Date: December 19, 2008
Contact: Ann Boucher (406) 896-5011
Bench Watershed Assessment Ready For Public Review
The Bureau of Land Management’s Dillon Field Office has completed its assessment of resource conditions on BLM-administered lands within the East Bench Watershed. The watershed covers about 23,000 acres on 14 grazing allotments, un-allotted public parcels, and un-leased land in the Ruby Mountain Wilderness Study Area. The watershed is located in Madison and Beaverhead counties, Montana.
The five standards for rangeland health were evaluated to determine whether or not the standards were being met. Standards include: maintaining properly functioning upland and riparian areas, assuring that water quality and air quality meet state standards, and providing for biodiversity. Forest health, fuels conditions and conifer encroachment issues are included within the land health standards.
National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) documents will be prepared to analyze alternatives for revising management where resource concerns were found within these watersheds. The NEPA documents will be completed by resource specialists from the Dillon Field Office, in coordination with grazing lessees, other agencies, and the interested public.
The Assessment Report has been mailed to all individuals who expressed an interest in the project and asked to be on the mailing list. The BLM welcomes public comments to help formulate alternatives and define issues for the environmental assessment. To be most useful, public comments must be submitted by January 31, 2009.
If you would like to receive a copy of the East Bench Watershed Assessment Report, please call the Dillon Field Office at (406) 683-8000, or email MT_Dillon_FO@blm.gov. The Watershed Assessment Reports are also available for review online at: http://www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/fo/dillon_field_office.html.