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NRC Report - May 2010

NRC Report - May 2010

On May 18, a continuing meeting of the U.S. Forest Service was held on the subject of Water Quality Management Plan.  This meeting featured a brief on the federal Clean Water Act and the state Porter-Cologne Act.  Both pieces of legislation govern have the quality of water will be ensured within the State of California.

Basically, the Clean Water Act (CWA) applies to “waters of the United States” and prohibits illegal discharge from a “point source” that could affect water quality.  The phrase “waters of the United States” includes surface water (not ground water) and traditionally navigable waters.  The phrase “waters of the United States” does not include isolated wetlands or water bodies that lead nowhere.

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NRC Report - April 30, 2010

NRC Report - April 30, 2010

Insurance issues have been noted with clubs obtaining insurance under the umbrella CA4WDC policy for their events.  Below are three critical points that apply:

A Certificate of Liability Insurance serves as a receipt and nothing more.
The U.S. Government being identified as additionally insured on the certificate of insurance is not acceptable; it must be identified on an endorsement.
The name of the Insured on the Certificate of Insurance must be the same name as the Holder on the Special Use Permit. If the names are not the same, then the Holder must be identified as additionally insured on an endorsement.

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NRC Report - March 2010

NRC Report - March 2010

USFS Region 5 is developing a Water Quality Management Plan in conjunction with the California State Water Board which consists of 11 Regional Water Quality Boards.

The plan will be a “Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements For Non-point Source Discharges Related to Certain Federal Land Management Activities On Forest Service Lands in the State of California”.

The USFS manages lands for multiple uses, which include grazing, forestry, recreation, vegetation manipulation, and restoration. Activities associated with these uses may generate sediment, affect shade canopy, or influence other water quality parameters of waters of the state.  This Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements For Non-point Source Discharges Related to Certain Federal Land Management Activities On Forest Service Lands in the State of California is the management tool to be used by the Forest Service to manage, monitor and mitigate potential water quality issues.

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NRC Report - February 2010

NRC Report - February 2010

In my December 2009 report, I closed the year with my Top-5 Issues facing recreation.  Those issues were also highlighted during my report to the delegates at the annual Convention in Sacramento.  I want to address two of those issues in detail.

Coalition Building. Motorized recreation is characterized by many facets, each with its own set of advocates.  We need to build a coalition of the different facets to develop strategy and set priorities for addressing issues common to all.  While we may recreate in different manners, we are bound by two common elements.  We use a motorized vehicle and we need access to a place for recreation.

Membership and Involvement. Increasing the membership and involvement of recreationists is important.  As we move into the future, we will be involved with change.  The sport is changing.  Opportunities are changing.  And, regulations are changing.  Membership and involvement are key ingredients to ensuring recreation remains a viable opportunity.

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NRC Report - January 2010

NRC Report - January 2010

A new effort on part of USFS dealing with water quality in the State of California has started.  USFS Region 5 convened a "stakeholders" group to address development of "best management processes" to address watershed management (water quality) on Forest Service managed lands within California.

I have been selected as the primary stakeholder representative for OHV interest groups in the state of California.  A Jan 12, 2010 meeting was held to start this process which is expected to last at least one year.  

As I am representing state-wide OHV interests, I intend to provide a brief back to OHV groups of public releasable information after each meeting and/or teleconference.  In addition, all public releasable documents I receive in connection with this stakeholder process will be posted to:

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Audit Critical of USFWS Monitoring

In a May 2009 audit report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a critical assessment of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracking of required monitoring reports noting the Service has incomplete information about effects on listed species from Section 7 Consultations.

The western United States, including vast stretches of federal land, is home to more than a third of the 1,317 species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Under Section 7 of the Act, federal agencies must ensure that any actions they authorize, fund, or carry out, whether on federal or private lands, do not jeopardize listed species.

The GAO audit found the Service lacks a means of tracking the monitoring reports it requires in biological opinions and does not know the extent of compliance with these requirements. To track monitoring reports, the Service relies on its biologists to keep abreast of biological opinions and follow up on required monitoring reports. At the field offices GAO visited, Service biologists could not account for all required monitoring reports in 40 of 64 consultation files (63 percent) requiring such reports. Service staff said they face a demanding workload, and responding to new consultation requests often takes higher priority than following up on monitoring reports.

Monitoring reports can play a critical role in the consultation process because they provide an evaluation of and a feedback loop on the effects actions have on listed species and the effectiveness of protective measures taken to minimize the impact of take. The lack of monitoring reports increases the risk of litigation to protect species.

Click here to download a copy of the GAO Audit Report:

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