For Release: May 1, 2008
Contact: Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332
BLM Approves Land Use Plans for Northeast California Region
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved three resource management plans (RMP) guiding future management of nearly three million acres of public land in northeast California and far northwest Nevada.
BLM California State Director Mike Pool signed three records of decision putting the plans into effect for lands managed by the Alturas, Eagle Lake (Susanville) and Surprise (Cedarville) field offices.
"These plans reflect years of work by the BLM staffs and interested members of the public," Pool said. "We appreciate the public's interest and involvement through the entire planning process."
Pool particularly commended work by county governments, tribes and state agencies which were formal cooperating agencies in the planning process, and by the BLM's Northeast California Resource Advisory Council, which helped with drafting land use alternatives and reviewing drafts.
The RMPs replace several outdated land use plans and outline management direction for the next 20 years. The RMPs address a wide variety of issues, including management of vegetation for habitat and forage, designation of routes for off-highway travel and delineation of areas that need special management consideration.
BLM Planning Team Leader Sue Noggles said the documents have been mailed to requesters. Documents can also be reviewed online at www.blm.gov/ca/alturas, www.blm.gov/ca/eaglelake, and www.blm.gov/ca/surprise. Printed and compact disc versions are available by contacting the BLM’s Alturas, Eagle Lake or Surprise field offices.
The new RMPs provide management direction in several important areas:
- Livestock grazing: The plans authorize approximately 209,000 animal unit months (AUMs) of grazing on nearly three million acres of public lands. The total available forage is about the same as allowed in earlier land use plans. An AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and calf, one horse or five sheep or goats for a month.
- Special Areas: The plans designate 17 Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) where BLM management will focus on conserving significant or unique natural resources such as plants, wildlife habitat, cultural resources or outstanding scenery.
- Wild and Scenic Rivers: Segments of Upper Smoke Creek, Twelve Mile Creek, the Pit River and Lower Horse Creek were determined suitable for designation as wild and scenic rivers. Designations can be made only by Congress.
- Recreation: A total of seven special recreation management areas were established where the BLM will emphasize public opportunities for hunting, fishing, camping, recreational driving, mountain biking, hiking and other pursuits.
- Wind energy development: The plans incorporate the BLM’s National Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Wind Energy (http://windeis.anl.gov/eis/index.cfm) which contains broad guidance for development. The RMPs do not analyze specific wind energy development proposals. The environmental impacts of proposed wind projects will be analyzed with full public involvement.
- Wild horses and burros: The RMPs call for maintaining the 13 herd management areas now in place. The plans do not set animal population levels. BLM determines herd sizes based on resource conditions.
- Off-Highway Vehicles: With few exceptions, the RMPs limit vehicles to designated roads and trails. Those who disagree with the travel route designations can appeal the decisions to the Interior Board of Land Appeals. Procedures for filing appeals are contained in the "Dear Reader" letter accompanying the RMPs.
- Fuels: The RMPs contain broad direction for actions that will help prevent catastrophic wildfire in wildlife habitat and near communities.
- Wildlife: Each plan outlines how the BLM will conserve wildlife habitat. They include by reference the habitat improvement goals contained in a region-wide, multi-agency management strategy for restoring sage-steppe ecosystems across northeast California.
Northern California Public Affairs 2950 Riverside Drive Susanville, CA 96130