|Location||Garfield County, Colorado, USA|
The Roan Plateau is a plateau in western Colorado, USA, in Garfield County.It contains a variety of natural resources and scenic terrain: high ridges, deep valleys, desert lands, waterfalls, cutthroat trout, mountain lions, bears, rare plants, and oil and natural gas.
In the natural-color image at right the Roan Plateau assumes shades of green, brown, and beige, and deep canyons form branching, tree-like patterns on the landscape, and desert lands in the portions west of Meeker, Craig, and Rifle.
Irrigation enables crops to thrive in this largely arid environment, evidenced by the relative greenness of the orchards and lawns around Grand Junction, Colorado. West of Rifle, the high desert terrain begins. Small towns of Battlement Mesa, Parachute, and De Beque are all high desert terrain. The land of Grand Junction and all around the city is pale beige, and has high desert terrain. This desert landscape extends west and southwest into Utah, and north across the Roan Plateau, and into Wyoming. The desert land also extends southeast through Whitewater, Delta, Olathe, and Montrose, and then the desert lands end as you pass the Montrose area. East of Grand Junction, however, Grand Mesa (partially obscured by clouds) is well-forested with conifers.
The plateau's energy reserves invite exploration and drilling: existing wells produce natural gas immediately adjacent to the plateau.In 2000 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management began developing the Roan Plateau Resource Management Plan. Released in final form in early 2008, the plan allowed for recovery of natural gas from beneath the plateau while setting aside 21,034 acres (85 square kilometers) as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
In accordance with the Management Plan, the BLM leased 54,631 acres (221.08 km2) for gas development on the Roan Plateau in August 2008. The winning competitive bids totaled $113.9 million in lease bonuses, a record for a federal onshore lease sale in the lower 48 states. The Colorado state government will receive 49% of the lease bonuses, as well as 49% of subsequent royalties (royalties are 12.5% of the gross value) from gas sales. The lease sale received much criticism from those opposed to development on the plateau, including from Colorado Governor Bill Ritter.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior responsible for administering federal lands. Headquartered in Grand Junction, Colorado, and with oversight over 247.3 million acres (1,001,000 km2), it governs one eighth of the country's landmass.
The City of Rifle is a Home Rule Municipality located in Garfield County, Colorado, United States. The population was 9,172 at the 2010 census, up from 6,784 at the 2000 census. Rifle is a regional center of the cattle ranching industry located along Interstate 70 and the Colorado River just east of the Roan Plateau, which dominates the western skyline of the town. The town was founded in 1882 by Abram Maxfield, and was incorporated in 1905 along Rifle Creek, near its mouth on the Colorado. The community takes its name from the creek.
The City of Grand Junction is a home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Mesa County, Colorado, United States. The city has a council–manager form of government, and is the most populous municipality in all of western Colorado. Grand Junction is 247 miles (398 km) west-southwest of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 58,566. Grand Junction is the sixteenth most populous city in the state of Colorado and the most populous city on the Colorado Western Slope. It is a major commercial and transportation hub within the large area between the Green River and the Continental Divide. It is the principal city of the Grand Junction Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 146,723 in 2010 census.
The Grand Valley is an extended populated valley, approximately 30 miles (48 km) long and 5 miles (8.0 km) wide, located along the Colorado River in Mesa County in western Colorado and Grand County in eastern Utah in the Western United States. The valley contains the city of Grand Junction, as well as other smaller communities such as Fruita and Palisade. The valley is a major fruit-growing region that contains many orchards and vineyards, and is home to one of two designated American Viticultural Areas in Colorado: the Grand Valley AVA. It takes its name from the "Grand River", the historical name of the Colorado River upstream from its confluence with the Green River that was used by locals in the late 19th and early 20th century. The valley is the most densely populated area on the Colorado Western Slope, with Grand Junction serving as an unofficial capital of the region, as a counterpoint to Denver on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains in the Colorado Front Range. Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 6 run through the valley from west-to-east. The Grand Valley is part of the larger Colorado Plateau desert lands.
The Roan Cliffs are a series of desert mountains and cliffs in eastern Utah and western Colorado, in the western United States that are distinct from the Book Cliffs.
Uncompahgre National Forest is a U.S. National Forest covering 955,229 acres in parts of Montrose, Mesa, San Miguel, Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale, San Juan, and Delta Counties in western Colorado. Only its headquarters is in Delta County, in the city of Delta. It borders the San Juan National Forest to the south.
The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 30 U.S.C. § 181 et seq. is a United States federal law that authorizes and governs leasing of public lands for developing deposits of coal, petroleum, natural gas and other hydrocarbons, in addition to phosphates, sodium, sulfur, and potassium in the United States. Previous to the act, these materials were subject to mining claims under the General Mining Act of 1872.
The Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness (BRCW) is located in western Colorado with a small portion extending into eastern Utah, USA, within the arid Colorado Plateau region approximately 15 miles (24 km) west of Grand Junction, Colorado. The wilderness lies on the northwest flank of the Uncompahgre Plateau. It is characterized by the high, east-west trending Black Ridge dissected by seven major canyon systems, draining into the Colorado River in Ruby Canyon. Elevations range from 4,700 feet (1,400 m) above sea level along the river to 6,800 feet (2,070 m). Canyons vary in length from several miles to twelve miles in length and may contain interesting side canyons. Geological features in these canyons include spires, windows, giant alcoves and desert varnish. Canyons may reach a depth of almost 1,000 feet (300 m), forming spectacular redrock cliffs. Spring runoff and summer thunderstorms create glistening waterfalls and plunge pools. Rattlesnake Canyon contains the second largest concentration of natural arches in the country. Mee Canyon is even more remote, and contains Arch Tower.
The geography of the U.S. State of Colorado is diverse, encompassing both rugged mountainous terrain, vast plains, desert lands, desert canyons, and mesas. In 1861, the United States Congress defined the boundaries of the new Territory of Colorado exclusively by lines of latitude and longitude, stretching from 37°N to 41°N latitude, and from 102°02'48"W to 109°02'48"W longitude. Starting in 1868, official surveys demarcated the boundaries, deviating from the parallels and meridians in several places. Later surveys attempted to correct some of these mistakes but in 1925 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the earlier demarcation was the official boundary. The borders of Colorado are now officially defined by 697 boundary markers connected by straight boundary lines. Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only states that have their borders defined solely by straight boundary lines with no natural features. The southwest corner of Colorado is the Four Corners Monument at 36°59'56"N, 109°2'43"W. This is the only place in the United States where four states meet: Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.
The McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area (MCNCA) is a 123,400-acre (499 km2) National Conservation Area located in Mesa County, west of Grand Junction, Colorado. The MCNCA has rugged sandstone canyons, natural arches, spires, and alcoves carved into the Colorado Plateau, through which runs a 24-mile (39 km) stretch of the Colorado River. Included in the MCNCA is the 75,500-acre (306 km2) Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness (BRCW) with 5,200 acres (21 km2) extending into eastern Grand County, Utah at the MCNCA's western boundary.
The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA) is an area of land on the Alaska North Slope owned by the United States federal government and managed by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It lies to the west of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which, as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service managed National Wildlife Refuge, is also federal land.
The Kokopelli's Trail is a 142-mile (229 km) multi-use trail in Grand County, Utah and Mesa County, Colorado in the western United States. The trail was named in honor of its mythic muse, Kokopelli. The trail was created by the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA) in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (NFS) in 1989.
Otero Mesa is a 1.2 million acre area in the northern Chihuahuan Desert region of Southern New Mexico. Otero Mesa is recognized by international conservation organizations for its exceptionally large and intact arid grasslands.
The Mountain States form one of the nine geographic divisions of the United States that are officially recognized by the United States Census Bureau. It is a subregion of the Western United States.
Needle Rock Natural Area is located at the western edge of the West Elk Mountains of Colorado. The surrounding terrain is characterized by laccolithic mountains flanked by precipitous cliffs, extensive talus aprons, forested mesas, canyons, and spacious, well-watered intermontane basins. Needle Rock is an intrusive plug of monzonite porphyry cropping out 3.5 miles (5.6 km) east-northeast of the Town of Crawford in Delta County, Colorado, United States. At an elevation of 7,797 feet (2,377 m), the towering rock spire stands 800 feet (240 m) tall above the floor of the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River valley. The massive rock feature originated in the Oligocene geological epoch when magma intruded between existing sedimentary rocks as the crown of a buried laccolith or possibly the underlying conduit of a laccolith. Subsequent erosion has exposed the prominent rock formation seen in the natural area today.
The Dominguez–Escalante National Conservation Area is a 209,610-acre (848.3 km2) National Conservation Area located in western Colorado southeast of Grand Junction and northwest of Montrose. It is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and was created as part of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. In 2009 66,280 acres (26,820 ha) were also designated as the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness.
The Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act is a bill that would require the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to establish certain fees for activities related to the development of oil and gas on federal lands. A portion of those amounts along with a portion of fees from renewable energy projects on federal lands would be available to the agency, subject to appropriation, to cover the costs of activities aimed at increasing energy development on federal lands. The bill also would exempt lawsuits related to energy production on federal lands from the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). In addition, the legislation would require the BLM to offer for sale at least 25 percent of onshore federal lands nominated by firms for oil and gas leasing. It was introduced in the United States House of Representatives during the 113th United States Congress. President Barack Obama threatened to veto the bill on November 19, 2013.
The Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act of 2014 is a bill that would revise existing laws and policies regarding the development of oil and gas resources on the Outer Continental Shelf. The bill is intended to increase domestic energy production and lower gas prices.
William Perry Pendley is an American attorney, conservative activist, political commentator, and government official who served as the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management from 2019 to 2020.
The Pine Gulch Fire was a wildfire that burned in Mesa County and Garfield County, Colorado in the United States. The fire was started by a lightning strike and first reported on July 31, 2020 and quickly grew, resulting in the fire being named the largest wildfire in Colorado history, surpassing the 2002 Hayman Fire. Almost seven weeks later, it was surpassed by the Cameron Peak Fire in Larimer County.