Bureau of Land Management Ore. & Wash.
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Public meetings set for BLM fuel breaks and restoration environmental impact statements - 01/17/18

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Bureau of Land Management will hold 14 public meetings in six western states to identify issues and receive public comments. The purpose of these meetings is to gather input for the preparation of two Programmatic Environmental Impact Statements (PEIS) aimed at reducing wildfires and restoring sagebrush steppe habitat.

The two PEISs will analyze future projects in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah and California. One will analyze fuels breaks, which slow the advance of wildfire and thereby reduce the threat to life and property, among other benefits. The other will analyze restoration work of burned areas, with an emphasis on replacing invasive species with native and other species more conducive to sagebrush-steppe health. BLM manages public lands for the benefit of current and future generations, supporting conservation as we pursue our multiple-use mission. When completed, the two documents will provide standard analyses for fuels breaks and restoration projects, thereby reducing the need for in-depth evaluation on an individual project basis.

"The fuel break PEIS will help us to limit the size of wildfires and provide better protection for the public and firefighters," said John Ruhs, BLM Nevada State Director. "The restoration PEIS will speed the recovery of burned areas, helping the vegetation to recover faster and minimize the disruption of local economies."

BLM will accept comments until March 1, 2018. Comments may be submitted in writing at the public meetings, by email at GRSG_PEIS@blm.gov or by fax at (208) 373-3805. Written comments may also be sent via mail to Jonathan Beck, BLM Idaho State Office, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Boise, ID 83709.

All of the scoping meetings listed will be conducted from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Location / Date / Venue / Address

CALIFORNIA
Susanville, CA 2/6/18
BLM Eagle Field Office; 2550 Riverside Drive, Susanville, CA 96130

IDAHO
Boise, ID 1/30/18
Wyndham Garden Hotel, Boise Airport; 3300 S. Vista Ave., Boise, ID 83705

Twin Falls, ID 2/13/18
Canyon Springs Red Lion Inn; 1357 Blue Lakes Blvd., Twin Falls, ID 83301

Idaho Falls, ID 2/14/18
Hilton Garden Inn; 700 Lindsay Blvd., Idaho Falls, ID 83402

NEVADA
Reno, NV 2/7/18
UNR, Crowley Student Union, Milt Glick Ballroom C; 1644 N. Virginia St., Reno, NV 89503

Elko, NV 2/8/18
Red Lion Hotel, High Desert Inn Ballroom; 2065 Idaho St., Elko, NV 89801

Ely, NV 2/13/18
BLM Ely District Office; 702 N. Industrial Way, Ely, NV 89301

OREGON
Lakeview, OR 2/7/18
BLM Lakeview Interagency District Office; 1301 S. G Street, Lakeview, OR 97630

Burns, OR 2/8/18
Harney County Chamber of Commerce/Community Center; 484 N. Broadway, Burns, OR 97720

UTAH
Salt Lake City, UT 2/15/18
Courtyard by Marriot Downtown; 345 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Snowville, UT 1/31/18
Snowville Elementary School; 160 N. Stone Road, Snowville, UT 84336

Cedar City, UT 2/14/18
Heritage Center -- Festival Hall; 105 North 100 East, Cedar City, UT 84720

Vernal, UT 2/1/18
Uintah Conference Center; 313 East 200 South, Vernal, UT 84078

WASHINGTON
Moses Lake, WA 2/1/18
Moses Lake Best Western; 3000 W. Marina Dr., Moses Lake, WA 98837


-BLM--

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America's public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $75 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2016--more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 372,000 jobs.

http://www.blm.gov/id

Fishing at the Big Pines Recreation Site on the Yakima River
Fishing at the Big Pines Recreation Site on the Yakima River
BLM waives most day use fees in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Photo) - 01/11/18

WASHINGTON -- In order to increase recreational access to public land, the Bureau of Land Management will waive recreation-related fees for visitors to public lands on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 15, 2018.

"On Monday, to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the BLM invites families to spend the day together enjoying America's rich public lands heritage," said Brian Steed, BLM Deputy Director. "Most of these lands are just a short drive from your community. Our fee-free days are a way to encourage our neighbors to enjoy a family outing while reflecting on the American values that have made America great."

Site-specific standard amenity and individual day-use fees at BLM-managed recreation sites and areas will be waived for the day. Other fees, such as overnight camping, cabin rentals, group day use and use of special areas, will remain in effect.

BLM-managed public lands offer more recreational opportunities than any other federal agency, including camping, hunting, fishing and horseback riding, to boating, whitewater rafting, off-highway vehicle driving and many more activities. About 67 million visits are made annually to BLM-managed lands and waters, supporting more than 48,000 jobs nationwide and contributing almost $7 billion to the country's economy.

The BLM will waive recreation-related fees for visitors to public lands on four additional occasions this year-- Presidents Day (February 19), National Get Outdoors Day (June 9), National Public Lands Day (September 22) and Veterans Day (November 11).

---
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America's public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $75 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2016 - more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 372,000 jobs.

Secretary Zinke Creates New Council for Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation - 01/09/18

WASHINGTON -- Continuing his unyielding support for hunting, fishing, and the American conservation ethic, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced the creation of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council. The Council is intended to provide the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture with advice regarding the establishment and implementation of existing and proposed policies and authorities with regard to wildlife and habitat conservation. The Council will examine ways to benefit wildlife resources; encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government; and benefit recreational hunting and recreational shooting sports.

"Hunters and anglers are the backbone of wildlife and habitat conservation in America. Through the purchase of duck stamps, bows, ammo, firearms, and more, sportsmen and women contribute billions of dollars to conservation. From my perspective, the more sportsmen we have in the woods and waters, the better our wildlife and habitat will be," Secretary Zinke said. "The Council will be made up of experts that share their knowledge, experience, and recommendations on a number of policy proposals put before them, as well as helping the Departments come up with innovative ideas to improve the health of wildlife and their habitat and increase sportsmen access on public and private lands."

The Council is strictly advisory and the duties will consist of providing recommendations for implementation of Executive Order No. 13443 (E.O.): Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation, Secretarial Order No. 3347: Conservation Stewardship and Outdoor Recreation, and Secretarial Order No. 3356 (S.O.): Hunting, Fishing, Recreational Shooting, and Wildlife Conservation Opportunities and Coordination with States, Tribes, and Territories.

Recommendations from the Council to the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture shall include, but not be limited to:

Assessing and quantifying implementation of the Executive Order and Secretarial Orders across relevant departments, agencies, offices, and recommendations to enhance and expand their implementation as identified;
Policies and programs that:

Conserve and restore wetlands, agricultural lands, grasslands, forests, and range land habitats;
Promote opportunities and expand access to hunting and shooting sports on public and private lands;
Encourages hunting and shooting safety by developing ranges on public lands;
Recruit and retain new shooters and hunters;
Increase public awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation and the social and economic benefits of hunting and shooting;
Encourage coordination among the public, hunting and shooting sports community, wildlife conservation groups, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government.
Since his first day in office, Secretary Zinke:

Reversed an order that would have banned lead ammo and tackle on National Wildlife Refuge lands.
Expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 10 national wildlife refuges
Signed a wide-ranging order to expand sportsmen access on public and private land, improve collaboration between the federal, state and Tribal wildlife management authorities, and create a "one-stop" website for all hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands
Directed bureaus to open hunting and fishing on all national monument lands where legally allowed
Finalized a land acquisition to make the Sabinoso Wilderness Area accessible to hunters for the first time ever

Individuals may submit comments and/or nominations by any of the following methods:

Mail or hand-carry nominations to Joshua Winchell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; or
Email nominations to: joshua_winchell@fws.gov
The Council will meet approximately twice a year, and at such other times as designated by the Designated Federal Officer. The Council will terminate 2 years from the date the charter is filed, unless, prior to that date, it is renewed in accordance with the provisions of Section 14 of the FACA. The Council will not meet or take any action without a valid current Charter.

The Council is established to further the provisions of the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 742a), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701), the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd), other Acts applicable to specific bureaus, and Executive Order 13443, "Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation." The Council is regulated by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. Appendix 2.

BLM examining fuel projects to improve firefighting capabilities, protect rangelands in Great Basin - 12/22/17

BOISE, ID -- The Bureau of Land Management is initiating environmental analyses of fuel breaks, fuels reduction and habitat restoration projects on sagebrush steppe rangelands in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah and California to ensure healthy, productive working landscapes and wildlife habitats.

Region-wide analysis of impacts and cumulative effects will help the BLM streamline authorization of projects aimed at reducing the threat of wildfires and restoring degraded habitats.

"Fire, invasive annual grasses and conifer encroachment are the most significant threats to sagebrush-steppe in the Great Basin," said BLM Idaho State Director Tim Murphy. "Focusing on these threats is also going to help the BLM protect working landscapes that contribute to healthy local economies."

Large-scale wildfires have become significantly more frequent throughout the western U.S. in recent years, particularly in sagebrush-steppe ecosystems. Wildfires have begun to exceed 100,000 acres on a regular basis, and areas are re-burning more often. Large and frequent fires often result in conversion of sagebrush to annual grasses like cheatgrass, and native habitats cannot recover naturally.

Strategically sited fuel breaks can slow the progress of wildfires, allowing better firefighter safety and increased protection of human life and property, livestock forage and important ecological resources such as sage-grouse habitat. Treating invasive plants like cheatgrass and encroaching species like juniper further reduces the threat of catastrophic wildfire.

A notice published in today's Federal Register details the BLM's intent to prepare two programmatic environmental impact studies (PEISs), identifies some preliminary issues for analysis and begins a 60-day comment period. Public comments on issues to be analyzed in the PEISs and possible alternatives are welcome, and may be submitted by any of the following methods:

* e-mail: GRSG_PEIS@blm.gov
* Fax: (208) 373-3805
* Surface mail: Jonathan Beck, BLM Idaho State Office, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Boise, ID 83709

The BLM will host public scoping meetings, with specific dates and locations to be announced shortly through local media, newspapers, social media outlets, as well as the BLM website, at https://go.usa.gov/xnQcG. The website will also provide details and documents about fuels projects and the impact analysis process.

-BLM-

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.