45-day comment period began June 3
Contributed Photo/Courtesy BLM
Contributed Article/Courtesy BLM
SAFFORD – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released proposed Wilderness and Ecosystem Plan Amendments to supplement the Safford Field Office (SFO) Vegetation Management Plan Environmental Assessment (EA). The amendments are available to the public for a 45-day comment period that ends on July 18.
Current vegetation communities are being encroached by invasive plant species that outcompete native plant species and limit biodiversity. The BLM evaluated the existing plans and identified that updates needed to be made to ensure the BLM can manage vegetation communities to improve wildlife habitat, and watershed and rangeland health across the field office for generations to come. Currently, the existing plan decisions are limiting due to outdated science and field observations. The proposed amendments would replace the currently identified vegetation management decisions with those based on up-to-date science and rationale.
Only the proposed SFO Wilderness and Ecosystem Plan Amendments are open to public comment. Public involvement for the EA began with a 30-day public scoping period from March 15 to April 12, 2017. The preliminary EA was made available for review for another 30 days from Dec. 3, 2020, to Jan. 6, 2021. Comments received are still being reviewed, and BLM’s responses will be available in an appendix to the Final EA. The preliminary EA is still available to review and provide important context to these plan amendments.
Substantive comments received relevant to the proposed SFO Wilderness and Ecosystem Management Plan Amendments will be reviewed and considered for inclusion to clarify and improve these proposed amendments.
If the proposed amendments are approved by the Authorized Officer; they will be enacted through the SFO Vegetation Management Plan Decision Record. These decisions will supersede those in the management plans and will allow the BLM to implement those amended decisions via the SFO Vegetation Management Plan EA and any other subsequent vegetation management projects.
These documents can be found on the ePlanning website at http://bit.ly/SFOVegManEA .
Comments can be submitted at the above ePlanning website, via email to email@example.com with the subject line “SFO Plan Amendments” or via mail at Bureau of Land Management Safford Field Office Attention: Scott C. Cooke , 711 S. 14th Avenue, Safford, Arizona 85546 .