BLM seeks public input on OHV grants

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MORENO VALLEY, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management is holding several public meetings to provide input in the development of off-highway vehicle grant proposals for submission to the California State Parks, Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division. Proposed grant applications are currently being prepared by the BLM for the FY 2017-18 grant cycle.   

The OHMVR Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program supports well-managed off-highway vehicle recreation in California by providing financial assistance to cities, counties, districts, federal agencies (including the BLM), state agencies, educational institutions, federally recognized Native American Tribes and nonprofit entities. The BLM applies for grants from the California Department of Parks and Recreation OHMVR Division each year to help fund and coordinate its OHV program. The grants support OHV management activities such as law enforcement, resource protection, planning and monitoring, visitor services and maintenance on BLM lands throughout the state.

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Final decision on Ocotillo Wells a victory for OHV

On Tuesday January 2, 2018, the Superior Court for the County of Sacramento issued its final decision on the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicle Recreation Area (OWSVRA) litigation and found in favor of California State Parks and the Off Highway Vehicle Intervenors. This is a HUGE WIN for the OHV Community and means OHV use at OWSVRA can continue without interruption or change.

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Photo of Friends of Oceano meeting sign

Attendance needed at critical meetings on Oceano SVRA

Cal4 President Steve Egbert and I attended the Friends of Oceano Dunes beach closure meeting last Friday. It was Thanksgiving weekend and the beach was packed with off road recreationalists enjoying the dunes. The dune closure meeting was so well attended that they had to have multiple presentations so everyone would have a chance to listen and be able comments on the presentation.

Jim Suty, president of Friends of Oceano Dunes, facilitated the presentations. The presentations covered the current issues with the California Coastal Commission (CCC) and the Air Pollution Control District (APCD) concerning dust and sand migration. The latest rulings by the CCC and APCD have spawned another lawsuit by the Friends of Oceano Dunes. Currently the Friends of Oceano Dunes has eight active lawsuits concerning Oceano Dunes SVRA and has incurred over $225,000 in legal costs over the past year to fight the dunes closures.

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Reprinted from The Tribune, October 25, 2017

A group that represents off-roading enthusiasts says a “radical” five-year plan to decrease dust pollution from the Oceano Dunes would harm endangered species and was adopted after “last-minute substantial changes” that hindered public input, according to a lawsuit the group filed this week.

Friends of the Oceano Dunes sued the California Coastal Commission in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court in response to the commission’s September decision to issue a permit to State Parks to reduce the spread of dust that creates hazardous air conditions on the Nipomo Mesa.

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OHMVR bill signed - program is permanent

For months, a coalition of off-highway vehicle recreation associations (Coalition) representing off-road recreation enthusiasts throughout the state of California, have worked on legislation to provide reauthorization of the highly successful Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) program that is administered by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The State Assembly recently passed amended legislation that provides permanent status for the program. The State Senate concurred and the legislation was submitted to the Governor for signature. On October 3, 2017, the Governor signed legislation making the OHMVR program permanent.

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Bill to reopen Clear Creek unanimously passes House

The Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act, a bill introduced by Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), unanimously passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

This bill directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reopen the 63,000-acre Clear Creek Management Area in San Benito and Fresno counties for use by off-road vehicles. The legislation would also protect 21,000 acres of BLM land adjacent to Clear Creek by designating the area the Joaquin Rocks Wilderness. California Reps. David G. Valadao (R-CA-21), Jeff Denham (R-CA-10), and Paul Cook (R-CA-08) joined Congressman Panetta as cosponsors to introduce this bill, H.R. 1913.

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What NEPA is and is not...

I recently received an email from a county supervisor outlining a situation where the county believed that the Forest Service was in violation of a county law when they closed close to 400 miles of routes in the forest that spanned two counties.

After reading the details submitted, I noted several false assumptions cited in the discussion.

First, let me address what NEPA is and is not. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to disclose and analyze the effects of their proposed action on the natural environment. NEPA is the law (passed by Congress) that requires this action. NEPA is an outline of a process with specific actions the agency is required to do. The resulting document from a NEPA process is not a "law".  The result of a NEPA analysis is a Record of Decision stating that appropriate level of environmental review has been conducted and the proposed action can be implemented.

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