News Release

For Release:  March 22, 2007                                                           
Contact:  Stephen Razo (951)-697-5217; E-mail: srazo@ca.blm.gov
 CA-CDD-07-25

BLM Proposes to Sell Lands near Palm Springs

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing to sell approximately 274 acres of public land in the Coachella Valley in Riverside County.  The public land proposed for sale, encompassing 51 parcels, are mostly small, 5-acre tracts of public land in areas known as Sky Valley and Indio Hills.

John Kalish, BLM’s acting field manager for the Palm Springs-South Coast area, pointed out that this is the first competitive sale of federal public land in California for more than a decade, and the proposed sale will benefit Riverside County’s multi-species habitat conservation plan.  Using a current federal law called the Federal Lands Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA), the proceeds from the sale of this land could be available to acquire environmentally sensitive areas, including habitat land in other parts of Coachella Valley.

Kalish said BLM is inviting public comments on the proposed sale through April 26.  An environmental assessment will also be available soon, that will analyze the potential impacts of the land sale.  After evaluating public comments, BLM will publish a final list of tracts to be offered for sale in early May, and expects to hold the competitive sale through a sealed bid process on June 18, 2007.    Minimum bids will be determined through appraisals now underway.

The proposed sale is of scattered tracts of public land surrounded by privately owned land and is consistent with BLM’s California Desert Plan amendment for the Coachella Valley area, completed with full public participation in 2002.  Most of the surrounding tracts were sold to private owners in the 1950s and 1960s, Kalish said.

“These remaining tracts are difficult for BLM to manage and are more suitable for private development purposes under county jurisdiction,” Kalish said.  “By selling them, BLM can use some of the proceeds to acquire sensitive habitat land to benefit threatened and endangered species, making the trade-off a ‘win-win’ for all sides.”

Additional information, including maps and a list of proposed tracts, is available at BLM’s website www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/cdd/CoachellaValleyLandSale.html,  BLM’s California Desert District Office at 22735 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, 951-697-5200, the Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office at 690 W. Garrett Ave., Palm Springs, or via e-mail to Janet_Eubanks@ca.blm.gov or Thomas_Gey@ca.blm.gov.

-BLM-

California Desert District Office
22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553
(951) 697-5217