The Field Office includes a few large contiguous blocks of public land, such as on the Likely Tablelands, Tule Mountain and in Silva Flat. However, much of the rest of the public land is located in smaller, scattered parcels. A significant portion of the acreage under the jurisdiction of the Field Office is also within the ancestral homelands of the Pit River, Modoc, Shasta and Klamath Indian Tribes.
This Land Tenure Adjustment (LTA) Plan Amendment has two general goals: (1) to implement and expand on the land acquisition decisions of the existing Alturas Plans; and (2) to expand on the disposal and exchange decisions of the Alturas Plans. The management goals and objectives identified in the existing Alturas Plans will continue, except where specifically changed by this Plan Amendment. This Plan Amendment must
This LTA Plan Amendment identifies broad areas of public lands for retention and intensive management in accordance with the goals and objectives of the Alturas Plans. These areas are referred to as Retention/Acquisition areas, and they represent portions of, and in some cases all of specific existing Management Areas (MAs) as described in the existing Alturas Plans. Within these retention/acquisition areas, the BLM will work with willing private landowners to complete land exchanges that will provide public land management benefits as well as management benefits for the private landowners. The retention/acquisition areas where the BLM wishes to acquire private land by exchange are generally larger expanses of public lands with smaller private inholdings. These retention/acquisition areas are those places where the BLM intends to focus on long-term management of the public lands, in accordance with the goals, values and objectives identified in BLM planning. This LTA Plan amendment also adds an objective of acquiring lands along the Pit River and Hat Creek in Shasta County.
In addition, this LTA Plan Amendment identifies broad areas of public lands where the BLM generally intends to dispose of the existing public lands, either by land exchange or sale. These areas are referred to as Disposal areas, and they represent areas where the BLM will not be seeking to acquire any private lands by land exchanges or other methods. Within these disposal areas, there may be some specific parcels of public land that the BLM intends to retain in public ownership for a variety of resource management reasons. These public land parcels will be in a "custodial" category, where the BLM will continue to manage them for existing resource values. The public lands to be exchanged or sold into private ownership in the disposal areas are generally smaller, scattered, isolated parcels surrounded by private land, in areas where the BLM does not generally intend to focus on long-term continued management.
The BLM Alturas Field Office (FO) will use land exchanges to manage the public lands in the Alturas FO in accordance with the policy objectives established by the Congress of the United States in Sections 102(a)(8), 102(a)(12), and 206(a) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976:
Sec 102(a): "The Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States that - (1) the public lands be retained in Federal ownership, unless as a result of the land use planning procedure provided for in this Act, it is determined that disposal of a particular parcel will serve the national interest."
102(a)(8): "...the public lands be managed in a manner that will protect the quality of scientific, scenic, historical, ecological, environmental, air and atmospheric, water resources and archeological values; that, where appropriate, will preserve and protect certain public lands in their natural condition; that will provide food and habitat for fish and wildlife and domestic animals; and that will provide for outdoor recreation and human occupancy and use;..."
102(a)(12): "the public lands be managed in a manner which recognizes the Nation'sneed for domestic sources of minerals, food, timber, and fiber from the public lands ..."
206(a): "A tract of public land or interests therein may be disposed of by exchange by the Secretary [of Interior] under this Act ... where the Secretary ... determines that the public interest will be well served by making that exchange: Provided, That when considering public interest the Secretary ... shall give full consideration to better Federal land management and the needs of State and local people, including needs for lands for the economy, community expansion, recreation areas, food, fiber, minerals, and fish and wildlife and the Secretary ... finds that the values and objectives which Federal lands or interests to be conveyed may serve if retained in Federal ownership are not more than the values of the non-Federal lands or interests and the public objectives they could serve if acquired."
The Alturas Plans contain full descriptions of the resource values and objectives of the Federal lands to be retained in Federal ownership. This LTA Plan Amendment is intended to implement the goals and objectives identified in the Alturas Plans by acquiring private lands with potentially high public resource values which would provide better Federal land management, in exchange for public lands that would meet the needs of State and local people as described in Section 206(a) of FLPMA. Potential exchanges are intended to result in better Federal land management by the BLM, and in better private land management for the landowners who may acquire the public lands through the exchanges.
There are different methods for completing land exchanges, In many cases, BLM will deal directly with the private landowner, with both sides of the exchange paying for their share of the exchange cost, or completing different parts of the exchange process. Given the complex nature of the exchange process (see Appendix A), private landowners may wish to pay various contractors to assist them in completing their share of the exchange process.
In other cases, BLM might use third-party facilitators for land exchanges. In a third-party exchange, the BLM bundles together scattered parcels of public land and offers them to the third-party facilitator in exchange for private lands that the BLM has asked the facilitator to acquire in other areas. Generally, third-party facilitators are only interested in trading for BLM managed land that they know they can sell quickly to adjoining
In some of the disposal areas where the BLM does not generally intend to focus on long-term continued management of smaller parcels, there may not be any interest by the potential purchasers in dealing with third party land exchange facilitators. In those cases, it may be possible to dispose of public lands through public sales under Section 203 of FLPMA (43 USC 1713), in accordance with the policy objectives established by the Congress of the United States in Sections 102(a)(8), 102(a)(12) of FLPMA, as described above. Disposals of public lands by sale under Section 203 of FLPMA have different requirements and conditions than land exchanges under Section 206 of FLPMA. These requirements and conditions are contained in Section 203(a) through (g). Section 203(a) contains the general sale criteria:
"A tract of public lands ... may be sold under this Act, where, as a result of land use planning required under section 202 of this Act, the Secretary [of Interior] determines that the sale of such tract meets the following disposal criteria:
(1) such tract because of its location or other characteristics is difficult and uneconomic to manage as part of the public lands, and is not suitable for management by another Federal department or agency; or (2) such tract was acquired for a specific purpose and the tract is no longer required for that or any other Federal purpose; or (3) disposal of such tract will serve important public objectives, including but not limited to, expansion of communities and economic development, which cannot be achieved prudently or feasibly on land other than public land and which outweigh other public objectives and values, including, but not limited to, recreation and scenic values, which would be served by maintaining such tract in Federal ownership."
Methods of sale and consideration for potential purchasers are specified in Section 203(f):
"Sales of public lands under this section shall be conducted under competitive bidding procedures to be established by the Secretary. However, where the Secretary determines it necessary and proper in order (1) to assure equitable distribution among purchasers of lands, or (2) to recognize equitable considerations or public policies, including but not limited to, a preference to users, he may sell those lands with modified competitive bidding or without competitive bidding. In recognizing public policies, the Secretary shall give consideration to the following potential purchasers:
(1) the State in which the land is located;
This LTA Plan Amendment does not identify specific parcels for sale, but identifies land disposal areas and establishes general criteria to be used in later determinations that a specific tract may be suitable for sale under Section 203 of FLPMA. Each potential sale will be examined on a case-by-case basis to evaluate equitable considerations and public policies that may be used to determine whether any consideration for potential purchasers is needed, in accordance with Section 203(f).
2.0 DESCRIPTION OF THE PLAN AMENDMENT
This Amendment of the Alturas Plans expands on the land acquisition decisions of the Alturas Plans, and expands on the disposal/exchange decisions of the Alturas Plans. This LTA Plan Amendment identifies broad areas of public land for retention/acquisition where private lands may be acquired by land exchange, and broad areas of public lands for disposal through exchange and sale. For the reasons given in the introduction to this LTA plan amendment, it has been determined that disposal of public land parcels in accordance with this plan amendment will serve the national interest. The following retention/acquisition and disposal decisions will be implemented by this LTA Plan Amendment, on public lands managed by the Alturas FO.
2.1 Planning Decisions for Retention/Acquisition Areas and Subregions
A. The BLM will acquire, through direct exchange with willing owners, through third-party exchanges for lands owned by willing sellers, or through other suitable acquisition methods from willing owners, private lands within the retention/acquisition management areas or subregions that enhance the management goals, values and objectives identified for the management areas in the Alturas Plans or in specific activity management plans for those areas.
B. Public lands within Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, Research Natural Areas, National Cooperative Land and Wildlife Management Areas, National Historic and Scenic Trails and other legally designated special status areas (established by Act of Congress, Executive Order, Secretarial Order, Withdrawals, or other formal agency designation through Federal Register notice) will not
C. Parcels of public lands within the retention/acquisition management areas may be exchanged only for private lands within the same or other Alturas FO retention/acquisition areas, or within other adjacent BLM FO management areas at the discretion of the Alturas Field Manager. The exchange must have been specifically determined by the BLM to well serve the public interest and to provide enhancement of the management goals, values and objectives identified for those areas in the Alturas Plans, other FO planning, or in specific activity management plans for those areas. Such exchanges may occasionally include incidental acquisitions of lands that are within the boundaries of other Federal land managing agencies, but only as a portion of a larger exchange for lands that will be managed by the BLM. Acquired lands within the boundaries of other Federal agencies' management units will be automatically transferred to the other agencies' jurisdiction, by operation of law. Public (BLM) lands within retention/acquisition areas will not be used as an exchange base to acquire lands for other agencies.
D. All newly acquired parcels would be initially managed the same as similar adjacent parcels, unless the site-specific environmental analysis and the record of decision for that exchange identifies different management prescriptions. Any such management prescriptions and/or resource allocations would not require additional land use plan amendments.
E. The Cinder Cone MFP is hereby amended to add a management objective of acquiring lands from willing private owners for the purpose of providing access to the Pit River and Hat Creek and for the enhancement of riparian, fisheries, recreation, cultural resources, watershed and wildlife values in the area.
F. Exceptions to these exchange and acquisition methods may be made, at the discretion of the BLM Authorized Officer, for the public interest. Such exceptions include the following:
1. Based on a showing of public need, the Authorized Officer may approve specific leases and/or sales under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act within the retention/acquisition areas, if no private lands are reasonably available for the proposed public use.
2. At the discretion of the BLM Authorized Officer, public lands may on rare occasions be sold within the retention/acquisition areas under Section 203 of FLPMA, if they meet the criteria of that Section, and if they meet either of the two following described criteria:
(a) the sale is needed to resolve good-faith unintentional occupancy trespass, involving substantial buildings that cannot be feasibly moved; and the occupancy trespass has resulted from survey errors, or updated surveys that show the buildings were inadvertently located on public land; and the occupancy trespass cannot be resolved under either Section 315 or Section 316 of FLPMA; and such lands are not suitable for disposal by third-party or direct land exchanges; and funding is available, either within the Alturas FO's Lands and Realty budget appropriation, or through contributed funds from potential purchasers, to conduct the necessary environmental studies prior to sale of the specific parcels. Such sales would be limited to the smallest feasible aliquot part or lot that would resolve the trespass, as determined by the BLM Authorized Officer.
(b) the sale is needed to resolve land management problems that consist of small "slivers" of public land isolated by larger areas of private land, resulting from prior survey errors or more-recent surveys of previously unsurveyed lands; and such lands do not provide legal access to other areas of public lands, either because they are too small to feasibly accommodate such access or because they do not connect to other public lands; and such lands are not suitable for disposal by direct land exchanges with the surrounding landowner; and funding is available, either within the Alturas FO's Lands and Realty budget appropriation, or through contributed funds from potential purchasers, to conduct the necessary environmental studies prior to sale of the specific parcels. Such sales would be limited to the smallest feasible aliquot part or lot that would resolve the issue, as determined by the BLM Authorized Officer.
2.2 Planning Decisions for Disposal Areas and Subregions
A. Various smaller, scattered parcels of public lands, outside the retention/acquisition areas and within the designated disposal areas, may be disposed of by exchange, either through direct exchange or through third-party exchange agreements, whichever method provides the most public benefits.
B. Custodial Parcels within the Disposal Areas: Certain parcels within the designated disposal areas may be retained in public ownership if they are found to have superior resource values. Such values may include but are not limited to National Register quality prehistoric and historic sites, threatened and endangered species and habitat for such species, special status species habitat, significant wildlife habitat values, wetlands,
C. Lands within the designated disposal areas may be sold, at the discretion of the BLM Authorized Officer, if they meet either of the two following criteria:
1. Based on a showing of public need, the Authorized Officer may approve specific leases and/or sales under the Recreation and Public Purposes Act within the disposal areas, if no private lands are reasonably available for the proposed public use.
2. Within the disposal areas, public lands may be sold under Section 203 of FLPMA if they meet the criteria of that section, and if they meet the following additional criteria: such lands are not suitable for disposal by third-party or direct land exchanges, due to a lack of interest in that disposal method by potential purchasers; and funding is available, either within the Alturas FO's Lands and Realty budget appropriation, or through contributed funds from potential purchasers, to conduct the necessary environmental studies prior to sale of the specific parcels.
D. On an exception basis, specific parcels of public lands within the disposal areas may be identified by the BLM Authorized Officer for exchanges to acquire lands that would be under the jurisdiction of other Federal agencies, if the specific exchange is documented to meet the exchange requirements of FLPMA. Any such exchanges must be funded entirely by the acquiring agency.
E. On an exception basis, the Bureau of Land Management would be willing to acquire specific private lands (from willing owners) within the disposal areas that contain verified remaining significant traces of the Applegate, Applegate-Lassen, Yreka, and Lassen Emigrant Trails. These National Historic Emigrant and Military Trails are unique linear resources on the landscape, and can provide significant values and opportunities within a managed and designated corridor.
F. The 480 acre parcel of public land east of Modoc Estates, in a disposal subregion in MA3 in Modoc County, will be used as the offset for the proposed Modoc National Wildlife Refuge acquisition at Dorris Reservoir.
2.3 Planning Decisions for Both the Retention/Acquisition and the Disposal Areas and Subregions
A. Separate, site-specific environmental analyses would be prepared for each land exchange, sale or other land disposal action conducted under this LTA Plan Amendment. All environmental analyses will comply with legislative and regulatory mandates, including but not limited to FLPMA, NEPA, the Endangered Species Act, the Wilderness Act, the various cultural resource protection laws, Executive Orders on wetlands and floodplains, etc. All land disposal patents would be subject to valid existing rights, and the BLM would consult with holders of permits, rights-of-way, easements and other valid existing uses during the exchange or other disposal process.
B. Third-party exchanges may be used for all lands within the Alturas FO area of jurisdiction, when they are determined to be in the public interest by the Alturas Field Manager. All of the Alturas Plans are hereby amended to reflect this authorized use of third-party exchanges.
C. Implementation of this LTA Plan Amendment by the Alturas FO would be done in compliance with the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Forest Service. (Through this MOA the BLM agrees to promote the conservation of candidate, proposed and listed species and to consult/confer on listed and proposed critical habitat during the planning process. In accordance with the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Alturas FO began plan-level Section 7 consultation in December 2000).
D. The following public lands will be held available for transfers to other Federal and State agencies or appropriate private entities through withdrawals or exchanges initiated by those agencies or the BLM:
Tule Lake WWII Relocation Center: Public lands associated with the Tule Lake Relocation Center around the Newell Townsite are located in T 47 N., 5E. MDM. This land will be managed for preservation and stabilization and may be transferred to another agency or appropriate private entity once long term plans for preservation of historic lands are completed.
U.S. Forest Service: (a) 400 acres of public land in Cayton Valley in Sections 10 and 15 of T. 37 N., R. 3 E., MDM are best managed by the USFS. These lands are adjacent to and nearly surrounded by Shasta National Forest lands (administered by the Lassen NF) northeast of Lake Britton in Shasta County. (b) 240 acres of public land near Day, in Sections 15 and 24 of T. 39 N., R. 5 E., MDM, and 360 acres of land near Big Lake in
California Department of Fish and Game: Public lands in Section 24 of T. 39 N., R. 7 E., and Section 19 of T. 39 N., R. 8 E., MDM (Pilot Butte) are habitat for a sensitive species (sage grouse). This parcel is best managed as part of the adjacent CDFG Ash Creek Wildlife Area, and would be transferred to the CDFG through an exchange or other action.
E. The Alturas Field Office will consult with appropriate Tribal governments prior to completing any proposed land exchange or sale. In accordance with existing laws and the policies of the Department of the Interior, the BLM will coordinate and cooperate with Native American Tribes in their efforts to acquire land through Act of Congress. The BLM Alturas Field Office will continue to pursue cooperation and consultation through
2.4 Designation of Retention/Acquisition Areas and of Disposal Areas within the Management Areas identified in the Alturas Plans
The Alturas Plans identify twelve Management Areas (MA) within the Alturas FO, with land tenure decisions within each MA. This LTA Plan Amendment amends those land tenure decisions for the MAs. The following is a summary description of the proposed land tenure amendments for each MA:
2.4.1MA1 - Tablelands This MA will be a retention/acquisition area in its entirety. Public lands may be exchanged only for private lands within this MA or within other retention/acquisition MAs.
Public lands within this MA are already managed for a wide range of multiple uses under the Tablelands Integrated Resource Management Plan (1999).
2.4.2MA2 - Rocky Prairie This MA will have a retention/acquisition subregion [Rocky Prairie South], and a disposal subregion [Warm Springs Valley], as shown on the management area map. Due to prehistoric and historic cultural values, the following public lands within the Warm Springs Valley subregion will be kept in public ownership, in the custodial category: Public lands within Sections 26, 27, 32 and 34 of T. 42 N., R. 11 E.,
Public lands in the Rocky Prairie South subregion support a number of important values including livestock grazing, wildlife habitat and recreation.
2.4.3MA3 - Devil's Garden This MA will have two retention/acquisition subregions [Devil's Edge and Russell Slough], and two disposal subregions [Clover Swale and Mud Lake], as shown on the management area map.
Public lands in the Devil's Edge subregion support important deer winter range and riparian habitat. Public land in the Russell Slough subregion is important for livestock grazing, wildlife values and archeology.
2.4.4MA4 - North Fork This MA will have one retention/acquisition subregion [Thoms/Joseph Creek], and two disposal subregions [North End and South End], as shown on the management area map. The Thoms/Joseph Creek retention/acquisition subregion contains significant deer winter range and critical public recreation values for Modoc County. Due to significant historic emigrant trail values, the following public lands on the Applegate/Lassen and Applegate Emigrant Trails will be kept in public ownership, in the custodial category: Public lands within Sections 2, 9 and 10, T. 46 N., R. 14 E., within Sections 27 and 34, T. 45 N., R. 13 E., and Section 29, T. 45 N., R. 14 E., MDM.
2.4.5MA5 - Big Valley This MA will have four retention/acquisition subregions [Roberts Reservoir, Juniper Creek, Rush Creek and Willow Creek], and a disposal subregion [Big Valley], as shown on the management area map. Due to antelope winter range values, the following public lands within the Fox Mountain and Barber Ridge portions of the Big Valley subregion will be kept in public ownership, in the custodial category: Public lands within Sections 12 and 13 of T. 40 N., R. 7 E., MDM; Sections 18, 19, 30 and 32 of T. 40 N., R. 8 E., MDM; Sections 3, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10 of T. 39 N., R. 8 E., MDM.
Public lands in the Roberts Reservoir and Juniper Creek subregions support important wildlife and recreation values. Public lands in the Rush Creek subregion and in the Willow Creek subregion contain critical habitat for the Modoc sucker.
2.4.6MA6 - Widow Peak This MA will be a limited disposal area. Public lands may be disposed of only by exchange as described in Part 2.1, and then only for high resource value lands such as those along the Pit River and Hat Creek in Shasta County, or to provide access to the Pit River Canyon WSA, or other compelling reasons within retention/acquisition areas of the Alturas FO.
2.4.7MA7 - Little Valley This MA will be a retention/acquisition area in its entirety. Public lands may be exchanged only for private lands within this MA or within other retention/acquisition MAs.
Public lands in the MA support important wildlife and riparian values as well as livestock grazing.
2.4.8MA8 - Pit River Canyon This MA is a Wilderness Study Area (WSA) retention/acquisition area. Public lands within the WSA may not be exchanged unless Congress finds that such lands are not suitable for wilderness designation. The BLM will seek to acquire private or State lands within this WSA from willing owners, through exchange or purchase, in accordance with the provisions of the BLM's WSA guidelines.
2.4.9MA9 - Madeline This MA will be a disposal area. Public lands may be exchanged as described in Part 2.1.
2.4.10MA10 - Mountain This MA will be a retention/acquisition area in its entirety. Public lands may be exchanged only for private lands within this MA or within other retention/acquisition MAs.
Public lands in this MA support important wildlife, sensitive species and riparian habitat. Recreation use and livestock grazing are other important public land uses.
2.4.12MA12* - Cinder Cone This MA will have two retention/acquisition subregions [Fall River Mills and Hat Creek], and a disposal subregion [Cayton Valley], as shown on the management area map. The public lands in the Cayton Valley subregion will be held
Public lands and lands proposed for acquisition in the Fall River Mills and Hat Creek subregions include important riparian and sensitive species habitat as well as recreation and archeological values. Map
2.4.13MA13 - Mt. Dome This MA will have three retention/acquisition subregions [Lower Klamath Lake, Scorpion Point and Horse Mountain], and three disposal subregions [Butte Valley, Dorris and Tulelake], as shown on the management area map. Due to prehistoric and historic cultural values, and hazardous materials issues at the old Dorris dump, the following parcels will be kept in public ownership within the Dorris subregion, in the custodial category: Public lands within Sections 34 and 35 of T. 48 N., R. 1 E., MDM. Due to prehistoric and historic cultural values, the following parcels will be kept in public ownership within the Tulelake subregion, in the custodial category: Public lands within Section 6 of T. 47 N., R. 6 E., MDM (Bloody Point), and public lands within Section 23 of T. 46 N, R. 5 E., MDM.
Public lands in the Lower Klamath Lake subregion support sensitive species, wild horses, wildlife values and livestock grazing. Public lands in the Horse Mountain subregion provide important seasonal ranges and migration habitat for antelope and deer. Public lands in the Scorpion Point subregion contain important prehistoric and historic cultural values.
*Note: MA11, identified in the Alturas RMP, is within the Surprise FO's area of jurisdiction, and is therefore not included within this plan amendment. To avoid confusion with the terminology used in the Alturas RMP, the number "MA11" is deliberately omitted from this
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