USFS Decision Memo Regarding Long Valley Kore Drilling – Sierra Wave

usfs-decision-memo-regarding-long-valley-kore-drilling-–-sierra-wave

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— Long Valley Exploration Drilling Project Decision Memo —
DECISION MEMO
LONG VALLEY EXPLORATION DRILLING PROJECT
U.S. FOREST SERVICE
INYO NATIONAL FOREST
MAMMOTH DISTRICT
MONO COUNTY, CA
BACKGROUND
The Inyo National Forest received a request from KORE Mining Ltd. (KORE) for approval of a Plan
of Operations for mineral exploration on National Forest land at its Long Valley Project area
(Project) (Figures 1-3). Proposed activities within the Plan of Operations are for the exploration of
locatable minerals to be conducted upon Federal mining claims held by KORE.
An initial Plan of Operations was submitted in July 2020. The initial Plan of Operations was revised
based on analysis and comments received during project scoping, and many requirements were added
to minimize resource impacts. The decision is based upon evaluation of the revised Plan of
Operations (2021 Plan of Operations).
The application was for mineral exploration only. There is no proposed mineral extraction (mining).
Mining is not being proposed or considered at this time. The purpose of a mineral exploration project
is to assess the potential for mineral concentration at a volume that would be economically feasible to
produce and does not automatically lead to an actual mine. An application has not been submitted or
proposed for a mineral extraction project and if that were to occur, that application would be
processed as a separate project.
The Project area has had previous exploration, in the 1990s, by a prior operator. Exploration
activities included road construction and drilling of hundreds of cores. The KORE 2021 Plan of
Operations is for additional drilling on the periphery of the prior area of exploration. The 2021 Plan
of Operations is of a one year duration for mining and support activities, and restoration of impacts.
The exploration activities include core drilling on 12 pads and the collection of rock samples from
each borehole for metallurgical testing and geological engineering assessment.
Through the General Mining Law of 1872, mining claimants have a right to locate and develop
mineral resources on any public lands open to mineral entry. KORE Mining therefore has a legal
right to explore/develop and conduct reasonably incident activities; the FS has the right/obligation to
regulate such activities but not to endanger or materially interfere (40 CFR 1502.13). The Forest
Service does have an obligation to ensure that “operations are conducted so as, where feasible, to
minimize adverse environmental impacts on National Forest surface resources” (36 CFR 228.8). The
compelling need for the Forest Service to take action is to comply with the legal requirements to
respond to the proponents reasonable Plan of Operations (36 CFR 228.4) for mineral exploration, and
prescribe measures to reasonably protect resources.
The Inyo National Forest land management plan (USDA Forest Service 2019) requires that mineral
exploration must be for public benefit, and the project contributes toward the attainment of the
following desired condition:
GEO-FW-DC 01. Mineral resources on National Forest System lands provide for public benefit,
while minimizing adverse environmental effects on other national forest resources from mineral
exploration, development, and extraction (USDA Forest Service, land management plan 2019, p. 67).
DECISION
I have decided to authorize the exploratory drilling, as described in the proposed Plan of Operations.
This decision approves mineral exploration, including ground-disturbing reclamation activities, for
up to one year. Post-exploration habitat restoration activities that do not involve grading or major
ground disturbance may continue past one year as needed for satisfactory reclamation. Activities
such as monitoring, seeding, and maintaining a fence to exclude livestock from the restoration areas
are in support of the post-project habitat restoration. This decision incorporates the specific terms and
conditions summarized in Appendix A of this document; these have been incorporated into the Plan
of Operations.
Land disturbance resulting from this Project will total approximately 0.82 acres. Of that, roughly
0.43 acres would be from the drill pads and 0.39 from the use of the temporary access roads.
Twelve drill pads, measuring 53 feet by 30 feet, will be constructed and up to 3 core borings will be
drilled on each pad. The proposed drilling equipment will access the property across existing public
roads and will utilize temporary access roads from the public roads to the drilling pad locations to
minimize disturbance from road grading. Up to 1,700 feet (0.32 miles) of temporary access road will
be created by clearing of surface vegetation by hand cutting or mowing with a small tractor. The
roads will not be graded or constructed beyond cutting or mowing vegetation.
Best management practice will be employed for drilling. Excess drilling mud will be collected while
drilling and transported off site to an appropriate disposal facility. After drilling has ended, the drill
pads will be reclaimed by relieving compaction, grading to approximate the original landforms, and
planting with a Forest Service approved native seed mix. A temporary fence will be placed to prevent
livestock or other animals from eating or trampling growing seedlings, to facilitate successful habitat
improvement. Temporary access roads will be reclaimed using a spring-tooth harrow, or similar
device, to relieve surface compaction and then seeded with the same approved seed mix. Seeding will
occur in the fall of the year to take advantage of seasonal rainfall. New vegetation shall be monitored
by a qualified biologist until it is determined that success criteria have been met. The minimum
monitoring time is three years. Any revegetation needs identified during that monitoring are also
covered under this decision.
All activities incidental to mining, including drilling, grading, and installation of erosion control
features, will be completed within one year of the beginning of operations. Exploration on each pad
will be active for three to twelve days, with a day or two of mobilization between pads. Two pads
may be drilled at the same time. The number of days needed to complete exploration activities could
therefore range from about 50 to 170 days, all within 12 consecutive months. At the end of the oneyear period, all equipment will have been removed from the site and all activities in support of
exploration will be complete. In order to minimize project effects, further wildlife habitat
improvement may occur if post-exploration monitoring shows a need for further revegetation.
This action is categorically excluded from documentation in an environmental impact statement
(EIS) or an environmental assessment (EA). The applicable category of actions for the exploration
and support activities is identified in agency procedures as:
36 CFR 220.6(e)(8): Short-term (1 year or less) mineral, energy, or geophysical investigations
and their incidental support activities that may require cross-country travel by vehicles and
equipment, construction of less than 1 mile of low standard road or use and minor repair of
existing roads.
This category of action(s) is applicable because this is a one-year Plan of Operations, including
reclamation, and there would be no more than 0.32 miles of temporary road construction. The total
linear feet of all new and existing drill roads to be used by the project is about 1,700 feet.
All exploration activities and activities necessary to support the explorations itself fall under CE
category 220.6(e)(8). These activities include those that are required to allow equipment access to the
site (such as temporary road construction, grading and constructing drill pads), implementing the
exploration (such as drilling exploration holes, driving existing and temporary roads, having
equipment on-site, transporting drilling muds to an approved off-forest site), and protecting natural
and cultural resources during the exploration itself (such as installing erosion control measures,
properly casing and abandoning drill holes, using noise and light controls, and regrading pads and
replacing topsoil).
In order to minimize effects to natural resources, I am also requiring post-project restoration for
habitat improvement. These restoration activities are important to provide food and cover for native
wildlife species, as well as allowing for native plant success. These activities are not required to
support the mineral exploration activities. Because these activities are not in support of mining
activities, we are using an additional CE category to cover these activities, which is:
36 CFR 220.6(e)(6): Timber stand and/or wildlife habitat improvement activities that do not
include the use of herbicides or do not require more than 1 mile of low standard road
construction.
This category of actions is applied because the restoration of project disturbance is for the purpose of
improving native vegetation, which is vital for wildlife habitat (including sage grouse and mule
deer). This will ensure that there is no net loss of habitat and no effect to the capability of Forest
species of conservation to persist over the long term in the plan area. No herbicides will be used, and
no road will be constructed for the wildlife habitat improvement.
I want to be certain that adequate rehabilitation occurs, and therefore do not want to limit any
activities needed for rehabilitation to a time frame of one year or less. The post-exploration habitat
restoration activities will include seeding, installing (sage-grouse friendly) fences around the pads to
protect seedlings from livestock or wildlife grazing, monitoring revegetation activities on foot, and
pulling weeds if needed. If monitoring shows that the initial revegetation is not adequate for wildlife
habitat improvement, this decision also approves additional revegetation activities. These are not
support activities necessary for mineral exploration; the mineral exploration can proceed without
these actions and will be complete before these actions occur. However, such actions are important
for habitat improvement and therefore are being included as part of my decision.
As stated in the preamble to the 2020 Forest Service NEPA regulations under 36 CFR 22, “More
than one CE may apply to an activity. Integrated, multiple-use management activities, which are
designed to accomplish management goals that often cross administrative program boundaries, can
fit within multiple CEs.” Use of two CEs helps me best meet my obligation to allow mineral
exploration activities while minimizing resource impacts, and my desire to improve wildlife habitat
post-project.
EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES
I find that there are no extraordinary circumstances that would warrant further analysis and
documentation in an EA or EIS. I took into account resource conditions identified in agency
procedures that should be considered in determining whether extraordinary circumstances might
exist, as well as other resources that are not explicitly included in the required resources for analysis.
The full analysis of effects for wildlife, botanical, water, noise and cultural resources are included as
reports in the project file: Long Valley Sensitive Species Habitat Verification Report; Cultural
Resources Inventory Long Valley Exploration Drilling Project Unincorporated Mono County,
California; KORE Long Valley Exploration Sage‐Grouse Lek Baseline Noise Monitoring and
Drilling Noise Analysis; Hydrogeologic Evaluation; and Long Valley Exploration Drilling Project
Biological Impact Analysis).
The analysis of potential effects from those reports are summarized here.
1. Federally listed threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat, species
proposed for Federal listing or proposed critical habitat, or Forest Service species of
conservation concern.
Plant Species of Conservation Concern
No special-status plant species were observed on-site during the pre-construction focused plant
survey. Further, based on habitat requirements for the identified special-status species and known
distributions, it was determined that the Project Impact Area does not have the potential to
support any of the other plant species of conservation concern documented as potentially
occurring within the vicinity of the project site, and are presumed absent. As a result, no impacts
to plant species of conservation concern are expected to occur.
Wildlife Species of Conservation Concern
No special-status wildlife species were observed on-site during the field investigation. Based on
habitat requirements for specific species and the availability and quality of on-site habitats, it was
determined that the Project Impact Area has the potential to support greater sage-grouse and
pygmy rabbit. In order to ensure no significant direct or indirect impacts to the aforementioned
species occur from the project, the avoidance and minimization measures listed in Appendix A
will be implemented. With implementation of these avoidance and minimization measures, any
impacts to species of conservation concern, should they be present, would be minor and
temporary. It is likely that any sage grouse and pygmy rabbit in the area would avoid the
immediate vicinity of the drill sites during the exploration activities and associated disturbance.
Nonetheless, there is the potential for such avoidance to result in physiological stress, reduced
foraging success, and exposure to higher predation rates due to increased movements to skirt
project activities. However, these impacts will be short-term and spatially limited, so will not
result in any impacts to the species that would affect their viability within the project area or the
Inyo National Forest.
To ensure compliance with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and Fish and Game Code, a
pre-construction nesting bird clearance survey shall be conducted within 3 days of any vegetation
removal or ground disturbance. If occupied nests are discovered during the survey, non-activity
buffers between 300 and 500 feet will be established around the identified nest.
Wildlife Corridors
The project site has the potential to be utilized as a wildlife corridor by local wildlife species, in
particular mule deer. Project activities will occur in a small area relative to the broad migration
path and there is adequate, undeveloped space available in the route for the deer to circumvent
project activities. In addition, project design features to minimize impacts to wildlife were added
to the Plan of Operations, as summarized in Appendix A of this document. Design features added
include limited operating periods for spring migration, noise dampening, speed limits, night
lighting requirements, revegetation and wildlife protective fencing.
Since conditions on the site, after project implementation, will be restored and will allow wildlife
movement across portions of the site and within adjoining large blocks of habitat, only temporary
impacts to wildlife movement will occur during project implementation. Due to the lack of any
identified long-term impacts to wildlife movement, migratory corridors or linkages or native
wildlife nurseries, wildlife will not be significantly affected by the project.
2. Flood plains, wetlands, or municipal watersheds
Floodplains
The USFWS National Wetlands Inventory and the USGS National Hydrography Dataset were
reviewed to determine if any streams or riverine resources have been documented within or
immediately surrounding the project site. Based on this review and the field investigation, one (1)
riverine resource was identified within the boundaries of the Project Area. This feature is an
ephemeral feature that follows on-site topography within the eastern portion of the Project Area
and flows only in direct response to precipitation northwest to southeast into Hot Creek, which is
located south of the Project Impact Area. The 2021 Plan of Operations contains no drill pads or
new access roads within 500 feet of this ephemeral stream and therefore there is no potential to
affect surface water or floodplains from exploration activities.
Wetlands
The project area does not contain any wetlands. Therefore, there will be no impacts to wetlands.
Municipal Watersheds
The entire project area is within a municipal watershed, the Owens River. As described in this
document and the hydrology and hydrogeologic evaluation, there is a very low potential for any
effect to surface or groundwater quality or quantity from this exploration project, and therefore
there would be no effect to municipal water supply.
As stated above, there is no surface water within the project area, and only an ephemeral stream
within 500 feet of ground disturbing activities. There is therefore no potential for direct effects to
surface water quality or quantity.
Groundwater will not be extracted by the project. Previous exploration drilling in the area did not
encounter any artesian groundwater conditions. It is not expected that this exploration effort will
encounter these conditions either, and therefore there should not be any inadvertent groundwater
loss. A groundwater analysis has been completed that analyzes potential for intermixing of
shallow cool and deep warm aquifers in the area (Barlett, 2021). In summary, there does not
appear to be a significant upper, cool water aquifer in the claim block. Therefore, it is not likely
that drilling will cause intermixing of the two aquifers in this area. Further, to further minimize
any risk of groundwater intermixing, drill holes will be cased during drilling, open for a short time
and abandoned (closed) immediately after completion by backfilling with a bentonite slurry and
cement grout from the bottom of the hole to the surface. Therefore, there should be no effects to
groundwater.
Project design features for the protection of water resources have been included in Appendix A
and approval of the Plan of Operations will be conditioned upon acceptance of these design
features. All drill holes will be cased, blowout prevention equipment will be in use, bore holes will
be abandoned immediately upon completion, and spill kits will be on site. These preventative
measures are an extra precaution to ensure that in the unlikely case that artesian groundwater flow
is encountered, there will be minimal potential impacts to groundwater, soil, or surface water
resources
3. Congressionally designated areas such as wilderness, wilderness study areas, or national
recreation areas.
This project is not located in or adjacent to wilderness, wilderness study areas, or national
recreation areas, and thus there is no impact.
The project is not located within a congressionally designated or an eligible Wild & Scenic River
corridor. The nearest drilling will be 0.5 miles from an eligible Wild and Scenic River corridor for
Hot Creek. The hydrogeology study (concluded that “limited drilling campaign that KORE has
planned will not result in any impacts to regional spring flow or groundwater or surface water
quality.” (Bartlett 2021, p. 9)
4. Inventoried Roadless Areas or potential wilderness areas
This project is not located in an Inventoried Roadless Area and thus there is no impact.
5. Research Natural Areas
This project is not located in a Research Natural Area and thus there is no impact
6. American Indians and Alaska Native religious or cultural sites
— Long Valley Exploration Drilling Project Decision Memo —
Page 7 of 18
As provided for in the protocols established with each Tribe, the Forest Service has consulted with
interested Tribes. Government to Government Consultation was initiated with physical
consultation letters sent on March 24, 2021, and e-mails on March 25, 2021, to the following
tribes: Big Pine Paiute Tribe of Owens Valley, Bishop Paiute Tribe, Mono Lake Kutzadikaa and
Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Tribe of the Benton Paiute Reservation
On April 14, 2021, the Bridgeport Indian Colony, Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Tribe and Mono Lake
Kutzadikaa Tribe requested consultation on the Long Valley Exploration Drilling project. The
Mono Lake Kutzadikaa and the Bridgeport Indian Colony attended a tribal consultation
teleconference on April 26, 2021. The Bishop Paiute Tribe requested a tribal field trip which was
conducted on June 10, 2021. The project was again discussed at an inter-tribal meeting on August
19th.
Through this consultation, tribal representatives expressed concerns over effects to deer, hunting,
water resources, and other resources. Their concerns were addressed in the analysis and by adding
design features and tribal monitors will invited to monitor implementation by the company during
project activities.
7. Archaeological sites, or historic properties or areas –
The area of potential affect was surveyed for archaeological resources. No archeological sites or
sites eligible for National Historic Register listing will be adversely affected by this proposal
because it was designed to avoid any known sites. The area of disturbance for one drill pad will
be fully staked and flagged prior to implementation with the assistance of an archaeological
monitor to ensure no unanticipated impact to an archaeological site. All ground disturbance will
be confined to the flagged/staked area. Consultation for the above undertaking has been satisfied
pursuant to the 2013 Programmatic Agreement for compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA on the
National Forests of the Pacific Southwest Region (RPA 2013, amended 2018). The project will be
implemented in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA,
36 CFR 800) based upon recommendations contained in the final cultural resource inventory
report (Enviromine 2021: Forest Report R2021050402509). If unanticipated cultural resources
are discovered during the course of project implementation, all activity at the project site would
cease, the discovery site would be protected and the responsible Inyo National Forest
Responsible official and Heritage Program Manager would be immediately notified. Therefore,
no extraordinary circumstances exist for this resource condition.
Other Resources
Although the following resources are not called out specifically as those that should be considered
for extraordinary circumstances, we analyzed them to show compliance with the land management
plan, and to address issues brought up in public comments.
• Riparian Conservation Areas – A small segment of a Riparian Conservation Area exists
within the southeast section of the project boundary. No disturbance of Riparian
Conservation Areas will occur, and the nearest project disturbance is approximately 500 feet
from the mapped area. Erosion control devices will also be used on the perimeters of all pads
to prevent erosion and sedimentation. The project shall be conditioned to prevent impact to
the riparian habitat as indicated in Appendix A
• Conservation Watershed – The project is not located within a Conservation Watershed, thus
there will be no impact.
• Sustainable Recreation Management Area – The project area is within a general recreation
area with mixed/moderate use and has a management objective of a natural, roaded recreation
area. No impacts to recreation opportunities will occur because no public lands other than
the operational pads and temporary roads, will be restricted to access by the project. No
designated recreational trails are in the near vicinity of the project.
• Scenery – The project will occur in an area that has a low scenic integrity objective but may
be visible from areas with a higher objective. This project is temporary and the equipment to
be used does not present a large or permanent profile on the viewshed. Project equipment has
a maximum height of 32 feet. Equipment location will not be static and is expected to be
moved to new location every 7 to 10 days. Project design features will use the guidance
provided in the Mono County General Plan – Chapter 23 Dark Skies for operational lighting.
Light fixtures used for the project shall be shielded to direct light downward to the working
areas and will not be low-pressure sodium or mercury vapor lamps. Headlight use by
vehicles will be limited to low beam settings within the project boundary. No permanent
structures will be installed. Tourism and land use in the area are not expected to be impacted.
PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT
This action was originally listed as a proposal on the Inyo National Forest Schedule of Proposed
Actions (SOPA) and updated periodically during the analysis. The project was first published in the
SOPA on January 1, 2021. Public scoping was opened on April 8, 2021 and closed on May 13, 2021,
which included a one-week extension of the original scoping period. Scoping letters were mailed to
one address and electronic delivery was made to another 37 project subscribers through
GovDelivery. Comments were collected online in the Comment Analysis and Response Application
as well as through hardcopy, and email. In response to public requests, the Responsible Official
decided to extent the scoping period by one week, and notified the public with a news release and
email to the original email list.
The comments received expressed concerns on a number of subjects that included potential impacts
to tourism, wildlife, cultural resources, water quality and recreation which was primarily about the
fishery on Hot Creek. Comments also addressed geothermal and seismic activity, air quality, noise
and light pollution. Technical studies completed in response to comments include KORE Long
Valley Exploration Sage‐Grouse Lek Baseline Noise Monitoring and Drilling Noise Analysis; and
Hydrogeologic Evaluation. Additional project design features and/or mitigations measures were also
added to the plan of operation. These include:
• Sound barriers for equipment to reduce noise that might affect sage grouse.
• Shielded and directed lighting to limit potential light pollution.
• Air quality permits, if required, to be obtained through the Great Basin Air Quality
Management District
• Operator is responsible for immediate repairs of any, and all damages to roads, structures,
and improvements, which result from the operations.
• Noxious weeds will be controlled.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its
programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and
where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual
orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an
individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all
prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require
alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print,
audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice
and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of
Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or
call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity
provider and employer.
Bartlett, Doug. 2021. Hydrologic Evaluation, Kore Long Valley Project. Technical Memorandum.
June 1, 2021.
ELMT Consulting, Inc. 2021. Long Valley Exploration Drilling Project Biological Impact Analysis.
August 2021.
Enviromine. 2021. Cultural Resources Report for the Long Valley Exploration Drilling Project.
August 2021.
Saxelby Acoustics, LLC. 2021. Kore Long Valley Exploration Sage-Grouse Lek Baseline Noise
Monitoring and Drilling Noise Analysis. Mono County, California. June 2021.
WRA, Inc. 2021. Long Valley Sensitive Species Habitat Verification Report. Mono County,
California. Revised March 2021.
APPENDIX A: PROJECT DESIGN FEATURES
In addition to Forest Plan standards and guidelines designed to mitigate impacts, the following
measures have been prescribed. These design features have been incorporated by the Forest Service
to reduce or prevent undesirable effects resulting from proposed project activities. These are
summarized here, by resource, and also included in the Plan of Operations. Approval of the Plan of
Operations will be subject to the acceptance of these project design features.
Engineering:
Consult with Engineering Staff as needed. All temporary access roads used by the project should be
maintained and treated for storm damage risk reduction or prepared for long term closure when the
project is complete. Operator is responsible for immediate repairs of any, and all damages to roads,
structures, and improvements, which result from their operations, at their expense.
Cultural Resources:
Project activities shall not negatively impact historic structures or artifacts located within the project
boundary. Do not disturb or remove any historic artifacts, i.e., items over 45 years of age from the
project location, this includes cans, glass bottles, milled lumber etc. Do not disturb any ground
outside of the proposed project boundary; ground disturbing activities will occur only within the
identified access roads and the drill pads outlined in the attached project map unless otherwise
approved by the Forest Service Cultural Specialist.
Wildlife:
Greater sage grouse: Greater sage grouse timing restriction – No disturbance activity in the project
area from March 1st through June 30th unless prior written approval from the Forest Wildlife
Biologist is obtained.
Greater sage grouse: Bird anti-perching devices shall be installed on the top wire of all fencing and
fence posts installed by the project.
Greater sage grouse: Greater sage grouse timing restriction – No disturbance activity in the project
area from March 1st through June 30th unless prior written approval from the Forest Wildlife
Biologist is obtained.
Greater sage grouse: Bird perching deterrent devices shall be installed on the top wire of all fencing
and fence posts installed by the project.
All Wildlife: Minimize the creation of new rights-of-way where feasible and less impactful by using
existing public or private utility rights-of-way to reduce impacts on other resources.
All wildlife: After soil disturbance or seeding, subsequent soil-disturbing management activities shall
not occur until desired habitat conditions have been met within sage habitat unless a resource team
determines that disturbance will help achieve desired conditions.
All wildlife: Acoustic screening devices shall be placed between the equipment noise sources and the
surrounding vegetation during the project.
All wildlife: Project vehicles will observe a 15 mile per hour speed limit on all roads south of
Antelope Springs Road to reduce potential collisions with wildlife.
All wildlife: During all project site activities, construction contractors shall equip all construction
equipment, fixed or mobile, with properly operating and maintained mufflers, consistent with
manufacturer standards.
All wildlife: The contractor shall place all stationary construction equipment so that emitted noise is
directed away from the noise sensitive receptors nearest the project site.
All wildlife: Equipment shall be shut off and not left to idle when not in use unless required to do so
for safety reasons.
All wildlife: The contractor shall locate equipment staging in areas that will create the greatest
distance between construction-related noise/vibration sources and sensitive receptors nearest the
project site during all project construction.
All wildlife: The project proponent shall mandate that the construction contractor prohibit the use of
music or sound amplification on the project site during construction.
All wildlife: A Worker Environmental Awareness Program (WEAP) shall be conducted prior to the
start of project implementation, focusing on the avoidance and minimization of impacts to native
habitats and protection of species of conservation concern.
All wildlife: All lighting used on the project site shall follow the guidance provided in the Mono
County General Plan, Chapter 23 – Dark Sky Regulations to direct light downward onto the work
area.
Water Resources
All erosion control devices, such as silt fences, certified weed free straw fiber rolls, and
biodegradable erosion cloth, should be maintained during all project activities to maintain sediment
on site and minimize delivery of sediment to streams. All erosion control devices made of natural
materials should be allowed to deteriorate in place.
During reclamation, excavation areas will be reshaped to provide natural drainage patterns and
prohibit pooling of surface water.
Riparian areas designated by the Forest Service will not be disturbed.
Weeds:
All earth disturbing equipment will need to be inspected by Forest Service Personal to make sure it
has been weed washed prior to entering NFS lands.
Invasive plants noted on the project disturbance will removed manually, placed in a plastic bag and
removed from Forest Service lands. These bags shall be disposed at a licensed land fill.
Information on identification and control of invasive plant species can be found on the websites
maintained by the California Invasive Plant Council (CIPC) at: http://www.cal-ipc.org and the North
American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) at: http://www.naisma.org
Soil and Hydrology:
Project activities will not occur outside identified project area boundaries and access routes unless
otherwise approved by the Forest Service.
Destruction of all drill holes shall be completed in accordance with the California Department of
Water Resources’ Bulletin 74-81, Water Well Standards (December 1981) and Bulletin 74-90,
California Well Standards (June 1991) as required by Mono County permit.
Drill muds created by the project shall be removed from Forest Service lands and transferred to an
appropriately licensed disposal facility.
All ground disturbance associated with grading and drilling by the project activities will be restricted
to within the identified project boundary. See site map.
Reclamation will begin immediately after exploration activities are completed and will be completed
before onset of winter.
The first six inches of soil, if found to be relatively undisturbed and having higher organic content
than subsoil horizons, on each drill pad will be removed, stockpiled, and incorporated into the
reclaimed surface.
All existing ground cover (grass, shrubs etc.) that will be disturbed during grading will be stockpiled
and used as ground cover during reclamation.
Reclamation will include installing drainage features (drivable drain dips on the temporary access
roads at intervals approved by the Forest Service, and sub-soiling or scarification of other disturbed
areas associated with project implementation.
Disturbed areas will be seeded with a Forest Service approved certified noxious weed free native
seed mixture at a rate of 16.5 lbs/acre (see Table A-1 for the approved seed mixture).
All earth disturbing or sample processing equipment will be inspected for seeds, plants, plant
fragments, or soil and cleaned as necessary prior to project start-up and prior to transporting
equipment to project site.
Operators will be required to comply with all state and federal fuel management regulations and have
spill containment and cleanup kits appropriate for the quantity of fuel on site.
Transport of fuel will use a D.O.T approved tank.
Reclamation work will be inspected during implementation by the Forest Service Minerals
Administrator who will maintain appropriate activity diary entries.
All specified and approved products will be documented by the inspector through collection of
receipts and tags prior to use. The following table provides the Forest Service approved seed mixture
to be used for reclamation of the site at a rate as indicated in Table A-1.
Table A-1. Long Valley Explorations Seed Mix
Species Pure Live Seed*
(pounds per acre)
Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) 0.5
Antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata 4
Desert peach (Prunus andersonii 2
Indian ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides) 2
Western needlegrass (Achnatherum occidentalis) 2
Squirreltail (Elymus elytnoides) 3
Species Pure Live Seed*
(pounds per acre)
Spurred lupine (Lupinus argenteus var. heteranthus) 2
Chicalote, prickly poppy (Argenione munita) 1
Total: 16.5
*Pure Live Seed. Seed must be noxious weed free for all western states. Weed content not to exceed
0.03%

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