ASA's response to the proposed critical habitat designation

Imperial Sand Dune Recreation Area • Including Buttercup & Gordon's Well

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ASA's response to the proposed critical habitat designation

Post by Doc » Tue Sep 25, 2007 5:19 pm

Today our lawyer, David Hubbard, submitted the ASA’s response to the proposed critical habitat (CH) designation for the ISDRA. The ASA hired a consultant to review the economic analysis of the implementation of CH. Although CH does not necessarily equate to closures one must make that assumption when reviewing the economic effects of CH designation.

Here is a link to the documents submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Service today.

ASA Submitted documents

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Post by gelwell » Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:11 am

Outstanding job! Very well written based upon facts and has more economic analysis from another resource. Great job.
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Post by Dusty Rhodes » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:52 pm

I too was impressed with the well reasoned and facutally based response. Lets see it is given the same credence as when the econazi's don't like something. They seem to always get their way.........time for that to go our way now.
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Post by Rekd » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:54 pm

Awesome job.

Lets see if it actually does any good.
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Post by Woodglue » Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:14 am

The USFWS Released this Press Release, just minutes ago:
For Release: Feb. 14, 2008
Contact: Jane Hendron, Carlsbad, CA - 760/431-9440 ext. 205


CRITICAL HABITAT REVISED FOR PEIRSON’S MILK-VETCH

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today published a final rule revising
critical habitat for the federally threatened Peirson’s milk-vetch.
Approximately 12,105 acres within the Algodones Dunes in Imperial County,
California, are included in the revised designation. Almost all of the land
designated as critical habitat for the plant is managed by the Bureau of
Land Management (BLM) as part of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area
(ISDRA).

The original critical habitat designation completed in 2004 included about
21,863 acres of land. Today’s revised final rule reduces the amount of
critical habitat by 9,758 acres from the original 2004 designation.

An economic analysis was developed based on the areas included in the July
27, 2007, proposed rule to revise critical habitat for Peirson’s milk-vetch
which identified approximately 16,108 acres of land as proposed critical
habitat.

The final economic analysis estimates that efficiency impacts could range
from zero up to between $116 and $127 million over the next 20 years
(undiscounted dollars). Approximately 93 percent – between $0 and $113
million - of the potential off-highway vehicle use welfare impacts
attributable to critical habitat were projected to occur in proposed
critical habitat Unit 2 which covered portions of the Gecko and Glamis
Management Areas of the ISDRA.

In the revised final rule, all of Unit 2 is excluded from critical habitat
designation, based on the disproportionate economic impacts.

Other factors that resulted in a smaller amount of land being designated as
critical habitat include the use of a revised methodology to identify areas
essential to the conservation of the plant, and refinements to mapping. The
revised methodology used is based on extensive survey data collected by the
BLM in 2005.

All of the areas included in the revised designation are occupied by
Peirson’s milk-vetch plants and/or its seed bank.

This revised final rule will become effective on March 17, 2008, and
supercedes the 2004 critical habitat designation for Peirson’s milk-vetch.

Copies of the revised final critical habitat rule, economic analysis and
other information about Peirson’s milk-vetch are available on the Internet
at http://www.regulations.gov or http://www.fws.gov/Carlsbad.

Peirson’s milk-vetch is a perennial member of the legume family. It has a
long tap root that can penetrate deep into the sand to reach moisture and
functions as an anchor for the plant in shifting sands. The plant has
delicate pale purple flowers and produces large fruits containing seeds.
Plants may flower in their first year and produce between one and five
fruits, while older plants produce significantly more fruits.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to
conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for
the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and
trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific
excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated
professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our
work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov.
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Post by Woodglue » Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:21 am

Ok, so this revised Critical Habitat [CH] ruling goes into effect on Mar17,2008. What does that mean for us, you ask. Right now, it's sort of just a 'victory on paper' if you will.
From here, the issue goes to the BLM, and this is where 'the rubber hits the road'.
From one end of the spectrum to the other, the BLM can either keep the closures as they are, or they can reduce the closures proportionate to the CH reduction. Or, it could also occur that they implement ruling someplace between those two extremes.

Regardless, for now, I'll say... \:D/
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Post by Woodglue » Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:28 am

From that Press Release:
The original critical habitat designation completed in 2004 included about
21,863 acres of land. Today’s revised final rule reduces the amount of
critical habitat by 9,758 acres from the original 2004 designation.
Folks, this is a 44.6% reduction in CH!

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I thought the USFWS's Proposed CH reduction was only 20% or 25%.

If so, to now see a Final CH reduction of 44.6% is a big deal!
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Post by WoodIsGood » Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:34 am

Woodglue wrote:In the revised final rule, all of Unit 2 is excluded from critical habitat
designation, based on the disproportionate economic impacts.
This is the item that caught my eye. Seems that this should get rid of the small central closure since it is no longer considered critical habitat :!:

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Post by gelwell » Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:42 pm

Well it should open up most of the east side. Most of the CH is on the western edge in the sand hwy area. This could have implications getting into the big sand from the western staging areas. But this is good news albeit temporarily until the CBD gets to it.
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Post by Woodglue » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:22 pm

Per here, the BLM issued a News Release on 03/18/08 with intent to amend the ISDRA RAMP.
CA - NOI to Amend Imperial Sand Dunes Management Plan
1 8 M a r 0 8 [Federal Register: March 18, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 53)]
———————————————————————–

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Bureau of Land Management
[CA-670-08-1220-DO]

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in Imperial County, CA

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, USDI.

ACTION: Notice of intent.

———————————————————————–

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), California Desert District, El Centro Field Office, will prepare the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) Recreation Area Management Plan (RAMP). The management plan will amend the CDCA plan. The management plan is needed to replace the existing management plan (1987) which has become outdated as a result of the federal listing of and designation of critical habitat for Peirson’s milk-vetch as a threatened species, designation of the North Algodones Dunes as wilderness, and substantial changes in visitor use. A 2006 Federal court order remanded a previous 2003 ISDRA RAMP to BLM for further consideration. The 2006 court order also vacated and remanded the previous U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) critical habitat designation for the federally threatened Peirson’s milk-vetch. On February 14, 2008, the FWS published a final rule revising critical habitat for the Peirson’s milk-vetch.

DATES: The public is invited to submit comments on the scope of the plan amendment and EIS. Written comments must be postmarked by May 31, 2008. Three public meetings will be held in El Centro, California; San Diego, California; and Phoenix, Arizona. The time and place for these meetings will be published in the San Diego Union Tribune, Arizona Republic, Imperial Valley Press, and the Yuma Daily Sun at least 15 days prior to the meetings. BLM intends to complete the management plan under an accelerated schedule by fall 2009. This schedule will allow BLM to replace the temporary administrative closures of five areas in the ISDRA (Federal Register: November 16, 2000–Volume 65, Number 222) with a long term management plan prior to the beginning of the peak recreation use period in 2009-2010.
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Post by jhitesma » Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:51 pm

No meeting in Yuma this time? The turnout and feedback from the public was outstanding last time they did the RAMP...it was almost standing room only here.

Guess that's why they're dropping us this time ... too many well thought out beneficial comments for them. Easier to skip the locals who are most impacted by their decisions than to have to waste time ignoring our comments again :(

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Post by gelwell » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:08 pm

Guess that's why they're dropping us this time ... too many well thought out beneficial comments for them. Easier to skip the locals who are most impacted by their decisions than to have to waste time ignoring our comments again
That is just wrong. It is the local people who have the most to lose. I simply dont understand their logic.
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Post by Rekd » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:11 pm

It's simple really. If they want something to happen, they do what it takes to make it happen, include alienating us.
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