--- FINAL --- Platte Petroleum Project RECREATION TECHNICAL REPORT. Prepared by:

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1 --- FINAL --- Platte Petroleum Project RECREATION TECHNICAL REPORT Prepared by: David S. Hatch Forest Landscape Architect and Recreation Planner Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest U.S. Forest Service Specialist s signature /s/ David S. Hatch 17 December 2014 Date page 1

2 INTRODUCTION This report will provide a brief description of the project; discuss key assumptions and methodologies used in the analysis; identify existing inventories, monitoring, and research literature review used in the analysis; describe desired conditions and sitespecific resource conditions; discuss resource impacts and effects of the alternatives; and document conclusions regarding direct, indirect, and cumulative effects for each alternative. Brief Description of the Proposed Action The Burnett Oil Company proposes to drill a test well on land managed by the Forest Service and minerals managed by the BLM. The proposed test well is located in the southwest quarter of Section 3, Township 2 North, Range 13 East, Salt Lake Meridian. The proposed test well is located in Management Prescription Category (MPC) 5.2, Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) class Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized (SPNM), Landscape Character Theme (LCT) Natural Appearing Scenic Integrity Objective (SIO) Low, and Winter Recreation Motorized management elements in the Eastern Uintas Management Area. The proposed action includes a well pad that could have the maximum dimension of 600 feet by 600 feet long and a 30 foot wide access road into the site. All areas would be reclaimed and reseeded after the well is plugged and abandoned if it is found non-productive. ASSUMPTIONS AND METHODOLOGIES OF ANALYSIS Scope of the Analysis Is the veiwshed along FS Road 075; 8 miles from the north Forest boundary to the intersection with FS Road 073 and heading westerly approximately ¾ of mile to the intersection with FS Road 388 and then following FS Road 388; 1.5 miles to the proposed project site. Key Assumptions and Methodologies No new roads will be needed to access the well and the USFS Road 388 will be improved for 1.5 miles. Drainage culverts will be constructed to pass all naturally occurring flows across the road. After the derrick assembly is completed and equipment is installed, travel to the well will normally be limited to one visit per day. A light truck or utility vehicle will be used to check on operations, read meters, and provide light service during the life of the project. Well service trips could be rescheduled or postponed during periods of wet weather when vehicle travel could cause rutting in excess of 4". If the well is productive, the access route will be upgraded to an all-weather road to provide year around service. Road up-grading will consist of graveling the road way with scoria material that is acceptable to USFS. All equipment and vehicles will be confined to these travel corridors and other areas specified in the plan of development. page 2

3 A graded wellpad with a maximum dimension of 600 by 600 will be constructed depending on the rig and operation al design requirements. During operations, surface facilities at the wellsite are anticipated to consist of a wellhead, bbl tanks, production separator and dehydration unit if necessary. The well bore may have a pumping unit installed to pump oil from the formation. Exposed surface facilities will be painted shale green or a color approved by BLM and the USFS. The size of surface facilities is dependent on the success of the individual well. Therefore, once the well is productive, a sundry will be filed with USFS showing the actual production facility layout diagram. At a minimum, the wellsite layout for producing facilities will provide for facilities only on the disturbed area in minimal cut no closer than 25 feet from a back slope with containment structures having a holding capacity of 110% of the largest fluid container. For the protection of livestock and wildlife, all pits will be fenced "stock tight" and any pits containing toxic liquids will be netted with 2" mesh netting. If the well is completed as a dry hole, after construction activities have been completed, soil conditions will be sampled again and assessed for reseeding. All disturbed areas will be restored as nearly as possible to resemble the original contours. Top soil will be re-spread and reseeded in accordance with the SSRP. Care will be taken to prevent erosion. All reclamation will be conducted in accordance with the company site specific reclamation plan (SSRP). If the well is completed as a producing well, those disturbed areas not required for production operations will be recontoured to resemble surrounding terrain. No depressions will be left that trap water or form ponds. The backslope and foreslope will be reduced to 2.5: 1 by pulling fill material up from the foreslope and placing it into the toe of cut slopes. If warranted, water bars at least one (1) foot deep will be constructed on the contour with approximately two (2) feet of drop per 100 feet of water bar to ensure proper drainage, and will be extended into established vegetation. All water bars will be constructed with a berm on the downhill side to prevent the soft material from silting in the trench. Water bar spacing on the location will be midway between the top and bottom of the backslope, and midway between the top and bottom of the foreslope. All interim reclamation work, including seeding, will be completed within one (1) year of completion of the operation. After construction activities have been completed, soils conditions will be sampled again and assessed for reseeding. The location area not needed for production purposes or further development will be recontoured, top soil re spread and reseeded in accordance with the SSRP. The percentage of top soil used in interim reclamation will be in proportion to the area reclaimed. To maintain quality and purity, certified seed with a minimum germination rate of 80% and a minimum purity of90% will be used. That drilling operations will be confined to the proposed site and the transportation routes identified in the proposed plan. A gate at near the intersection with FS Road 073 and FS Road 388 will be used to restrict public access both during drilling operations and after into the drilling site. Disclose your methodologies - page 3

4 The analysis method is to present the desired conditions for the ROS setting from the Wasatch-Cache National Forest Revised Forest Plan; describe the change in setting indicators for the specific ROS class that the Forest is managing for along the routes described in the scope of analysis. Existing Inventories, Monitoring, and Research Literature Review NVUM??? FOREST PLAN DIRECTION Standards and guidelines There are no Standards for Recreation in the Wasatch-Cache 2003 Forest Plan (G49) Manage recreation opportunities consistent with Management Prescriptions Categories (MPCs), Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) Classes, Landscape Character Themes (LCTs), Scenic Integrity Objectives (SIOs), and in accordance with Winter Recreation Maps as well as District Travel Management Plans. (G50) Design, construct, and operate recreation facilities, trails and concentrated use areas to provide a beneficial recreation experience, reducing social conflicts and minimizing or avoiding adverse effects on watershed integrity, soil productivity, aquatic/riparian systems, terrestrial species and their habitats, and cultural resources. (G51) In Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized areas, use of motorized equipment may be approved for administrative purposes. (G54) Use interpretation and environmental education to assist in improved understanding and ownership of forest stewardship needs. (G55) The Winter Recreation Map allocation applies when there is an adequate depth of snow to protect vegetation. When there is not adequate snow, summer ROS Maps and descriptions as well as Travel Management Plans apply and use of snowmobiles is not allowed off designated routes. DESIRED CONDITION Revised Forest Plan Wasatch-Cache National Forest Pages The proposed project and analysis area is located in the Eastern Uintas Management Area the desired future condition for Recreation in this area is: Recreation will be emphasized in the Management Prescription Category 4.0 at Bridger Lake/East Fork Smiths Fork and Middle Fork Blacks Fork areas. Wilderness users will find a variety of trailheads with some including easy access for sedans, developed trailhead camp sites, horse loading ramps, corrals, and sanitary page 4

5 facilities while others are little more than a wide spot in the road for parking and require high clearance vehicles to access remoter areas of the High Uintas Wilderness. Road access on the North Slope will continue to have a variety of conditions and opportunities with standards varying from State highway to roads requiring high clearance vehicles. Some of the rougher roads on dry sites on the North Slope will be open to all vehicles to provide opportunities for people who enjoy taking their 4-wheel drive vehicles on difficult routes. Most of the roads and all of the motorized trails on the North Slope will be open to ATV and motorcycle use. Use of these vehicles will be allowed only on designated routes during non-snow periods to prevent resource damage. There will continue to be opportunities for mountain bikers to ride several trails that do not allow motorized vehicles as well as all of the trails and roads open to motorized vehicles. There will continue to be opportunities for horseback day rides on nonmotorized trails outside of the Wilderness as well as pack trips into the Wilderness. Campers can find experiences varying from developed campgrounds adjacent to the roads to dispersed campsites adjacent to low standard roads to remote wilderness and non-wilderness backpacking camps. The number of developed areas (campgrounds) will be maintained at the same level as 2000, however changes within existing sites may be made to update the facilities, increase capacity, and address resource concerns. There will continue to be some areas outside of Wilderness that allow larger groups such as boyscout troops to camp in a remote setting. There will continue to be campgrounds adjacent to lakes and streams with fishing opportunities. Most of the developed and dispersed sites will allow use of ATVs into and out of the camp-site, but to provide some areas with more serenity, some sites will not allow ATVs. There will continue to be several cabins available for rent. Dispersed recreation activities and areas will meet a wide variety of user preferences. Separation of some types of recreation uses is expected to be successful in eliminating or reducing conflicts. Appropriate densities of motorized dispersed recreation use will be defined and maintained within dispersed recreation corridors with a prescription emphasizing recreation management. Dead Horse and Bridger Lake trail systems will continue to provide an opportunity for ATV, motorcycle and mountain bike enthusiasts with various skill levels to explore a large network of trails with a variety of challenges. Recreationists will keep vehicles and camping impacts within marked areas to ensure use is within sustainable limits for watershed and other resource protection. Cross-country skiers will continue to find experiences from groomed trails with no snowmobiling allowed (such as in the Henrys Fork area) to remote backcountry skiing both inside and outside Wilderness, with little chance of encountering another visitor. Snowmobilers will continue to find groomed trails like those originating at the Deadhorse trailhead. They can find play areas in open meadows and ridges throughout the Management Area. Snow conditions tend to be better in the Western Uintas MA for snowmobiling than they are on the east end. Recreation impacts will be monitored, especially in sensitive areas, and users will be informed and will assist with needed page 5

6 changes in management. Designation of sites for dispersed camping will be employed to restrict or mitigate recreation impacts in riparian areas and to aquatic systems, while continuing to provide opportunities in and near these attractive areas. Hardening of sites and use of barriers will be employed where needed to reduce or prevent unacceptable impacts. In areas where standards for protection of riparian or other ecosystems have been exceeded in the past, efforts to remove use, direct use and/or harden areas will be employed to correct deteriorated conditions and ensure sustainability. Closure of some riparian areas to camping will be accomplished where that use could not be made compatible with standards for protection. Management Prescriptions Emphasis on managing timber for growth and yield while maintaining or restoring forested ecosystem integrity. Emphasis is on timber growth and yield. Forested landscapes range in appearance from near natural to altered where management activities are evident. Goods and services are provided within the productive capacity of the land, and ecological functions are maintained. The quantity of goods and services produced may or may not fully meet demand. Amenity values are provided for by management area direction. (G5.2-1) Timber harvest, road construction and vegetation/fuel treatment are allowed for the purpose of timber growth and yield while maintaining productive capacity. OTHER REQUIRED DIRECTION AFFECTED ENVIRONMENT The recreation setting along the Gilbert Creek FS road 0075 from the northern forest boundary to the intersection with Blacks Fork/China Meadows FS road 0073 is being managed as a ROS class of Road Natural. There are no recreation developed facilities along this route but there are 38 dispersed vehicle camping sites that are within 400 feet of the centerline of the FS Many of these dispersed vehicle camping sites are accessed only from Gilbert Creek Road, but some that are within 400 feet Gilbert Creek Roads centerline are accessed from collector roads that intersect with Gilbert Creek Road. The natural setting along Gilbert Creek road is a gentle grade conifer lined landscape, interspersed with open meadows, stream bottom lands and past timber harvest openings. The viewshed is being managed in a landscape character theme (LCT) of Natural Appearing with varying degrees of scenic intactness from a scenic integrity objective (SIO) of Low to High. Access is motorized with pedestrian travel on trails and roads. Gilbert Creek road is suitable for passenger car travel. The remoteness of the setting is of little relevance to the casual visitor. Social Encounters are moderate to high along Gilbert Creek road and moderate to low on many trails within the viewshed. Visitor management is limited with some FS contacts. Visitor impacts are subordinate and many page 6

7 are exhibited at dispersed vehicle camping areas with some development on private inholdings. The segment of Blacks Fork/China Meadows FS road 0073 is very similar to the viewshed along Gilbert Creek, but with the stream bottomlands. FS 0073 road is also being managed the same as Gilbert Creek which is a ROS class of Roaded Natural. The proposed well site is being managed in a Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized (SPNM) ROS class with the access road falling in both Roaded Natural (RN) and SPNM. Because FS road 388 is for administrative use only most setting indicators tend toward primitive ROS class except for naturalness is affected by the past timber harvest and is being manage as a Low SIO in a Natural Appearing LCT. Issue Statement: What is the change in setting indicators of access, remoteness, naturalness, facilities and site management, social encounters, visitor impacts and visitor management? EFFECTS No Action Alternative There would be no direct or indirect effect from existing management because current setting indicators would remain the same or similar to the existing condition. Proposed Action Alternative There could be a direct effect from the proposed action to the following setting indicators access, remoteness, naturalness, and social encounters, because of drilling operations and vehicular support traffic on roadways. While the well pad is being set up the roads will be frequently travelled by large vehicles on Gilbert Creek and Blacks Fork/China Meadows roads above what is currently occurring. The noise and increased risk from these vehicles my cause dispersed campers to relocate to another location during this stage of the proposed project. After well pad set up is complete one large vehicle per week will occur to support well drilling operations. A direct effect of drilling operation may be from the sight of the oil derrick over the tree canopy from roads and trails that within the viewshed of the derrick. The following tables identify miles and number of segment that vehicle and pedestrian travel routes that could potentially be affected by the height of the derrick. See Scenery specialist report for more details concerning the effect to scenery. Table 1.A Roads segment miles potentially seen from RTE_NO Segments Miles RTE_NO Segments Miles RTE_NO Segments Miles A A page 7

8 Table 1.A Roads segment miles potentially seen from RTE_NO Segments Miles RTE_NO Segments Miles RTE_NO Segments Miles A A A A Table 1.b Trails and Overlapping roads/trails segment miles potentially seen from Trails Overlapping roads/trails TRL_NO Segments Miles RTE_NO NAME TRL_NO Miles BLACKS FORK - CHINA MDW BLACKS FORK - CHINA MDW BL-L GATED page 8

9 Table 1.b Trails and Overlapping roads/trails segment miles potentially seen from Trails Overlapping roads/trails TRL_NO Segments Miles RTE_NO NAME TRL_NO Miles C E R R There would be a short term effect from the derrick height because once drill operation cease the derrick will be removed and will no longer be visible from the above locations. Noise generated from drilling operations could cause people who are camping or recreating within the Gilbert Creek watershed to relocate in the short term because of noise created by oil drilling operations and vehicle traffic. The direct effect could affect people, and animals both down and up stream into the High Uintas Wilderness. Effects from noise would be a short term effect because drilling operations would be less than 6 months. Up to date noise reduction technics should be used to minimize the impact from noise pollution during drilling operations. If people are aware of the well set up operation schedule there may be an indirect effect if they change how they access China Meadow Trailhead from Gilbert Creek road to China Meadows FS road Cumulative effects There would be no cumulative effects because the proposed action is within a previously harvested area. Irretrievable or Irreversible Commitment of Resources No irretrievable or irreversible commitment of recreation resources is expected from this project because there will be no long term effect to recreation setting indicators is expected. REFERENCES BLM 2007, Surface Operating Standards and Guidelines for Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Gold Book Fourth Edition-Rev 2007 USDA Forest Service 2003, Wasatch-Cache National Forest Revised Forest Plan USDA Forest Service 1990, ROS Primer and Field Guide R6-REC page 9

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