In the Spotlight
New Mexico Gas Company Taos Mainline Re-route Project
The BLM is seeking public input on a proposal by the New Mexico Gas Company to relocate a 6-mile section of the Taos Mainline, a natural gas pipeline that serves the communities of Taos, Questa, and Red River in Taos County. The section of the pipeline, located primarily on BLM lands within the Río Grande corridor between the communities of Rinconada and Pilar, is currently stressed by unstable slopes. The BLM is asking that public input be received by December 1. Please see the press release and project overview below for more details.
NOTE: The public scoping period has been extended to December 16, 2014.
Access to Santa Cruz North Lake Facilities to be Restricted
Management Planning for Río Grande del Norte National Monument
The BLM is preparing a management plan for the Río Grande del Norte National Monument which will amend the current land use plan through the preparation of an environmental assessment.
Rio Chama Wilderness Study Area Vegetation Treatment Project
The BLM proposes to restore about 16,300 acres of vegetation predominantly within the Rio Chama Wilderness Study Area in Rio Arriba County using a variety of non-impairing methods. An Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluating this proposal is now being revised in response to comments received during a 30-day public review and comment period that ended on July 16, 2014. A finalized EA and decision document are expected to be posted here soon.
Chimayó Water Tank Project
The BLM is currently finalizing the environmental assessment (EA) (see below) for the proposed Chimayó Water Tank Project in response to public comments. The EA evaluates the potential environmental impacts from a proposal by the Greater Chimayó Mutual Domestic Water Consumer Association to construct a 100,000-gallon water tank on public lands adjacent to the village of Chimayó. The BLM anticipates finalizing the EA and making a decision on the proposal by the end of this year. For more information, contact Brad Higdon at 575-751-4725.
Travel Management Planning to Begin Soon for El Palacio and Sombrillo Areas
The Taos Field Office is preparing to initiate a travel management planning process for El Palacio and Sombrillo transportation areas of Rio Arriba and Santa Fe Counties. This area-specific planning process is preceded by the approval of the Taos Resource Management Plan (RMP) in May 2012, which allocated these areas as “limited to designated routes” and established criteria for designating routes. The planning process will be initiated this fall and will include the following basic steps in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act:
- Route Inventory Validation (with public input).
- Scoping (issue and alternative identification by the public and the BLM).
- Environmental Assessment Preparation (including public review and comment).
- Approval of a Travel Management Plan by the BLM.
- Implementation and Enforcement.
To kick off the planning process, the public will soon be provided an opportunity to review data on existing routes and help validate the accuracy of the inventory. The BLM is also hoping the public will provide information on the uses of the routes during this initial step. Stay tuned for more information.
Taos Resource Management Plan
The Taos Resource Management Plan, now approved, is prepared to provide broad-scale direction for the management of public lands in northern New Mexico administered by the Taos Field Office.