BLM representatives will be present on site for public safety and information. The area to be treated includes an access road to Forest Service lands that are often traveled by deer hunters during the fall. Access will be limited during active spraying operations.
The treatment will consist of spraying the herbicide Imazapic at four ounces per acre across 1,100 acres of both public and private land. Imazapic is non-toxic to a wide range of organisms, including mammals, birds, fish and insects. It is also considered non-carcinogenic to humans and is widely used for the treatment of annual and perennial grasses and some broadleaf weeds.
The Smith Ranch Fire was sparked by lightning on July 19, 2013. The fire burned approximately 2,047 acres within Greater Sage-Grouse (GSG) Preliminary Priority Habitat (PPH), of which 479 acres occur on public lands administered by the BLM. During the fall and winter of 2013 Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ESR) treatments were implemented which included 1,000 acres of drill seeding, and 2,100 acres of aerial seeding across public and private lands.
Initial monitoring and observations show the successful establishment of seeding treatments; however there is a large presence of cheatgrass occupying the site which has the potential of out-competing the seeding treatments. Left unchecked, cheatgrass is likely to overtake any existing perennial vegetation (seeded and unseeded), leading to more frequent and larger fires and potentially further loss of GSG habitat and important mule deer transition range.
The Decision Record for this treatment is available at http://bit.ly/SmithTr. For more information, contact Tyson Gripp, at 775-753-0362.