As part of its commitment to managing healthy and productive landscapes and providing economic opportunities for the local communities that we serve, the Bureau of Land Management Utah (BLM-UT) seeks public input on the proposed Paria River Habitat Improvement Project. The 30-day public scoping period will begin on October 25, 2018.

“Public input is key to sound decision-making, and comments are welcomed as the BLM moves forward with an environmental analysis of this project,” said Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) Manager Harry Barber. “The BLM appreciates the time and effort people take in providing comments, as public participation is vital to managing and conserving sustainable, working public lands.”

The BLM is proposing a landscape-level habitat improvement project, consistent with the management direction of the 2000 GSENM Monument Management Plan, to protect and enhance the ecological conditions within the Paria River watershed. The project would apply appropriate mechanical treatments, chemical treatments, prescribed fire, and seeding to enhance sagebrush/grassland areas, ponderosa pine stands, seeps, mountain brush, non-structural range improvement (seedings) and overall woodland health. These treatments would benefit a variety of wildlife species, as well as livestock, by improving and maintaining forage production, reducing soil erosion, improving water quality, reducing hazardous fuels, improving woodland health and enhancing wildlife habitat. The treatments on the 93,363 acres within the Paria Watershed would occur over a 15-year time span.

The BLM, in partnership with Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative and Utah Partners for Conservation Development, has taken the lead in identifying priority watersheds for habitat improvement throughout the state in order to address a variety of interdependent resource issues and improve long-term watershed conservation and restoration. The implementation of this project will also further this Administration’s priorities by providing economic opportunities, as well as supporting job growth through livestock production, construction jobs, recreation and other commercial activities.

A field tour of the project area will be conducted during the scoping period. For members of the public interested in attending the field tour, please RSVP to the BLM project lead below. The field tour is scheduled for Friday, November 2, 2018, and will depart from the GSENM Cannonville Visitor Center (10 Center Street, Cannonville, Utah) at 10 a.m.

The project description and project map are available for review at the following ePlanning link: https://go.usa.gov/xPQp2. Public comments must be submitted by 4 p.m., MST on November 26, 2018. Comments may be submitted by e-mail at blm_ut_gs_comments@blm.gov. Written comments may also be sent via mail to 669 South Highway 89A, Kanab, UT 84741. Please reference “Paria Habitat Improvement Project” when submitting comments. Mail must be postmarked by November 26, 2018.

The most useful comments are those that contain new technical or scientific information relevant to the proposed action. Comments which contain only opinions or preferences will not receive a formal response, but may be considered in the BLM decision-making process. The entire comment – including personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.

For additional information, please contact Raymond Brinkerhoff at (435) 644-1228. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800- 877-8339 to leave a message or question for the above individual. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.