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Natural resources report for July 2022

Natural resources report for July 2022

SEQUOIA AND SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST LAND MANAGEMENT PLAN REVISIONS

The Sequoia and Sierra National Forests are in the process of revising their forest land management plans. The revised drafts were released in 2019, however, revisions have been revisited since to account for changes across the forest terrain that resulted from multiple catastrophic fires in 2020 and 2021. The planning team is currently finalizing the revised forest plans. Updates include incorporation of the wilderness recommendation process, efforts towards sustainable recreation, and management of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The plans are currently within the pre-decisional administrative review process (the objection process) for the final environmental impact statement (FEIS), revised forest plans, draft records of decision, and the species of conservation concern lists.

Two virtual meetings will be held to provide information on the status of plan revision, including the objection process. There will be time for attendees to ask questions; staff will be available to address the various resource areas covered under the plans. Both meetings are open to the public. The Sequoia NF virtual meeting will be held on July 12 from 6:00 - 8:00pm. The Sierra National Forest will be held on July 13 from 6:00 - 8:00pm. Visit this link for more information and the meeting links.

The objection process provides an opportunity for those who have participated in a prior formal public comment period for these plan revision efforts to have their unresolved concerns reviewed prior to the Forest Supervisors issuing final decisions on the revised forest plans and the Regional Forester issuing decisions on the species of conservation concern lists for each forest. The 60-day objection filing period begins with the publication of legal notices in the Porterville Recorder and Fresno Bee on June 14, 2022. While members of the public may not have participated in the prior formal public comment period and thus may not be eligible to object, the meetings noted are valuable to attend to gain insight on upcoming changes in forest land management in Sequoia and Sierra NF. Click here for more information on the Sequoia and Sierra Forest Plan Revision.

OCEANO DUNES SVRA

On June 17, the San Luis Obispo Air Pollution Control District (APCD) Hearing Board held a meeting to review progress on activities required under the Stipulated Order of Abatement (SOA) that aims to reduce airborne pollution that is purportedly caused by OHV recreation at ODSVRA. Presentations were shared by California State Parks, the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG), SLO County APCD, and the California Air Resources Board. Public comment was accepted as a decision was weighed to continue or change operating requirements under the SOA.

I attended to provide comment on behalf of Cal4 to urge the board to abandon the SOA, citing evidence from the Scripps Institute Report that proved OHV recreation accounts for only 14% of PM10 (airborne particulate matter) exceedances in the area. I additionally shared grievance over Hearing Board actions that serve to minimize public participation in board meetings and decisions, and grievances over the board’s continued use of selective, biased data to justify the SOA. I was encouraged to see many other advocates from the OHV community on the call, each voicing detailed comments to urge discontinuation of the SOA.

Unfortunately, the state decided to not request any alternation to the SOA at this time. Multiple court cases that are currently in progress continue to be vital to protect the future of ODSVRA.

SIERRA NF OHV PROGRAM FIRST AID / CPR & CHAINSAW CERTIFICATION / RECERTIFICATION

The Sierra National Forest OHV trail opening and maintenance program will be hosting an American Red Cross First Aid/CPR class along with Chainsaw Recertification and Certification (for new users).

  • American Red Cross First Aid/CPR: Friday, July 8, at Prather, High Sierra Ranger District Office, 8:00am to 4:30pm
  • Chainsaw Recertification/Certification: Saturday and Sunday, July 9 and 10, at Kokanee Work Center, 8:00am to 4:30pm each day.

This will be the last Chainsaw Class offered through the Sierra NF OHV program until at least the fall. To RSVP for one or both classes, email Michael Nolan (michael.nolen@usda.gov) or Kevin Woods (Kevin.Woods@usda.gov).

BLM SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR DESERT ADVISORY COUNCIL SUBGROUPS: DUMONT DUNES & IMPERIAL SAND DUNES

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) California Desert District is seeking additional applicants to serve on subgroups of the Desert Advisory Council, a citizen-based advisory committee that develops recommendations for BLM on public land management issues. Responsibilities include reviewing information, seeking input from the public and user groups on various programs, projects, and agency decisions, and providing recommendations to the Desert Advisory Council on the management of these areas. The two subgroups focus on recreation and management of the Dumont Dunes and Imperial Sand Dunes recreation areas; both need additional members. Click this link for more information and application details.

BLM seeking applications for Dumont/Imperial advisory subgroups

Photo of SXS on Dumont Dunes courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

The BLM California Desert District is seeking additional applicants interested in serving on subgroups that assist the Desert Advisory Council, a citizen-based advisory committee that develops recommendations for the BLM on public land management issues. Responsibilities include reviewing information, seeking input from the public and user groups on various programs, projects, and agency decisions, and providing recommendations to the Desert Advisory Council on the management of these areas. 

The Desert Advisory Council established two subgroups focused on recreation and management of the Dumont Dunes and Imperial Sand Dunes recreation areas and both need additional members.

To be considered for the Dumont Dunes or the Imperial Sand Dunes recreational area subgroups, applicants need to demonstrate experience and/or knowledge in recreation management, education and outreach, volunteer and partnership development, natural resource management, safety, and community representation. The Dumont Dunes subgroup needs four additional applicants with experience in education and outreach, volunteer and partnership development, safety, and a community representative. The Imperial Sand Dunes subgroup needs five additional applicants with experience in recreation management, education and outreach, safety, and an industry and community representative.

For more information about the Dumont Dunes or the Imperial Sand Dunes recreation areas subgroups visit the DAC webpage. Interested applicants must complete the application on the webpage and send to Public Affairs Officer Kate Miyamoto at kmiyamoto@blm.gov. All applications received will be provided to the Desert Advisory Council for consideration. 

The Desert Advisory Council is one of 28 BLM advisory councils formally chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. Each council consists of 10 to 15 members from diverse interests in local communities and provides recommendations to the BLM. Desert Advisory Council members provide guidance on the management of more than 12 million acres of public lands across eight counties spanning southern California.


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.

Cal4Wheel comments on Williams Hill Recreation Area plan

Cal4Wheel comments on Williams Hill Recreation Area plan

Cal4Wheel has submitted comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding the Williams Hill Recreation Area's draft plan and environmental assessment. Cal4Wheel supports proposed alternative B, which will design an OHV trail network and other recreational improvements in the recreation area.

Read Cal4Wheel's comments here.

Bureau of Land Management holding forums on Piute-Eldorado Valley Area of Critical Environmental Concern

Forums will be June 22 and June 24

Bureau of Land Management holding forums on Piute-Eldorado Valley Area of Critical Environmental Concern

Recognizing the need to balance critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise with high-quality visitor experience, the Bureau of Land Management Las Vegas Field Office will hold two virtual information forums to involve the public in the early stages of a Draft Management Plan for the Piute-Eldorado Valley Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).

Piute-Eldorado Valley ACEC is the most extensive area of high-density desert tortoise habitat known in Nevada and it provides habitat for a host of other species including bighorn sheep and populations of rare plants. Hunting, birdwatching, camping, hiking and Off Highway Vehicle travel are popular recreational uses within the 330,000-acre ACEC.

Virtual information forums will be held on Tuesday, June 22 and Thursday June 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. PST. To register for the June 22 information forum, please visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/150836918083066640 and to register for the June 24 information forum, please visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7735564994621509648. The meetings will be recorded and posted on the ACEC’s webpage.

More information, including the Draft Management Plan and fact sheet is available at https://www.blm.gov/programs/planning-and-nepa/plans-development/nevada/piute-eldorado-acec.

Management activities recommended in the draft plan include installing roadside fences to guide wildlife toward culverts for safer travel beneath the roadways, repairing and improving signs that mark official routes designated in 1998, restoring disturbances caused by vehicles driving off designated routes, increasing monitoring and control of invasive plants, improving areas around natural springs that have been damaged by feral cattle and cleaning up trash dumps. The management plan will not recommend changes to the routes designated as open or closed in 1998. Additionally, changes to the boundaries of the ACEC, speed limits, mineral extraction and special use permit limitations will not be addressed in this ACEC plan.

Each information forum will include brief presentations on the Draft ACEC Management Plan followed by a question and answer portion and finally a comment period. Comments will be accepted until July 11, 2021 and will be incorporated into the final plan slated for completion in July 2021. An analysis of the environmental effects guided by the National Environmental Policy Act planning process will include another opportunity for public input in fall 2021.

“This plan proposes to improve and enhance critical desert tortoise habitat in Piute-Eldorado Valley Area of Critical Environmental Concern while maintaining access to designated routes,” said Shonna Dooman, Las Vegas Field Office Manager. “Funding for these restoration efforts plan comes from compensatory mitigation fees paid by solar facility developers in the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone located northeast of Las Vegas. Since 2017, BLM has collected data and developed ideas to improve the condition of multiple resources including vegetation, wildlife, soil and visual quality while maintaining high quality tortoise habitat and recreational experiences for public land users.”

Those unable to attend the meetings, or who wish to provide comments outside of information forums, may email BLM_LV_PiuteEldoradoACEC@blm.gov until July 11, 2021.

Before including your address, phone number, email, address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.


This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Reprinted from: https://www.blm.gov/press-release/bureau-land-management-hold-public-information-forums-draft-management-plan-piute

BLM seeking public input on Williams Hill OHV Trails

BLM seeking public input on Williams Hill OHV Trails

30-day scoping period ends July 6

The Bureau of Land Management Central Coast Field Office is seeking the public’s help with designing an off-highway vehicle (OHV) trail network and other potential recreation improvements, including staging areas and campgrounds, at the Williams Hill recreation area in southern Monterey County. The 30-day scoping period ends on July 6.

Using a planning grant from the California State Parks’ Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program, as well as public input, the BLM California will evaluate existing OHV trails and explore opportunities to expand routes. The state program supports OHV recreation in California by distributing more than $35 million annually collected from gas tax, entrance fees and OHV sticker registrations.

Williams Hill encompasses approximately 8,500 acres of BLM-managed public lands ranging from gentle hills to mountainous terrain at more than 2,700 feet in elevation. In addition to OHV recreational opportunities, the lands are also popular for hunting, hiking, wildlife watching and stargazing. Camping is available and offers seven developed overnight campsites with level parking pads for small to moderately-sized recreational vehicles, fire rings, shade structures, picnic benches, as well as vault toiles and an informational kiosk. There is no electricity, potable water or trash collection. Dispersed camping is also available. To learn more about Williams Hill, see the Visit Us webpage at http://www.blm.gov/visit/williams-hill.

Information about the planning effort can be found on the ePlanning website at https://go.usa.gov/x6TWt. Written comments may be submitted electronically to ePlanning; via email to BLM_CA_Web_CC@blm.gov; or by mail: BLM Central Coast Field Office, Attn: Williams Hill OHV Planning EA, 940 2nd Avenue, Marina, CA 93933-6009. For specific questions, contact the Central Coast Field Office at 831-582-2200 or BLM_CA_Web_CC@blm.gov.

Before including mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses or other personal identifying information in a comment, commenters should be aware that the entire comment, including personal identifying information, could be made publicly available at any time. While the public may ask the BLM to withhold personal identifying information from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.


This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Reprinted from https://www.blm.gov/press-release/blm-seeking-public-input-williams-hill-ohv-trails-recreation-improvements

BLM seeks public comment on off-highway vehicle routes in the Vinagre Wash Special Management Area

Comments due May 21, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management El Centro Field Office invites the public to provide written comments on additional off-highway vehicle (OHV) routes in the Vinagre Wash Special Management Area, near Palo Verde, Imperial County.  The public comment period will end on May 21.

This Special Management Area, designated under the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Public Law 116-9) in March 2019, allows for the consideration of additional routes that would provide significant or unique recreational opportunities and are consistent with the purposes of the Management Area. 

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