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11/28/2011 9:56:00 PM
BLM plans to re-vegetate areas along Agua Fria damaged by OHV use; seeks comments
Joanna Dodder/The Daily Courier
U.S. Bureau of Land Management Phoenix District Manager Angie Bulletts, right, surveys vehicle damage to the Agua Fria River and its riparian area in June with Agua Fria National Monument Biologist Paul Sitzmann and BLM Public Affairs Officer Pamela Mathis. The BLM wants to re-vegetate this area.
Joanna Dodder/The Daily Courier
U.S. Bureau of Land Management Phoenix District Manager Angie Bulletts, right, surveys vehicle damage to the Agua Fria River and its riparian area in June with Agua Fria National Monument Biologist Paul Sitzmann and BLM Public Affairs Officer Pamela Mathis. The BLM wants to re-vegetate this area.
Joanna Dodder Nellans
The Daily Courier

U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials plan to re-vegetate several areas along the Agua Fria River, and they are seeking public comment about it.

The BLM already has identified at least four sites to re-vegetate. Off-highway vehicle (OHV) use reduced the vegetation at these sites along the Agua Fria River, and the BLM has now blocked off OHV use with vehicle barriers.

Those sites include the river on the Agua Fria National Monument near Cordes Junction where the BLM erected barriers this summer.

"Vegetation is starting to come back surprisingly quickly," Bureau Wildlife Biologist Codey Carter said of that site.

The other three identified re-vegetation sites are located along the Agua Fria in the Table Mesa Recreation Area just south of Yavapai County.

The BLM could use the analysis to re-vegetate more sites in the future, too.

"Historical grazing practices, off-highway vehicle damage, invasive non-native plants and periodic intense flooding have reduced native riparian vegetation densities," the environmental assessment of the re-vegetation plan states.

People can comment by Wednesday by sending emails to BLM_Az_AFNM_Bradshaw.gov.

To read the environmental assessment (analysis about the effects of the proposal), see the link (below) with this story.

"This project would increase streambank vegetation, improving bank stability, water quality, and wildlife habitat," the BLM study says. "Other actions on BLM public lands such as the current winter-only grazing policy on the Agua Fria National Monument, exclosures around riparian areas to exclude cattle, and barriers to prevent vehicle entry into riparian areas have an additive effect of increasing the quality and quantity of riparian habitat across a broader extent of the Hassayampa Field Office over time.

"There are other factors in the region outside of public lands that may have a negative impact to riparian habitat including increased groundwater pumping, increased use of off-highway vehicles, and urbanization. These impacts would make intact riparian habitat on BLM lands all the more valuable."

Related Links:
• Environmental Assessment


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Article comment by: AZ Rep. Daniel R. Patterson

My family and I support habitat restoration on the Agua Fria River and Nat. Mon. I encourage BLM to get it done soon, then monitor & enforce.

Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Article comment by: Bob Maitzen

Everyone is commenting on the tire tracks in the picture. I have a question... how did the people in the picture get to that location? Did they hike in 20 miles into the desert for this photo-op? Those were probably their tire marks. How are people suppose to enjoy an area if all vehicles are banned from a wilderness area? I may agree with a No Development or No Mining policy but not where it restricts recreational vehicle access. Who will ever see these areas? You are restricting those areas from the elderly, the handicapped, the physically challenged, young families with children, and the average person who does not have the time, energy, or ability to hike in 20 miles and out in a day. Furthermore, there is more damage caused by heavy 4WD vehicles than a 300-500 lb ATV traveling 10-20 MPH. I belong to an family-orientated ATV club of 300 members and I don't know of anyone who portrays the image being projected by these "environmentalists". Go after the mining companies who are causing the environmental concerns!

Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Article comment by: Bob Hoyt

To this is wonderful news. Thank you for letting us all know who is responsible for all this world wide mayhem. When you get to your final destination check out lucifers shop and garage and make sure you destroy each and everyone of those demon machines.

Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Yes, yes, yes. I know... MOST OHV users are not the problem. The problem is, that the damage done by the few lasts for years.

Have you seen the ATV tracks on the SIDES of cuts made for the Senator Highway, where there is a curve? Have you noted the dirt banks on the outside edge of curves on Arizona's back-country roads?

Have you driven, lately, on the back roads in Arizona's desert areas? They are like a roller coaster. Some folks call the undulations "Whooptie-do's." I have other names for them.

These phenomena have occurred just in the last few years, and they are caused by idiots on ATV's. Not traditional four-wheel-drives ATV's.

I hate to hold California up as a good example for anything. But I have not noticed this kind of damage in that state.

Lawmakers: Are you paying attention?



Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Article comment by: d m

@ Methinks, well according to the first person who posted on this thread, it was obviously the spawn of satan who did this damage.

Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Article comment by: open book

True, those are tire tracks in the picture, so at least a few OHV vehicles damaged this area. But, let's not vilify an entire group of people based on a few. Thank you, Mr. Brown. Please continue your good work. A lot of people appreciate it.

Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Article comment by: Methinks they protest too much!

Messrs Brown and Harvey LOOK AT THE PICTURE! Who exactly did this to the Agua Fria River and its riparian area?

Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Article comment by: Ron R. Harvey

Responsible ATV riders can do a lot to help educate the rest of them. Thank you for your hard work Mr. Brown, and spread the word!

Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Article comment by: Peter Brown

"Devices of the devil" Hardly. Where is the press abut ATV'rs who clean up Table Mesa every yerar? How about the ATV'rs who stop along the trail to pick up trash? How about the 1,000's of machines who do stay on designated trails and promote safe and courteous riding? Cross country travel is illegal and violators should be prosecuted. ATV'rs pay hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in off road permits, and that money goes to re-seed and re-grow flora damaged not only by ATV's, but by cattle and horses as well. You'll never see an off road sticker on a horse's behind. How about a little objectivity here in place of the acerbic comments/

Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Article comment by: This is wonderful news. Thank you BLM.

Please do repair the unconscionable damage to our beautiful natural resources caused by uncaring, thrill-seeking off road vehicles and ATV riders. And continue to, and greatly increase, the banning of these 'devices of the Devil' that revel in trashing our natural resources.



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