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Last Updated:
01/17/2014 14:08:15 MST
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BSWI banner with icons depicting resources in the planning area

- The 180-day scoping comment period for the Bering Sea-Western Interior Resource Management Plan (BSWI RMP) began with the Notice of Intent on July 18, 2013 and ended at midnight on January 17, 2014.

- The Public Scoping Report will detail comments received during scoping and be will available on this website under Documents and Reports.

- To learn more about some of the comments and concerns expressed by communities during scoping, please review the Community Meeting Issue Summaries located on the Documents and Reports page.

- To learn more about the planning process, please review the various scoping materials also available on the Documents and Reports page as well as the maps available on the Maps page.


 

 
 
 
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Anchorage Field Office (AFO) is developing a new land use plan that encompasses approximately 62 million acres of land in western Alaska, including 10.6 million acres of BLM-administered land (surface lands and federal minerals). The new Bering Sea-Western Interior (BSWI) Resource Management Plan (RMP) and associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will replace portions of the existing Southwest Management Framework Plan (MFP), approved in 1981 and portions of the Central Yukon RMP Record of Decision (ROD), approved in 1986.
 
Although the 1981 Southwest MFP provides land and resource use and development recommendations, it fails to establish the conditions under which land and resource use and development may occur throughout the entire Planning Area. The MFP is considerably outdated, is not in compliance with current planning regulations and policies, and was never analyzed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Consequently, some of the decisions in the MFP are no longer valid or have been superseded by requirements that did not exist when the MFP was prepared.

The need for the BSWI RMP/EIS is to respond to new planning issues and opportunities, resource concerns, and use demands that have emerged since the approval of the MFP including, but not limited to: new energy frontier projects such as major pipeline, utility corridor, or biofuel developments on public lands; climate change effects on tundra resources, including subsistence resources; high mineral potential and market conditions that are favorable for major extraction projects; increasing demands for transportation corridors; and, with more than 60 villages in the Planning Area, elevating constituent controversy with respect to conflicting uses. As such, the overall objective of the RMP/EIS planning effort is to provide a collaborative planning approach that assists BLM in updating the management decisions in a current RMP.

Description of Planning Area:
The planning area includes all lands south of the Central Yukon watershed to the southern boundary of the Kuskokwim River watershed, and all lands west of Denali National Park and Preserve to the Bering Sea, including Saint Lawrence, Saint Matthew and Nunivak islands (see enclosed map). The BSWI RMP/EIS will provide a framework for managing and allocating uses of public land and resources.

What is a Resource Management Plan?:
An RMP is a land use plan that describes broad multiple-use guidance for managing public lands administered by the BLM. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act directs the BLM to develop such land use plans and to provide for appropriate uses of public lands. Decisions in land use plans guide future land management actions and subsequent site-specific implementation decisions.

The RMP Process:
The BSWI RMP planning process will begin with publication of a Notice of Intent to prepare an RMP in the Federal Register. Publication is anticipated in late summer, 2013. The planning process is expected to take approximately four years to complete. Along with the development of the RMP, an EIS will be developed as part of the planning process to understand the effects of the land management actions proposed on resources found within the Planning Area as well as effects of those actions on public land users.

The scoping period, when the public will be invited to submit their comments, will run from the publication date of the Notice of Intent for a minimum of 90 days or 15 days after the last public scoping meeting, whichever is later. Public involvement is an integral and important part of land use planning. The BLM wants to know how people think their public lands should be used and managed. Opportunities for public involvement and comments are provided throughout the planning process. The BLM uses the information from public and other sources to determine current resource conditions, changes needed in managing these resources, and desired conditions for public lands the AFO manages. Future information regarding upcoming meetings will be placed under the "How to get Involved" tab to the left.

As the project progresses, this web site will include the latest information including background documents, maps, meeting announcements, published bulletins and other documents.