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From the Landuse Frontlines (Nov 2019)

NRC South Report - Nov 2019

Johnson Valley - The Marine Corps will temporarily close the Johnson Valley Shared Use Area to the public beginning Thursday, 30 April through Monday, 11 May 2020 in order to conduct military training. The closure period will include the necessary time required to conduct pre- and post-inspections of the land with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  The Marine Corps will provide notification when the area is reopened for public access.

The adjacent Johnson Valley Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area, managed by the BLM, will remain open to the public for recreation purposes during the closure of the Shared Use Area. Off-road enthusiasts can also enjoy the nearby Stoddard Valley OHV Open Area.

As previously announced, the Marine Corps will close the Shared Use Area to the public to conduct military training during the additional following dates:

  • 30 October-09 November 2020
  • 30 April-10 May 2021
  • 29 October-08 November 2021

BLM West Mojave Route Network Project ROD - The Bureau of Land Management has released a Record of Decision (ROD) for the West Mojave Route Network Project (WMRNP), which amends the California Desert Conservation Area Plan and approves a travel and transportation route network with nine travel management plans. The approved project provides increased public access to recreation areas and points of interests, connectivity and consistency across jurisdictional boundaries.

The route network accesses approximately 3.1 million acres of BLM-managed public lands in the western portion of the Mojave Desert, including parts of San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside, Kern and Inyo counties. It addresses the need for public, authorized and administrative access to and across BLM-managed lands, including motorized, non-motorized and non-mechanized modes of travel. The network also allows restoration to address use impacts and improve resource conditions.

The entire planning area covers 9.4 million acres of the California Desert Conservation Area, which includes lands managed by federal, private and military entities. The BLM prepared the WMRNP ROD and Approved Land Use Plan Amendment (LUPA)/Final Supplemental Environment Impact Statement (FSEIS) pursuant to a U.S. District Court Order.

Pismo State Beach and Oceano Dunes PWP - The California Department of Parks and Recreation will hold two public meetings in December to discuss the Public Works Plan for Pismo State Beach and Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). The meetings will be held in Arroyo Grande and Bakersfield – details are listed below.

At these meetings, the planning team will present the Public Works Plan Options as well as preferred concepts for the Butterfly Grove Public Access Project, the Pismo State Beach Boardwalk Project, and the Oso Flaco Improvement Project.

The meetings will consist of a brief presentation and an open house, during which attendees will have the opportunity to visit topic stations, view materials, and speak with the planning team. The meetings will be identical in content and format, and meeting materials will be available after the meetings are concluded on the project website at www.oceanodunespwp.com.

  • Meeting #1
 - Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    Time: 5:30-7:30 pm. Brief presentation to be delivered twice, at 5:30 and 6:30 pm.

    Location: South County Regional Center, 800 West Branch St., Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
  • Meeting #2 - 
Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2019
    Time: 5:30-7:30 pm. Brief presentation to be delivered twice, at 5:30 and 6:30 pm.

    Location: Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center, 801 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93301

Pismo/Oceano Dunes - I have read through the various notices from the APCD.  This issue was discussed at length durning the OHMVR Commission meeting.  The APCD mitigation proposal is the one that Parks environmental planner stated on record would make no difference in dust levels.

One point is the type of fencing proposed to use.  What is proposed is the common orange mesh fence.  An alternative was mentioned during the meeting that was designed specifically for dust abatement.  I am aware of efforts underway to get dedicated funding as Assemblyman Cunningham is agreeable to legislative assistance.  Don’t know the status as Friend of OD and Jerk Pirates were floating that idea.

The Commission is leaning to pushing for a broader focus to address air quality across a 20-26 mile stretch of the coast by implementing AB-617 which was passed and signed by Governor Brown about 2 years ago.  That effort is being championed by Commissioner Ted Cabral.  That would spread the dust control effort across a broader section of the coast and reduce the focus on OD as the only solution.  Both are viable options to pursue.

In short, with the recent increase in news articles about this issue, there is a concerted effort to bring air pollution to a higher visibility; not just California, but nationwide.  The core argument is going to focus on health impacts to economically disadvantaged communities that are predominately Hispanic.  AB-617 is the vehicle in California.  The recent federal lawsuit by 23 states against the EPA provides a national nexus.  That lawsuit focuses on the Trump administration EPA actions that rolled back Obama EPA guidelines for air quality and the Trump effort to rescind the exemption to the Clean Air Act allowing California to set its own vehicle smog output levels.

And, Clear Creek with its asbestos dust issue is in the mix.

What is lacking are some quantified studies that link dust to medical issues.  Perhaps the AB-617 effort will provide that effort.  It will allow CARB to become the controller rather than local political entities that react to emotion more that scientific fact.

Bi-State Sage Grouse - Initial filings have been submitted.  The Federal Defendants filed their response and cross-motion on schedule.  The intervenors filed their version of the same document on schedule.  Another round of filings was scheduled for mid-January.  On November 14, the Intervenors’ counsel requested their reply deadline (presently mid January) back one month into February.  That will add an additional months the current schedule of filings with expected court appearances possible in March-April time frame.  Until then, the case is in legal limbo.

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