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News and information about environmental and land management action involving federal agencies

Subcategories from this category:

U.S. Forest Service, BLM, USFWS, NPS, Energy, EPA

Final Supplementary Rules for Public Lands in the California Desert Issued

DATES: The interim final supplementary rules are effective June 25, 2010 and remain in effect until modified or rescinded by the publication of the final supplementary rules. We invite comments until July 26, 2010. Comments postmarked or received in person after this date may not be considered in the development of the final supplementary rules.

Supplementary Rules

The following rules apply on public lands administered by the BLM California Desert District unless explicitly authorized by a permit or other authorization document issued by the BLM:
1. Public nudity is prohibited at all developed sites and areas and all ORV open areas.
2. It is prohibited for a person to ride in or transport another person in or on a portion of an ORV or trailer that is not designed or intended for the transportation of passengers.
3. It is prohibited to use as firewood, or have in their possession, any firewood materials containing nails, screws, or other metal hardware, including, but not limited to, wood pallets and/or construction debris.
4. Possession of glass beverage containers is prohibited in all developed sites and areas and all ORV open areas.
5. It is prohibited to place into the ground any non-flexible object, such as, but not limited to, metal or wood stakes, poles, or pipes, with the exception of small tent or awning stakes, at all developed sites and areas and all ORV open areas.
6. It is prohibited to camp within the areas commonly known as Competition Hill Corridor and Competition Hill located within the Dumont Dunes ORV Area, as shown in the map at the entrance kiosk.
7. It is prohibited to reserve or save a camping space for another person at all developed sites and areas and all ORV open areas.
8. All persons must keep their sites free of trash and litter during the period of occupancy.

Click here to read the complete Federal Register Notice

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Northern Arizona Scoping Report Released

The purpose of scoping is to provide an opportunity for members of the public to learn about the proposed action and to provide comments on issues and concerns. A total of 83,525 submittals containing 8,600 distinct comments were received. Information gathered by the BLM through the scoping process will be used in developing the EIS. Comments will be used to help identify a range of alternatives, as well as to identify issues and concerns to be considered in the EIS.

On July 21, 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced a decision to segregate nearly 1 million acres of federal lands in the Arizona Strip for two years while the Department evaluates whether to withdraw these lands from new mining claims for an additional 20 years. The lands, managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, are within portions of the Grand Canyon watershed and contain significant environmental and cultural resources as well as substantial uranium deposits.

The scoping report EIS can be viewed here (5.5M). A summary of the scoping comments are available in this newsletter.

The BLM manages more land - 253 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.


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Review of Proposed Renewable Energy Plan Started

The DRECP will identify conservation zones and energy zones.  It will be developed in order to expedite permitting of jurisdictional renewable energy facilities.  It will provide for the conservation and management of identified species in the California desert through the establishment of conservation zones and energy zones.

The goal of the DRECP is to provide for the conservation and management of identified species.  The plan will facilitate the implementation of measures that will contribute to the recovery of these species.

BLM, as the lead agency under the National Environmental Policy Act, will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) to analyze the site-specific impacts of the proposed plan and a proposed amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan.

Publication of the NOI initiates a public scoping period of 30 days, ending December 21, 2009.  During the scoping period, BLM solicits public comment on issues, concerns, potential impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures that should be considered in the analysis of the proposed action.  A joint agency public scoping meeting will be held and details will be announced shortly.  BLM will use the public scoping comments received to prepare the draft environmental documents for future public review.

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BLM Changes on the Snake River

IDAHO FALLS, ID (May 20, 2009): New Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service regulations were established on the South Fork and Lower Henry’s Fork of the Snake River to help protect the many valuable and unique natural resources in the river corridors. These changes will also assist managing agencies in properly maintaining the river corridor in an age of shrinking budgets coupled with increased visitor use. Some of the new regulations include:

·         Fire Pans Required: In order to prevent additional vegetation and soil disturbances, fire pans are now required. It is also impossible for agency staff to continuously remove all the ash from the fire pits that is left behind by visitors. Fire pans should be elevated off the ground to prevent scorching and should be at least 12-inches wide, with a 1 1/2-inch lip around its outer edge to sufficiently catch fire remains. All ash needs to be packed out with visitor before leaving their campsite.

·         Additional Designated Campsites: Over the next couple years, the entire river corridor on the South Fork will be identified with designated overnight campsites. These new sites will be modified after the designated campsite system in the “canyon” stretch below Conant Boat Ramp. By designation sites, people will know exactly where good camp locations are along the river, providing for better trip planning and safer boating. Designating sites also deters visitor use from sensitive plant and wildlife species, while providing an area where visitor impacts can occur.

·         Portable Toilets and Certified Waste Disposal Bags (WAG Bags or RESTOP): The human waste problem is getting worse on the rivers due to the increased use and the fact that people are not properly disposing of human waste. Agency staff continues to clean up messes left at designated camp sites. All overnight and day use boaters are required to carry out human waste properly, for example by using a portable toilet or certified waste disposal bags. Portable toilets must be reusable, washable, water tight and SCAT Machine or RV dump compatible. Portable toilets with snap-on lids (ammo can or plastic buckets) are required to have a rubber gasket in the lid. Plastic bag liners are not acceptable unless they are the Environmental Protection Agency approved WAG bag or RESTOP systems.

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BLM Recreation and Visitor Services

BLM Recreation and Visitor Services

The BLM-managed public lands offer more diverse recreational opportunities than any other Federal agency.

On more than 258 million acres of public lands, people enjoy countless types of outdoor adventure – participating in activities as widely varied as camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, boating, whitewater rafting, hang gliding, off-highway vehicle driving, mountain biking, birding and wildlife viewing, photography, climbing, all types of winter sports, and visiting natural and cultural heritage sites.

In an increasingly urbanized West, these recreational opportunities and the landscape settings where they take place are vital to the quality of life enjoyed by residents of western states, as well as national and international visitors.

Recreational use on BLM-managed lands also helps support the economies of western communities and states. More than 22 million people now live within 25 miles of public lands, and two-thirds of the lands managed by the BLM are within 50 miles of an urban area. Visits to recreation sites on BLM-managed public lands have significantly increased over the years, from just more than 51 million in 2001 to over 55 million in 2006.

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