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Planning Process

The following chart depicts the planning steps as well as the NEPA documentation requirements for the EIS-level planning process. This process is used for the development of new RMP and EIS-supporting documents. 

*** Click on the boxes below for a more detailed description ***

 * These steps may be revisited throughout the planning process and may overlap other steps.*


Identify Issues:  

Identify issues or land use problems that need to be resolved. This is an ongoing process that ties to the NEPA scoping process.

Develop Planning Criteria:
Planning criteria establish constraints and guides for the planning process; streamline the process; establish standards, rules and measures; set the scope of inventory and data collection; identify the range of alternatives; and estimate the extent of analysis. Preliminary planning criteria developed by the BLM can be modified through public comment.

Issue Notice of Intent (NOI)/Scoping:
Publish the NOI in the Federal Register, local media, mailings, etc. The NOI identifies the preliminary issues and planning criteria and provides for a 30-day public review and comment period. This is also the start of the formal NEPA scoping process inviting the public to identify issues or land use problems that need to be resolved. In addition to the Federal Register notice, solicit ideas through mailings, newspaper articles, public meetings, and workshops. Gather, screen and evaluate ideas from public, private and internal sources. Summarize the issues to guide the planning process.

Collect Inventory Data:
Collect inventory data based on the planning criteria. Data are generally collected from existing sources. New data collection is limited to what is needed to resolve the planning issues identified.

Analyze the Management Situation (MSA):
Gather information on the current management situation, describe pertinent physical and biological characteristics and evaluate the capability and condition of the resource. This analysis provides a reference for developing and evaluating alternatives.

Formulate Alternatives:
Identify a range of reasonable combinations of resource uses and management practices. Develop reasonable alternatives that address issues identified during scoping and that offer a distinct choice among potential management strategies. Include a no action alternative.

Estimate Effects of Alternatives:
Estimate the impacts of each alternative on the environment and management situation.

Select the Preferred Alternative:
The Field Manager recommends to the State Director a preferred alternative that best resolves planning issues and promotes balanced multiple use objectives. The State Director approves the selection of the preferred alternative along with the other alternatives under consideration.

Issue Draft RMP/EIS
Publish the Notice of Availability (NOA) in the Federal Register, media, mailings, etc. The NOA notifies the public of the availability of the Draft RMP EIS and provides for a 90-day public review and comment period.

Issue Proposed RMP EIS:
Evaluate comments and make any modifications needed. Publish a second NOA and file a copy of the proposed RMP/Final EIS with the EPA. This initiates the 30-day protest period under 43 CFR 1610.5-2.

Governor's Consistency Review:
Simultaneously initiate a 60-day Governor’s review to identify inconsistencies with state or local plans.

Protests:
The State Director may sign and implement that portion of the plan not under protest.

Notice of Significant Change:
When a protest period or consistency review results in significant changes to the proposed plan, issue a Notice of Significant Change providing an additional 30-day comment period.

Plan Approval:
Once protests have been resolved and the Governor’s consistency review has been completed, the State Director approves the RMP by signing the record of Decision (ROD).

Monitor and Evaluate the RMP:
Ensure that the plan is continually monitored and evaluated until it is replaced.