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The Bureau of Land Management has completed a preliminary "Finding of No Significant Impact" (FONSI) and Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposal submitted by the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) to install two big game guzzlers in the Sheephole Valley Wilderness.

Both proposed water developments would consist of a small dam, a pipeline, a buried 10,000-gallon storage tank, and a wildlife-accessible subterranean drinker. Representatives of the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep would monitor the new artificial water sources twice each year for water level and quality. Other monitoring would consist of pellet transect, photographic data, and guzzler operation. The proposed water development system is anticipated to require little maintenance after the initial construction.

The CDFG has indicated that the two new water sources are needed immediately based on sheep utilization of the ranges, inadequate capacity of the current systems, and unpredictable rainfall patterns that may or may not fill existing systems or natural tanks.

The preliminary FONSI and EA are being released to the public for review and comment. The documents are available online at or may be requested by contacting the Needles Field Office at 101 W. Spikes Road, Needles, CA 92363; telephone (760) 326-7000. The comment period will close on November 15, 2002. Written comments should be sent to the Needles Field Manager, Attn: Guzzlers Project, at the address listed above and must be postmarked by or before the closing date. Comments may also be submitted via e-mail at and must be received by or before November 15, 2002.

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