Western Watersheds project requests that members and supporters email or write Tris Hoffman of the Hebgen Lake Ranger District of the Gallatin National Forest with the following or similar comments to support an adequate analysis of reasonable alternatives in the proposed EIS for the Horse Butte Allotment including the elimination of cattle use from the allotment because of the presence of bison at some times of the year.
You can request a copy of the scoping notice letter from Tris Hoffman at the Hebgen Lake Ranger District (see contact information below). Your scoping comments will be accepted even if you do not request a copy of the scoping notice letter. Please be sure and include your name and address and request that they be placed on the mailing list for the draft and final EIS for the Horse Butte allotment.
Suggested comments might include the following:
1. All alternatives developed must analyze and assess the impacts of livestock grazing on native ecosystems and native wildlife health and their long-term viability.
2. All alternatives must establish a maximum level of livestock grazing that is compatible with the preservation, restoration, and viability of all native ecosystems and species.
3. All alternatives must include a cost-benefit analysis of continuing to maintain livestock grazing at any level on the Horse Butte allotment.
4. A specific alternative must be dedicated to analysis of a no grazing decision for domestic livestock on the allotment; two other alternatives should address grazing by 60% and 30% of current levels of livestock use.
5.All alternatives must assess the impacts of domestic livestock grazing on the spread of noxious weeds and other invasive species, both plant and animal.
6. All alternatives must address the impact of livestock grazing at any level on riparian area vegetative health and the health of native fisheries.
7. All alternatives must address the impacts of livestock grazing on changes in fire frequency and fire ecology in general.
8. All alternatives must address the impacts of any permitted livestock use on bison winter range, bison health, bison reproduction, and bison population viability.
9. All alternatives must address the impacts on ESA listed species such as bald eagles, wolves, lynx, grizzly bear as well as on all Forest designated sensitive or management indicator species including goshawk and red squirrel.
10. All alternatives must address whether they are in the long term interest of the American people as required by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA).
11. All alternatives that would continue the authorization of livestock grazing must provide the value of grazing fee receipts to the Gallatin Forest as compared with the cost to administer the proposed grazing permit.
12. All alternatives must assess the impact of Montana Department of Livestock hazing operations on ESA threatened or endangered species if cattle use is continued on the Horse Butte allotment.
Email or mail your comments by December 21, if possible, or no later than January 1, 2002 to:
Hebgen Ranger Lake District
Post Office Box 520
West Yellowstone, Montana 59758