February 23, 2009
Contacts: David Boyd, (970) 319-4130, BLM Public Affairs Specialist
Randy Hampton, (970) 255-6162, Colorado Division of Wildlife
BLM, DOW host public open house on Light Hill habitat work
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management and Colorado Division of Wildlife are hosting a public open house March 18 in El Jebel regarding the continuing habitat improvement project on Light Hill, which is about two miles south of Basalt, Colo.
The informational meeting will run from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Basalt Fire Department, 1089 JW Drive, in El Jebel.
“Light Hill is one of only five remaining critical big game winter areas on public lands in the Roaring Fork Valley,” said Kevin Wright, District Wildlife Manager for the Division of Wildlife in Aspen. “The goal of the work is to reduce tangled overgrowth and create openings in thick mountain shrubs on Light Hill, which will stimulate mountain shrub forage production. The treatment will also allow other plants and grasses to grow, greatly improving the deer, elk and black bear habitat.”
Crews from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit plan to burn about 100 acres of oak brush and mountain shrub this spring, weather conditions permitting.
After July 1, an additional 150 acres of brush will be treated with a tracked mulcher (also called a “Hydro-axe”), which will create a patchwork of openings. Hand crews will thin 10 acres, and fire crews will burn slash piles next winter.
Last year a 370 acre-area on Light Hill was treated with a tracked mulcher, which cleared about 66 percent of the brush and left islands of vegetation. Hand crews thinned about 20 acres of pinyon-juniper as well.
The project is a cooperative effort among the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, area property owners and the Lower Colorado River Habitat Partnership Program.
“An added bonus of this habitat work is the benefit of fuel reduction near communities in the area, such as Emma,” said BLM Fuels Specialist Ody Anderson. “The openings will help slow any wildfires that might ignite in the area. That gives firefighters a better a chance to stop an advancing fire, and it greatly enhances their safety. ”
For specific questions related to this project, contact BLM Fuels Specialist Ody Anderson (970) 309-4089.