Three Rivers is essentially an island of private property surrounded by public lands managed by the National Park Service (NPS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Even the Kaweah River and its bottomlands are managed by and subject to the regulations of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Because of the relationship with these agencies, there is perpetually a planning project underway for the area’s public lands. The fact that privately held property and public right-of-way in Three Rivers is county territory and subject to a general and community plan makes matters even more complex.
What this web of agency entanglements means is that it is the responsibility of the local citizenry to monitor what is going at each of these agencies. Fortunately, public input is guaranteed by law and the Three Rivers community can influence the outcomes of those decisions that everyone at the local level.
Bakersfield Resource Management Plan— On Friday, Jan. 16, agency officials released the Record of Decision for the Bakersfield Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (RMP/EIS) providing direction for the management of 400,000 acres of public lands in six counties and parts of two others. The project area of the landmark plan also addresses 1.2 million acres of mineral estate.
The plan has hundreds of pages that deal with everything from oil and gas development to threatened species, climate change, recreation, grazing, and resources of critical environmental concern like the giant sequoias of Case Mountain.
“We developed the plan through close coordination with stakeholders and the public,” said Gabriel Garcia, BLM field manager. “It represents the best combination of management decisions to both sustain the valuable resources the BLM is entrusted to manage and to meet the needs of the community for the next 20 years.”
The plan also incorporates recreation management objectives to address the changing needs of the area’s diverse user groups and improve the existing trail systems. It includes key conservation provisions to address biological and cultural resources including the protection of 100,000 acres of areas of critical environmental concern, including Case Mountain.
For a copy of the document, go to www.blm.gov/ca/bakersfield/rmp. Hard copies are available upon request from the Bakersfield Field Office, 3801 Pegasus Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93308.
NPS seeks remedy for Lower Kaweah Dump— Officially it’s called an environmental remediation. Unofficially, it’s an undesirable leftover from a bygone era when concession employees and other workers deposited refuse in an old dump site adjacent to the cabin community at Lower Kaweah.
The cabins were removed as a part of the Giant Forest relocation but the dump remains. Now Sequoia National Park’s Occupational Health and Safety manager has determined that the dump might pose an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment.
As a result of that determination, the NPS is assessing the site in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Liability Act. The process has a public outreach component so if you have knowledge about the history of the dump or specific comments as to what might be done with the site, now is the time to offer input.
Detailed information about the dump project is posted on the NPS PEPC website and also available for review at the Visalia Library (open Tuesday-Saturday), 200 W. Oak Ave.
For additional information, call Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks safety officer Todd Payne, (559) 565-3108.