Volume 103, Number 21 - January 25, 2007
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Unfenced golf greens are an impact to migration corridor, says BLM
“We’ve spent all the money and design to get from point A to point B and now we’re back at A,” said a representative for the golf course at the county commissioners meeting on Tuesday. The new golf course expansion, which would add 18 holes, a water reservoir and a new access road, was well into the planning and design phase when, as the golf course representative put it, “BLM sprung something on us a couple weeks ago that we weren’t aware was going to happen.”
Caleb Hiner representing the BLM, presented the problems with two existing proposal for the expansion, and the agency’s suggestions for a third option. The current expansion proposal will potentially impact a wildlife migration corridor. The BLM analyzed Game and Fish data from around the corridor and insisted that there be no surface occupancy within a half-mile of the migration corridor.
Commissioner John Linn was very surprised that the BLM considered a golf course on a migration range to be such a hindrance to wildlife, especially in light of the fact that the golf course would not be fenced. “I would think the grass and trees would enhance the corridor,” Linn said and added, “When you consider all the riparian areas, it should be a win-win deal.”
BLM chose to take the first federal action on this particular migration corridor starting with the golf course. They cited that a large amount of commercial and residential development has occurred, or is planned, in the corridor and they are worried about cumulative surface disturbance.
Both Commissioner Linn, and Commissioner Bill Cramer seemed perturbed that the BLM should decided to take the first federal action of the wildlife corridor on something they felt should be considered habitat enhancement. The golf course is already squeezed tightly between oil and gas development, a sage grouse lek, and a cultural site.
The golf course is headed back to the architectural drawing board to see if the BLM’s proposal to add 110 extra acres will help, and to determine if the golf course can build nine holes now, and nine holes later after the corridor is expected to “go away”, as the golf course representative said, in a couple years.
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