Yosemite Firearm Ranges Lead Abatement and Greening

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The purpose of this project is to clean, green, and rehabilitate two multifunctional firearm ranges. The project will have three stages: 1) remove contaminated soils from both ranges, 2) replace the removed soils with non-contaminated soils, and 3) install a lead trap at each range.

Both firearm ranges are located inside the boundaries of Yosemite National Park in Mariposa County. The larger range (125´ x 165´) is located at South Landing near Crane Flat. The work on the larger range will focus on the backstop area (125´ x 30´). The smaller range (45´ x 95´) is located near the park's South Entrance. The work on the smaller range will also focus on the backstop area (45´ x 30´). Refer to the photographs and diagram attached.

In stage one, the level of contamination will be determined. Contractors will be hired for soil sampling, soil testing, and soil removal. It is expected that the contaminated soils will be concentrated along the width of the ranges. Bullets lose velocity into the soil just inches from the surface; estimating for the mobility of the lead, it has been determined that soil removal into the backstop should be no more than five feet deep.

In stage two, non-contaminated soils or fill material will replace the contaminated soils. Fill material, such as rock or gravel, may be necessary to build up the backstop for the installation of a lead trap. Soil from outside the park may be used to prevent adverse impact on other areas of the park. Any material brought into the park will be free of noxious weeds and seeds.

In stage three, contractors will be hired to install a permanent lead trap that will prevent future soil contamination. The park protection division is reducing the amount of lead used down range by purchasing and using non-toxic (lead free), frangible ammunition. This action will significantly reduce the amount of lead used in the park's firearm ranges. It will not eliminate its use entirely due to the unavailability of lead-free ammunition in areas where ammunition use is required. Requiring the installation of a bullet trap will protect the park's soils and water sources.