Highlights of the five Roan Plateau alternatives
Following are some highlights of the five draft alternatives for managing the Roan Plateau. The Bureau of Land Management is asking that the public comment on all five plans, and not just its preferred plan, Alternative 3, because the final plan may end up including a mix of components from several alternatives.• Alternative 1: The no-action alternative, Alternative 1 keeps the existing management plan in place, with one exception: It lifts interim travel rules restricting motorized and mechanized travel to designated routes on 56,000 acres that were formerly part of the Naval Oil Shale Reserves. Otherwise, it keeps a large portion of the planning area unavailable to further oil and gas leasing and development. Could result in 10 wells being drilled from seven well pads above the rim, and 845 on 247 pads below the rim, on BLM lands. Provides a five-month seasonal restriction on activities to protect deer and elk winter range.• Alternative 2: Protects the wilderness character of 21,382 acres, and designates four Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. Could result in 87 wells being drilled from 66 well pads above the rim, and 818 on 244 pads below the rim, on BLM lands. Restricts motorized and mechanized travel, including by snowmobile, to designated routes, including on Hubbard Mesa, which would be designated a Special Recreation Management Area. Protects river segments found eligible under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act pending a suitability study. Provides five-month seasonal restriction on activities to protect deer and elk winter range.• Alternative 3: Defers gas drilling and leasing above the plateau rim until 80 percent of anticipated wells below the rim have been completed. Fifty-one wells could end up being drilled from 39 pads on top, possibly in the last five years of the 20-year plan. Could result in 1,273 wells being drilled from 363 pads below the rim. Designates two ACECs, (Trapper/Northwater Creek and East Fork Parachute Creek, the two principal watersheds on the plateau top). Creates a management area for the entire 29,000-acre Parachute Creek watershed. Protects roadless nature of a total of about 9,000 acres through no-ground-disturbance restrictions, with no exceptions allowed. Protects river segments found eligible under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act pending a suitability study. Provides a five-month seasonal restriction on activities to protect deer and elk winter range. With the exception of snowmobiles, restricts motorized and mechanical travel to designated routes, including on Hubbard Mesa SRMA.• Alternative 4: Could result in 168 wells being drilled from 126 pads on the plateau top, and 1,156 from 323 pads below the rim on BLM land. Designates two ACECs, at Trapper/Northwater Creek and East Fork Parachute Creek, and designates Trapper/Northwater as a watershed management area. Imposes a two-month seasonal limitation on activities affecting deer and elk winter range. Restricts motorized and mechanized travel to designated routes over most of the planning area, with the exception of snowmobile travel and travel on Hubbard Mesa SRMA.• Alternative 5: Could result in 234 wells being drilled from 175 pads on top, and 1,348 from 409 pads below the rim on BLM lands. Limits motorized and mechanized travel to designated routes throughout the planning area, including on Hubbard Mesa, though it would not be designated an SRMA.
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