding is available in the Big Dry Resource Area office. The BLM objectives on upland areas and along stream bottoms, are to maintain adequate vegetation cover to increase soil productivity and stability. Management objectives include preventing the contamination of soils and water from spills. Vehicle and equipment servicing and refueling activities are conducted away from wet areas and drainages, except where present facilities exist. Proper techniques are used to collect petroleum products, and to clean up spills. The operator must develop a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan (40 CFR 112). Ground water wells, oil and gas, and facilities are to be completed in such a manner as to reduce the potential for contamination or depletion of the ground water aquifer. Wells will be constructed as regulated by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and Department of Health and Environmental Sciences. Protective measures must include, at a minimum, cementing or grouting the annulus of the borehole and grading the land surface to direct surface waters away from the wellbore. Federal oil and gas wells will be plugged according to

federal regulations (see “Production and Development” under “Oil and Gas” section in the Minerals appendix). Surface disturbance on slopes 30 percent or greater will be avoided whenever possible. If the surface-disturbing action cannot be avoided, appropriate mitigation measures will be applied to lessen the impacts to the soil. The following are reclamation actions to mitigate the impacts to the soil and water resources from surface-disturbing activities: mulching and nurse crops; road surfacing (gravel, scoria, or other surface materials); surface water drainage (drop structures, culvert placement, water bars, erosion fabrics, gully plugs, contour furrows, ripping, chiseling, and pitting); development of seed mixture, site-specific, for revegetation; (example: 3 pounds per acre dryland alfalfa or 2 pounds per acre yellow sweet clover, 2 pounds per acre green needle grass, 4 pounds per acre western wheat grass, 5 pounds per acre slender wheat grass); topsoil removal, storage and replacement (site specific recommendations of depths); snow fencing for additional moisture in establishment of vegetation; proper seedbed preparation, including ripping depth, drill or broadcast seeding, raking and discing; produced water and mud pit design, including liners, proper compaction, and location away from perennial and ephemeral streams. Ground water monitoring wells, if necessary; surface casing installed through the Fox Hills geologic formation to protect domestic ground water sources from possible contamination; reduced surface disturbance (smaller pad size, joint roads, pipeline rights-of-way, and selection of drill sites requiring least surface disturbance, shorter access roads). Monitoring will be conducted as described in Table 58 of the Monitoring appendix.

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Rationale
BLM consults and coordinates with other federal, state, and local agencies as required by the Watershed Protection and Flood Control Act, Clean Water Act, and Office of Management and Budget Circular A-81. Areas are managed in order to stabilize and conserve soils, increase vegetation production and maintain or improve water quality.

dum of Understanding states that the BLM will advise the regional supervisor of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks of any proposed treatments and that the regional supervisor will be given the opportunity to provide comments on these treatments. Interseeding occurs when desirable species are not present in the treatment area or on highly erodible soils to stabilize the soils. The seed used must be tested for purity and free of noxious weed seeds. When seeding crested wheatgrass, an appropriate forb mix such as alfalfa or sweet clover could be included. Harvesting of nonnative hay or seed will be authorized when consistent with resource management objectives for the allotments or areas. The BLM has the option to reduce animal unit months during the year the hay is cut if the cutting of hay will result in a reduction of the carrying capacity for the allotment. The operator will be informed of any potential reduction at the time they request prior approval for haying. Harvesting will be restricted in grouse nesting habitat within 2 miles of a lek until June 15. Harvesting will be excluded within 1/2 mile of an active raptor nest until August 1. BLM will cooperate with county weed boards in the planning area for control efforts directed toward noxious weeds on public lands (see map 21). This cooperation will consist of providing BLM funding, exchanging information, and control efforts by BLM crews to expand county efforts. Cooperation by BLM could be limited because of weed control funding and unavailability of staffing and equipment. BLM uses integrated pest management for noxious weed control (USDI, BLM 1985, 1987d, 1991b). This is an approach to reduce noxious weed damage to tolerable levels by using predators, parasites, genetically-resistant hosts, environmental modifications, and when necessary and appropriate, chemical pesticides (herbicides). Methods of treatment and acceptable levels of infestation will be described in a site-specific environmental analysis. An acceptable level of infestation may be incorporated into a desired plant community where total eradication is not economically or biologically reasonable. Weed control on public lands is in cooperation with county weed programs. When county crews are unavailable, BLM crews and equipment may be used. Personnel involved in pesticide application must be trained and a certified licensed applicator must be present. Individuals involved in herbicide applications, or using contaminated tools or equipment will wear protective clothing and equipment (USDI, BLM 1991b, BLM Manual 9011, H-9011-1).

VEGETATION
The vegetation management objective on public lands is to achieve plant communities with ecological status ranging from late seral to potential natural community within 20 years. Occasionally the desired plant community may have an ecological status less than late seral or potential natural community because of other management objectives taking precedence (see Vegetation appendix). Land treatments (chemical, fire, biological and mechanical) will be consistent with the guidelines stated in the Final Vegetation Treatment on BLM Lands in Thirteen Western States (USDI, BLM 1991b), Northwest Area Noxious Weed Program Final Environmental Impact Statement and Supplement (USDI, BLM 1987d), and BLM Manual H1740-1. Manual vegetation treatment can be used for establishment of vegetation in riparian areas when other methods are not recommended. Hand planting of willow or cottonwood cuttings (sections of twigs or stems) or seedlings will be allowed in riparian areas. Prescribed burning is used to enhance growth, and vigor of certain species, and to maintain a specific vegetation community. Prescribed burning will be avoided on highly erodible slopes. Areas will be burned to leave a mosaic pattern, with sagebrush cover if possible. Livestock grazing is delayed for at least one growing season. A two-year delay may be necessary for browse regrowth or when artificial seeding is required. Prescribed burns are carried out according to the procedures in the BLM Manual 9214 and H-92111. Mechanical treatments will be avoided on slopes greater than 15 percent, on highly erodible soils, or in riparian/ wetland areas. Mechanically-treated areas will be rested for two growing seasons (April through September). Undisturbed areas will be left for livestock and wildlife walkways in contour furrowed areas, and waterways will not be disturbed. Mechanical treatments will be consistent with the 1971 Memorandum of Understanding (on file in the Big Dry Resource Area) between the BLM and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. This Memoran-

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Chemical treatment is designed for reduction of noxious weeds such as leafy spurge and knapweed species. Methods and rates are in the Vegetation Treatment on BLM Lands in Thirteen Western States Final Environmental Impact Statement (USDI, BLM 1991b), the Northwest Area Noxious Weed Control Program Final Environmental Impact Statement (USDI, BLM 1985) and the supplement (USDI, BLM 1987d). Usually, the maximum rates will be used on small isolated infestations or newly introduced noxious weeds. The rates of herbicide application depend on species present, condition of the nontarget vegetation, soil type, water table depth, and other water sources. When applying herbicides, buffer strips will be provided next to dwellings, domestic water sources, agricultural land, streams, lakes, and ponds. A minimum buffer strip 100-feet wide must be provided for aerial application, 25 feet for vehicle application, and 10 feet for hand application. Deviations will be according to the herbicide label. The herbicide will be applied by hand on each plant within 10 feet of water (USDI, BLM 1991b, BLM Manual H9011-1). Biological weed control methods have been implemented to a limited extent. Grazing by sheep or goats helps to prevent leafy spurge from spreading. The effectiveness of insects is uncertain because an adequate population of insects and the right combination takes time to establish. The BLM will continue to work with agencies, universities and others using insects as a biological control agent. The BLM contracted in 1992 with the Montana Natural Heritage Program to inventory plant communities. This inventory did not identify any rare plant communities. Species of special concern will be managed in accordance with BLM Manual H-6840. This manual provides guidance for the BLM to manage species of special concern in a manner which will not cause these species to become threatened or endangered. Inventories will continue as needed. A 50 percent browse utilization level is standard for the planning area, though other levels can be incorporated into the terms and conditions of a grazing permit or lease, or a grazing activity plan. If proper utilization levels are exceeded, adjustments are made in cooperation with the livestock operator. If an agreement cannot be reached, a decision concerning livestock use will be issued according to 43 CFR 4110.3-2(b) and 43 CFR 4160. Forage increases resulting from improved grazing management or vegetation treatment will be allocated consistent with the management objectives for the particular allotment or area.

Riparian/wetland objectives are to restore and maintain riparian/wetland areas so 75 percent or more are in proper functioning condition by 1997. All activity plans with riparian/wetland areas will have the same goal as well as specific objectives such as desired plant communities, stream channel conditions, water quality standards, maximum allowable streambank alteration by livestock, minimum stubble heights of herbaceous plants at the end of the growing season, and a maximum allowable utilization level on woody plants. Management actions to accomplish those objectives include: Implementation of grazing systems, seasons of use adjustments, water developments, fencing, and livestock management. Include in activity plans, the amount of seedling, sapling, pole, and mature and dead woody key species on sites with potential for woody species. Describe the desired condition of the areas as well as the desired ecological status. No trough or tank will be installed in areas containing important riparian/wetland vegetation, unless no possible alternative site exists. If the water source is necessary and no possible alterative site exists, appropriate mitigation measures (such as fencing or season of use adjustments) will be implemented. New spring developments will be fenced. Placement of salt and mineral blocks in riparian/ wetland areas will not be allowed. Study enclosures will be established in riparian/ wetland sites to compare progress, evaluate management, and confirm recovery rates. This will be a cooperative effort with the permittees. Riparian/wetland areas are functioning properly when adequate vegetation, landform, or large woody debris are present to dissipate stream energy associated with high water flows, thereby reducing erosion and improving water quality; filter sediment, capture bedload, and aid floodplain development; improve floodwater retention and groundwater recharge; develop root masses that stabilize streambanks against cutting action; develop diverse ponding and channel characteristics to provide the habitat and the water depth, duration, and temperature necessary for fish production, waterfowl breeding, and other uses; and support greater biodiversity. The functioning condition of riparian/wetland areas is a result of the interaction among geology, soil, water, and vegetation. Inventory is conducted according to the proce-

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dures outlined in the Lentic and Lotic Wetland forms developed by BLM in conjunction with the Montana Riparian/Wetlands Association.

Aerial hunting of predators will be permitted in the planning area subject to the stipulations outlined in the Annual Animal Damage Control Plan (USDA 1993). The BLM will continue to be proactive in their management of threatened and endangered species, as well as those species which are candidates for listing. Management will be directed at recovering those species which are currently listed as threatened or endangered, and maintaining and enhancing habitat for those species which are candidates for listing. The BLM “Special Status Species” list was approved on May 6, 1994, (see Wildlife appendix). These species include those that could easily become endangered or extinct in a state. These species will receive protection to that extent which is afforded to candidate species. This means BLM will conduct no actions which could contribute to these species being listed as threatened or endangered. BLM manages existing prairie dog habitat for black-footed ferret recovery, associated species, viewing, and recreational shooting. Actions affecting prairie dogs or their habitat is a cooperative effort among the affected landowners, the BLM, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Montana Department of State Lands, and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Management actions could include prairie dog expansion, reintroduction, management of the recreational shooting of prairie dogs, plague abatement, or prairie dog control. BLM will pursue exchanging lands with willing landowners to acquire additional prairie dog habitat. Management of prairie dog colonies on public lands is subject to the Miles City District Black-tailed Prairie Dog Management Plan (see Wildlife appendix). This plan states that prairie dog towns that occur on the public lands, and do not cause significant adverse impacts to the soil and vegetation resources, are to be managed for wildlife and recreational values. Prior to surface-disturbing activities, prairie dog complexes greater than 80 acres require a black-footed ferret clearance according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service standards. If black-footed ferrets are not evident, activities can be authorized. If prairie dog control is proposed, and state or private lands are involved, a cooperative effort will be employed. Before controlling prairie dogs on public lands, the BLM will: Consult with the grazing permittee and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Additional consultation will be conducted with the U.S. Fish and

Rationale
Vegetation is managed to protect the soils, stabilize watersheds and riparian/wetlands, and provide forage for livestock and wildlife. The benefits from riparian/wetlands exceed the small area they occupy. Trees and other woody vegetation are highly valued in the prairie environment, for they provide many benefits to animals. Noxious weeds can invade ranges in excellent condition and displace useful forage. Without treatment, weeds will ultimately dominate the area with a tendency to create a monoculture.

WILDLIFE
Whenever possible and appropriate, habitat enhancements such as islands, or nesting platforms will be constructed on new or existing reservoirs, ponds, potholes, or river systems. Bird ramps will be installed in stock water tanks located on the public lands. Surface disturbance (other than water developments and fences) will not be authorized within 1/4 mile of sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse leks. Disturbance will not be authorized within 2 miles of a lek from March 1 through June 15 each year. In addition, no disturbance will be authorized within 1/2 mile of a raptor nest from March 1 to August 1 each year. Surface disturbance will not be allowed on least tern nesting habitat along the Yellowstone River. Priority for fishing reservoir construction will be based on proximity to residential areas. The BLM will try to develop self-sustaining game fish populations; however, most reservoirs will be maintained as a put-and-take fishery (stocked yearly). The BLM will try to improve existing reservoirs for fisheries habitat. The BLM also will consider fisheries potential during the design phase of new reservoirs. Fishery habitat improvements could include planting of aquatic species, fencing of reservoirs, placement of structures to provide cover or spawning areas, or increasing reservoir depth for existing fisheries reservoirs (see map 25). Great blue heron and double-crested cormorant rookeries identified on the public lands will be protected. Surface disturbance will not be allowed within 1,000 feet of rookeries. Power lines will follow the recommendations in Suggested Practices for Raptor Protection on Power Lines (Olendorff et al. 1981).

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Wildlife Service as required by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Complete a damage assessment to determine the na ture and extent of resource damage attributable to prairie dogs by identifying changes in condition, forage availability, and soil loss. Prepare or revise allotment management plans, habitat management plans, and coordinated resource management plans to include prairie dog management objectives and to identify management actions that provide for resource recovery. Complete an inventory on each prairie dog town for federally listed threatened and endangered species. The BLM will investigate the possibility of using nontoxic methods (perch poles, barriers, water and vegetation enhancement) for prairie dog control. Prairie dog towns on public land (1,151 acres) and the public land core area around them (10,015 acres) will be designated the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern (11,166 public surface acres, see ACEC appendix and map 23).Prairie dog towns will be allowed to expand on the public lands within the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern will be proactively managed for prairie dogs and those species dependent on that habitat. BLM will manage prairie dog colonies outside the core area as potential blackfooted ferret habitat until such time as the BLM, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks make a cooperative determination with the private landowners and the Department of State Lands on black-footed ferret reintroduction and recovery. If a cooperative agreement is reached, prairie dog colonies outside of the core area will become part of the reintroduction area. Should reintroduction occur, future BLM activities that could impact the black-footed ferret or its habitat will require formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If the decision is not to reintroduce the blackfooted ferret, the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern designation will be dropped and the area managed the same as other prairie dog towns. The following guidelines could be proposed in the Blackfooted Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern if the decision is made to reintroduce black-footed ferrets: Animal damage control will be allowed with restrictions about the placement of M44s, traps, and snares,

to avoid accidental killing or loss of black-footed ferrets. Recreational activities (varmint shooting, camping, rock hounding, or sight-seeing) will be allowed, and managed to prevent adverse impacts to the blackfooted ferret. Hunting and trapping will be allowed according to state game laws and regulations. Predator control and monitoring for diseases could be necessary. A public education program will be developed to explain black-footed ferret management. The BLM will work with the Montana Black-footed Ferret Work Group on site evaluation as well as other aspects of black-footed ferret recovery. Within the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern (see map 23), livestock grazing and locatable mineral entry will be allowed. Nonenergy leasable minerals and coal will be closed to leasing. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed on the area of critical environmental concern and on the potential black-footed ferret habitat with a controlled surface use stipulation, and geophysical exploration on those acres will not be allowed. Mineral material sales and permits will not be allowed. Rights-ofway construction will be avoided. Off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails. The piping plover site (16 public surface acres) will be designated the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern (see ACEC appendix and map 27). The Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern is unsuitable for coal development. Locatable mineral entry will be withdrawn and nonenergy leasable mineral leasing will be closed. Rights-of-way construction will be avoided. Mineral material sales and permits, and geophysical exploration will not be allowed. Livestock grazing will not be allowed from May 1 through July 15. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Off-road vehicle use will be designated as limited to the existing roads and trails. In crucial winter range (see map 24), the following activities will be allowed: locatable mineral development, mineral material sales, and permits and nonenergy leasable mineral development. Crucial winter range will be unsuitable for coal development. Oil and gas development will be allowed with a timing restriction from December 1 through March 31 each year on 700,979 public mineral acres. Geophysical exploration will not be allowed on those acres

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during that same period. Livestock grazing and rights-ofway construction will be allowed. Off-road vehicle travel will be limited to the existing roads and trails. Monitoring will be conducted as described in Table 58 of the Monitoring appendix.

Fisheries are managed for recreational purposes. In order to effectively manage fisheries on public lands, the BLM will maintain partnerships with state and private interests. Management actions are restricted in crucial winter ranges, great blue heron and double-crested cormorant rookeries, the Black-footed Ferret Area of Critical Environmental Concern and the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern in order to help protect and enhance these areas. Prairie dog towns provide habitat for a multitude of wildlife species. By maintaining and enhancing existing prairie dog habitat, habitat needed for associated species, black-footed ferret recovery, viewing and recreational shooting will be enhanced. The Endangered Species Act assigns the responsibility for managing federally listed threatened and endangered species to the Federal Government. BLM’s management is focused on trying to bring these species and their habitats to a condition where protective measures by the Endangered Species Act are no longer necessary.

Rationale
Management actions are to ensure optimum populations and a natural abundance and diversity of wildlife resources on public lands by restoring, maintaining, and enhancing habitat conditions. Specific measurable objectives are incorporated into coordinated resource management plans, habitat management plans or allotment management plans to meet wildlife habitat goals. Grazing management, land treatments, or other improvements are designed and monitored to accomplish these objectives. In order to help protect sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse nesting habitat, surface disturbance (other than water developments and fences) is not authorized within 1/4 mile of sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse leks, or within 2 miles of a lek from March 1 through June 15 each year. In order to protect raptors and least terns, no disturbance will be authorized within 1/2 mile of a raptor nest from March 1 to August 1 each year, or on least tern nesting habitat.

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j U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1996 - 790-121 / 41502 REGION NO. 10

RECORD OF DECISION AND APPROVED BIG DRY RESOURCE AREA MANAGEMENT PLAN

MAINTENANCE VERSION
(all additions are indicated in italics)

Last Update - April 2000

SUPPLEMENTS TO THE RMP: 1997 - Calypso Trail Supplement to the Big Dry RMP AMENDMENTS TO THE RMP: 1997 - Record of Decision for the Standards for Rangeland Health and Guidelines for Livestock Grazing Management for Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota 1999 - Record of Decision for the Makoshika State Park Amendment to the Big Dry RMP (Makoshika Amendment)

The following document incorporates changes (amendments and maintenance) to the Big Dry RMP. All additions are noted in italics. The amendments cited are comprehensive documents that went through the planning process. The reader should refer to the amendment itself for details regarding public participation, rationale for decisions, bibliography information, maps, etc. Copies of amendments are available from the Miles City Field Office.

INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this document is to approve the BLM management decisions on approximately 1.7 million acres of BLM-administered land and 7.6 million acres of BLMadministered mineral resources in the Big Dry Resource Area. This Record of Decision approves the decisions made in the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement published in February 1995, with the exception of decisions relating to the Calypso Trail near Terry, Montana.

Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, and Wibaux. The public lands within the Big Dry Resource Area excluded from this resource management plan are the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the lands withdrawn for the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Station managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other lands excluded are the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Fort Peck Tribes in Valley County.

DECISION
The decision is hereby made to approve the proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan as described in the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement with the following exception. This plan was prepared under federal regulations including the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended. The preferred alternative (Alternative D) in the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement has been selected as the approved resource management plan. RMP supplement May 1997: The Calypso Trail will remain open to motorized vehicles and off-road travel is limited to the road itself.

THE PLANNING SYSTEM
Development of an approved resource management plan occurs within the framework of the BLM planning system. The planning system is divided into three distinct tiers: policy planning, land use planning and activity planning. The completion of this approved resource management plan along with the previously completed steps in the land use planning process: the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (February 1993), and the1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement(February1995), satisfies the requirements for the land use planning tier of the Bureau planning system.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
The Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement was prepared by an interdisciplinary team of specialists from the Big Dry and Powder River resource areas, the Miles City District Office and the Montana State Office of the BLM. Reviews for adequacy and consistency were provided by the district and state office staffs. Consultation, coordination and public involvement have occurred throughout the process through scoping meetings, informal meetings, individual contacts, newspaper releases, and Federal Register notices. Preparation of the document began in the fall of 1989. Data was used from inventories before that time, from information received from the public and other agencies, and knowledge of the resource area specialists. A public participation plan was prepared to provide management and team guidance for developing the resource management plan and to insure public involvement during the entire process. During scoping of the plan, formal and informal public input was encouraged and sought after.
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EXCEPTION
Additional planning has been conducted for the decision regarding the Calypso Trail. Comments have been gathered, and a protest period on the Calypso Trail decision only will be reopened. This information may be found in the 1996 Calypso Trail Supplement to the Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. The public will have the opportunity to review the Calypso Trail Supplement to the Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement through a protest to BLM’s Director. Any person who participated in the planning process and has an interest which is or may be adversely affected may protest the plan for the Calypso Trail. After resolution of any protests, a record of decision will be issued regarding Calypso Trail.

LOCATION OF PLANNING AREA
The planning area encompasses BLM-administered public lands in 13 counties in eastern Montana: Carter, Custer, Daniels,

Federal Register notices were published on October 3, 1989, and May 3, 1990, informing the public of BLM’s intent to plan, calling for coal information and area of critical environmental concern identification, and announcing the notice of availability of the planning criteria. Several news releases were published in local papers. The releases announced the beginning of the plan, encouraged public involvement, and the availability of planning criteria. Brochures were mailed to over 1,000 individuals, groups and agencies in December 1989 notifying the public of the expected issues and upcoming public scoping meetings. Brochures were also mailed in April 1990 summarizing the comments received from the public scoping meetings. Public scoping meetings were held in nine towns in the planning area with a total attendance of 214 people. Individual meetings were held with commissioners in 10 counties; the Assiniboine, Sioux and Northern Cheyenne Native American tribes; and special interest groups. A total of 64 written responses were received after the public scoping meetings. As part of the analysis process, a telephone interview was conducted with 100 people representing the full range of resource interests in the planning area. The results of these interviews and all other public involvement were used during selection of the preferred alternative. In February 1993, approximately 1,500 copies of the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement were distributed to the public at a cost of $25,000. A Federal Register notice was published March 19, 1993, beginning the comment period on the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Im pact Statement. That comment period ended June 18, 1993. A Federal Register notice asking for comments on two newly proposed areas of critical environmental concern was published November 26 , 1993, ending January 25, 1994. Public meetings were held to gather comments on the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (1993) at nine locations in eastern Montana: Wolf Point, Sidney, Jordan, Circle, Glendive, Baker, Terry, Forsyth, and Miles City. A total of 170 letters were received on the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (1993), and two letters were received on the newly proposed areas of critical environmental concern. As required by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, BLM submitted a biological assessment to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This document defined potential impacts to threatened and endangered species as a result of management actions approved in this resource management plan. In their letter received July 21, 1994, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated “Based on information in the July 14, 1994 biological assessment for the Big Dry Resource Management plan (we) concur with the
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“may affect - beneficial” finding for the piping plover and with the “is not likely to adversely affect” finding for bald eagle, whooping crane, peregrine falcon, least tern, black-footed ferret, and pallid sturgeon” (see Wildlife appendix). After considering and analyzing the comments, the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement was prepared for the public. Prior to issuance, BLM sent a letter to the mailing list asking the public if they would like a copy of the entire final document, or a Summary of decisions that had changed between the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (1993) and the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement. In February 1995, a total of 400 copies of the Summary and 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Im pact Statement were made available to the public at a cost of $13,000. The Director of BLM received 13 protests by the April 17 deadline on the following: the Fallon County landfill; the open off-road vehicle area near Glendive; noxious weed management; prairie dog management; Ash Creek Divide ACEC; public lands considered for transfer to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for Makoshika State Park through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act; and the proposed closure of Calypso Trail to motorized vehicles. Further planning was needed before approving the decision for Calypso Trail and a separate Record of Decision will be made available for that decision. The remaining protests did not result in any changes to the resource management plan.

IMPLEMENTING AND MONITORING DECISIONS
Decisions in this plan will be implemented over a period of years and must be tied directly to the BLM budgeting process. Funding levels can affect the timing and implementation of management actions and project proposals, but will not affect the decisions made under this resource management plan. An implementation schedule will be developed to provide for the systematic accomplishment of decisions in the approved resource management plan. Monitoring will be conducted to evaluate the continuing effectiveness of the decisions in this plan. Monitoring will provide the needed information to determine if the plan is meeting the stated goals and objectives including: if the management prescription is fulfilling the purpose for which it was designed; if predictions of impacts were accurate; to reveal unanticipated impacts, including those off-site; if mitigation measures are satisfactory and effective; if threshold levels have been met or exceeded; to provide for continuing evaluation of consistency with federal, state, and local government and Indian tribes; and to determine the rate and degree to which the plan is being implemented.

MAINTAINING AND AMENDING DECISIONS
Decisions in this plan will be maintained to reflect minor changes

in information. Maintenance is limited to refining or further clarifying a plan decision and cannot expand the scope of the decision nor change the terms nor conditions of the decision Maintenance will be documented in supporting records. A plan amendment may become necessary if major changes are needed or to consider a proposal or action that is not in conformance with the plan. Plan amendments are accomplished with public input and environmental analyses.

characteristics. Management decisions considered demographic and economic trends related to current and future demands for public resources. Public perceptions and attitudes of BLMadministered resources were also considered. Standard operating procedures were applied, as appropriate, to meet resource management goals. In some cases, more specific stipulations were used to further protect the resource. The BLM followed program guidance including the BLM’s Washington Office 1986 Supplemental Program Guidance (BLM Manual 1620-1625), the Missouri Breaks Grazing Environmental Statement Final (USDI, BLM 1979), the Prairie Potholes Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Allocation Final (USDI, BLM 1981), the Big Dry Environmental Impact Statement Vegetation Allocation (USDI, BLM 1982), and other guidance referred to below.

ALTERNATIVES INCLUDING THE PROPOSED ACTION
The following four management alternatives were considered in the development of the plan. Each alternative was described and analyzed in the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (1993) and the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement. Alternative A, the “no action” alternative continues present management direction. No special management areas are designated and accessibility and availability to resources remains the same. Alternative B, the “protection” alternative presents management actions that designate special management areas with restrictive management actions, reducing resource accessibility and availability. Alternative C, the “development” alternative, presents management actions designating special management areas while allowing more resource accessibility and availability. Alternative D is the approved alternative. This alternative presents management actions that designate special management areas. It allows accessibility and availability to resources when no significant impacts are anticipated.

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN
The following decisions will guide future management of land and minerals administered by the BLM within the Big Dry Resource Area. Also discussed are monitoring and mitigation measures. Decisions found in the Appendixes of the 1995 Proposed Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement and the following resource management decisions constitute the resource management plan for the Big Dry Resource Area. The rationale for selecting Alternative D, the preferred alternative, was based on public comments from scoping meetings, public comments on the Draft Big Dry Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (1993), current regulations, guidance, laws, current management policy, and the analysis of each alternative. The selection parameters used in selecting the approved alternative were: Decisions would adhere to the goals and objectives established in the Planning Criteria. Decisions would be implementable and enforceable. Decisions would be consistent with BLM’s multiple- use mission. Decisions would reflect and endeavor to be consistent with efforts to improve eastern Montana’s economy. Decisions would emphasize Recreation 2000, Wildlife 2000, Range of Our Vision, and riparian/wetland management. Resource allocations would be based on productivity and capability of lands and resources.

ENVIRONMENTALLY PREFERRED ALTERATIVE
Alternative B is the environmentally preferred alternative, providing the greatest protection from surface-disturbing activities. This is followed closely by the approved alternative, Alternative D, in providing environmental protection. Rather than eliminating uses, special management tools are used to provide environmental protection while allowing use to occur.

MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATION
Decisions were based on the following rationale and factors. Private property rights were to be respected. The management actions in this plan apply to BLM-administered lands and minerals only. Baseline social and economic data were compiled from existing published sources, and a study of local economic and social
3

AIR QUALITY
The objectives for air resource management are to maintain or improve air quality in the short and long term. Standard operating procedures will limit unnecessary emissions from existing and new point or nonpoint sources and will prevent significant deterioration

of air quality in Class I areas. The Class II air quality areas allow deterioration associated with moderate development and population growth. National and state air quality standards will be met (see table 1). No actions are anticipated in any designated nonattainment area. The BLM will conform with provisions of state regulations and implementation plans during prescribed burning as specified in the “9211-Fire Planning” section of the BLM Manual or when conducting other activities that may impact air quality. Project specific air quality impact analyses will be conducted as necessary to demonstrate compliance. Administrative actions on public lands will conform with the air quality classification for that specific area and will not impact downwind Class I areas.

that include surface disturbance as a part of the action. There are three classes of inventory (BLM Manual 8100). Class I inventories are reviews of existing cultural data from resource inventory files maintained by the BLM, the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, professional literature, and other sources. In Class II inventories, a sampling or percentage of the area is investigated for cultural resources. The results are projected for the entire land area. Class II inventories can be used to develop predictive models. Class III inventories consist of an on-the-ground investigation of a specific area for cultural resources. This inventory results in the maximum identification of cultural resources. Class III inventories are usually required before surface-disturbing actions authorized by BLM. Class III inventories are required before disposal actions. The BLM evaluates the cultural resources identified during inventories in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office to determine if the resources are eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. BLM’s evaluation guidelines (BLM Manual 8143, appendix 7) supplement the National Register of Historic Places criteria for evaluation (36 CFR 60.4) and provide consistency across the state. Mitigation of impacts to cultural resources could include exchanging land so significant cultural resources are acquired. Other mitigation measures include site avoidance and data recovery (including excavation).Avoidance of the site area is the preferred mitigation measure. Consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is required when activities are expected to affect significant cultural resources. In emergency situations, 36 CFR Part 800.12 contains provisions for waiving Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act from compliance regulations. The State Historic Preservation Office must be notified within seven days after emergency procedures have been invoked. After issuance of the Record of Decision, a cultural resource management plan will be prepared for the planning area. The cultural resource management plan will establish management objectives and prescriptions for cultural resources in the area. This plan, in addition to allocating cultural resources to specific uses, will guide and focus active management of the planning area’s cultural resources. During the life of the resource management plan, cultural resources will be managed according to recommendations made in the Big Dry Resource Area Cultural Resource Management Plan. Management objectives for significant cultural resource values will remain unchanged under all alternatives addressed in this resource management plan. The Big Dry Cultural Resource Management Plan will focus special management interest and attention on certain classes of cultural sites or individual properties as they may lend themselves
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Rationale
Under the requirements of the Clean Air Act, as amended (1979), federal agencies must abide by national air quality standards, and support provisions of state regulations.

CULTURAL RESOURCES
The primary objectives are to manage the cultural resources under BLM jurisdiction through a system of identification, evaluation, interpretation, utilization, and reduction of conflict between cultural and other resources. The BLM has defined three categories to manage significant cultural properties. These categories are information potential, public values, and conservation for future use. Cultural resources which contain significant information on prehistory or history of the planning area will be managed for their information potential. These are cultural properties that consist of artifacts and features that have the potential to yield important information. Cultural resources that possess sociocultural, educational, and recreational attributes will be managed for their public value. These include cultural resources associated with Native American traditional lifeways values, and prehistoric or historic cultural properties which exhibit interpretive or recreational potential. Managing cultural properties used by Native Americans will focus on avoiding uses incompatible with traditional values. Special or unique cultural resources will be managed under the conservation objective. Included here are cultural properties that contain sensitive prehistoric religious features such as medicine wheels or burials; cultural properties that are of a nature that would not permit current archeological technology to adequately investigate the property; and cultural properties which are rare in the planning area. Except for those actions identified in the BLM’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, the BLM conducts cultural resource inventories for lands

TABLE 1 NATIONAL AND STATE AIR QUALITY STANDARDS Pollutant Inhalable particulates (PM-10)+ Sulfur Dioxide Carbon Monoxide Federal Primary Standard 50 cg/m3 annual average 150 cg/m3 24-hr average* 0.03 ppm annual average 0.14 ppm 24-hr average* 9 ppm 8-hr average* 35 ppm 1-hr average* 0.05 ppm annual average Federal Secondary Standard 50 cg/m3 annual average 150 cg/m3 24-hr average* 0.5 ppm 3-hr average* Montana Standard 50 cg/m3 annual average 150 cg/m3 24-hr average* 0.02 ppm annual average 0.10 ppm 24-hr average* 0.50 ppm 1-hr average** 35 ppm 1-hr average* 0.05 ppm annual average 0.30 ppm hourly average 0.10 ppm hourly average* 1.5 cg/m3 90-day average 35 cg/m3 grazing season average 0.05 ppm hourly average* 10 mg/m2 30-day average

9 ppm 8-hr average* 35 ppm 1-hr average* 0.05 ppm annual average

Nitrogen Dioxide

Photochemical Oxidants (ozone) Lead

0.12 ppm 1-hr average* 1.5 cg/m3 calendar quarter average None

0.12 ppm 1-hr average 1.5 cg/m3 calendar quarter average None

Foliar Fluoride

Hydrogen Sulfide Settled Particulate (dustfall) Visibility

None None

None None

None

None

Particle scattering coefficient of 3x10.5/m annual average (PSD Class I areas)

KEY:

PM-10 particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 10 microns. mg/m3 = micrograms pollutant per cubic meter of sampled air. ppm = parts per million of sampled air. cg/m2 = milligrams per square meter PSD = prevention of significant deterioration +Statistical standards based on three years of data. *Not to be exceeded more than once per year. **Not be exceeded more than 18 times a year.

NOTES:

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to identified uses and will establish priority management for specific cultural resources. Management of individual properties will be addressed in site specific cultural resource project plans. Management emphasis will be placed on the following categories of sites: Special emphasis will continue to be focused on bison kill sites. These sites will be managed to facilitate scientific and conservation use. In the planning area, stone ring sites are most prevalent near and north of the Missouri River. A study will be conducted to sample sites of this type for eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places and possible special designation. Sites with possible traditional religious values, such as medicine wheel sites, will be identified and managed for preservation and possible sociocultural use. Management will focus on the identification of ethnographic period sites. These would include early explorer, i.e. Lewis and Clark related sites and fur trade era sites. Sites with increasing public interest are Indian war period sites, including the Powder River Depot. Cultural material scatters will be examined for their information potential. The Cherry Creek archeological complex of sites will be protected and managed for scientific uses. Cultural sites in this complex will be treated as a unit. Attempts will be made to identify Lewis and Clark campsites within the planning area along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. Future plans may include interpretation and other uses for these sites. Identification of homestead period sites will continue with possible interpretation of a representative sample. Five cultural sites will be designated areas of critical environmental concern on the following public surface acres (see ACEC appendix and map 2): Hoe (144 acres), Powder River Depot (1,386 acres), Big Sheep Mountain (360 acres), Seline (80 acres), and Jordan Bison Kill (160 acres). In these areas of critical environmental concern, locatable minerals will be withdrawn from entry, and mineral mate rial sales and permits will not be allowed. Nonenergy leasable minerals, and coal leasing will be closed. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Geophysical exploration will not be allowed. Livestock grazing will be allowed, except on 171 acres in the Powder River Depot Area of Critical Environmental Concern (for the Powder River Depot Special Recreation Management Area, see map 18). Off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails, and rights-of-way construction will be avoided. Monitoring will be conducted as described in Table 58 in the Monitoring appendix.

Rationale
The Big Dry Resource Area contains many important and unique cultural resource sites. Principal authorities for cultural resources are the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966; the Archeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, as amended; the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR 800); the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978; and the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990. The National Historic Preservation Act identifies and establishes a system for addressing possible impacts to cultural resources resulting from federal actions. Section 106 directs federal agencies to consider the effects of their actions and authorizations on properties included in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The Archaeological Resources Protection Act establishes definitions, permit requirements, criminal and civil penal ties for unauthorized or attempted unauthorized excavation, removal, damage, alteration or defacement of any archeological resource found on public or Native American lands. In addition, the Act specifies that federal agencies will coordinate with Native Americans before issuing archeological permits that may result in harm to, or destruction of, their religious or cultural sites. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act protects the rights of Native Americans to practice their religions. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires federal agencies to consult with Native American groups for disposition of cultural items or Native American human remains found on public lands or in federal possession. The BLM coordinates with Native American tribes when its actions have the potential to affect their values or religious areas. Designation of five sites as areas of critical environmental concern will help protect those sites with special management and enhance the values that make the sites significant.

ENGINEERING
Construction and maintenance of structural improvements for watershed, wildlife, fisheries, recreation and livestock grazing will be allowed when consistent with resource management objectives for the allotments or areas (BLM Manual 9101). An interdisciplinary team of resource specialists will initiate projects and determine their cost, environmental impacts and mitigating measures (see Engineering appendix).

Rationale
BLM Manual 9101 requires a feasibility analysis conducted in the field by an interdisciplinary team of resource specialists. This method is more time efficient and provides for better decisions.

FIRE MANAGEMENT
Fire management includes both wildfire actions and prescribed fire operations. Fire will be managed in the manner most cost-efficient and responsive to resource management objectives. The resource
6

objectives identified in this document will provide the guidelines, direction and degree of suppression to be used. Fire use areas (see maps 3A-B) are designated areas where fuels management activities will benefit the fire suppression program and meet resource management objectives. Prescribed fire (planned and unplanned ignition) will be used throughout the planning area. The objectives are to improve vegetation production, reduce fuel loads, and maintain public safety. On areas identified for fire use, prescriptions will be written in fire management activity plans for planned and unplanned ignitions. The intensity level for the initial attack on fires is divided into two broad categories. These categories are as follows: Intensive Fire Suppression - The objective of intensive fire suppression is to immediately suppress wildfires using available resources. Wildfires in intensive fire suppression areas shall be suppressed immediately, and can include the use of dozers, motor graders, tractors with plows, air tankers, and firefighting crews. Conditional Fire Suppression - The intensity level of conditional fire suppression is not predetermined and will vary with the conditions (impending weather forecasts, condition of vegetation, or firefighting forces committed to other fires). Consideration of resource loss, as well as cost will be the basis of management decisions for conditional fire suppression. The areas where conditional suppression techniques will be implemented are: Hoe, Big Sheep Mountain, Jordan Bison Kill, and Seline cultural sites (see map 2); Powder River Depot (see map 2 and map 18) and Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (see maps 31A-D) cultural and recreation areas; Calypso (see map 15) and Cherry Creek (see map 16) recreation areas; Hell Creek, Bug Creek, Ash Creek Divide, and Sand Arroyo paleontological areas (see map 11); Smoky Butte (see map 14); piping plover (see map 27) and black-footed ferret (see map 23) wildlife sites; and riparian/wetland areas. The guidelines for fire rehabilitation in the planning area are: Hand and dozer line berms will be rolled back, feathered out and blended in with the surrounding terrain. Surface disturbances on slopes greater than 10 percent will have angular water bars constructed perpendicular to the slope at intervals no less than 100 feet apart. Fire-killed trees that are determined to be a hazard to the user
7

public will be felled and cut into firewood lengths. Tree stumps along roads or trails will be cut level to the ground to eliminate hazards to vehicles. Fires greater than 25 acres will be analyzed by a resource area advisor and fire staff for possible rehabilitation needs. BLM fire reports on fires greater than 25 acres will be accompanied by a fire rehabilitation report. This report can simply state that no rehabilitation work is required, or it can be as comprehensive as needed to assess environmental impacts, mitigation measures, and monitoring plans to measure success.

Rationale
Public lands are designated for intensive fire suppression in order to protect areas with (1) large amounts of intermingled or adjacent private or state lands, and (2) high values-at-risk (items of human construction), high-value wildlife habitat, historic sites, or other resources. In areas designated conditional fire suppression, management actions restrict intensive fire suppression techniques, such as committing heavy equipment, in order to minimize cost or damage to a resource.

FORESTRY
Forest lands in the planning area with 10 percent or more canopy cover per acre are managed for the enhancement of other resources, not for the production of forest products or sawtimber. Wood product sales for posts and poles, Christmas trees, and firewood will be allowed only in the Knowlton, Pine Unit, and Missouri Breaks areas (see maps 4A-B). The harvesting of posts and poles is a selective cutting process; the preferred post size is 6 to 8 inches in diameter and 4 to 6 feet in height. Ponderosa pine is used for posts and poles, while juniper is used for posts. This harvesting is conducive to natural regeneration. For Christmas trees, an area is designated by the authorized officer and individuals are allowed to select a tree. Ponderosa pine and juniper are the most desirable and both regenerate naturally. Harvesting of firewood is allowed on designated public lands for dead trees, with ponderosa pine being the primary species. Wildings are live vegetative products sold off of public lands. They are used for landscaping and include yucca, cactus, grasses, pine trees, and willows. Sales for sawtimber will not be allowed except salvage harvest of ponderosa pine affected by insects, fire, or other natural causes. Harvest of cottonwood will be allowed on public land only when human safety is a factor, or when disease or insect infestations are threatening cottonwood stands. Surface disturbance in the limber pine stand in the Terry Badlands (see map 4B) will not be allowed. The only exception will be if

disease or insect infestations threaten the stand making control methods necessary.

of these types of public land in these areas. Disposal will be through sale or exchange consistent with Sections 203 and 206 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. Exchanges or acquisitions may be considered to acquire desirable tracts within the disposal areas or add to existing public lands within those areas meeting the long-term management objective criteria.

Rationale
Approximately 10 percent of the planning area is forested, and none are classified as commercial. Management direction is to protect and enhance this resource, while providing limited use for the public.

Disposal Criteria HAZARDOUS MATERIALS AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
The BLM will minimize future hazardous materials contamination and its associated risks, costs, and liabilities on public lands in authorizing activities. The BLM will protect the health and safety of public land users. No authorizations will be made for solid or hazardous waste disposal facilities on public land. Prior to the BLM acquiring land through purchase, exchange, or withdrawal relinquishment, the area shall be inventoried for hazardous substances or contamination in accordance with Department of Interior policy. The BLM will not acquire any contaminated real estate except at the direction of Congress, or for good cause with the approval of the Secretary. A contingency plan has been prepared to direct and coordinate a BLM response to any reported incident involving the accidental or intentional spill or release of potentially hazardous substances on public land. Clean up will be in cooperation with the Montana State Department of Environmental Quality. The following criteria will be used to identify parcels for disposal: 1. Lands of limited public value. 2. Widely scattered parcels which will be difficult for BLM to manage beyond minimal custodial administration and have no significant values. 3. Lands with high public values proper for management by other federal agencies, or state, or local government. 4. Land which will aid in aggregating or repositioning other public lands or public land resource values to facilitate national, state, and local objectives. Each parcel identified for sale or exchange will be subject to certain conditions before disposal: hazardous waste, wilderness, wildlife, riparian/wetland evaluations, and cultural and mineral clearances and reports. The results of the evaluations and reports will be included in an environmental analysis. A notice of realty action would be subsequently published. Parcels will be retained if the clearances, reports, or environmental analyses show any resource values worth retaining.

Rationale
In order to comply with the appropriate state and federal laws, BLM provides management for hazardous materials and waste.

RETENTION AREAS
The BLM’s long-term objectives for retention areas (see map 30) are to retain and manage the public lands. Specific objectives are to consolidate public land with public access and resource values into units BLM can effectively manage. Individual tracts or parcels in the retention areas may be disposed or repositioned through sale or exchange when significant management efficiency, greater public values, or other objectives will be met.

LANDS
Access is one of the primary considerations in exchanges. Easements will be considered in areas where exchanges cannot be utilized to resolve access conflicts. Emphasis will be placed on land tenure adjustment and easement acquisition within the planning area. All land exchanges will be based on willing buyer/willing seller. The goal of the lands program will be to consolidate the scattered public lands increasing management efficiency and accessibility. Prior to initiation of any land adjustment actions, consideration will be given to the impact on the affected county’s payment in lieu of taxes and consultation with the county government will be sought. The objective criteria for disposal and retention areas are as follows:

ACQUISITION AREAS
Criteria to be reviewed when considering lands or minerals for acquisition are the following. General Acquisition Criteria: 1. 2. 3. 4. Facilitate access to areas retained for long-term public use. Enhance congressionally designated areas, rivers or trails. Enhance designated areas of critical environmental concern. Facilitate national, state, and local BLM priorities or mission statement needs. 5. Stabilize or enhance local economies or values. 6. Enhance the opportunity for new or emerging public land uses or values.
8

DISPOSAL AREAS
The public land in the disposal areas (see map 30) consists of small tracts or parcels that are widely scattered, possess limited resource values, and are difficult to manage. BLM’s objective is to dispose

7. Secure for the public significant water-related land interest. These interests include lakeshore, riverfront, stream or pond sites. 8. Important riparian/wetland areas. 9. Acquisition of cultivated lands will be avoided, unless such acquisition is clearly necessary to attain a specific resource goal. Program Specific Acquisition Criteria: Cultural Resources - Any cultural site to be acquired should meet the following evaluation standards: 1. High research values 2. Moderate scarcity. 3. Possess some unique values, such as association with an important historic person or high aesthetic value. 4. Contribute significantly to interpretive potential cultural resources already in public ownership. Minerals 1. Consolidation of mineral estates. 2. Acquisition in response to a federal project need, as in the case of a dam project. Criteria for this type of acquisition generally include: a. When the development of a federal project precludes the mineral estate owner from exercising development rights. b. When the exercise of the mineral estate owner’s right of development would materially interfere with the federal project. Recreation - Acquire land with the following significant values: 1. National values, such as Congressionally designated areas, rivers, or trails. 2. State values that enhance recreation trails and waterways or the interstate, state, and multi-county use. 3. Local values for extensive use, such as hunting, fishing, off-road vehicle, and snowmobile use. Wilderness - Acquire inholdings within wilderness study areas and within the boundaries of Congressionally designated wilderness areas under BLM administration. Wildlife Habitat Management - Areas for acquisition will be lands of any size with significant wildlife values as defined below: 1. Threatened and endangered species. a. Federally listed species. b. Federal candidate species. c. State listed species of special concern. 2. Fisheries 3. Big game. Important habitat such as crucial winter areas, fawning, calving, and security areas. 4. Upland game birds, migratory birds, and waterfowl. Crucial breeding, nesting, resting, roosting, feeding, and wintering habitat areas of complexes. 5. Raptors. Existing and potential nesting areas for sensitive
9

species or significant nesting complexes for nonsensitive complexes. 6. Nongame. Crucial habitat complexes.

OTHER LAND ACTIONS
Whenever possible, major rights-of-way will be constructed within or next to existing rights-of-way, such as highways and railroads. Environmentally sensitive areas identified during the grant application examination will be avoided. In areas where rights-of-way are allowed, stipulations from the BLM Manual 2800 will be used to protect resource values. Land use permits, leases, and easements will be issued on a discretionary basis, consistent with Section 302 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. Unauthorized uses of public land will be resolved in an expeditious manner. Unauthorized uses include agricultural, occupancy, exclosures, and rights-of-way. Unauthorized users are liable for past rental, plus administrative costs, and costs for rehabilitation of the affected lands. Table 2 below contains recommendations for the existing withdrawals. TABLE 2 WITHDRAWALS Acres Recommended for Continuation International Boundary Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge Fox Lake Game Management Area Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife Waterfowl Production Area Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge Corps of Engineers (Fort Peck) Fort Keogh Livestock Experiment Station Total Revocations of Withdrawals Lower Yellowstone Project Fort Buford Project Public Water Reserve 107 (McCone) Milk River Project Corps of Engineers (Fort Peck) Public Water Reserve 107 (Garfield) Buffalo Rapids Project (Bureau of Reclamation) Total
1 1

293.46 24,508.07 160.00 26.32 290,222.45 3,756.11 9,851.56 328,817.97

858.71 913.60 237.53 36.69 206,976.45 160.00 113.53 209,296.51

See the Lands appendix for further information on withdrawals.

Rights-of-way construction will be avoided in cultural areas of critical environmental concern (see map 2), in wildlife areas of critical environmental concern (see maps 23 and 27), in Makoshika State Park (see map 17), in the special recreation management areas

(33,110 public sur face acres, see maps 15, 16, and 18) and excluded in the Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (80 public surface acres, see map 14). The Makoshika State Park recreation and public purposes application will be modified to consider transfer of 2,700 public surface acres to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (see map 17). Fallon County will receive 640 acres of public land by sale for a sanitary landfill (see map 5). Land in T. 13 N., R. 51 E., sec. 32 (640 acres) will be acquired, preferably by exchange, into public ownership for the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area (see map 16). Alternative methods of acquisition will be pursued only after all reasonable exchange proposals had been explored. To ensure no private development below Cherry Creek Dam approximately 200 acres in T. 12 N., R. 51 E., sec. 12 will be acquired through fee title or a conservation easement.

as managing 80 percent of the uplands in late seral to potential natural community or in desired plant community, and 75 percent of the riparian areas in proper functioning condition by 1997. The Livestock appendix lists allotments with proposed allotment management plans, allotments with “I” category allotment management plans, the remaining “I” category allotments, and the status of existing allotment management plans. BLM will take immediate action to resolve the problems on “I” category allotments. The areas’ ability to respond to these management actions will vary: utilization objectives may be met within 1 to 3 years, riparian objectives may be met within 3 to 7 years, and ecological status or desired plant community objectives may be met within 5 to 15 years. RMP amendment August 1997: The Standards for Rangeland Health and Guidelines for Livestock Grazing Management for Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota approves the following management for the Miles City Field Office Area.
If livestock grazing is preventing achievement of standards, then guidelines would be applied through terms and conditions. If standards are not being met due to conditions that are not related to livestock grazing, the grazing management may not need to be adjusted. Terms and conditions are site specific. They are determined by an interdisciplinary team in consultation with permittees and interested parties for each individual allotment. Standard 1:Uplands are in proper functioning condition. Standard 2:Riparian areas and wetlands are in proper functioning condition. Standard 3: Water quality meets Montana state standards. Standard 4: Air quality meets Montana state standards. Standard 5: Habitats are provided for healthy, productive, and diverse native plant and animal populations and communities. Habitats are improved or maintained for special status species (federally threatened, endangered, candidate or Montana species of special concern). Guideline 1:Grazing is managed to maintain the proper balance between soils, water and vegetation over time. Guideline 2: Manage grazing to maintain watershed vegetation, biodiversity, and floodplain function. Guideline 3: Identify pastures and allotments based on their sensitivity and suitability for livestock grazing. Guideline 4: Ensure long-term resource capabilities can be sustained. Guideline 5: Frequency of grazing and extent of defoliations will be managed to promote desired plants and plant communities, based on plant growth. Guideline 6: Monitoring. Guideline 7: Development of projects affecting water shall be 10

Rationale
Public access is a recognized need in the resource area. During the past 10 years, the resource area has improved access by acquiring new access routes through the purchase of easements, land exchanges and negotiation of reciprocal rights-of-ways. Access will continue to improve by acquiring additional access, utilizing purchase of easements, conducting land exchanges, validation of RS 2477 rights- of-ways and reciprocal rights-of-ways. Public landownership pattern in the resource area is highly fragmented. Land exchanges will be continue to be conducted to improve access and management of the resources.

LIVESTOCK GRAZING MANAGEMENT
Management actions include grazing use, grazing activity plans and systems, utilization levels, range improvements, and vegetation treatment. Increases or decreases in grazing preference animal unit months may be implemented based on resource conditions within an allotment. Temporary adjustments may result, due to conditions such as drought, fire, flood, or insect infestation. Long-term adjustments are based on monitoring data that supports changes in grazing preference. These adjustments will be consistent with 43 CFR 4110.3 to 4110.3-3 and the Montana Drought Policy. Coordinated activity plans and allotment management plans are used to develop grazing management and multiple-use objectives, such as managing 80 percent of the uplands in late seral to potential natural community or in desired plant community, and 75 percent of the riparian areas in proper functioning condition by 1997. The Livestock appendix lists allotments with proposed allotment management plans, allotments with “I” category allotment management plans, the remaining “I” category allotments, and the status of existing allotment management plans. BLM will take immediate action to resolve the problems on “I” category allotments. The areas’ ability to respond to these management actions will vary: utilization objectives may be met within 1 to 3 years, riparian objectives may be met within 3 to 7 years, and ecological status or desired plant community objectives may be met within 5 to 15 years. Coordinated activity plans and allotment management plans are used to develop grazing management and multiple-use objectives, such

designed to protect ecological functions and processes of those sites. Guideline 8: Locate new facilities away from riparian/wetlands. Guideline 9: Supplemental salts and minerals should not be placed next to watering locations or in riparian/wetlands. Guideline 10: Guidelines for noxious weeds refer to “Guidelines for Coordinated Management of Noxious Weeds in the Greater Yellowstone Area.” Guideline 11: Grazing management practices should promote the interaction of the hydrologic cycle, nutrient cycle, and energy flow that will support the soil organisms, plants and animals. Guideline 12: Utilize management practices for livestock grazing that meet or exceed the Best Management Practices approved by the State of Montana. Guideline 13: Grazing management practices should maintain or improve habitat for Federal listed threatened, endangered and special status plants and animals. Guideline 14: Grazing management practices should maintain or promote physical, ecological and biological conditions to sustain native plant and animal communities.

MINERALS COAL
The planning area is within the Fort Union Coal Region and competitive leasing is reviewed by the Regional Coal Team. At this time, the region is decertified (see BLM Manual H-3420-1) and not subject to regional coal sales. The coal planning process is described in the “Coal” section of the Minerals appendix. Pending the application of the surface-owner consultation screen, coal will be acceptable for further consideration for leasing or exchange on 580,547 public mineral acres containing 6.18 billion tons of coal (see maps 7A-D).

Rationale
This management was selected as it will allow the BLM to comply with the multiple use mandates established by FLPMA and the 43 CFR 1600 regulations governing multiple use planning. It will allow BLM to comply with the Surface Mining Control Reclamation Act and the 43 CFR 3400 regulations established to govern the federal coal management program.

LOCATABLE MINERALS
Lands will be withdrawn from entry under the General Mining Law of 1872, as amended, on the cultural (1,802 public mineral acres, see map 2), paleontological (48,713 public mineral acres, see map 11), and Piping Plover (16 public mineral acres, see map 27) areas of critical environmental concern and on the Powder River Depot (see map 18), and Cherry Creek (see map 16) special recreation management areas (2,236 public mineral acres) and Makoshika State Park (6,628 public mineral acres, see map 17). The Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (280 public mineral acres, see map 14) will be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry subject to valid existing rights. If a plan of operations is received, BLM will do a validity examination (see “Locatable Minerals” section in the Minerals appendix).

Livestock grazing will be excluded from May 1 through July 15 in the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern (5 animals unit months, see map 27). In addition, 558 animal unit months will be excluded in the Cherry Creek (see map 16), Calypso (see map 15), and Powder River Depot (see map 18) special recreation management areas. The sale of 640 public surface acres to Fallon County for a sanitary landfill (see map 5) will cancel 145 animal unit months. The 2,700 public surface acre disposal to Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks for Makoshika State Park (see map 17) will cancel 150 BLM- administered animal unit months. Grazing will be canceled for coal development (640 to 830 animal unit months on 3,400 to 4,400 acres each year) during the 40-year mine life.

Rationale Rationale
Management actions are designed to maintain or improve vegetation condition. By emphasizing action on “I” category allotments, BLM will be concentrating first on those areas with unique values that can improve. Livestock grazing is excluded from May 1 to July 15 in the Piping Plover Area of Critical Environmental Concern in order to protect the piping plover eggs from trampling. Where people are concentrating in small areas and these areas are designated Special Recreation Management Areas, livestock grazing is excluded in order not to detract from the recreational experience. Livestock grazing is canceled in areas where BLM will no longer be administering the livestock grazing. Locatable minerals are managed in order to comply with the Mining Law of 1872, as amended. It provides for exploration, discovery, and mining of metallic and certain nonmetallic minerals on federal lands. This law has five elements: (1) discovery of a valuable mineral deposit, (2) location of mining claims, (3) recordation of mining claims, (4) maintenance of mining claims, and (5) mineral patenting. The BLM manages the last three elements. The management program for locatable minerals is administered under federal regulations (43 CFR 3809) and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Montana Department of State Lands and the BLM (BLM Manual H- 3809-1, appendix 1). Minerals acquired by the federal government under the Bankhead Jones Act of 1937 are not subject to the General Mining Law of 1872, as amended; these minerals are leasable. Minerals acquired after the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended, are
11

subject to the General Mining Law. In order to protect important resource values, the Hoe, Seline, Big Sheep Mountain, Powder River Depot, Hell Creek, Bug Creek, Sand Arroyo, Ash Creek Divide, Smoky Butte and Piping Plover areas of critical environmental concern will be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry, subject to valid existing rights. In order to protect significant recreational values, the Powder River Depot, Cherry Creek, and Lewis and Clark Trail special recreation management areas and Makoshika State Park will also be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry.

manage public lands under the principles of multiple use and sustained yield by regulating the use, occupancy, and development of public lands. Areas that are closed to permits and sales contain important resource values that would be removed or destroyed if mineral material extraction were to take place. In order to help protect these areas, mineral material sales and permits are not allowed.

NONENERGY LEASABLE MINERALS
A plan amendment will be required before issuing surface mining leases. Prospecting permits will be available for all lands not withdrawn from mineral leasing in conformance with 43 CFR 3500. The leasing functions of the nonenergy leasable minerals program are prospecting permitting, preference right leasing, and competitive leasing. Nonenergy leasable minerals will be closed to leasing in the following public mineral acres: cultural (1,802 acres, see map 2), paleontology (48,713 acres, see map 11), recreation (280 acres, see map 14), and wildlife (11,182 acres, see maps 23 and 27) areas of critical environmental concern. Nonenergy leasable mineral leasing will be closed in the Powder River Depot (see map 18), Cherry Creek (see map 16), and Lewis and Clark Trail (see maps 31A-D) special recreation management areas (26,236 public mineral acres), and Makoshika State Park (6,628 public mineral acres, see map 17).

MINERAL MATERIALS
The BLM responds to the requests for sand and gravel used in road surfacing and maintenance. The BLM issues free use permits and sales contracts for mineral materials where disposal is considered to be in the public interest, while providing for reclamation of mined lands, and preventing undue and unnecessary degradation of nonmineral resources. Mineral materials permits are considered on a case-by-case basis and issued at the discretion of the area manager. Mineral material sales are valued according to the BLM statewide pricing schedule. Contracts valued at more than $5,000 require individual appraisals before sale. Environmental documentation for material sales or permits for fewer than 50,000 cubic yards and disturbing fewer than 5 acres may be processed with a Categorical Exclusion Review. Sales or permits more than 50,000 yards or 5 acres require an environmental analysis. A reclamation plan and operating stipulations to protect resources that are not mineral are included in the permit. The site reclamation bond is held by the Montana Department of State Lands. Material sales and permits are monitored for production verification, and for operating and reclamation compliance. Crucial winter range will be open to mineral material sales (see map 24). Mineral material sales will not be allowed in Makoshika State Park (6,628 public mineral acres, see map 17) according to the Memorandum of Understanding between the BLM, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Dawson County. Mineral material sales and permits will not be allowed on the following public mineral acres: Smoky Butte (280 acres, see map 14), cultural (1,802 acres, see map 2), paleontological (48,713 acres, see map 11), and wildlife (11,182 acres, see maps 23 and 27) areas of critical environmental concern. Mineral material sales and permits will not be allowed on the Powder River Depot (see map 18), Cherry Creek (see map 16), and Lewis and Clark Trail (see maps 31A-D) special recreation management areas (26,236 public mineral acres) and in the Fallon County sanitary landfill (640 public mineral acres, see map 5).

Rationale
Exploration and development of nonenergy leasable minerals are authorized under the Mineral Leasing Acts of 1920 and 1947, as amended. These minerals include, but are not limited to gypsum, sodium, and potassium. Areas closed to nonenergy leasable mineral leasing have significant values that would be removed or destroyed if mining were to take place. In order to protect these important values, these areas are closed to leasing.

OIL AND GAS
Federal oil and gas leasing authority for public lands are found in the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended; and for acquired lands in the Acquired Lands Leasing Act of 1947, as amended. Leasing of federal oil and gas is affected by other acts such as the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, and the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act of 1987. Regulations governing federal oil and gas leasing and lease operations are contained in 43 CFR 3100, Geophysical Exploration (43 CFR 3150), Onshore Operating Orders (43 CFR 3164.1), the Makoshika State Park Memorandum of Understanding (located in the Big Dry Resource Area files), and BLM manuals and instruction memorandums. A lease grants the right to explore, extract, remove, and dispose of
12

Rationale
Scoria, sand, and gravel are the major mineral materials found in the planing area. Most of the deposits are privately owned. The Mineral Materials Act of 1947, as amended, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 give federal agencies the authority to

oil and gas deposits that may be found on the leased lands. The lessee may exercise the rights conveyed by the lease, subject to lease terms and any lease stipulations (modifications of the lease), and permit approval requirements. When geophysical exploration is allowed, it will follow the procedures and regulations discussed in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix. Terms and conditions for existing oil and gas leases (valid existing rights) cannot be changed by the decisions in this document until the lease expires. When the lease expires, the area will be subject to the decisions reached in this document. Unavailable lands under the administration of the BLM will be leased only if a state or fee well is completed within the same spacing unit. These lands will be leased with a no surface occupancy and no subsurface occupancy stipulation with no waiver, modification or exception provisions. There will be no exploration or development (drilling or production) within the unavailable or unleased lands and no additional exploration or development adjacent to these lands as a consequence of lease issuance. After issuance of a lease, the lease will be committed to a communitization agreement and the United States will then receive revenue in proportion to its acreage interest as it bears to the entire acreage interest committed to the agreement. Areas where oil and gas development could coexist with other resources uses will be open to leasing, with or without stipulations. Stipulations are a part of the lease only when environmental and planning records show the need for them. Three types of stipulations describe how lease rights are modified: no surface occupancy, timing limitation (seasonal restriction), and controlled surface use. (For descriptions see “Leasing Process” in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix.) Stipulations may be changed by application of waivers, exceptions, or modifications. The decision whether to grant waivers, exceptions, or modifications generally occurs during the Application for Permit to Drill approval process. If the authorized officer determines the change to be major or significant, the proposed action will be subject to a 30- day public review period. Waivers are a permanent exemption from a lease stipulation. This occurs when the resource does not require the protection of stipulation. For example, a waiver will be granted to an area stipulated for steep slopes if the authorized officer determines that none of the leasehold includes slopes over 30 percent. Exceptions are granted on a case-by-case basis. Each time the lessee applies for an exception, the resource objective of the stipulation must be met. An example of an exception is the granting of access into crucial winter range before the end of the period specified by the timing stipulation; in this plan the period from December 1 though March 31. If an open winter has occurred and the winter range is no longer being used before March 31, an exception might be granted for entry before the time period has elapsed. The decision is granted only for the year in question. In the following year an exception will have to be evaluated on current seasonal conditions and use. Modifications are fundamental changes to the provisions of a lease stipulation either temporarily or for the term of the lease. A specific
13

example of a modification to a stipulation in this plan is in an area of active coal mining. There is a no surface occupancy stipulation on coal mines with approved mine plans. When an area has been mined, there is no longer any need to restrict access for oil and gas development. The boundary of the coal mine area which is stipulated will be modified to allow oil and gas development to occur where the coal has been removed. If the lease is changed by a waiver or permanent modification, BLM will issue a written notice to the lessee and any other affected lessees. The notification to lessees is titled “Notice to Amend the Lease Terms.” Additional information can be provided to the lessee in the form of a lease notice. This notice does not place restrictions on lease operations, but does provide information about applicable laws and regulations, and the requirements for additional information to be supplied by the lessee. After lease issuance, the lessee may conduct lease operations with an approved permit ( see “ Conditions of Approval” in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix). Proposed drilling and associated activities must be approved before beginning operations. The operator must file an Application for Permit to Drill or Sundry Notice that must be approved according to (1) lease stipulations, (2) Onshore Oil and Gas Orders, and (3) regulations and laws (see “Permitting” in the “Oil and Gas” section of the Minerals appendix). On Bureau of Reclamation lands, stipulations that are recommended by the Bureau of Reclamation will be used (see “Oil and Gas” section in the Minerals appendix). Oil and gas leasing will be allowed in Makoshika State Park (see map 17) in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the BLM, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Dawson County. Oil and gas leasing will not be allowed (nondiscretionary) in the Fox Lake Game Management area (160 acres). For additional discussions on oil and gas recovery, regulations, lease stipulations, and permit processing see the “Oil and Gas” section in the Minerals appendix (see maps 32A-D). Table 3 below presents the lease stipulations and the acreage affected by each stipulation.
RMP Amendment August 1999: Makoshika Amendment. The MOU for Makoshika State Park regarding oil and gas leasing and development decisions was changed to allow oil and gas leasing on BLM-administered lands within the Park with a “no surface occupancy” stipulation for oil and gas. The new MOU also includes the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

Monitoring will be conducted as described in Table 58 of the Monitoring appendix.

Rationale
The BLM planning process determines availability of federal lands for oil and gas leasing where BLM is the surface management agency. For federal oil and gas lands where the surface is managed by another federal agency such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

TABLE 3 SUMMARY OF OIL AND GAS SPECIAL STIPULATIONS, LEASE TERMS AND WITHDRAWALS High Development Potential Acres
1

Moderate Total Development Mineral Potential Acres Acres Stipulated

Acres With Lease Terms

Acres Closed To Leasing

Special Stipulations RMP Amendment August 1999: The Makoshika Amendment changed the oil and gas development decisions to read that approximately 5,403 BLM-administered oil and gas acres in the Makoshika Area of Concern are stipulated “no surface occupancy”. No Surface Occupancy Cultural ACECs 80 1,722 1,802 0 0 Special recreation management areas 4,500 21,736 26,236 0 0 Fallon County sanitary landfill 640 0 640 0 0 Smoky Butte ACEC 0 280 280 0 0 Paleontological ACECs 0 48,713 48,713 0 0 Riparian/wetlands 1,660 3,690 5,350 0 0 Piping Plover ACEC 16 0 16 0 0 Bald eagle nests 0 515 515 0 0 Ferruginous hawk nests 0 466 466 0 0 Grouse leks and nests 945 43,358 44,303 0 0 Least tern habitat 4,443 12,689 17,132 0 0 Limber pine area 0 3,019 3,019 0 0 Paleontological localities 0 120 120 0 0 Peregrine falcon nests 0 0 0 0 0 VRM I 3,921 80,122 84,043 0 0 Controlled Surface Use Steep slopes 33,422 685,680 719,102 0 0 Black-footed Ferret ACEC and potential black-footed ferret habitat 0 5,164 5,164 0 0 RMP Amendment August 1999: The Makoshika Amendment changed the RMP so there are no longer any controlled surface use stipulations in the Park. See changes for numbers under “no surface occupancy” and “lease terms”. Makoshika State Park 0 6,628 6,628 0 0 Prairie dog habitat 0 30,637 30,637 0 0 VRM II 26,078 380,944 407,022 0 0 Timing Restrictions Crucial winter ranges Elk spring calving Grouse nesting zone Raptor nests

69,373 0 5,634 1,039

631,606 0 398,856 43,180

700,979 0 404,490 44,219

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

Lease Terms RMP Amendment August 1999: The Makoshika Amendment changed the RMP to allow oil and gas leasing with lease terms on approximately 1,225 BLM-administered oil and gas acres outside the Park and within the Area of Concern. Potential prairie dog habitat for the black-footed ferret 0 56,839 0 56,839 0 Withdrawals (nondiscretionary) Fox Lake Game Management Area
1

0

160

0

0

160

See “Oil and Gas” in the Minerals appendix for descriptions.

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or the Bureau of Reclamation, the BLM will consult with that agency before issuing leases. Oil and gas lands owned by Native Americans or Tribes are evaluated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs with subsequent leases issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In areas where oil and gas development may conflict with other resources, the areas may be closed to leasing. The regulations at part 43 CFR 3100.0-3(d); the Secretary’s general authority to prevent the waste and dissipation of public property (43 U.S.C. 1457(12) (1982); and the Attorney General’s Opinion of April 2, 1941 (Vol. 40 Op. Atty. Gen 41) allow the BLM to lease lands that are otherwise unavailable for leasing if oil and gas is being drained from such lands. If the unavailable lands are under the jurisdiction of another agency, leasing of such lands will only occur if the affected surface management agency agrees to lease issuance. To provide a greater degree of protection to important resource values, leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy, controlled surface use, or timing stipulation.

ACEC appendix and map 11). These areas will be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry and closed to mineral material sales and permits, nonenergy leasable mineral leasing, and coal leasing. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Geophysical exploration will not be allowed. Off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails, and rights-of-way construction will be allowed. Livestock grazing will be allowed on paleontological localities and on the Ash Creek Divide, Bug Creek, Sand Arroyo, and Hell Creek areas of critical environmental concern. Monitoring will be conducted as described in Table 58 of the Monitoring appendix.

Rationale
To help protect their special values, BLM is designating four paleontological areas of critical environmental concern and will not allow surface disturbing activities in the Garbani, Harbicht Hill and Flat Creek localities.

PALEONTOLOGY
Surface-disturbing activities are subject to the following requirements. The lessee or operator shall immediately inform the BLM of paleontological resources discovered as a result of operations, and will stop until directed to proceed by the BLM. An on-the-ground survey for fossil material will be conducted by the BLM and the operator will be notified where and when to continue operations. If the fossil material is significant, the activity will be moved so the locality will not be disturbed. If the activity cannot be moved, mitigation measures will be completed. This may be simply collecting the fossil(s) and associated data immediately, or it may require a major excavation of the site. Paleontological collecting permits are issued to institutions with the proper facilities for preparation, study, and storage of fossil material. The researchers in charge of the field work must be qualified to remove and handle the fossil material. The fossils and associated data are to remain available to researchers for study and for public display. A report of the results of the field work must be filed with the BLM. Excavations to recover paleontological materials or data will be backfilled. Topsoil is usually removed and stockpiled separately at the beginning of an excavation. It is spread over the backfilled material during reclamation. The area would be recontoured to match the original landscape, and reseeded with native species. On slopes exceeding 30 percent, water bars (water diversions) or other methods to reduce erosion would be constructed. Surface-disturbing activities will not be allowed on the Garbani, Harbicht Hill, and Flat Creek paleontological localities. Management actions occurring within the Judith River Formation, Hell Creek Formation, and the Tullock Member of the Fort Union Formation will be analyzed for impacts to the paleontological resource (see maps 12A-D). Four paleontological areas: the Hell Creek (19,169 public surface acres), Bug Creek (3,840 public surface acres), Sand Arroyo (9,056 public surface acres), and Ash Creek Divide (7,931 public surface acres) will be designated areas of critical environmental concern (see
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RECREATION
In addition to existing policies and guidance, recreation management will follow Recreation 2000: A Strategic Plan (USDI, BLM 1989d) and Recreation 2000Tri-State Strategy (USDI, BLM 1990b). Emphasis is directed toward five goals: (1) budgeting, (2) visitor information, (3) access and land tenure adjustments, (4) facilities, and (5) resource protection. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail will continue to be managed in accordance with the act which established the Trail in 1978 (see maps 31A-D). The Trail will be managed for public use and enjoyment, while preserving the historic and cultural resources that are related to the events that occurred during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Management objectives will be (1) at a minimum, maintain the existing public land base that adjoins the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers; (2) increase, where appropriate and consistent with this plan, the public land base that adjoins the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers; (3) increase public use and enjoyment opportunities; and (4) maintain an undeveloped visual setting near known expedition campsites. Any changes in the landscape within view of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail will be guided by Class II visual resource management objectives as described in this section. Future management actions will give full consideration to lessening adverse impacts to adjacent private landowners and users, and harmonize with and compliment existing multiple-use plans. Management actions will include acquiring and marking access to the Trail, installing interpretive signs, and developing interpretive brochures. Priority will be placed on developing partnerships with other federal, state and local agencies, and private entities when the partnership benefits the public. Examples include developing wildlife viewing areas, managing campgrounds, acquiring access to public lands, developing fishing reservoirs and associated facilities, constructing trails and developing informational and interpretive brochures.

Priority will be placed on acquiring legal access to public lands through exchanges and easements. Signing and identifying through signing parcels that are legally accessible and provide important recreation opportunities. Guides and outfitters and other permitted recreational uses will be authorized according to the Special Recreation Permit Guidelines for Montana, North and South Dakota (USDI, BLM 1987c). Determination of maximum allow able use will be according to the criteria in the BLM Manual H-8372-1. Outfitting and guiding will be authorized on a first-come, first-served basis until an area’s maximum allowable use is being approached. The affected area’s maximum allowable use will be approached when one of the following conditions occur: user conflicts exist either among commercial outfitters or between the non-guided public and commercial outfitters; damage to resources from visitor use is considered unacceptable; enforcement and compliance problems exist; or conflicts with adjacent landowners exist. When one of the above conditions is reached, and the conflict cannot be resolved through negotiations with users, the following process will be in effect until an activity plan is completed and the carrying capacity is established: no new permits for the activity in conflict will be issued for the affected area; a temporary allocation will be established using criteria such as camp spacing, temporary use areas and day use limitations; and other types of commercial activities may be authorized if they do not add to the existing conflict. The activity plan will show desired use levels based on the area’s carrying capacity. The plan also will establish the method of distributing commercial use. The BLM will continue to cooperate with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and private landowners to improve hunter access. This will involve participation in block management or developing access agreements with private landowners. Visual resource management classifications (see maps 19A- D) on public land in the planning area are Class I (83,240 acres), Class II (424,492 acres), Class III (11,409 acres), and Class IV (1,184,689 acres). Surface occupancy and use in visual resource management Class I areas applied to public lands will be managed according to Interim Management for Lands Under Wilderness Review (BLM Manual H-8550-1). Where publicly owned minerals underlie privately owned surface, visual protection measures will be recommended to the private surface owner to be used at their discretion.
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To maintain aesthetic values, semipermanent and permanent facilities in visual resource management Class II will require special design. This design will include location, painting, and camouflage to blend with natural surroundings and to meet visual quality objectives. Class I - The objective of this class is to preserve the existing character of the landscape. The goal of this class is to provide a landscape that appears unaltered by man. This class provides for natural ecological changes. It does not restrain limited management activity, or those activities specifically authorized by the Wilderness Act of 1964 and described in BLM Manual H-8550-1. This is an interim classification until Congress determines which areas are wilderness. Lands designated as wilderness by Congress will continue to be managed under Class I objectives. Lands not designated wilderness will be managed under visual resource management Class II objectives. Class II - The objective is to keep the existing character of the landscape. The level of change to the characteristic landscape should be low. Management activities may be seen, but should not attract the attention of the casual observer. Any changes must repeat the basic elements of form, line, color, and texture found in the dominant features of the landscape. Class III - The objective is to partially keep the existing character of the landscape. The level of change to the landscape should be moderate. Management activities may attract attention but should not dominate the view of the casual observer. Changes should repeat the basic elements found in the dominant features of the landscape. Class IV - The objective is to provide for management activities that require major changes of the existing landscape. The level of change to the landscape can be high. These management activities may dominate the view and be the major focus of viewer attention. However, every attempt should be made to lessen the impact of these activities through careful location, minimal disturbance, and repeating the basic elements. The Wilderness Study Areas and areas recommended for wilderness (83,240 public surface acres, see maps 31A-D) will be managed according to the Interim Management for Lands Under Wilderness Review (BLM Manual H-8550-1) until Congress designates areas wilderness. Those areas designated wilderness will be managed according to the Wilderness Act. Those areas not designated wilderness will be managed the same as like adjacent lands. Off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails until Congress decides which areas to designate as wilderness. Those areas designated as wilderness will be closed to off-road vehicle use with exceptions as identified in the Wilderness Act or a future wilderness management plan. The areas Congress decides not to designate as wilderness will remain limited to off-road vehicle use. The one exception will be actions authorized by BLM. There will be 2,320 public surface acres open to off-road vehicle use to provide recreational opportunities to off-road vehicle users (see map 13 in the “Dear Reader” letter to the public March 2, 1995). In areas open to off-road vehicle use, vehicles will be allowed without restrictions. To protect the vegetation, soil and water resources 1,614,770 public surface acres will be limited off-road

vehicle use, and 80 public surface acres (Smoky Butte, see map 14) closed to off-road vehicle use. No vehicles will be allowed on areas closed, including on the existing roads and trails. Motorized vehicles are not allowed within areas closed to off-road vehicles, except for emergency vehicles, fire suppression and rescue vehicles, BLM operation and maintenance vehicles, other federal, state, or local agency vehicles in the performance of an official duty and other motorized vehicles on official business specifically approved by the authorized officer of the Bureau of Land Management. In limited off-road vehicle use areas, parking or camping will be allowed within 100 yards of a road or trail. Special permits will be required for camps beyond that distance. Vehicle travel off existing roads and trails will be allowed only for authorized or permitted uses. These uses include medical or other emergencies, livestock management practices, geophysical exploration, firewood cutting, travel within active prairie dog colonies, retrieval of big game animals, and snow machines when snow cover is adequate. During particularly severe snow years, it may be necessary to consider limiting or closing some areas containing large numbers of wintering wildlife to snow machines. Special off-road vehicle permits for individuals with disabilities will be issued. RMP supplement May 1997: The Calypso Trail will remain open to motorized vehicles and off-road travel is limited to the road itself. Public lands within Makoshika State Park (2,700 acres, see map 17) will not be designated a special recreation management area as these lands will be considered for transfer to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act. Rights-of-way construction will be avoided. Off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails. Locatable minerals will be withdrawn from entry, and nonenergy leasable minerals will be closed to leasing. BLM-administered livestock grazing will be canceled. In Makoshika State Park, mineral material sales and permits, and oil and gas leasing and development will be conducted according to the Memorandum of Understanding between BLM, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Dawson County. These lands will be unsuitable for coal development. Smoky Butte (80 public surface acres, see map 14) will be designated an area of critical environmental concern (see ACEC appendix). Off-road vehicle use will be closed. The area will be withdrawn from locatable mineral entry subject to valid existing rights. Mineral material sales and permits, coal leasing, and nonenergy mineral leasing will be closed. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Geophysical exploration and livestock grazing will be allowed. Rights-of-way construction will not be allowed. The planning area will be designated as an extensive recreation management area, except for the following 17,098 public surface acres designated as special recreation management areas: Calypso Special Recreation Management Area (see map 15) is a 69-acre parcel next to the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area, along the Yellowstone River. Management objectives include opportunities for camping, picnicking, day hiking, fishing, sightseeing and wildlife viewing. To achieve these objectives, the BLM will develop overnight tent campsites, restrooms, drinking
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water, picnic tables and fire rings. There are no federal minerals in the Calypso Special Recreation Management Area. Livestock grazing will not be allowed. Rights-of-way construction will be avoided. Off- road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails. Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area (see map 16) will provide additional recreational facilities in southeastern Montana. It will consist of 2,858 public surface acres and a dam with a 50-foot pool depth (see the Recreation appendix for dam specifications). To provide fishing, boating, camping, picnicking and waterfowl hunting, the proposed facility should include overnight recreational vehicle and tent campsites, restrooms, drinking water, boat ramps, picnic tables and fire rings. A separate environmental impact statement will be written to analyze impacts from the proposed dam. Funding for this environmental impact statement and costs for building the dam will require a supplemental appropriation from Congress. If the dam is not constructed, Cherry Creek will not be managed as a special recreation management area and will be managed the same as like adjacent lands. Livestock grazing, mineral material sales and permits, and geophysical exploration will not be allowed in the Cherry Creek Special Recreation Management Area. Rights-of- way construction will be avoided. Locatable minerals will be withdrawn from entry. Coal, and nonenergy leasable mineral leasing will not be allowed. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation, and off- road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails. Powder River Depot Special Recreation Management Area (see map 18) will provide additional recreational facilities in southeastern Montana. This 171 public surface acre special recreation management area is located with the Powder River Depot Area of Critical Environmental Concern. BLM will manage the special recreation management area with overnight campsites, and a display depicting the history of the area. Management objectives to provide fishing, river access, camping, and picnicking will be met with development of tent camping sites, restrooms, drinking water, boat ramps, picnic tables, and fire rings. Impacts to the Powder River Depot Area of Critical Environmental Concern from recreational developments for the special recreation management area will be mitigated. Livestock grazing, mineral material sales and permits, and geophysical exploration will not be allowed in the Powder River Depot Special Recreation Management Area. Rights- of-way construction will be avoided. Locatable minerals will be withdrawn from entry. Coal, and nonenergy leasable minerals will be closed to leasing. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails. Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management Area (see maps 31A-D) is 14,000 acres of public land along the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail lies within this area. BLM will manage the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail in accordance with the act which established it in 1978. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail will be managed for

public use and enjoyment, while preserving the historic and cultural resources that are related to the events that occurred during the Lewis and Clark expedition. Future management actions will give full consideration to lessening adverse impacts to adjacent private landowners and suers, and harmonize with and compliment existing land use plans. Management objectives in the Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management Area are to enhance water- based recreation resources while meeting public demand for river access. Facilities will consist primarily of boat ramps, picnic tables and fire rings. Where use exceeds the carrying capacity of the resource, additional facilities such as restrooms and campsites will be constructed. Development will be designed to compliment, rather than compete with, any nearby state, federal, or private facilities. The Calypso (see map 15) and Powder River Depot (see map 18) special recreation management areas are not included within this corridor. Management for those areas is discussed above. In the Lewis and Clark Trail Special Recreation Management Area, rights-of-way construction will be avoided. Mineral material permits and sales will not be allowed. Locatable mineral entry and livestock grazing will be allowed. Oil and gas leasing will be allowed with a no surface occupancy stipulation. Coal and nonenergy mineral leasing will be closed. Geophysical exploration will be allowed and off-road vehicle use will be limited to the existing roads and trails. Monitoring will be conducted as described in Table 58 of the Monitoring appendix.

on surface and ground water quality. The State of Montana’s 1992, 305(b) report includes a list of streams considered to be impaired within the Big Dry Resource Area. Many of these streams have limited public lands along their stream reach. Impaired streams that have a significant portion of public lands in the stream’s basin are considered critical watersheds (see Soil and Water appendix). Watershed activity plans, allotment management plans, and habitat management plans will be developed and implemented by consultation, coordination and cooperation with the operator, local and state agencies, other federal agencies, and interest groups. BLM will file water rights with the state of Montana for water-related projects on public land. A data base containing pertinent information will be maintained for water rights held by the BLM. BLM activities conducted will meet Montana water quality standards (see “Water” section in the Monitoring appendix). BLM will manage the Cherry Creek watershed to improve the water quality by improving the riparian habitat along the channels of the ephemeral and intermittent streams. Riparian management is discussed in the “Vegetation” section. BLM will be involved in the Cherry Creek Water Quality Special Project according to the Memorandum of Understanding between the BLM, Prairie County Conservation District, Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, Prairie County Cooperative State Grazing District, Cooperative Extension Service, Soil Conservation Service, and Montana Department of State Lands. This Memorandum of Understanding is available in the Big Dry Resource Area office. The BLM objectives on upland areas and along stream bottoms, are to maintain adequate vegetation cover to increase soil productivity and stability. Management objectives include preventing the contamination of soils and water from spills. Vehicle and equipment servicing and refueling activities are conducted away from wet areas and drainages, except where present facilities exist. Proper techniques are used to collect petroleum products, and to clean up spills. The operator must develop a Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan (40 CFR 112). Ground water wells, oil and gas, and facilities are to be completed in such a manner as to reduce the potential for contamination or depletion of the ground water aquifer. Wells will be constructed as regulated by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and Department of Health and Environmental Sciences. Protective measures must include, at a minimum, cementing or grouting the annulus of the borehole and grading the land surface to direct surface waters away from the wellbore. Federal oil and gas wells will be plugged according to federal regulations (see “Production and Development” under “Oil and Gas” section in the Minerals appendix). Surface disturbance on slopes 30 percent or greater will be avoided whenever possible. If the surface-disturbing action cannot be avoided, appropriate mitigation measures will be applied to lessen the impacts to the soil. The following are reclamation actions to mitigate the impacts to the soil and water resources from surface-disturbing activities:

Rationale
BLM issues Special Recreation Use permits in order to protect resources, control visitor use and provide opportunities for commercial, competitive, noncommercial, noncompetitive, and special recreation uses on public lands. Outfitting and guiding is permitted to help satisfy the public’s demand for use in an area. Visual resource management classifications are made in order to manage lands in a manner which will protect scenic values. Open off-road vehicle designations are made to provide for public needs or demands. Limited off-road vehicle designations are made to help protect natural resources, and minimize conflicts among various users of the public lands. To help protect the area, the Smoky Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern is closed to off-road vehicle use. The Extensive Recreation Management Area is designated to manage the majority of public lands for traditional dispersed recreational use. Special Recreation Management Areas are designated to manage areas where outdoor recreation is a high priority, require a greater recreation investment, and more intensive recreation management is needed.

SOIL AND WATER
The federal Clean Water Act (Public Law 92-500), section 305(b) and section 106(e)(1), requires each state to submit a biennial report
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mulching and nurse crops; road surfacing (gravel, scoria, or other surface materials); surface water drainage (drop structures, culvert placement, water bars, erosion fabrics, gully plugs, contour furrows, ripping, chiseling, and pitting); development of seed mixture, site-specific, for revegetation; (example: 3 pounds per acre dryland alfalfa or 2 pounds per acre yellow sweet clover, 2 pounds per acre green needle grass, 4 pounds per acre western wheat grass, 5 pounds per acre slender wheat grass); topsoil removal, storage and replacement (site specific recommendations of depths); snow fencing for additional moisture in establishment of vegetation; proper seedbed preparation, including ripping depth, drill or broadcast seeding, raking and discing; produced water and mud pit design, including liners, proper compaction, and location away from perennial and ephemeral streams. Ground water monitoring wells, if necessary; surface casing installed through the Fox Hills geologic formation to protect domestic ground water sources from possible contamination; reduced surface disturbance (smaller pad size, joint roads, pipeline rights-of-way, and selection of drill sites requiring least surface disturbance, shorter access roads). Monitoring will be conducted as described in Table 58 of the Monitoring appendix.

be consistent with the guidelines stated in the Final Vegetation Treatment on BLM Lands in Thirteen Western States (USDI, BLM 1991b), Northwest Area Noxious Weed Program Final Environmental Impact Statement and Supplement (USDI, BLM 1987d), and BLM Manual H- 1740-1. Manual vegetation treatment can be used for establishment of vegetation in riparian areas when other methods are not recommended. Hand planting of willow or cottonwood cuttings (sections of twigs or stems) or seedlings will be allowed in riparian areas. Prescribed burning is used to enhance growth, and vigor of certain species, and to maintain a specific vegetation community. Prescribed burning will be avoided on highly erodible slopes. Areas will be burned to leave a mosaic pattern, with sagebrush cover if possible. Livestock grazing is delayed for at least one growing season. A two-year delay may be necessary for browse regrowth or when artificial seeding is required. Prescribed burns are carried out according to the procedures in the BLM Manual 9214 and H-92111. Mechanical treatments will be avoided on slopes greater than 15 percent, on highly erodible soils, or in riparian/ wetland areas. Mechanically-treated areas will be rested for two growing seasons (April through September). Undisturbed areas will be left for livestock and wildlife walkways in contour furrowed areas, and waterways will not be disturbed. Mechanical treatments will be consistent with the 1971 Memorandum of Understanding (on file in the Big Dry Resource Area) between the BLM and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. This Memorandum of Understanding states that the BLM will advise the regional supervisor of the