1986: Draft Supplement to the FEIS is Published (SEIS)
The Draft Supplement (SEIS) to the Final Environmental Impact Statement for an Amendment to the Pacific Northwest Regional Guide was published in July 1986. The SEIS came as a result of the Secretary of Agriculture's ruling that the plan needed to consider new biological information on spotted owl habitat requirements. The SEIS assessed the environmental consequences of proposed updated regional standards and guidelines for the management of habitat for the northern spotted owl. Under any proposed plan of action, the greatest risks to the owl population were reduction in old growth habitat combined with the low reproductive rate for the species.
The SEIS evaluated twelve alternatives covering a wide range of management options for the northern spotted owl habitat. The alternatives encompassed a wide range of possible standards and guidelines as well as the general regional effects of implementing these policies. They represented alternative approaches for maintaining viable populations of the northern spotted owl and each had its own set of risks to spotted owl viability, potential impacts on other resource uses, and other characteristics. The alternatives were meant to guide decisions that were made in individual national forest plans.
The Forest Service announced that their preferred alternative was Alternative F. This alternative laid out rules to provide at least 550 spotted owl habitat areas with a variable amount of suitable habitat. The intent was to protect options for up to 2200 acres of sustainable habitat per pair of owls, while minimizing effects on timber production during the first planning period. This was intended to be done by removing 1000 acres from the land suitable for timber production for each designated habitat area located on those lands, and not scheduling timber sales on an additional 1200 acres.
The supplement summarized the current available information on the northern spotted owl; described the environmental relationships between the spotted owl and other resource, economic, and soil factors; and discussed the potential consequences of implementing the proposed action or other alternatives. The standards and guidelines of the action determined in the SEIS were used to develop the 10- to 15- year Land and Resource Management Plans for national forests in the Pacific Northwest Region.
The public review period of the proposed standards and guidelines began on August 2, 1986, and lasted 90 days until November 17, 1986. During this time the public could send in written comments and letters to the Forest Service to be considered when preparing the Final Supplement. This SEIS was subject to revision after the 90 day comment period expired. This way the public was able to contribute to the final selection of an alternative management strategy by submitting information they wanted to be considered.
USDA Forest Service. “Draft Supplement to the Environmental Impact Statement for an Amendment to the Pacific
Northwest Regional Guide: Volume 1, Spotted Owl Guidelines.” USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region, 1986.