Council for the Bighorn Range in 2020
The Council for the Bighorn Range (CBR) is an environmental organization and not afraid to say it. CBR believe the public lands in the Bighorn Mountains region have been a sacrifice area without a strong voice for the land from the high alpine to the sagebrush steppe for nearly a generation. CBR will work tirelessly to encourage the public to be involved with us at every step of the way.
Comment period until July 20, 2020
The Bighorn National Forest (BNF) is planning aerial herbicide spraying to broadly kill native sagebrush, native larkspur and two invasive grass species which will also kill other native plants birds rely upon. Aerial herbicide spraying has not been done before in the Bighorn National Forest. The BNF representatives are uncertain of the desired condition, and the impact this will have in our Bighorn National Forest and its wildlife.
From Rob Davidson, Bighorn Audubon, and President of Council of the Bighorn Range:
Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Bighorn National Forest: Invasive and other select plant management in the Bighorn National Forest:
The Bighorn National Forest (BNF) recently announced a public comment period regarding significant changes in the way they manage our public lands for native species such as sagebrush and larkspur, and invasive plants, through manual, mechanical, ground and aerial spraying of herbicides. The project is known as the Invasive and Other Select Plant Management Project, and a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was published on June 4, 2020. The public comment will be open through July 20, 2020. The EIS is necessary to promote aerial spraying on the national forest.
Since 2005, the BNF has managed 2,500 acres per year of sagebrush through fire and/or mechanical treatments to increase forage, primarily for livestock. Their motive is to achieve “desired conditions” for sagebrush including a mix of early and late successional stages – even though the sagebrush habitat is inherently an uneven stand and does not require active management. Current research does not support these treatments. To the contrary, treating sagebrush and removing larkspur are not beneficial to the myriad of sage-dependent birds that inhabit the sagebrush-steppe such as the Greater Sage-Grouse, Sage Thrasher, Brewer’s Sparrow and Sage Sparrow. And, our native larkspur is one of the first wildflowers to bloom after the Broad-tailed hummingbirds arrive in the Bighorn mountains, and they drink nectar from the flowers and pollinate them. All these species will be affected by this management decision.
The Bighorn Audubon Society and Rob Davidson of the Council for the Bighorn Range will work together to provide comments, but your comments as members are vitally important.
To view the Notice of Intent and make comments visit the Federal Register website:
The public may submit comments using the instructions listed in the Federal Register notice or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Invasive and Other Select Plant Management Project” in the subject line. Comments may also be submitted by mail at Forest Supervisor, 2013 Eastside 2nd St., Sheridan, WY 82801, or faxed to (307) 674-2668.