U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Cody & Worland Field Offices|
Wind River/Bighorn Basin District
Public Scoping Information & Materials
Scoping Period: October 17, 2008 – November 24, 2008
Bighorn Basin Public Scoping Meetings
An RMP is a land use plan that provides a framework for managing Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-administered lands over the next 15 to 20 years. The BLM issued a Notice of Intent on October 17, 2008 to prepare the Bighorn Basin (BB) Resource Management Plan (RMP) Revision and associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The BB RMP Revision Project is a combined effort revising RMPs for both the BLM Cody and BLM Worland Field Offices. Public lands within the field offices are currently managed according to three RMPs: the Washakie RMP (1988) and Grass Creek RMP (1998) for the Worland Field Office; and the Cody RMP (1990). The field offices will produce a single RMP/EIS encompassing both field offices that will be called the Bighorn Basin RMP Project. Each field office will issue its own Record of Decision for its jurisdictional area.
The Bighorn Basin RMP will:
This planning process will fulfill the needs and obligations set forth by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), and BLM management policies. The BLM will work collaboratively with interested parties to identify the management decisions that are best suited to local, regional, and national needs and concerns.
The BLM will use an interdisciplinary approach to develop the RMPs to ensure consideration of the variety of resource issues and concerns identified. Specialists with expertise in the following disciplines will be involved in the planning process: rangeland management, minerals and geology, renewable energy, forestry, outdoor recreation, archaeology, paleontology, caves and karsts, wildlife and fisheries, lands and realty, hydrology, soils, sociology, special management areas, hazardous materials, wild horses, and economics.
The Planning Area for the Project includes lands within the BLM Worland and Cody Field Offices’ administrative boundaries, in all of Big Horn, Park and Washakie Counties, and most of Hot Springs County in north-central Wyoming. The Planning Area includes all lands, regardless of jurisdiction; however, the BLM will only make decisions on lands that fall under the BLM’s jurisdiction. Lands within the Planning Area under BLM’s jurisdiction make up the Decision Area. The Decision Area consists of BLM-administered surface, totaling 3.2 million acres, and mineral estate, totaling 4.2 million acres. The Planning Area includes 12 wilderness study areas (WSAs), nine Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs), two areas of Special Designation, and seven Special Recreation Management Areas.
Planning criteria are based on laws and regulations, guidance provided by the BLM Wyoming State Director, results of consultation and coordination with the public, input from other agencies and governmental entities, and Indian tribes, analysis of information pertinent to the planning area, public input, and professional judgment.
Planning criteria are the constraints or ground rules that are developed to guide and direct the revision of the RMPs. The planning criteria serve to: ensure the planning effort is consistent with and incorporates legal requirements; provide for management of all resource uses in the planning area; focus on the issues; identify the scope and parameters of the planning effort; inform the public of what to expect from the planning effort; and help ensure the RMP revision process is accomplished efficiently.
Preliminary planning criteria are:
Preliminary issues and management concerns have been identified by BLM personnel, other agencies, and in meetings with individuals and user groups. They represent the BLM’s knowledge to date regarding the existing issues and concerns with current land management. The major issues that will be addressed in this planning effort include:
The BLM is requesting input from the public on these and additional planning issues.
The purpose of the public scoping process is to identify issues and planning criteria that should be considered in the RMP and EIS and to initiate public participation in the planning process. BLM personnel will be present at scoping meetings to explain the planning process and other requirements for preparing an RMP and EIS.
You may submit comments on issues and planning criteria in writing to the BLM at any public scoping meeting, or you may submit them to the BLM by mail or by e-mail. To be most helpful, you should submit formal scoping comments during the comment period. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, are available for public inspection in their entirety. The comments and list of attendees for each scoping meeting will be available to the public for 30 days after the scoping period to clarify the views expressed.
Comments received during scoping will be placed in one of three categories:
The BLM will provide a rationale for the categorization of comments in the RMPs. In addition to these major issues, a number of management questions and concerns will be addressed in the RMPs. The public is encouraged to help identify these questions and concerns during the scoping phase.
The BLM requested public comment on issues, planning criteria, and potential alternatives for the Bighorn Basin RMP. While the formal scoping period has ended, mail and email comments are considered throughout the planning process. Please send electronic comments to BBRMP_WYMail@blm.gov.
For further information and/or to have your name added to the project mailing list, contact Caleb Hiner, RMP Project Manager, at the Worland Field Office (307) 347-5171.