RICHLAND -- U.S. Fish and Wildlife has set a public comment period for its proposal made earlier this month to list two plant species found on the Hanford Reach National Monument as threatened.
The agency is proposing designating 344 acres for Umtanum desert buckwheat preservation on Department of Energy land on the south side of the Columbia River in the area known as the McGee Ranch.
It also is proposing designating 2,400 acres of federal land on the other side of the river along the White Bluffs for the protection of the White Bluffs bladderpod.
In addition, it would designate 419 acres of private land and 42 acres of state land nearby as critical habitat for the rare plant.
The two plants grow only on the monument and, in the case of the bladderpod, also some nearby land.
Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., has criticized the proposed listing, saying he will examine the action before final decisions are made to ensure private property and the public's right to use public land are protected.
Comments must be received by July 16 at Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R1-ES-2012-0017, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS2042-PDM, Arlington, VA 22203.
Parts of Umatilla forest remain under snow
PENDLETON, Ore. -- Parts of the Umatilla National Forest remain under snow as the Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer recreation season on the Umatilla National Forest.
Snow levels are still significant above 4,000 feet in elevation where roads and trails are likely to be closed and shaded areas on lower roads and trails could have impassible snowdrifts.
Forest crews are working to open lower elevation campgrounds in time for the Memorial weekend, but campers can expect some limited services.
Most campgrounds will charge a fee ranging from $8 to $24 per night plus fees for additional vehicles.
Some of the more popular campgrounds that will be open for the holiday weekend include: Umatilla Forks, Tucannon, Big Springs, Forest Boundary, Bull Prairie Lake, Penland Lake, Frazier, and Winom.
Olive Lake will be accessible from Forest Roads 52 and 73 beginning Friday. Desolation Creek Road is still impassable in places.
Campgrounds near Tollgate, Ore., including Jubilee Lake, Woodward, Woodland and Target Meadows will remain closed.
Misery, Teal, Wickiup and Godman Campgrounds are also closed.
Umatilla riding club seeks sponsors
UMATILLA -- The Umatilla Sage Riders, a horseback riding club formed in 1948, is looking for individuals and businesses interested in sponsoring or buying a chute, sheep or steer.
For more information or to request a purchase form, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.umatillasageriders.com.
John Day River to open for spring chinook
JOHN DAY, Ore. -- Anglers now are able to fish for spring chinook salmon in the John Day River for the first time in 36 years.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife opened a 20-mile stretch of the river near Kimberly on Wednesday, and it will remain open for spring chinook June 3.