U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
California Desert District Office
|Release Date: 06/17/13|
|News Release No. CA-CDD-13-45|
BLM Issues Final Plan for Managing Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today released its final decision for managing about 215,000 acres of BLM-administered public lands in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area and surrounding public lands in southeastern Imperial County, Calif. The Approved Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area Management Plan, which is accompanied by a Record of Decision, also includes amendments to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan.
The plan and associated amendments address potential impacts of the recreation area’s high level of visitation on biological resources, wilderness, areas of critical environmental concern, cultural resources, renewable energy and public health and safety. The plan includes measures to provide recreation opportunities for thousands of visitors by making nearly 180,000 acres (about 84% of the planning area) available for off-highway vehicle (OHV) use, while protecting critical habitat for the threatened Peirson’s Milkvetch by closing the plant’s habitat in the recreation area (about11,670 acres) to off-highway vehicle use.
“More than a million people flock to this unique desert landscape each year to enjoy responsible, family-based off-highway vehicle recreation, stunning scenery and wilderness solitude,” said Jim Kenna, BLM California State Director. “This final plan benefited from thorough scientific review and important public feedback, and it will ensure the great family tradition of OHV recreation will continue at Imperial Sand Dunes as we protect key desert habitat.”
The final plan is based on new species and habitat inventories, other scientific data, and a new determination by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding Peirson’s Milkvetch critical habitat. Under a U.S. District Court settlement agreement in October 2000, the BLM closed about 49,300 acres to motorized vehicle use in five selected areas of the recreation area to protect the Peirson’s Milkvetch until a new plan was approved and filed with the court.
Per the court order, all injunctive relief, including the closures, will remain in effect for 90 days after the date the BLM signs and issues the Record of Decision. During this time, the BLM will continue to enforce the closures, distribute brochures and maps to the public, and post closure maps and notices at kiosks as necessary, among other actions. Once the injunction is removed, the BLM will manage the area pursuant to the approved Recreation Area Management Plan.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2012, activities on public lands generated $4.6 billion in revenue, much of which was shared with the States where the activities occurred. In addition, public lands contributed more than $112 billion to the U.S. economy and helped support more than 500,000 jobs.
California Desert District Office 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos Moreno Valley, CA 92553
|Last updated: 06-19-2013|
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