[USC02] 16 USC 6591e: Categorical exclusion for greater sage-grouse and mule deer habitat
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16 USC 6591e: Categorical exclusion for greater sage-grouse and mule deer habitat Text contains those laws in effect on September 21, 2019
From Title 16-CONSERVATIONCHAPTER 84-HEALTHY FOREST RESTORATIONSUBCHAPTER VI-MISCELLANEOUS

§6591e. Categorical exclusion for greater sage-grouse and mule deer habitat

(a) Definitions

In this section:

(1) Covered vegetation management activity

(A) In general

The term "covered vegetation management activity" means any activity described in subparagraph (B) that-

(i)(I) is carried out on National Forest System land administered by the Forest Service; or

(II) is carried out on public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management;

(ii) with respect to public land, meets the objectives of the order of the Secretary of the Interior numbered 3336 and dated January 5, 2015;

(iii) conforms to an applicable forest plan or land use plan;

(iv) protects, restores, or improves greater sage-grouse or mule deer habitat in a sagebrush steppe ecosystem as described in-

(I) Circular 1416 of the United States Geological Survey entitled "Restoration Handbook for Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystems with Emphasis on Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat-Part 1. Concepts for Understanding and Applying Restoration" (2015); or

(II) the habitat guidelines for mule deer published by the Mule Deer Working Group of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies;


(v) will not permanently impair-

(I) the natural state of the treated area;

(II) outstanding opportunities for solitude;

(III) outstanding opportunities for primitive, unconfined recreation;

(IV) economic opportunities consistent with multiple-use management; or

(V) the identified values of a unit of the National Landscape Conservation System;


(vi)(I) restores native vegetation following a natural disturbance;

(II) prevents the expansion into greater sage-grouse or mule deer habitat of-

(aa) juniper, pinyon pine, or other associated conifers; or

(bb) nonnative or invasive vegetation;


(III) reduces the risk of loss of greater sage-grouse or mule deer habitat from wildfire or any other natural disturbance; or

(IV) provides emergency stabilization of soil resources after a natural disturbance; and

(vii) provides for the conduct of restoration treatments that-

(I) maximize the retention of old-growth and large trees, as appropriate for the forest type;

(II) consider the best available scientific information to maintain or restore the ecological integrity, including maintaining or restoring structure, function, composition, and connectivity;

(III) are developed and implemented through a collaborative process that-

(aa) includes multiple interested persons representing diverse interests; and

(bb)(AA) is transparent and nonexclusive; or

(BB) meets the requirements for a resource advisory committee under subsections (c) through (f) of section 7125 of this title; and


(IV) may include the implementation of a proposal that complies with the eligibility requirements of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program under section 7303(b) of this title.

(B) Description of activities

An activity referred to in subparagraph (A) is-

(i) manual cutting and removal of juniper trees, pinyon pine trees, other associated conifers, or other nonnative or invasive vegetation;

(ii) mechanical mastication, cutting, or mowing, mechanical piling and burning, chaining, broadcast burning, or yarding;

(iii) removal of cheat grass, medusa head rye, or other nonnative, invasive vegetation;

(iv) collection and seeding or planting of native vegetation using a manual, mechanical, or aerial method;

(v) seeding of nonnative, noninvasive, ruderal vegetation only for the purpose of emergency stabilization;

(vi) targeted use of an herbicide, subject to the condition that the use shall be in accordance with applicable legal requirements, Federal agency procedures, and land use plans;

(vii) targeted livestock grazing to mitigate hazardous fuels and control noxious and invasive weeds;

(viii) temporary removal of wild horses or burros in the area in which the activity is being carried out to ensure treatment objectives are met;

(ix) in coordination with the affected permit holder, modification or adjustment of permissible usage under an annual plan of use of a grazing permit issued by the Secretary concerned to achieve restoration treatment objectives;

(x) installation of new, or modification of existing, fencing or water sources intended to control use or improve wildlife habitat; or

(xi) necessary maintenance of, repairs to, rehabilitation of, or reconstruction of an existing permanent road or construction of temporary roads to accomplish the activities described in this subparagraph.

(C) Exclusions

The term "covered vegetation management activity" does not include-

(i) any activity conducted in a wilderness area or wilderness study area;

(ii) any activity for the construction of a permanent road or permanent trail;

(iii) any activity conducted on Federal land on which, by Act of Congress or Presidential proclamation, the removal of vegetation is restricted or prohibited;

(iv) any activity conducted in an area in which activities under subparagraph (B) would be inconsistent with the applicable land and resource management plan; or

(v) any activity conducted in an inventoried roadless area.

(2) Secretary concerned

The term "Secretary concerned" means-

(A) the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to National Forest System land; and

(B) the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to public land.

(3) Temporary road

The term "temporary road" means a road that is-

(A) authorized-

(i) by a contract, permit, lease, other written authorization; or

(ii) pursuant to an emergency operation;


(B) not intended to be part of the permanent transportation system of a Federal department or agency;

(C) not necessary for long-term resource management;

(D) designed in accordance with standards appropriate for the intended use of the road, taking into consideration-

(i) safety;

(ii) the cost of transportation; and

(iii) impacts to land and resources; and


(E) managed to minimize-

(i) erosion; and

(ii) the introduction or spread of invasive species.

(b) Categorical exclusion

(1) In general

Not later than 1 year after December 20, 2018, the Secretary concerned shall develop a categorical exclusion (as defined in section 1508.4 of title 40, Code of Federal Regulations (or a successor regulation)) for covered vegetation management activities carried out to protect, restore, or improve habitat for greater sage-grouse or mule deer.

(2) Administration

In developing and administering the categorical exclusion under paragraph (1), the Secretary concerned shall-

(A) comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.);

(B) with respect to National Forest System land, apply the extraordinary circumstances procedures under section 220.6 of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations), in determining whether to use the categorical exclusion;

(C) with respect to public land, apply the extraordinary circumstances procedures under section 46.215 of title 43, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations), in determining whether to use the categorical exclusion; and

(D) consider-

(i) the relative efficacy of landscape-scale habitat projects;

(ii) the likelihood of continued declines in the populations of greater sage-grouse and mule deer in the absence of landscape-scale vegetation management; and

(iii) the need for habitat restoration activities after wildfire or other natural disturbances.

(c) Implementation of covered vegetative management activities within the range of greater sage-grouse and mule deer

If the categorical exclusion developed under subsection (b) is used to implement a covered vegetative management activity in an area within the range of both greater sage-grouse and mule deer, the covered vegetative management activity shall protect, restore, or improve habitat concurrently for both greater sage-grouse and mule deer.

(d) Long-term monitoring and maintenance

Before commencing any covered vegetation management activity that is covered by the categorical exclusion under subsection (b), the Secretary concerned shall develop a long-term monitoring and maintenance plan, covering at least the 20-year period beginning on the date of commencement, to ensure that management of the treated area does not degrade the habitat gains secured by the covered vegetation management activity.

(e) Disposal of vegetative material

Subject to applicable local restrictions, any vegetative material resulting from a covered vegetation management activity that is covered by the categorical exclusion under subsection (b) may be-

(1) used for-

(A) fuel wood; or

(B) other products; or


(2) piled or burned, or both.

(f) Treatment for temporary roads

(1) In general

Notwithstanding subsection (a)(1)(B)(xi), any temporary road constructed in carrying out a covered vegetation management activity that is covered by the categorical exclusion under subsection (b)-

(A) shall be used by the Secretary concerned for the covered vegetation management activity for not more than 2 years; and

(B) shall be decommissioned by the Secretary concerned not later than 3 years after the earlier of the date on which-

(i) the temporary road is no longer needed; and

(ii) the project is completed.

(2) Requirement

A treatment under paragraph (1) shall include reestablishing native vegetative cover-

(A) as soon as practicable; but

(B) not later than 10 years after the date of completion of the applicable covered vegetation management activity.

(g) Limitations

(1) Project size

A covered vegetation management activity that is covered by the categorical exclusion under subsection (b) may not exceed 4,500 acres.

(2) Location

A covered vegetation management activity carried out on National Forest System land that is covered by the categorical exclusion under subsection (b) shall be limited to areas designated under section 6591a(b) of this title, as of December 20, 2018.

(Pub. L. 108–148, title VI, §606, as added Pub. L. 115–334, title VIII, §8611, Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4848 .)

References in Text

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, referred to in subsec. (b)(2)(A), is Pub. L. 91–190, Jan. 1, 1970, 83 Stat. 852 , which is classified generally to chapter 55 (§4321 et seq.) of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 4321 of Title 42 and Tables.