BLM RAMP Meetings

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BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Vincent J Brunasso » Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:07 pm

The BLM has scheduled the following public meetings

You Must Attend To Learn What Is PROPOSED.
In the Preferred Plan we get:

INCREASED PERMANENT CLOSURES

DECREASED CAMPING ACREAGE

POTENTIAL RESTRICTED CAMP AREA USE


Tuesday, April 13th – San Diego, CA
Handlery Hotel
950 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, CA 92108

Wednesday, April 14th – El Centro, CA
Imperial Irrigation District William R. Condit Meeting Room
1285 Broadway
El Centro, CA 92243

Thursday, April 15th – Phoenix, AZ
Mountain Preserve Reception and Conference Center
1431 E. Dunlap Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85020

All meetings will run from 6:00pm – 9:00pm
BLM will make a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation about the plan. BLM will then be available to take your questions.
You will be able to make official comments at the meetings.

These will be the ONLY meetings offered by the BLM.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Glamisbound » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:21 pm

Count down to San Diego meeting, 1 hour and 50 minutes.

I'll be there!

Will U?
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by MattV » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:50 pm

Glamisbound wrote:Count down to San Diego meeting, 1 hour and 50 minutes.

I'll be there!

Will U?
Give us a report, would ya? The Phoenix one is day after tomorrow...
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by PWR MAD » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:05 am

MattV wrote:
Glamisbound wrote:Count down to San Diego meeting, 1 hour and 50 minutes.

I'll be there!

Will U?
Give us a report, would ya? The Phoenix one is day after tomorrow...
After seeing and hearing the public comments at the meeting last night, I'd say have a well written response, with thought out comments. While I completely understand the emotions these meetings bring out, there were only a few speakers that were well versed and sounded prepared. I'm hoping that the written comments we are allowed to send in will come across better. I've tried to site data, fact, and results, rather than why I want things to be the way they were. I guess the difference between those of us who like the outdoors for motorized recreation and those that think it should be locked down, is that we all work for a living and actually have to make huge sacrifices to get to the meetings and be heard, while it seems the ones that want to keep us out have a fully orchestrated response group to prepare those that speak in public.

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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:28 am

04/13/10 BLM's San Diego Meeting on ISDRA DRAMP
On the BLM Panel were the following:
K. Karrios
E. Dryfus
T. Raml
D. Steward
N. Hamada
BLM gave a brief Power Point Presentation starting with the history of the ISDRA going back to the 1987 RAMP and discussing the implementation of the Wilderness Closure, Admin Closures, etc. This presentation showcased Alt 8 and did not discuss much about the other Alternatives. E. Dryfus verbally provided this presentation with a nervous voice to a standing-room only crowd. Certainly lacking some cool-calm Hamada presentation techniques, some content of her presentation was not true as follows:
1) She stated that the camping closure on Wash Rd. (under Alt8) would run from Wash 28 to Wash 69 and that this was within the current Admin Closure.
a. Neil corrected her afterwards by stating that the camping closure would start at Wash25. Nobody corrected her stating that the current admin closure allows people to camp as far down as Wash43 (or so).
Given that Erin Dryfus is the BLM person managing this Scope / DRAMP / RAMP process, and she does not seem to have the On The Ground knowledge (that can be learned from a map) of the ISDRA, there is room for concern of how the BLM has structured this management team.
It was stated during this meeting that the Power Point Presentation would be available on BLM’s website ‘after this meeting’.
After the Power Point was complete (literally about 10 mins), Neil stated inviting people up to address their comments to the BLM panel. All statements were recorded for public record by a court reporter.
I would guess about a dozen people spoke before the predominantly OHV crowd. Most asking questions (which the BLM was not originally answering, rather noting them for the record). Some people made statements.
As PWR MAD stated, only a couple people had an organized statement. These people, plus a couple others (like Mark Heim of Sand Tires Unlimited) made very good statements.
I gathered the following which was worth writing down:
One public speaker stated that the Visual Resource Management was “subjective”. I made a note to investigate this on my own.
One speaker asked that the BLM implement a Customer Satisfaction Survey for their LEO activities.
Many speakers asked of BLM’s plan to mitigate for closing off camping areas (Wash25~69 and DB Flats). BLM (ED) later stated that the DRAMP (Appendix P, Page 9) has provisions for additional new camping areas.
Terry Weiner from the Desert Protection Council spoke with a rather organized statement primarily in regards to Air Quality. She noted that it didn’t look like the DRAMP was addressing “Rule800” which the EPA has directed Imperial County to comply with. She also asked, “Will air quality monitors be installed?”. She cited the need for access to the Wilderness Area, noting that people who hike there also pay the BLM Rec Fees, but have no facilities (restrooms, parking, trashcans, etc).
With the exception of T. Weiner, all other speakers were from the OHV community.
One man, stated that the BLM was sitting on a cash cow. Suggested that they should improve their facilities, lengthen Gecko Rd & Wash Rd, charge $25 per night just like State Campgrounds do.
A few minutes later, a woman asks during here comment if it’s true that BLM is implementing “the $25/night fee”…. “In addition to the $90 per year? We can’t afford that!”
OMG!! My brain was going numb!
Now remember, these public comments are to be science based, in response to specific items of the DRAMP, lacking emotion, etc. Right? Right!
The meeting took a turn for the bad. Several people approached the microphone, one at a time rambling on and on and on and on and on bout a ticket they got for not having enough orange on their flag, or “you’re policing the wrong people”, or “all you do it take, take, take”. One comment that came across from SEVERAL people was in regards to all these “new closures”… why do we need “more closures”?... Why is BLM’s answer to everything to close the land?
One person went on and on about how the BLM was only showing us one of the 8 Alts in this meeting. “Why don’t we get to see the other Alts?”. “Looks like BLM has already made their decision here.”
RETARDS!!!! I wanted to scream!
1) The majority of the 8 Alts contain less closure than we currently have on the ground!!
2) All the Alts are in the DRAMP that has been out for weeks now. Without reading it, these guys want to walk into a BLM meeting and be spoon-fed the information without having to flip a page! I was AMAZED!!!
I’m glad I was at the meeting. I wish that I was able to learn more. I wish that the OHV Community was not so embarrassing on the public record.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by L&L Corvairs » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:32 am

MattV wrote: Give us a report, would ya? The Phoenix one is day after tomorrow...
Report…..Hmmmm…..Lessee….

First off, I think there was a very good turn out. The room was certainly full by 6:15/6:30. My estimate---maybe 100-150 people. Was good to see some folks we haven’t seen in a while. BLM put on a 10-15 minute power point presentation mostly outlining the ‘Alternative 8’ portion of the DRAMP. It was clear that most of us, myself included, have not read the DRAMP, but what was also clear was that most of the speakers were unclear on the concept of the meeting and the process. Only a very few had prepared any real, useable comments. Many took the opportunity to vent their anger and frustration with the current situation, the proposal, and other completely unrelated issues on the BLM there. To be sure, there is much passion for our sport and the dunes. This is a good thing.

However, I think that the ASA has it’s work cut out for it in terms of “Informing” the duning community. Or perhaps, the ASA has less then a passing grade in that area. Many of those who spoke purported to be members, yet were obviously lacking in understanding the history, the ESA the RAMP process and the issues.

I don’t like singling anyone out, but I have to . Am not doing so to be mean or slam anyone, this is to illustrate what we are up against in terms of educating the public. The gentlemen who proposed, in less then a friendly tone, that the BLM should start a ‘PMV Farm’ and grow/transplant the PMV doesn’t understand how the ESA works. Even if such an idea was to be seriously contemplated, I doubt he has considered how such a program would be funded, how many years it would take, (in the mean time we’re stuck with what we have) and what happens if such an endeavor fails. When Neil responded to another irate gentleman that ‘Please, if you have ideas, information or a better way, or ‘outside the box’ solutions, give it to us” The response was “THAT’S YOUR JOB”..

OOKKKAAAYYY

There was a lot of concern and negative comments on the Rain Event closure of Dune Buggy Flats. Many did not understand that it would only be triggered in an extraordinary situation between Oct and Dec.
After (mostly) everyone spoke, the BLM , at the request of the audience, gave a brief overview of all 8 Alternatives, and some of the reasoning for them. I think the BLM would have a more productive meeting if they would include that as part of their initial presentation.


As the day progresses today, I may have additional comments.

Oh yeah, the court reporter/stenographer, who I am assuming is a contract employee, had a very nice rack that her completely inappropriate attire promoted for all to see. If she hadn’t actually sat down and started taking notes, I would have figured her for one of the local mid to high level class prostitutes. Additionally, her ethic was unprofessional and insulting to those of us there. While we all turned our phones off and concentrated on the meeting and speakers, she was constantly taking cell phone calls and/or texting while she was supposed to be recording the proceedings. I don’t care how good she is, I’m sure those types of actions would not be allowed in a court room.

But she did have a nice pair.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:47 am

In attendance from this BBS (that I saw) was L&L, alyshka, GlamisSandDuner, GlamisBound, GoofyDuner, DuneRooster, gelweel, Sandcock, Karen (I forget her BBS name). I also saw Jerry Canning, Chuck Hattaway, Julie Crough of the ASA and a couple familiar faces from Glamis Dunes.com. Chuck made a statement on behalf of the ASA. I was pleased to see OCATV, Cal4wdAssoc and CORVA represented. Maybe I missed SDORC and ORBA, but I don't recall seeing anyone speak from those Orgs. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

It seems that PWR MAD and Mean Green was there too, but I didn't stick around to shake hands afterwards. :oops:
Sorry for all the horrible name spellings. :oops:
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:55 am

L&L Corvairs wrote: Oh yeah, the court reporter/stenographer, who I am assuming is a contract employee, had a very nice rack that her completely inappropriate attire promoted for all to see.
Yes, I sat directly in front of her. If you're wondering, they were white silk, not that I was looking. It took her about 30 minutes to start crossing her legs, and even then she'd sometimes "forget".
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by gelwell » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:52 am

From what I saw from the presentation and the preferred Alt 8 is a OHV friendly solution. Is it perfect? No. But none of us are scientists nor do we have the data to offer what they wanted. When I spoke I tried to point out that I thought we could mitigate the Microphyll closures for camping by still allowing camping in the open areas of the washes. Sorry no science for that, but then again CBD had no science to show the PMV was endangered to beging with. Further I also tried to offer authorized trails thru the PMV closed areas to access the dunes. It is apparent open camping areas is going to be a concern.

But it is apparent that we need to put together indivdually a well thought out letter to represent your concerns, complete with the furnished maps with your ideas as part of the letter.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by crash » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:08 am

Sorry, guess I should have put this here instead of the other places I did:

I attended the BLM meeting last night in San Diego and came away with only a couple things.

1) The BLMs path has already been chosen, and we were one of the least considered factors in crafting "alternatives".

2) This was the first meeting I have been at where people, many people, were asking for mitigation for any lost access to OUR resources. THAT WAS GREAT!!! Something a couple people had been screaming about on this BBS years ago.

3) That eco Weiner was completely delusional...and lying when she said she enjoys walking accross the middle of the dunes.

4) This just kinda hit me this morning. I know it would be a HUGE amount of work, but has anyone considered a path were a privately owned "duning company" acquired a lease to the sand dunes? I mean if geothermal and mining interests can come into a BLM area and essentially close off all public access that doesn't go by their guidelines, why can't duners do the same? Apply for a land lease for THE ENTIRE DUNE SYSTEM FROM THE 78 TO THE BORDER. If it is acceptable for private energy and mining companies to COMPLETELY reshape the land and leave it NOTHING like it was before, surely what we do can be permitted MUCH easier.

I know there are a lot of hurdles to this idea and most of us, unfortunately, have much bigger problems to deal with right now than a project as complex as this would be, but I think I am thinking outside the box here and the idea COULD have some merit.

Guess I'm sorry I sat in the back. I was wondering who the trashy chick was? Makes sense now. Many "court reporters" seem to be of this ilk.

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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Glamisbound » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:22 am

Well, the guys above covered the meeting pretty well, including the court reporter, who I'd personally like to thank! :mrgreen: I didn't even notice she was on the phone like Lloyd pointed out... :shock:

My take on the meeting was that it was marginally worth it. Now I don't want to throw people down for making comments, especially since I chose not to....but I really feel compelled to. I do it in hopes that people attending the next meeting will learn from this, because it really is a waste of time for everyone, when people say really stupid things that are unsupported and unrelated to the matter at hand.

For those that weren't there, one greenie in the audience spoke about particulates air pollution and whether or not the BLM would be installing air monitors....Let me tell you, I'm all for giving the other side their chance to speak, but this BS was totally unrelated to what we were there for. And that pissed me off. She also expressed her interest to hiking in the dunes but was not willing to hike in the closed area north of the 78 because there is no where to park over there....like it's a really long walk from Gecko... #-o

One thing I think we really need now are stats on is how many times, in say the last 20 years, did Gordon's Well meet the rainfall threshold that would trigger closing Dune buggy flats to camping. If it's every three years, that would be a lot different than once or twice in the last 20 years.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by crash » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:27 am

AS ORIGINALLY POSTED BY L&L

"haven’t looked at the data yet, either, so it is possible that Erin is incorrect, however, I’m will to be she is not. (anyone care to wager??? How about a 6 pack of ones favorite ICB?. I’ll bet on Erin.)

We have to remember that the 1.82” rain event has to happen between Oct and Dec 31. Rain that happens after Dec 31 is not counted. I suspect that the lady who disagreed with Erin did not ‘do the math’ properly for Oct through Dec.

Doc has posted on Glamis Dunes.com that in the last 44 yrs, there has been 9 events that qualify and ONCE in the last 10 yrs. We should also keep in mind that once approved, this RAMP is up for review in 10 (or 15, not sure) yrs. As an FYI, this year, for Oct to Dec, there was only .40” of rain and the season total of rain so far for this year does not equal 1.82”.

To answer your question, and this is my opinion, because BLM has not stated; the reason to close Dune Buggy Flats camping is that with no close by camping, that Critical Habitat area of high PMV concentration would see a substantially reduced OHV use during the prime PMV growing season.

The one thing that we cannot lose sight of, and it was somewhat well summarized by Mark Harms late in the meeting: ANY alternative that the BLM ‘prefers’ and wishes to implement, MUST pass muster with Fish and Wildlife. If not, then it won’t go. Period. This is a constraint that BLM has to meet. Yes, I understand the concerns of closing the Dune Buggy Flat’s camping area IF a rain threshold is met. And, no, I haven’t finished reading the document yet, so comments by me are somewhat premature, but if we can find a solution for mitigating the ‘Flats’’ closure, then Alternative 8, IMO, is a reasonable deal.

I’m sure there is more to come."

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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by PWR MAD » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:32 am

I too would like to say everyone who posted after mine from this morning, gave a clear and accurate description, prepared statements should be insisted on. I guess I was lucky in that my wife and I sat in the very back of the room, so we missed the "show" #-o

To avoid a written copy of the less than helpful statements and comments, would it be too out of line to ask for a template of sorts to assist those of us with less than Steinbeck quality authoring skills?

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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:35 am

I will post a template letter, and so will the ASA
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:38 am

To avoid that we have duplicate posts all over the place:

I propose that we use the DRAMP/RAMP Comments thread for comments to the BLM about the RAMP / DRAMP.

And that we use the BLM RAMP Meetings thread for discussing the plans and outcomes (inclusive of any interesting sightings :wink: ) of the BLM RAMP Meetings.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by L&L Corvairs » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:45 am

Woodglue wrote:To avoid that we have duplicate posts all over the place:

I propose that we use the DRAMP/RAMP Comments thread for comments to the BLM about the RAMP / DRAMP.

And that we use the BLM RAMP Meetings thread for discussing the plans and outcomes (inclusive of any interesting sightings :wink: ) of the BLM RAMP Meetings.
I agree, but I'm still so confused.... :? ...I sat directly accross from that for 3+ hours last night too......
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by ChuckZilla » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:55 pm

I would like to thank those that attended the meeting especially Woodglue for posting those detailed minutes. My wife is taking the recent death of her mother very hard and I needed to be close to home.
Again, thank-you to the attendees and Mike for posting.

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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:18 am

Thanks for the accolades Chuck. I wish your family well in this time of grieving.
-----------
I would like to hear from any here who attended the Wednesday, April 14th – El Centro, CA meeting last night.
Good? Bad? How many people? Any enviro's? etc. Was the ASA represented? Other orgs?


Is anyone (aside from Sticksand) planning to attend the PHX meeting tonight?

Thanks, -Mike.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:47 am

From here:
Imperial County dunes management plan critiqued at public comment meeting
By ELIZABETH VARIN, Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 11:55 PM PDT
1.jpg
ELIZABETH VARIN PHOTO
Bureau of Land Management Dunes Manager Neil Hamada (left) answers a question by Yuma resident Steve St. Pierre, who had problems with bureau closing a campsite if a certain threshold for rain is met. About 40 people attended the meeting in El Centro on Wednesday.

Brawley resident Kevin Hutchinson was concerned about fees, Susan Massey of Holtville doesn’t want wind farms to impact the desert’s beauty and Nicole Gilles with the American Sand Association was opposed to closing some camping down.They were three of more than 40 who attended the Bureau of Land Management’s dunes management plan forum Wednesday night to discuss issues about the plan that provides direction for the bureau to manage recreation land in Imperial County.

The two-part, 750-page plan includes resource protection, public safety, facility management and more for the 214,930 acres of the eastern Imperial County special recreation management area.

Eight alternatives were presented, which have varying levels of recreation and protection.

The bureau’s preferred alternative includes almost 180,000 acres available for off-highway vehicles, said bureau Environment Protection Specialist Erin Dreyfuss. It’s the second-highest level of recreation area open out of the eight alternatives.

Some present were critical of certain features of the alternative, like closing Dunebuggy Flats campground when a rain threshold is met.

“We all know it’s pretty impacted as it is,” said American Sand Association Executive Director Gilles.

The idea behind closing the campground during heavy rain is to reduce the impact on vegetation areas near there, said acting local field manager Daniel Steward. Camping has a much bigger effect on the land than off-highway vehicles, which will still be allowed during higher rain seasons.

Others were concerned about fees.

Brawley resident Hutchinson, who has been using the dunes since 1971, said that the fee structure has turned off some locals who don’t use the dunes anymore.

“Myself and my family, we’ve pretty much stopped using the dunes over the last 20 years,” he said.

Only having season passes doesn’t gear itself toward local users, who may only want to go out for a day, Hutchinson said.

“You’ve shut out a lot of local people,” he told the panel.

Another issue that a few people commented on was air quality and whether the plan deals with issues that face the county.

Luis Olmedo of Comite Civico del Valle said that it needs to be considered as part of the plan.

“It’s a big concern,” he said. “(The county) needs the help. We all have to contribute to that.”

Few of the 40 spoke to the panel of four.

The last public comment meeting is scheduled for today in Phoenix. Comment can also be e-mailed to caisdrmp@ca.blm.gov or by mail to 1661 S. Fourth St. in El Centro, according to the press release. The public comment period will end June 24.

>> Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at evarin@ivpressonline.com or 760-337-3441.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by RobC » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:13 pm

I'll be going tonight.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:23 pm

Good deal RobC, please let us know know your thoughts, how it went, etc.
-Mike.
PS: I put a link to your quad thread in the 2010 Night Ride thread today. :wink:
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by DuneRookie » Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:12 pm

What I dont understand is you drive you OHV in the closed camping areas but you cant camp? Whats he difference? I mean traffic is traffic wheather its passing thru or all around or parked it still gets driven / rode on. Me thinks it is a way to appease the judge and FWS. Same with the rain closure. It shows they have a proactive plan to further protect resources along with the critical habitat being closed insted of open and managed. Again to appease the judge and FWS. My thoughts anyway. I don't like it but it appears we get more dunes back. Not perfect but better.

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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:30 pm

DuneRookie wrote:What I dont understand is you drive your OHV in the closed camping areas but you cant camp? Whats he difference?
I hear you!
But....
In the above article, BLM stated...
The idea behind closing the campground during heavy rain is to reduce the impact on vegetation areas near there, said acting local field manager Daniel Steward. Camping has a much bigger effect on the land than off-highway vehicles, which will still be allowed during higher rain seasons.
I don't understand, but it’s tricky! Complaining about it will require us to say that OHV Damages the ground more than camping does. If they allow camping but not OHV’s then we can’t use it. We need the camping first, then the OHV’s second.
I don't know about Dune Buggy campground, but in wash 25~Wash69, No one will be riding their OHV's in their if they cannot camp. The only reason people ride in the washes is because they are camping there. Heck, even getting to the washes from the big dunes is hard because of all the little technical dunes.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by ChuckZilla » Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:35 pm

DuneRookie wrote:What I dont understand is you drive you OHV in the closed camping areas but you cant camp? Whats he difference? I mean traffic is traffic wheather its passing thru or all around or parked it still gets driven / rode on. Me thinks it is a way to appease the judge and FWS. Same with the rain closure. It shows they have a proactive plan to further protect resources along with the critical habitat being closed insted of open and managed. Again to appease the judge and FWS. My thoughts anyway. I don't like it but it appears we get more dunes back. Not perfect but better.
Though I'm not fond of that aspect of Op#8, it does respect the travel corridor between Buttercup & the North Dunes. With DBF's open to riding one can travel the dune system end to end.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by RobC » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:27 pm

I just got home from the AZ meeting, and I must say that it was very informative. There were probably 100 - 150 people there, none of which appeared to be enviros. The meeting started with a quick presentation about the whole RAMP process, and a quick overview of all the Alternatives. I feel the meeting went very well, and everyone there remained very civil.

Jerry Seaver, Bob Mason, Tim Wight and others (whose names I don't remember) made some very useful comments and asked some very good questions.

As stated in other posts (and this is my opinion, too) alternative 8 is what the BLM is going with. They stated that they feel Alt 8 has the best chance of getting approved by the USFWS, and ultimately being approved by the Judge.

One question that was asked was of the BLM was "are you required by law to close any land designated as Critical Habitat." The answer was No. My take is that they are closing areas to try and avoid further litigation. If the Judge were to reject this, it goes back to square 1.

There was a lot of comments and questions on the closing of Dunebuggy Flats for camping. They want to close it during those high rain seasons in order to give "extra special" care to the PMV during it's growing season. Less people camping there will mean less people possibly riding in those closed areas. It has nothing to do with PMV growing in DB Flats. Comments were made that they simply need to mark and police those closed areas better. Most real, law-abiding "duners" don't intentionally ride through the closed areas. If we do get in there, it's usually by accident, or by not being able to see the closure markers anymore. Of course there will always be a few "bad apples" that intentionally ride through them.

Jerry noted that the closures need to be based on real data. The proposed closure of the area from Patton Valley south, which is currently open to OHV use, has the highest number of PMV growing. This proves that OHV use does not threaten the PVMs growth. It may actually help it. This proposed closure from Patton Valley south on the west side of the dunes would be detrimental to people who normally camp in DB Flats.

Many comments were also brought up about providing legal paths through the PMV CH areas in order to safely and legally get from the west side of the middle closure out to the middle of the dunes, as well as for an emergency situation where you may need to tow a broken down vehicle from the middle of the dunes back to DB Flats.

There were some comments regarding the closure of camping areas south of Wash 25, but not too much discussion there.

These are a few of the things I can remember right now. There were quite a few other issues also brought up. Maybe I'll try to post more tomorrow. The most important thing is for people to submit their comments in writing, or via email, before the deadline of June 23rd.

Hope this makes sense. If not let me know and I'll try to clarify. At this point I just hope the BLM will take into consideration all of the comments, as they said they are required to do.

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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:02 am

Thanks for the report RobC! It sounds like Phoenix had the best meeting of the three!
RobC wrote:One question that was asked was of the BLM was "are you required by law to close any land designated as Critical Habitat." The answer was No. My take is that they are closing areas to try and avoid further litigation. If the Judge were to reject this, it goes back to square 1.
The BLM is not bound by law to close PMV Critical Habitat, but they are obligated to Manage that Habitat. The question is, how can the BLM manage access to a specific area without restricting OHV access? The few ideas I've arrived at are costly and not very practical.
Failure to properly manage the PMV CH (and the CH of other species like Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard, Microphyll Woodlands and Mojave Desert Tortise) can result in the RAMP being rejected by the courts.
After all, BLM's failure to manage the PMV CH is how we ended up with the current Admin Closures.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by WoodIsGood » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:18 pm

Woodglue wrote:The BLM is not bound by law to close PMV Critical Habitat, but they are obligated to Manage that Habitat. The question is, how can the BLM manage access to a specific area without restricting OHV access?
There's no need or requirement to manage access to the area, but rather to manage the area in a way to protect the PMV's ecological health. I got the "ecological health" term from a FWS brief on ESA basics found here.

The management plan should try to maximize recreation opportunities (this is, after all, a "recreation area" we're talking about) while providing adequate protection for the PMV's ecological health. Obviously no one knows what FWS and the courts will accept, but the CH "management" obligation could quite possibly be covered by something as simple as posting signs and otherwise advertising that OHV users should make a concerted effort to avoid the PMV plants. A step further would be to post signs in or around the CH indicating the area as CH to alert OHV users to the possibility of PMV in the area so the plants can be actively avoided. Given that the only scientific studies done on the PMV show that OHV use in general does not negatively impact the PMV, outright closure of the CH is not needed, nor warranted, to adequately protect the PMV's ecological health.

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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by L&L Corvairs » Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:00 pm

WoodIsGood wrote: The management plan should try to maximize recreation opportunities (this is, after all, a "recreation area" we're talking about) while providing adequate protection for the PMV's ecological health. Obviously no one knows what FWS and the courts will accept, but the CH "management" obligation could quite possibly be covered by something as simple as posting signs and otherwise advertising that OHV users should make a concerted effort to avoid the PMV plants. A step further would be to post signs in or around the CH indicating the area as CH to alert OHV users to the possibility of PMV in the area so the plants can be actively avoided. Given that the only scientific studies done on the PMV show that OHV use in general does not negatively impact the PMV, outright closure of the CH is not needed, nor warranted, to adequately protect the PMV's ecological health.
I do not disagree with you. Most people would not either. The questioin is, will FWS agree with you and issue a No Jeporday opinon based on the above.

Sadly, I will would have to bet NO.

If FWS should agree (which I seriously doubt) then in reality, the Alternative, would look a lot like Alt 1. And IMO, that will never make it through the courts.

We have to remember the histroy and chain of events that got us where we are at. The current situation is the result of BLM and FWS doing NOTHING for the PMV once it got listed. Had they done so, back in 1997-2000, there would still have had to be SOMETHING closed or restricted. Back then, everyone really knew NOTHING about the PMV. IMO, we are going to have to accept a closure of the CH if we want the rest of it opened up anytime reasonably soon, OR accept that we will spend another 5-10 years in legal battles with uncertain outcommes.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by ggorman » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:55 pm

Woodglue wrote:
DuneRookie wrote:What I dont understand is you drive your OHV in the closed camping areas but you cant camp? Whats he difference?
I hear you!
But....
In the above article, BLM stated...
The idea behind closing the campground during heavy rain is to reduce the impact on vegetation areas near there, said acting local field manager Daniel Steward. Camping has a much bigger effect on the land than off-highway vehicles, which will still be allowed during higher rain seasons.
I don't understand, but it’s tricky! Complaining about it will require us to say that OHV Damages the ground more than camping does. If they allow camping but not OHV’s then we can’t use it. We need the camping first, then the OHV’s second.
I don't know about Dune Buggy campground, but in wash 25~Wash69, No one will be riding their OHV's in their if they cannot camp. The only reason people ride in the washes is because they are camping there. Heck, even getting to the washes from the big dunes is hard because of all the little technical dunes.
I think the statement they used in PHX was "because we have had a lot of human-caused wildfires and other damage not due to OHV activity".

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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by gelwell » Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:40 am

I basically agree with L&L but I also think we can get some camping concessions from BLM. Wash 40 is not that far from Glamis besides there 93 washes to Ogilby road. That means having Microphyll protection for 53 washes or about 60% of the washes protected and that would be more than fair.

I still think our strategy should be to get the PMV delisted then all this should be moot. Air quality gig is a travesty and enviro nazi tactic. The farming community by turning up soil, irrignating, burning acres of land on both sides of the border, the uncontrolled air of Mexicali and Algodones throws a lot a stuff into the air. We might use the dunes 6 months out the year and mostly during weekends hardly is anything to be even be considered. As mentioned at the SD meeting was mother nature herself kicking up sand at 15+ winds.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Sandcock » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:48 pm

1) Can Alt. 8 be amended?
2) Why is a section of the riding area in DBF being closed when, as was stated, the vegetation is doing well in this area even though it is co-existing with OHV?
3) Why is the micrphyll woodlands south of W25 being closed to camping? There are tens of thousands of acres around the dunes that can be closed, if they aren't already. Is closing this area going to change the habitat and woodland area that significantly? Data please.
4) Has anyone considered what negative repercussions can occur when campers are condensed? How about the cost of more LE due to altercations? How about more accidents?

This is supposedly a world class dune riding area where locals and people come from all over the United States. This also is a way of life for families, from generation to generation. Closure for the few should not be an option. Find better ways to manage.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by RobC » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:53 pm

Everyone really needs to start sending in their WRITTEN comments. I think we have until June 23rd, if I remember correctly.

How to Comment on this Document
The Notice of Availability in the Federal Register initiates a 90-day public review and comment period.

During this period, comments may be submitted using one of the following methods:

E-mail comments to: caisdrmp@ca.blm.gov

All written comments should be sent to:
RAMP Team Lead
1661 South 4th Street
El Centro, CA 92243

Comments may be made in person at one of the public meetings conducted in local communities. The specific dates and times for these meetings will be announced in local newspapers, in a newsletter, and on the Bureau of Land Management Web site (http://www.ca.blm.gov).
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:35 pm

gelwell wrote:I basically agree with L&L but I also think we can get some camping concessions from BLM. Wash 40 is not that far from Glamis besides there 93 washes to Ogilby road. That means having Microphyll protection for 53 washes or about 60% of the washes protected and that would be more than fair.
Look at this... Map 3-1.
Microphyll Map.jpg
It shows the Microphyll Woodland giving way to Creosote Bush Scrub as you head south from Wash 25. In fact, the swath of Creosote Bush Scrub gets wider as you head south. For this reason, I see no science regarding the Camping Closure of Alt 8 to protect the Microphyll Woodlands. The closure holds more Creosote Bush Scrub than Microphyll Woodlands!!!
gelwell wrote:I still think our strategy should be to get the PMV delisted then all this should be moot.
[-X Microphyll Woodland is not related to PMV.
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:57 pm

With my comments in red text:
Sandcock wrote:1) Can Alt. 8 be amended? We plan to propose ammendments. Most likely, the document that becomes the RAMP will be a variation of one of the current Alternates.
2) Why is a section of the riding area in DBF being closed when, as was stated, the vegetation is doing well in this area even though it is co-existing with OHV? This is a great question. Science is not supporting the closure of DBF! BLM seeks to close DBF to protect PMV, however there is not any PMV CH in DBF!! :roll:
3) Why is the micrphyll woodlands south of W25 being closed to camping? There are tens of thousands of acres around the dunes that can be closed, if they aren't already. Is closing this area going to change the habitat and woodland area that significantly? Data please. The "Data" does not support the closure. Refer to my earlier post.
4) Has anyone considered what negative repercussions can occur when campers are condensed? How about the cost of more LE due to altercations? How about more accidents? I agree!
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Re: BLM RAMP Meetings

Post by Woodglue » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:00 pm

RobC wrote:The specific dates and times for these meetings will be announced in local newspapers, in a newsletter, and on the Bureau of Land Management Web site (http://www.ca.blm.gov).
[-X Those meetings are done and gone! No more meetings.
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