Jonah Mitigation Projects approved
by Bureau of Land Management
August 12, 2006
The first round of off-site mitigation projects for the Jonah Infill Development Project were approved this week by the Jonah Interagency Mitigation and Reclamation Office (JIO).
Out of a total of 19 project proposals received, seven were either approved or partially approved at a total cost of up to $660,000. Each of these projects directly mitigates impacts from Jonah Field development. In addition to the seven approved projects, two other projects with potentially high mitigative value were deferred to the next round of proposals to allow time for additional data collection.
The JIO was created by the Jonah Infill Project Record of Decision (ROD) to provide overall field management of on-site monitoring and off-site mitigation activities. To perform these functions, the JIO manages a $24.5 million monitoring and mitigation fund donated by EnCana Oil & Gas (USA), Inc.
The JIO is comprised of representatives of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management. This group approves projects up to $100,000. An Agency Manager’s Committee that includes the Directors of each of the respective agencies approves projects over $100,000.
“These Mitigation measures will help protect other natural resources like wildlife habitat, water and air quality, and livestock forage,” Wyoming BLM State Director Bob Bennett said. “These projects represent a solid start to improve wildlife habitat through off-site mitigation required by the Jonah Infill Development Project Record of Decision.”
Projects approved this week include:
• $76,500 for Sand Draw Water Well #1, #2 and #3 project, submitted by Rendezvous Ranch and BLM. The water developments are within the Sand Draw allotment boundary and are in close proximity to existing water reservoirs. The Sand Draw allotment overlaps the Jonah Infill Development Project Area and is directly impacted by Jonah Field development. Cumulatively, these water wells will allow livestock operators the flexibility to graze underutilized sections of the allotment, as well as provide wildlife reservoirs that exclude livestock and improve vegetative diversity. This project directly supports the basic wildlife strategy from the Environmental Impact Statement (rapid field development and rapid reclamation to shorten the impact duration) by reducing the grazing impact on new reclamation within the Jonah Field.
• $25,500 for the Sand Draw Water Well #4 project, submitted by the Rendezvous Ranch and BLM. A new water well and reservoir will be located along the Sand Draw and South Desert allotment boundary to provide benefits to wildlife and livestock operators on both allotments.
• $19,500 for the Lander Trail Well Wildlife and Stockwater Development project, submitted by Square Top Grazing Association and BLM. This project will improve an existing watering facility and add a wildlife reservoir that will exclude livestock and improve vegetative diversity.
• $11,500 for the Muddy Creek Water Well project, submitted by Square Top Grazing Association, and BLM. This project will improve an existing watering facility and add a wildlife reservoir that will exclude livestock and improve vegetative diversity.
• $25,500 for the Square Top Water Well project, submitted by Square Top Grazing Association, and BLM. This project will drill a new water well at an existing watering facility. Other improvements include a wildlife reservoir that will exclude livestock and improve vegetative diversity.
• $2,150 for the Jonah Raptor Nest Platform project, submitted by BLM. This project will install artificial raptor nest platforms immediately adjacent to the Jonah Field.
• Up to a maximum of $499,000 for the Habitat Improvement Pilot project, submitted by EnCana Oil & Gas (USA), Inc. This project repairs the existing John Arambel Reservoir (formerly the Juel Reservoir) dam, provides fencing to exclude livestock from portions of the reservoir and treats several 5-acre tracts of sagebrush with a Lawson aerator.
Projects deferred to the next funding cycle include:
• The Double Bar E conservation easement. This project was submitted by the Green River Valley Land Trust and requested $1,000,000 for the purchase of this easement.
• Alkali Creek restoration project. This project was submitted by the BLM and initially requested $15,000 for a headcut repair in Alkali Creek.
For more information about JIO, contact Mike Stiewig at 307-367-3991 or 307-360-6971. The JIO office is located at 107 ˝ Pine St., in Pinedale.