NCA Resource Management Plans & Plan Amendment
National Conservation Area Resource Management Plans
In response to the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 ( the Act), P.L.111-11., the St. George Field Office (SGFO) is preparing Resource Management Plans for the 63,500 acre Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area (NCA) and the 45,000 acre Red Cliffs NCA, on public lands in Washington County, Utah.
The Congressionally-defined purposes of the new NCAs are: “to conserve, protect, and enhance for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations the ecological, scenic, wildlife, recreational, cultural, historical, natural, educational, and scientific resources” of each unit. Public input is needed to assist the St. George Field Office to identify alternatives for long term NCA management that are consistent with the goals of resource conservation and protection. Issues to be considered in the RMPs will include:
- Resource protection and desired future conditions;
- Species conservation;
- Habitat restoration;
- Research needs and opportunities;
- Sustainable recreation;
- Interpretation and public education.
Amendment of the SGFO 1999 Resource Management Plan
The Act also directed the St. George Field Office to identify areas in Washington County where “biological conservation is a priority” and to “undertake activities to conserve and restore plant and animal species and natural communities within such areas.” To fulfill this mandate, the St. George Field Office Resource Management Plan, approved in 1999, must be amended to designate additional Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) for the conservation of biological resources and natural communities. The public is invited to provide information about at risk species and areas where conservation could be a priority and to nominate these areas for consideration as ACECs.
The RMP Amendment will also evaluate the area designations for motorized off-highway vehicle (OHV) travel and make needed revisions. In 1999, public lands in Washington County were designated as “open” (OHV cross-country travel authorized); “limited” (OHV travel limited to designated routes, types of vehicles, seasons of use, etc.); or “closed” (OHV travel prohibited). Public input is needed to identify the diverse OHV uses that are currently taking place on public lands, the presence of sensitive resources and public lands values, and potential conflicts with other uses.
The RMP planning efforts will involve local, county, State, and Tribal governments and members of the public.
Note: An Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared to analyze the impacts to the human environment related to the new Resource Management Plans for the Beaver Dam Wash and Red Cliffs NCAs and the Amendment to the St. George Field Office Resource Management Plan. The anticipated release of the Record of Decision is 2015.