Project Roam: Reclaim Our Arizona Monuments

The Bureau of Land Management is working to hard to keep the Sonoran Desert National Monument safe and available to the public. For information on what they are doing check out these links.

Release Date: 01/25/11
Contacts: Deborah Stevens , 602-417-9215

BLM Partners with ADOT on “Project Daylight” on
Interstate 8

PHOENIX – Continuing to focus its efforts on border security and resource
protection of the Sonoran Desert and Ironwood Forest National Monuments, the
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is working with the Arizona Department of
Transportation (ADOT) on “Project Daylight,” trimming and clearing dense
vegetation along Interstate 8, between Casa Grande and Gila Bend. The goal of
Project Daylight is to increase public safety along the Interstate 8 corridor,
by making it harder for human and drug smugglers to hide and drop their
contraband in the thick desert vegetation on public lands in this area.
Starting today, BLM and ADOT staff will begin the first phase of the project
by trimming and clearing vegetation, such as Palo Verde trees and thick bushes,
along Milepost 150, near Casa Grande. ADOT will be providing the brush-cutting
heavy equipment and operators to trim the vegetation on the east and westbound
right-of-way and the center medians. BLM will have a fire crew of six workers
helping to hand trim vegetation and remove debris from the side of the
road.

BLM and ADOT will evaluate the scope of the first phase of this
project, determining the logistics, resources and time it takes to maintain one
segment of Interstate 8. The next step will be to strategically select areas
along the corridor which are used as pick up points for undocumented immigrants
and narcotics, and pose a public safety risk.

“We are very pleased to be
working cooperatively with the ADOT to maintain the right-of-way vegetation and
increase the visibility for any illegal activity or public safety risks that may
be coming through or near public lands,” said Jim Kenna, BLM Arizona State
Director. He noted that Project Daylight is one of several cooperative efforts
that further support BLM’s border strategic goals of protecting public land
users; protecting the resources and conservation values we manage, and
increasing BLM’s cooperative efforts with other law enforcement and resource
management agencies along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Kenna said, “BLM began
Operation ROAM (Reclaim our Arizona Monuments) in August 2010, which has
resulted in several important opportunities to work with local, county, state
and federal partnerships, including ADOT and Project Daylight.” BLM’s Operation
ROAM is a focused effort to fight border-related illegal activities in the
Sonoran Desert and Ironwood Forest National Monuments.

In addition to
the public safety and law enforcement benefits to reduce illegal criminal
activities, Project Daylight will also reduce heavy vegetation that helps fuel
roadside fires caused by vehicles throughout the year, especially in the
summer. Therefore, the public may see BLM and ADOT staff and equipment working
along Interstate 8 intermittently from now until May 2011.

For additional
information on BLM’s Arizona border strategy, the public can visit www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/border.html
and link to an updated report of border-related activities connected with
Operation ROAM.

The BLM manages more
land – over 245 million acres – than any other Federal agency. This land, known
as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western
states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also
administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the
nation. 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.
–BLM–
Arizona State Office   One North Central Avenue, Suite 800      Phoenix, AZ
85004

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