BLM’s Rock Springs RMP moves forwardWritten by Christy Martinez
Rock Springs – A process that began a year ago in October 2010 has reached the point where a scoping report will soon be released for the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan (RMP) revision.
Although the process began last October, a Federal Register notice was not released until February 2011, which kicked off the public RMP revision process with a 60-day scoping period through April 11 and four meetings throughout the area managed by the BLM’s Rock Springs Field Office, which oversees approximately 3.6 million surface land acres and 3.5 million acres of mineral estate in southwest Wyoming.
“The scoping report is for the public’s information, as a summary of the results of the combined scoping and comment period,” says RMP Lead Lynn Harrison, who works in the Rock Springs Field Office.
Following the release of the scoping report, the BLM office will begin alternative development through a series of meetings with cooperating agencies.
“We will take into consideration any planning issues that came up, as well as internal BLM issues,” says Harrison. “There’s a good contingency of cooperating agencies from all five counties in the planning area.”
Those counties include Fremont, Uinta, Sweetwater, Sublette and Lincoln. Harrison says the cooperating agencies include conservation districts, multiple state agencies, including the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, as well as the Wyoming U.S. Geological Survey and federal agencies including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service, with a focus on historic trails.
Harrison says her agency had already internally identified multiple planning issues that would be considered in the revision, and she says public comments supported those same issues.
“Wild horses are an issue identified both internally and externally, and we’ll address them and pay close attention. The wild horse program is dynamic, and it has policy changes coming about, so we’ll no doubt revise the plan as needed prior to going final with the RMP,” she says. “That is something that will be dynamic and ongoing throughout the revision process.”
Harrison says it’s too soon in the process to identify the revision’s affects on grazing permittees.
“We’ve just started the alternative meetings, and that’s really where we start getting into the relationship between the resources and the resource users, special designations and socioeconomics,” she says.
The next opportunity for public involvement in the Rock Springs RMP revision will be when the draft RMP is released for public comment, which won’t be until Fall 2012. When it is released, the public will have 90 days to review the document and make any comments, changes, or suggestions.