Goose EIS 2015 ~ Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

  1. What is the Goose Project?
  2. Why is the Goose Project needed?
  3. Why is the McKenzie River Ranger District preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Goose Project?
  4. How has the public been informed about the Goose Project EIS?
  5. Will I have an opportunity to submit a comment on the Goose Project EIS?
  6. When will the Draft Record of Decision and Final Environmental Impact be available?
  7. Where can I find a copy of the Draft Record of Decision and Final Environmental Impact Statement?
  8. Is the Goose Project subject to the pre-decisional administrative review (objection) process?
  9. How do I make sure I receive updates on the Goose Project?
  10. Where can I find more information on the Goose Project?

Answers

1. What is the Goose Project?
The Goose Project proposes to commercially harvest and reduce fuels on approximately 2,452 acres on the Willamette National Forest near the community of McKenzie Bridge, Oregon. Harvest treatments proposed include thinning, dominant tree release, gap creation, regeneration harvest and skips. Fuels treatments include mechanical treatments, post-harvest underburn, natural fuels underburn, and hazardous fuels treatments.
 

2. Why is the Goose Project needed?
The Goose Project is needed to provide a sustainable supply of timber products, reduce hazardous fuels in the McKenzie Bridge Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), and actively managed stands to improve stand conditions, diversity, density and structure.
 

3. Why is the McKenzie River Ranger District preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Goose Project?

In 2010, the McKenzie River Ranger District prepared an Environmental Assessment and approved a subsequent Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Goose Project.  The Decision Notice, approved September 13, 2010, selected Alternative 2, which approved thinning on 1,443 acres; dominant tree release on 11 acres; gap creation on 322 acres; regeneration harvest on 41 acres; and skips on 283 acres.

In November 2010, three organizations appealed the Goose Project.  Two appellants, Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild, requested that the Responsible Official withdraw the decision and issue a new one adopting Alternative 3. The third appellant, American Forest Resource Council, requested the decision be remanded and Alternative 2 be selected without modification.  The Forest Service conducted an appeal review in accordance with 36 CFR 215 and regional procedures.  On December 16, 2010, the Appeal Deciding Officer determined the 2010 Decision Notice was in compliance with law, regulation, and policy and denied the appellants requested relief.  Implementation of the Goose Project began in 2011 with the sale of three contracts for timber harvest and removal.  Two timber sale contracts were awarded to Seneca Sawmill Company, and one to Freres Lumber Company Inc. 

On May 12, 2012, Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild filed formal complaint against the Forest Service in the Unites States District Court for the District of Oregon (Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild vs USFS), effectively halting the Goose Project.  The plaintiffs (Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild) asserted the Forest Service failed to disclose environmental information, specifically habitat competition between the spotted owl and the barred owl and the consequences of logging in critical Riparian Reserves.  Plaintiffs further asserted the project proposed actions may significantly affect the environment and therefore, under NEPA requirements, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) should have been prepared.  In March 2013, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Aiken concluded that while the Forest Service did adequately disclose environmental information, the potentially significant effect to the environment from the Goose Project triggered NEPA’S requirement that the Forest Service prepare an EIS.  Accordingly, the Forest Service was enjoined from going forward with the Goose Project until an EIS has been prepared. 

An EIS has been prepared to revise the 2010 environmental analysis and decision for the Goose Project Environmental Analysis as directed by a 2013 U.S. District Court order. The EIS builds upon the original analysis while providing a more thorough analysis regarding habitat competition of barred owl on the northern spotted owl, support for the need to harvest in Riparian Reserves to achieve ACS objectives, and impacts to a potential wilderness area.  By preparing an EIS, the Willamette National Forest is fulfilling agency policy and direction to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other relevant Federal and State laws and regulations.
 

4. How has the public been informed about the Goose Project EIS?

Public involvement efforts during the development of the Goose Project EIS included public meetings, open-houses, scoping letters, field trips, meetings with interested parties and landowners, and publication of the project in the Willamette National Forest Schedule of Proposed Actions and Willamette National Forest website.  The following is a timeline illustrating public involvement efforts for the Goose Project:

  • April 30, 2014: Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS published in the Federal Register
  • April 24, 2014: May 1, 2014: District open-house public meetings at McKenzie Bridge, OR
  • May 2, 2014: Public meeting to discuss Goose Project held in McKenzie Bridge, Oregon
  • May 9, 2014: Public meeting to discuss Goose Project held in Leaburg, Oregon
  • May 27, 2014: Scoping letter and background information mailed to members of the public, organizations, and state/federal agencies that have expressed interest in receiving information on District projects
  • July1, 2014: Project published in the Willamette National Forest Schedule of Proposed Actions.
  • March 9, 2015: Notice of Availability (NOA) and initiation of 45-day comment period for DEIS published in the Register Guard
  • March 24, 2015: Public meeting to discuss Goose project held in Leaburg, Oregon
  • March 25, 2015: Public meeting to discuss Goose project held in McKenzie Bridge, Oregon
  • April 14, 2015: Public field trip to view and discuss Good project

Additionally, the McKenzie River District Ranger met with the McKenzie Clearwater Coalition, the Upper McKenzie Lyons Club, Congressmen Peter DeFazio, staff from Senator Jeff Merkley’s office, and multiple landowners with property adjacent to the project area.  The District Ranger personally responded to over 150 emails and 50 phone calls regarding the project. 

Members of the public, organizations, and state/federal agencies were invited to provide comments and concerns about the Goose Project during the public scoping comment period from April 30th-June 16th, 2014.  Scoping comments received varied from those that wanted more clarification on proposed activities to specific suggestions for project implementation. Scoping comments were used to help develop planning issues, alternatives, and effects analysis.  All correspondence and comments are available in the Project Record at the McKenzie River Ranger District office.

Members of the publics, organization, and state and federal agencies were invited to provide comment on the DEIS during the 45-day comment period from March 6th through April 20th, 2015. Approximately 700 letters were received from members of the public, federal officials, public interest organizations, and private businesses.
 

5. Will I have an opportunity to submit a comment on the Goose Project EIS?

Members of the public, organizations, and state and federal agencies were invited to provide comment on the DEIS during the 45-day comment period from March 6th through April 20th, 2015. Approximately 700 letters were received from members of the public, federal officials, public interest organizations, and private businesses.  

 

6. When will the Draft Record of Decision and Final Environmental Impact be available?

The Draft Record of Decision (ROD) and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) will be available on August 11th, 2015.
 

7. Where can I find a copy of the Draft Record of Decision and Final Environmental Impact Statement?

The Draft Record of Decision (ROD) and the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) will be available online at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=45853. A limited number of hard copies will be available upon request. If you would like to request a copy of the Draft ROD and FEIS, contact Elysia Retzlaff at (541) 822-7214, elysiamretzlaff@fs.fed.us, or at the McKenzie River Ranger District at 57600 McKenzie Highway, McKenzie Bridge, Oregon.
 

8. Is the Goose Project subject to the pre-decisional administrative review (objection) process?

The Goose project is subject to pre-decisional administrative review (objection) pursuant to 36 CFR 218. The 45-day objection period begins the day following publication of notice of availability and objection in the Eugene Register Guard, the newspaper of record for the Willamette National Forest. Only individuals or organizations that submitted specific written comments during any designated opportunity for public participation (scoping or public comment periods) may object (36 CFR 218.5). Objections must be filed with the reviewing officer in writing and all objections are available for public inspection during and after the objection process. Issues raised in objections must be based on previously submitted specific written comments regarding the proposed project or activity and attributed to the objector, unless the issue is based on new information that arose after the opportunities for comment. 

 

9. How do I make sure I receive updates on the Goose Project?

Subscribe to the Goose Project contact list at
https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAFS/subscriber/new?topic_id=NEPA_45853_S
 

9. Where can I find a copy of the Goose Project EIS?

The EIS will be available online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=45853.