BLM moves to approve proposed land exchange with Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Bureau of Land Management LogoMORENO VALLEY, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management today released a Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision to approve a proposed land exchange between the BLM and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

The land exchange aims to more effectively manage public lands through shared conservation stewardship and robust partnerships between tribal governments and the American people. In particular, the exchange would reduce the extent of “checkerboard” ownership on federal and tribal lands in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, thus providing the BLM and the Tribe with more logical and consistent land management responsibility.

“The land exchange provides a public benefit by consolidating lands within the Monument, while enhancing opportunities for public recreation and facilitating more efficient land management,” said Field Manager Doug Herrema, BLM Palm Springs Field Office.

"It’s an integral part of the long-standing cooperative agreement between the United States and the Tribe that helped create the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains National Monument," Tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe added. "The United States recognizes the Tribe's successful history in managing land and resources."

As described in the Final EIS, the BLM intends to exchange 2,560 acres of federal lands for 1,471 acres of tribal lands, with a BLM cash payment of $50,000 to the tribe to equalize land values and conclude the exchange. The remaining selected federal lands considered for exchange, totaling 3,253 acres, would be retained in public ownership.

The federal parcels to be disposed of are isolated from other BLM-managed public lands, are surrounded by private or tribal land, and do not have legal public access. The parcels to be acquired in the exchange contain trails and, upon transfer to BLM, would increase the amount of accessible trails for public recreation. As such, the exchange would follow Secretarial Order No. 3347 “Conservation Stewardship and Outdoor Recreation,” by increasing outdoor recreational access.

Today’s publication of the Notice of Availability of the Final EIS in the Federal Register and local newspapers initiates a 45-day period for the public to submit comments on the Final EIS and protest the Decision, if desired. Written comments and protests must be filed with the Field Manager, BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office, at the address below or emailed to AguaCalienteExchange@blm.gov. Protests may relate to National Environmental Policy Act documentation or other content in the Decision.  A Final Decision will not be made until the 45-day protest period expires and all protests are resolved.

Copies of the Final EIS and ROD are available for review at the Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office and on the Internet at https://goo.gl/qyjNJa. A compact disc (CD) or paper copy of the Final EIS and ROD may also be obtained by contacting the BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office at 760-833-7100.  Land value appraisals for the Federal and non-Federal lands considered for the proposed land exchange, as well as public comments submitted on the Draft EIS, are available on CD or can be viewed at the Field Office or online at the address above.  

For more information contact Ashley Adams, National Monument Manager, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, Bureau of Land Management - Palm Springs South Coast Field Office, 760-833-7136, or via email at amadams@blm.gov.

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

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Bureau of Land Management, California

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California Desert District Office

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