Finding of No Significant Impact
Management and Facility
USDA Forest Service, Region 4
Wasatch-Cache National Forest
Ogden Ranger District
Weber County, Utah
In 1992, the management plan for Pineview was adjusted to limit the boat capacity and modify the use zones on the reservoir. After six years of experience, additional adjustments are necessary to ensure a safe, quality, recreation experience. The recent planning efforts by Weber County gave us a chance to listen to the Ogden Valley residents about a vision for the valley and what was important to them, and how to integrate this vision into the long-term management of Pineview Reservoir.
The increasing amount of recreation use at Pineview Reservoir, especially during the summer weekends and holidays, is creating unacceptable congestion on the boat ramps, swim beaches, and campgrounds. The designed comfortable capacity is being exceeded too often. Families are being displaced and pushed to other areas within the Ogden Valley and to undeveloped access points of Pineview. Confrontations between visitors are increasing. Some level of facility improvements and management decisions is needed to address this volume of use and growth within the Ogden Valley and Wasatch Front. We are also expecting additional visitors to the area before, during and after the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
Pineview Reservoir is a unique and special place due to its close proximity to the urban Wasatch Front, its diversity of recreation opportunities, its size and accessible shoreline, and its location as the "backyard" of the town of Huntsville and Ogden Valley residents. Pineview Reservoir is an "island" of national forest lands within a valley that is experiencing increased development growth. Such attributes provide management challenges as we balance protection of this unique and special place with the increasing demand for recreation opportunities from an expanding urban population. We recognize that there is a limit to the kind, type, and amount of recreation development that is appropriate on national forest lands at Pineview Reservoir.
Our goal is to provide quality settings and experiences for recreation users. We are committed to providing superior customer service and ensuring that the rapid growth of recreation on the national forest does not compromise the long-term health of the land or the quality of life of the residents.
This proposal was analyzed in an Environmental Assessment (EA) prepared following the regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act.
First, the decision I had to make involved a complex set of connected actions; including whether and under what configuration will the management policies and regulations for public use of Pineview Reservoir be changed; whether and to what scale will recreation development be designed, constructed or reconstructed, and managed; and whether and under what conditions will the national forest lands along the shoreline of Pineview Reservoir be managed. My decision only includes those actions located on national forest lands. A number of actions (trails, parking areas, signing) have been identified as opportunities to cooperate and coordinate with other entities (Weber County, UDOT, and Town of Huntsville), but are not within my decision-making authority.
After careful review of the Environmental Assessment, Biological Evaluation and public comments, It is my decision to select the alternative that best balances the needs of the recreation public who use the developed facilities at the reservoir, the natural plant and animal communities along the shoreline, and needs of residents within Ogden Valley. This decision is depicted best in Alternatives 2, as described and documented in the Environmental Assessment, with modifications that were made in response to public comments. I made this decision after careful review and study of the information disclosed in the EA, public comments, consultation with town, county, and state representatives, and on the ground knowledge of the area.
This decision will authorize management actions, facility improvements, trails, and vegetation management as described in the EA for improvements to operations and management of Pineview Reservoir, while designating sections of shoreline to remain in a more natural condition.
This decision involves the following specific actions:
· Boat Capacity: 375 to 160 boats at one time will be allowed on the surface of the reservoir, adjusted in the following manner as the water level drops in 10' increments.
The boat capacity will continue to be administered by both marinas counting boats as they launch or leave the marina. Boats in wet storage will be counted if they leave the docks. The allocated boat capacity for the Yacht Club will be monitored through administration of the terms and conditions of the Special Use Authorization. We will also investigate developing a Reservation System for boat launches.
This action will be implemented immediately.
· Surface Zoning: The surface zoning restrictions have been expanded based on public comments. The wakeless zone at Middle Inlet and Bluffs Swim Beaches has been expanded, new wakeless areas have been created at Quist, Anderson Cove, and Spring Creek. The following recommendations will be made to the State Boating Advisory Board: new non- motorized zone in the small bay adjacent to Middle Inlet; new non-motorized zone where the Middle Fork enters; new non-motorized zone in extreme northern Geertsen Bay; new no boat area at Bluffs Cove; and remove the small "no boat" area in Anderson Cove (See map).
Additional buoys will be purchased to identify the zoned areas. Forest Service will work cooperatively with Utah State Parks in the buoy placement and management as the reservoir level drops. A large map of Pineview showing the zoned areas and indicating the type of zoning will be created and installed at all boat launch locations other important access points for the shoreline. A brochure will be printed that will also describe the zoning and other regulations for Pineview.
This project will be implemented immediately.
· Shoreline Regulations: Retain and more strictly enforce the existing shoreline restrictions to limit camping, fires, and possession of glass. The Forest Service will work cooperatively with Weber County Sheriff, and Utah Parks and Recreation to enforce the rules and regulations restricting camping, fires, and glass on the entire shoreline. Signing at each marina will be installed clearly describing boat use restriction on shorelines. Nighttime use by boats will be limited to no closer than 100 feet from the shoreline except while using the marina ramps, wet storage at Port Ramp, the Ogden Pineview Yacht Club, and the shoreline adjacent to Anderson Cove Campground. Simplify enforcement of regulations by coordinating with the State and County enforcement agencies to develop similar statutes restricting shoreline boat use.
All managed facilities, including improved roadside parking areas, will have a strict Day-Use only policy. No public use will be allowed after 10 PM. This includes the adjacent beaches accessed from these developed sites. High quality signs explaining the regulations for shoreline use, especially the fire and night use restriction, will be installed at all information bulletin boards at Pineview. This information will be explained in the brochure printed about Pineview Reservoir rules and regulations. The Forest Service will join into an agreement with Weber County Sheriff and Utah State Parks to share access to the available patrol boats to allow late patrolling of the reservoir shoreline. The Weber County Sheriff deputies will be retained by the Forest Service or the Campground Concessionaire to increase patrols of all developed facilities including highway-side parking areas to enforce shoreline regulations.
This project will begin as soon as the appropriate signs are available or no later than the beginning of 1999 season.
· Anderson Cove Day Use Area: Allow development of a new Day-Use area, east of the existing Anderson Cove by the campground. Development will include a mixture of group areas, single family picnic sites, and improved access to the existing beach. Development will also include a high standard walking trail connecting to Anderson Cove Campground. The new group areas will have a maximum single site capacity of 100 or a mix of group size units that total up to 300 people at one time, and parking for 100 vehicles. Parking for up to 100 vehicles will be provided for picnic and beach access. This new day use facility will have a capacity of 500 PAOT. Design of the day use area will retain existing native vegetation, utilize foot paths, concentrate parking away from the shoreline, cluster development to maintain open spaces, and integrate interpretive signing and information kiosks.
A new concession permits will be issued for operation and management of all developed facilities around Pineview and on SR. 39 for the next 5 years or more. An additional component of this permit will be permission to develop the Anderson Cove Day Use Area. Private funding will be used to build the facilities with limited financial support from the Government. The tenure of the permits will be based on the private investment.
The new permit will be awarded on January 1, 1999. Construction of the expansion will begin within five years.
· Anderson Cove Campground Improvements: Continue overnight camping and group use at existing Anderson Cove Campground. New facilities would include: converting the existing overflow parking lot into a boat launch parking for up to 50 truck/trailers; reconstructing the old abandoned roadway to the water into a boat launch; and designating additional family camp sites along the west edge of the parking for approximately an additional 40 people. The boat launch/marina will include courtesy docks. No wet or dry storage of boats will be permitted at this location. The existing parking lot will be surfaced and striped to control parking. The existing toilet at the north end of the overflow parking will need to be relocated. A cold water shower will be added as this area is redesigned to service the swim beach and boat ramp. Construct a high standard trail along the edge of the campground, connecting to Anderson Cove Day-Use Area. Construct accessible access trail to the beach and close/rehabilitate the existing user trails from the campground to the waters edge.
The conversion will reduce the overall crowding in Anderson Cove Campground. The overflow parking lot has typically been filled on peak weekends without the hardened camping living areas found at the other sites. The additional camp units will take advantage of the existing road system and lawn. Trees will be planted to improve the shade and landscaping throughout the overflow area. The cold water shower will be built here for easier access by the public. A launch ramp will require a small system of courtesy docks as a part of the operation.
These actions will begin in 1999 with the launch ramp proposed for construction in 2001.
· Undeveloped Natural Shoreline Areas: Designate approximately 17 miles of shoreline where no new facilities will be planned in the foreseeable future that will change the undeveloped natural shoreline characteristics. Designate approximately 5 miles of shoreline as Transition to buffer existing or proposed developments on National Forest from the undeveloped natural shorelines. Remaining approximately 6 miles will be designated as Developed.
The shoreline designation will be digitized and stored on the Geographical Information database used by the Forest Service as a planning and mapping system. It will be shown on the brochure for Pineview for the information of the public.
This action will occur immediately.
· Bluff Marina/Cemetery Point: Reduce capacity by 75 PAOT through reduction of the number of parking spaces by 30 at the paved Bluff Swim area. Designate part of the west edge of the Bluffs gravel parking lot for use by visitors to the swim beach. Construct three picnic sites with a shade cover between the parking area and the beach. No additional group areas will be constructed. Replace the system of courtesy docks with higher quality docks. Construct a new fully accessible toilet to service the marina, fishing bay, and the snack bar. Rebuild the toilet at the beach using modern standards . The parking stalls at the northern edge near the entrance and next to the small cove will be used as an accessible fishing access.
The transportation system for the complex of facilities on Cemetery Point, the Huntsville Cemetery, Bluffs Swim Beach, Picnic ground, Marina, and fishing access will be reconfigured to improve traffic flow, operation of the entry fee stations, parking, and the ability to close the facilities once they become full. This will either be by relocating the entry station for Cemetery Point and managing all access through one entry or connecting the marina and beach parking areas with a new roadway. When the parking lots are full, the area will be closed to access. The Forest Service will improve signing on Highway 39 informing visitors that the facilities are "full' before they enter the town.
Cooperate with Town of Huntsville to improve un-restricted access to the cemetery. Provide 5 designated parking spaces outside the cemetery gate for Cemetery Use Only.
Signs and barriers will be installed to control the parking in the existing gravel parking lot. Utilize a portion of the gravel marina parking lot for swim beach access. Construct a high standard accessible path from the upper parking area to the beach, and on to Cemetery point, following the existing user paths. The new courtesy docks will be high standard commercial systems designed as a long-term investment for safety and reduced maintenance.
This project will begin in 2000 and will extend into 2001.
· Bluff Marina Cove: Construct a system of fishing access facilities in and around the small cove. This system of docks, sidewalk, and piers will be fully accessible. Parking and toilet facilities will be shared with the marina. The facilities will be integrated with the natural vegetation. The shoreline will be cleared of vegetation only where necessary. The mouth of the cove may need limited excavated using heavy equipment to improve the water flow. This project will be coordinated with Division of Wildlife Resources.
The cove will become a high quality accessible fishing access. It will be improved with additional fish habitat structures in the water to increase fishing success. The cove will be closed to all boats.
This project is scheduled to be initiated in 2000 and will extend into 2001.
· Parking around the reservoir: Recommend minor improvements to existing roadside parking areas along State Roads 166, 162, and 39 surrounding the reservoir (see map). This also includes selected access points within the town of Huntsville. Improvements will consist of designation signing, information bulletin board using high quality information and regulatory signing with universal symbols, improved drainage to reduce erosion, and improved entry and exit to improve safety. All areas are receiving use currently. Actions outside the national forest boundary will require approval from UDOT, Weber County and/or Town of Huntsville. User trails to the shoreline from each parking area will be improved for safety and to prevent soil erosion. The overlook on the south shoreline will be upgraded with high quality information and interpretive signing about the reservoir and minor landscaping improvements. Paving of this overlook may occur in the future, through coordination with UDOT. We will request the State or County create restrictions on parking alongside the road adjacent to these sites.
Designate as Day Use Only and restrict overnight camping and use after 10 P.M. The next concession permit will include maintenance of all these entry points along with the other developed facilities. The Weber County Sheriff deputies will be retained by the Forest Service or the Campground Concessionaire to increase patrols of all developed facilities including highway-side parking areas to enforce shoreline regulations.
This project will begin in 1999 and will extend into 2001.
· Non-motorized Boat and Fishing Access: Designate and improve existing shoreline access at the following locations: 1) Brogonje Point, 5500 East - Reconfigured the existing barriers and designate 5-10 parking spaces along the old roadway. Provide gravel surface and improved drainage. Designate existing hardened trail to the shore; 2) Browning Point, 5900 East - Reconfigured the existing barriers and designate 5-10 parking spaces along the old roadway. Provide gravel surface and improved drainage. Designate existing hardened trail to the shore. Design for snowplow turn-around at the end; 3) Quist Beach - Coordinate with Weber County to reconfigured and designate approved parking areas along SR. 166 from Middle Inlet to Spring Creek. Reconstruct the existing Quist beach parking area and toilet. Provide improved drainage and gravel surface. Provide a trail connecting the two designated parking areas. Recommend to Weber County that all other parking on SR. 166 outside of the designated parking areas near Quist be restricted. Rehabilitate and revegetate those areas that will be restricted from parking; 4) Spring Creek - Coordinate with Weber County to improve the existing parking area north of Spring Creek and provide a designated 10-15 car parking area. Provide gravel surface and improved drainage and safe entry on to SR. 166. Improve trail access to the shore; 5) Bureau of Reclamation Site - Improve the existing 20 car parking area immediately north of the Yacht Club built by the Bureau of Reclamation; and; 6) Geertsen Bay - Coordinate with Weber County to improve the existing "pull-off" at Geertsen Bay to provide a small designated parking area. Coordinate with adjacent landowners on the location and design. Provide gravel surface, improved drainage, and safe entry on to the SR. 166.
All sites will be designated as "Day Use Only." Camping and use after 10 P.M. will be restricted. Consider installation of gates at some locations to control night access. All sites will also include high quality information and regulatory signing, parking barriers, improved shoreline access trails, gravel surface, and additional law enforcement patrolling by Forest Service or Weber County Sheriff's Office. We will request the State or County create restrictions on parking alongside the road adjacent to these sites. Sites will include improved drainage to reduce erosion and improved entry and exit to improve safety.
The next concession permit will include maintenance of all these locations along with the other developed facilities.
These projects will begin in 1999 and will extend into 2001.
· Port Ramp Marina: Widen the existing entry road to Port Ramp on the shoulders to improve traffic flow of boats with trailers in and out of the facility. Improve the entry signing. The widened paved roadway will be used for boat preparation to launch or leave. Relocate the entry station to improve traffic flow. Work with UDOT to improve the driveway entry from SR. 162 to improve safety. Upgrade the courtesy dock system to a higher standard including improved physically challenged accessibility. The new courtesy docks will be high standard commercial systems designed as a long-term investment for safety and reduced maintenance. Restrict parking alongside the State Highway outside and adjacent to the entry road.
This project will begin in 1999 with a portion scheduled for 2002.
· Windy Point Day-use: Expand the existing Pineview Trailhead for an additional 8-10 cars. Construct a high standard trail from the parking lot to Windy Point. Install benches and tables at the Pineview Trailhead.
This project will begin in 2001.
· Pineview Trails: Construct new trails designed as a higher level of service standard (compacted gravel surface, 3-8 foot wide tread, 0-5% slope) from Pineview Trailhead to the BOR parking area just north of the Yacht Club (priority 1); and from Anderson Cove Campground through Anderson Cove Day Use Area (priority 3). Recommend to UDOT that the high standard trail be extended from national forest lands next to Anderson Cove Day Use to Jefferson Hunt Campground, along the State highway right-of-way. Designate and maintain the existing old road from Jefferson Hunt Campground to the south end of 7450 East in Huntsville, as a trail. Utilize existing paths and old roads as much as possible.
Construct new trails designed as a lower level of service standard (dirt surface, 18-36 inch wide tread, 0-30% slope) from the parking area just north of the Yacht Club to North Arm Wildlife Viewing Trail (priority 2); then, from the end of 5900 East to where SR. 166 crosses Geertsen Bay (priority 5). The trail to Geertsen Bay will focus on wildlife viewing opportunities. Construct a section of lower standard trail connecting the Spring Creek fisherman parking to Middle Inlet and Quist Beach to provide access between the two designated parking areas (priority 4). Recommend to UDOT that a walking/bike path be developed from Anderson Cove Campground west to the dam, and then east to Pineview Trailhead, along the State highway right-of-way. Utilize existing paths and old roads as much as possible with all trail construction.
All trails will be designated as non-motorized multi-user trails. Use by horses will be prohibited within developed recreation sites (Anderson Cove Campground and Day Use Area, Cemetery Point/Bluffs Marina, Middle Inlet, North Arm Wildlife Viewing Area).
Postpone improvement to the shoreline trail along the south side of Huntsville until further analysis and coordination with the adjacent residents is completed. Work closely with the town to identify trail access points and routes that compliment the towns long-term plans and vision for the community. Minor maintenance on the existing path may be completed to reduce safety hazards and correct bank erosion problems.
Continue to support efforts to develop a bike trail adjacent to SR. 166, 162, and 39 around Pineview Reservoir.
These projects will begin immediately and continue through 2001.
· Wildlife Habitat Improvements: Treat up to 80 acres of shoreline vegetation per year to improve wildlife and fisheries habitat along the shorelines of the reservoir. Treatments will be designed to maintain or improve the vegetation type, age, and structure. Treatments will include vegetation modification through prescribed fire or mechanical treatments (mow or cut) and plantings. Additional habitat structures such as nesting platforms or water potholes will be installed in select locations to increase and improve habitat. Actual annual accomplishment will be dependent on budget. All activities will be closely coordinated with adjacent landowners.
These projects will begin in 1999 and continue annually.
· Noxious Weeds: Areas of the shoreline with an unacceptable composition of over 15% of the plants identified as noxious weeds will be treated through an integrated program of chemical, biological, mechanical (cutting), and manual (hand pulling/digging) methods to encourage desired native plant growth. This will be a part of the approximately 80 acres per year of treated shoreline. Actual annual accomplishment will be dependent on budget. All activities will be coordinated with adjacent landowners.
Use volunteer groups to remove known noxious weeds by hand or handtool, as much as feasible. Concentrate on the removal of Dyer's Woad, Leafy Spurge, and St. Johns Wort. Facilitate and support the joint efforts of the Weber County Weed Board.
These actions will begin in 1999 and continue annually.
· Bank Stabilization and Beach Maintenance: Efforts will be made to maintain usable sandy beach at the existing Middle Inlet, Bluffs, and Anderson Cove beach areas. Maintenance will include limbing of vegetation and limited vegetation removal. Existing eroding banks will be inventoried and a strategy for stabilization developed. Site specific stabilization techniques will be identified. Stabilization may include re-contouring and re-vegetation of over-steepened slopes, and modifying and rehabilitating user trails and access points. Retaining structures may be constructed, as needed.
· Minor activities that were common to all action Alternatives: A number of other actions were analyzed in the Environmental Assessment. Many of the actions were determined to be in the category of routine management and maintenance of National Forest Lands or facilities. Others require coordination and cooperation with other local and state agencies, depending on who has jurisdiction and authority for taking action.
These actions include: 1) Roadside parking management in coordination with Weber County and Utah Department of Transportation; 2) Continued routine maintenance and repair of existing facilities including fences, beaches, roads, and spot weed control in campgrounds to meet local legal requirements and Forest Service standards; 3) Coordination with the Town of Huntsville for recreation access to Pineview; 4) Minor maintenance to Jefferson Hunt Campground to limit flooding damage; 5) Boundary and fence management to protect the integrity of the public lands; 6) Continue the Cooperative Law Enforcement Agreement with Weber County Sheriff for patrolling; 7) Continue cooperation with Utah Division of Parks and Recreation for shared responsibility of recreation activities on the surface of Pineview; 8) Increase awareness and enforcement of shooting restrictions at the reservoir; 9) Issue new concession permits to allow a private company to operate and maintain all facilities at Pineview and on SR. 39; 10) Continue the current authorization of Ogden Pineview Yacht Club; 11) Design marina facilities to accommodate a maximum water craft size of 32' and discourage vessels that exceed this design criteria; 12) Retain the existing shoreline restrictions to limit camping and fires and possession of glass; 13) Continue prohibition of ATV use on National Forest around Pineview; 14) Increase accessibility to the water at the swim beaches, campgrounds, and marinas; and, 15) Restrict access from private land that consist of any improvements such as docks, steps, or constructed trails.
These projects will begin in 1999 and continue for the immediate future.
An annual schedule of implementation of these projects will be created with some selected projects beginning immediately. The majority of the projects will be started within the next five years. Those items that are operational changes can occur as soon as possible once the proper signing notifying the public about the regulations is in place and adequate public notice is given through the local news sources.
Monitoring and Mitigation
The following monitoring and mitigation will be included as part of the selected alternative.
Management of Pineview
· The number of boats launched will be counted on a daily basis during the peak use season from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, to determine when capacity is reached. The count will include boats, personal water craft, and boats in wet storage launching from Port Ramp, the Bluffs Marina Ramp, and the Ogden Yacht Club and, trailers in Anderson Cove and the marina parking lots.
· Sailboards, kayaks, rafts, canoes and other non-motorized vessel use, except sailboating, will not be counted in the calculations for vessel capacity. These uses typically occur in the wakeless speed areas where conflicts with motorized use are minimal. The Forest Service will monitor non-motorized use and take additional action as needed.
· When the reservoir reaches capacity, vehicles and vessels will be staged on ramp access roads. When the reservoir is at capacity, as a vessel loads and leaves the reservoir the next party will be allowed to launch. If vehicles back up to the main roads, parking barriers will be placed to close access to the ramps. These barriers will be removed when parking becomes available. Vehicles arriving after this time would need to drive to the nearest parking area to either wait for an opening or leave for a different area. Limit the congestion on the main highways.
· Marked buoys clearly defining the types of use for all zoned areas will be established.
· The Forest Service will work with Weber County and the State of Utah to create the necessary legal statutes to mimic Forest Service resource protection regulations.
· Expand the payments to Weber County Sheriff and emergency services from either Forest Service appropriated funds and/or require the Campground Concessionaire to make a payment directly to local public service agencies equal to a pre-determined percentage of the fees collected at recreation facilities at Pineview.
· Make the Forest Service power boat available to other local jurisdictions through a written agreement to be used for regulation enforcement or emergency service on the reservoir.
· Include all new and upgraded facilities to the patrolling schedule by Weber County Sheriff deputies and Forest Service Law Enforcement personnel.
· Request the fenced boundary between private and National Forest be resurveyed and marked when development plans are submitted to Weber County Planning for approval.
· Create and post signs and maps showing the designated level of protection determined for sections of shoreline. Include a description of the designation including appropriate suggestions on how people should act to protect the shoreline resources.
· Information and regulatory signing will be designed to be easily understood by the greatest number of people. This may include some Spanish translations. Universal symbols will be used where appropriate to ease understanding by international visitors.
· All improvements and operations of existing recreation facilities will meet the social setting appropriate for the types and patterns of recreation use at Pineview. This will be predisposed toward the urban level with cement pads, metal tables, and mown lawns. It will allow a high level of physically challenged access to Forest Service recreation facilities. All facility and access improvements will incorporate the concepts of universal access and design and the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
· Facilities that in the past have been maintained by the Forest Service and are free to the public will be added to the maintenance requirements of the permitted concessionaire. These will remain free of charge unless substantial new services of a commercial nature are provided by the concessionaire.
Soil and Water Protection
. Vegetation removal and damage resulting from construction will be kept to a minimum. Soil will be replaced over disturbed areas, and a weed-free straw with netting and erosion mats will be used, as needed, to reduce erosion.
. Reseeding of disturbed areas will include native species.
· Trail construction will follow alignments that least impact existing vegetation especially any riparian types. Utilize existing paths and roads as much as possible.
· New trails will designed to avoid existing riparian, floodplain, or designated wetland areas. Bridges, culverts or boardwalks will be used if the trail has potential to affect these areas, including below the high water mark of the reservoir. Any trail tread immediately adjacent to the high water line of the reservoir will have a buffer of some vegetation that will remain in place at all times. The appropriate permits and approvals will be obtained.
· No drainage of water from the trail will be allowed to divert directly into the reservoir. Sediment traps will be used if there is a possibility of sediment reaching the water. If imported gravel is washed off the trail tread, it will be salvaged annually as a part of the maintenance.
· Any treatments of the shoreline by chemicals weed killers will follow existing requirements for protection of nearby water sources and will not be used if these requirements cannot be met.
· Any treatment of the shoreline by fire will have requirements to minimize impact to the water including use of chemical wetting agents if used to control the fire.
· Construction activities will be discontinued from the period of October 1st to March 15th in areas within 1/4 mile of active or potential Bald Eagle nesting trees. Known areas are east of Bluff Cove and Geertsen Bay.
· Activities that will impact natural grass and forb areas will not occur during the spring to protect bird nests.
· Cottonwood and Willows will be planted in select locations around the reservoir to increase the amount of new starts.
Reason for the Decision
Before I initiate any analysis I always contemplate whether or not the project is really needed. In this case there was little doubt in my mind that there was a need to address the current issues surrounding management of Pineview Reservoir. As described in the purpose and need, the current resource and social conditions surrounding Pineview Reservoir are not acceptable.
I am most concerned with safety of recreation visitors and Valley residents, and the quality of experience that we are providing on and around the Reservoir. As a Valley resident, I share the concerns of increased traffic, noise, congestion, and changes to the rural character of the Valley. I recognize that there is a limit to the amount, kind and type of recreation opportunities that we can support on the national forest, while still protecting the long term health of the land and maintaining the quality of life that we all enjoy in the Valley. I also recognize that demands for recreation opportunities and access to public lands will only increase as the growth on the Wasatch Front continues. Our challenge is to position our management and infrastructure to prepare for these increasing demands.
This analysis provided an opportunity to identify where, when, and how we will accommodate recreation use around the Reservoir in the future, and at what levels. I recognize that the Forest Service must take a more active role in the management of the use and address the issues of safety, experience, quality of life, and most of all resource protection. Therefore, I could not responsibly choose the no action alternative and let these problems remain unaddressed.
In making my decision I carefully weighed the trade-offs of the three development scale alternatives. I chose Alternative 2, with modifications, because I believe it best meets the purpose and need, while continue to protect the reservoir environment. Alternative 2, with modifications, provides a balance between providing quality recreation facilities and experiences and protecting the reservoir environment. Alternative 2 allows the Forest Service the ability to rehabilitate and improve the existing infrastructure, concentrate use in designated areas, and improve accessibility of facilities. Alternative 2 increases our ability to better enforce existing and proposed new regulations and management changes.
Facility improvements are focused in areas that are currently receiving uncontrolled recreation use. We are concentrating our actions in areas with existing and historical use, utilizing existing foot paths, old roads, and existing "pull offs." Due to the ready access to the shoreline from the State and County Highways, some management of the parking areas and shoreline access trails is necessary for safety of users and shoreline protection. Alternative 2 best provides for designating parking areas, restricting parking in undesignated areas, and concentrating the uncontrolled use in areas that can accommodate the use.
The decision to reduce the boats at one time capacity of the reservoir is based on the extensive experience of personnel of the Ogden Ranger District and Utah State Parks and Recreation during years of operation and management of Pineview Reservoir. Current use levels continue to be uncomfortably high on weekends during the summer. The broad variation of size and speed of the watercraft being used on the reservoir makes it critical that each vessel has the room necessary to safely maneuver. This allocation of space has to be maintained as the water level and surface acreage drops. The use of computer-aided analysis of the surface acres at different water levels was instrumental in deciding on the new capacity numbers. The reduction in boat numbers will also reduce the traffic associated with boat hauling, especially through the Town of Huntsville.
The additional wakeless, no boat, and non-motorized zoning of the surface water will provide increased protection to the shoreline from wave action, will reduce impacts on nesting waterfowl, and provide increased areas for non-motorized recreation opportunities. The additional zoning of the water surface near the congested shorelines at the improved beaches will decrease the possibility of an accident involving a swimmer and a motorized vessel, and improve the fishing opportunities. This goes to the heart of the purpose and need for these changes to the management of Pineview Reservoir. Some of these zones currently have buoys in place because of the critical need for providing for public safety and resource protection.
The Wasatch-Cache National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan of 1985 allowed for the expansion of Anderson Cove Campground. The 1985 Plan included a high development scale campground. After careful consideration of the analysis in the EA, I recognized that some level of expansion is warranted to address the increasing recreation demand. In the comments received from the public, many suggested that Anderson Cove should be expanded and include day use facilities and beach access to reduce the demand on the recreation facilities at Cemetery Point. The advantage of reduced traffic into Huntsville because Anderson Cove is so close to the entry roadways into the valley was apparent to those citizens, just as it was apparent in the analysis. The traffic by vehicles pulling boat trailers should proportionally reduce through Huntsville once the Anderson Cove boat ramp is constructed as part of the facilities.
Expansion of Anderson Cove in to Day Use facilities will shift use from Bluffs and Cemetery Point, and focus new use closer to access routes into the Valley. My hope is that this decision will reduce traffic into Huntsville and the east side of the Reservoir.
As a part of this analysis, the citizens comments during the recent Ogden Valley Planning efforts, and the apparent conflicts with recreation use of the facilities around the reservoir with local residents was reviewed. The decision to have a strict day-use only policy at Forest Service facilities is an attempt to reduce the effects of recreation, especially the noise after dark, to nearby residents. It also should make the duty of law enforcement easier by reducing the number of contacts after 10 PM.
The reduction of parking spaces along the beach at Bluffs Swim area will reduce conflicts with vehicles and the beach, improve law enforcement and patrolling, and change the current use patterns.
One concern expressed by citizens was the location of sites and the amount of recreation developments planned for Pineview. It was raised by those who live near to the reservoir and wanted adjacent shoreline to remain as natural as possible as well as those who preferred the undeveloped natural shorelines and want development restricted. The designation of approximately 17 miles of the shoreline to remain for the foreseeable future as undeveloped natural areas was meant to address this concern. This designation will guide all future projects and management activities at Pineview.
Project proposals for infrastructure improvements were mostly restricted to existing facilities. These changes and upgrades were meant to provide a better recreation experience for the users, utilizing the existing areas in the best possible manner for smooth operations, and to increase recreation people at one time capacity only within facilities constructed and designed to allow the increased use. These improvements include increasing number of locations for physically challenged access to the water. Included is much needed improvements to the roadside parking areas where people are accessing the shoreline in increasing number year-round and to our system of fence lines and signing.
The idea of a trail around the shoreline of Pineview Reservoir has been discussed for many years. Citizens involved in the Ogden Valley General Plan were asked their opinion of this trail system. The number who supported the trail were over three times those who opposed it. In developing our initial plans for a high standard trail, we looked a where recreation was currently occurring and therefore a potential for higher amounts of use were probable. Linking together our existing recreation facilities was an obvious proposal. The initial trail proposal was described as a wide gravel path that resembled a roadway. This would have emphasize the urban nature of Pineview with a park-like walkway. General opinion of the public comments were that this size of trail wasn't appropriate or necessary for the reservoir. We scaled back the size and locations of our proposal to lessen the affects from this trail, especially to adjacent landowners. Our current proposed trail network will link existing developed facilities, utilize existing foot paths and old roads as much as possible, will concentrate use along a designated route, and provide an opportunity to rehabilitate and revegetate many of the random user trails that are not in desired locations. Many of these random user trails are causing bank erosion.
Our continued efforts to improve wildlife habitat will protect the reservoir environment and provide critical habitat within Ogden Valley. Improved wildlife habitat will also the increase the possibility for local residents and visiting recreationist to view wildlife on this small part of the National Forest. We need to continue efforts to reduce the intruding weed species that choke out native vegetation. This decision will allow this effort to continue into the future.
The greatest concern of mine in implementing Alternative 3, emphasis on increased recreation development, was the significant increase in PAOT capacity that would result from the increased facility development. The associated effects from this development scale were not in keeping with maintaining the rural character of the Valley and would have increased impacts on Valley residents.
Many of the components of Alternative 4 were integrated into the modified Alternative 2, including designation of undeveloped natural shoreline areas, reduced trail development, and increased wakeless and non-motorized boat zoning. My greatest concern with implementing Alternative 4 was that it did not provide for positioning for the increased recreation demand that we are anticipating. My concern was that the use would increase and we would not be able to accommodate this use in a manner that would ensure protection of the shoreline and reservoir environment.
These trade-offs are never easy to weigh. As in most public land decisions there are always many issues to resolve and no easy answers. I want to ensure that the values of the National Forests are here in perpetuity, for the use and enjoyment of Wasatch Front and Ogden Valley residents.
Public Comment on the Environmental Assessment
A total of 45 written comments and phone calls were received in response to the pre-decisional EA. Let me highlight some of the concerns that I heard. A complete response to the comments is included as Appendix A to the final EA .
In general, respondents were concerned with maintaining a rural atmosphere and preserving the quality of life within Ogden Valley. I heard that the public lands surrounding Pineview Reservoir play a critical role in preserving these values -- values that are deeply held by Valley residents. The role and importance of these national forest lands for wildlife habitat, maintaining clean water, scenic beauty, and recreation were emphasized by respondents. Residents of the Valley felt strongly that the management of the national forest around Pineview Reservoir needed to compliment and not dominate the landscape. Concerns were also expressed that the proposed actions would only increase use and crowding and could negatively impact these values and change the character of the Valley. Residents are concerned with the increasing recreation use and the associated impacts of noise, traffic, crime, trash, and congestion. Huntsville residents were also concerned with proving unrestricted access to the Huntsville Cemetery.
Most of all, I heard that the management and protection of Pineview Reservoir and the surrounding National Forest lands is very complex, requiring collaboration among multiple entities. The Forest Service can not manage Pineview Reservoir in a vacuum. We acknowledge the effects that our management has on the surrounding area. We also recognize that there is a limit to the amount, kind and type of recreation opportunities that we can support on the national forest while still protecting the long term health of the land.
Four alternatives were analyzed in the Environmental Assessment. Alternatives other than the decision along with the reasons we did not select them are described below.
Alternative 1: The No Action Alternative
This alternative is a standard part of all environmental analyses describing what will happen if current management continues. No change will be made to any of the existing regulations or facilities.
Alternative 2: The Modified Proposed Alternative
This alternative is described in the Decision section earlier in the document. Alternative 2 balances the mix of development and resource protection.
Alternative 3: Emphasis on Increased Recreation Development Alternative
This alternative increase the development size and number of facilities at Pineview. It was written to provide the increased recreation capacity to meet the growing demand for access to the reservoir.
Alternative 4: Emphasis on Maximum Shoreline Protection and Reduced Recreation Use
This alternative will reduce human impacts by providing less recreation facility capacity and more protection of shoreline from human developments. The overall management will be less intensive with an effort to preserve a rural setting.
After development of the initial proposal with assistance of the Utah State Parks and Recreation Pineview Manager, the Forest Service began the public involvement process to solicit feedback on the proposals. On November 7, 1997 the Forest Service sent a Scoping document, which described the purpose and need for the change, the desired future condition, what the proposed projects are, preliminary alternatives, and announced the two open houses. An article appeared on November 12, 1997 in the Ogden Standard Examiner which detailed the proposals and provided information on where the public could obtain a copy of the Scoping document, the date and locations of public open houses and how to submit written comments.
The first public open house was on November 17, 1997 in the Weber County Library in downtown Ogden. Forest Service personnel with various expertise were present with graphic visual aides and displays. The forum allowed for individuals to ask direct questions to Forest Service staff on any aspect of the proposals. Comment cards were available for immediate written responses as well as copies of the Scoping Document for further review and response by the public. Various handouts were also available. A large photo of Pineview with a plastic overlay was the center display where citizens were welcome to write or draw suggestions for configuring activities on the reservoir.
The second open house was held on November 18, 1997 in the Weber County Branch Library in Huntsville. The primary attendees were local residents who wanted to find out more or had immediate comments and concerns.
Forty-two written comments were received during the public open houses, e-mail or common mail. These comments are on file in the Ogden Ranger District. A content analysis of the issues, suggestions and concerns was done on these responses and included as a chapter in the document.
At request, Forest Service personnel attended evening meetings of the Huntsville Town Council and the Ogden Pineview Yacht Club Board to clarify and discuss particular questions by these groups. An evening discussion of Pineview recreation issues with approximately 45 citizens of Huntsville occur on May 29, 1998 with Weber County Sheriff. An additional article was published on May 21, 1998 discussing the release and content of the pre-decisional document.
The pre-decisional environmental assessment was completed on June 2, 1998. Copies were sent to those who had responded in writing to the scoping as well as selected agencies or interested citizens who are on our NEPA mailing lists. The legal notice was published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on June 5, 1998.
An additional public open house to discuss the document occurred on June 24, 1998. Approximately 80 people attended the open house, most were residents of Huntsville.
A Newspaper article about the proposed actions and how the local residents are responding to the proposals was published in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on June 10, 1998. An additional editorial was published on July 19, 1998 addressing the need for local recreation managers to plan for the future.
During the Weber County Fair, Forest Service personnel were available to discuss details and answer questions from interested citizens.
Findings Required by other laws
The Forest Plan has been reviewed and a determination made that this decision is consistent with the Forest Plan. The actions in this project comply fully with the goals of the Forest Plan, the Wasatch Front Management Area Direction pages IV-220 through IV-252, and the Forest-wide standards and guidelines (See Chapter IV of the Wasatch-Cache Land and Resource Management Plan).
Floodplains, wetlands, prime lands, threatened and endangered species, minerals, and cultural resource management implications have been considered and these resources will not be adversely affected.
Finding of No Significant Impact
I have determined that these actions are not a major federal action, individually or cumulatively and will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. Therefore, an environmental impact statement is not needed. This determination is based on the following factors:
Based on the analysis documented in the environmental assessment, the impacts of this project are not considered to be significant upon the human environment.
Public health and safety are minimally affected by the proposed action.
There are no unique characteristics as historic or cultural resources, park land, prime farmlands, wetlands, wild and scenic rivers, or ecologically critical areas that are significantly affected.
Based on public participation the effects on the quality of human environment are not highly controversial.
There are no known effects on the human environment that are highly uncertain or involve unique or unknown risks.
These actions do not set a precedent for other projects that may be implemented to meet the goals and objections of the Wasatch-Cache Land and Resource Management Plan.
There are no significant cumulative effects between this project and other projects implemented or planned on areas near the project area of this EA.
There are no known cultural or historical resources affected.
All proposed and designated endangered or threatened species will not be affected.
The actions do not threaten a violation of Federal, State or local law or requirements imposed for the protection of the environment.
Implementation Date and Appeal Opportunities
This decision is subject to appeal pursuant to 36 CFR 217. A written Notice of Appeal must be postmarked within 45 days from the date of publication in the Ogden Standard-Examiner in Ogden, Utah. The Notice of Appeal should be sent to, USDA, Forest Service, Intermountain Region, ATTN: Appeals Deciding Officer, 324 25th Street, Ogden, Utah 84401.
Appeals must meet content requirements of 36 CFR 215.14. For further information on this decision, contact Rick Vallejos, 507 25th Street, Ogden, Utah 84401.
If no appeal is received, implementation of this decision may occur on, but not before, five business days from the close of the appeal filing period. If an appeal is received, implementation may not occur for 15 days following the date of the appeal disposition.
___/s/ Ruth M. Monahan_____________September 24, 1998____________
RUTH M. MONAHAN
Ogden Ranger District
Wasatch-Cache National Forest
507 25th Street
Ogden, Utah 84401