A meeting set to develop a volunteers group of local citizens to serve on the Mojave-Southern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council for the new Basin and Range National Monument was held in Alamo in early May.
Susan Agee is chairperson of the Basin and Range National Monument Resource Management Plan Subcommittee.
Alicia Styles, monument manager, noted that the comments given by the advisory board are paid close attention to. “Our main goal in the land use process is that individuals, governments, communities, Native American tribes, can work together to develop and improve the stewardship of this area and better decision making.”
A number of local residents have expressed concerns about existing grazing and water rights that the 704,000 acre monument now encloses. However, Styles noted the six-page proclamation signed by President Obama in July 2015 does state, “Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to affect authorization for livestock grazing or administration thereof…Livestock grazing within the monument shall continue to be governed by laws and regulations other than this proclamation.
“This proclamation does not alter or affect the valid existing water right of any party, or of the United States. This proclamation does not reserve water as a matter of federal law.”
However, some at the meeting have privately stated they believe the word of the federal government is often times not worth the paper it is written on.
Styles said the Antiquities Act of 1906 gave the president “the authority to create, by proclamation, national monuments from public lands to protect significant natural, cultural or scientific features.” Devil’s Tower in Wyoming was the first such created national monument, so was the Grand Canyon National Monument.
Basin and Range is the first BLM monument in Nevada.
The BLM is awaiting the federal register notice to begin the formal public scoping period, that will allow for sanctioned public scoping meetings.
What is taking place now explained Jason Paul Higgins, Executive Vice President of Wallace Morse Kline Surveying, is what is called the the envisioning process, developing planning issues, that can continue until the formal public scoping period is announced, with meetings to be held in Ely, Alamo, Caliente and Las Vegas.
Facilitated workshops are slated for sometime this fall. Developing the draft RMP and Environmental Impact Statement will take place in 2017 and publishing of the proposed RMP/final EIS in the summer of 2018.
A 30-day protest period and the Governor’s 60-day consistency review is planned for the summer of 2018 and the publication of the final federal Record of Decision sometime in the winter of 2018.