The plan would apply to about 6.2 million acres in
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A fifth alternative, known as the “no action” alternative would make no changes to the BLM’s regulations in the region, retaining 30-year-old guidelines in place since 1988.
Alternative A was created to address watershed management, and planning for environmental restoration issues. It would allow development in places where it already occurs, or nearby, while prioritizing restoration efforts to avoid any net loss of natural resources.
This version would focus on restoring areas previously disturbed by development before allowing new disturbances such as oil and gas well pads to occur.
Leasable acreage for extraction developments could be reduced under this plan, mainly in restoration-priority areas.
Certain “high quality” habitat areas would be prioritized for no loss, potentially focusing on the habitat areas of threatened species such as the dunes sagebrush lizard and lesser prairie chicken.
Grazing lands would be “moderately” reduced under this version of the plan, and it could include increased treatment for noxious weeds and other vegetation rehabilitation projects.
Overall, acres available for livestock would be reduced to protect areas in need of restoration.
This version of the plan is intended to address land use conflicts between mineral development, watershed management, and recreation. To that end, the plan would geographically separate conflicting uses –extraction and restoration — whenever possible.
Certain uses would be prioritized over others in certain areas, while maintaining the nature of undeveloped areas, opting for recreational and wildlife purposes, while allowing some mineral development where it already “substantially” occurs.
Naturally important or unique areas, such as gypsum and karst formations, and habitats for threatened species such as the dunes sagebrush lizard would be prioritized and maintained.
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Recreational uses, such as off-highway vehicles, would also be prioritized, allowing open access to public lands and excluding competing uses.
Alternative B promotes recreation and wildlife over mineral development and agriculture.
The BLM labeled Alternative C as the “preferred alternative” noting the version is the alternative that “best meets the purpose and need of the draft RMP.”
It is intended to take a “balanced” approach in preserving natural resources, while supporting commodity production and extraction.
Competing uses would continue to occur in the same areas, while this version would utilize management restrictions to address the conflicts, rather than geographic separation.
It would allow extraction to continue to occur with limitations and controlled surface use (CSU) stipulations, instead of closing areas to development. The same approach would be taken with recreation, allowing such uses with some restrictions.
The RMP notes potential threats to environmentally sensitive areas, but the option is intended to manage the conflicts in a way that is mutually beneficial to all uses.
Extraction and other commercial uses would be prioritized over environmental restoration and most other land use under this version.
Existing law and regulations would be utilized without adding further restrictions to commercial uses.
Alternative D is intended mainly to address leasable mineral development and recreational uses. It would focus on maximizing leasable mineral development, and other commercial uses such as rights of way for wind and solar development, along with livestock grazing.
Motorized and non-motorized recreational activities would be prioritized. This alternative would prioritize areas where the viability of commercial activities would take precedence over most other uses.
More lands would be open to mineral development leasing, with fewer restrictions than the previous alternatives. It would also open more acreage to livestock grazing and motorized recreation.
Alternative D favors commercial land use over most others, providing for some recreational opportunities, but holding fewer environmental protections than other alternatives.
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Read the full draft of the
Copies of the draft Resource Management Plan can be viewed at the
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