ePlanning DOI-BLM-UT-C030-2010-0001-RMP-EIS (Resource Management Plans (RMP) for the Beaver Dam Wash & Red Cliffs National Conservation Areas, and Plan Amendment for the St. George Field Office RMP )  
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01/23/2017 07:37:17 MST
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has signed records of decision (RODs) to complete the planning process for the Beaver Dam Wash and Red Cliffs national conservation areas’ resource management plans (RMPs) and the St. George Field Office RMP amendment. The RODs identify management plan decisions and explain the rationale behind them. These new plans form the basis for every on-the-ground action the BLM takes and, through these plans, the BLM has established a blueprint for how these areas will be managed in the future.

Public feedback helped the BLM identify concerns and balance interests. The plans result from years of public and stakeholder involvement as well as consultation with Washington County. “Managing these unique and awe-inspiring resources extends beyond just one individual, agency, or interest. Beaver Dam Wash and Red Cliffs are the BLM’s only two NCAs in Utah, and these plans provide the framework for management,” said BLM-Utah State Director Ed Roberson. The BLM developed the plans to meet the conservation requirements outlined by Congress in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. And Congress designated the NCAs to "conserve, protect, and enhance… the ecological, scenic, wildlife, recreational, cultural, historical, natural, educational, and scientific resources."

The plans were open to public comments and review at multiple stages, from the posted Notice of Intent, to the draft plans and, for those who participated previously, a protest period for the proposed plans. The plans reflect input gathered from public comments as well as from consultations with Washington County officials, municipalities,  and information provided by state and federal agencies addressing wildlife, archeological resources, paleontological resources, viewsheds, recreation, grazing, and more.

The Beaver Dam Wash NCA covers 63,478 acres and is located in the southwest corner of Utah. Many unique species of native plants and animals occur in this area.

The Red Cliffs NCA comprises 44,859 acres and is just out the back door for many residents of St. George. Red Cliffs provides important habitat to the threatened Mojave desert tortoise and many unusual plant species that take advantage of the intersection of the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, and the Mojave Desert.

The BLM also released the St. George Field Office resource management plan amendment ROD. As directed by OPLMA, the amendment addresses two primary management issues: identification of areas where biological conservation is a priority and modifications of the off-highway vehicle area designations to prepare for the development of a comprehensive travel management plan.

Copies of the documents are available for inspection at the Interagency Public Lands Information Center, 345 East Riverside Drive, St. George, UT 84790, and the BLM Utah State Office Public Room, 440 West 200 South, Suite 500, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101 during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. The documents may also be downloaded at:  http://bit.ly/2fhtN3P.

For additional information, please contact Keith Rigtrup at 435-865-3000. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question for the above individual. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.


Resource Management Plans (RMP) for the Beaver Dam Wash & Red Cliffs National Conservation Areas,
and Plan Amendment for the St. George Field Office RMP

The 63,478 acre Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area (NCA) and the 44,859 acre Red Cliffs NCA are located within the administrative boundaries of the St. George Field Office, in Washington County, Utah. Congress established the two NCAs when, on March 30, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-11, OPLMA); Subtitle O concerns federal lands in Washington County, Utah. The two NCAs were created to “conserve, protect, and enhance…the ecological, scenic, wildlife, recreational, cultural, historical, natural, educational, and scientific resources" of the public lands (OPLMA Sections 1974 and 1975).

Through OPLMA, the St. George Field Office was directed develop comprehensive management plans for the two NCAs and also take actions on other public lands in Washington County that require the St. George Field Office Record of Decision (ROD) and RMP (approved in 1999, amended in 2001) be amended. The three planning efforts were initiated concurrently in 2010, thereby facilitating the preparation of a single EIS to disclose the environmental consequences of implementing the two new land use plans and an amendment to the current St. George Field Office RMP.

On July 17, 2015, the BLM released the Draft RMPs for the Beaver Dam Wash NCA and the Red Cliffs NCA, a Draft Amendment to the St. George Field Office RMP, and a Draft EIS for a 90 day public review and comment period. The BLM distributed a newsletter that announced the availability of the draft plans, the dates and locations of three public Open Houses, and provided information about how to provide comments. The draft documents were posted on the BLM’s website and were available as hard copies and CDs at the Interagency Public Information Center in St. George, the BLM-Utah State Office, the Washington County Library (St. George) and the Salt Lake City Main Library. The documents were also available at the three public Open Houses that were held in early September in St. George, Hurricane, and Salt Lake City, Utah. Responding to requests from the public, the BLM-Utah Acting State Director extended the comment period until November 16, 2015.

On September 2, 2016, the BLM released the Proposed RMPs and Proposed Amendment/Final EIS. This began a 30 day protest period and a concurrent 60 day Governor’s Consistency Review.  The BLM Director resolved all protests without making any changes to the Approved RMPs/Approved Plan Amendment. The three Records of Decision and Approved RMPs/Approved Plan Amendment were released on December 21, 2016.