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Bureau of Land Management(1)

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Bureau of Land Management(1)

    Bureau of Land Management

    Northwest California Resource Advisory Council

    Field Tour and Business Meeting

    Thursday and Friday, Sept. 20 and 21, 2007

    Redding, California

    Summary Minutes

Opening Business

Attendance

    Category One: Charlene Wardlow, Bob Warren, Don Klusman. Absent: Stan Leach.

    Category Two: Michael Kelley, Diane Beck, Ryan Henson, Rondal Snodgrass.

    Category Three: Bill Radtkey, Kendall Smith. Absent: Gene Parham. One vacancy.

    There is no majority present in category three, and therefore, no quorum of the

    advisory council.

    BLM Staff: Deputy State Director Tony Danna, Arcata Field Manager Lynda Roush, Redding Field Manager Steve Anderson, Ukiah Field Manager Rich Burns, Norcal Public Affairs Officer Jeff Fontana.

    Agenda approval: The agenda was approved as mailed. Michael asked to add an item for discussion of a RAC resolution indicating support of BLM activities.

    Minutes Approval: The minutes from the June meeting were approved as written.

State Office Report

    Tony Danna presented a written report (attachment). Highlights:

    ; The Senate has approved new BLM Director Jim Caswell of Idaho. His top

    priorities are the Healthy Lands Initiative, Managing for Excellence, the

    National Landscape Conservation System and grazing regulations.

    ; Deputy Director Jim Hughes has retired after a long career in the BLM and the

    Department of the Interior.

    ; Henri Bisson is the sole deputy director in BLM currently. There are usually

    two deputies.

    ; The Healthy Lands Initiative is a program that provides funding for resource

    conservation particularly in areas where energy development is occurring.

    Bureau of Land Management Northwest California Resource Advisory Council Summary Meeting Notes, Sept 20-21, 2007, Redding, California

    ; California has submitted its proposal to move to a three district organization

    northern California, Central California and the California Desert from the

    current two-tier structure. The shift is part of the Managing for Excellence

    Initiative.

    ; There is proposed legislation to codify the National Landscape Conservation

    System. The legislation would create a BLM system similar to the National

    Park System and National Forest System. It would include BLM’s special areas

    including wilderness, wilderness study areas, national monuments, national

    conservation areas and others.

    ; The budget appropriation process is underway. There may be a continuing

    resolution at the beginning of the fiscal year if Congress does not act on the

    appropriation bills. It would limit spending to this year’s level.

    ; Congressional debate continues regarding proposed changes to the 1872 mining

    law.

    ; Bob Warren and Don Klusman were selected for membership on the Forest

    Service-BLM Recreation Advisory Council. It will focus on review of fee

    proposals for BLM and FS recreation sites.

    Don Klusman reported on a proposal to restructure the California Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) grant program and the OHV commission. If pending legislation is approved the OHV commission makeup and function would change. A major change would be shifting the OHV commission’s role to advisory, eliminating its current function of distributing

    “green sticker” grant funds. It would also change the proportion of funds made available for various functions such as operations and maintenance, law enforcement and acquisition at OHV sites. If the bill is approved regulatory changes will be required to implement the changes.

Management Plan Updates

    Lacks Creek: Lynda Roush updated the council on the status of management plan development for the area northeast of Arcata. Highlights:

    ; Development of the draft is delayed while the field office planning coordinator

    assists with development of the Carrizo Plain management plan. The planner will

    return to Lack’s Creek work at the end of the calendar year.

    ; The staff is working on a range of alternatives and may have some material ready

    for RAC comment at the winter meeting.

    ; The field office has opened one area for firewood cutting.

Cow Mountain National Recreation Area: Rich Burns said the field office and

    partners continue working on the plan, and have received input about the need for trail development and improvement on areas of the mountain used for motorized and non-motorized activities. Various constituency groups are continuing to submit maps with various trail improvement suggestions. There is great interest in loop trails.

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    Bureau of Land Management Northwest California Resource Advisory Council Summary Meeting Notes, Sept 20-21, 2007, Redding, California

    Access to Cow Mountain is a major issue and work is underway to develop improvements. Access on the east and west sides is on narrow county roads. Burns said the BLM is interested in working with the City of Lakeport on improved east side access. There may be an opportunity for the field office to partner with Lake County in acquisition of private property, the Green Ranch, where the new county fairgrounds could be located. The site is adjacent to Cow Mountain’s east side and could be used to replace the current Scott’s Creek access. There is potential for more parking, with room for

    trailers and recreation vehicles. The proposal is in the very early discussion stages.

    Work is also proceeding on develop new signs for the Mill Creek Road access route to Cow Mountain to encourage visitors to drive safety and to be safe with fire. The intent is to protect visitors and to slow traffic through the adjacent residential site. New signs will be installed soon. Diane Beck suggested using wide bumps to calm traffic speeds, as has been done on old Arcata Road on the north coast.

    Lynda also noted that $3 million as been appropriated for cleanup of the Centerville Naval Station, which is slated for transfer to the BLM.

    The RAC discussed options for supporting appropriations for trail improvements in the King Range, including the Paradise Ridge Trail. Kendall suggested that individual RAC members could contact their congressional representatives, including Congressman Mike Thompson, to suggest support for King Range trails.

California Coastal National Monument

Trinidad Gateway: Lynda Roush updated the council on the gateway community

    efforts in Trinidad. The local committee has developed a gateway brochure that links the coastal monument with the local features and associations with the offshore features. The Yurok Tribe has been heavily involved in presenting information about the importance of the California coast in the tribe’s history and current lifestyle.

    The committee has developed a CCNM placemat for its Seascape Restaurant and a kiosk to be placed near the parking area. It will provide information about the monument, safety, and the need to avoid disturbing the wildlife and seabirds that depend on the habitat provided by the CCNM rocks and islands. The Yurok perspective will be included on the kiosk panels as well. The kiosk will be installed this fall.

    The Trinidad Gateway group is the first to complete locally oriented materials for the monument.

Point Arena Gateway: Rich Burns noted that the group is beginning work on their

    Gateway brochure and other interpretive material. A template might be ready for review at the December meeting. A CCNM kiosk is in place at the Point Arena Lighthouse and a second is ready for installation at the community library or the theater. The primary CCNM brochure has been widely distributed in the community. The group set their focus area stretching from Alder Creek and Stewarts Point, but will focus first on an

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    Bureau of Land Management Northwest California Resource Advisory Council Summary Meeting Notes, Sept 20-21, 2007, Redding, California

    initial brochure highlighting the community of Point Arena, the Stornetta Public Lands, the Point Arena Lighthouse and Bowling Ball Beach. Future interpretive products will focus on other parts of the larger focus area. Details are still being determined.

    The field office also is working with the Mendocino Land Trust on a coastal trail that would link Manchester State Beach with the Stornetta Public Lands and the community of Point Arena. Plans are being discussed for CCNM interpretive signing and other interpretation. A challenge is finding an environmentally sound way for the trail to cross Hathaway Creek.

    There are also partners interested in working as Stewardship Partners in monitoring ocean health as a way of monitoring the health of CCNM habitats important to seabirds.

    CCNM Summit: The meeting was held Aug. 28-29 in Monterey. The core managing partners Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Fish and Game and California State Parks -- came together to chart direction for the coming year and to focus on improving agency coordination and communication on the monument.

    Gualala Fireworks: Rich reported on a controversy surrounding an Independence Day fireworks display over coastal waters near Gualala. Effects on seabirds nesting on Gualala Point Island were monitored by volunteers. BLM and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists will be analyzing the data and reporting on seabird impacts. It appears there was disturbance to nesting colonies of Brandt’s cormorants, including evidence that

    some birds abandoned their nests and did not return. The California Coastal Commission also has been involved and will be included in the review process and possible development of recommendations. The RAC asked the BLM to present the study materials at the next meeting.

Redding Partnerships

    Staff members from the Redding Field Office provided an overview of partnership successes.

    ; Steve Anderson distributed visitor comments about the Swasey Area of Critical

    Environmental Concern, and the Hornbeck Trail.

    Forestry: Field Office Forester Walter Herzog presented information on the forestry program, specifically the 1,000-acre Weaverville Community Forest. He provided handouts which are attached to these meeting minutes.

Highlights:

    ; A strategic plan has been developed and a stewardship contract implemented.

    The contract aims to improve the health of the community forest and to provide

    forest products.

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    Bureau of Land Management Northwest California Resource Advisory Council Summary Meeting Notes, Sept 20-21, 2007, Redding, California

    ; The community group has developed signs and new gates to help improve land

    use.

    ; New trails are being constructed.

    ; The first phase of the timber sale has gotten underway. Trees have been removed

    from areas behind subdivision homes. The work will reduce hazardous fuel loads

    on about 219 acres, about 20 percent of the forest. The sale yielded about 715,000

    board feet, $132,000 to date for the Stewardship account. Logs went to the

    Trinity River Lumber Co. in Weaverville. Funds from the stewardship account

    will available later for recreational trail development.

    ; Steve noted management of the community forest is coordinated by the Trinity

    County Resource Conservation District which marked the timber sale. He said

    the results have been “park like.” Herzog noted the RCD adhered to BLM

    standards and regulations.

    ; Community residents are extremely happy with the success to date.

    ; Steve said the RAC should be proud of their long support of the Weaverville

    Community Forest which is proving to be a “win, win, win” for the community,

    the health of the resource and the public in general.

    Guests: Steve introduced Redding partners Mike Warren, CEO, Turtle Bay Exploration Park; Terry Hansen, trails coordinator for the city of Redding; Brian Sindt , McConnell Foundation; and Brent Owen, Redding Foundation. Steve credited the partners for working toward a vision of recreation trails that could be a model for the nation. He said BLM is proud to be a “minor player” in the effort.

    Brian Sindt: Described the trail partnership as a “perfect storm” of partners coming together toward a common goal. He said a reason the partnership works well is that each agency brings a different set of skills to the table, but shares the common desire for an extensive and diverse trail system. He said McConnell and the Redding Foundation agreed to focus on designing and building the “main” trails, which are dirt, backcountry routes that can be the core of a larger trail network.

He summarized projects:

    ; At the Swasey Recreation Area:

    o 12 miles of trails, a parking area and a new high elevation trail. There is

    a plan for a trail connection toward Whiskeytown National Recreation

    Area.

    ; At the Sacramento River Ditch Trail:

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    Bureau of Land Management Northwest California Resource Advisory Council Summary Meeting Notes, Sept 20-21, 2007, Redding, California

    o The plan would connect the Hornbeck Trail to a new trail along the east

    side of the Sacramento River.

    o It parallels the Sacramento Ditch, which is largely on BLM-managed

    public lands.

    o It would connect the Hornbeck Trail to Shasta Dam, completing a 14-

    mile Sacramento River Trail loop on the east side of the river.

    Rondal Snodgrass stressed the importance of including interpretive information about the prehistory of the region, including the continuing importance for native tribes. He noted that the work is challenging but suggested that we must remember that we are a conquering civilization as we relate to native people.

    Brent Owens noted that work continues to find compelling ways to provide interpretive information about the areas covered by the recreation trails.

    Michael Kelley said the trails are world class, destination level developments. He spoke from his long association with the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

    Mike Warren commented that the trails partnership said that trails, open space and parks are the heart of a “good community.” He said good planning for these amenities is critical. He said the trail network has grown to 54 miles because of good leadership from partners including the BLM’s Steve Anderson.

    Warren said developing trails now preserves open space by providing links. It is more difficult for development to displace links that it is for development to displace open space.

    Brent Owen noted that the BLM seems to be willing to take risk and that has benefited the community trails partnerships.

    Ryan Henson commended the group for its work and the contribution is makes to the quality of life for Redding area residents. He thanked the McConnell Foundation for their support.

    Terry Hansen noted that the larger visions include the Shasta Trinity Trail and the Sacramento River parkway that would run from the dam to Red Bluff. He also commented Jim Milestone, superintendent of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area for his contributions to the partnership.

    Sacramento River Bend: Kelley Williams, manager of the Sacramento River Bend Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) updated the RAC on developments there:

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    Bureau of Land Management Northwest California Resource Advisory Council Summary Meeting Notes, Sept 20-21, 2007, Redding, California

    o The primary trail is the Yana Trail, which runs from Jelly’s Ferry to

    Perry’s Riffle, a nine-mile route. The entire length was built by partners

    and volunteers. BLM’s role has been land acquisitions, increasing

    public ownership from 4,000 acres to about 17,000 acres in the Bend

    area.

    o Crews have removed at least 15 miles of fencing to improve public

    access. The fences were remnants of historic sheep grazing.

RAC Position on Trails and Funding Opportunities

    While there was no quorum present, members of the council at the meeting agreed on a position statement regarding BLM’s Redding Partnerships:

    Members of the RAC present unanimously expressed appreciation for the Redding

    Field Office and partners efforts in trail development. They expressed support for

    tain the field office’s intention to seek $150,000 in funding from the Iron Moun

    Mine Fund that could be used for future trail projects. Funds would be a match

    for a $150,000 grant that has been committed by the McConnell Foundation.

    The $300,000 would be used to complete 13 additional miles of the Sacramento

    River Rail Trail. The item will be on the next meeting agenda meeting agenda for

    consideration of a formal resolution.

    Chairman Don Klusman will forward the position statement to the state director

    via a cover letter. The cover letter will ask the state director to share the RAC

    position with the Iron Mountain Trustee Council for their consideration.

Field Office Minerals Program Review

    Arcata: Lynda Roush noted that the Arcata Field Office has an extremely limited minerals program. There are historical minerals program linkages: California’s first oil

    well was developed at Petrolia.

    Ukiah: Rich Burns reported that the field office was involved with a recent oil and gas sale in the Capay Valley (because of the BLM’s responsibility for subsurface

    management split estate responsibilities). There were nine leases sold. The field office manages subsurface minerals in the Naval Petroleum Reserves near the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

    Management of The Geysers Geothermal Steam Field is the largest component of the field office minerals program. A geothermal lease sale was held last month. Six tracts were sold. The Blinkley Lease sold for over $14,000 per acre, a record high lease sale for the BLM. The lease allows only for geothermal exploration. The total sales generated $8 million.

In 2008 the field office anticipates more oil and gas lease sales.

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    Bureau of Land Management Northwest California Resource Advisory Council Summary Meeting Notes, Sept 20-21, 2007, Redding, California

    Charlene Wardlow noted that the lease sale generated $2 million in proceeds to the BLM, $3.6 million to Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma counties and $4 million to state of California from The Geysers lease sale.

    Redding: Steve Anderson reported that the Washington Mine near French Gulch produced 2,000 ounces of gold in 2006. The operation is now cutting back employees, but still employs 50 people. The mine was under development for two years and has operated for a year.

    Shasta County, Western Shasta RCD and the Bureau of Reclamation have removed alluvium from the Sacramento River under use permits. Fees have been waived. Moss rock and cobbles are also sold under permit.

    Steve and Redding Assistant Field manager Francis Berg noted that mineral material sales are discretionary actions for the agency.

    Rondal suggested that sale of lichen-covered rock should be more carefully considered because of the impacts on the plant life on the rocks. He questioned whether sale and removal of plant life (lichen) to areas where it will die might not be responsible. Steve noted that there is no shortage.

Sacramento River Bend ACEC

    Bob Warren, representing the Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association, updated the group on the progress of legislation for the Sacramento River Bend. He said the BLM did not take a strong position on a proposal in one bill that calls for establishment of an advisory council for the National Recreation Area. Issues related to differences in maps have been resolved between the Boxer and Herger proposals. There are still differences between the bills on the topic of advisory councils. Work is still proceeding on wording changes. Bob said he will meet with Congressman Herger next week and will discuss the RAC wording.

Field Managers’ Reports

    Managers presented written field office status reports, which are filed with these meeting minutes.

    Responding to questions, Rich Burns noted there is a plan of development filed by PPM for a wind energy development at The Geysers. The plan was found to be deficient and was returned to the company.

Next Meeting Dates and Location

    The Ukiah Field Office will host the next meeting Wednesday and Thursday Dec. 5-6, with the business meeting on the first day and a tour on the second. The tour will be on

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    Bureau of Land Management Northwest California Resource Advisory Council Summary Meeting Notes, Sept 20-21, 2007, Redding, California

    the Mendocino Coast including the Stornetta Public Lands and the California Coastal National Monument.

    Future Agenda Topics: Consider a resolution recommending allocation of funds for specific BLM projects in northwest California, update on Sacramento River Bend, Lacks Creek Management Plan, Cow Mountain National Recreation Area Management Plan, State OHV legislation. CCNM gateways, Gualala bird biology.

The meeting was adjourned.

    Summary notes compiled by

    Jeff Fontana, BLM public affairs officer, NorCal

    Note: Handout materials referenced in these notes are on file in the BLM NorCal Public Affairs Office. Contact PAO Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332 for copies.

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