U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
For Release: Friday, June 29, 2007
BLM Releases Final EIS on Vegetation Treatment/Fuels Reduction on Western Public Lands
As part of ongoing efforts to combat the spread of invasive and noxious weeds and reduce fire-prone fuels on public lands, the Bureau of Land Management today released its Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) comprehensively analyzing the environmental effects of various methods for treating and managing vegetation. The Final PEIS is available for public review and comment through July 30, 2007.
The PEIS presents detailed, national-level analysis of the risks of herbicide use to humans and sensitive species, as well as to other resources and activities. A programmatic environmental report (PER) evaluates additional treatment methods to reduce the risk of wildland fire by reducing highly flammable vegetation such as pinyon, juniper, and dead or downed woody materials. The two reports will guide field-level planning and projects using mechanical, manual and biological techniques to meet fuel-reduction goals under the National Fire Plan. Both documents are national in scope and contain supporting analysis and data.
“Noxious weeds and other invasive vegetation threaten the health and economic productivity of millions of acres of public land across the West,” said BLM Acting Director Jim Hughes. “Recent experience in New Mexico shows that the carefully planned use of herbicides combined with prescribed fire and mechanical treatments can restore land health in as little as one or two years.”
In 2006 on public lands in the Pecos District of New Mexico, 145,000 acres of BLM lands were treated under the Restore New Mexico project. Lands selected for one-time treatment with herbicide can now be maintained with prescribed fire. The Vegetation PEIS will support the Interior Department’s Healthy Lands Initiative to restore and conserve watersheds and habitats using similar techniques on BLM-managed lands elsewhere in the West.
The documents are available at http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/veg_eis.html and in printed form and on CD-ROM from BLM field offices.
Comments on the Final PEIS and PER will be accepted only in writing and should be mailed to the following address, postmarked on or before July 31, 2007: Mr. Brian Amme, Project Manager, BLM, P.O. Box 12000, Reno NV 89520-0006. Substantive comments will be used to develop the final decision action to implement the PEIS, as expressed in the Record of Decision (ROD) to be signed later this summer.
Federal Register Notice of Availability
Final PEIS and Environmental Report online
Project Overview with Success Stories