Notice of Availability of the Draft Desert Plan Amendment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement, California, 3181-3184 [2021-00579]

Download as PDF khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 9 / Thursday, January 14, 2021 / Notices and in site-specific analyses. To address public comments raised during the supplemental EIS process, the BLM convened a team of biologists and land use planners to evaluate scientific literature provided to the agency. The BLM found that the most up-to-date Greater Sage-Grouse science and other information has incrementally increased, and built upon, the knowledgebase of Greater Sage-Grouse management evaluated by the BLM most recently in its 2019 land use plan amendments, but does not change the scope or direction of the BLM’s management; however, new science does suggest adaptations to management may be warranted at site-specific scales. (3) Cumulative Effects Analysis: The BLM considered cumulative impacts on a rangewide basis, organizing that analysis at the geographic scale of each Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) management zone, in order to consider impacts at biologically meaningful scales. In the 2019 planning process, the BLM incorporated by reference cumulative effects analysis conducted in the 2015 planning process and other environmental impact statements. Since the nature and context of the cumulative effects scenario has not appreciably changed since 2015, and the 2015 analysis covered the entire range of the Greater Sage-Grouse, the BLM’s consideration of cumulative effects in the 2015 planning process adequately addresses most, if not all, of the planning decisions made through the 2019 planning process. While the 2019 planning process largely incorporated by reference the analysis from the 2015 planning process, and updated it where needed to account for current conditions, the 2020 supplemental EIS process elaborated on this information in greater detail and updated the analysis to ensure that the BLM appropriately evaluated cumulative effects at biologically meaningful scales. (4) BLM’s Approach to Compensatory Mitigation: In the 2019 planning process, the BLM requested public comments on a number of issues, including the BLM’s approach to compensatory mitigation. As part of the 2015 Approved Resource Management Plan Amendments, the BLM selected a net conservation gain standard in its approach to compensatory mitigation, which the 2019 land use plan amendments modified to align with the BLM’s 2018 policy on compensatory mitigation. Through the 2020 supplemental EIS process, the BLM requested further comments about the BLM’s approach to compensatory VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:43 Jan 13, 2021 Jkt 253001 mitigation. After reviewing the comments that the BLM received about compensatory mitigation, the BLM determined that its environmental analysis supporting the 2019 land use plan amendments was sound. The public has now had substantial opportunities to consider and comment on the BLM’s approach to compensatory mitigation at the land use planning level, including the approach taken in the 2019 land use plan amendments. Based on the final supplemental EIS, the BLM has determined that its decadelong planning and NEPA processes have sufficiently addressed Greater SageGrouse habitat conservation and no new land use planning process to consider additional alternatives or new information is warranted. This determination is not a new planning decision. Instead, it is a determination not to amend the applicable land use plans. Thus, it is not subject to appeal or protest. The BLM’s decision remains as identified in the 2019 Approved Resource Management Plan Amendment for Greater Sage-Grouse conservation in Idaho. (Authority: 40 CFR 1505.2; 40 CFR 1506.6; References to the CEQ regulations are to the regulations in effect prior to September 14, 2020. The revised CEQ regulations effective September 14, 2020, are not cited because this supplemental EIS process began prior to that date.) John F. Ruhs, BLM Idaho State Director. [FR Doc. 2021–00662 Filed 1–13–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–DQ–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [(LLCA930000.L13400000.DS0000.21X) MO#450014117] Notice of Availability of the Draft Desert Plan Amendment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement, California Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a Draft Land Use Plan Amendment (LUPA) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), for an amendment to the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan and the Bakersfield and Bishop Resource Management Plans (RMPs). The Desert Plan Amendment Draft LUPA/EIS includes consideration SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 3181 of changes to the management or modification to the boundaries of 129 Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs). By this notice, the BLM is announcing the availability of the Draft LUPA/EIS. In order to comply with Federal regulations, the BLM is also announcing a comment period on proposed changes to the ACECs within the planning area. DATES: To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM must receive written comments on the Draft LUPA/ EIS within 90 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes its notice of the Draft LUPA/ EIS in the Federal Register. The BLM will announce future meetings and any other public participation activities at least 15 days in advance through public notices, news releases, and/or mailings. ADDRESSES: The Desert Plan Amendment Draft LUPA/EIS are available on the BLM ePlanning project website at https://go.usa.gov/x7hdj. Click the ‘‘Documents’’ link on the left side of the screen to find the electronic version of these materials. Hard copies of the Desert Plan Amendment Draft LUPA and Draft EIS are also available for public inspection at the following BLM locations: California State Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W–1623, Sacramento, CA 95825; California Desert District Office, 22835 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553; Barstow Field Office, 2601 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311; El Centro Field Office, 1661 S. 4th Street, El Centro, CA 92243; Needles Field Office, 1303 S. Highway 95, Needles, CA 92363; Ridgecrest Field Office, 300 S. Richmond Road, Ridgecrest, CA 93555; Bakersfield Field Office, 3801 Pegasus Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93308; and Bishop Field Office, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 100, Bishop, CA 93514. You may submit written comments related to the Desert Plan Amendment by either of the following methods: • Website: https://go.usa.gov/x7hdj. • Mail: Bureau of Land Management, California State Office, Attn: Desert Plan Amendment, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W–1623, Sacramento, CA 95825. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeremiah Karuzas, Renewable Energy Program Manager, telephone: 916–978– 4644, email: jkaruzas@blm.gov; address Bureau of Land Management, 2800 Cottage Way, W–1623, Sacramento, CA 95825. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay E:\FR\FM\14JAN1.SGM 14JAN1 3182 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 9 / Thursday, January 14, 2021 / Notices Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339 to contact Mr. Karuzas during normal business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. In September 2016, the BLM issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) LUPA, which amended the CDCA Plan, the Bishop RMP, and the Bakersfield RMP in the Mojave and Colorado/Sonoran Desert regions of southern California. The 2016 ROD was intended to address the streamlining of renewable energy development, conservation of desert resources, and to support multiple use and recreation on the nearly 11 million acres of BLMmanaged public land in the planning area. In response to challenges that arose with the implementation of the 2016 DRECP LUPA, as well as in response to Executive Order 13783, Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, and Executive Order 13821 on Streamlining and Expediting Requests to Locate Broadband Facilities in Rural America, the BLM published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register on February 2, 2018 (83 FR 4921) initiating a 45-day public comment period. The BLM sought comments on: • The potential impacts that land use designations contained in the amended Land Use Plans will have on commercial-scale renewable energy projects, including wind, solar and geothermal energy; • ACECs that were designated, including where private lands lie within the external boundaries of such designations, as well as comments on increasing opportunities for increased renewable energy development, SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: recreational and off-highway vehicle access, mining access, and grazing; and • The impact that land-use designations, land-disturbance limits (‘‘disturbance caps’’), and visualmanagement classifications contained in the plans may have on the deployment of future communications infrastructure. The BLM used public scoping comments to help identify planning issues to formulate alternatives and frame the scope of analysis in the Draft LUPA/EIS. Issues considered in the Draft LUPA/EIS are management actions associated with conservation areas, biological resources (including special status species), cultural resources, renewable energy, minerals, livestock grazing, visual resources, air resources, water resources, and recreation. The LUPA also considers decisions regarding ACECs, California Desert National Conservation Lands (CDNCL), and management of lands with wilderness characteristics. The Desert Plan Amendment Draft LUPA/EIS evaluates the No Action Alternative and two action alternatives (Alternatives 1 and 2). The BLM identifies Alternative 1 as the Preferred Alternative. This alternative, however, does not represent the final agency direction. After the public comment period closes, the BLM will prepare a Proposed LUPA, which may reflect changes or adjustments based on information received during public comment on the Draft LUPA/EIS, new information, or changes in BLM policies or priorities. The No Action Alternative would retain the decisions specified in the 2016 ROD for the DRECP LUPA, as recently modified by Public Law 116–9. Alternative 1 would reduce the number of ACECs from 129 to 97 thus reducing the acreage of the ACECs by approximately 1.8 million acres; reduce the areas identified as CDNCL by approximately 2.2 million acres; and result in an additional 450,000 acres of General Public Lands (GPL). Alternative 1 would also modify or eliminate 68 Conservation Management Actions (CMAs), which would also change the manner in which disturbance caps are implemented, including elimination of disturbance caps in CDNCL, as well as allowing renewable energy development in Special Recreation Management Areas (SRMA). Alternative 2 would reduce the number of ACECs to 100, and reduce the acreage of the ACECs by approximately 1.5 million acres; reduce the areas identified as CDNCL by approximately 2.1 million acres; and result in an additional approximate 274,000 acres of General Public Lands (GPL). Alternative 2 would also modify or eliminate the same 68 CMAs, which would also change the manner in which disturbance caps are implemented similar to Alternative 1 but Alternative 2 would retain the one percent disturbance cap for CDNCL. Alternative 2 CMAs would be modified to only allow renewable energy development in a SRMA where there is overlap with Development Focus Areas (DFAs). All other land use allocation decisions and CMAs from the 2016 ROD would be retained in both Alternative 1 and Alternative 2. As a result of proposed CMA changes, the resource use limitations of the 129 ACECs within the planning area will also change. Therefore, pursuant to 43 CFR 1610.7–2(b), this notice announces a concurrent public comment period on proposed management changes (including alteration or elimination of disturbance caps), and boundary modifications or elimination of the existing ACECs as identified in Table 1. TABLE 1—ACECS PROPOSED FOR BOUNDARY MODIFICATION OR ELIMINATION No action acres khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES ACEC name Afton Canyon ............................................................................................................................... Alligator Rock ............................................................................................................................... Amargosa North ........................................................................................................................... Amargosa South .......................................................................................................................... Amboy Crater ............................................................................................................................... Avawatz Mountains WSA ............................................................................................................ Ayers Rock .................................................................................................................................. Barstow Woolly Sunflower ........................................................................................................... Bedrock Spring ............................................................................................................................ Bendire’s Thrasher ...................................................................................................................... Big Morongo Canyon ................................................................................................................... Big Rock Creek Wash ................................................................................................................. Bigelow Cholla ............................................................................................................................. Black Mountain ............................................................................................................................ Brisbane Valley Monkey Flower .................................................................................................. Bristol ........................................................................................................................................... Cadiz Valley ................................................................................................................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:43 Jan 13, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 8,800 6,800 114,000 148,410 640 49,900 1,500 19,100 440 9,800 25,000 310 4,200 51,300 11,700 213,600 191,200 E:\FR\FM\14JAN1.SGM 14JAN1 Alternative 1 acres 8,800 6,200 72,760 134,410 640 0 1,500 19,100 0 9,800 24,600 310 4,200 0 11,700 116,400 67,600 Alternative 2 acres 8,800 6,200 72,760 134,410 640 0 1,500 19,100 0 9,800 24,600 310 4,200 0 11,700 116,400 67,600 3183 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 9 / Thursday, January 14, 2021 / Notices TABLE 1—ACECS PROPOSED FOR BOUNDARY MODIFICATION OR ELIMINATION—Continued No action acres khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES ACEC name Cady Mountains WSA ................................................................................................................. Calico Early Man Site .................................................................................................................. Carbonate Endemic Plants RNA ................................................................................................. Castle Mountain ........................................................................................................................... Cerro Gordo ................................................................................................................................. Cerro Gordo WSA ....................................................................................................................... Chemehuevi ................................................................................................................................. Chuckwalla ................................................................................................................................... Chuckwalla to Chemehuevi tortoise linkage ............................................................................... Chuckwalla Valley Dune Thicket ................................................................................................. Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard ........................................................................................... Conglomerate Mesa .................................................................................................................... Coolgardie Mesa .......................................................................................................................... Corn Springs ................................................................................................................................ Coyote Mountains Fossil Site ...................................................................................................... Cronese Basin ............................................................................................................................. Dagget Ridge Monkey Flower ..................................................................................................... Dead Mountains ........................................................................................................................... Death Valley 17 WSA .................................................................................................................. Denning Springs .......................................................................................................................... Desert Lily Preserve .................................................................................................................... Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area ...................................................................................... Dos Palmas ................................................................................................................................. Eagles Flyway .............................................................................................................................. East Mesa .................................................................................................................................... El Paso to Golden ....................................................................................................................... Fossil Falls ................................................................................................................................... Fremont-Kramer ........................................................................................................................... Granite Mountain Corridor ........................................................................................................... Great Falls Basin ......................................................................................................................... Halloran Wash ............................................................................................................................. Harper Dry Lake .......................................................................................................................... Horse Canyon .............................................................................................................................. Independence Creek WSA .......................................................................................................... Indian Pass .................................................................................................................................. Ivanpah ........................................................................................................................................ Jawbone/Butterbredt .................................................................................................................... Juniper Flats ................................................................................................................................ Kingston Range ........................................................................................................................... Kingston Range WSA .................................................................................................................. Lake Cahuilla ............................................................................................................................... Lake Cahuilla Shoreline ............................................................................................................... Last Chance Canyon ................................................................................................................... Manix ........................................................................................................................................... Manzanar ..................................................................................................................................... Marble Mountain Fossil Bed ........................................................................................................ McCoy Valley ............................................................................................................................... McCoy Wash ............................................................................................................................... Mesquite Hills/Crucero ................................................................................................................. Mesquite Lake ............................................................................................................................. Middle Knob ................................................................................................................................. Mohave Ground Squirrel ............................................................................................................. Mojave Fishhook Cactus ............................................................................................................. Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard ........................................................................................................... Mopah Spring .............................................................................................................................. Mountain Pass Dinosaur Trackway ............................................................................................. Mule McCoy Linkage ................................................................................................................... Mule Mountains ........................................................................................................................... Northern Lucerne Wildlife Linkage .............................................................................................. Ocotillo ......................................................................................................................................... Olancha Greasewood .................................................................................................................. Old Woman Springs Wildlife Linkage .......................................................................................... Ord-Rodman ................................................................................................................................ Owens Lake ................................................................................................................................. Palen Dry Lake ............................................................................................................................ Palen Ford ................................................................................................................................... Panamint Lake ............................................................................................................................. Panamints and Argus .................................................................................................................. Parish’s Phacelia ......................................................................................................................... Patton Military Camps ................................................................................................................. Picacho ........................................................................................................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:43 Jan 13, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 101,400 840 5,000 3,180 10,400 630 864,200 512,300 318,600 2,200 10,300 1,700 9,800 2,500 5,900 8,500 26,100 27,200 20,600 390 2,100 22,200 8,600 10,900 88,500 57,800 1,700 236,000 39,300 10,300 1,700 490 1,500 6,500 1,900 78,600 145,700 2,400 18,900 40,000 8,600 11,900 5,100 2,900 540 230 26,200 6,400 5,000 6,800 17,800 165,200 637 22,500 1,900 630 51,200 4,100 21,900 14,600 25,600 55,600 195,300 10,200 3,600 41,400 21,700 102,900 560 16,400 183,500 E:\FR\FM\14JAN1.SGM 14JAN1 Alternative 1 acres 0 840 5,000 0 9,700 0 578,600 319,400 269,900 2,200 10,300 1,700 9,800 900 5,900 0 26,100 0 0 0 2,100 22,200 8,600 0 38,200 57,800 1,700 236,000 0 0 1,700 490 1,500 0 1,900 63,900 114,900 2,400 15,200 0 8,600 11,900 3,500 2,900 540 0 26,200 6,400 5,000 6,800 17,800 170,800 635 11,500 0 630 51,200 4,100 21,900 14,600 19,500 43,200 140,700 10,200 3,600 25,600 0 71,500 560 21,100 133,600 Alternative 2 acres 101,400 840 5,000 0 9,700 0 578,600 319,400 269,900 2,200 10,300 1,700 9,800 900 5,900 0 26,100 0 0 0 2,100 22,200 8,600 0 88,500 57,800 1,700 236,000 34,500 0 1,700 490 1,500 0 1,900 78,600 114,900 2,400 15,200 0 8,600 11,900 3,500 2,900 540 0 26,200 6,400 5,000 6,800 17,800 170,800 635 11,500 0 630 51,200 4,100 21,900 14,600 19,500 55,600 140,700 10,200 3,600 41,400 0 71,500 560 21,100 133,600 3184 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 9 / Thursday, January 14, 2021 / Notices TABLE 1—ACECS PROPOSED FOR BOUNDARY MODIFICATION OR ELIMINATION—Continued No action acres ACEC name khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Pilot Knob .................................................................................................................................... Pinto Mountains ........................................................................................................................... Pipes Canyon .............................................................................................................................. Pisgah .......................................................................................................................................... Piute-Fenner ................................................................................................................................ Plank Road .................................................................................................................................. Rainbow Basin/Owl Canyon ........................................................................................................ Red Mountain Spring ................................................................................................................... Rodman Mountains Cultural Area ............................................................................................... Rose Spring ................................................................................................................................. Saline Valley ................................................................................................................................ Salt Creek Hills ............................................................................................................................ Salton Sea Hazardous ACEC ..................................................................................................... San Sebastian Marsh/San Felipe Creek ..................................................................................... Sand Canyon ............................................................................................................................... Santos Manuel ............................................................................................................................. Shadow Valley ............................................................................................................................. Short Canyon ............................................................................................................................... Sierra Canyons ............................................................................................................................ Singer Geoglyphs ........................................................................................................................ Soda Mountains Expansion ......................................................................................................... Soda Mountains WSA ................................................................................................................. Soda Mountains ........................................................................................................................... Soggy Dry Lake Creosote Rings ................................................................................................. Southern Inyo WSA ..................................................................................................................... Steam Well .................................................................................................................................. Superior-Cronese ......................................................................................................................... Surprise Canyon .......................................................................................................................... Symmes Creek WSA ................................................................................................................... Trona Pinnacles ........................................................................................................................... Turtle Mountains .......................................................................................................................... Upper Johnson Valley Yucca Rings ............................................................................................ Upper McCoy ............................................................................................................................... Warm Sulfur Springs ................................................................................................................... West Mesa ................................................................................................................................... West Paradise ............................................................................................................................. Western Rand Mountains ............................................................................................................ Whipple Mountains ...................................................................................................................... White Mountain City .................................................................................................................... White Mountains WSA ................................................................................................................. Whitewater Canyon ..................................................................................................................... Yuha Basin .................................................................................................................................. A more detailed description of all proposed ACEC modifications, including maps, is included in the Draft LUPA/EIS and Appendix B of the Draft LUPA/EIS. The BLM will utilize and coordinate the NEPA process to help fulfill the public involvement process under the National Historic Preservation Act (54 U.S.C. 306108), as provided in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). The BLM will continue to consult with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis, in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other policies. Tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and potential impacts to cultural resources, will continue to be given due consideration. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with tribes and other stakeholders that may be interested in or affected by the proposed action that the VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:43 Jan 13, 2021 Jkt 253001 BLM is evaluating, are invited to participate in the comment period. Please note that public comments and information submitted, including names, street addresses, and email addresses of persons who submit comments, will be available for public review and disclosure at the BLM California State Office (see ADDRESSES) during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except holidays. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 860 108,200 8,700 46,600 155,500 420 4,100 700 6,200 840 1,400 2,200 5,100 6,600 2,600 27,500 197,300 750 26,300 2,000 16,700 88,800 0 180 2,700 40 315,800 4,600 8,400 4,100 50,400 330 37,400 350 82,500 240 30,400 2,800 820 1,600 14,900 77,300 Alternative 1 acres Alternative 2 acres 860 84,200 4,600 46,600 146,200 420 4,100 700 0 840 0 1,600 5,100 6,600 0 0 159,700 0 27,000 2,000 0 0 0 180 0 0 310,900 0 0 4,100 0 330 37,400 350 18,700 0 30,400 2,100 820 0 2,800 73,600 860 84,200 4,600 46,600 146,200 420 4,100 700 0 840 0 1,600 5,100 6,600 0 0 159,700 0 27,000 2,000 0 0 33,300 180 0 0 310,900 0 0 4,100 0 330 37,400 350 82,500 0 30,400 2,100 820 0 2,800 73,600 cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. (Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10) Karen E. Mouritsen, State Director, California. [FR Doc. 2021–00579 Filed 1–13–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–40–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [212.LLWO230000. L11700000.PH0000.LXSGPL000000] Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision for Greater Sage-Grouse Management, Wyoming Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\14JAN1.SGM 14JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 9 (Thursday, January 14, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3181-3184]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-00579]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[(LLCA930000.L13400000.DS0000.21X) MO#450014117]


Notice of Availability of the Draft Desert Plan Amendment and 
Draft Environmental Impact Statement, California

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has prepared a 
Draft Land Use Plan Amendment (LUPA) and Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS), for an amendment to the California Desert Conservation 
Area (CDCA) Plan and the Bakersfield and Bishop Resource Management 
Plans (RMPs). The Desert Plan Amendment Draft LUPA/EIS includes 
consideration of changes to the management or modification to the 
boundaries of 129 Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs). By 
this notice, the BLM is announcing the availability of the Draft LUPA/
EIS. In order to comply with Federal regulations, the BLM is also 
announcing a comment period on proposed changes to the ACECs within the 
planning area.

DATES: To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM must receive 
written comments on the Draft LUPA/EIS within 90 days following the 
date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes its notice of the 
Draft LUPA/EIS in the Federal Register. The BLM will announce future 
meetings and any other public participation activities at least 15 days 
in advance through public notices, news releases, and/or mailings.

ADDRESSES: The Desert Plan Amendment Draft LUPA/EIS are available on 
the BLM ePlanning project website at https://go.usa.gov/x7hdj. Click 
the ``Documents'' link on the left side of the screen to find the 
electronic version of these materials. Hard copies of the Desert Plan 
Amendment Draft LUPA and Draft EIS are also available for public 
inspection at the following BLM locations:

California State Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1623, Sacramento, CA 
95825;
California Desert District Office, 22835 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos, 
Moreno Valley, CA 92553;
Barstow Field Office, 2601 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311;
El Centro Field Office, 1661 S. 4th Street, El Centro, CA 92243;
Needles Field Office, 1303 S. Highway 95, Needles, CA 92363;
Ridgecrest Field Office, 300 S. Richmond Road, Ridgecrest, CA 93555;
Bakersfield Field Office, 3801 Pegasus Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93308; 
and
Bishop Field Office, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 100, Bishop, CA 93514.

    You may submit written comments related to the Desert Plan 
Amendment by either of the following methods:
     Website: https://go.usa.gov/x7hdj.
     Mail: Bureau of Land Management, California State Office, 
Attn: Desert Plan Amendment, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1623, 
Sacramento, CA 95825.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeremiah Karuzas, Renewable Energy 
Program Manager, telephone: 916-978-4644, email: [email protected]; 
address Bureau of Land Management, 2800 Cottage Way, W-1623, 
Sacramento, CA 95825. Persons who use a telecommunications device for 
the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay

[[Page 3182]]

Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact Mr. Karuzas during normal 
business hours. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to 
leave a message or question. You will receive a reply during normal 
business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In September 2016, the BLM issued a Record 
of Decision (ROD) for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan 
(DRECP) LUPA, which amended the CDCA Plan, the Bishop RMP, and the 
Bakersfield RMP in the Mojave and Colorado/Sonoran Desert regions of 
southern California. The 2016 ROD was intended to address the 
streamlining of renewable energy development, conservation of desert 
resources, and to support multiple use and recreation on the nearly 11 
million acres of BLM-managed public land in the planning area. In 
response to challenges that arose with the implementation of the 2016 
DRECP LUPA, as well as in response to Executive Order 13783, Promoting 
Energy Independence and Economic Growth, and Executive Order 13821 on 
Streamlining and Expediting Requests to Locate Broadband Facilities in 
Rural America, the BLM published a Notice of Intent in the Federal 
Register on February 2, 2018 (83 FR 4921) initiating a 45-day public 
comment period. The BLM sought comments on:
     The potential impacts that land use designations contained 
in the amended Land Use Plans will have on commercial-scale renewable 
energy projects, including wind, solar and geothermal energy;
     ACECs that were designated, including where private lands 
lie within the external boundaries of such designations, as well as 
comments on increasing opportunities for increased renewable energy 
development, recreational and off-highway vehicle access, mining 
access, and grazing; and
     The impact that land-use designations, land-disturbance 
limits (``disturbance caps''), and visual-management classifications 
contained in the plans may have on the deployment of future 
communications infrastructure.
    The BLM used public scoping comments to help identify planning 
issues to formulate alternatives and frame the scope of analysis in the 
Draft LUPA/EIS. Issues considered in the Draft LUPA/EIS are management 
actions associated with conservation areas, biological resources 
(including special status species), cultural resources, renewable 
energy, minerals, livestock grazing, visual resources, air resources, 
water resources, and recreation. The LUPA also considers decisions 
regarding ACECs, California Desert National Conservation Lands (CDNCL), 
and management of lands with wilderness characteristics. The Desert 
Plan Amendment Draft LUPA/EIS evaluates the No Action Alternative and 
two action alternatives (Alternatives 1 and 2). The BLM identifies 
Alternative 1 as the Preferred Alternative. This alternative, however, 
does not represent the final agency direction. After the public comment 
period closes, the BLM will prepare a Proposed LUPA, which may reflect 
changes or adjustments based on information received during public 
comment on the Draft LUPA/EIS, new information, or changes in BLM 
policies or priorities.
    The No Action Alternative would retain the decisions specified in 
the 2016 ROD for the DRECP LUPA, as recently modified by Public Law 
116-9. Alternative 1 would reduce the number of ACECs from 129 to 97 
thus reducing the acreage of the ACECs by approximately 1.8 million 
acres; reduce the areas identified as CDNCL by approximately 2.2 
million acres; and result in an additional 450,000 acres of General 
Public Lands (GPL). Alternative 1 would also modify or eliminate 68 
Conservation Management Actions (CMAs), which would also change the 
manner in which disturbance caps are implemented, including elimination 
of disturbance caps in CDNCL, as well as allowing renewable energy 
development in Special Recreation Management Areas (SRMA).
    Alternative 2 would reduce the number of ACECs to 100, and reduce 
the acreage of the ACECs by approximately 1.5 million acres; reduce the 
areas identified as CDNCL by approximately 2.1 million acres; and 
result in an additional approximate 274,000 acres of General Public 
Lands (GPL). Alternative 2 would also modify or eliminate the same 68 
CMAs, which would also change the manner in which disturbance caps are 
implemented similar to Alternative 1 but Alternative 2 would retain the 
one percent disturbance cap for CDNCL. Alternative 2 CMAs would be 
modified to only allow renewable energy development in a SRMA where 
there is overlap with Development Focus Areas (DFAs). All other land 
use allocation decisions and CMAs from the 2016 ROD would be retained 
in both Alternative 1 and Alternative 2.
    As a result of proposed CMA changes, the resource use limitations 
of the 129 ACECs within the planning area will also change. Therefore, 
pursuant to 43 CFR 1610.7-2(b), this notice announces a concurrent 
public comment period on proposed management changes (including 
alteration or elimination of disturbance caps), and boundary 
modifications or elimination of the existing ACECs as identified in 
Table 1.

                        Table 1--ACECs Proposed for Boundary Modification or Elimination
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                     No action     Alternative 1   Alternative 2
                            ACEC name                                  acres           acres           acres
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Afton Canyon....................................................           8,800           8,800           8,800
Alligator Rock..................................................           6,800           6,200           6,200
Amargosa North..................................................         114,000          72,760          72,760
Amargosa South..................................................         148,410         134,410         134,410
Amboy Crater....................................................             640             640             640
Avawatz Mountains WSA...........................................          49,900               0               0
Ayers Rock......................................................           1,500           1,500           1,500
Barstow Woolly Sunflower........................................          19,100          19,100          19,100
Bedrock Spring..................................................             440               0               0
Bendire's Thrasher..............................................           9,800           9,800           9,800
Big Morongo Canyon..............................................          25,000          24,600          24,600
Big Rock Creek Wash.............................................             310             310             310
Bigelow Cholla..................................................           4,200           4,200           4,200
Black Mountain..................................................          51,300               0               0
Brisbane Valley Monkey Flower...................................          11,700          11,700          11,700
Bristol.........................................................         213,600         116,400         116,400
Cadiz Valley....................................................         191,200          67,600          67,600

[[Page 3183]]

 
Cady Mountains WSA..............................................         101,400               0         101,400
Calico Early Man Site...........................................             840             840             840
Carbonate Endemic Plants RNA....................................           5,000           5,000           5,000
Castle Mountain.................................................           3,180               0               0
Cerro Gordo.....................................................          10,400           9,700           9,700
Cerro Gordo WSA.................................................             630               0               0
Chemehuevi......................................................         864,200         578,600         578,600
Chuckwalla......................................................         512,300         319,400         319,400
Chuckwalla to Chemehuevi tortoise linkage.......................         318,600         269,900         269,900
Chuckwalla Valley Dune Thicket..................................           2,200           2,200           2,200
Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard.............................          10,300          10,300          10,300
Conglomerate Mesa...............................................           1,700           1,700           1,700
Coolgardie Mesa.................................................           9,800           9,800           9,800
Corn Springs....................................................           2,500             900             900
Coyote Mountains Fossil Site....................................           5,900           5,900           5,900
Cronese Basin...................................................           8,500               0               0
Dagget Ridge Monkey Flower......................................          26,100          26,100          26,100
Dead Mountains..................................................          27,200               0               0
Death Valley 17 WSA.............................................          20,600               0               0
Denning Springs.................................................             390               0               0
Desert Lily Preserve............................................           2,100           2,100           2,100
Desert Tortoise Research Natural Area...........................          22,200          22,200          22,200
Dos Palmas......................................................           8,600           8,600           8,600
Eagles Flyway...................................................          10,900               0               0
East Mesa.......................................................          88,500          38,200          88,500
El Paso to Golden...............................................          57,800          57,800          57,800
Fossil Falls....................................................           1,700           1,700           1,700
Fremont-Kramer..................................................         236,000         236,000         236,000
Granite Mountain Corridor.......................................          39,300               0          34,500
Great Falls Basin...............................................          10,300               0               0
Halloran Wash...................................................           1,700           1,700           1,700
Harper Dry Lake.................................................             490             490             490
Horse Canyon....................................................           1,500           1,500           1,500
Independence Creek WSA..........................................           6,500               0               0
Indian Pass.....................................................           1,900           1,900           1,900
Ivanpah.........................................................          78,600          63,900          78,600
Jawbone/Butterbredt.............................................         145,700         114,900         114,900
Juniper Flats...................................................           2,400           2,400           2,400
Kingston Range..................................................          18,900          15,200          15,200
Kingston Range WSA..............................................          40,000               0               0
Lake Cahuilla...................................................           8,600           8,600           8,600
Lake Cahuilla Shoreline.........................................          11,900          11,900          11,900
Last Chance Canyon..............................................           5,100           3,500           3,500
Manix...........................................................           2,900           2,900           2,900
Manzanar........................................................             540             540             540
Marble Mountain Fossil Bed......................................             230               0               0
McCoy Valley....................................................          26,200          26,200          26,200
McCoy Wash......................................................           6,400           6,400           6,400
Mesquite Hills/Crucero..........................................           5,000           5,000           5,000
Mesquite Lake...................................................           6,800           6,800           6,800
Middle Knob.....................................................          17,800          17,800          17,800
Mohave Ground Squirrel..........................................         165,200         170,800         170,800
Mojave Fishhook Cactus..........................................             637             635             635
Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard.......................................          22,500          11,500          11,500
Mopah Spring....................................................           1,900               0               0
Mountain Pass Dinosaur Trackway.................................             630             630             630
Mule McCoy Linkage..............................................          51,200          51,200          51,200
Mule Mountains..................................................           4,100           4,100           4,100
Northern Lucerne Wildlife Linkage...............................          21,900          21,900          21,900
Ocotillo........................................................          14,600          14,600          14,600
Olancha Greasewood..............................................          25,600          19,500          19,500
Old Woman Springs Wildlife Linkage..............................          55,600          43,200          55,600
Ord-Rodman......................................................         195,300         140,700         140,700
Owens Lake......................................................          10,200          10,200          10,200
Palen Dry Lake..................................................           3,600           3,600           3,600
Palen Ford......................................................          41,400          25,600          41,400
Panamint Lake...................................................          21,700               0               0
Panamints and Argus.............................................         102,900          71,500          71,500
Parish's Phacelia...............................................             560             560             560
Patton Military Camps...........................................          16,400          21,100          21,100
Picacho.........................................................         183,500         133,600         133,600

[[Page 3184]]

 
Pilot Knob......................................................             860             860             860
Pinto Mountains.................................................         108,200          84,200          84,200
Pipes Canyon....................................................           8,700           4,600           4,600
Pisgah..........................................................          46,600          46,600          46,600
Piute-Fenner....................................................         155,500         146,200         146,200
Plank Road......................................................             420             420             420
Rainbow Basin/Owl Canyon........................................           4,100           4,100           4,100
Red Mountain Spring.............................................             700             700             700
Rodman Mountains Cultural Area..................................           6,200               0               0
Rose Spring.....................................................             840             840             840
Saline Valley...................................................           1,400               0               0
Salt Creek Hills................................................           2,200           1,600           1,600
Salton Sea Hazardous ACEC.......................................           5,100           5,100           5,100
San Sebastian Marsh/San Felipe Creek............................           6,600           6,600           6,600
Sand Canyon.....................................................           2,600               0               0
Santos Manuel...................................................          27,500               0               0
Shadow Valley...................................................         197,300         159,700         159,700
Short Canyon....................................................             750               0               0
Sierra Canyons..................................................          26,300          27,000          27,000
Singer Geoglyphs................................................           2,000           2,000           2,000
Soda Mountains Expansion........................................          16,700               0               0
Soda Mountains WSA..............................................          88,800               0               0
Soda Mountains..................................................               0               0          33,300
Soggy Dry Lake Creosote Rings...................................             180             180             180
Southern Inyo WSA...............................................           2,700               0               0
Steam Well......................................................              40               0               0
Superior-Cronese................................................         315,800         310,900         310,900
Surprise Canyon.................................................           4,600               0               0
Symmes Creek WSA................................................           8,400               0               0
Trona Pinnacles.................................................           4,100           4,100           4,100
Turtle Mountains................................................          50,400               0               0
Upper Johnson Valley Yucca Rings................................             330             330             330
Upper McCoy.....................................................          37,400          37,400          37,400
Warm Sulfur Springs.............................................             350             350             350
West Mesa.......................................................          82,500          18,700          82,500
West Paradise...................................................             240               0               0
Western Rand Mountains..........................................          30,400          30,400          30,400
Whipple Mountains...............................................           2,800           2,100           2,100
White Mountain City.............................................             820             820             820
White Mountains WSA.............................................           1,600               0               0
Whitewater Canyon...............................................          14,900           2,800           2,800
Yuha Basin......................................................          77,300          73,600          73,600
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A more detailed description of all proposed ACEC modifications, 
including maps, is included in the Draft LUPA/EIS and Appendix B of the 
Draft LUPA/EIS.
    The BLM will utilize and coordinate the NEPA process to help 
fulfill the public involvement process under the National Historic 
Preservation Act (54 U.S.C. 306108), as provided in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). 
The BLM will continue to consult with Indian tribes on a government-to-
government basis, in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other 
policies. Tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and 
potential impacts to cultural resources, will continue to be given due 
consideration. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with tribes 
and other stakeholders that may be interested in or affected by the 
proposed action that the BLM is evaluating, are invited to participate 
in the comment period.
    Please note that public comments and information submitted, 
including names, street addresses, and email addresses of persons who 
submit comments, will be available for public review and disclosure at 
the BLM California State Office (see ADDRESSES) during regular business 
hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except holidays.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

(Authority: 40 CFR 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10)

Karen E. Mouritsen,
State Director, California.
[FR Doc. 2021-00579 Filed 1-13-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-40-P