The BLM Impoundment Plan, Who Prepared It, and Their Scrubbed Contact InformationSubmitted by RobHino on Thu, 04/17/2014 - 01:45
After digging around the BLM Nevada website [before it went down!], I stumbled across a document titled:
Here are few sections from that document and a list of the people who prepared it. Below, you can see that their contact info was scrubbed from BLM's website.
1.2.1. Project Background
The project area consists of approximately 802,571 acres ( 1,254 square miles) of public and federal land in the Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa, and Bunkerville Flats areas in the northeastern portion of Clark County, Nevada. For the purposes of an impoundment action, the area is divided into two sections, the closed Bunkerville Allotment and the New Trespass Lands. The closed Bunkerville Allotment consists of approximately 145,604 acres of federal land, of which 126,949 acres are public lands managed by the BLM, 6,959 are federal lands managed by the Reclamation, and 11,696 acres are National Park Service (NPS) lands within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA). There is currently no authorized grazing within the closed Bunkerville Allotment, as all grazing rights were purchased by Clark County and retired for the benefit and protection of the Mojave Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The remaining acreage consists of the New Trespass Lands outside of the closed Bunkerville Allotment, of which 451, 775 acres are BLM, 20, t 23 acres are Reclamation, and t 85,069 acres are NPS lands. State, local government, and private lands are scattered throughout the project area. A map depicting the project area can be found in Appendix A.
In 1998, the United States (U.S.) initiated legal proceedings seeking injunctive relief from Cliven Bundy's trespass grazing on the closed Bunkerville Allotment. On November 4, 1998, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada permanently enjoined Bundy from grazing his cattle within the closed Bunkerville Allotment. Bundy appealed the District Court's decision to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the permanent injunction and ordered the removal of cattle from the closed Bunkerville Allotment. Bundy did not comply with the permanent injunction or with a 1999 order enforcing the injunction. The most recent federal Court actions are as follows:
• Bunkerville Allotment: October 2013 - Federal District Judge Larry Hicks ordered Cliven Bundy to remove his trespass cattle from public land inside the closed Bunkerville Allotment.
• New Trespass Lands: July 2013 - Federal District Judge Lloyd George ordered Cliven Bundy to remove his trespass cattle from public land outside the former Bunkerville Allotment.
Despite the recent court orders, i.e., the permanent injunction issued by Judge George and the order to enforce the prior injunction by Judge Hicks, Bundy has continued to place or allow his cattle to graze within the closed Bunkerville Allotment and New Trespass Lands. In 2011, 2012, and 2013, the BLM conducted comprehensive counts of trespass cattle and documented that Bundy's cattle are grazing in the closed Bunkerville Allotment as well as the New Trespass Lands including parts of the Gold Butte Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and the Lake Mead NRA. The grazing trespass is occurring within critical desert tortoise habitat, designated Wilderness, and has damaged vegetative, soil, and archeological resources. The BLM (together with the NPS) has exhausted all other administrative options to try to resolve this long-standing trespass, and is left only with the option of impounding the trespass cattle as authorized by the Court's order.
2.1. Description of the Proposed Action
The Proposed Action consists of four components as discussed below:
Temporary Land Closure:
The BLM is proposing to limit public access through the temporary closure of public lands in the Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa, and Bunkerville Flats areas in the northeastern portion of Clark County, Nevada. As discussed above, the temporary closure of NPS and Reclamation lands that may be impacted by the Proposed Action will be evaluated in separate NEPA documents prepared by these agencies. The proposed temporary closure would limit public use of public lands within the Gold Butte, Mormon Mesa, and Bunkerville Flats areas during impoundment operations. State, local government, and private lands would not be subject to this temporary land closure and
the BLM will maintain access for valid land owners and Right-of-Way holders.
Temporary closure of public lands would be announced by a Temporary Closure Notice published in the Federal Register. Roads leading into the lands under notice would be posted to notify the public of the closure. The closure notice would be posted on the BLM web site, and the public rooms at the BLM Nevada State Office and the SNDO.
Inclusive of lands managed by the BLM, within the legal description as follows:
Mount Diablo Meridian, Nevada
T. 13S., Rs. 67 thru 71E;
T. I 4S., Rs. 67 thru 71 E;
T. I SS., Rs. 67 thru 71 E;
T. 16S., Rs. 67 thru 71 E;
T. l 7S., R. 67 and Rs. 69 thru 71 E;
T. 18S., R. 67 and Rs. 69 thru 71 E;
T. 19S., R. 67 and Rs. 69 thru 71 E;
T. 20S., Rs. 69 and 70 E.
Without this temporary closure, the public could intentionally or inadvertently enter public lands in proximity to the impoundment operation and endanger themselves, as well as federal agency and contractor personnel. The proposed closure would be temporary in duration, would be limited to the period of impoundment operations, and would not affect all of the public lands within the project area simultaneously. Enforcement of the temporary closure by law enforcement personnel will be limited to certain geographic areas as determined by Incident Command staff, within the overall closure boundary, for the safety of the public, federal employees, and contractor personnel, as well as for the success of impound operations. Areas temporarily closed to public access will be posted at main entry points into each closure area with signs as well as copies of the temporary closure notice.
Under the Proposed Action, public access to the areas where active impound and holding operations are taking place will be limited to specifically scheduled and escorted media visitation days when authorized members of the media will be allowed to view the operation, as well as where the trespass cattle are being temporarily held following impound.
To allow for transparency and to provide members of the public a place to express their views about the impoundment, a media observation site and first amendment site will be set up as part of the operation:
• A First Amendment Area will be set up in an existing disturbed area along State Route 170 at the intersection with New Gold Butte Road for individuals to express their First Amendment rights. Maps will be available to the site. Caution signs will be posted on BLM public lands to caution drivers of pedestrians. Public Information Officers (PI Os) will not be on-site at this location, however, law enforcement will staff as appropriate.
• A media information and interview area will be located approximately two miles south from the intersection of exit 112 (for State Route 170) and Interstate 15, where State Route 170 and a powerline dirt road intersect. PIOs, Agency Administrator(s), and/or Incident Commander(s) will be available daily to provide media interviews. This location will serve as primary point for media to conduct in-person interviews. Staffed times will be flexible based on media interest and return times of media from observation tours.
• If media visitation days are scheduled, escorted media viewing opportunities will be made available for BLM/NPS credentialed media during the impoundment operation. The goal is daily access; however, operations may preclude this on rare occasions. Media opportunities will be announced via media release and online. Credentialed media will travel in their own vehicles, lead by a law enforcement officer(s) and followed by PIO vehicle. All media will enter and depart site at the same time. The designated viewing site will offer an opportunity for media to obtain b-roll video and/or take photos of impound operations. This is not an open tour but a place where they can shoot a scene with the impoundment as a backdrop. No live/satellite trucks will be authorized. PIO will staff site and provide numbers, contact information, be on hand if an issue arises and keep media company. Full-scale interviews will not be given on site and contact information will be given for media information/interview area.
Placement of Temporary Corrals and Primary Holding/ICP Area:
The BLM will place up to six temporary pens and corrals, on public and other federal lands where trespass grazing is currently occurring, for the capture and holding of trespass cattle. These corrals will be located in previously disturbed locations and no new roads will be constructed. Once captured, cattle will be transported to and will be held and shipped out of a primary holding area and ICP, which will also be located in a previously disturbed area. No new disturbance is anticipated as a result of setting up temporary corrals, holding pens, and the ICP. Cattle being held in the temporary corrals will be fed only weed-free hay and water will be supplied via stock troughs that will be fi !led by a water tanker. Water from springs and other area water sources will not be used for this project.
Currently, there are three proposed locations for temporary corrals, as follows:
• Gold Butte Town Site Trap Site (BLM)
• Devil's Throat Trap Site (BLM)
• Overton Beach Trap Site (NPS)
Up to three additional temporary corral sites, that have yet to be determined, may be established in existing disturbed areas as necessary to facilitate capture and impoundment of trespass cattle. The ICP and holding/shipping pens will be located north of Interstate 15 at the Toquap Wash Sand & Gravel Pit.
Impoundment of Trespass cattle:
The impoundment operation includes the authorized use of helicopters to herd trespass cattle from various portions of the project area. BLM employees and contractors working on horseback or driving motor vehicles within the impoundment area will assist the helicopters in rounding-up and pushing cattle to the temporary corrals. Operational use of motor vehicles, including trucks
and off-highway vehicles (OHVs), by agency and contractor personnel will be limited to existing designated routes only. Any off-route and/or cross-country activities will be on horseback or foot. The impoundment/capture crew will utilize two helicopters to assist in driving the cattle. The helicopters will only land in previously disturbed locations on BLM land, except in the case of an emergency. No new disturbance is anticipated as the result of motor vehicle use as part of the Proposed Action.
Impoundment operations would take approximately 17 days; however, operations may last longer due to the following factors:
• The area where trespass cattle may be located spans approximately 802,570 acres.
• Elevation in the project area ranges from 1,000 ft - 5700 ft, and terrain includes rugged mountains, valleys, and thick vegetation.
• Cattle in some cases will be driven by horse 5- l 0 miles to the nearest trap site and then trailered up to 60 miles to the holding facility on unimproved roads.
• Cattle along the Virgin River will require additional time to impound due to thick vegetation and private land parcels that will be avoided during the operation.
Removal of Range Improvements:
The BLM will remove structures and installations associated with cancelled range improvements located on public lands within the project area. Examples of range improvements to be removed include corrals, fences, and water improvements such as pipelines, troughs, earthen water impoundments, and spring boxes.
Range improvements that have been previously determined to be of historical significance by a BLM Archeologist will not be removed as a part of the Proposed Action. In addition, any improvements directly associated with a valid state-adjudicated water right (i.e., well casing), will not be removed.
Here is a list of people that were consulted:
And here is a list of the people who prepared this document:
When I went to the BLM Nevada site last night to find contact info for these people, I noticed it had been updated on 04/14/2014 according to some fine print text in the footer.
Here's the URL to the live page, though the BLM site is "currently unavailable due to planned maintenance." I retrieved the cached version of that page, and noticed an important link was scrubbed. Here's a screenshot of that page that shows a link titled, State Office Employee Directory for Southern Nevada that was scrubbed on 04/14/2014 if compared to the live version:
Good thing I saved the webpage! Here's the contact info for the people that prepared this plan to impound Cliven Bundy's cattle.
I'm sure they'd appreciate a nice phone call or email detailing our gratitude for all of their hard work.