U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR  BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT  
ePlanning DOI-BLM-CA-D080-2018-0008-EIS (West Mojave Route Network Project SEIS)  
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West Mojave Route Network Project

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.
 
The route network project supports Secretarial Order 3347, Conservation Stewardship and Outdoor Recreation (March 27, 2017), and Secretarial Order 3366, both of which direct BLM and other Interior bureaus to preserve and expand access to outdoor recreation on public lands. It also aligns with Secretarial Order 3356, which directs bureaus to support and expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans.
 
The ROD and Approved LUPA/FSEIS are now available on ePlanning. The Director's Protest Summary Report containing Protest Resolution is available October 4th, 2019 on BLM’s Protests Resolution Reports page. Any party adversely affected by the approved route designations may appeal within 30 days of publication of the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register pursuant to 43 CFR, part 4, subpart E. The appeal must be filed with the California Desert District Manager, 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553. Please consult the appropriate regulations (43 CFR, part 4, subpart E) for further appeal requirements. 
 
Before including addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, or other personal identifying information in a comment, be aware that the entire comment—including personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While someone may ask the BLM to withhold personal identifying information from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.
 
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $96 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2017. These activities supported more than 468,000 jobs.

BLM California Desert District

22835 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553

 

 


INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPEALS

Administrative remedies are available to those who are a party to the case and are adversely affected by the decisions included in the Barstow Field Office Record of Decision and Land Use Plan Amendment. Appeals must be made before November 4, 2019 to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (Board) at the Office of Hearings and Appeals, in strict compliance with the regulations in 43 CFR Part 4 Subpart E.

Interior Board of Lands Appeals
Office of Hearings and Appeals
801 N. Quincy Street, Suite 300
Arlington, Virginia 22203
Telephone: 703-235-3750
Facsimile: 703-235-8349

Notices of appeal must also be filed with the BLM California Acting State Director at the BLM California State Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W1623, Sacramento, CA 95825. If a notice of appeal does not include a statement of reasons, such statement must be filed with the BLM California State Office and the Board within 30 days after the notice of appeal is filed. IMPORTANT: The notice of appeal and any statement of reasons, written arguments, or briefs must also be served upon the Office of the Solicitor - Pacific Southwest Region, U.S. Department of the Interior, 2800 Cottage Way, Room E-1712, Sacramento, CA 95825-1890.
 
 
 
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Background


The WEMO planning area covers 9.4 million acres of the CDCA in the western portion of the Mojave Desert in Southern California, including parts of San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside, Kern and Inyo counties.  The WMRNP applies to the 3.1 million acres of public lands within the WEMO planning area.  

The WMRNP was developed in response to litigation associated with the 2006 WEMO Plan, as well as recent BLM transportation and travel management guidance. The analysis in the FSEIS revisits and updates the 2005 WEMO Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  The FSEIS analyzed the WMRNP with comprehensive public, stakeholder, and Native American Tribal involvement, and the BLM’s process and decision are consistent with applicable law, regulation and policy.
This ROD contains the BLM’s decision and rationale, and a brief summary of alternatives considered, public involvement, required findings, and other information. This ROD includes three appendices: United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Biological Opinion (Appendix A), Errata to FSEIS (Appendix B) and WMRNP Programmatic Agreement (Appendix C).

Introduction

The WMRNP has a complex history. In 2006, the BLM approved a comprehensive land use amendment covering the WEMO area of the CDCA. The WEMO plan amendment was evaluated in a 2005 Final EIS that was approved by BLM in a 2006 ROD. The 2006 WEMO Plan presented a comprehensive strategy to conserve and protect the desert tortoise and over 100 other sensitive species and their habitat, as well designating a motorized route network and managing livestock grazing. The 2006 ROD was litigated by eleven organizations. Subsequently, the United States District Court issued summary judgment in 2009 and an order on remedy in 2011 that directed BLM to re-analyze specific issues in the 2006 WEMO Plan. Furthermore, a summary of the District Court issues and the manner in which those issues have been addressed in the WMRNP are found in Chapter 1.5 of the FSEIS.

In March 2015, the BLM issued a Draft Supplemental EIS with a 90-day public comment period that was re-opened for an additional 120-day comment period in September 2015. This planning process was postponed to address another CDCA Plan amendment project, the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, for which a ROD was issued in September 2016. A revised Draft Supplemental EIS in conformance with the CDCA Plan, as amended in 2016, was issued in March 2018 with a 90-day public comment period. The WMRNP FSEIS published on April 26, 2019, initiated a concurrent 30-day protest and a 60-day Governor’s consistency review period. Lastly, in response to changes in land status from the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (Public Law 116-9), modifications were made to the travel and transportation management route network for consistency with the law. These modifications are discussed in the Errata to the Record of Decision.