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Wildlife, Special Status Species and Riparian Programs

There is a variety of wildlife in the Kanab area.  Within the boundaries of the Kanab Field Office (KFO), there are a number of Threatened and Endangered (T/E) species, big game species, upland game birds, songbirds, bats, insects, and plenty of snakes and lizards.  One of the fastest birds of prey in the world also calls the KFO home.  This is the peregrine falcon (1).  Endangered for a number of years, the bird is on the rebound and is currently has been de-listed from its T/E status.  The area that makes up the KFO was once home to many bighorn sheep (2).

Peregrine Falcon       Desert Big Horn Sheep

Future releases will allow sheep to reestablish themselves into their former ranges. Unfortunately, many species of plants and animals have become extinct since the United States was founded, and many more species are in serious decline and face potential extinction. The reasons for the loss of species are complex but include habitat changes due to historic settlement and development activities, environmental contamination, and displacement by introduced species, as well as current land uses that continue to adversely affect the abundance and diversity of plants and wildlife.

Federal and state governments have developed a multi-level process for identifying species at risk and implementing conservation actions. The Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides the most well-known, systematic, and stringent process for identifying and conserving threatened and endangered species. The ESA requires that specific measures be taken to protect species that become listed, proposed for listing or candidates for listing under the law. These species are referred to as having "Federal Status."

In addition to implementing conservation actions under the Endangered Species Act, BLM and state governments administer programs that seek to identify and conserve declining species before population or habitat losses reach critical levels. In consultation with biologists and state wildlife agencies, each BLM state office periodically publishes a list of species occurring on public lands whose populations or habitats are rare or in significant decline. The plants and animals on these lists are called "BLM Sensitive Species."

State governments also identify and publish a list of statewide species of concern. These species are called "State Special Status Species" and are referred to as "State-listed."
The BLM manages public lands to protect and improve habitat for all Federal Status, BLM Sensitive, and State-listed species. All projects and activities occurring on public lands, such as livestock grazing, off-highway vehicle use, and recreational development are evaluated to ensure they will not contribute to the need to list species as threatened or endangered. Further, BLM in Idaho is working actively to restore damaged or depleted habitat for sensitive species, such as sage grouse, and we are striving to continuously improve the ecological health of public lands to benefit all species.

Nationally, 511 animal species and 736 plant species are listed as endangered or threatened, or are proposed for listing under the Federal Endangered Species Act. An additional 82 animal species and 144 plant species are candidate species for listing. (Candidate species are plants and animals that have been studied and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that they should be proposed for addition to the Federal endangered and threatened species list)

Not to be overlooked are the smaller forms of wildlife that you will find interesting.  These include the tarantula (3), the collared lizard (4) and the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle (5).

Tarantula  Collared Lizard  Coral Pink Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle

The KFO also deals with fish and Habitat improvement projects, as members of the Upper Sevier Watershed Management Plan Steering Committee  which focus on improving the Upper Sevier Watershed for the benefit off all of the stake-holders in the watershed thru improvements focused on removing the river from the 303d list of impaired waters, thru a Cooperative Resource Management plan expected to be finished in the spring of 2004.

Recently the KFO, in a cooperative effort with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, constructed and placed an upstream fish migration barrier in Three Mile Creek.  The barrier will allow the reintroduction of cutthroat trout above the barrier while keeping other species of fish from migrating upstream.

Upper Sevier River plantingsIn the spring of 2003 the Kanab Field Office, BLM in cooperation with the Education Committee of the Upper Sevier Watershed Committee, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Dedicated Hunter Program, and Panguitch High School planted over 300 riparian shrubs along the main stem of the Sevier River during the Upper Seviers’ Annual Watershed Days. 

These bare root stock shrubs will aid in soil stabilization thru sediment trapping as well as providing future shading for the river and valuable wildlife habitat.   Over 2 miles of river were planted with shrubs for the benefit of all forms of wildlife and fish. 

In the Fall of 2002 Utah's environmental brush cutter arrived at the Cedar City Field Office. The machine was funded by the Bureau of Land Management, Utah Fuels Program and is to be used in hazardous fuel reduction projects throughout the State. This tool has become an active participant in the Upper Sevier Watershed Management program of the Kanab Field Office. 

Environmental brush cutter or "bullhog"The brush cutter is considered to be a time saver and allows the removal of vegetation in one operation. Less traffic for the project sites results in less compaction of soil. The machine will reduce trees and shrubs quickly to ground level, not disturbing root material. The material is shredded into mulch that should rapidly biodegrade. With the material left in place it reduces erosion and keeps nutrients in the soil, increasing its fertility.

Some basic statistics of the brush cutter: Treat approximately 30 acres in a day, Weighs – 42,500 lbs, Dimension – 10 feet wide by 20 feet long, Horse Power - 260 @ 22 RPM, rotary drum with 48 double carbide cutting teeth, teeth have a life of 300 hours and have been known to last 500 hours.
The South Canyon Project located south of Panguitch, Utah. BLM purchased this equipment in part to demonstrate its capability and availability in hopes that local contractors in Utah would be interested. BLM has much more work targeted for this type of equipment then we can do with one tractor.

Brush cutters are used across the country by utility companies, municipalities, foresters and agricultural producers and the military to cut utility right of ways, to clear land, reduce slash and thinning vegetation and many more uses.  In the South Canyon ‘area of the Upper Sevier Watershed,  over 800 acres were treated in the fall of 2002 and spring of 2003 in preparation of the South Canyon Fuels Reduction Project.   More acres are planned in the future to facilitate this Fuels reduction Project. All told over 500 acres of treatment are planned for the spring and fall of 2004.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Kanab Field Office, in cooperation with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) recently (summer and fall of 2002) implemented 2 habitat improvement projects for wildlife.,

The Limekiln Prairie Dog Habitat Improvement is a 200 acre vegetation manipulation project which aims to improve habitat for the Utah Prairie Dog by reducing decadent sagebrush and increasing grass and forbs, by reseeding as well as reducing overland water flow and sedimentation into the watershed.   This treatment not only benefits Prairie Dogs but also other species that utilize the area such as antelope and livestock.    This was accomplished utilizing the UDWR’s Lassen Aerator, which aerates rangeland similar to a lawn aerator.  Decadent sagebrush is mulched and seed is intermixed with a tractor mounted seed dribbler.  Great Basin Research Center will be evaluating the success of this project.

Aerator and tractor  BLM employee Shawn Peterson inspects work by the Aerator  Aerator at work

The Roller Mill Sagegrouse Habitat was a joint project between BLM, UDWR, private landowner and the EPA (319 funds).  300 acres of federal land and 640 acres of state land were treated utilizing the BLM”S Dixie Harrow to improve habitat for Sagegrouse, reduce sedimentation and overland flow into the watershed.   This treatment, accomplished over a two year period, focused on reducing decadent sagebrush with a Dixie harrow pulled behind a tractor, increasing grass and forbs by aerially reseeding into the sagebrush mulch, fencing new rotational pastures for livestock and building a new pond for livestock.

Sage Grouse   Sage Grouse

Have fun exploring the Kanab Field Office.