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Kobuk-Seward Peninsula RMP/EIS

Record of Decision Signed for the Kobuk-Seward Peninsula RMP

 Cover of Kobuk-Seward Peninsula Record of Decision and Approved Management Plan
  
BLM State Director Tom Lonnie signed the Record of Decision for the Kobuk-Seward Peninsula Approved Resource Management Plan on September 4, 2008, completing a four-year planning effort. The Record of Decision and Approved Resource Management Plan (RMP) went into effect the same day upon publication of the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register

The Approved RMP provides overall management direction for BLM-managed public lands in the Kobuk-Seward Peninsula Planning Area (PDF/935 KB) . The planning area generally encompasses the Northwest Arctic Borough, most of the Bering Straits Region, and the western edge of the North Slope Borough. 

Decisions in the Approved RMP will initially apply to 11.9 million acres of BLM-managed public lands under the jurisdiction of the Central Yukon Field Office and the Anchorage Field Office. Acreages presented in the Approved RMP will change as the BLM continues to transfer title to lands within the planning area to the State and Native corporations.

Some of the primary management decisions in the Approved RMP include:

  • Adoption of oil and gas lease stipulations and Required Operating Procedures (ROPS), as well as development of additional resource protection measures as appropriate for site-specific activities. 
       
  • A recommendation to revoke all ANCSA Section 17(d)(1) withdrawals in the planning area. The revocation of these withdrawals would make lands available for mineral leasing or mineral entry. However, State- and Native-selected lands would remain segregated from mineral entry until they are either conveyed out of BLM ownership or the selections are relinquished.
       
  • Establishment of two Special Recreation Management areas (SRMAs): the Squirrel River SRMA and the Salmon Lake-Kigluaik Mountains SRMA. The BLM will develop Special Recreation Management Plans (implementation plans) to address conflicts and manage the BLM-managed public lands in these areas.

 
Squirrel River Transporters and Air Taxi Operators Now Required to Obtain Permits

Under the Approved RMP the BLM requires guides and transporters to obtain Special Recreation Permits for operating in the Squirrel River Special Recreation Management Area.

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The Approved RMP responds to the user conflict issue in the Squirrel River by designating it as a SRMA, requiring development of a Recreation Area Management Plan within three years, and implementing interim management for the area until these conflicts can be resolved through additional planning and coordination with the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the State of Alaska, the Northwest Arctic Borough, NANA Regional Corporation, Native Tribal Governments, local residents and private interests. 

The Approved RMP designates the planning area as “limited” to Off-highway Vehicles (OHVs) with a limitation of 2,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating. On State- and Native-selected lands, the Approved RMP implements management direction consistent with existing State statutes (11 AAC 96.020 and 96.025), which encourage OHV users to utilize existing trails.
 
The Approved RMP designates the following six Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs): Nulato Hills, Shaktoolik River, Ungalik River, Inglutalik River, Western Arctic Caribou Insect Relief, and Mount Osborn.
 
The Approved RMP will make up to 11.9 million acres of BLM-managed surficial lands, as well as the mineral estate, available to mineral leasing and locatable mineral entry. State- and Native-selected lands will not be open to mineral leasing or entry until relinquishment of selection. Of those lands available for mineral leasing, approximately 52,000 acres are available subject to no surface occupancy (NSO) stipulations.
 
The Approved RMP establishes a right-of-way avoidance area in the Nulato Hills ACEC.
 
Lastly, the Proposed RMP/Final EIS reviewed the suitability of eleven eligible river segments for designation as components of the national wild and scenic rivers system. Based on the analysis of impacts, comments from the public and other agencies, and the criteria in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the BLM determined that none were suitable for designation.