John Dearing, BLM (916) 978-4622
Erica Szlosek, FWS (916) 978-6159
Two public land islands, Todd Island and Foster Island, have been closed to filing of new mining claims and are proposed to be withdrawn from the general land laws and transferred from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The islands cover about 472 acres and are located within the Sacramento River, southeast of Red Bluff in Tehama County.
The mining claim closure, or segregation, published in today's Federal Register, lasts for two years, allowing time for the agencies to conduct various studies and analyses to support a final decision on the FWS withdrawal application, which has been approved for consideration by the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Lands and Minerals Management.
The islands are isolated tracts of public land within the boundary of the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge and are proposed for withdrawal and transfer to the FWS to protect riparian habitat along the river, which is critically important for fish, migratory birds, plants, and river system health. Upon approval of the transfer, and as included in the Sacramento River Comprehensive Conservation Plan, the FWS would continue to provide wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities on the islands including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation.
The FWS and BLM are providing the public 90 days, through March 26, 2008, to submit comments, suggestions, or objections on the proposed withdrawal. Comments must be submitted to the FWS at 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1832, Sacramento, CA 95825. The agencies also offer an opportunity for a public meeting, if requested. All interested persons who desire a public meeting must submit a written request with the 90-day comment period.
If the Secretary of the Interior eventually approves the application, or petition, the lands would be withdrawn for a specified period from settlement, sale, location, or entry under the general land laws, but not from the mineral leasing or mineral material laws, subject to valid existing rights.
For further information, contact Karen Bierley-Hand, FWS Region 8, at (916) 414-6448.