Federal agencies request protections for Pactola Reservoir
Two federal agencies are working together in an effort to protect more than 20,000 acres of National Forest Service land in Pennington County.
The USDA Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have petitioned the Secretary of the Interior to protect the land by removing mining permissions.
Both government agencies cite protection of the cultural and natural resources of the Pactola Reservoir - Rapid Creek Watershed from the impacts of mineral exploration as the reason for their request.
The agencies have concern that mining in the area could effect the municipal water supply.
The petition offers protection to the local water supply by withdrawing the ability of any entity to settle, sale, or mine the location for 20 years.
The Pactola Reservoir is the largest and deepest reservoir in the Black Hills National Forest. It includes 14 miles of shoreline and 150-foot depths on 800 acres of current recreational land.
By accepting the application and public notice, the petition initiates a two-year segregation period that will prohibit the area from any new mining claims. It also prohibits the issuance of new federal mineral leases in the area.
The publication of the notice also initiates a 90-day public review period for the proposed withdrawal, allowing for further analysis including tribal consultation and public meetings.
BLM will host a joint public meeting on April 26 in Rapid City.