BLM announces updated management strategies for Southeastern Oregon
VALE, Ore. – The Bureau of Land Management today released a proposed resource management plan designed to preserve natural landscapes, primitive recreation, and scenic values in Southeastern Oregon. The proposal, an amendment to the Southeastern Oregon Resource Management Plan, considers resource use and protection across nearly 4.2 million acres, and outlines strategies to better meet the region’s need for recreation and livestock management alongside the protection of its unique natural resources. A draft was released in 2019, in response to a court settlement. Today’s action will be followed by a 30-day protest period and issuance of a Record of Decision.
“This plan amendment is going to help us protect the unique beauty of Southeastern Oregon, ensuring these lands are available for the use and enjoyment of our children and our children’s children,” said Shane DeForest, acting Vale District Manager. “The BLM is committed to ensuring our public lands are resilient, healthy, and capable of supporting the uses the public expects, from recreation to livestock management.”
The BLM considered more than 4,000 comments on the draft resource management plan, released in 2019, and worked closely with Tribal governments, State agencies, the Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council, and members of the public during its analysis to develop the proposed plan amendment released today.
The BLM evaluated more than 1.2 million acres before recommending 417,000 acres be protected under the proposal as lands with wilderness characteristics, including restriction of off-highway vehicle (OHV) travel to existing roads and routes on 319,000 of those protected acres. Cross-country OHV travel would still be permitted on 40,368 acres around Keeney Pass and Bully Creek Reservoir near the community of Vale.
The proposed plan also addresses how rangeland health standards would be implemented across 4.6 million acres of Malheur County when livestock grazing is not a causal factor for non-attainment of the standard. It also clarifies the process for voluntary surrender of grazing permits.
The proposed resource management plan amendment, final environmental impact statement and other information are available on the BLM National NEPA Register website.
The publication of the Notice of Availability of the proposed resource management plan amendment and final environmental impact statement in the Federal Register initiates a 30-day public protest period. All protests must be in writing and filed with the BLM Director, either as a hard copy or electronically via BLM’s National NEPA Register by July 17, 2023. Detailed instructions for filing such a protest with the Director of the BLM are available on the BLM Filing A Plan Protest page.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.