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BLM announces Record of Decision for RAMP

After more than 10 years of studies and legal maneuvering the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has adopted Alternative #8 as described in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) Recreation Area Management Plan (RAMP) Record of Decision (ROD) published on June 17, 2013. The BLM decision is based on 13 years of analysis and studies from both sides of the issues. In so doing, they are removing most of the "Interim Closures" put in place in August 2000, keeping only the 9,046 acres closed where scientific studies show the plants need protection, Critical Habitat designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Alternative #8 reopens the majority of the area between Interstate 8 and Highway 78. Approximately 7,500 acres east of the sand highway from Roadrunner to Gordons Well will remain closed to Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) activity. The closure in the Buttercup area will be relocated adjacent to the border of Mexico.

The new plan provides for continuous monitoring in the future and allows for adjustments to be made. A revaluation by the USFWS could potentially delist the Peirson's milk vetch. The plan is 328 pages long and is the result of many thousands of public comments, court decisions, and environmental studies. The RAMP ROD may be viewed here.

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