Deputy Secretary of the Interior Proposes Withdrawal for Protection of Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge and Welcomes Comments

PHOENIX — The Deputy Secretary of the Interior proposes to withdraw 2,598 acres of public lands within the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), subject to valid existing rights. This withdrawal, which would replace the expiring withdrawal at the Refuge, would continue to protect the important wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) welcomes comments on the proposed withdrawal.  

Under the proposal, which largely mirrors the current withdrawal, 1,464 acres of public lands would be withdrawn from appropriation under the public land laws, including the United States mining laws, but not from leasing under the mineral and geothermal leasing laws, and an additional 1,134 acres of Federal surface estate public lands from appropriation under the public land laws. The land would be reserved for management as part of the Refuge. The withdrawal and reservation would be subject to valid existing rights.  

The FWS identifies the Refuge as one of the last ecologically functioning riparian areas in the Southwestern United States. Though small, it provides important habitat for migratory birds, endangered species, other wildlife, and for wildlife-oriented recreation. Approximately 90,000 visitors use the wildlife refuge annually, engaging in nature and wildlife observation, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and hunting.  

A Notice of Proposed Withdrawal was published in today’s Federal Register; this publication segregates the land from appropriation under the laws specified in the Notice for two years, initiates a 90-day public comment period, and announces an opportunity for a public meeting. The public may submit comments and requests for a public meeting on the proposed withdrawal application from today until January 6, 2022. Comments may be emailed to or sent through the mail to: 

Bureau of Land Management, Arizona 
Attn: Michael Ouellett 
One North Central Avenue 
Suite 800 
Phoenix, Arizona 85004 

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. 

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.

Release Date


Bureau of Land Management


Rem Hawes, Public Affairs Lead