Finding of No Significant Impact for the French Gulch Restoration Plan and Adoption of U.S. Forest Service's Swan River Stream Restoration and Environmental Assessment
June 9, 2014
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), on behalf of the Department of the Interior, prepared a Restoration Plan (RP) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the French Gulch Mine Site. The RP/FONSI was prepared as part of a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) settlement for the French Gulch Mine Site.
USFWS is proposing to use settlement funds to implement stream and riparian restoration and enhancement of Swan River, Colorado, habitat, based on the anticipated ecological benefits to riparian, stream, and wetland habitat. The stream and riparian restoration activities have already undergone analysis and public review, and on May 23, 2014, the U.S. Forest Service issued a FONSI for Swan River Stream Restoration. Documents related to the Swan River Stream Restoration Environmental Assessment (EA), including the FONSI, can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/whiteriver/landmanagement/projects.
The USFWS proposes to adopt the USFS’s EA and FONSI prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The USFWS has conducted its independent evaluation of the EA and FONSI consistent with procedures described at 40 CFR 1506.3 and the DOI USFWS’s NEPA requirements at 516 DM 1-6 and 550 FW 3 and determined the EA and FONSI meet all the requirements for adoption.
USFWS’s proposed restoration actions will restore and enhance the equivalent natural resources injured, lost or destroyed by releases of hazardous substances from the French Gulch Mine Site. Proposed restoration projects meet the purpose and need of NRDA restoration of providing the broad restoration goals that are most beneficial to the aquatic resources within the Swan River, a subunit of the Blue River Watershed. The restoration projects also provide a substantial benefit to the public by creating new river habitat that would be accessible for recreational use such as hiking and fishing. Based upon findings and conclusions in the Forest Service’s EA, we have determined that implementation of the Swan River Stream Restoration projects will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment.
We would like to know what you think about the RP/FONSI. The RP/FONSI is available for public review and comment. All comments received within 30 days following June 16, 2014, the date of this notice, will be considered.
An electronic copy of the RP/FONSI can obtained from our website at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/NRDA/frenchgulch/index.html or by contacting the Colorado Ecological Services Field Office at 719-655-6121. Comments on the RP/FONSI may be sent to Laura Archuleta by mail at USFWS 46525 Highway 114, Saguache, CO 81149, or by fax to 719-655-2502.
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