Redding, California - Local advocates say a new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) draft plan for 382,000 acres of public lands in northwestern California has significant potential to expand conservation, increase climate resilience, and address wildfire threats in some of the state’s most prized forest lands and waterways. The long-anticipated plan will update management direction for the Arcata and Redding Field Offices that steward public lands in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity, Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama and Butte counties. These plans were last updated in the early 1990s. The BLM's draft environmental review began in 2016 and was put on hold until 2021.
“We encourage everyone who cares about public lands to get involved in this important process,” said Ryan Henson, Senior Policy Director for CalWild. “Issues impacting locals include protecting places like English Ridge in Mendocino County that are sources of clean water and habitats for wildlife, enhancing recreational opportunities, and conserving cultural and historic sites important to Native American tribes. If you use and enjoy public lands in this region please join in this opportunity to be involved.”
The environmental review from the BLM analyzes potential areas of critical environmental concern, wild rivers, protecting old growth forests, proposed prescribed fire and fuels management, and tools for managing lands with wilderness character.
“Among the many areas of land the BLM manages in Shasta and Tehama Counties, protection and restoration of waterways and wild rivers are critically important to expanding spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead trout in this region and restoring wildlife habitat, especially for migrating fish and birds,” stated David Ledger, President of the Shasta Environmental Alliance. “We encourage the public to look at how the Northwest California Integrated Plan proposes to manage existing BLM parcels along important streams like the Sacramento River and Clear and Cottonwood Creeks. These places are worthy of emphasis during public comment.”
“Public lands in northwest California are some of the most iconic in the state,” said Jora Fogg, Associate Program Director at Conservation Lands Foundation. “At the intersection of the Cascade Mountains and Sierra Nevada, the expanses of rugged coastline, complex forest ecosystems and working ranchlands all require new innovative approaches to management especially in the face of the state’s climate crisis. We are excited to see the BLM release a draft plan that recognizes the value of restoring and conserving our public lands while providing much needed access to nature. We look forward to providing feedback on this plan through the public process and encourage all Californians and public land supporters to do the same.”
Today, the BLM is expected to publish formal notice of a 90-day public comment period, along with an announcement of public meetings in Arcata and Redding. Public comments are due to the agency by December 28, 2023. More details about the planning process and instructions on how to submit comments are available on the ePlanning website.