The Chapter was busy with public comment periods this spring, sending in comments on a range of issues impacting our public lands, waters and wildlife.
The BLM has continued to demonstrate the effectiveness of LWCF dollars in action, proposing the acquisition of two parcels in the Boise Foothills which would help to conserve critical winter range and habitat connectivity. We submitted comments in favor of the BLM acquiring both these parcels, and appreciate their actions in making great use of LWCF funding that we all advocated for.
The Four Rivers field office of the BLM is closing in on completion of its updated Resource Management Plan, which has been a longstanding effort. A material change to the plan resulted in an additional chance to comment, and the Chapter did so by urging the BLM to adopt a larger Backcountry Conservation Area in the Bennet Hills than was originally proposed, incorporating the latest data on migration corridors.
In the Cassia Division of the US Forest Service south of Twin Falls, a Draft Environmental Assessment gave the Chapter an opportunity to urge the USFS to implement seasonal road closures to expand non-motorized opportunities in the South Hills during the month of October. This region has a significant road network and additional non-motorized opportunities would be welcomed in the area.
In addition, Idaho BHA joined a wider coalition – led by the Idaho Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited – urging the BLM to initiate a process for a comprehensive plan to assess wind energy development in Idaho. As is clear those of us who continue to follow the unfolding Lava Ridge development proposal, the need for a statewide Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement process is going to be all the more necessary as more applications for wind energy development on public land are made in the coming years.
Public comment periods will continue to arise on issues impacting our public lands, waters, and wildlife, and the Chapter will be active in ensuring that decision makers are made aware of the value our membership places on the resources we all enjoy.