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  • August 29, 2016 2:54 PM | Bruce Brazil (Administrator)

    The last step available to the public in the BLM appeals process concerning the reopening of the Clear Creek Management Area to motorized recreation was denied.  The Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) denied the appeals mainly on the grounds of:

    An appellant has the burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that BLM committed a material error in its factual analysis, that BLM failed to give due consideration to all relevant factors, or that no rational connection exists between the facts found and the choices made.

    and

    the appellant has failed to carry its burden to demonstrate, with objective proof, that BLM did not adequately consider the likely effects on the health of recreational users and other aspects of the human environment.

    This leaves H.R. 1838 by Sam Farr as the current remaining chance to reopen Clear Creek to motorized recreation. 

    A preliminary air/asbestos report initiated by the OHMVR Division has been released.  The findings by an independent scientific group shows MUCH less potential for health problems associated with motorized recreation in the CCMA.  When the final report is released, it should contain sufficient data to initiate a new look at the CCMA closure by the BLM.      

     

      

  • August 29, 2016 2:51 PM | Bruce Brazil (Administrator)

    From: Becker CIV Kristina L <kristina.becker@usmc.mil

    ****Status Update****

    The Marine Corps returned the Johnson Valley Shared Use Area to the Bureau of Land Management on August 20th - open for public use. The Combat Center is committed to maintaining positive relationships with our community and thanks community members for supporting its efforts in achieving current and progressive service-level training requirements.

    The next planned use of the Shared Use Area for military training in August 1-30, 2017. Please see the attached flyer for your use - to post or share with friends or family. As with August 2016 training, the closure period will include the time required to ensure the Shared Use Area is clear of recreation activity prior to training and to confirm the land is clear of hazards prior to reopening for public access. The adjacent Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area will remain open to the public during Shared Use Area closure.

    For additional information including a map of the area, please visit http://www.29palms.marines. mil/Staff/G5-Government-and- External-Affairs/Johnson- Valley <http://www.29palms.marines. mil/Staff/G5-Government-and- External-Affairs/Johnson- Valley> .

    Please contact 760-830-3737 or respond to this email with any additional questions or concerns.

  • August 22, 2016 3:30 PM | CORVA Administrator (Administrator)

    News Release
    California Desert District, California

    22835 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553

    For Immediate Release   August, 15 2016                                                                         CDD-16-35

    Contact: Stephen Razo, (951) 697-5217, srazo@blm.gov

    BLM Invites Public to Share Vision for Mojave Trails National Monument

    MORENO VALLEY, Calif. - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Needles Field Office, is inviting people to share what they value most within the newly designated Mojave Trails National Monument for the BLM to consider as the monument planning process begins.

    A series of envisioning sessions will enable the public to provide comments on specific interests and concerns that will assist the BLM in the development of the Mojave Trails National Monument Management Plan. These sessions are in advance of public scoping meetings which will begin in the fall.

    The Envisioning Sessions are scheduled for:

                  Tuesday, August 30, 2016  (5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)

                  Hampton Inn, 2710 Lenwood Rd, Barstow, CA 92311  

                  Wednesday, August 31, 2016  (5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)

                  Yucca Valley Community Center, 57090 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca Valley, CA 92284

                  Thursday, September 1, 2016  (5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)

                  El Garces Hotel, 950 Front St., Needles, CA  92363

    “We want the public to helps us determine how their public lands should be managed,” states Mike Ahrens, Needles Field Office Manager. “Public input helps the BLM develop a lasting framework for land use and resource management decisions.”

    The BLM will work collaboratively with the public, cooperating agencies, and partners to begin identifying the vision for the planning area and key management priorities to be addressed in the upcoming draft  monument management plan.

    The sessions will be open house format with the same kind of information provided at each location.

    For further information contact: Stephen Razo, External Affairs, California Desert District: srazo@blm.gov 

  • July 11, 2016 10:33 AM | CORVA Administrator (Administrator)


    IMPORTANT ALERT: A new website has been started to give YOU a voice in the changes pending at California State Parks that will affect our off-road programs, options and opportunities: www.savecaliforniaohv.com. It is critical that the off-road recreation community be heard in this process, and through this website every enthusiast can communicate your ideas to State Parks. Remember the state is here to represent all Californians, including off-road enthusiasts, but they MUST hear from you!

    Off-road enthusiasts are also encouraged to attend an open house to learn about State Parks' proposals. You will get to comment in person, and hear directly from the State Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation about her plans for changes to the Off Highway Motorized Vehicle Recreation Division.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2016
    6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
    Resources Building Auditorium
    1416 9th Street,
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    CORVA encourages everyone to make your voice heard either by attending the meeting or commenting through the website.

  • July 11, 2016 10:32 AM | CORVA Administrator (Administrator)

    July 19, 2016:  The public is invited to an open house to learn about the effort to review the department’s organization structure.  Through the Organizational Structure Opportunities project, the Department seeks to identify opportunities to elevate and strengthen all of its programs, including the OHMVR program and the services it provides.  Please see the attached Notice and Agenda for details.

    OHV Open House Agenda

    OHV_Open_House_Opportunities

  • July 08, 2016 7:45 PM | CORVA Administrator (Administrator)


    News Release

    California Desert District, California

    22835 Calle San Juan De Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553

    For Immediate Release: July 5, 2016  
    CDD-16-31

    Contact: Stephen Razo, (951) 697-5217, srazo@blm.gov

    BLM Desert Advisory Council Announces Special Recreation Permit Subgroup Members

    MORENO VALLEY, Calif. - The Bureau of Land Management, California Desert District Advisory Council, has selected members to its Special Recreation Permit (SRP) Subgroup.

    Representatives on the subgroup are Jim Woods (California Off-Road Vehicle Association - Southern Region), Jerry Grabow (American Motorcyclist Association - District 37), Linda Koch (Equestrian Interests), Robert Koch (Off-Road and Equestrian Interests) and Randy Banis (Desert Advisory Council Representative).

    The SRP Subgroup is tasked with identifying operational issues in the application of required recreation permits, providing comments about current or proposed actions by BLM, and aiding in accurately communicating recreation permit procedures to interested parties. The subgroup reports its findings to the full Desert Advisory Council (DAC), which ultimately advises the Secretary of the Interior through the BLM’s California Desert District Manager.

    All members of the DAC SRP subgroup serve an unpaid two-year appointment. Subgroups meet at least four times per year. SRP subgroup members are selected and appointed by the DAC and a designated federal official.

    All meetings of the DAC and subgroups are open to the public. Future meetings of the SRP Subgroup will be announced to the public at least 15 days in advance.

    For further information contact: Stephen Razo, BLM Desert District External Affairs, at: srazo@blm.gov.

  • June 30, 2016 12:12 PM | CORVA Administrator (Administrator)

    Washington Post:  By Tony Perry June 27, 2016


    The Marines initially intended to airlift more than 1,100 desert tortoises away from a combat training site. After protests arose, that plan has been put on hold. (Lauren Kurkimili/U.S. Marine Corps)

    TWENTYNINE PALMS, CALIF. — Troops sent to the Marine Corps’s sprawling base in the Mojave Desert near here for advanced combat training are warned sternly about an unbreakable rule: no harming the desert tortoises or leaving behind food crumbs that are likely to attract ravens, the arch-predator of tortoises.

    To further protect the creatures with the high-domed shells on their backs, certain areas of the base are off-limits. And to prop up the tortoise population on base, the Marines have teamed with UCLA for the past decade to run an on-base hatchery.

    Yet a battle is brewing between the Marines and the tortoises — or, really, their environmental advocates — that shows how even a fast-moving fighting force must sometimes give way to some of the slowest creatures on Earth.

    The issue is a live-fire exercise set for August to train troops in assaulting an enemy from numerous locations. Similar exercises have been done in the past, but this year’s event was to have included recently annexed property that is home to numerous desert tortoises.


    Col. James F. Harp releases tortoise 2-4 from the Combat Center’s Desert Tortoise Headstart Program. The Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs released 35 tortoises from the program after they spent approximately 9 years at the Tortoise Research and Captive Rearing Site. (Lauren Kurkimili/U.S. Marine Corps)

    To protect the tortoises from becoming collateral damage as bombs, mortars and artillery are fired and Humvees rumble around, the Marines were planning to airlift more than 1,100 of them away from the area.

    But just weeks before the relocation was to begin, the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson protested that the effort would mean certain death for large numbers of the tortoises, in violation of the Endangered Species Act. The group warned that it would go to court to stop the operation.

    As a result, the airlift is on hold, the training exercise has been downsized and federal officials not aligned with the Marine Corps are reviewing the tortoise relocation to judge its impact on the creatures.

    “This proposed translocation is a disaster for the already at-risk desert tortoises in the west Mojave Desert,” said Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist with the diversity center.

    The desert tortoise is found in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. An adult tortoise can reach six inches in height, weigh up to 15 pounds, and live as long as 100 years. The tortoise population in the western Mojave, which includes the Marine base, has declined by 90 percent since the early 1980s, according to the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife.

    Among the causes cited by the group and others for the decline are drought, respiratory disease, a population explosion among ravens, suburban development and increased use of the desert by off-roaders and other recreationalists.


    The tortoises were required to grow at least 4 inches in length before being released, in order to ensure they could fend off predators. (Lauren Kurkimili/U.S. Marine Corps)

    In response to the environmentalists’ concerns, the Marines say they have carefully monitored the health of tortoises set to be relocated and will continue to do so through small transmitters on the animals’ backs. The Corps has allocated $50 million for the airlift, environmental assessments, fencing, research and health monitoring of the tortoises through the year 2045.

    “We’re not just going to throw them over a fence,” said Walter Christensen, natural and cultural resources branch manager at the base. Six spots adjacent to the base have been assigned for the relocation, he said. All have sufficient water and food and are far enough away from the tortoises’ current homes that they will not try to walk back, he said.

    At 1,190 square miles, the Marine base is nearly the size of Rhode Island. Most Marines sent to Iraq and Afghanistan come here for training, under a program known as Mojave Viper.

    Faced with the possible lawsuit over the tortoise airlift, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it was reviewing its tentative approval of the relocation plan. Since the desert tortoise is listed as a threatened species — a notch below endangered — the service’s approval is needed for any such move.

    The Marines have reconfigured and downscaled the August training away from tortoise-heavy areas, with fewer tanks and armored vehicles. In addition, no live-firing will be done in Johnson Valley, an area of the base that is central to the dispute.

    Training is an everyday event at the base, located 140 miles east of Los Angeles. But the August exercise was meant to be special: It was to be the first time that the Marines used the Johnson Valley property, Marine brass hoped to find out whether the valley would be good not just for large-scale exercises such as this summer’s but also for even larger exercises in coming years.

    For a decade, the Marines fought environmental groups, local landowners and off-road enthusiasts over annexing Johnson Valley, which was controlled by the federal Bureau of Land Management.

    In 2013, after intervention by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a deal was cut by Congress: 107,000 acres of Johnson Valley will be designated exclusively for use by the Marine Corps, another 50,000 will be shared between the Marines and civilians. The August exercise is to include sections of both, as well other areas of the base.

    The Marines insist they need to use the property to devise a training exercise in which three large infantry groups can practice assaulting a common target, each using artillery, mortars and air power. Without the Johnson Valley area, the corps has no base large enough for such an exercise, officials said.

    At the crux of environmentalists’ concerns was a tortoise relocation done in 2008 at the Army’s Fort Irwin, which is east of Twentynine Palms. That program was suspended after only a year when it was learned that about 30 percent of the relocated tortoises had died.

    “It was a debacle,” Anderson said of the Fort Irwin program.

    To the Center for Biological Diversity, that experience shows that relocation is a dreadful strategy and that the Marines’ plan, which would involve many more tortoises,needs further scrutiny.

    The Marines assert that the Fort Irwin deaths are misleading. Brian Henen, a civilian ecologist at the Twentynine Palms base, said the mortality rate of the tortoises that were moved was the same as that of tortoises that were not relocated, suggesting the main cause was a drought that decreased water and forage. Federal officials, who did an investigation of the Fort Irwin deaths, also concluded that the deaths most likely were attributable to the drought. Environmental groups disputed the finding.

    Brian Croft, a wildlife biologist and division chief with the Fish and Wildlife Service, has sympathy for both sides in this dispute. His agency has dealt with numerous problems related to the moving of tortoises, including ones caused by solar projects and a community college expansion next to the Twentynine Palms base.

    “From everything we know from studying translocation, as long as it’s planned properly, it can be done without increasing the mortality rate of the animals,” Croft said.

    The Fish and Wildlife Service expects to decide in September whether the Marines can go ahead with the airlift, Croft said.

    Jennifer Loda, the Center for Biological Diversity’s attorney for amphibian and reptile issues, said she hopes the final decision will leave the desert tortoises undisturbed. The tortoise’s ancestors lived in the Mojave Desert thousands of years before the Army and Marine Corps arrived, she noted.

    “They have an inherent right to be here. They have the same right as we do.”

     

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/in-battle-of-desert-tortoise-vs-marines-the-tortoise-wins--for-now/2016/06/27/28e71c24-2435-11e6-aa84-42391ba52c91_story.html

  • June 28, 2016 9:04 AM | CORVA Administrator (Administrator)

    PRESS RELEASE #16-004    June 23, 2016


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


    ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING LAND USE IN THE JOHNSON VALLEY AREA

    MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. –
    The Johnson Valley Shared Use Area will be temporarily closed to the public August 14-21, 2016 while the Marine Corps conducts convoy operations and resupply missions to support a large-scale exercise. It was determined the window of closure for military use could be shortened from the previous announcement of August 1-30, 2016 after the Marine Corps refined the scope of training.
    The closure period will include the time required to ensure the Shared Use Area is clear of recreation activity prior to training and to confirm the land is clear of hazards prior to reopening the land for public access.
     The adjacent Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area will remain open to the public during the closure of the Shared Use Area. The Marine Corps will continue to implement robust public outreach to ensure the public is informed of the temporary change in land use.
    In addition, the Marine Corps has announced the next planned use of the Shared Use Area for military training in August 1-30, 2017, honoring the commitment to provide a minimum of 12 months advance notice to the public of training in the Shared Use Area.


    For additional information, please contact the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Public

    Affairs Office at 760-830-6213 or SMBPLMSWEBPAO@usmc.mil.
    For additional information including a map of the area, please visit http://www.29palms.marines.mil/Staff/G5-Government-and-External-Affairs/Johnson-Valley.


  • June 07, 2016 7:52 PM | AJ Granat (Administrator)

     “Our Trails, Our Opportunities, Making a Difference with CORVA – Moving into the Future with CORVA”

    This year CORVA held our Annual Meeting at Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area, which allowed us to get our buggies, UTV’s and 4 wheelers out on the trails and enjoy everything the park has to offer. The park is looking better than ever thanks to an expanded obstacles course and great trails. We enjoyed fantastic weather – even the wind stopped on Saturday evening so we could enjoy our campfire barbeque. Thanks to the staff of Hollister Hills who were extremely welcoming and helpful, and  much appreciation to all our CORVA friends and members who attended the meeting and offered fresh new ideas to move the organization forward.

    We held elections for CORVA Board of Directors positions, and gave awards to some wonderful and well-deserved clubs and individuals that really make a difference in keeping public land open to motorized use.

    Elected to board positions:

    ·         Chad Clopton, VP of Administration

    ·         Clayton Miller, VP of Education

    ·         Mike Moore, Treasurer

     Award Recipients:

    GEORGE THOMAS MEMORIAL TROPHY FOR OFF-ROADER OF THE YEAR

    Bob & Beckie Casebeer and Ed Stovin

    LOONEY DUNERS CHARITY AWARD FOR A CLUB

    District 37, AMA Dual Sport

    LOS AVENTUREROS ANNUAL CONSERVATION TROPHY

    Beth Pfeiler

    NORTHERN CLUB OF THE YEAR

    Northern California Land Rover Club

    SOUTHERN CLUB OF THE YEAR

    Eastern Sierra 4x4 Club

    PAST PRESIDENT’S TROPHY

    Mark Algazy

    Congratulations and appreciation to all!

  • June 07, 2016 1:46 PM | AJ Granat (Administrator)

    PRESS RELEASE #16-003   June 3, 2016

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    PUBLIC MEETING REGARDING LAND USE IN THE JOHNSON VALLEY AREA

    MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Representatives from the Marine Corps will host a public meeting regarding land use in the Johnson Valley area at the Johnson Valley Community Center, June 25 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

    The purpose of the meeting is to communicate the Marine Corps' plans to conduct a large-scale exercise August 1-30, 2016 that will include training in the congressionally-established Shared Use Area. Information concerning temporary land closures and public safety information will be discussed with attendees. All members of the public are welcome to attend.


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