Skip to main content

Natural Resources Report for January 2024

| Rose Winn, Cal4wheel Natural Resources Consultant | Natural Resources Consultant Reports

SECURITIES & EXCHANGE COMMISSION WITHDREW RULE TO CREATE NATURAL ASSET COMPANIES

The public land access advocacy community gained significant ground in the battle to prevent the sale of public lands on wall street via the creation of Natural Asset Companies (NAC). NACs are publicly tradable securities that hold rights to, and manage the productivity and ecological benefits of natural assets such as natural forests, marine areas and farmland. Essentially, the creation of NACs would form the mechanism to buy and sell our public lands as commodities on the stock market. To learn more about NACs: https://americanstewards.us/natural-asset-companies/

On January 17, we in the public land access advocacy community experienced a big win!! The Securities & Exchange Commission withdrew the rule to create NACs. This means that at this time, the purchase and sale of public lands and natural assets via the stock market cannot proceed to take effect. This is a major win for the preservation of our public lands as we know, access, and use them today.

 

WESTERN POND TURTLES

Cal4Wheel submitted comments to oppose the listing of two populations of Western Pond Turtles (WPT) as "Threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the Northern Pond Turtle (a species from Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and northern and central California) and the Southern Pond Turtle (a species from central and southern California, and Baja, Mexico). If approved, the listing would impact all forms of human activity, including OHV recreation, throughout the WPT’s range of territory across the western United States.

After reviewing the proposal for listing, Cal4Wheel cited evidence of: 

  • Missing data related to historical and current population volume and range of habitat
  • Flawed data within the analysis to justify distinction between the two population segments (northern and southern) versus a single species of pond turtle
  • Increased risk of catastrophic wildfire resulting from restrictions imposed on timber and fuel management
  • Pervasive speculation in place of evidence regarding alleged threats to WPT ability to thrive and propagate as a species
  • Missing data regarding the alleged correlation between human activity generally, and motorized recreation specifically, as sources of detrimental impact on WPTs
  • Negative impacts to other species, OHV recreation, local economies, and balanced public land management that will be created through regulations imposed by listing the WPT as threatened

Review the full comment letter via this link: https://bit.ly/western-pond-turtles

 

 

BLM NORTHWEST CALIFORNIA INTEGRATED RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN

The Bureau of Land Management provided a public comment for the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Northwest CA Integrated Management Plan (NCIP). The NCIP will direct management protocol for 382,000 acres of public land. I submitted a comment letter on behalf of Cal4Wheel, noting that each of the four alternatives in the draft NCIP would negatively impact Cal4Wheel members, as well as all members of the general public who enjoy outdoor recreation on BLM managed lands, by significantly minimizing their ability to access public land. The NCIP fails to provide a recreation alternative as required by NEPA. While Alternative A would not change existing management practices, it would therefore also fail to optimize outdoor recreation as a high-value use of BLM managed land across the 382,200 acres that are encompassed within the footprint of the NCIP. Alternatives B, C, and D would all reduce public access to outdoor recreation in a variety of ways. The alternatives presented in the NCIP serve to diminish (at best) or eradicate (at worst) the multiple-use mandate by which the BLM is required to manage public lands.

Additional points of focus within the comment letter addressed:

  1. The NCIP’s violation of Congressional direction, Congressional intent, and BLM operational guidelines
  2. Failure to comply with NEPA analysis
  3. Discrimination of members of the public with disabilities and impoverished communities
  4. Impacts of catastrophic wildfire, need for significantly increased fire prevention

Review the full comment letter via this link: https://bit.ly/BLM-NWCA-integrated-resource-management-plan

 

SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST MOTORIZED RECREATION PROJECT

Sierra National Forest (SNF) completed the final stages of planning and public comment for the Motorized Recreation Plan (MRP) Update project in December 2022. With this project, SNF had made a commitment to the motorized recreation community to examine routes that were not previously analyzed and decided, for potential addition to the Forest Service (FS) System of roads, OHV areas, and motorized trails. The purpose and intent of the plan was to evaluate over 550 miles of OHV routes that were closed in 2008 to consider designating them as active routes in the MRP. The actual outcome of this project was a major disappointment, as the FS opted to add only 30 miles of routes back to the MRP, of which only 10 miles are for full size OHVs.

Following intense discussion during the objection resolution process, the FS committed to partner with Cal4Wheel and Stewards of the Sierra National Forest further to actually analyze non-designated OHV routes for consideration of adding them back onto the Motor Vehicle Use Map. County Supervisors for Fresno and Madera County, and the Yosemite Sierra Resource Conservation & Development Council are partnering with us to secure grant funding for the project, which is at this time being called the Post-MRP Project. More on this to come as the situation develops.

We can use your input! We are seeking insight on OHV routes that are currently being used, but are not officially designated routes on the MVUM. Input is needed for routes throughout the High Sierra and Bass Lake Ranger Districts. Special interest is sought for segments of routes that would connect roads and trails, or create loop opportunities. Please tell us where there are routes or segments that are not officially designated, but you know are currently or recently used by the OHV community. Please reach out Cal4Wheel's Natural Resources Consultant, Rose Winn, to share your input: rwinn@cal4nrc.com

It is our goal to increase the mileage of designated routes in SNF, and to have the MVUM more accurately reflect the OHV rider experience on the ground. We look forward to your input to help expand and optimize OHV recreation in SNF!

For more information on the history of the MRP project

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.