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.

The Friends of Oceano Dunes have asked that we help spread the word on the proposed plan by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to designate a large portion of the Oceano Dunes SVRA in Pismo Beach, California as critical habitat for the Snow Plover which would eliminate OHV activity and would greatly affect access to the dunes.

Comments on the proposed plan must be received by 5/23/11. The Friends of Oceano Dunes have drafted a letter for OHV enthusiasts to send to USFWS:

SUGGESTED LETTER:

Public Comments Processing,
Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2010-0070
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222
Arlington, VA 22203

Re: Opposition to Inclusion of Oceano Dunes SVRA in the Critical Habitat Designation for the Western Snowy Plover

Dear Fish and Wildlife Service:

I OPPOSE designating Oceano Dunes SVRA as plover critical habitat. It should remain excluded for economic reasons as it has been for the past 6 years without harm to the plover.

I am a frequent visitor to Oceano Dunes SVRA in Pismo Beach, California, where I enjoy one of the most unique off-roading experiences in the world.  I have just learned that the Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to declare a significant part of Oceano Dunes to be “critical” habitat for the western snowy plover.

I am confused by this proposal since I know that in 2005 the Service specifically excluded Oceano Dunes from plover critical habitat because of the severe impacts such a regulation would have on the local and regional economy in San Luis Obispo County.  Miles of riding area have already been off-limits to off-road recreation even though this is not critical habitat. The plover seems to be thriving with all of the conservation measures that State Parks currently has in place. I understand that State Parks is planning even more. In light of all this, what additional benefit can adding the critical habitat regulation have? It seems like it will just be used by extremists to try to shut down the park to off-road recreation.

Sincerely,

Sign Name: *______________________________ Date* _________

Print Name:* ______________________________

Address: *________________________________

City *____________ State:* _______ Zip* ____

*REQUIRED