U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
EMS TRANSMISSION 08/30/2007
Instruction Memorandum No. 2007-176
To: All Assistant Directors, All Field Officials
Attention: Outdoor Recreation Planners/Engineers/Land Use Planners/Surface Protection Specialists/Fire Management Officers/Range Conservationists/Realty Specialists/Foresters
Subject: Temporary Route Definition
Program Areas: Land Use Planning, Environmental Assessments, Travel and Transportation Management, Recreation and Visitor Services, Property, Engineering, Minerals and Energy Development, Range, Vegetation Management, Forestry and Woodlands, Lands and Realty, National Landscape Conservation System, and Fire Management.
Purpose: This directiveestablishes the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) policyfor the use of the term “temporary route” and defines this term for use within the BLM. Establishing this term within the BLM for use in multiple use-management will complement comprehensive travel and transportation management, especially since this term will be implemented on an agency-wide basis.
Policy/Action: The BLM will implement the following “temporary route” definition throughout the entire agency. The use of consistent terminology and definitions within the BLM is a vital first step in the BLM’s efforts to take a holistic approach to the management of transportation-related linear features. This term and definition will serve as the foundation for effectively exchanging management information within and across programs. Standard terms will also allow the BLM to communicate efficiently and consistently during all levels of transportation planning as well as with customers and stakeholders. The following actions will be taken to implement this policy:
The term “temporary routes” is defined as:
“Are short-term overland roads, primitive roads or trails authorized or acquired for the development, construction or staging of a project or event that has a finite lifespan. Temporary routes are not intended to be part of the permanent or designated transportation network system and must be reclaimed when their intended purpose(s) has been fulfilled. Temporary routes should be constructed to minimum standards necessary to accommodate the intended use; the intent is that the project proponent (or their representative) will reclaim the route once the original project purpose or need has been completed. Temporary routes are considered emergency, single use or permitted activity access. Unless they are specifically intended to accommodate public use, they should not be made available for that use. A temporary route will be authorized or acquired for the specific time period and duration specified in the written authorization (permit, right-of-way, lease, contract etc.) and will be scheduled and budgeted for reclamation to prevent further vehicle use and soil erosion from occurring by providing adequate drainage and re-vegetation."
Please keep in mind that complete reclamation of all temporary routes may not be desired or necessary in all situations. When temporary routes are required for periodic use it may be more desirable to close the temporary route to use, assure proper hydrologic functioning of the road bed, and re-vegetate according to the prescription approved in the authorization than it would be to re-contour soils and slopes to original conditions. In addition, sometimes the BLM allows the temporary route proponent to participate in approved off-site mitigation measures in lieu of reclaiming the temporary route. This type of off-site mitigation is subject to the approval of the BLM’s authorized officer.
One of the recommendations and decisions in the previously issued “Roads and Trails Terminology Report” Instruction Memorandum (IM) No.WO-2006-173 dated June 16, 2006 is that the BLM will implement a formal approach to identify, track, monitor, prioritize and fund the removal of unwanted transportation-related linear features. The requirement to reclaim temporary routes, and identify a responsible party, and source of funds meets the requirement identified in the above mentioned IM and provides a formal approach for temporary route removal.
Time Frame: This policy is effective immediately. Additional guidance will be provided for implementing the actions identified above.
Budget Impact: Minimal.
Background: It is essential that the BLM have consistent terminology and definitions for effective comprehensive travel and transportation management. The BLM’s transportation system represents one of the most critical assets to the accomplishment of the agency’s mission to manage the public lands; however not all transportation related linear features need to be permanent facilities. Allowing temporary routes with a defined lifespan and planned reclamation program to be constructed on public lands supports conservation of natural resources and minimizes unnecessary permanent construction of transportation related infrastructure and its associated maintenance costs and potential for environmental degradation.
Requirements associated with the BLM’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Handbook and the Categorical Exclusion (CX) review process address the use of temporary roads. In addition, CX actions associated with emergency stabilization and routine vegetation management also reference temporary road construction. The successful stewardship of public lands requires the use of temporary routes for effective natural resource management. The Government Performance and Results Act, Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and Off-Road Vehicle Executive Orders continue to focus expectations internally and externally on a coordinated, consistent and cohesive approach to the management of transportation related linear features, including both temporary and permanent facilities.
The broad effect of the transportation system on the BLM’s multiple-resource missions, strategic goals, and programs makes it essential to have a consistent organization-wide approach, rooted in common terms and definitions, for the management of public lands.
Directives Affected: The BLM’s NEPA Handbook, BLM’s 1601 Land Use Planning Handbook, 9100 Series Engineering Manuals, BLM “Goldbook”, BLM’s H-1601 Land Use Planning Handbook, BLM, Manuals Sections 8340, 8341 and 8342, Off-Highway Vehicles.
Coordination: The BLM’s Division of National Recreation and Visitor Services (WO-250) and the Division of Engineering and Environmental Services (WO-360) coordinated the preparation of this IM. The Division of National Fluid Minerals, Division of National Planning and Science Policy, Division of National Lands and Realty, Division of National Forest and Woodlands, Division of National Rangeland Resource, Office of National Landscape Conservation System, BLM State Travel Management Coordinators and the U.S. Forest Service were contacted for input on this policy.
Contact: Bob Ratcliffe, Chief, Division of National Recreation and Visitor Services (WO-250) phone 202-452-5040 or Nancy Dean, Chief, Division of Engineering and Environmental Services (WO-360) phone 202-557-3585.