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March 24, 2010
1790, 9011 (220) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2010-084
Expires: 09/30/2011
To:                   All State Directors (except Alaska and Eastern States)
From:               Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject:           Grasshopper and Mormon Cricket Treatments within Sage-grouse Habitat           
Purpose:  This Instruction Memorandum (IM) provides guidance on the use of insecticides within occupied Gunnison and Greater Sage-grouse habitat on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands for grasshopper and Mormon cricket suppression.
Policy/Action:  This IM includes standard operating procedures and appropriate management actions to provide adequate grasshopper and Mormon cricket control to rangelands while still providing suitable habitat for Gunnison and Greater Sage-grouse, both BLM “sensitive species.”
The BLM states are directed to coordinate with local Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) personnel and state wildlife agencies as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning treatments in sage-grouse habitat.  

Appropriate management actions and operating procedures may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Evaluate and/or restrict treatment methods or timing of use within seasonal or priority habitats.
  • Avoid spraying treatment areas in May and June (or as appropriate to local circumstances) to ensure necessary insect availability for early development of sage-grouse chicks. 
  • Apply greater restrictions in priority areas, if needed.
  • Use alternative chemicals that have lower toxicity to sage-grouse.
  • Evaluate the appropriate percentages of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowable rates and the pros and cons of available chemical use, in coordination with state fish and wildlife agencies, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and APHIS.
  • Use ULV Malathion and carbaryl only in emergency cases.
  • Implement effectiveness monitoring, if warranted. 
Timeframe: This IM is effective immediately.
Budget Impact:  Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 funding has been allocated from the current program for coordination with APHIS and treatments by the BLM.  If needed, additional funding will be requested through the Washington Office.
Background Based on adult grasshopper surveys conducted by APHIS in fall 2009, APHIS is expecting that the 2010 spring and/or summer season of grasshopper infestations will be significantly higher than past seasons.  The BLM’s discussions with APHIS and local county weed and pest districts estimate that all BLM states excluding Alaska and Eastern States may require some treatments. Grasshopper suppression treatments are essential to protect private rangelands and crops. Treatments also protect federal rangelands from massive defoliation, particularly the loss of forbs, essential for many wildlife species.
Treatment application methods (air and ground) as well as application timing could potentially disturb sage–grouse, particularly during early brood rearing.  Grasshoppers, as well as other insects, are an important food source for chicks.  The preferred treatment method for grasshopper and Mormon cricket control includes using diflubenzuron sprayed aerially.  Additionally, it is applied utilizing a strip method commonly referred to as Reduced Acreage Area Treatment (RAAT).  Other treatment methods include ULV Malathion and carbaryl bait. The BLM state and field offices are coordinating with APHIS and local county weed and pest districts in anticipation of the 2010 season.
Manuals/Handbook Sections AffectedThe BLM Manual Sections 9011- Chemical Pest Control and 9012-Expenditure of Rangeland Insect Pest Control Funds.
Coordination:  This document was coordinated with representatives of the Rangeland Resources (WO-220), Fish, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (WO-230), and State Grasshopper and Mormon Cricket Coordinators. 

Contact:  Questions regarding this IM should be directed to Gina Ramos, Senior Weed Specialist, Division of Rangeland Resources, WO-220 at 202-912-7226 or Danielle Flynn, Wildlife Program Lead, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Plant Conservation WO-230, at 202-912-7274.

Signed by:                                                       Authenticated by:

Edwin L. Roberson                                          Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                           Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning

Last updated: 03-31-2010