Jack Morrow Hills update
by Cat Urbigkit
April 21, 2007
The Bureau of Land Management recently provided an update on what’s been
happening in the Jack Morrow Hills planning area since the July 2006 record
In terms of mineral development, two wells have been permitted but
not yet drilled within the JMH boundary. These wells are in the Nitchie Gulch
area. In addition, there are 161 suspended leases within the JMH project area.
These leases will come off suspension no later than July 2009 unless a
request is made to continue the suspension by the lease holder.
The Fremont Gold/Dickie Springs gold exploration project has moved
forward, with Fremont Gold completing 66 of the 200 approved pits during
the 2006 field season. Reclamation and seeding occurred in October, 2006.
The disturbed areas were backfilled and are in acceptable condition,
according to the BLM.
Fremont Gold applied for a 2007 operational permit from the Wyoming
Department of Environmental Quality in February. Any exploration would
occur between July 15 and September 1. The approved Plan of Operations,
allowing for a total of 200 pits, remains in good standing and in effect unless
BLM cancels the plan due to undue degradation or noncompliance.
BLM is evaluating a proposal to convert permitted domestic sheep use to
cattle use on the 257,000 acre Red Desert Allotment. The permittee would
retain the flexibility to graze either cattle and/or sheep on their permit. The
proposed action, if approved, would allow the permittee to run all cattle, all
sheep, or a combination of both, depending on what they apply for annually.
BLM is also evaluating a proposal to convert permitted sheep use to cattle use
on the 88,000 acre Continental Peak Allotment. The permittee has requested
to convert all of their permitted sheep AUMs, however, they would retain the
flexibility to graze either cattle and/or sheep on their permit. The proposed
action, if approved, would allow the permittee to run all cattle, all sheep, or a
combination of both, depending on what they apply for annually.
There are a number of riparian enhancement projects proposed for the
Continental Peak Allotment, with the goal to optimize livestock and forage
distribution through water availability and grazing management while
maintaining and protecting healthy riparian, wetland, and aquatic sites.
There are 10 projects proposed within the allotment, including six fencing
projects and four water wells. In total, 10.1 miles of riparian habitat would
be fenced and put under a grazing management plan or enclosed and
excluded from livestock grazing. Two new water developments would be
constructed and two existing water systems would be expanded to decrease
stock concentrations and distribute grazing more evenly across the range.