11,000 Miles of New Damage in the Great Basin

The Wildlife News - 08-16

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In June, the Bureau of Land Management announced its draft plan to carve 11,000 miles of fuel breaks into the fragile Great Basin landscape. The agency is forging ahead with this plan despite recent scientific paper concluding that there is a lack of empirical evidence validating the effectiveness of fuel breaks in reducing fire spread but plenty of evidence of the disturbance they create on wildlife habitat. See Shinneman et al 2018. Predictably, the plan overlooked a major cause of the increasing flammability of the Great Basin – livestock facilitated spread of invasive annual grasses – and didn’t adequately consider how climate change is contributing to this growing problem. It’s almost as if BLM didn’t read the USGS study, or listen to Western Watersheds Project when the organization responded to the new research last year.