Newlands Project Resource Management Plan
The Bureau of Reclamation has made available the Resource Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Newlands Project. The RMP/FEIS provides a range of alternatives for managing Reclamation-administered lands in the Newlands Project Planning Area, which is in the west-central Nevada counties of Washoe, Storey, Lyon, and Churchill.
The purpose of the Newlands Project RMP/FEIS is to provide a single, comprehensive land use plan that will guide contemporary resource and recreation needs of the federal lands administered by Reclamation in the Newlands Project planning area.
The Newlands Project provides irrigation water from the Truckee and Carson Rivers for agricultural lands in the Lahontan Valley near Fallon and benchlands near Fernley in western Nevada through a series of diversions, canals, dams and reservoirs.
The RMP/FEIS was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and is available at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_projdetails.cfm?Project_ID=2822. If you encounter problems accessing the document online, please call 916-978-5100 (TTY 800-877-8339) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RMP/FEIS may be viewed at the Washoe County Library, 301 S. Center St., Reno, NV 89501; the Fernley Branch Lyon County Library, 575 Silver Lace Blvd., Fernley, NV 89408; and the Churchill County Library, 553 South Main St., Fallon, NV 89406. The documents may also be viewed at the Bureau of Reclamation, Lahontan Basin Area Office, 705 N. Plaza Street, Room 320, Carson City, NV 8970; and the Natural Resources Library, Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Main Interior Building, Washington, DC 20240.
Reclamation will not make a decision on the proposed action until after February 20, 2015. After February 20, 2015, Reclamation will complete a Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD will state the action that will be implemented and will discuss all factors leading to the decision.
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Goals and Objectives of Public Participation and Outreach Plan
This Draft RMP/EIS addresses the interrelationships among the various resources in the Newlands Project planning area and provides management options to balance resource management between Reclamation’s mission and authority and the needs of the public to use these lands. Reclamation’s authority to prepare the RMP is outlined in the Reclamation Recreation Management Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-575, Title 28 (16 U.S.C. § 460l-31)), as amended.
The purposes of the Newlands Project RMP are as follows:
- Provide a framework to ensure Reclamation plans and activities comply with all appropriate federal, state, and local laws, rules, regulations, and policies;
- Provide for the protection and management of natural and cultural resources and public health and safety;
- Provide for non-water based recreation management and development and other uses consistent with contemporary and professional resource management and protection theories, concepts, and practices; and
- Be consistent with Reclamation’s fiscal goals and objectives.
The RMP is needed to achieve the purposes listed above.
Three management alternatives were developed to address the major planning issues.
Alternative A (No Action—Continue Current Management)
Under Alternative A, the current levels, methods and mix of multiple use management of Reclamation-administered lands in the Newlands Project planning area would continue, and resource values would generally receive attention at present levels.
The issuance of grazing leases, including the associated terms and conditions, would be brought into compliance with Reclamation’s current directives and standards.
Alternative B (Agency Preferred)
Under Alternative B, certain withdrawn lands would be identified for relinquishment and other lands for disposal. This alternative generally allows for more uses and active resource management than under Alternative C but less than under Alternative A.
Alternative C (Conservation)
Under Alternative C, all grazing on Reclamation-administered lands would be phased out and eliminated within two years. Rangeland improvements would be removed where appropriate and where the improvements are no longer needed. Off-road vehicle use would be completely prohibited on Reclamation-administered lands.
Under both Alternatives A and B, a Grazing Management Plan (GMP) will be completed and implemented. The new GMP will bring the grazing program into compliance with Reclamation Manual Directives and Standards and manage the program using rangeland health standards. These changes will result in increased costs to grazing permittees. Additionally, some pastures will be closed permanently or temporarily due to poor rangeland health standards, lack of use, or the cost of administering the pasture.
The draft review period concluded July 29, 2013. Reclamation has analyzed the comments received and made adjustments to the Draft RMP where warranted. Currently the proposed RMP and Final EIS are being prepared. It is anticipated that a Record of Decision will be issued sometime around mid-year 2014
In response to the public comments, the BLM and Reclamation met and determined that BLM will begin to administer grazing on those lands that are to be relinquished to BLM as a result of the RMP.