Center Content: 

Sagebrush Focal Area Proposed Withdrawal

The BLM and Forest Service greater sage-grouse land use plans approved in 2015 recommended that the Secretary of the Interior safeguard the most important habitat for the bird by withdrawing them from the Mining Law of 1872, subject to valid existing rights.  These lands, covering about 10 million acres of federal lands, within Sagebrush Focal Areas (SFA) were identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as strongholds vital to the GRSG’s persistence as a species.   They are located in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming .  

You can review a fact sheet about the proposal here.

Proposed Withdrawal and Temporary Segregation

The Department of the Interior published notice of the agencies’ application for withdrawal on September 24, 2015, beginning what is known as a segregation of the lands that lasts for two years.  This segregation, which lasts up to two years until the Secretary decides whether to make the withdrawal, prohibits the location and entry of new mining claims in the designated areas.   The proposed withdrawal would affect most metallic mineral deposits, industrial minerals and uncommon varieties of stone.  The withdrawal would not affect mineral leasing, such as for oil or gas, or mineral material sales.  “Mining Claims and Sites on Federal Land” offers more information on this topic.

Neither the segregation nor the proposed withdrawal, if approved, prohibits any other authorized uses on these lands, such as grazing, recreation, OHV use, or development of leasable solid minerals, mineral materials, oil and gas, or geothermal resources.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Final Environmental Impact Statement

Based on the comments to the Draft EIS from our cooperators and the public, we will prepare a Final EIS and a Record of Decision (ROD) implementing that statement.  When the Final EIS and ROD are completed they will be available here.

Withdrawal

If, after completing the analysis and associated public participation process, the Secretary decides to approve the withdrawal, it could be put in place for a maximum of 20 years.  The withdrawal would not prohibit ongoing or future mining exploration or extraction operations on valid pre-existing claims.  Neither the segregation nor the proposed withdrawal would prohibit any other authorized uses on these lands.