U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Planning with the Community|
BLM recognizes that individuals, communities, and governments working together toward commonly understood objectives yields a significant improvement in the stewardship of public lands. Benefits of building collaborative partnerships include improving communication, developing a greater understanding of different perspectives, and finding solutions to issues and problems. Disengaged communities often result in litigation, political posturing, and back-door maneuvers which are not constructive to the agency or the public.
A collaborative approach to planning entails BLM working together with tribal, state, and local governments, Federal agencies; and other interested parties, from the earliest stages and continuing throughout the planning process. The BLM Little Snake Field Office (LSFO) is prepared to openly communicate with the public and invite participation in all aspects of the planning effort. Various stakeholders will be involved in this planning effort.
The Northwest Colorado Stewardship (NWCOS) will be a key participating body in this planning effort as an independent, community-centered stewardship group. NWCOS was established in April 2003 with the mission of fostering a working relationship between a diverse range of interests and empowering the affected public with greater input to the decision making process for federal land management. NWCOS is a community group independent of BLM or any agency. Participation in NWCOS is open to anyone interested. NWCOS is lead by a balanced Planning Committee of three members, with one representative from a resource user interest, one from an environmental or cultural interest, and one from the public-at-large. NWCOS will help define how they participate throughout the planning process and not just in the traditional public participation stages, such as formal scoping. From informal and formal scoping exercises, to engaging in an exercise to envision the future conditions of public lands and how to realize that vision - NWCOS is working closely with the BLM. Learn more about NWCOS.
The Northwest Colorado Resource Advisory Council (NWRAC), a 15-member council, will also provide advice and recommendations to the BLM throughout the process. In general, Resource Advisory Councils (RACs) are advisory groups chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). They advise the BLM regarding the preparation, amendment, and implementation of land use plans for public lands and resources within a jurisdictional area. The NWRAC has established a sub-committee to participate specifically in the revision process. NWRAC operates on the principle of collaborative decision-making and strives for consensus before making official recommendations.
Cooperating agency status provides a formal framework for governmental units – local, state, tribal, or Federal – to engage in active collaboration with a lead Federal agency to implement the requirements of NEPA. In principle, a cooperating agency shares the responsibility with the lead agency for organizing the planning process. Within the constraints of time and resources, cooperating agency staff should be encouraged to participate with BLM staff as member of the plan/EIS team.
BLM has requested Cooperating Agency Status for the RMP revision from Moffat County, Routt County, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, City of Craig, City of Steamboat Springs, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Juniper Water Conservancy District, City of Yampa, City of Oak Creek, and City of Hayden. Moffat County, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Juniper Water Conservancy, and the City of Steamboat Springs accepted the invitation and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been drafted between the BLM and these agencies. This MOU outlines responsibilities of the cooperating agencies, and resources they can contribute to the planning effort.
The general public has a stake in the management of public lands. As a public resource management agency, BLM makes every effort to ensure that attitudes, beliefs, needs, values, and concerns of local, regional, and National interests are considered when making land use decisions. The BLM encourages community members to get involved throughout the RMP planning process, ask questions, attend meetings, and provide valuable public input.