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Tucson Field Office
Release Date: 11/08/13
Contacts: Diane Drobka, 928-348-4403,    

Army Corps of Engineers to Remove Unexploded Ordnance
within the BLM San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

Tucson, Ariz. In coordination with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Tucson Field Office, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will soon be removing unexploded ordnance (UXO) outside Fort Huachuca within the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA).

The process began with a remedial investigation and feasibility study by the Corps.   That study determined that response actions were needed at two formerly used defense sites (FUDS). The removal and mitigation will begin next week and is anticipated to proceed through April 2014, during which time those two parcels within the SPRNCA will be closed.

Cleanup will include location and removal of the UXO and explosive residue left from open detonation disposal operations of surplus or aged munitions after the World War II era.  Every effort will be made to ensure public safety during the removal process including temporary closure to these areas.

“Public safety is our top priority,” said BLM Tucson Field Manager Vi Hillman. “We are doing everything possible to ensure that the visiting public can enjoy and remain safe when they visit the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.”  Signs will be posted near the parcels indicating areas that are temporarily closed during the removal of UXO and any other needed mitigation. 

Because UXO, whether whole or fragmented, can be hazardous, any suspicious unnatural or manmade object seen on public lands should be reported by calling 911. Move away and never touch the item. Note the location, route, landmarks, or any other features that would help authorities locate the UXO. 

The BLM’s ultimate goal is to have unrestricted use of the public lands by ensuring the removal of munitions and explosives of concern and the mediation of these sites by the military services that used the lands. The BLM is collaborating with the Department of Defense and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to address these two impacted tracts.

This situation is not rare. The BLM accepts lands that have been returned to the public domain from former military ranges; this presents unique challenges and often requires response actions. Between 200 and 300 FUDS on more than five million acres of BLM-managed public lands will be addressed. Fortunately, injuries or death from UXO encounters are infrequent, and addressing the sites within SPRNCA will help ensure the public’s safety.

Cleanup is mandated by congressional action in 2001 that created a program to address UXO, discarded military munitions, and munitions constituents located on military range lands that are no longer operational or, as is this case, areas that are impacted by military activities but were never owned or leased by the Department of Defense.

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 2014, the BLM generated $5.2 billion in receipts from public lands.

Last updated: 11-08-2013