Red Cliffs conservation efforts continue through realty actions



BLM Office:

Color Country District Office

Media Contact:

Christian Venhuizen

ST. GEORGE, Utah –The Bureau of Land Management recently acquired 113 acres of private land in the boundaries of Washington County’s Mojave desert tortoise mitigation reserve and Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (NCA) for $5 million. The BLM acquired this parcel through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was permanently reauthorized as a part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act in March of 2019.

The BLM continues its commitment to conservation stewardship and partnership with local communities. The BLM is making good on this commitment is through taking steps to resolve complicated land management issues related to intermingled land ownership (commonly known as checkerboard land ownership). Since the development of the Washington County Habitat Conservation Plan in 1996, the BLM has assisted in the county’s efforts to consolidate privately owned portions of habitat into public ownership.

“Successful acquisitions like this one have been made possible through cooperative efforts between the State of Utah, Washington County, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and, of course, willing sellers,” said Ed Roberson, BLM Utah State Director. “In this case, the seller has gone the extra mile to support conservation of the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area and the Mojave desert tortoise reserve for generations to come.”

“Our partnership helps maintain desert tortoise habitat and the beauty of Washington County,” said Dean Cox, Washington County Commissioner. “This mitigation reserve shows how more than 20 years of conservation efforts can balance the protection of our amazing natural resource with our growing community.”

“We stand with our partners in Washington County to provide sustainable habitat for the Mojave desert tortoise and for all of the numerous values that make the Red Cliffs NCA such a treasure to our community and nation,” said Keith Rigtrup, BLM St. George Field Manager.

The acquisition is consistent with the 2016 Red Cliffs National Conservation Area Record of Decision and Resource Management Plan, which allow the BLM to acquire private inholdings from willing property owners and manage the land consistent with the conservation, protection, and enhancement purposes of the NCA.

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.