For Release: Dec. 18, 2008
Contact: BLM: Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332
BLM Approves Decision for Sage Steppe Restoration
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved records of decision (ROD) putting into place a Sage Steppe Restoration Strategy for public lands managed by the Alturas, Eagle Lake and Surprise field offices in northeast California.
The RODs and restoration strategy can be viewed online at www.blm.gov/ca/alturas, www.blm.gov/ca/eaglelake and www.blm.gov/ca/surprise. Copies are also available at the BLM Alturas Field Office, 708 W. 12th St., Alturas, (530) 233-4666; the Eagle Lake Field Office, 2050 Riverside Dr., Susanville, (530) 257-0456; or the Surprise Field Office, 605 Cressler St., Cedarville, (530) 279-6101.
Developed jointly by the BLM, Modoc National Forest and Modoc County, the strategy contains broad guidance for projects to restore sage steppe ecosystems that have become dominated by Western juniper. It calls for use of fire and harvesting to thin juniper stands that have encroached into grass and sagebrush meadows. Projects will be designed to re-establish a mix of grasses and brush in the sage steppe.
The strategy directs leaving juniper stands in the rocky uplands where they have historically thrived. It recommends treating 14,000 to 21,000 acres per year during the first two decades, with treatments of up to 34,000 acres annually for the next three decades of the 50-year plan.
"The BLM record of decision is part of a larger restoration strategy that focuses on more than six million acres in northeast California," said Tim Burke, manager of the BLM Alturas Field Office. Burke said the Modoc National Forest has issued its own decision applying the strategy to national forest lands it manages.
The agencies began developing the strategy in 2001 with a series of public meetings and discussions. A draft environmental impact statement was released for public review and comment in August 2007. The final management strategy reflected public comments received on the draft, and included provisions for annual public reports and public meetings to review the results of restoration projects.
Those who feel they would be adversely affected by the BLM decision can file an appeal with the Interior Board of Land Appeals. Details on filing an appeal are available in the ROD document or by calling the BLM Alturas, Eagle Lake or Surprise field offices.
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