Pinedale Field Office issues Mesa fertilization FONSI decision
by Bureau of Land Management
August 25, 2011
The Bureau of Land Management Pinedale Field Office (PFO), in conjunction with the Pinedale Anticline Project Office (PAPO), has issued the finding of no significant impact (FONSI) and decision record (DR) for an environmental assessment (EA) of the Mesa Sagebrush Fertilization Project (MSFP) in the Pinedale Anticline Project Area (PAPA).
A total of three alternatives were analyzed in the EA: Alternative 1, proposing just over 3,000 acres of fertilization over a two year period; Alternative 2, proposing up to 30,958 acres of fertilization over a period of ten years; and Alternative 3, proposing no action by not conducting treatments. Based on the EA and careful consideration of scoping comments, the BLM has decided to approve a combination of Alternatives 1 and 2. This decision will maximize the opportunities for effective and sustained habitat improvement in the PAPA by providing the opportunity to treat crucial mule deer winter range beyond the initial treatment if it is proven successful.
During the scoping period, PAPA oil and gas operators offered additional lease suspensions in the project area if the proposed fertilization treatments were applied over a larger area. These lease suspensions would defer oil and gas development in an additional 2,100 acres to the previously designated 49,903 acres of lease suspensions within the PAPA flanks.
The Mesa is well documented for its importance to wintering mule deer from the Sublette Mule Deer Herd and has historically wintered 3,000-5,000 of these animals. Fertilization is intended to help offset direct and indirect habitat losses on and adjacent to natural gas development sites in the PAPA by increasing sagebrush production, enhancing available winter forage and potentially increasing palatability and nutrient quality.
The EA, FONSI and DR are available for viewing at the PFO at 1625 W. Pine St., Pinedale, Wyo. Or www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/documents/pfo/mesasage.html.
The issuance of these documents today initiates a 30-day appeal period. To a file an appeal, a written statement of reason must be mailed, faxed or delivered during regular business hours (7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) to:
Shane DeForest, Field Manager
BLM Pinedale Field Office
P.O. Box 768
1625 W. Pine St.
Pinedale, WY 82941
For additional information, please visit www.wy.blm.gov/jio-papo/ or contact Dan Stroud, PAPO habitat biologist, at 307-367-5387 or firstname.lastname@example.org.