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Preliminary environmental impact analysis of desert land entry lands in Christmas Valley, Oregon Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/1z40kt49q

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  • The Bureau of Land Management's Lakeview District is currently under pressure to allow 16,000 acres located throughout the Christmas Lake Administrative Unit to be appropriated through the Desert Land Entries Act of 1877. These appropriations are being filed for by persons wishing to consolidate small public and private land tracts into irrigable units for the purpose of increasing their alfalfa hay production. Preliminary environmental analyses have shown that archeological and groundwater resources are the major limiting factors to the appropriations of these lands. Archeology studies, within the Christmas Lake Administrative unit, show that one major archeological site exists every nine acres. Major sites are defined as campgrounds, seasonal villages, middens (refuse piles), or tool manufacturing sites and exclude isolated finds of arrowheads, spearpoints, scrapers, or obsidian chips. Loss of the archeological resources contained within the administrative unit can be minimized but would require extensive research and the collecting and cataloguing of all material found at major sites. The quality and quantity of groundwater available for use by irrigation systems has not been fully determined yet. Brackish groundwater containing baron concentrations potentially toxic to alfalfa have been located in localized perched groundwater pockets with the Christmas Valley. This, coupled with the uncertain relationships of the Christmas Valley groundwater supply to groundwater supplies of neighboring basins, presents the major environmental considerations needing to be defined before approval of lands acquisition is to proceed.
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