From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 12 - June 20, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Merna seimic project

The Bureau of Land Management Pinedale Field Office recently received a Notice of Intent from Veritas DGC Land Inc., to conduct a three dimensional (3-D) geophysical project near Merna.

The 3-D project request starts two miles north of Kismet Peak and runs about eight miles along the southern boundary of the Bridger- Teton National Forest. The southern end of the project would be near the confluence of the Green River and Cottonwood Creek. The project boundary includes Daniel, Forty Rod Flat, Grindstone Butte, Ball Island, and Soap Hole Basin.

The project area would be four to nine miles wide and approximately 35 miles long, encompassing 290 square miles. Nearly one-third of the project will be conducted on BLM-administered land. Those portions of the project occurring on state and private lands are not subject to BLM authorization. Veritas will contact individual landowners for permission.

Vibroseis buggies, all-terrain-vehicles (ATVs), and helicopters would conduct the bulk of the geophysical operations. Vibroseis buggies are 40,000- to 65,000 -pound four-wheel drive vehicles that are about 9 feet wide and 20 feet long. They would be analogous to a large rubber-tired log skidder or a very large/heavy 4-wheel drive farm tractor.

The vibroseis buggies operate in an offset or side-by-side pattern to prevent multiple passes over the same piece of ground. The buggies will be equipped with all-terrain, low ground pressure tires to minimize surface impact.

Drills would be used to set subsurface charges in the few areas where terrain is too rough or too soft to support vibroseis buggies. This operation type would be used as necessary in the Soap Hole Basin, hayfields, and in other areas where determined by permit constraints.

The various drills, recording cable and geophones used will be transported by lightweight buggies, ATVs, helicopter, or on foot, as appropriate. Recording operations are scheduled to commence in early September and would continue for approximately three-and-a-half to five months.

The Merna 3-D geophysical project request may impact rural subdivisions, visual resources, crucial big game winter range for mule deer, antelope, and moose; elk feedgrounds; elk calving habitat; raptor nesting habitat; sage grouse nesting habitat, sage grouse leks; fisheries; cultural resources; the Prairie of the Mass, Fort Bonneville, and Green River Rendezvous sites; sensitive soils; slopes steeper than 25 percent; wetlands/riparian habitat, potential habitat for threatened and endangered and sensitive plant and animal species; recreational use; the Upper Green River Special Recreation Management Area, and heavily forested areas.

The BLM is asking the public for substantive input from the public relating to issues, technological advances, analysis data, and the accuracy of inventory information to be used in the environmental assessment.

Comments should be sent to: Priscilla Mecham, Pinedale Field Office, P.O. Box 768, Pinedale, Wyo., 82941.

Comments are due by close of business July 15. If you have any questions concerning this project, contact Bill Lanning at the Pinedale BLM Office at (307) 367-5318.

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