BLM Utah Arid Land/Rehabilitation of Soils Study

The summary for the BLM Utah Arid Land/Rehabilitation of Soils Study grant is detailed below. This summary states who is eligible for the grant, how much grant money will be awarded, current and past deadlines, Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) numbers, and a sampling of similar government grants. Verify the accuracy of the data provides by visiting the webpage noted in the Link to Full Announcement section or by contacting the appropriate person listed as the Grant Announcement Contact. If any section is incomplete, please visit the website for the Bureau of Land Management, which is the U.S. government agency offering this grant.
BLM Utah Arid Land/Rehabilitation of Soils Study: Background: The Uinta Basin, located in northeast Utah, is a structural and sedimentary basin about 115 miles wide at its widest point. Currently, there are 2,575 plugged and abandoned (P&A) wells in the Greater Uinta Basin Area (BLM staff, 2012). The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Green River District (GRD) has issued reclamation guidelines for lands managed under its administration that involve the development of a reclamation plan for all surface-disturbing activities (BLM GRD, 2011). The long-term goal of the reclamation plan is to ⿿facilitate eventual ecosystem reconstruction by returning the land to a safe, stable, and proper functioning condition⿝, and the short-term goal is to ⿿immediately stabilize disturbed areas and to provide the necessary conditions to achieve the long-term goal⿝. The BLM Surface Operating Standards and Guidelines for Oil and Gas Exploration and Development ⿿The Gold Book⿝ (USDOI and USDA, 2007) provides information on permitting requirements and approval, and conducting environmentally sound oil and gas operations on federal lands ⿿ operations such as exploration, production and reclamation. Reclamation involves restoring the original landform or creating a landform that approximates and blends in with the surrounding landform, involves salvaging and reusing all available topsoil, revegetating disturbed areas to native species, controlling invasive nonnative plants and noxious weeds, controlling erosion, and monitoring outcomes (USDOI and USDA, 2007). Reclamation is considered successful when a ⿿self-sustaining, vigorous, diverse, native (or otherwise approved) plant community is established on the site, with a density sufficient to control erosion and non-native plant invasion and to re-establish wildlife habitat or forage production⿝ (USDOI and USDA, 2007).

The nature of the soils in the Uinta Basin present a challenge to successful reclamation of P&A well pads. The rating of these soils as potential topsoil resources and reclamation materials for revegetation is poor to fair (mostly poor) due to factors such as elevated salinity, high sodium content, high alkalinity, low organic matter content, shallow depth to bedrock, and high rock content (USDA-NRCS Staff, 2003). In addition, drilling operations can lead to soil compaction and the addition of drilling related chemicals to well pad sites. Such disturbances, in conjunction with the limited availability of water in semi-arid environments, makes reclamation more challenging and often favors the establishment of invasive weeds like Bromus tectorum L. (cheatgrass) over native species desired for revegetation (Eldridge et al. 2012).

Objectives: The objectives of this project include the following: 1) Minimize weed establishment, mostly cheat grass and halogeton, by appropriate cover crop selection and timing of planting. Species will be selected that can tolerate the arid and saline environment and seeded to directly compete with invasive weed establishment. Sustainable dryland farming techniques should be used to optimize cover crop production, while also optimizing native plant succession and establishment. This should include testing weed suppressive bacteria (WSB) naturally selected to inhibit the growth of cheatgrass, 2) Restore lands impacted by soil salinity. Develop an organic matter rich topsoil, free of weeds, where salinity, sodicity, and trace element contaminant levels have been mitigated, 3) Select the appropriate revegetation species and determine the best planting methods to ensure the establishment of desirable species will inhibit the spread of invasive weeds.

Public Benefit: By providing BLM land managers a detailed reclamation guideline or recipe that will provide the most successful and sustainable strategy to reclaim disturbed lands in arid environments, BLM will be able to achieve both short, and long-term goals of its⿿ reclamation guidelines. The short-term goal includes the ability to,⿿immediately stabilize disturbed areas and to provide the necessary conditions to achieve the long-term goal⿝. While the long-term goal includes, ⿿facilitate eventual ecosystem reconstruction by returning the land to a safe, stable, and proper functioning condition⿝.
Successful attainment of this long-term goal will provide immense benefits to the public through the restoration of previous surface disturbed lands. Further benefits attained include having disturbed lands restored to their original landform by salvaging and reusing available topsoil, revegetating disturbed areas to native species, controlling invasive plants and noxious weeds, and by controlling erosion. This in turn will lead to healthy, self-sustaining plant communities which will hold back soil erosion from entering in to major waterways, re-establish wildlife habitat, and provide increased forage production.
Federal Grant Title: BLM Utah Arid Land/Rehabilitation of Soils Study
Federal Agency Name: Bureau of Land Management
Grant Categories: Natural Resources
Type of Opportunity: Discretionary
Funding Opportunity Number: L16AS00080
Type of Funding: Cooperative Agreement
CFDA Numbers: 320693
CFDA Descriptions: Environmental Quality and Protection Resource Management
Current Application Deadline: Jun 6, 2016
Original Application Deadline: Jun 6, 2016
Posted Date: Apr 5, 2016
Creation Date: Apr 5, 2016
Archive Date: Oct 1, 2016
Total Program Funding: $125,000
Maximum Federal Grant Award: $125,000
Minimum Federal Grant Award: $5,000
Expected Number of Awards: 1
Cost Sharing or Matching: No
Applicants Eligible for this Grant
Unrestricted (i.e., open to any type of entity above), subject to any clarification in text field entitled "Additional Information on Eligibility"
Grant Announcement Contact
Grants Management Specialist Melanie Beckstead (801) 539-4169

Bureau of Land Management 801-539-4178
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