Send a Comment to the US Bureau of Land Management:
Adopt community-based North Fork Alternative as management plan for “Colorado’s Farm-to-Table Capital.”
Colorado’s North Fork Valley, home to the West Elk wineries, farm markets, U-Pick orchards, festivals, and restaurants includes the state’s highest concentration of organic and sustainable farms and ranches. It is a hotbed for agritourism in the state and across the region. Its patchwork of residences, farmlands, orchards, pastures and public lands are each part of the ecological and economic fabric of the place.
Now the US Bureau of Land Management Uncompahgre Field Office (UFO) is revising its land use plan for the area that includes the North Fork. The agency is accepting comments on its Resource Management Plan (RMP) Draft Environmental Impact Statement, as it reviews several alternatives.
One alternative is the North Fork Alternative, which was crafted and presented to the BLM by local stakeholders seeking to ensure the important resources and values of the valley’s land and character be protected from future oil and gas development.
However in stark contrast, the agency’s “Preferred Alternative” has been called a “road map to industrialization” by one local community group. So now the North Fork needs to make sure the BLM adopts the North Fork Alternative and scuttles its so-called “Preferred” plan.
Here’s where YOU can help us make a difference!
Ø Here’s how we do it:
Please submit a comment by October 31st to the BLM urging that the agency adopt the North Fork Alternative.
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please cc: email@example.com
Snail mail (if you prefer to send a hard copy, send that to):
UFO Draft RMP /Uncompahgre Field Office
2465 Townsend Ave. Montrose, Colorado 81401
Ø In you comments:
State that the BLM should choose the North Fork Alternative, B1, and all other reasonable conservation protections in Alternative B as the final Resource Management Plan.
Highlight resources and values that exist on, or are impacted by activity on, BLM public lands and why those are important–including for water supplies, as wildlife habitat, for recreation, and for their scenic rural character that is an important driver for the local economy.
Provide reasons and as much detail as you can about why the BLM needs to adopt the North Fork Alternative (B1) and the overall conservation goals in Alternative B, and why the agency should make B1/B the final management plan.
Provide reasons and as much detail as you can about why the agency’s other alternatives fail to provide adequate or balanced management for the resources, uses, and values provided by the public lands – for instance the agency’s so-called “preferred alternative” would make over 90% of the UFO management area open to oil and gas leasing, potentially jeopardizing competing uses and resources.
Use personal knowledge, and cite or reference reports, studies, or other credible sources to support your case.
- Describe the resources, values and uses of the public lands and what those mean for you, your family, your property and business.
- Note and document water sources, commercial value, wildlife value, and other resource or community value these lands provide, on- and off of BLM lands
- Highlight important factors that the BLM would need to consider if it contemplates any oil and gas development on any BLM lands, and explain how the BLM should consider that information. Cite reports, studies or other information you are aware of that the agency may have missed and ask that it consider this information.
Remind the BLM that “Avoidance” is the first step of proper mitigation (i.e. not allowing a harmful activity in sensitive places).
- BLM must consider avoidance in regards to oil and gas leasing and development, and should utilize it in appropriate places–such as in watersheds, viewsheds, and critical wildlife lands–by closing these areas to oil and gas leasing, or–at a minimum–by imposing strict No Surface Occupancy requirements.
- BLM should consider avoidance strategies for public lands in the North Fork Valley and across the public lands managed by the Uncompahgre Field Office, including alternatives that close significantly more areas to oil and gas leasing.
Ø Background Info
The BLM-UFO Resource Management Plan revision page, with links to the draft Environmental Impact Statement and numerous other documents and data, is here.
Vision statement (pdf) behind the North Fork Alternative Plan (the proposal submitted to the BLM in December 2012).