Nevada faces most, if not all of the broad issues before BLM today and is a microcosm of many of these national issues: sustainable energy production and renewable energy development (wind, solar, geothermal), energy infrastructure (priority corridors), habitat conservation for sensitive species (sage grouse), healthy forests and rangelands, implementing the National Fire Plan, restoring fire-affected landscapes, developing recreation opportunities and balancing recreation and OHVs uses, water rights, and federal, state, county and local land tenure, to name but a few. Indeed, rapid urban growth presents one of the most challenging planning aspects for BLM in Nevada.
BLM Nevada administers approximately 47,500,000 acres and is currently engaged in its “3rd generation (3G) planning” for all of its land use plans, including major revisions and consolidation of its older land use plans. The “1st Generation” land use plans, known as Management Framework Plans (MFPs) were completed in 1978 – 1982. In 1983, new regulations were promulgated requiring adherence to a formal nine-step planning process and development of an associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). These “2nd Generation” Plans were completed 1985 – 1998 and were mostly issue driven, usually with no more than 4 issues. With development of the Planning Handbook in 1999, all land use plans now must meet higher standards of issue development, resource analysis, and public involvement.
BLM Nevada continues to collaborate with rural communities to address future economic and sustainable development and rural “urbanization” and its attendant issues in its 3G Land Use Plans. Many of these growth issues are closely inter-related with development of County public lands bills.
Other Federal and State agencies, as cooperating agencies, continue to provide valuable input for BLM in the development of new land use plans and assessing effects from other actions affecting public lands and its uses.
BLM Nevada encourages the participation of federal and state agencies, as well as tribal and local governments and counties in collaborative and joint planning in all its 3G planning efforts. Experience has demonstrated that this process, while at times complex and difficult for the involved stakeholders, produces superior plans which address the needs of our public lands users.
The key points of participation for BLM planning efforts are in Scoping, Alternative formulation, and Draft EIS review. Another area communities and agencies can provide valuable participation, is in the development of the “Analysis of the Management Situation”, which identifies social and economic information on current uses, trends, opportunities and constraints, and provides a baseline to develop alternatives for future management of resources and lands.
Local community participation can be most helpful in providing valuable input through the participation of county representatives on planning teams as cooperating agencies, to assist in resolving and coming to consensus on critical or controversial issues raised in the planning process.