ST. GEORGE – Wildlife photographer and conservation outreach manager Lynn Chamberlain was named the new Habitat Conservation Plan administrator Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Habitat Conservation Advisory Commission.
Former Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Conservation Outreach Manager Lynn Chamberlain will replace outgoing HCP Administrator Bob Sandberg, who is retiring at the end of May.
“I love the reserve, I spend a lot of time on it anyway just because I’m a photographer, and from a photographic standpoint it’s hard to beat,” Chamberlain said. “Now I’m excited about having (the reserve) be my job,” he said.
Chamberlain was born and raised in Hurricane and has lived in Southern Utah all of his life. He will start work Thursday; he and Sandberg will only overlap for three or four days, Chamberlain said.
“It’s kind of baptism by fire. I’ve got three days worth of questions for Bob,” Chamberlain said, adding that he will have a great staff to help him.
Chamberlain has enjoyed 26 years of conservation outreach work for the Division of Wildlife Resources and is excited about building public understanding and awareness of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.
The reserve was set aside in 1996 to protect the endangered desert tortoise and other species; in return, other tortoise habitat in Washington County was released for development.
“As much property as (the Reserve) represents in Washington County, it’s a very significant area that I think people want to understand and grow to love. The more people understand, the more supportive they tend to be.”
In addition to working for the Division of Wildlife Resources, Chamberlain has been a professional outdoor photographer for more than 30 years. His photos frequently appear on the DWR website and in a variety of publications, according to the DWR Wildlife Blog.
Committee members expressed thanks to Sandberg for his work as HCP administrator.
“I personally want to thank Bob for the job he’s done. Having been with us since the beginning, back in the 90s, he’s been a breath of fresh air and very noncontroversial and always working for a good solution and we’ll miss him,” committee Chair Henry Maddux said.
In other HCP business, Sandberg has been working with the Bureau of Land Management to put out requests for proposals for historical and prehistoric mitigation on the Long Valley exchange parcel. The proposals are due this month. They will be reviewed and a contractor selected as the exchange process continues to move forward.
The 605-acre Long Valley property will be exchanged for some of developer Bob Brennan’s property which remains within the boundaries of the reserve. The amount of land Brennan will exchange depends on pending appraisals of both properties.
A public comment period for the proposed exchange closed May 5, and no substantive comments were received by the BLM, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area manager Dawna Ferris-Rowley said.
The next step is for the BLM to post a finding of “no significant impact,” she said, and an eventual record of decision. Appraisals have been received by BLM and are being reviewed.
In addition, BLM has received approval to spend money from the Sportsmans and Recreation Access Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase 5 acres in the Babylon area.
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