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Project Description

PSC served as writers, editors, and document managers for multiple components of the Payette National Forest’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the 2003 Southwest Idaho Ecogroup Land and Resource Management Plans Final Environmental Impact Statement. The SEIS analyzed the effects of current and proposed management on Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep viability within the Payette National Forest. Successful completion of the initial SEIS task order served as a basis for future PSC contracting on the Final SEIS and other related reports, manuals, and amendments.

Project Area

The project area encompassed the Payette and Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.

Specific Tasks, Outcomes, and Performance

Document Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) meetings for the administrative record—PSC documented a series of IDT meetings held by the Payette National Forest from 2007 to 2009. Participants included representatives from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS); Oregon, Washington, and Idaho State wildlife agencies; Idaho Governor Butch Otter’s office; the Nez Perce, Shoshone–Paiute, and Shoshone–Bannock tribes; and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

Contribute to the development of the Draft SEIS—For the Draft SEIS, PSC wrote Chapter 1, Purpose and Need, and Chapter 2, Alternatives Considered. They also edited Chapters 3 and 4 and all appendices and formatted the final document for printing. The document completed the Regional Office and Washington Office review process in less than four weeks and was released for public comment in September 2008.

Write and edit technical reports for the Update to the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement—After releasing the Draft SEIS, the Payette National Forest developed several additional alternative management approaches and five additional alternatives to better address the issue of bighorn sheep viability. Since these models, management approaches, and alternatives were not presented to the public in the Draft SEIS, the Payette National Forest was tasked with developing an Update to the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and contracted PSC to write the model analysis section of that document and write and edit the modeling technical report appendix. These documents were released for public comment January 2010.

Write, edit, and serve as document manager for the Final SEIS, biological assessment, and Record of Decision—PSC was contracted to write, edit, and manage the Final SEIS, including the biological assessment, response to comment appendix that included comments from the Draft SEIS and the update to the Draft SEIS, and all supporting specialists’ reports. PSC was also contracted to edit and format the Record of Decision (ROD). The Final SEIS was published in July 20, 2010.

Document the Record of Decision Appeal Resolution Meeting—Because of PSC’s involvement in this project since 2007, they were asked to document the Final SEIS/ROD Appeal Resolution Meeting on December 14, 2010. This meeting was a meeting facilitated by another contractor that was held to informally resolve issues through open communication, not a hearing.

Support implementation of amendments to the resource management plan—The 2010 amendment to the 2003 Payette National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan provided direction for habitats of viable populations of bighorn sheep to be free of domestic sheep and goats. Direction in the amendment instructed the Forest to evoke emergency response measures to maintain separation between domestic sheep and bighorn sheep. To help the Forest implement this amendment, USFS staff wrote, and PSC edited, an Emergency Response Plan for Potential Situations Regarding Bighorn Sheep and Domestic Sheep and Goats in 2011–2012.

Edit and format a summary report—To gain a better ecological understanding of bighorn sheep populations in the Salmon River drainage that borders the Payette and Nez Perce–Clearwater National Forests, the Salmon River Bighorn Sheep Study was initiated in 2007 and continued through August 2012. This effort culminated in the Summary Report: Salmon River Bighorn Sheep DNA Sampling and Survey along the Middle Fork Salmon River, August 2012. PSC was contracted to edit and format this document, which was published in August 2012. Bighorn Sheep Risk of

Contact Tool User’s Guide—The population and disease modeling tool created by the University of California at Davis was modified by another third-party contractor to enable wildlife biologists throughout the USFS to use the tool. In September 2012, the USFS recommended that this contractor hire PSC to edit and format the Bighorn Sheep Risk of Contact Tool User’s Guide that accompanies this model.

Scientific Journal Articles—In addition to NEPA documents, PSC was contracted to edit and format several supporting documents for the risk-for-contact and disease models, including the following scientific journal articles:

  • O’Brien, J.M., C. O’Brien, C. McCarthy, and T.E. Carpenter. 2014. Incorporating foray behavior into models estimating contact risk between bighorn sheep and areas occupied by domestic sheep. Wildlife Society Bulletin: 38(2) 321–331.
  • · Carpenter, T.E., V.L. Coggins, C. McCarthy, C.S. O’Brien, J. M. O’Brien, and T.J. Schommer. A spatial risk assessment of bighorn sheep extirpation by grazing domestic sheep on public lands. Preventative Veterinary Medicine: 114(1) 3–10.

Legal declarations—In 2013, the Idaho Wool Growers Association filed a motion to overturn the 2010 Record of Decision for this project. PSC was contracted by the USFS to edit the declarations in support of the federal defendants’ cross-motion for summary judgement. In March 2014, the U.S. 9th Circuit Jude Wallace Tashima denied the motion by the Idaho Wool Growers Association. The Forest Plan amendment that was implemented in August 2010 is still being implemented at this time.