Friday, April 10, 2015

BLM releases Grand Junction Resource Management Plan

The Bureau of Land Management today released the Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for the approximately 1 million-acre Grand Junction Field Office in northwestern Colorado.

To view the proposed plan online, go here. For videos on how to navigate the proposed plan on the BLM's website, go here.

The Grand Junction Field Office includes some of the public’s most diverse landscapes and provides some of the nation’s premier recreational opportunities.

The proposed plan includes a 700,900-acre Shale Ridges and Canyons Master Leasing Plan with oil and gas restrictions ranging from limiting visual impacts to no surface disturbance and timing limitations to protect wildlife.

The Master Leasing Plan also includes two Wilderness Study Areas and three additional Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. Approximately 70 percent of the MLP is already leased.

The BLM developed the Resource Management Plan with close coordination from local and state government, regional interest groups and public input.

“We understand how important public land is to our community and we have listened to your input,” said Wayne Werkmeister, Grand Junction Acting Field Manager. “This area of rural western Colorado is an amazing place to live because of the popular recreation, energy and public land resources right in our back yards. We’ve worked hard to strike a balance between resource use, development and conservation that will allow us to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations."

Key decisions in the proposed plan include:

  • Managing five areas for specific recreational opportunities, including the Grand Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Special Recreation Management Area for cross-country riding and adventure 
  • Identifying 10 areas where wildlife habitat will receive focused emphasis and priority 
  • Travel management decisions that provide public access to quality recreational opportunities and commercial use of public lands while protecting sensitive resources 

The planning process identified trends and public expectations of public lands. The BLM says it can now act on user expectations within the framework of a plan that can stand the test of time.

Local government agencies including Mesa County provided critical assistance to develop the plan through feedback, constructive comments and working groups.

A 30-day public protest period and 60-day Governor’s consistency review begins today.

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