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March 1, 2012
In Reply Refer To:
1610 (210) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2012-074
Expires: 09/30/2013
To:                State Directors Oregon/Washington, California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana/Dakotas, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah
From:            Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject:        Use of ePlanning to Support the National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy
Program Area: Renewable Resources and Planning
Purpose:  This IM provides policy and procedures on the mandatory use of ePlanning to support the National Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy. 
Policy/Actions:  Effective immediately, use of the ePlanning system will be required for all new NEPA/Land Use Plan starts associated with the National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy. The attached ePlanning Support for the Bureau of Land Management’s National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy describes the general approach for using ePlanning in support of this national initiative.
All BLM offices are required to use ePlanning for the development of any new land use plan amendment, supplement or revision initiated as part of the National Greater Sage-Grouse (NGSG) Planning Strategy. The BLM Washington Office (WO) will not require existing or on-going plans to be transitioned into the ePlanning system. The BLM WO estimates that six Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) will be developed during the course of the NGSG planning effort. These new EISs are expected to be developed for land use plan amendments in the following sub-regions:  
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Idaho
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • Montana/Dakotas 
All of these EISs are required to use ePlanning. Wyoming has already begun a similar EIS process. Because this planning effort was started prior to the initiation of the NGSG Planning Strategy, the use of ePlanning is not required.
Project Websites
The BLM WO requires ePlanning to be used to prepare National Greater Sage-Grouse EISs and to publish them to the internet on ePlanning project websites.  Because access to the internet is not a reality for all members of the public, ePlanning is intended to be used as an additional tool for distributing documents to the general public and Cooperating Agencies - it is not intended to be the sole option. Scoping documents (e.g. comments, Scoping Report) will be incorporated into the ePlanning system and made available to the public on ePlanning project websites no later than May 15, 2012.
Asset Library
ePlanning allows text to be developed, approved, and stored in the ePlanning Asset Library and made available (intact) for reuse among multiple documents. The BLM National Operations Center (NOC), Division of Resource Services (DRS) manages the ePlanning Asset Library. National Greater Sage-Grouse Project Managers will determine what content will be required and used consistently across all documents and will coordinate with the NOC DRS regarding the management of the ePlanning Asset Library.
Comment Analysis and Response
Consistency in comment responses across the GSG planning area will be critical to the National Greater Sage-Grouse planning process. As with distribution of documents, the ePlanning commenting function will be an additional, optional commenting tool for the public to use. Comments may also be submitted traditionally – by mail, fax and e-mail - and can then be added into ePlanning to ensure that a complete electronic record of comments is maintained. Further guidance on the use of the ePlanning commenting tool will be forthcoming.
The NOC DRS is responsible for all ePlanning training. The initial ePlanning training requirement is a 3-day ePlanning Basics course. Additional advanced training is also available and recommended. Training for key Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) members at all levels (regional, sub-regional, etc.) will be the NOC DRS priority and should be scheduled no later than March 16, 2012. ePlanning Basics training should be  completed by August 3, 2012 for all offices.  All training can be arranged by contacting, Mike Mulder, Lead Trainer/Facilitator, Branch of Program Operations, Division of Resource Services, National Operations Center, (303) 236-6370. 

Background: Since 2009, all BLM offices have been required to use ePlanning for the development of any new Resource Management Plan (RMP) revisions. As part of the NGSG Planning Strategy, all BLM offices are required to use ePlanning for all new RMP amendments associated with this Strategy. 

Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None. 

Timeframe: Effective immediately.
Budget: None
Coordination: This IM was coordinated between WO-210 and the NOC DRS and DIRM.
Contact: Please direct questions or comments to Jane Peterson, ePlanning Program Manager, WO-210, (303) 236-3404; Marci L. Todd, Division Chief, Division of Decision Support, Planning and NEPA (WO-210), (202) 912-7292; Jamie Sellar-Baker, Branch Chief, Division of Resource Services, National Operations Center, (303) 236-0402 or Roxanne Falise, Division Chief, Division of Resource Services, National Operations Center, (303) 236-2700.
Signed by:                                                                 Authenticated by:
Edwin L. Roberson                                                     Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                                      Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning
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Last updated: 03-06-2012