The American Sand Association (ASA) has engaged McClure Consulting of Phoenix, AZ to prepare a “Constructive” critique of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) draft Business Plan. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the Business Plan on October 18, 2012. According to BLM, Business Plans are used in determining the appropriateness and level of fees assessed ISDRA visitors.
The BLM El Centro Field Office has requested public comments on the Business Plan and the accompanying fee increase. The recommended fee will nearly double for the 2012 – 2013 season. Comments are due by November 30, 2012. Nicole Gilles, ASA Executive Director said “It is important that ASA members and ISDRA visitors provide the BLM their comments.” Gilles continued that “Comments need to be meaningful and include logical and well thought out reasons for your suggestions.” BLM recently noted that the public participation process is not about a vote on the plan; but, rather a process to gather public input and ideas.
Unfortunately, the public comment period closes on November 30, 2012 which does not give most people an adequate amount of time to effectively evaluate the Business Plan. The McClure “Opinion Letter” will be complete in time for a presentation on December 1, 2012 to the CA Desert District Advisory Committee (DAC) meeting that will be held in El Centro, CA. ASA members, ISDRA users and the local business community are encouraged to attend this meeting.
The McClure consulting firm is not new to the ASA or the ISDRA. In 2007, McClure prepared the economic analysis regarding the impact of the closure of the Peirson’s milk vetch Critical Habitat area. As a direct result of this ASA initiated analysis, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reduced the Critical Habitat from 47,722 acres to 8,840 acres.
The DAC meeting will be held on December 1st from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Cal Works Bldg. located at 2895 So. 4th Street in El Centro, CA. Visit the DAC website for more details.