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Welcome back to the Conservation Corner! Last week we promised more about the Rio Blanco County Land and Natural Resources Plan and Policies (Plan) document. You may be wondering “why is this important to me?”
While the voice of one may be small, the documented voice of many is significant. Therefore, the White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts (Districts) partnered with Rio Blanco County (County) to document citizen input through development of the Plan. The Plan was officially adopted by both Districts and the County.
The Plan provides documentation and guidance in the planning processes for public lands within Rio Blanco County, as well as letters and written or oral comments on other public lands’ policy development.
The Plan is a critical tool used when the Districts and County are “Cooperating Agencies” with Federal land management agencies in a planning process. A cooperating agency is tasked with “sitting at the table” and providing guidance during the initial planning process and formation of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA) documents. Federal law states that the BLM and FS must consider such a Plan if adopted at a local level (Plan pg.3).
One of the most valuable assets of the Plan is that it describes the local history, customs, culture, and economy which is required but often overlooked in the federal planning processes. The Plan is user friendly and broken into natural resource sections such as endangered species, forest management, livestock grazing, oil and gas, water, wild horses, wildlife, and more. A complete copy of the Plan and Policies document is available on the Districts’ website at www.whiterivercd.com or by using the zapcode below.
Tune into the Conservation Corner next week for specific examples of how the Plan has been utilized to represent the citizens of Rio Blanco County.