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BLM Updates ESA Guidance

BLM Announces New Guidance Enhancing the Protection and Recovery of Rare Species on 258 Million Acres of Federal Lands 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced new guidance for its management of federally threatened, endangered, or otherwise rare species and the ecosystems upon which they depend on BLM-administered lands. 

After a two-year process, the BLM has completed a revision to its 6840 Manual for Management of Special Status Species, providing further policy and guidance for the conservation of BLM special status species and their habitats.  Last updated in 2001, the Manual supports the BLM’s broad conservation authorities and duties pertaining to fish, wildlife and plant conservation pursuant to multiple statutes including the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the Sikes Act, and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
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Interior Publishes Changes to Consultation Rule

Interior Publishes Final Narrow Changes to Regulations, Clarifies Role of Global Processes in Consultation
Final regulations have been narrowed from those proposed in August based on public comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec 11, 2008) – The Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce today sent joint final regulations to the Federal Register to clarify the consultation process under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The final regulations, which take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, represent a narrow update of existing regulations and incorporate changes based on comments received from the public after proposed regulations were published in August.

“The rule strengthens the regulations so the government can focus on protecting endangered species as it strives to rebuild the American economy,” said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne. “The rule has been revised since it was proposed in August because the public made suggestions we could use to improve it.”

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Draft EA on Proposed Section 7 Regulations Available

Draft Environmental Assessment on Proposed Revisions to ESA Section 7 Consultation Regulations Available for Public Review and Comment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 27, 2008) -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service today announced the availability of the Draft Environmental Assessment that analyzes a limited set of proposed revisions to regulations that apply to interagency consultation procedures under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The Services are seeking public review and comment on the Draft Environmental Assessment that was shared with the public today.

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R.S. 2477 Litigation

September 23, 2008
 
County of San Bernardino v. United States, C-06-1179 VAP (C.D. Cal).
 
In October 2006, the County of San Bernardino filed a quiet title action in Federal District Court asserting R.S.2477 claims for fourteen roads. Four of the claimed roads form part of the boundary of the Mojave National Preserve and fall under the administrative jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  The remaining ten roads are under the administrative jurisdiction of the National Park Service (NPS).
 
The BLM has reviewed information it received from the County with respect to its R.S. 2477 claims; it also has information of its own. The BLM seeks information from the public in order to further evaluate the merits of the County’s claims. 

A copy of the complaint is linked to this public notice:

Should you have any documents that would assist in the BLM’s evaluation of these claims related to Goff’s, Nipton, Halloran Summit, or Halloran Springs roads, the four roads under the administrative jurisdiction of the BLM, please forward these documents no later than October 15, 2008 to: Bureau of Land Management, California Desert District Office, 22835 Calle San Juan de los Lagos, Moreno Valley, California 92553, Attention: Alan Stein.  

BLM intends to review any additional information before it reaches a determination as to the validity of the County’s R.S. 2477 claims for these four roads. 

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Election 2008 - Get some exercise

That the population of the U.S. continues to grow is documented by census data.  That the sale of OHVs continues to grow at triple digit rates is documented by industry sales data.  That attendance at events continues to increase every year is documented by increased registrations.  These trends point towards an increasing population growth fueling an increase in demand for recreation - notably, motorized recreation.

Key to supporting the increases in population and recreation demand is access to land.  That is a good news-bad news situation.  Your view of good or bad depends on your understanding of the demographics behind the increasing population.

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Election Year Pontification

Time for a little "election year" pontification......

Election 2008 (Election Day is Nov. 4, 2008) is shaping up to be a watershed year in U.S. politics.  As election day apporaches, many issues are surfacing that trigger emotions.  It is time to turn the focus on to the structure where events are being shaped that will have a significant impact on the future.

Starting from top down...

Federal:

The President does set an agenda. Also, the President does appoint some critical positions that can have a significant impact on access to public lands.

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