NRC Report - October 2010
During the October Desert Advisory Council meeting, the BLM Permit system was addressed. BLM is holding to a strict interpretation of the permit regulations which require permit applications to be submitted no later than six months prior to the scheduled event. All permit applications are undergoing close review and BLM has established an internal team to review their process for review and issuing permits.
Due to the strict interpretation of the permit process, the compromise for Devil’s Canyon is out. Devil’s Canyon is still open for people to submit an application for a permit; however, an insurance policy is required.
Within the Forest Service, permit issues are also being raised; based on the cost recovery aspect of the permit. For Forest and BLM, up to 50 hours of agency time is allowed to process the permit application. If time required exceeds the 50 hours, the applicant is liable for all time charges. This has resulted in some high bills (in excess of $6,000) being charged to the applicant. The OHMVR Commission was briefed about this issue and will be addressing it in more detail at future commission meetings.
The final stakeholders meeting for the Forest Service Water Quality Management was held on Oct. 26. The Draft is expected to be released for public review and comment about Nov 18 and a tentative Jan 18, 2011 Water Board hearing has been scheduled. Overall, the plan will guide the actions Forest Service will take to maintain the quality of water within the Forests.
The stakeholders have submitted a letter to the State Water Board and Region 5 US Forest Service requesting that a “monitoring review” panel be established.
Within the Sequoia National Forest, the Piute Travel Management Collaborative Meetings are in progress. This specific area was omitted from the Sequoia Travel Management plan as it was classified as a “burn area recovery unit”. The burn recovery work has been completed and that travel management plan is moving forward.
When the California Assembly and Senate finished the budget, a Resources Budget Trailer Bill (Senate Bill 855) became law. That legislation defined a split of the OHMVR Trust Fund purchased property in Truckhaven. The area from roughly Big Wash north will be part of Anza Borrego Desert State Park with the remaining area being part of Ocotillo Wells SVRA. The legislation adverted months (if not years) of planning effort that were necessary before the lands would be open for use.
The Giant Sequoia National Monument Plan is open for comments until November 3, 2010. The the past 4 years I have been participating in a collaborative meetings with other recreation and environmental interests to develop a framework for a management plan that addressed the issues everyone raised. Those meetings produced two of the six alternatives in the Draft Environmental Impact Study. And, one of those alternatives is the agency preferred alternative.
That plan brought together a diverse group of recreation interests representing hunting, fishing, rock hounds, as well as private property owners to work out a plan that was of mutual benefit to all. An additional part of the meetings was helping to develop a new method for the Forest Service to present the plan to the public and collect public comments through an internet based website. The Decision Framework for the Draft EIS can be viewed at: http://gsnm.ecr.gov/
Lawsuits are a growing issue. CA4WDC (along with BlueRibbon Coalition) is currently involved in four lawsuits.
I have been elected to the BlueRibbon Coalition Board of Directors. My Board term officially begins on January 1, 2011.