Ecosystem Defense

There are many threats to the ecological integrity of public lands in Colorado and southern Wyoming, particularly: oil and gas drilling, logging, road construction, and mining. (For recreation use problems, see Responsible Recreation.) SRCA spends a considerable amount of its time and energy on defending federal public lands from these threats.

 We especially focus on the following, in no order of priority 

 

  • Threats to citizen-proposed wilderness areas;
  • Threats to roadless areas;
  • Threats to threatened, endangered, proposed (for listing), and sensitive plants and animals, and migration and linkage areas;
  • Threats to existing wilderness areas; and
  • Opportunities to work with non-traditional allies.

Our specific, ongoing activities include:

  • Review of the Bureau of Land Management’s quarterly oil and gas lease sale proposals. Leases are sometimes proposed in roadless areas or areas of important habitat for rare species. We often protest leases sales containing such parcels.
  • Review of activities proposed in national forest roadless areas. We write comments and file appeals of proposals to invade these areas.
  • Defense of the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule. This Rule protects roadless areas by prohibiting logging and road construction in national forest roadless areas, with limited exceptions for public safety and valid existing rights. Colorado has proposed a much weaker rule, under which much more logging and road construction would be allowed. We are fighting this in the federal courts as well as the court of public opinion.
  • Reviewing and commenting on proposed regulations and policies governing the use of public lands, such as the forest planning regulations for national forest lands.

As opportunities arise, we also work to protect wild, scenic, and recreational rivers under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. We participate in amendments and revisions of management plans issued or proposed by the BLM and Forest Service. We encourage the agencies to protect wild areas through zoning and to apply best management practices on all of the lands under their jurisdiction.

 In all of our work, we seek to provide technical, legal, and GIS expertise to the agencies to encourage them to protect wild lands, rivers and ecosystems. We also seek to mobilize the public to work for protection of these resources.

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