U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
December 11, 2007
Contacts: Otto Jose 303-236-8156
David McGillivary 303-236-4411
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks Public Comment for a Right-of-Way Easement to Construct a Road Across Snow Canyon State Park in Washington County, Utah
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking public comment on a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) prepared to address the State of Utah’s proposed project entitled “Amendment to State Parks Section 6 Grant and Associated Ivins City Detention Basin Construction Project.” Public comments are welcome for a 15-day period.
In 1999, Utah State Parks purchased 52 acres for the conservation and recovery of the Mojave Desert tortoise using grant funds from Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act. This parcel is within the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve (Reserve), which was established in 1996 to conserve land in perpetuity for the Mojave Desert tortoise. The Reserve was established to offset the development and “incidental take” of the desert tortoise allowed in Washington County under the “Habitat Conservation Plan, Washington County, Utah, 1995.”
The proposed project will allow an 835-foot by 12-foot right-of-way (ROW) easement across Snow Canyon State Park property for construction of a gravel access road. The quarter acre ROW easement will allow access to land-locked private property for the construction of a detention dam that will address local flooding from significant rain events. After the detention dam is completed, the access road will continue to be used for periodic maintenance activity and will not be open for public use. The granting of a real estate right on the parcel acquired, in part, with federal funds requires that the action be reviewed under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to allow public comment on the proposal. The DEA details the project and analyzes potential impacts and effects on the affected resources to determine whether there are any significant impacts.
The access road and detention dam project will be funded by Ivins City and will occur in close coordination and cooperation with Washington County staff, the Service, and Utah State Parks. The Proposed Action is a ROW easement which will cross lands purchased by the Utah State Parks with Endangered Species Act Section 6 federal funds. The easement will allow access for construction of a detention dam to occur to minimize the flooding of downstream infrastructure and residential communities. In coordination with the Service, the impacts of the detention dam construction and existence have been minimized. All construction activities will occur during the period of desert tortoise inactivity and avoid habitat disturbance as much as possible. Project activities will occur during the winter of 2007-2008 (drilling) and the winter of 2008-2009 (dam construction).
Detailed information on each alternative considered for this proposed project is contained in the DEA and is available online at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/federalassistance. Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Services’ Division of Federal Assistance at 303-236-5420 or writing to: Chief, Division of Federal Assistance, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver, CO 80225.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.