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BLM Proposes Changes to Temporary Closure and Access Restriction Orders
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has proposed changes to their process to restrict public access to lands due to management needs or to avoid conflicts among public lands users. In accordance with the Federal Land Management and Policy Act, BLM must notify the public by posting closure notices in the Federal Register and providing notice to key partners.
The proposed changes would remove the requirement to post closure notices in the Federal Register in favor of notification of notification of local media outlets and communication channels. Additionally, the proposed changes would allow BLM to implement closures with greater immediacy instead of waiting for the 30-day appeal process to be exhausted prior to the closure.
While there are certainly circumstances where emergency closures may be necessary to ensure public safety, significant alterations to the public notification process have sizeable impacts on public lands ranchers and other management partners.
BLM is accepting comments until midnight ET on January 22, 2024.
USFWS Lists Wolverines as Threatened, Proposes 4(d) Rule
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has published a final determination listing the North American Wolverine as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act, and has proposed an interim 4(d) rule for management. The listing determination establishes a Distinct Population Segment for wolverines wherever they are found in the contiguous United States. The final rule did not designate critical habitat for the DPS. This rule will have the force and effect of law on January 2, 2024.
Concurrently, USFWS has published a proposed 4(d) rule for managing the population, outlining management actions that would be prohibited as part of species conservation efforts. While the 4(d) lists a number of exceptions to the take prohibitions, it contains no mention of livestock management or necessary rangeland management. Exceptions to the take prohibitions include:
- take due to scientific research conducted on wolverines by a Federal or Tribal biologist in the course of their official duties,
- incidental take resulting from forest management activities for the purposes of reducing the risk or severity of wildfire, and
- incidental take resulting from legal trapping conducted consistent with State and Tribal trapping rules or guidelines that contain steps to minimize the potential for capture of wolverine.
USFWS is accepting comments until midnight ET on January 29, 2024.