Notice of Availability of the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the West Mojave Route Network Project and Draft Land Use Plan Amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan in the West Mojave Planning Area, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties, CA

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a Draft Land Use Plan Amendment (LUPA) and Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) for the West Mojave Route Network Project (WMRNP) within the West Mojave (WEMO) Planning Area of the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) and by this Notice is announcing the opening of the 90-day public comment period.

The WMRNP will delineate travel management areas, adopt transportation and travel management strategies, and designate routes on public lands in the WEMO Planning Area. 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. In March 2006, the BLM signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for the WEMO Plan and Amendment to the CDCA Plan. In January 2011, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California partially remanded the 2006 WEMO Plan Amendment ROD back to the BLM and directed the BLM to amend the CDCA Plan and reconsider route designation throughout the WEMO Planning Area, as well as other specified issues in the 2006 WEMO Plan (Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management Order Re: Remedy (N.D. Cal. Jan 28, 2011)). The court's order: (1) Invalidated the “decision tree” instrument used to evaluate and designate routes; (2) found that the authorization of off-highway vehicles (OHV) routes that were not in existence in 1980 were inconsistent with the governing land use plan; (3) found that there was not a reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed action, including an inadequate discussion of the No Action alternative; and (4) found that BLM had done an inadequate analysis of impacts from the route network and the grazing program to specific resource values, including soils, cultural resources, certain biological resources, and air quality.

For the complete Federal Register Notice, see:

Source: WEMO Route Network Draft EIS Released

John Stewart
Vice President, BlueRibbon Coalition