Upper Green grazing draft EIS open to commentWritten by Joy Ufford
Livestock grazing on the Upper Green River rangeland is proposed to continue, with a 270-head reduction and rotational grazing, according to the Bridger-Teton National Forest (BTNF) draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) published in the Federal Register on Oct. 7.
The draft EIS’ publication marks opening of a new 45-day public comment period that closes Nov. 21.
“The Pinedale Ranger District proposes to authorize continued livestock grazing on the Badger Creek, Beaver-Twin, Noble Pastures, Roaring Fork, Wagon Creek and the Upper Green River allotments using livestock strategies designed to maintain or improve resource conditions,” wrote BTNF Pinedale District Ranger Rob Hoelscher in his Sept. 30 stakeholder letter.
Hoelscher’s preferred Alternative Three of the four presented for the 170,643-acre project addresses “gaps between existing conditions and desired conditions,” with strategies to eliminate season-long grazing, build a “hardened water crossing” and use adaptive management on “focus areas.”
The EIS has long been in the works, with public scoping in 2000 and a notice of intent to publish an EIS in 2003. A draft EIS was released in 2004 for public comment, with the final version and record of decision in 2005 – but those were withdrawn for a supplemental EIS (SEIS).
The draft SEIS was released for review and comment in 2010. Since that time, grizzlies, wolves, Canada lynx and other wildlife issues have arisen to be considered, the new draft EIS states.
“In the intervening time period, I have been working to address concerns expressed by commenters with regard to the draft SEIS,” Hoelscher wrote Sept. 30. “Normally the next step in the process would be to release a final EIS and draft decision. However, since several years have passed since the draft SEIS, I am offering another comment period on this draft EIS that is the result of much work with stakeholders.”
The Upper Green River Area Rangeland Project Draft EIS supporting documents and link to submit comments are available at fs.usda.gov/project/?project=3049.