Section 603 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976 directed the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a wilderness review of BLM lands. Through the review process, certain public lands were designated as Wilderness Study Areas (WSA). BLM is required to manage these areas to maintain their suitability for preservation as wilderness until Congress designates them as wilderness or releases them for other uses. Grazing inside WSAs that existed when FLPMA was enacted are "grandfathered in" and can continue as long as the use does not degrade the wilderness values in a manner that constrains the area's suitability for preservation as wilderness.
There are 13 grazing permit renewals under consideration for fiscal year 2009 that partially fall within the Beaver Creek, McIntyre Hills, and Upper and Lower Grape Creek WSAs. Click here for a listing of grazing permit renewals by WSA.
Beaver Creek WSA Map
McIntyre Hills WSA Map
Upper Grape Creek WSA Map
Lower Grape Creek WSA Map
Key focus points for these permit renewals include:
BLM completed Public Lands Health Assessments (PLHA) as part of the permit renewal process. This process determines the health of upland soils, plant and animal communities, riparian systems, threatened and endangered species, and water quality.
Meeting standards for rangeland health to help maintain the wilderness value of naturalness.
We are proposing to renew permits for 10 years at current grazing levels and no range improvement projects are proposed inside the WSA boundaries.
There may be some proposed changes in season of use to provide for more rest and recovery of forage species.
Portions of these allotments are located outside the WSA boundaries.
Much of the acreage of these allotments within the WSA boundaries are steep and rough with very little livestock grazing taking place.
The Copper Gulch and Grape Creek Allotments have acreage in more than one WSA.