Natural resources report for July 2022

| Rose Winn, Cal4Wheel Natural Resources Consultant | Natural Resources Consultant Reports

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.

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