I had the opportunity to see Mike Blakeman while attending the Bark Beetle Workshop in Durango, he explained to me where the EIS process for the Wolf Creek Village was at and about the next steps in this process.
It's fairly complicated and I asked if he might be able to send me an email outlining what he'd told me.
Mr. Blakeman went me one better and had a Forest Service wildlife biologist do a detailed write-up.
Below I include Mike's cover letter along with the write-up.
Hi Peter, Below is a detailed write-up about the BA/BO process written by our wildlife biologist. People would never get to read such a thorough explanation in mainstream media, so feel free to post it on your blog if you feel it would be beneficial.
To summarize the targeted timeline (something could always impact this): Biological Assessment completed on May 1. Fish and Wildlife Service reviews the Biological Assessment (BA) (90 days) and then completes a Biological Opinion (BO) (45 days), which puts us at about mid-September. The land exchange Final (Wolf Creek Village) Environmental Impact Statement and record of decision would most likely come out sometime in the autumn or early winter.
Once again, I want to stress that no decision on the land exchange has been made. Even though the BO may develop terms and conditions to minimize negative impacts to the lynx, that does not mean the Forest Service has made a decision. Hope this is helpful.
Public Affairs Specialist
Rio Grande National Forest
Once finalized, the Biological Assessment is submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) through the Section 7 process (also see here), which is a section of the Act reserved for federal agencies to consult on federal actions and receive an “incidental take statement” for the expected effects. The FWS has 90 days to complete this review.