Despite a recent scientific report that calls into question the fiscal and environmental efficacy of “vegetation treatments” — the process of using heavy machinery to strip sagebrush and clearcut pinyon-juniper woodlands from your public lands — the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is moving forward with three massive “vegetation treatment” proposals within the original boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
These three proposals would strip sagebrush and pinyon-juniper forests from nearly 135,000 acres of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. All told, the BLM is looking at “landscape-level project[s]” on nearly 650,000 acres of lands within the original 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument:
- In the Paria River watershed, the BLM is considering letting loose the chainsaws and mechanical masticators on up to 93,000 acres of public lands within a 610,000 acre area. The BLM is currently in the process of writing an Environmental Assessment for this project, so now is the time for them to hear from you!
- In the Skutumpah Terrace area northeast of Kanab, the BLM has completed an Environmental Assessment of a “treatment” proposal to remove pinyon and juniper from more than 55,000 acres of public land. SUWA and conservation partners have appealed this project to the Department of Interior Board of Land Appeals.
- In three additional proposals at the heart of Grand Staircase (including Alvey Wash, Last Chance Gulch, and Coal Bench), the BLM plans to use heavy machinery including bullhog masticators to strip more than 13,000 acres of native vegetation, including pinyon and juniper trees and big sagebrush.
Large-scale vegetation removal projects are an extreme and unproven management approach that simply do not belong on our public lands, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument should never be the subject of the most aggressive and invasive treatments like chaining, mastication, and mulching. These projects are completely incompatible with protecting the fragile ecological, paleontological, and archaeological resources in Grand Staircase.
Take action today! Tell the BLM to stop all mechanical vegetation removal projects in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.