News Release

For Release:  March 18, 2008                                                            
Contact:  Stephen Razo 951-697-5217; email: srazo@ca.blm.gov
CA-CDD-08-31

BLM to Revise Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Management Plan

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today it will initiate an amendment to the California Desert District Conservation Area Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in Imperial County, California. A revised recreation management plan (RAMP) is needed to replace the existing management plan which has been in place since 1987 and has become outdated as a result of the federal listing of and designation of critical habitat for Peirson's milk-vetch as a threatened species, designation of the North Algodones Dunes as wilderness, and substantial changes in visitor use.
 
This announcement begins the scoping process which invites public participation and schedules public meetings.  All public meetings will be announced through the local news media, newsletters, and the BLM Web site (http://www.blm.gov/ca) at least 15 days prior to the event. Written comments and resource information should be submitted within 30 calendar days of the last scheduled public scoping meeting.  Public scoping meetings will be held in San Diego and El Centro California as well as Phoenix, Arizona in order to ensure local community participation and input.
 
A previous 2005 RAMP was set aside by a Federal Court order in 2006 and remanded to BLM for further action, as was the previous U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) critical habitat designation. On February 14, 2008, the FWS published a final rule revising critical habitat for the federally threatened Peirson’s milk-vetch. Steven Borchard, BLM Desert District manager, previously stated that it would be in the public interest to await completion of the revised final critical habitat rule before initiating revision of the RAMP.
 
“We anticipate an accelerated schedule for preparing the EIS and the revised RAMP for public review, given the tremendous amount of data and public input on the earlier documents,” Borchard said.  “BLM and the FWS will continue to closely coordinate on development of alternatives for the revised RAMP as we have in the past.  We will be seeking the public’s input as well as we embark on this planning process.”
 
Comments, including names and addresses of respondents, will be available for public review at the El Centro Field Office during normal working hours (7:45 AM to 4:15 PM, except holidays), and may be published as part of the EIS or other related documents. The planning documents and direct supporting record for the analysis and RAMP will be available for inspection at the El Centro Field Office during normal working hours. Historical records may also be posted on the BLM internet site to facilitate public access.
 
Comments should be sent to Erin R. Dreyfuss, Planning and Environmental Coordinator, El Centro Field Office, California Desert District, Bureau of Land Management, 1661 South 4th Street, El Centro, CA 92243.  To review the FWS revised final critical habitat rule, contact the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office at 760-431-9440 or download the rule at http://www.regulations.gov/.

-BLM-

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