U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
Four Rivers Field Office
|Release Date: 05/25/11|
BLM Hosts Discussion of Closure of Public Lands in Payette County to Protect Rare Plant
BOISE – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host two public meetings to ask for public input into long-term management of 7,100 acres of public lands where a rare plant, Packard’s milkvetch, is found.
Meetings will be held in Payette and Emmett, Idaho, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. as follows:
· June 8th at McCain Middle School, 400 North Iowa Avenue in Payette;
· June 9th at Emmett High School, 721 West 12th Street in Emmett.
Effective immediately, the BLM is closing 37 miles of roads and trails to motorized off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreational travel on public lands north of Big Willow Creek in Payette County to protect habitat for Packard’s milkvetch. Motorized travel on lands adjacent to these roads and trails is also restricted. Packard’s milkvetch was recently listed as a candidate species for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The closure affects approximately 7,100 acres northwest of Emmett, Idaho, which the BLM administers.
BLM personnel, in cooperation with the USFWS and adjacent landowners, have placed information signs and fencing at main entry points to the affected area and other locations in the area. Maps of the affected area are available at the Boise District BLM Office, 3948 Development Avenue, Boise, Idaho 83705, along with closure notice documents. Information about the closure is also available on the BLM Idaho website: http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/fo/four_rivers.html .
“This action is necessary because habitat for the Packard’s milkvetch is at risk from further damage by motorized OHV traffic,” said Terry Humphrey, Field Manager of the BLM Four Rivers Field Office. “Temporarily closing the area to OHV motorized traffic will allow us to work with the public to develop long-term plans for preserving the plant and its habitat and for managing recreational activities in the area.”
Lands affected by the restriction will remain open to other uses, including non-motorized activities, Humphrey said, also noting that there are opportunities for OHV riding without an admission charge at the Clay Peak Motorcycle Park, located less than ten miles west of the Big Willow area on public lands leased to Payette County, and at the Little Gem Cycle Park, 2 miles east of Emmett.
Packard’s milkvetch is found only in a 10-square-mile area in Payette County, Idaho. There are 26 known sites within this area where the plant currently grows, 17 of which are on BLM- administered public lands. The USFWS has identified OHV use as one of the imminent and primary threats to the species. The USFWS estimates that failing to control OHV impacts to the milkvetch and its habitat could lead to its listing as Threatened or Endangered under the ESA. Unauthorized OHV activity directly and indirectly impacts the milkvetch by destroying plants, increasing sedimentation from adjacent areas, and allowing noxious and invasive weeds to establish and expand.
Humphrey said that guidance for managing habitat and OHV recreation in the future will be developed as directed in the National Environmental Policy Act with the input and involvement of the public and BLM planning regulations and policies. Submit comments electronically to Larry Ridenhour, email@example.com and by mail to BLM Four Rivers Field Office, 3948 Development Ave., Boise ID 83705, Attn. Larry Ridenhour.
The BLM will enforce the closure under the authority of Section 303 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and pursuant regulations (43 CFR 8341, 8364). Federal, State and local employees performing official duties and those with written permission from the BLM are exempt from the motorized travel restriction.
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. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs. The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends. In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.
|Last updated: 06-10-2011|
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