The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Buffalo Field Office is seeking information related to the dumping of hydrocarbon waste at the Welch Ranch Management area on Decker Highway (Highway 338). An unauthorized discharge of a hydrocarbon substance was reported on the morning of Wednesday, July 24. Preliminary estimations are that approximately 100 gallons were dumped along the access road on the northeast side of the Tongue River bridge.
The BLM, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WYDEQ) and Sheridan County Fire Department installed emergency containment and diversion Wednesday morning, which prevented the spill from reaching the Tongue River. The contaminated area is confined to the road, borrow ditches and parking area. BLM is coordinating the cleanup. Samples from the spill have been sent for chemical analysis to ensure proper disposal of the unknown substances. Environmental mitigation is currently anticipated to be completed before Aug. 1.
The Welch Ranch Management Area is a 1,748-acre parcel approximately 10 miles north of Sheridan, Wyo. The area offers nonmotorized dispersed recreation and is a popular river access point for Sheridan County recreationists. Please use the parking area on the south side of the river while mitigation is in progress.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs. The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends. In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.