Technology and web-based information continue to evolve. Previously noted, I have been shifting more of my project tracking and reporting about meetings and information management to websites and agencies are beginning to employ technology with an increase in the number of webinars and conference calls in place of face-to-face meetings.
After four webinars and one 2-day meeting, the Bald Mountain project in the Sierra National Forest is taking shape. A draft Environmental Assessment should be ready for public comment in April/May timeframe.
While two short road sections will be closed, those routes have been closed to the public for more than 20 years due to proximity of the route to a stream with endangered fish. There are other routes within the project area but they are not under discussion.
Overall, the cumulative proposed actions within the Dinkey Landscape area will have action that will affect disbursed recreation opportunities and activities.
Sierra Cascade Dialog: The two day session introduced the “Science Synthesis”. That document is supposed to reflect a review of the available literature and science pertaining to the ecology of the region. Generally, a “Science Synthesis” is limited in geographic scope. In this case, the research document applies to the entire Region 5.
In my review, I noted a general lack of “science/literature” in relation to the social and economic aspects of the document. The ecology portion does contain a large volume of references and description as it applies to the Region 5 and forest health and endangered species management.
The document is an internal Forest Service working document and, generally, not subject to public review and comment. This is one instance where the Forest Service did introduce the incomplete draft document to the public and listened to feedback from attendees.
I did have extensive discussions with the individuals responsible for the socio-economic impacts section and did receive assurances that a major re-write of the section would occur based on my feedback.
This document will be a reference document as the forest plan revision process moves forward. Forest Service officials stressed that the document is basically ready for use by the Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo NFs during their plan revisions. It will be reviewed and updated as required.
California State Parks: Jim and I joined other OHV leaders for a meeting with the recently appointed Director of State Parks, General Jackson (ret.) The General lead off with a few words about him and then offered the opportunity for everyone to speak about their background and concerns.
I did have the opportunity to close the meeting with remarks stressing the importance of the OHV grants program to the health and well-being of the overall OHMVR program. While the SVRAs are important, it is the grants program and partnerships with federal, county, and non-profits that is the core of the OHV program.
My impression of the General: He expects people to bring forward well documented issues. And, those issues must be presented in concise terms that articulate both the "position and the opposition". And, an agreed solution by all parties must be presented. Overall, he will seek solutions.
He indicated he will fairly represent OHV issues. So, he put forth a picture that is a refreshing change from the past Director of State Parks.
Sierra, Sequoia, and Inyo Forest Plan Revisions: Meetings scheduled for February and March.
Nevada: Carson City BLM is developing a Resource Management Plan which will encompass a large segment of northern California counties adjacent to Nevada border. The Humbolt-Toyibe Forest is developing a sage grouse habitat plan. Comments on behalf of CA4WDC have been submitted for both.
Additional details about these and other in process issues are available at http://www.4x4voice.com