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Natural Resources Report For March 2024

| Rose Winn, Cal4wheel Natural Resources Consultant | Natural Resources Consultant Reports

STANISLAUS NATIONAL FOREST SERAL 2.0 PROJECT – PUBLIC COMMENT OPPORTUNITY

Stanislaus National Forest has proposed a second phase of a comprehensive vegetation management project with the goal of reducing fuel load and risk of catastrophic wildfire over 180,000+ acres of forest located East of Arnold and Sonora, and North of Groveland. The project is called SERAL 2.0 (SERAL: Social and Ecological Resilience Across the Landscape). Public comments will be received through March 31, 2024. This project provides OHV enthusiasts with an important opportunity to advocate for protection of OHV access during and after completion of the vegetation management project, and to express support for improved public safety and effective forest management. Click this link for more information about the SERAL 2.0 project, and to submit your comment: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=63557

BLM WESTERN SOLAR PLAN: 2.55 MILLION ACRES AT RISK OF LOSING RECREATION ACCESS

There is a shift happening on public lands with the core driver centered in renewable energy: solar and wind power. The climate change agenda is rapidly impacting the priorities that public land managers place on “multiple-use management” of our public lands.

There has been a significant increase of solar farms on public land in recent years. Currently, a Western Solar Plan created in 2012 identifies public lands eligible for fast-track solar farm development in multiple states: California, Washington, Montana, Oregon, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, the District of Columbia, and Utah. With this current plan there is a variance process that potential solar projects have to go through in order to be approved. These renewable energy developments often conflict with recreation use. California counties where BLM land is at risk of losing recreation access include:

  • Monterey County
  • Marin County
  • Del Norte County
  • Orange County
  • Los Angeles County
  • Ventura County
  • Santa Barbara County
  • San Luis Obispo County
  • Santa Cruz County
  • San Mateo County
  • Mendocino County
  • San Diego County
  • Imperial County
  • City and County of San Francisco
  • Humboldt County

The Bureau of Land Management is updating the Western Solar Plan in order to expand areas of public land suitable for solar energy development to meet a net carbon electricity goal by 2035. Currently the BLM is accepting public comments on the Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. Since they are prioritizing solar farm development on lands that are already impacted near transmission lines, we need Cal4Wheel members to submit public comments to tell BLM to exclude your favorite OHV riding areas from the plan.

For more information on the BLM Western Solar Plan, and to submit a comment, go to: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2022371/510

CALIFORNIA DESERT DISTRICT ADVISORY COUNCIL 2024 MEETING SERIES

The BLM will host a meeting series in 2024 for California’s Desert District Advisory Council. Meetings will be held on April 27, August 10, and December 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pacific Time. A virtual participation option will also be available on the Zoom platform. Field tours may be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the day before each meeting. If weather or other circumstances arise and an on-site meeting is canceled, the meeting will be held virtually via Zoom, and the field tour will not occur.

The April meeting will be held at the El Centro Field Office, 1661 S. 4th Street, El Centro, CA 92243; the August meeting will be held at the Needles Field Office, 1303 S. Highway 95, Needles, CA 92363; and the December meeting will be held at the Barstow Field Office, 2601 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311. The agendas for the public meetings, virtual meeting participation information, and field tour details will be posted on the Council's web page at: 

https://www.blm.gov/​get-involved/​rac/​california/​california-desert-district

Agenda topics for the April meeting may include presentations on the Salton Sea, off-highway vehicle recreation and visitation in the El Centro Field Office, and overviews from the district and field offices and fire program. Agenda topics for the August meeting may include presentations on the Mojave Trails National Monument planning effort, the East Mojave Trail and partnership, and overviews from the district and field offices and fire program. Agenda topics for the December meeting may include a vote on the Barstow Business Plan, proposed recreation fees and plans for the Desert Discovery Center, and overviews from the district and field offices and fire program.

All Council meetings are open to the public, and there will be an opportunity for public comment during the meeting.

For more information, contact Kate Miyamoto, BLM California Desert District Office, telephone: 760-883-8528, email: kmiyamoto@blm.gov.

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