Oppose Interior’s plan to relocate BLM out of DC

Oppose Interior’s Plan to Move BLM Washington Office Employees out West

The Interior Department under this administration is relocating the BLM’s headquarters out of Washington, DC to Grand Junction, Colorado along with 27 employees. These include the currently vacant Bureau Director position (President Trump has not nominated anyone to fill the Director’s position), the career Deputy Director for Operations, and all Assistant Directors plus some support staff.  This relocation is a thinly veiled attempt to dismantle the BLM headquarters and diminish its effectiveness as an organization.  The Friends do not support this poorly conceived relocation.


The Friends support the Public Lands Foundation efforts to oppose the BLM reorganization.  PLF notes in its letter to Congress:

The BLM already is organizationally aligned to have office locations that provide for the appropriate coordination necessary to make sound resource management decisions. The western offices of the BLM provide the operational function for the organization. The decentralized nature of the BLM allows for efficient and timely responses to western constituents. Approximately 97 percent of the BLM employees are currently located on-the-ground in Field, District, and State Offices to make land use decisions based on public interest, resource conditions, cooperating agency concerns, and BLM policy.

 

The BLM headquarters located in Washington, D.C. houses about 3 percent of the BLM employees. The Directorate and professional support staff develop national policy and regulations, prepare and manage the budget, and provide program oversight to assure efficient and consistent management across the agency. This work requires coordination and daily interaction with multiple agencies, departments, OMB, the White House, and Congressional members.

 

The PLF does not support the relocation of the BLM headquarters leadership and what appears to be over 80 percent of the headquarters professional staff to locations throughout the west.  This reorganization proposal will result in a weak and ineffective management structure, a loss of national coordination and oversight capability, a loss of consistent agency policy development and implementation, and a subrogation of national interests to powerful local interests.

 

Most PLF members have seen a variety of reorganization efforts. For the most part they have proven to be very disruptive and costly and in the end were found to be problematic and were reversed by the next administration. As an organization, the PLF would ask that this proposal be rescinded. There is no apparent goal other than dismantling the BLM headquarters.

Like-minded FSPR members can help efforts to oppose the BLM reorganization. Members who want to support these efforts can use the draft PLF letter (PDF document and raw text) as a foundation for preparing your own.

If you decide to send letters, please do so before the upcoming House Committee on Natural Resources hearing scheduled for September 10.  Let us know if you need addresses for your representatives.

Thanks for your support!

Friends of the San Pedro River
Email: fspr@sanpedroriver.org

List of volunteer services for VSA form

In order to complete the revised BLM Volunteer Service Agreement form (also available in hardcopy) for fiscal year 2020 starting October 1, 2019, volunteers should check each of the boxes listing the services they plan to provide during the course of the year and then send email to fspr@sanpedroriver.org about how to submit the form.  The volunteer roles associated with those services are described in the pages below:

Volunteers sought to help with Wet-Dry Mapping preparations

 

Volunteers needed!

Help with Wet-Dry Mapping preparations

Dear Friends,
 
There are two different volunteer opportunities associated with the upcoming Wet-Dry Mapping of the San Pedro River in middle June.  One role is a smaller commitment of time, while the other is more expansive and involves taking on greater responsibility.
First, the Friends are looking for an additional volunteer to help with team packet preparation and in addition meal planning and setup for the dinner for Wet-Dry teams that attend the training event the evening prior to mapping in the field.  This volunteer position reports to the Friends and involves a total of 5-10 hours of time between now and the June mapping event.
 
The second and larger role involves coordinating volunteers between now and June who will join teams in the field in the SPRNCA and upper San Pedro Valley tributaries the day of the mapping event.  See the volunteer position description.  Attendance at several planning meetings is also required.  This position involves a commitment of roughly 50 volunteer hours between now and June.  This volunteer reports to The Nature Conservancy Wet-Dry Mapping event coordinator Brooke Bushman.
 
The actual Wet-Dry Mapping of the San Pedro River will take place on Saturday, June 15, 2019.  The Wet-Dry Training at San Pedro House is scheduled for the day before, namely Friday evening, June 14.
 
If you are interested in one of these two volunteer opportunities, please email fspr@sanpedroriver.org to indicate which one, how much time you could devote between now and June, and what travel or other commitments you have in the next few months.
 
On behalf of the Friends, THANK YOU to all the volunteers who do so much for the river!

The Friends of the San Pedro River

Join Tucson Audubon on the San Pedro

Join Tucson Audubon Society for two events in September:

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FSPR position on draft RMP

The BLM has released a draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA). This plan will govern how the SPRNCA will be managed for the next few decades. The Friends has completed a first review of the document and will provide comments to the BLM during meetings and in writing. We would like to share with you our reaction and concerns.

But first, how to find the draft documents…
The draft RMP is available for the public to review and provide comments on the BLM ePlanning website at https://go.usa.gov/xnTuM.  Get involved!  Your opinion counts. Your voice is needed to counter those with influence who are working behind the scenes to undo the work of the last 30 years.

Public meetings on the draft plan are scheduled for:

  • July 30, 5:30-7 p.m., Sierra Vista Police Department, 911 N. Coronado Drive, Sierra Vista, Arizona (Meeting attendees should use the lobby entrance to access the room)
  • Aug. 8, 5:30-7 p.m., Benson Fire Department Station 71, 375 E. 7th Street, Benson, Arizona
  • Aug. 22, 5:30-7 p.m., Sierra Vista Police Department, 911 N. Coronado Drive, Sierra Vista, Arizona  (Meeting attendees should use the lobby entrance to access the room)
  • Aug. 23, 5:30-7 p.m., Pima Community College, 401 N. Bonita Ave., Tucson, Arizona

Public input will shape the final plan, and we encourage you to attend one of the public meetings to learn more about the draft RMP and voice your opinions and suggestions.

Overall assessment. The BLM has been working on this document for several years. We commend them for the completion of this draft and look forward to working towards issuance of a final plan that continues current protection of this precious national resource.  However, we do have significant concerns as discussed below.
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Join the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Great Backyard Bird Count from February 16 to 19

The Great Backyard Bird Count runs from February 16 to 19

Join a Global Bird Count for The Year of the Bird 
The Great Backyard Bird Count takes place worldwide, February 16 to 19

For Release: February 7, 2018
New York, NY, Ithaca, NY, and Port Rowan, ON—The 21st Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will take place February 16 to 19—in backyards, parks, nature centers, on hiking trails, school grounds, balconies, and beaches. This global event provides an opportunity for bird enthusiasts to contribute important bird population data that help scientists see changes over the past 21 years. To participate, bird watchers count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their checklists at birdcount.org.

BLM Announces Re-opening of San Pedro House

Pruning of Plaza and Bailey, the two Fremont Cottonwoods at San Pedro House, has been completed and the house and the surrounding area are once again open to the public.  All walks and other activities planned for the area will resume today, November 5.

We appreciate everyone’s patience as BLM and the contractor hired to complete this project have worked to ensure the safety of the public as well as prolong the lives of these two magnificent trees.
 

Come out to San Pedro House soon to see Plaza and Bailey with their new “haircuts” for yourselves!

Posted in BLM

BLM Announces Temporary Closure of San Pedro House and Surrounding Area

The Bureau of Land Management has notified us that pruning of the two large cottonwood trees near San Pedro House will begin Monday, October 16, and will require that San Pedro House and the surrounding area be closed to the public for up to three weeks.

Saturday River Walks scheduled for October 21 and 28 have been cancelled. The Bird Walks scheduled for October 28 and November 1 have also been canceled.

Please consider visiting some of the other recreation areas in the SPRNCA during this period, such as Millville, Fairbank, and Murray Springs.

History walks scheduled October 21 at Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate and October 28 at Grand Central Mill will not be affected by this closure. We hope to see you there!

Call to Action – Act now to help the Conservation Lands Foundation protect the Bears Ears National Monument

The Trump Administration has issued an Executive Order calling for “review” of national monuments – starting with Bears Ears National Monument – to determine whether or redraw boundaries, reduce protections or even rescind designation for our most diverse and inclusive national monuments.

Since the Antiquities Act went into effect in 1906, millions of acres of environmentally, culturally, and historically important lands in the US have been protected for the enjoyment of generations to come.  Without the constant vigilance of groups such as the Conservation Lands Foundation, there is a very real possibility that these lands could be removed from protected status.

Locally, the Conservation Lands Foundation has provided direct support to the Friends of the San Pedro River by funding the Executive Director position for two years and development of our strategic plan.  This is a chance to reward their support of us by helping to protect our National Conservation Lands including the Bears Ears!

Please consider acting now to help protect Bears Ears by clicking here to submit a public comment.  The comment period is only open until May 26, so please act quickly.

If you wish to make a donation to defend our national monuments, you may click here to make a contribution to the Conservation Lands Foundation to help them continue the fight to protect our national lands.