BLM seeks input on Uinkaret Mountains Landscape Restoration Project; public meetings

Map indicates Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument, Arizona Strip, Arizona | Map courtesy of BLM, St. George News

ST. GEORGE—The Bureau of Land Management Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and Arizona Strip Field Office are beginning work on an Environmental Impact Statement for the Uinkaret Mountains Landscape Restoration Project.

Update on Nov. 9: The public scoping meeting scheduled Nov. 13 in Mesquite, Nevada was canceled. A second meeting will be held in Flagstaff, Arizona and the BLM will release the date no later than 15 days prior to the day. The meeting’s location was altered in order to reach a greater geographical population.

Map indicates Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument, Arizona Strip, Arizona | Map courtesy of BLM, St. George News
Map indicates Grand Canyon – Parashant National Monument, Arizona Strip, Arizona | Map courtesy of BLM, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

The public is invited to participate throughout the Environmental Impact Statement process. A Notice of Intent was published Oct. 21 in the Federal Register announcing the beginning of the scoping process that will solicit public comments and identify issues.

Public open-house meetings to learn about and submit public scoping comments on the project environmental impact statement are scheduled as follows:

  • Nov. 12, 2014 from 4-6 p.m. MST at the Lexington Hotel and Conference Center, 850 South Bluff Street, in  St. George
  • Nov. 13 from 3-5 p.m. PST  at the Mesquite City Hall at 10 East Mesquite Boulevard in Mesquite, Nevada.

The restoration project area is approximately 128,535 acres, of which about 88,272 acres are within Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and about 40,263 acres are within the Arizona Strip Field Office.

At present, the BLM has identified the following preliminary issues:

  • Excessive fuel loadings, including closed-canopy stands and ladder fuels, are contributing to the risk of large high-intensity wildfires, and posing a threat to resources including wildlife habitat, species diversity, and wildland urban interface areas.
  • Past management practices, such as timber harvest, livestock grazing, and fire suppression have affected vegetation communities, altering species composition, structure and function in many portions of the project area including wilderness.
  • Pinyon and juniper species are encroaching or expanding into the sagebrush and ponderosa pine communities causing a decline in species diversity, hydrologic function, and a decrease in the quality of important wildlife habitat, as well as habitat fragmentation.
  • Accelerated soil erosion in parts of the project area is decreasing nutrient cycling and soil productivity.
  • Habitat conditions have declined in areas with sagebrush monoculture and continuous closed canopy stands, resulting in a lack of species diversity and accelerated soil erosion.

To be most helpful and to ensure that all comments are considered, comments should be submitted within 15 days after the last public meeting, approximately 30 days after the Federal Register Notice. Comments may be made through the public hearing process, by mail or email as indicated under Resources below.

Resources

  • Submit comments | Email | Fax 435-688-3258 | Mail or in person to 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, Utah
  • For more information contact Richard Spotts | Email | telephone 435-688-3207
  • BLM Grand Canyon Parashant website
  • BLM Arizona Strip website

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