BLM High Desert District, Carbon County Weed and Pest Control District to conduct cheatgrass treatments.
Rawlins, Wyo. -- The Bureau of Land Management High Desert District, in cooperation with Carbon County Weed and Pest Control District (CCWP) plans to continue cheatgrass treatments on multiple lands, including those managed by the Rawlins Field Office and associated partners during autumn of 2023. Treatments will be carried out via the aerial application of herbicide which specifically targets invasive annual grasses. The treatments will be implemented in accordance with the herbicide label requirements and special conditions specified in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) authorization.
Treatments will occur in southwest Carbon County. The actual chemical application will take one to two weeks, consisting of an aerial fixed-wing application. The treatment units lie east of Baggs, Wyoming covering areas that include mechanical juniper encroachment treatments from 2015 through 2021. Treatments will include public, state trust, and deeded lands. The Airheart Pasture treatment lies north of Carbon County Road 702 (Baggs to Dixon Road), the Allen Hill unit is located west of Allen Hill and north of Young Draw, and the Hill Pasture unit lies south of Highway 70 and the Little Snake River. If and where applicable, a 100-foot buffer will occur adjacent to identified perennial riparian areas and will also be in place along other land ownership not included in the treatments to mitigate the potential for spray drift. The chemical applied to the project areas has the trade name Panoramic (active ingredient Imazapic) and poses no threat to humans, wildlife or livestock. The chemical application will occur at a rate of 6 oz. per acre with 5 to 6 gallons of water as the carrier. Treatment dates and duration would be dependent on applicator availability and weather conditions.
The treatments are being conducted to improve wildlife habitat, watershed and vegetation health, and manage hazardous vegetation fuels. They will reduce and selectively remove cheatgrass which is an aggressive, invasive, annual vegetation species that out-competes desirable native bunch-grasses, forbs, and shrubs. It spreads and produces large continuous areas of light, flashy fuels and dramatically alters the wildfire return intervals and fire regime.
The public should avoid areas of application while the aircraft are actively spraying. This may result in a slight delay in public land use, but the delays should only last a few hours or until the aircraft move to a new treatment polygon within the project area.
Chemical vegetation treatments implemented by the BLM and CCWP follow stringent authorization and permitting procedures. They are implemented only after environmental review which incorporates project design features and mitigation measures intended to ensure that objectives can be met with minimal impacts to other resources. A Pesticide Use Plan is followed which emphasizes public and operator safety, resource protection, and pesticide safety and reporting as the highest priorities. These environmental analyses, authorizations, and planning efforts and processes ensure the mitigation of as much risk as possible.
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.