By Karl Findling, Lands Conservation Director
The BLM Malheur Field Office is proposing to amend the 2002 Resource Management Plan (RMP) for public lands within southeast Oregon, a planning area of 4.6 million acres – larger than nine states.
A 2010 settlement agreement is the impetus for three management issues being resolved: management for lands with wilderness characteristics, OHV travel management, and grazing permittee relinquishment. Comments for other management concerns are not being considered.
OHA weighed in before the Aug. 28 public comment period deadline. OHA believes that Alternative D, created by the diverse Southeastern Oregon Resource Advisory Council, is the best balance of multiple use and protections for this vast landscape.
OHA provided substantive comments, asking BLM to consider the effects of its proposed No-Action Alternative, which follows a decades-old plan that has not shown to have made improvements in the three issues above. Declining wildlife populations and habitats in the planning area due to increased OHV use and lack of a travel management plan, massive wildfires and expansive renewable energy projects are key concerns.
OHA proposed adaptive management for lands with wilderness characteristics, and improvements were outlined in regard to the many grazing allotments not meeting adopted standards.