BLM Issues Decision Approving NECO Plan

Paige

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BLM Issues Decision Approving Northern and Eastern Colorado Desert Plan



The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has signed the record of decision approving the Northern and Eastern Colorado Desert Coordinated Management Plan (NECO plan), an amendment to the 1980 California Desert Conservation Area Plan. The planning area encompasses about 5.5 million acres in eastern San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial counties.



The NECO plan will provide for conservation management of desert ecosystems to aid in the recovery of the desert tortoise and the Coachella Valley milkvetch and the conservation of approximately 60 other sensitive species and their habitats on federal lands administered by the BLM, as well as streamline processing of land use permits.



The record of decision fulfills BLM's responsibilities under the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act and the 1973 Endangered Species Act. The plan complements the National Park Service?s existing Joshua Tree National Park General Management Plan and Backcountry and Wilderness Management Plan, and will serve as a basis for a biological resources management plan for the U.S. Navy?s Chocolate Mountains Aerial Gunnery Range.



State Director Mike Pool added that his signature of the record of decision lifts a number of interim restrictions on public access and use of the BLM-managed lands that resulted from the lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, and the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility in March of 2000. BLM will be publishing notices in the Federal Register of the specific stipulations in the lawsuit settlement that have now expired.



Copies of the record of decision are being mailed to those who received a copy of the proposed plan and final environmental impact statement or submitted a letter protesting the plan. The record of decision is now available on line at http://www.ca.blm.gov/cdd/neco.htm . The approved plan will be available soon and will also be mailed and posted on line.



For more information or to request copies of the documents, contact BLM Project Lead Dick Crowe at BLM?s California Desert District Office at (909) 697-5216.



-BLM-



<font color=yellow>Paige<font color=yellow>
 

jeff

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Wow... that's a lot of reading. I followed the link and downloaded and read the PDF from the CA.BLM.GOV site. Here's my favorite chunk...

"While the Bureau is responsible for vehicle use on public lands, much of the control of
vehicle travel in the desert is the responsibility of the user, whether the goal is recreational
or commercial. The Bureau of Land Management does not and will not have the funds or
staff to oversee vehicle use throughout the desert at all times. Therefore, rules for vehicle
use must be fair, qnderstandable, easy to follow, and reasonable if they are to be publicly
accepted. Only commitment by the public, the owners of these lands, will insure success of
rules and guidelines."

Considering that the "public" that recreates in areas such as Glamis have so strongly opposed the closures, how is it that BLM can expect success of rules and guidelines?

Here is my least favorite chunk...
"
The BLM developed regulations (Title 43 of the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 8340) in response to the executive orders. These regulations require the agency to designate areas where OHVs may be used and to manage the use of OHVs on public lands through the resource management planning process, which allows for public participation. The regulations also require the BLM to monitor the use of OHVs, identify any adverse effects of their use, and take appropriate steps to counteract such effects."

The BLM has been FORCED into closing the land because the groups like the Sierra Club (good ideas but horrible execution) sued them and use plants like the Pearson's Milkvetch as reasons to close land.

And the one that makes me wonder...

"While strongly advocating that recreational facilities and regulations remain minimal, desert recreationists increasingly demand the protection of the natural and cultural values which are essential to most desert recreation. Scenic values are often cited by the public as the Desert’s most important resource."

When was the last time you saw 500,000 environmentalists out in the desert enjoying the resources? I'm not saying the desert doesn't need protection... but to say that the public has demanded it means that as off-roaders we haven't made our voices heard. I never asked to close anything down. Nobody called me and asked for my opinion. That means unless we all get of our lazy duffs more and more rights to land usage will be taken away by those that haven't even been out there. I bet 99% of the people that get land closed have never even stepped foot on it.

Interesting reading if you're into this sort of thing. As off-roaders we tend to want land for recreational use... this NECO plan is much more than just a trucks, Jeeps, buggies, bikes and quads... it deals with mining, smog, ozone, grazing, waterways, wildlife, plants and more. BLM has a crappy job and in the end they can never make both sides happy. If I were them I'd give in to whatever side was a bigger pain in the ass.... and that my friends is the eco groups.

Paige... how can I become a bigger PITA to the BLM?

Aloha
 

martininsocal

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Jeff- the folks who attended and had input at the Land Use meetings were overwhelmingly pro access. I would have my arm fall asleep trying to get a point in while the facilitator(Bill Haigue) would call on the 2 or 3 environmentalists over and over to make sure their input was on the public record. It was very frustrating at times. I just didn't give up, and eventually, other people would say something to let me speak. Don't be too surprised with the outcomes of these plans. It was painfully obvious to many of us that the plan was done before we ever had the oppurtunity to participate, they just held the oublic meetings after the main closures occured to comply with NEPA which requires local and pubic input. The Military always showed up in force to make sure their plans for Irwin weren't affected and I would be a millionaire if I had a penney for everytime the Tortoise people claimed we were the single biggest killers of the Desert Tortoise.

Martin

If your gonna go, go BIG
 

Paige

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Jeff the easiest way to become a bigger PITA - is raise your voice, go to meetings and write letters, get to know the rangers in the areas you recreate. Find out where they sit in relation to this whole thing. Write to the managers of their office. Go to DAC meetings in your area (Desert Advisory Council) The DAC meetings are great because everything is public record and they must write it down. At the one in Barstow a couple months ago - I waited and gave a little complaint in regards to closures for the tortoise remain in effect and continue to happen yet there is no data in any regards telling us if the closures are saving the animal or just closing land - I also complained that the ONLY recovery plan for this endangered species is closure of lands.

Also at that Meeting - the BLM got some real thorns in the side from the DAC itself when they learned that the BLM ignored ALL of their recommendations in regards to the NECO plan. That was also the first time ANY of us heard of a plan called the WECO plan.

You should also get on their mailing list so you are aprised of meeting, records of decision, etc.

<font color=yellow>Paige<font color=yellow>
 
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