On March 12, 2019, President Trump signed the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Public Law 116-9 also known as the Dingell Act), a comprehensive public land management bill with over 170 separate sections that affect almost every state in the nation.
The Act has a number of California-specific provisions, including the Santa Ana River Wash Plan Land Exchange and California Desert Protection and Recreation. The Santa Ana River Wash Plan Land Exchange section directs the Department of the Interior to exchange BLM-managed public land in San Bernardino County for lands owned by the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District. The exchange would consolidate land ownership to facilitate mineral development, flood control, groundwater recharge, recreation, and improved habitat for threatened and endangered species.
The California Desert Protection and Recreation provisions largely affects the California Desert Conservation Area, the act designates five off-highway vehicle recreation areas, expands three OHV areas, including the existing Johnson Valley OHV area, establishes five new wilderness areas, expands four existing wilderness areas, adds segments of five rivers to the National Wild and Scenic River System, transfers approximately 38,000 acres of BLM-managed land to the National Park Service, creates the Vinagre Wash Special Management Area in Imperial County and creates the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area in Inyo County.
In addition, the Act transfers the approximately 1,000 acre Table Mountain wilderness study area in San Diego County to the state of California. The BLM California is coordinating implementation of each of these provisions with affected local, state and federal agencies and stakeholders.