Access Issues

GOP bill would delay grouse listing for 10 years

A Colorado House Republican today will introduce a bill to delay the Interior Department's listing decisions for two Western sage grouse species by a decade and give states the lead in conserving the birds' habitat.

The bill by Rep. Cory Gardner is the latest effort by Western Republicans to forestall Endangered Species Act protections for the greater sage grouse and Gunnison sage grouse, two charismatic, ground-dwelling birds that roam millions of acres of Western rangelands.

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Marines detail plan for Johnson Valley

Reprinted from The Desert Sun, May 8, 2014

YUCCA VALLEY – Off-road enthusiasts, conservationists and local residents got their first look Wednesday night at the new configuration of Johnson Valley after Congress handed over 132,000 acres of the off-road recreation area to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.

About 25 people attended a joint presentation by the Bureau of Land Management and the Marine Corps during a meeting at the Yucca Valley Community Center.

On Dec. 26, President Barrack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, appropriating 79,000 acres to the combat center for exclusive military use, 53,000 acres for shared use by the public and the combat center, and designated the balance of the area — 43,000 acres — as the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area.

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Frogs & toads to be listed as endangered

CA4WDC issues position statement on ESA Listing of Yellow-legged Frog and Yosemite Toad

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that the Final Rule for listing of the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and the Northern Distinct Population Segment of the mountain yellow-legged frog as Endangered Species and the Yosemite toad as a Threatened Species is pending publication in the April 29, 2014 edition of the Federal Register.

Background:  The current listing effort is the result of a lawsuit settlement between the USFWS and Center for Biological Diversity.

The frogs and toads have been on U.S. Forest Service "species of concern" list for more than 14 years.  As such, they were addressed in the 2000 Sierra Nevada Framework (SNF) with defined management prescriptions as if they were formally listed species.  As such, grazing, logging and recreation activities have lived under the SNF prescriptions which treated the species as listed on the Threatened and Endangered Species List.

This means that when U.S. Forest Service travel management was conducted, the SNF was one of the tiered documents reviewed to determine impact of designating the route.  As such, USFS routes can be (or should be) considered to be in compliance with ESA listing.

Note, I said "should be" considered in compliance.

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Senate committee to mark up wilderness/OHV bills

Reprinted from E&E, June 17, 2013

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee tomorrow will seek to advance a dozen bills involving public lands from a North Carolina seashore to an Alaskan rainforest.

Measures include bills to designate new wilderness in western Nevada, Colorado's San Juan Mountains and eastern Oregon's high desert, each of which is strongly backed by conservation groups.

Members will also vote on bills to convey timber in the Tongass National Forest to an Alaska Native corporation and allow more off-highway vehicle access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore -- measures that have attracted considerable controversy.

"We're pleased to see the wilderness bills go forward," said Tim Mahoney of the Pew Campaign for America's Wilderness.

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State releases report on OHV fund investigation

An investigation that began in July 2012 regarding the under-reporting of OHV and State Parks funds was concluded recently. California Deputy Attorney General Thomas M. Patton writes in his report that, "This investigation has yielded no evidence that any OHV monies were ever intentionally hidden."

CA4WDC is formulating a response to this issue. Visit this link to view the full reports and other information regarding the investigation:
http://resources.ca.gov/attorney_generals_investigation_into_discrepancies_in_financial_reporting_by_california_state_parks/

Six Rivers begins Travel Management Planning

Comments are due by June 4

The Six Rivers National Forest in California has published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) associated with implementing a Travel Management Plan (TMP) for the Smith River National Recreation Area in the Gasquet Ranger District. This notice constitutes the beginning of the scoping and comment period for the TMP.

The Forest proposes the following changes to its transportation system: 1) add 28 user-created routes as roads, totaling 16 miles; 2) add 45 user-created routes as motorized trails, totaling 44 miles; 3) implement seasonal gate closures on 2 roads and 5 motorized trails, totaling 13 miles; 4) implement mixed-use access of 1 road (17N49), totaling 4 miles; 5) close 118 roads, totaling 57 miles, and; 6) close 173 user-created routes, totaling 80 miles.

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