Bureau of Land Management approves Piute-Eldorado Area of Critical Environmental Concern Management Plan and Environmental Assessment
LAS VEGAS – The Bureau of Land Management Las Vegas Field Office has finalized the Piute-Eldorado Area of Critical Environmental Concern Management Plan and Environmental Assessment. The management plan includes installing roadside fences to reduce wildlife mortality and to direct wildlife toward culverts for safer travel beneath the roadways, repairing and improving signs that mark official routes designated in 1998, restoring disturbances caused by vehicles driving off designated routes, increasing monitoring and control of invasive plants, improving areas around natural springs that have been damaged by feral cattle and cleaning up trash dumps. The management plan does not recommend changes to the designation of open or closed routes. Additionally, changes to the boundaries, speed limits, mineral extraction and special use permit limitations were not addressed.
Funding for these restoration activities comes from compensatory mitigation fees paid by solar facility developers in the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone located northeast of Las Vegas. Since 2017, BLM has collected data and developed ideas to improve the condition of multiple resources including vegetation, wildlife, soil and visual quality while maintaining high quality tortoise habitat and recreational experiences for public land users.
“We appreciate the public involvement and feedback on the draft management plan and environmental assessment,” said Shonna Dooman, Las Vegas Field Office Manager. “We are looking forward to implementing the plan which will enhance critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise and provide a high-quality visitor experience.”
During the comment period on the draft documents, BLM received 74 comment submissions, and these were incorporated as appropriate into the Final Environmental Assessment and Final Finding of No Significant Impact. A synopsis of the public comments and responses to substantive comments can be found in Appendix D of the document.
Piute-Eldorado Valley Area of Critical Environmental Concern is the most extensive area of high-density desert tortoise habitat known in Nevada and it provides habitat for a host of other species including bighorn sheep and populations of rare plants. Hunting, birdwatching, camping, hiking and Off Highway Vehicle travel are popular recreational uses within the 330,000-acre area.
More information including all documents are available at: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2018028/510
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.