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Federal
BLM releases draft plan to further efforts to conserve and restore sagebrush communities in the Great Basin
Bureau of Land Management Ore. & Wash. - 04/03/20 10:36 AM

Draft plan builds on fuel breaks construction in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington

 

BOISE, Idaho – Today, the Bureau of Land Management released the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Fuels Reduction and Rangeland Restoration in the Great Basin. This Draft PEIS is intended to further efforts to conserve and restore sagebrush communities within a 223 million-acre area that includes portions of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah. This plan works in tandem with the BLM’s efforts to construct up to 11,000 miles of fuel breaks in the Great Basin that was finalized by the publication of a Notice of Availability of a Record of Decision on Thursday, April 2.

 

“Conserving and restoring sagebrush communities in the Great Basin that people rely on for their livelihoods and recreation, and that wildlife depend on for habitat, is a top priority of the BLM,” said Deputy Director, Policy and Programs, Bureau of Land Management William Perry Pendley. Constructing fuel breaks and reducing fuels to decrease the risk of large and severe wildfires, and implementing rangeland restoration treatments, is critical to maintain the remaining sagebrush communities in the region.”  

 

The Trump Administration has prioritized active management of the nation’s public lands as provided in Executive Order 13855 and Secretary's Order 3372, which establish a meaningful and coordinated framework for ensuring the protection of people, communities, and natural resources. Implementation of both Orders is a priority for reducing the risks of deadly and destructive wildfires.

 

Sagebrush communities in the Great Basin are a vital part of Western working landscapes and are home to over 350 species of plants and wildlife. Intact sagebrush communities are disappearing within the Great Basin due to increased large and severe wildfires, the spread of invasive annual grasses, and the encroachment of pinyon-juniper. The Great Basin region is losing sagebrush communities faster than they can reestablish naturally. Approximately 45% of the historical range of sagebrush has been lost. Fuels reduction and rangeland restoration treatments can reduce fire severity, increase sagebrush communities’ resistance to invasive annual grasses and improve their ability to recover after wildfires.

 

The Preferred Alternative outlined in the Draft Fuels Reduction and Rangeland Restoration PEIS analyzes a full suite of manual, chemical and mechanical tools, including prescribed fire, seeding, and targeted grazing to reduce fuels and conserve and restore sagebrush communities. When finalized, the PEIS will not authorize any specific fuels reduction or rangeland restoration projects. Instead, it will analyze common elements of fuels reduction and rangeland restoration projects. Local offices can use this information to comply with National Environmental Policy Act requirements when planning and analyzing specific projects, allowing for more rapid implementation.

 

An electronic copy of the Draft PEIS and associated documents is available for public comment for 60 days on the BLM Land Use Planning and NEPA register at https://go.usa.gov/xdfgV

If you are unable to access the documents online and would like a paper copy, please contact the project staff by email at LM_PEIS_Questions@blm.gov">BLM_PEIS_Questions@blm.gov or phone at (208) 373-3824.

 

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the BLM will provide opportunities for the public to gain additional information, and ask questions, about the Draft PEIS virtually instead of through in-person public meetings. Links to virtual public meeting materials will be available on the BLM Land Use Planning and NEPA register by April 18 at https://go.usa.gov/xdfgV

Members of the public will be able to access the material at their convenience and can email questions to the project staff at LM_PEIS_Questions@blm.gov">BLM_PEIS_Questions@blm.gov

 

-BLM-

 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals. 


BLM announces availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Tri-state Fuel Breaks Project
Bureau of Land Management Ore. & Wash. - 04/03/20 9:40 AM

Vale, Ore. and Boise, Idaho – The Bureau of Land Management is announcing the availability of a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Tri-state Fuel Breaks Project, an effort to reduce flammable vegetation adjacent to roadways. Fuel breaks provide safe anchor points for firefighters and strategic opportunities to more effectively limit the spread of wildfires.

 

This project is part of a larger national wildfire reduction strategy guided by President Trump’s Executive Order 13855 – Promoting Active Management of America’s Forests, Rangelands, and Other Federal Lands to Improve Conditions and Reduce Wildfire Risk, as well as Secretary’s Order 3372 – Reducing Wildfire Risks on Department of the Interior Land through Active Management.

The project area consists of about 3.6 million acres of land within Malheur County, Oregon, and Owyhee County, Idaho. Wildfires are the primary threat to this region’s sagebrush-steppe habitat, one of the largest strongholds for Greater sage-grouse. This landscape-level project supports both sagebrush-dependent wildlife and traditional land uses, such as ranching and recreation. This strategic system of fuel breaks will integrate with existing fuel breaks in northeastern Nevada to improve firefighting efficiency. 

“The Tri-state Fuel Breaks Project will provide wildland firefighters with additional opportunities to contain wildfires and reduce impacts to working landscapes and wildlife habitat,” said BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley. “These fuel breaks will also improve safety for first responders, including Rangeland Fire Protection Associations and others in the firefighting community.”

The Final EIS outlines five alternatives, including a No Action Alternative (no fuel breaks). Under the four action alternatives, fuel breaks would only be implemented alongside existing roads and would extend up to 200 feet on both sides of roadways on BLM-administered lands.  Fire suppression experts identified roads based on their strategic importance for accessing and responding to wildland fires.

The Final EIS introduces the preferred alternative, Alternative 5, which proposes a strategic fuel break network that addresses impacts to wildlife and cultural resources based on the analysis in the Draft EIS and comments received during the comment period. This alternative modifies the fuel break network from routes analyzed in the Draft EIS under Alternatives 2, 3, and 4. The preferred alternative would result in a fuel break network of 47,213 acres along 987 miles of existing roads.

The 30-day availability period in which the public can review the Final EIS begins April 3, 2020, with the EPA’s publication of a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. The Final EIS and supporting information is available online at https://go.usa.gov/xPruu (case sensitive). If you are unable to access the documents online and would like a paper copy, please contact the BLM Boise District Office at 208-384-3300.

-BLM–

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $96 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2017. These activities supported more than 468,000 jobs. 


Interior Improves Strategies to Combat Wildfires across 223 Million Acres in the Great Basin
Bureau of Land Management Ore. & Wash. - 04/01/20 11:46 AM

BLM to strategically implement 11,000 miles of fuel breaks across a 223-million acre area in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed a final decision to construct and maintain a system of up to 11,000 miles of strategically placed fuel breaks to control wildfires within a 223 million- acre area in portions of California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Local Bureau of Land Management district and field offices will use manual, chemical and mechanical treatments, including prescribed fire, seeding and targeted grazing, to construct fuel breaks along roads and rights-of-way on BLM-administered lands. The fuel breaks will minimize new disturbance and wildlife habitat fragmentation and maximize accessibility for wildland firefighters.

“This is a major step in fulfilling the President’s commitment to western communities by implementing more effective wildfire treatments that will better protect Americans, their property and their lands,” said Secretary Bernhardt.

The BLM has extensively documented that fuel breaks and other types of fuel treatments are effective. Since 2002, the agency has assessed more than 1,400 fuel breaks and other types of fuels treatments that intersect with wildfires and determined that 79% of fuel breaks are effective in helping to control wildfires and that 84% are effective in helping to change fire behavior.

Intact sagebrush communities are disappearing within the Great Basin due to increased large and severe wildfires, the spread of invasive annual grasses and the encroachment of pinyon-juniper. The sagebrush communities in the Great Basin are home to over 350 species of plants and wildlife and are a vital part of western working landscapes. Approximately 45% of the historical range of sagebrush has been lost.

“Constructing a system of fuel breaks is a critical first step to reduce the risk of more catastrophic wildfires in the remaining intact sagebrush communities, but we can’t stop there,” said Deputy Director of Policy William Perry Pendley. “Fuel breaks will be most effective when combined with fuels reduction and rangeland restoration treatments and we’ll soon release a draft plan to provide for those in the Great Basin as well.”

Fuels reduction and rangeland restoration treatments can reduce fire severity, increase sagebrush communities’ resistance to invasive annual grasses and improve their ability to recover after wildfires. Today’s Record of Decision for the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Fuel Breaks in the Great Basin was based on public input through an open comment period.

The PEIS does not authorize any specific projects. Local BLM district and field offices within the Great Basin will use the PEISs to comply with National Environmental Policy Act requirements when planning and analyzing specific fuel break, fuels reduction and rangeland restoration projects to allow for more rapid implementation.

An electronic copy of the ROD, the Final PEIS for Fuel Breaks in the Great Basin and associated documents are available at https://go.usa.gov/xnQcG.

Attachment: Information on Great Basin fuel breaks and how they are effective for combating wildfires in the region. Prepared by the Bureau of Land Management. Can also be found on BLM's website.

 

About the U.S. Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives and affiliated island communities to help them prosper.




Attached Media Files: Information on Great Basin fuel breaks and how they are effective for combating wildfires in the region.

Organizations & Associations
M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust announces first round of COVID-19 emergency support grants to Pacific Northwest nonprofits totaling $5.4 million
M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust - 04/01/20 10:43 AM

April 1, 2020

For Immediate Release

 

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust announces first round of COVID-19 emergency support grants to Pacific Northwest nonprofits totaling $5.4 million

Grants include $700,000 for Idaho nonprofits

 

Vancouver, WA - This week, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust announced our first round of grants providing emergency support related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

  • In total, Trustees approved $5.4 million in grants to 49 nonprofits. This includes $700,000 for Idaho nonprofits.
  • Our primary focus for investments with this round of grants has been in three areas:
    • Medical research regarding COVID-19 treatment and testing ($1.5 Million)
    • Reinforcing supplies and capacity for front-line healthcare providers, including increased COVID-19 testing capacity. ($2.7 Million)
    • Contributing to community impact funds managed by the outstanding community foundations of the Pacific Northwest to provide immediate resources to those in need. ($1.4 Million)
  • We remain in discussion with nonprofits and leaders across our community to help inform future grantmaking into areas of emerging need, including addressing capacity needs of foodbanks and other emergency services. Our existing quarterly cycle remains active and capacity building grants will continue to be made throughout 2020 in addition to our emergency relief funding throughout the Pacific Northwest.

 

The Murdock Trust funding philosophy has always been to listen to the individuals and nonprofit organizations who are on the front lines of the communities we serve. These leaders and organizations understand best the unique needs of their community and are instrumental in helping us provide support to the diverse needs of the Pacific Northwest.

 

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has grown, there has been much discussion within the nonprofit and philanthropic world regarding how funders can best support the organizations serving the wide variety of needs emerging within our communities. Funders across the country and around the world agree – this cannot be “business as usual.” For the Trust, that has meant the following steps:

 

  • In line with our mission to serve and uplift all communities across the Pacific Northwest, we have worked to quickly engage leaders from across the sectors and region we serve to best understand the immediate and anticipated needs facing individuals, families and nonprofits.
  • We have launched an expedited grant process to deliver immediate financial investment to nonprofits to help address the needs raised by the COVID-19 pandemic head on. We continue to pursue strategic opportunities to make investments in areas that have not received significant public or private investment.
  • We have provided increased flexibility to our current grantees who may have projects impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • We are pairing nonprofits with some of our region’s best leadership and development coaches, providing hundreds of hours in no-cost support to help organizations prepare to successfully navigate the challenging path ahead.
  • We are working to connect nonprofits and their leaders with additional resources and guidance on our website at murdocktrust.org/covid19 so that they can best serve their constituents. If you have a resource that you would like help amplifying to our community during this time, please send it directly to Colby Reade – yr@murdocktrust.org">colbyr@murdocktrust.org.

 

We share our unending gratitude to the individuals and groups across our region who are putting their own health and well-being at risk to serve others. Our thanks, thoughts and prayers are with our front-line healthcare workers, community volunteers, trucking and delivery drivers, grocery and pharmacy employees and all who are working for the common good.

 

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M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust announces first round of COVID-19 emergency support grants to Pacific Northwest nonprofits totaling $5.4 million
M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust - 04/01/20 10:26 AM

April 1, 2020

For Immediate Release

 

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust announces first round of COVID-19 emergency support grants to Pacific Northwest nonprofits totaling $5.4 million

Grants include nearly $3 million for Washington nonprofits

 

Vancovuer, WA - Today, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust announced our first round of grants providing emergency support related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

  • In total, Trustees approved $5.4 million in grants to 49 nonprofits. This includes nearly $3 million in grants to Washington nonprofits.
  • Our primary focus for investments with this round of grants has been in three areas:
    • Medical research regarding COVID-19 treatment and testing. ($1.5 Million)
    • Reinforcing supplies and capacity for front-line healthcare providers, including increased COVID-19 testing capacity. ($2.7 Million)
    • Contributing to community impact funds managed by the outstanding community foundations of the Pacific Northwest to provide immediate resources to those in need. ($1.4 Million)
  • We remain in discussion with nonprofits and leaders across our community to help inform future grantmaking into areas of emerging need, including addressing capacity needs of foodbanks and other emergency services. Our existing quarterly cycle remains active and capacity building grants will continue to be made throughout 2020 in addition to our emergency relief funding throughout the Pacific Northwest.

 

The Murdock Trust funding philosophy has always been to listen to the individuals and nonprofit organizations who are on the front lines of the communities we serve. These leaders and organizations understand best the unique needs of their community and are instrumental in helping us provide support to the diverse needs of the Pacific Northwest.

 

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has grown, there has been much discussion within the nonprofit and philanthropic world regarding how funders can best support the organizations serving the wide variety of needs emerging within our communities. Funders across the country and around the world agree – this cannot be “business as usual.” For the Trust, that has meant the following steps:

 

  • In line with our mission to serve and uplift all communities across the Pacific Northwest, we have worked to quickly engage leaders from across the sectors and region we serve to best understand the immediate and anticipated needs facing individuals, families and nonprofits.
  • We have launched an expedited grant process to deliver immediate financial investment to nonprofits to help address the needs raised by the COVID-19 pandemic head on. We continue to pursue strategic opportunities to make investments in areas that have not received significant public or private investment.
  • We have provided increased flexibility to our current grantees who may have projects impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • We are pairing nonprofits with some of our region’s best leadership and development coaches, providing hundreds of hours in no-cost support to help organizations prepare to successfully navigate the challenging path ahead.
  • We are working to connect nonprofits and their leaders with additional resources and guidance on our website at murdocktrust.org/covid19 so that they can best serve their constituents. If you have a resource that you would like help amplifying to our community during this time, please send it directly to Colby Reade – yr@murdocktrust.org">colbyr@murdocktrust.org.

 

We share our unending gratitude to the individuals and groups across our region who are putting their own health and well-being at risk to serve others. Our thanks, thoughts and prayers are with our front-line healthcare workers, community volunteers, trucking and delivery drivers, grocery and pharmacy employees and all who are working for the common good.

 

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