Approved Resource Management Plans (RMPs) are now complete for the Lower Sonoran Field Office, including the Sonoran Desert National Monument. On September 14, 2012, BLM Arizona State Director Ray Suazo signed Records of Decision for two Resource Management Plans, one for the Sonoran Desert National Monument and one for the remaining BLM lands within the Lower Sonoran Field Office . Maps for these RMPs are also availabe on-line.
In addition to viewing these documents on the web (by clicking on the names above), you may also request a Compact Disk by calling the BLM Public Room at 623-580-5500, or by sending an email to email@example.com.
The staff of the Lower Sonoran Field Office and Sonoran Desert National Monument sincerely appreciates all public comments and participation received since the planning process began. Consideration of more than 10,000 letters, emails, and conversations at public meetings helped improve the planning document produced.
The Draft RMP and Environmental Impact Statement were released on August 26, 2011, for a 90-day public comment period. The Proposed RMP/Final Environmental Impact Statement was released for a 30-day protest period on June 15, 2012. Nine protests were received, all of which were carefully considered though ultimately denied or dismissed, clearing the way for the Records of Decision.
Implementing The Plan and Moving Forward
For most decisions in the two plans, the Records of Decision constitute the final decision and the plans can now be implemented.
Within the Sonoran Desert National Monument RMP, there are some decisions now subject to possible Administrative Remedies, determined by regulation. All decisions pertaining to the designated route network (Travel Management) within the Sonoran Desert National Monument are subject to appeal to the Office of Hearings and Appeals, Interior Board of Land Appeals consistent with 43 CFR Part 4. The appeal period begins immediately and will close on October 15, 2012.
Appeal procedures can be found in the SDNM ROD in section 1.4.2.
There are six grazing allotments within the Lower Sonoran Field Office that also span into the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The Resource Management Plan sets the framework for grazing decisions that will be implemented in conformance with the grazing regulations (43 CFR 4160). Implementation will be conducted systematically throughout the upcoming winter to be completed by the beginning of the new grazing year, or no later than May 1, 2013. These decisions will be subject to a 15-day protest period, then a 30 day appeal period.