Animal Damage >> Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage

The Forest Service gives notice of and requests comment on proposed revisions to its policy on animal damage management to be published in the Forest Service Manual Chapter 2650. This Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage direction would replace current agency procedures for implementing the provisions of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)--Animal Damage Control unit and the Forest Service.

This proposed policy is intended to clarify the Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage role and responsibility of the Forest Service in coordinating with APHIS on animal damage management and in cooperating with APHIS in discharging Federal obligations to manage wild vertebrates causing damage on National Forest System lands under the Animal Damage Control Act of 1931. DATES: Comments must be received in writing by August 12, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to the Director, Wildlife, Fish and Rare Plants Staff (2650), Forest Service, USDA, P.O. Box 96090, Washington, DC 20090-6090. The public may inspect comments received on this proposed Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage policy in the Office of the Director, Wildlife, Fish and Rare Plants Staff, 4th floor, Northwest, Auditor's Building, 205 14th Street, SW., Washington, DC. Those wishing to inspect comments are encouraged to call ahead (202-205-1367) to facilitate entry into the building.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Darden, Wildlife Program Leader, (202-205-1206). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage Forest Service and APHIS cooperate in discharging Federal obligations under the Animal Damage Control Act 1931 (7 U.S.C. 426-426b) which governs animal damage management activities on National Forest System lands. These activities include actions to provide wildlife damage management through direct control, as well as technical assistance to achieve desired management objectives.

APHIS, in cooperation with the Forest Service and states, carries out animal damage management activities on some National Forest System lands, mostly to minimize livestock losses from predation by coyotes, black bears, and other predators. Under other Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage authorities (e.g., Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960, the Forest Service conducts activities to control animal damage caused by small mammals and other animals to National Forest System resources, such as timber stands and roads.

APHIS has responsibility for animal damage management activities, as designated by the Secretary of Agriculture (7 CFR 2.51(41)). The principal Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage change being proposed in existing Forest Service Manual policy (FSM 2650) is the designation of APHIS as the lead agency for preparing environmental documentation on animal damage management activities initiated by APHIS on National Forest System lands.

The Forest Service will cooperate with APHIS and the states in Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage environmental analysis and documentation of actions proposed by APHIS that will occur on or affect National Forest System lands and provide mitigation measures needed to ensure that animal damage management activities performed by APHIS are compatible with direction provided in forest land and resource management plans.

The proposed policy would bring the Forest Service Manual provisions into conformance with current field-level animal damage management practice. Current operational procedures for animal damage management activities are outlined in an August 25, 1992 letter to Forest Service Regional Foresters from Deputy Chief James C. Overbay and the subsequent Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between APHIS and the Forest Service, signed June 18, 1993.

Notice of availability of the MOU was published in the Federal Register on July 13, 1993. The 1993 MOU clarifies the role of each Forest Supervisor in cooperating with APHIS and the states in Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage documentation of environmental actions proposed by APHIS, and in providing mitigation measures to ensure that animal damage management activities performed by APHIS are compatible with direction provided in forest plans.

The MOU also clarifies that APHIS, in cooperation with the Forest Service, develops work plans for animal damage management activities on National Forest System lands. These plans address control areas, specific Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage control techniques, emergency control procedures, timeframes, and other limitations and restrictions. The MOU recognizes APHIS work plans as the definitive plans for predator control actions on National Forest System lands.

After discussion with the Council on Environmental Quality, the Forest Service has decided to publish this proposed animal damage management policy in the Federal Register, inviting public comment on the role and responsibility of the Forest Service in coordinating with APHIS on animal damage management. In the Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage interim, the Forest Service and APHIS will follow procedures outlined in the 1993 MOU for which notice was published in the Federal Register.

Section of Forest Service Handbook, Sept. 18, 1992) excludes from documentation in an environmental  assessment or impact statement ``rules, regulations, or policies to establish Service wide administrative procedures, program processes, or instructions.'' This Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage proposed policy would provide administrative instructions to Forest Service field offices on the procedures and processes to follow in the case of coordination with APHIS on animal damage management activities.

Accordingly, the agency's preliminary assessment is that this proposed policy falls within this category of action and that no extraordinary Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage circumstances exist which would require preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. A final determination will be made upon adoption of the final policy. Controlling Paperwork Burden on the Public.

This policy will not result in additional paperwork. Therefore, the review provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (44 U.S.C. 3507) and implementing regulations at 5 CFR part 1320 do not apply. Regulatory Impact This proposed policy has been reviewed under Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage procedures and Executive Order 12866 on Regulatory Planning and Review. It has been determined that this is not a significant policy. Dated: May 23, 1994. David A. Harcharik, Acting Chief.

Proposed Manual Revision Note: The Forest Service organizes its directive system by alpha-numeric codes and subject headings. Only those sections of the Forest Service Manual that are the subject of this Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage notice are set out here. The audience for this direction is Forest Service employees charged with coordinating with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service--Animal Damage Control Unit on animal damage management activities on National Forest System lands.

Forest Service Manual--Chapter 2650--Animal Damage Management The Forest Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)--Animal Damage Control unit, along with the states, cooperate in discharging the Federal obligations under the Animal Damage Control Act of 1931 to manage animal damage on National Forest System lands. These Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage activities include actions to provide wildlife damage management through direct control, as well as technical assistance to achieve desired management objectives.

APHIS carries out animal damage management activities on National Forest System lands, mostly to minimize livestock losses from predation by coyotes, black bears, and other Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage predators. The Forest Service conducts activities to control animal damage caused by small mammals and other animals to National Forest System resources, such as timber stands and roads. 2650.1--Authority.

In addition to the authorities listed in FSM 2601, the following Prevention And Control Of Wildlife Damage authorities govern animal damage management activities on National Forest System lands: 1. The Animal Damage Control Act of March 2, 1931 as amended by the Rural Development, Agriculture, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-202) authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to provide animal damage management services, to maintain technical expertise for evaluating and recommending animal damage management techniques, and to conduct forest and range animal damage research. The Secretary has delegated this authority to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)--Animal Damage Control unit.

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