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The Bureau of Land Management Releases the Proposed Resource Management Plan
The Bureau of Land Management has released the Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Colorado River Valley Field Office in northwestern Colorado.
The Proposed Plan/Final EIS considers land use planning decisions for managing approximately 505,000 acres of BLM lands and 701,000 acres of federal mineral estate administered by the Colorado River Valley Field Office (CRVFO) in portions of Eagle, Garfield, Mesa, Pitkin, Rio Blanco and Routt counties.
The Proposed RMP/Final EIS balances continued resource use with protecting sensitive resources. The Proposed RMP is based largely on the Preferred Alternative found in the Draft EIS released for public comment in September 2011, but it includes elements of other alternatives in the Draft.
The Planning Process
The Proposed RMP/Final EIS was prepared following the release of the Draft RMP/Draft EIS in September 2011. The Final EIS includes responses to all substantive public comments on the Draft. It was prepared by the BLM in cooperation with its 14 cooperating agencies – Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado River Water Conservation District, City of Glenwood Springs, City of Rifle, Denver Water Board, Eagle County, Garfield County, Pitkin County, Town of Basalt, Town of Carbondale, Town of Eagle, Town of Gypsum, Town of New Castle, Town of Parachute, Town of Silt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and White River National Forest (WRNF) – along with the BLM Northwest Resource Advisory Council.
Four alternatives are analyzed in detail including: Alternative A (the "no action" alternative or continuation of the present management situation), Alternative B (the mixed emphasis alternative and Proposed RMP), Alternative C (conservation emphasis), and Alternative D (resource use emphasis). Issues addressed include air quality, travel management, recreation, energy development, and fish and wildlife resources. The alternatives address designation of areas of critical environmental concern, designation of special and extensive recreation management areas, eligibility and suitability of river segments under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and managing lands for the protection of wilderness characteristics.
The Proposed RMP/Final EIS is available electronically at BLM Colorado | Colorado River Valley Field Office. You may also request a DVD through the contact information provided below.
Remaining Planning Schedule
March 2014: Publish Proposed RMP/Final EIS
April 2014: Conclude Protest Period
May 2014: Governor’s Consistency Review ends
Aug. 2014: Resolve protests
Sept. 2014: Publish Record of Decision
Pursuant to the BLM's planning regulations at 43 CFR 1610.5-2, any person who participated in
the planning process for this Proposed RMP and has an interest which is or may be adversely affected by the planning decisions may protest approval of the planning decisions within 30 days from the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. For specific information on filing a protest, please see the Final EIS.
The Record of Decision (ROD)
Upon resolution of all land use plan protests, the BLM will issue an Approved RMP and ROD. The BLM estimates the ROD will be signed in the fall of 2014.
White River National Forest
The CRVFO invited the WRNF to participate in the CRVFO RMP revision process for the analysis of Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSR) because (1) Deep Creek was jointly analyzed by the BLM and the WRNF for eligibility in 1995, and (2) four of the eligible U.S. Forest Service river segments studied for suitability are directly upstream or downstream of river segments the BLM analyzed. In collaboration with the BLM EIS process, the WRNF conducted a suitability study and analysis and will make decisions on those river segments on U.S. Forest Service lands.
The WRNF suitability determinations will be documented in a separate ROD. The responsible official, Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor, has prepared a Draft ROD for the WRNF WSR Suitability Study. It is available electronically on the WRNF website at Forest Service.
The WRNF WSR Suitability Study for the Colorado River and Deep Creek Draft ROD is subject to an objection process pursuant to 36 CFR 218, subparts A and B. Once prepared and posted, objections must be submitted within 45 calendar days following the publication of the legal notice in the Glenwood Post Independent. Objections can only be accepted from those who have previously submitted specific written comments regarding the proposed project during scoping or other designated opportunity for public comment. Issues raised in objections must be based on previously-submitted, timely and specific written comments regarding the proposed project unless based on new information arising after the designated comment opportunities. If no objection is filed, a final ROD will be published. If an objection is filed, the Reviewing Officer will issue a response. Once the objection process is completed a final ROD may be signed.
Additional information about the U.S. Forest Service study can be obtained from: Kay Hopkins, phone 970-846-9040 or email [email protected].
Roan Plateau WSR Determinations. The National WSR System stream suitability analysis for eligible Roan Plateau stream segments was included in the Draft RMP/Draft EIS and is also contained in Appendix C of this document. However, suitability determinations for eligible stream segments on the Roan Plateau have been deferred to the Roan Plateau planning area supplemental EIS. The BLM will maintain eligible status for Roan Plateau stream segments. Final suitability determinations will be formally adopted when the BLM State Director signs a ROD for the Roan Plateau plan. At that time, the BLM will render a suitability determination using information and alternatives from this planning process, along with any new alternatives and information generated for the Roan Plateau planning area supplemental EIS.
Northwest Colorado BLM Greater Sage-Grouse Plan Amendment and EIS. The Northwest Colorado BLM Greater Sage-Grouse Plan Amendment and EIS is a separate planning effort that considers incorporating new conservation measures into RMPs for the five field offices within the Northwest District in Colorado, including CRVFO, and the Routt National Forest. Final decisions on how to manage Greater Sage-Grouse and their habitat will be made in the ROD for this Greater Sage-Grouse Plan Amendment, anticipated to be released in early 2015.
Bureau of Land Management - Brian Hopkins
Colorado River Valley Field Office
2300 River Frontage Road
Silt, CO 81652
Telephone: (970) 876-9000 FAX: (970) 876-9090
Email: [email protected]