BLM accepting comments on caves | VailDaily.com

BLM accepting comments on caves

Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

SILT, Colorado – The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comments on potential seasonal cave and mine closures to help prevent the introduction of white-nose syndrome into sites managed by the Colorado River Valley Field Office.

White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that has killed more than 1 million bats across the northeast and mid-Atlantic United States during the past four years and continues to spread westward unchecked. The fungus has not been discovered in Colorado, but its introduction is feared to have similar consequences.

The field office is preparing an environmental assessment to evaluate targeted, seasonal closures at caves and abandoned mines on BLM lands primarily in Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties. Seasonal closures would likely occur between October and April and could affect at least 20 different sites within the field office that are potentially important to hibernating bats.

The environmental assessment will also outline procedures for evaluating new sites found to have hibernating bats. Public comments will be most helpful if received by June 3. A decision on the potential closures is anticipated this summer.

The scoping notice and additional information about providing comments are available at http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/crvfo.html, at the BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office at 2300 River Frontage Road in Silt, or by calling 970-876-9000.