Ridgecrest Roundtable

 

January 22, 2015

 

Prior to the meeting being called to order Ed Waldheim made an announcement of an important meeting regarding the DRECP project comments being held at Jawbone Station on February 7, 2015 from 10a.m. 4p.m. lunch included. Randy Banis, Chairman began the meeting with introductions and comments. Sam Merk started by introducing Tim Fox the Community Plans Liaison Officer of China Lake.

 

Tom Budlong discussed a meeting he attended earlier in the morning, in Independence, Ca. The Board of Supervisors discussed approving an Eastern Sierra ATV Adventure Trails System Project, and Adopting Rules and Regulations for the Use of the Adventure Trails System.

 

Mark Algazy introduced himself and then nominated Will Liebscher for a member seat at the Ridgecrest Roundtable. Mark describes Will as a long term contributor whom has demonstrated commitment and initiative for several years and has provided valuable insight to the Roundtable. Sam seconded the nomination and Randy has agreed to put it as an agenda item for next meeting. It must be voted by the Board.

 

Joe Martori of the California Desert District Mining Coalition distributed many printouts. Joe was selected to help the Congressional Committee prepare changes for a new bill to be introduced in the Natural Resource Committee. He has asked for an extension on the DRECP comment period unsure if it will be granted. The deadline for comments is February 23, 2015. Joe also announced Jerry Hobbs from PLP has passed away. Randy will be emailing a link to a tribute page. In March a large social media campaign will be launched for mining and public lands to help educate through 30 minute videos to be aired on cable. If interested in participating please contact Joe at trilogyjoe@yahoo.com or 661-724-6463.

 

Ron Schiller of the High Desert Multiple Use Coalition has offered to share early Topo maps from 30s and 40s he now has available on electronic file. Also he suggests Desert Magazines as a good resource when doing research. Ed Waldheim of Friends of Jawbone is working on grants for the OHV program of state parks that must be submitted by March 3, 2015. Each year they distribute about 26 million dollars to several non- profits and other agencies to manage vehicle recreation in the state.

 

Sam Merk invites public to attend various meetings throughout the community:

 

Eastern Kern County Resource Conservation District (EKCRCD) meeting Friday January 23, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

 

Air Quality Meeting Monday January 26, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at Ridgecrest BLM

 

RAB (Restoration Advisory Board) meeting January 27, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. at IWV Water District

 

Randy Banis provided a DAC (Desert Advisory council) update announcing a one day presentation to be held on February 28, 2015. Location is TBA with topic of climate change.

 

Carl Symons delivered the BLM reports. Update on the 3 exploratory drilling projects currently in different stages. The Dragonfly is the drilling proposal for the El Paso Mountains by Last Chance Canyon now at state director for review. The Bronco decision has been signed and approved however, no movement or contact has occurred in the Panamints.

 

The Conglomerate Mesa has been quiet due to working through cultural issues. The WEMO Programmatic kick off meetings were held the week prior and the first nuts and bolts meeting will be held on February 18, 2015 at 12:30 p.m. at the Ridgecrest BLM Field Office. The DRECP meeting will be held February 17, 2015 at the Kerr McGee Center in Ridgecrest from 10:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m. These two meetings are by invitation and if interested in attending contact the BLM office. Robert Enrique described the details of the recent Wild Horse and Burro Gather in which 170 horses and burros were gathered from the NAWS range. The mares to be returned to the wild were treated with a fertility drug that lasts 2 years. 70 of the younger and adoptable animals were kept. 100 will be returned to the Range.

 

Randy Banis continued the meeting with the focus topic Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). He expresses his concerns regarding the plan and offers the Roundtable several options to proceed with action. He suggested holding a special meeting for the Roundtable members to determine if they would like to make comments or a statement collaboratively. Members did agree and this meeting will be held February 10, 2015 at 5:00 8:00 p.m. at Ridgecrest BLM Field Office. No update to report on the Feinstein CDCRA.

 

Ed Waldheim gives an update on the OHMVRD East Kern Acquisition. The state of California closed the escrow on the 25,000 acres in the checkerboard land of Jawbone area. Randy asks if the group would like to reach out to China Lake to discuss OHV access through the land they recently acquired. Would like to have access through property they obtained, to avoid having to travel all the way around to get to Blackwater Well. The group agreed they would like to participate in this issue. A motion by audience to adjourn was granted. Next Meet will be February 26, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.