Ridgecrest Public Lands Roundtable
December 10, 2015
A few changes to the format of the Agenda were made by Chairman, Randy Banis. He chose to allow guest speakers or major items to be the first on agenda. Announcements and comments will now be at end of agenda. The meeting began with introductions from members and the audience. The Agenda and Minutes were approved.
BLM Reports were delivered by Craig Beck. DRECP protest letters are due by December 14th, 2015. WEMO has public meetings being held on December 15th in Victorville at the Hilton Garden Inn and on December 17th in Ridgecrest at Kerr McGee Center. Both meetings will start at 6:00 p.m. Written comments will be taken and the WEMO extended comment period ends January 25th 2016. Special Recreation Permits (SRP’s) are continually being handled and processed. Last weekend a horse ride was held in Coso Junction and the Ultra Marathon at the College. During holidays there will be an endurance ride. In February there will a motorcycle race and a dual sports event.
The focus topic DRECP included a presentation on the maps by Randy Banis, using a mapping website that the DRECP planners have put together called drecp.databasin.org. Randy delivered an extensive explanation of navigating through DRECP (Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan) maps using layers. First thing to know about the DRECP is that there will be no private property just public lands. One of the things the DRECP does, is designates development focus areas and also incorporates the solar energy zones from the solar PEIS. The BLM will be designating two kinds of conservation lands. The first is ACEC (Area of Critical Environmental Concern) which many of these areas already exist but some will be added , also some expanded and there will be no renewable energy developed in these areas. The second is the NLCS (National Landscapes Conservation System) which will automatically include national parks, national monuments, wilderness, wilderness study areas and those types of congressional conservation designations. One sentence in documents states that the BLM will designate NLCS lands in the CDCA not mentioning any specifics. The DRECP will introduce NLCS to what is now limited use lands, for the first time. An important part of a NLCS is when the these lands are designated the BLM will be able to change the management strategies as time goes on, but it cannot remove any of the lands designated as a NLCS from the NLCS. There is also the potential of renewable energy to impact recreation. They have created Special Recreation Management Areas and Extended Recreation Management Areas referred to as SRMA and ERMA. Both place an emphasis on managing the lands for recreational purposes. There are 3.6 million acres that the BLM is designating for recreational management. Renewable energy is excluded from these areas. Out of the 3.6 million acres of recreational designations, 3.2 million acres are overlapped by conservation which leaves 396,000 acres that is not in conservation and 370,000 of those acres are OHV open areas. Only 26,000 acres of land are not in an open or conservation area.
The members worked together to create a DRECP comment letter.
The last item on the agenda was comments and announcements. Lori Acton announced Governor Brown’s office of Economic Development will be at City Hall at 8:30-10:00a.m on December 11, 2015 for the GO-Biz Project. Roger congratulated and thanked Joe for setting an example of environmentally friendly mining. Joe introduced Rick, a member of the Board of Directors for Rand Mining District. Ed Waldheim announced a Friends of Jawbone meetings are held on 3rd Wednesday of each month at Jawbone Station at 9:00 a.m. Carl announced a public open house will be held on Dec. 17th at Kerr McGee Center at 6:00-8:00 p.m. There will screens, GIS people, and different stations, possibly someone from state office will have a DRECP station to answer questions. An official application for a solar facility has been submitted. It is for 280 acres over where the Tyler Horse was in Mojave area.
Next meeting will be held on January 28, 2016.