BLM to evaluate the use of integrated weed management practices on 600,000 acres of public land in the Gunnison Field Office
Gunnison, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate the use of integrated weed management practices, including chemical and mechanical treatments, to effectively manage noxious and invasive terrestrial and aquatic plant species on public lands throughout the BLM Gunnison Field Office. The BLM plans to open a 30-day public scoping period beginning December 15, 2021, to identify potential issues and concerns and additional information the BLM should consider in its analysis.
“The associated costs for treating and controlling invasive species in southwest Colorado can be high,” said Jon Kaminsky, Gunnison Field Manager. “By evaluating the impacts of various weed treatment methods, the BLM can develop long-term control strategies to more efficiently meet different management objectives in a variety of situations, as well as provide for early detection-rapid response strategies to address the introduction of new weed species.”
The Gunnison Field Office has been treating noxious and invasive plants for over two decades using a range of herbicides. The analysis will consider in what areas to approve the use of herbicides on over 600,000 acres of public land in the Gunnison FO and whether to allow for aerial application of herbicide by fixed and rotor-winged aircraft.
The introduction and spread of new invasive species by vehicles, recreational equipment, machinery, livestock grazing, wildlife, other animals, and humans are a continual threat. Weed inventories in the Gunnison Basin prior to 2017 indicate increases in noxious and invasive weeds. The impacts of weeds are varied but significant and include: Reducing the quantity and quality of habitat and forage for wildlife and livestock; increasing wildfire frequency and the potential for soil erosion; altering soil productivity; adversely impacting water quantity and quality; compromising sensitive plant species habitat; adversely affecting riparian area function; and degrading recreational experiences.
Project documents and information, including how to provide input, are available on the BLM ePlanning project website at: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2016876/510. The BLM will consider the public’s substantive comments on the proposal from December 15, 2021, through January 14, 2022 online or by U.S. mail at: BLM Gunnison Field Office, Attn: Brian Stevens, 210 W. Spencer Ave., Ste. A Gunnison, CO 81230.
If you have additional questions, contact Brian Stevens, Fire Management Specialist, at 970-642-4950 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.