Public Comment Period for Draft RMP/Draft EIS Closes December 16, 2004.
The 90-day public comment period for the Draft Resource Management Plan (RMP)/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) runs through Thursday, December 16, 2004. To date, about 400 copies of the Draft RMP/Draft EIS have been sent out for review and comment. The entire document can be viewed on-line at:
While supplies last, a printed copy or a copy on CD can be obtained by writing to the CCNM office (see Contact Information below) or by calling 831-372-6115. Comment on the document may be submitted in any of the four following way: (1) mailing them to the address below; (2) e-mailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org; (3) faxing them to 831-647-4244; or (4) submitting them on-line by completing the RMP Response Form found on the CCNM website at:
Public Comment Meetings Completed. The seven public comment meetings associated with the Draft RMP/Draft EIS for the CCNM have been completed. Spread over a four week period, from October 14 to November 4, 2004, meetings were held in San Diego and Long Beach in southern California, Monterey Bay and San Francisco along California’s central coast, and in Northern California at Point Arena, Elk, and Trinidad. Over 200 people participated in the seven meetings. The largest turnout was in Trinidad with over 70 people in attendance. Each meeting began about 7:00 p.m. and ended around 9:00 p.m. Each meeting had a “local host” consisting of a current or potential CCNM partner. The local hosts for each of the meetings were:
- Monterey Bay – Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, California State University
- Point Arena – Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers, Inc.
- Elk – Mendocino District, California Department of Parks & Recreation
- Trinidad – North Coast Redwoods District, California Department of Parks & Recreation
- San Diego – Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
- Long Beach – Aquarium of the Pacific
- San Francisco – Golden Gate National Recreation Area, National Park Service
At most of the meetings, a representative for the local host opened the meeting. Rick Hanks, CCNM Manager, followed the opening comments and introductions with a brief explanation regarding the purpose of the meeting and then, using a PowerPoint presentation, discussed the comment period and the CCNM RMP schedule, explained what the CCNM is and what it is not, and summarized the alternatives in the Draft RMP/Draft EIS, with emphasis on the main points of the Preferred Alternative. The last half of each meeting was a questions and answer session related to the draft plan. The main questions and concerns expressed by the meeting attendees were recorded on flip charts. The summaries of each of the seven meetings are available for review on the CCNM’s website at: www.ca.blm.gov/pa/coastal_monument.
Core-Managing Partners Discuss Steps to Strengthen Partnership & Plan Implementation. On November 10, 2004, after the completion of the seven public comment meetings, the three CCNM’s Core-Managing Partners- -BLM, California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), and California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), met in Sacramento to initiate discussion regarding ways to strengthen the “core-managing” partnership and begin planning for the implementation of the RMP. Representing BLM were CCNM Manager Rick Hanks, Deputy State Director Tony Danna, and California’s National Landscape Conservation System Coordinator Paul Brink. Rick Rayburn, Natural Resources Division Chief, and Lynn Rhodes, Northern Operations Branch Chief, represented the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Marija Vojkovich, Marine Region Assistant Manager, represented the California Department of Fish and Game via telephone, while Paul Kelly from the Office of Spill Prevention and Response and Esther Burkett of the Habitat Conservation Planning Branch provided the DFG presence at the meeting. Hanks gave a brief review of the current memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the three core-managing partners and the “Cooperating Agency” MOUs with DFG and DPR, a background discussion on the focus of the CCNM, and a summary of the Draft RMP/Draft EIS, as well as a brief summary of the results of the recent public comment meetings. He then coordinated an open discussion. Rayburn suggested developing a strategic, but not over-powering, approach for a system of representative areas of the CCNM’s various resource values (e.g., biological, geologic, scenic, and interpretive). Paul Kelly recommended identifying working models of docent and other similar initiative that could be applied to the CCNM (e.g., kayak patrols in Elkhorn Slough). Paul Brink reminded the group that a completed RMP is vital in BLM for identifying what needs to be done and the priorities for doing it, as well as serving as the key link to the BLM’s budgeting system. This sparked a discussion regarding the need for the plan to identify the major goals and objectives for the long-term management of the CCNM and the basic actions needed to carry-out the objectives. It was agreed that the core-managing partners need to place their focus on the development of a Proposed RMP that frames the key elements needed to effectively implement the major goals and objectives for the CCNM. Hanks said that the core-managing partners need to take the lead on this important step in completing the RMP.
BLM Resource Advisory Councils Briefed on CCNM Draft RMP/Draft EIS. Both the Northwest Resource Advisory Council (RAC) and the Central California (CenCal) RAC were provided updates on the CCNM and briefed on the Draft RMP/Draft EIS. The Northwest RAC was briefed twice, once in Arcata on August 13, 2004, a month before the Draft RMP/Draft EIS was released, and again in Ukiah, on November 5, 2004, the morning after the final public comment meeting. The CenCal RAC was briefed at Fort Hunter Leggett on October 15, 2004, the morning after the first public comment meeting. Gateway Communities & Local Focus for the CCNM. The CCNM public comment meetings helped to surface the realization that a key aspect was missing from the major management focus. This missing aspect was the “Local Focus.” As a result, “Community” has been added to “Preservation, Landscape, and Partnerships,” the other three aspects of the CCNM, as the forth aspect. The local focus is key to making all of this work. Without developing community involvement and the sense of community “ownership,” it will be very difficult to effectively manage the CCNM. Success in implementing the CCNM is the establishment and initiation of a series of “CCNM Gateways.” Of the CCNM’s 36 sub-units, 12 of them lend themselves to serve as the initial “CCNM Gateways” or “Gateway Communities” and provide the primary contact locations for what is the CCNM. These 12 initial CCNM gateway communities are (from north to south): 1) Crescent City, 2) Trinidad, 3) Shelter Cove (Lost Coast), 4) Mendocino (Fort Bragg/Mendocino), 5) Elk, 6) Point Arena, 7) Sonoma Coast, 8) Pigeon Point (San Mateo/Santa Cruz coast), 9) Monterey Peninsula, 10) Big Sur, 11) Piedras Blancas (San Luis Obispo North), and 12) Palos Verdes Peninsula. These locations provide a variety of opportunities with a variety of partners and potential partners to serve as key contact points for the CCNM. Each would function as “CCNM Gateways.” As an important part of the implementation of this important aspect of the long-term management of the CCNM, three or four CCNM Gateway Communities could be rolled-out per-year over the first three to four years of implementing the CCNM RMP.
Key Aspects & Major Focus of the CCNM
RFA Expresses Interest in Collaborative Partnership. The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), a non-profit grassroots political action organization, has been offered the opportunity to work with the CCNM as a “Collaborative Partner.” RFA’s mission is to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs, and insure the long-term sustainability of the nation’s marine fisheries. It currently has 85,000 members nationally, and many thousands in coastal California from San Diego to Crescent City. RFA members include private boaters, anglers that fish aboard party boats, shore anglers from rocks and the surf, kayak anglers, free drivers and scuba divers, and even some saltwater anglers who fish from surfboards. With the issuance of the CCNM Draft RMP/Draft EIS, RFA became concerned that the implementation of the RMP could result in the banning of recreational fishing along the entire coast of California. In order to insure that the concerns of the coast recreational anglers become part of the collaborative effort related to the long-term management of the CCNM, CCNM Manager Rick Hanks offered RFA the opportunity to work with the CCNM as a formal collaborative partner. Hanks met with RFA’s West Coast Regional Director Jim Martin on October 20, 2004, in Fort Bragg and provide him with a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) related to a collaborative partnership between RFA and BLM regarding the CCNM. The RFA is currently considering the offer and has expressed the possibility of “fast-tracking” the MOU to enable the RFA to be more actively involved in the development of the final RMP for the CCNM.
RMP Schedule. Assuming every thing goes as planned after the 90-day public comment period has ended, it will take about three months for the CCNM’s Interdisciplinary Team and the BLM’s contractor, Jones and Stokes, to review and analyze the comments and incorporate them into the Proposed RMP and Final EIS for the CCNM. Once these two new documents have been approved to print, they will be put together and sent out for printing. The Proposed RMP and Final EIS for the CCNM should be available to the public sometime during the Spring of 2005. Once it is released, there will be a 30-day protest period where any person who participated in the planning process and has an interest which is or may be adversely affected by the approval of the RMP may file a protest to the BLM Director in Washington, D.C. Also during this time there will be a 60-day Governor’s consistency review. The Governor will have 60 days in which to identify any known inconsistencies with State or local plans, policies, or programs and provide recommendations to the BLM California State Director. If there is not a significant change that needs to be made to the Proposed RMP, a Record of Decision (ROD) will be prepared for approval by the BLM California State Director. The ROD is scheduled to be signed by the State Director in the Summer of 2005. Once the ROD is signed, a Final RMP will be prepared. It is currently planned, that the Final RMP and the ROD will be printed and available for the public late in the Summer of 2005 or early in the Fall of 2005. The projected schedule for the CCNM RMP is, therefore, summarized as follows:
- Proposed RMP & Final EIS Spring 2005
- Record of Decision Summer 2005
- Final RMP Fall 2005
CCNM Manager’s Meetings. Over the past four months, the CCNM Manager met with a variety of individual and groups and discussed various aspects of the CCNM and/or the RMP processes. Some of the key meetings are summarized below:
Contact Information. Any questions, comments, concerns, or requests for additional information? Contact Rick Hanks, CCNM Manager, 299 Foam Street, Monterey, CA 93940, telephone 831-372-6105 or 372-6115, or e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- RAP Meeting (Research Application Panel for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council), Monterey, September 17, 2004 – Attended the by-monthly meeting and presented a PowerPoint presentation on the CCNM and the Draft RMP/Draft EIS. The RAP consists of representatives from the main marine research institutions and organizations on California’s central coast.
- Ocean Laguna – (Ed Almanza, Laguna Beach), Monterey, September 22, 2004 – Ed Almanza, representing Ocean Laguna, dropped by the CCNM office to see what opportunities there might be related to the CCNM and his group. Ocean Laguna is a grassroots initiative consisting a handful of concerned Laguna Beach citizens interested in monitoring and maintaining the long-term health and sustainability of the coastal and intertidal resources in the vicinity of the City of Laguna Beach. The status of the two existing Congressional acts that have withdrawn the Federal rocks off the mainland of Orange County was discussed. Ocean Laguna is currently interested in working on developing local support for an Act of Congress to revoke the 1931 and 1935 withdrawals and including the Orange County off-shore rocks within the CCNM’s jurisdiction.
- Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s Superintendent (Brian O’Neill), San Francisco, September 28, 2004 – Met with Superintendent O’Neill and discussed GGNRA’s success in developing a model partnership initiative and how the GGNRA’s “stewardship investment strategy” might be applied to the CCNM.
- SWRIT Meeting (Coastal America’s Southwest Region Implementation Team), San Francisco, September 28, 2004 – Participated in the SWRIT quarterly meeting and discussed various Coastal America projects. In addition to the CCNM as potential Coastal America project, a number of other potential BLM coastal projects that might be considered Coastal America projects (including Samoa Dunes, South Spit, and Lost Coast Headlands in the Arcata Field Office; Stornetta Ranch and the Garcia River wetlands in the Ukiah Field Office; and Piedras Blancas Lighthouse and Light Station vegetation restorations).
- CI-CORE (Toby Garfield, Associate Professor of Oceanography & Director of Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University), Monterey, October 1, 2004 – Dr. Newell (Toby) Garfield visited the CCNM office for an initial meeting to discuss potential links between CI-CORE and the CCNM. CI-CORE is The California State University’s (CSU’s) Center for Integrative Coastal Observation, Research and Education program involving ten of the 23 CSU campuses. CI-CORE has been integrated into NOAA’s Coastal Ocean Technology System (COTS), a national federation of observing systems overseen designed to meet a broad set of national priorities as articulated by NOAA and Oceans.US. These include the monitoring of algal blooms, coastal runoff and erosion, invasive species, fisheries, nutrients, temperature, and salinity within a framework of remotely sensed high-resolution ocean color and bathymetry in an attempt to provide near real-time data of relevance to important problems in the coastal marine environment. In addition to COTS, CI-CORE’s “strategic partners” include two of the CCNM’s partners, NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, including SIMoN (Sanctuary Intergrated Monitoring Network), and California Department of Fish and Game, as well as the National Science Foundation and California’s Regional Water Quality Control Broad. In addition, the Romberg Tiburon Center, located on the Tiburon Peninsula on San Francisco Bay, is San Francisco State’s marine field station with a mission to perform basic scientific research and education and train the next generation of scientists.
- Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (Larry Fukuhara, Programs Director), San Pedro, October 28, 2004 – On the recommendation of Holly Starr, Rancho Palos Verdes Recreational Services Manager, CCNM Manager Hanks met with Larry Fukuhara to discuss future opportunities to connect with the aquarium’s whale watching volunteers regarding assisting the CCNM with monitoring pinnipeds and/or seabirds along the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is the City of Los Angeles’ aquarium and is located at the foot of the southern end of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in San Pedro. Future opportunities to link the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium with the initiative to develop the first CCNM “Gateway Community” on the Palos Verdes Peninsula was also discussed.
- National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA (Marty Golden, Recreational Fishing Specialist, & Monica DeAngelis, Marine Mammal Biologist), NMFS Pacific Regional Office, Long Beach, October 28, 2004 – Visited the Southwest Regional Office of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and met with Martin (Marty) Golden and Monica DeAngelis. Although stationed in Long Beach, Marty is the Pacific Recreational Fisheries Coordinator under the Recreational Fisheries Branch of the Office of Constituent Services out of NMFS’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Monica on the Protected Resources Division of NMFS’s Southwest Region and will coordinate the NMFS’s review of the CCNM Draft RMP/Draft EIS.
- Minerals Management Service, USDI (Maurice Hill, Environmental Coordinator), Camarillo, October 29, 2004 – Met with Maurice Hill, the MMS Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Regional Office contact for the CCNM, to discuss the status of the CCNM Draft RMP/Draft EIS. Maurice will coordinate the MMS review and identify MMS programs (e.g., MARINE, an intertidal monitoring program) that might be good links with the CCNM. Dr. Lisle Reed has retired as MMS’s Pacific OCS Regional Director. Peter Tweedt, the past Deputy Regional Director, has been appointed the new Regional Director and Ellen Aronson, who was serving as the Special Assistant to the Regional Director, has been named the new Deputy Regional Director.
- California Seabird Coordination Meeting, Point Reyes, November 3, 2004 – Attended the coordination meeting with about 30 California seabird researchers and managers from over a dozen Federal, State, academic, and non-governmental organizations. Provided a brief update on the CCNM Draft RMP/Draft EIS, what was presented at the public meetings, and how to comment on the document.
- T/V Command Trust & Seabird Disturbance Meeting, Point Reyes, November 4, 2004 – Ten trustee representatives met to discuss the status of the T/V Command Trust Restoration Project and the $1.2 million for seabird disturbance initiatives, including monitoring, law enforcement, and outreach. The area of the project is for Point Reyes south to the Hurricane/Castle Rock area in Big Sur. Although the majority of the seabird nesting and roosting habitat of this area is within the CCNM, it appears that a decision had already be made that another Federal agency other than the CCNM will be given the opportunity to oversee this seabird disturbance initiative.
CCNM in the News. As a result of the CCNM Draft RMP/Draft EIS and associated public comment meetings, the CCNM received some media exposure. All were interviews with CCNM Manager Rick Hanks. As limited as it was, the media included newspaper, magazine, radio, and even television contacts. These were as follows:
- Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 16, 2004, “Saving the rocks worries some anglers” (Genevieve Bookwalter, interview at Moss Landing).
- Santa Rosa Press Democrat, October 26, 2004, “Coast could be Protected – Sonoma County beaches might become one of 12 gateways in the California Coastal monument” (Carol Benfell, telephone interview).
- KIEM TV (NBC affiliate), Eureka, October 21, 2004, 6 pm pre-meeting (Trinidad) advance story and 11 pm post-meeting story (Jennifer Gonzales, taped interview in Arcata).
- Sea Magazine (“America’s Western Boating Magazine”), October 22, 2004, publication date unknown (Jane Asher, telephone interview).
- KVEC Radio, San Luis Obispo, November 10, 2004 (morning anchor Paul Kelly, live morning 10-minute telephone interview).
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