Eastern Washington Management Plan Issues
Through internal analysis, the BLM has identified the preliminary issues listed below. After receiving and analyzing public comments during the scoping period, we will determine whether these preliminary issues should be modified or supplemented.
- How will shrub-steppe, and its associated riparian and wetland habitats be managed to maintain, improve, or restore healthy plant and wildlife communities? Shrub-steppe habitats support a unique assemblage of plants and wildlife, and associated riparian wetland habitats, many of which are declining, causing its designation as a “priority habitat” for the state of Washington and triggering national initiatives to conserve and maintain shrub steppe communities.
- How should the BLM manage public lands with consideration of uses of adjacent lands given the mixed ownership pattern in the planning area? BLM lands in the planning area consist of scattered tracts and isolated blocks, varying in size from a few acres to over 19,000 contiguous acres. These tracts and blocks are adjacent to, and intermixed with private lands, other state and federal public lands, and Tribal lands. Uses or activities on BLM or adjacent lands can affect or conflict with uses and activities on the other. It is usually not possible to accomplish landscape level management objectives without complementary management across ownerships. In many areas, BLM lands are the only public lands available; and thus, there is a high demand for multiple and sometimes conflicting uses within the limited area.
- How should the BLM manage multiple uses and resources that have changed, or that occur on lands that were either not administered by the BLM or were not within the planning area when the current RMP was developed? The BLM has acquired more than 130,000 acres of land in the planning area since 1987. Additionally, there is no RMP for public lands administered by the BLM in the San Juan Archipelago.
- How should the BLM facilitate energy development while still allowing for multiple uses and appropriate protection of public lands and resources? If the BLM is to provide opportunities for energy (renewable and non-renewable) development, to include associated transmission lines and pipelines, it must also provide protection for other resources, such as visual, cultural, and habitat values.
Preliminary Planning Criteria
Planning criteria are also used to define the scope of the planning process. Planning criteria set the side-boards for what will or will not be addressed in the RMP/EIS. The BLM has developed the following preliminary planning criteria for this RMP/EIS:
- The BLM will protect resources in accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), and other applicable laws and regulations.
- The BLM will strive to make land use plan decisions compatible with existing plans and policies of adjacent local, state, Federal, and tribal agencies, and consistent with other applicable laws and regulations governing the administration of public land.
- The plan will recognize valid existing rights within the Planning Area.
- Land use plan decisions will apply to BLM lands and split-estate minerals administered by the BLM.
- The BLM will use a collaborative and multi-jurisdictional approach, when practical, to jointly determine the desired future conditions of public lands.
- The plan will recognize the state’s authority to manage wildlife.
- The plan will incorporate the BLM Oregon and Washington Rangeland Health Standards and Guidelines.