The six National Forests in Utah (including the Manti - La Sal) released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Wild and Scenic Rivers Suitability in December, 2007. The DEIS is available online at www.fs.fed.us/r4/rivers/ . Hard copies can be viewed at local Forest Service offices throughout the state and at major public libraries.
The Forest Service will receive public comments on the DEIS through February 15, 2008. Comments may be submitted to Utah NF Wild and Scenic River DEIS, P.O. Box 162969, Sacramento, CA 95816-2969; by E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; or by fax to 916-456-6724.
The draft identifies a preliminary recommendation of which segments should be included in the Wild and Scenic River system. Hammond Canyon is the primary focus in San Juan County.
The final recommendation, expected in late 2008, is a preliminary administrative recommendation that will receive further review and possible modification by the Chief of the Forest Service, Secretary of Agriculture, and the President of the United States. Congress reserves authority to make final decisions on designation of rivers as part of the National Wild and Scenic River System.
The Forest Service is hosting several public meetings throughout the State to educate the public about this important effort and to receive comments on the DEIS.
Public meetings will be held from 7 to 8:30 pm (formal presentation from 7 to 7:30 and informal open house from 7:30 to 8:30 pm) on the following dates and in the following locations:
On January 22 at the San Juan County Courthouse in Monticello, 117 S. Main Street, on January 23 in Huntington, on January 24 in Vernal, on February 5 in Ephraim, and on February 6 in Salt Lake City.
The Forest Service is conducting a suitability study for 86 river segments that have previously been determined to be eligible for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic River system.
As part of this suitability planning process, extensive public involvement opportunities are being provided. Suitability will assess many social, political, and other management factors that were not considered during eligibility.
In order for a river to be included in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system it must be determined eligible, be given a tentative classification (wild, scenic, or recreation), be found suitable, be recommended for designation to Congress or the Secretary of Interior, and be designated by congressional action.
River segments in Utah have been found eligible and given tentative classification. The purpose of the Suitability DEIS is to determine those river segments that should be found suitable and recommended to Congress.
For additional information, visit the website at www.fs.fed.us/r4/rivers/ .