Protecting Northwestern California’s Public Lands in Uncertain Political Times
The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Arcata and Redding Field Offices are tasked with caring for about 400,000 acres (roughly 625 square-miles) of federal public land in Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity, Siskiyou, Shasta, Butte, and Tehama counties on behalf of the American people. The BLM is currently seeking public input on how these lands should be managed over the next decade or more—including in the first years of the new Trump administration. If you care about how the BLM’s holdings in these counties are managed, this is your opportunity to make your voice heard.
All BLM lands are managed according to documents called Resource Management Plans (RMPs). The Arcata and Redding Field Offices’ existing RMPs are more than 20 years old and must be updated. The BLM is calling this revision process the “Northwest California Integrated Resource Management Plan” or NCIP. BLM must address many issues in the updated RMP, including how they will:
· protect “lands with wilderness characteristics” (the BLM term for the wildest and least developed tracts of land);
· identify streams and rivers as possible “wild and scenic rivers” (these are streams that should be protected from future dam construction and development);
· protect sources of clean water and important habitats for wildlife;
· plan for recreational opportunities for locals and visitors; and
· conserve cultural and historic sites important to Native American tribes and others.
The BLM will take public input into consideration as it updates the RMP. Once approved, the new plan will dictate how agency lands are managed for the next 15 to 20 years.
It is imperative that supporters of wilderness, wildlife and clean water get involved in this important process given that there are many in Congress pushing for development on--or even and the wholesale disposal of--federally-owned public lands. We also do not know how the incoming Trump administration will change the work of the BLM in Northwestern California. If you care about public lands in this region, make your voice heard.
What you can do
Please write the BLM by February 3, 2017 at:
BLM Redding Field Office
6640 Lockheed Drive
Redding, CA, 96002
Or via email at: NCIP_comments@aecom.com
In your letter, please:
· Thank the agency for the wonderful work it has done caring for our local public lands, despite scare resources, over the last 25 years. Urge them to continue this proud tradition in the years ahead
· Describe why you value local BLM lands. Consider mentioning clean water, wildlife and native plant habitat, recreation (what do you enjoy doing?), wilderness, scenery, restoration the BLM has conducted, or other important values and issues.
Lastly, please ask the BLM to:
1. Protect all “lands with wilderness characteristics” (LWC). LWC is the BLM term for the wildest and least developed tracts of land that it manages.
2. Manage the following areas as LWCs: Beegum Creek, Eden Creek, English Ridge, Gilham Butte, Horseshoe Ranch, North Fork Eel, Salt Creek and Trinity Alps.
3. Protect all streams that are eligible for “wild and scenic river” status.
4. Maintain its current management of the Eden Valley Wilderness Study Area, Weaverville Community Forest and Yolla Bolly Wilderness Study Area.
5. Continue to protect, restore and expand BLM holdings in the following areas: Butte Creek Corridor, Clear Creek Greenway-Swasey, Deer Creek, Grass Valley Creek, Lacks Creek, Red Mountain, Sacramento River Bend Area, Trinity River Corridor and Willis Ridge.