GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management today began the public review and comment period on the Draft Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the 1.2 million-acre Grand Junction Field Office.
When finalized, the plan will provide a framework to guide subsequent management decisions for the next several decades on more than 1 million surface acres and 1.2 million acres of subsurface mineral estate administered by the BLM Field Office primarily in Mesa and Garfield counties, with small amounts in Montrose and Rio Blanco counties.
The Draft RMP analyzes four potential management plans, known as alternatives, to promote discussion and understanding of the different ways the BLM could manage lands and minerals in the future. These alternatives cover all aspects of BLM land and mineral management within the Grand Junction Field Office boundaries, including recreation, travel management, energy development, resource protection, wildlife habitat, special designations, grazing, and realty actions.
“We’ve worked hard with our partners to craft a wide range of alternatives for public review and comment,” said Katie Stevens, acting Field Manager for the Grand Junction Field Office. “We only revise these plans about every two decades, so this is a really important opportunity to make your voice heard about how public lands are managed in the Grand Junction Field Office.”
BLM will host three public open houses to provide the public an opportunity to learn to navigate the document, ask questions, and provide written comment on the Draft. The public can stop by anytime between 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the following locations:
· Jan. 29; Collbran Auditorium, 102 Main St., Collbran
· Jan. 30; DeBeque Community Center, 381 Minter Ave., DeBeque
· Jan. 31; Clarion Inn, 755 Horizon Dr., Grand Junction
· Feb. 5; Gateway Community Center, 42700 Hwy 141, Gateway
· Feb. 7; Fruita Civic Center, 325 Aspen Ave, Fruita
For additional information including how to provide comments or view a copy of the Draft RMP, visit http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/gjfo/rmp.html.
The formal 90-day public comment period will begin when the Notice of Availability publishes in the Federal Register, which is currently scheduled for Jan. 25, 2013. Hard copies and CDs will be available after this date as well. The comment period will close on April 25, 2013.
“We welcome all thoughts and comments, but specific comments that go beyond simply stating a preference or position will be particularly useful in helping us refine this Draft into a Proposed RMP,” Stevens said. “Tell us what you think of specific aspects of the alternatives – and why.”
While one of the alternatives is labeled the Preferred Alternative, none of the alternatives represents the final decision. The BLM will use the public comments to help develop a Proposed RMP/Final EIS, which is scheduled for release next winter. In development of the Proposed RMP, the BLM may select various management actions from each of the alternatives analyzed in this Draft RMP/EIS.
Before including address, phone number, e-mail address, or any other personal identifying information in your comments, be advised that your entire comment, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While individuals may request BLM to withhold personal identifying information from public view, the BLM cannot guarantee it will be able to do so.
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. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs. The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends. In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.