Portland, Ore. – Noxious weeds, invasive plants, and other weeds infest millions of acres in Oregon. It is estimated that approximately 1.2 million of the 15.7 million acres of BLM lands in Oregon are currently infested with noxious weeds and are spreading at an estimated rate of 12 percent per year. To address this issue, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public review and comment. The BLM will be seeking public comments on the draft EIS for 60-days beginning on October 2, 2009 and closing on December 1, 2009. Printed or on-line copies of the draft EIS can be requested and comments can be submitted by mail to: BLM, Vegetation Treatments EIS, P.O. Box 2965, Portland, OR 97208; email to:
comments can also be submitted on-line on the project website at:
The draft EIS analyzes the environmental effects of herbicide use on BLM Oregon lands as one of many tools to control noxious weeds and invasive plants. The draft EIS also analyzes the environmental effects of using herbicides to treat vegetation along rights-of-way and in order to achieve certain habitat improvement and exotic pest control objectives. The draft EIS, titled
Vegetation Treatment Using Herbicides on BLM Lands in Oregon Environmental Impact Statement, focuses on the effects of updating the list of available herbicides for use in Oregon. The draft EIS does not propose the use of herbicides for commercial timber enhancement or livestock forage production.
Currently, BLM Oregon uses only 4 of the 18 herbicides approved for use on BLM lands nationally, and limits that use to the treatment of noxious weeds. The objective of the new plan is to provide access to a broader array of herbicides that are more target-specific and more effective at controlling noxious weeds, invasive plants, and other weeds than the four herbicides currently being utilized. Used in combination with other management practices, herbicide treatments can slow the spread of noxious weeds and invasive plants, which in turn helps restore ecosystem health and watershed functions.
The BLM manages over 15 million acres of public lands in Oregon and currently treats approximately 22,000 acres of designated noxious weeds each year. Of those 22,000 acres, approximately 12,000 acres are treated with herbicides and the remaining 10,000 acres are treated mechanically, manually, with biocontrols, and with other non-herbicide methods.
Under the Proposed Action (Alternative 4) in the draft EIS, the BLM anticipates treating approximately 28,100 acres of invasive plants using non-herbicide methods (mechanical, manual and biocontrol) and 30,300 acres of invasive plants using herbicides. The BLM also anticipates treating 15,100 acres of native plants using herbicides in such areas as rights-of-way, recreation sites and administrative sites and to meet habitat objectives for listed wildlife species.
About the BLM
The BLM manages more land – 256 million surface acres – than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western States, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1.8 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub¬surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, and cultural resources on the public lands.
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