BLM to Prepare New EIS for Clear Creek


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Scoping Meeting Input Sheets

October 14, 2007


PDF of the Public Scoping Worksheet handed out at the meetings

Worksheet in electronic form with e-mail


The BLM has completed their three public scoping meetings.  The Salinas Ramblers thank all who attended.  Now it is time to get the word out to the OHV community about the new EIS process and to get comment sheets back to the BLM.  The deadline will be 30 days after the EPA holds a public meeting to review their Clear Creek health risk assessment.  This meeting has not yet been scheduled.


BLM Scoping Meeting in Hollister

September 27, 2007


The BLM held their first scoping meeting in Hollister.   The meeting was well attended by OHV representatives.  There were also local land owners, representatives from an Indian tribe and environmentalists in attendance.


The meeting was kicked off by Rick Cooper who gave a brief introduction to the process.  He was followed by Sky Murphy who gave a presentation on the EIS process in more detail and some of the issues to be addressed by the EIS.  After Sky's presentation, the BLM had a number of stations that you could visit to learn more about the issues that the EIS would address, such as recreation, environmental, and health and safety.


The meeting was a low key affair.  At one point a local landowner, Gene Cunningham, tried to open a dialog with Sky but was told to submit his comments on the input sheets that were handed out.  The EPA was not to be found.  Apparently they have not finished preparing their final report.  After its release, the EPA will conduct public meetings to present their findings and the BLM will keep the comment period open for 30 days after the last EPA meeting.


The BLM has supplied the Salinas Ramblers with copies of some of the documents handed out in the meeting:  We hope to get the comment sheet early next week or we will post a scanned copy.


Public Scoping Meeting Flyer with BLM contact information

Public Scoping Issues

Link to the EPA web page on Clear Creek


EIS Timeline:


As part of the presentation, the BLM gave the following timeline to complete the EIS process:

  1. •08/2007-12/2007  Conduct Public Scoping Meetings Briefings, Public Comment  
  2. •12/2007-07/2008  Analyze Scoping Comments, Prepare Draft RMP & Draft EIS 
  3. •08/2008                  Issue Draft RMP and EIS   
  4. •08/2008-11/2008  Public comment period, briefings, meetings   
  5. •12/2008-03/2009  Analyze Public Comments, Prepare Proposed RMP & Final EIS 
  6. •04/2009                  Issue Proposed RMP/Final EIS   
  7. •04/2009-05/2009  Protest Period and Governors Consistency Review  
  8. •05/2009-08/2009  Resolve Protest and Prepare Record of Decision 
  9. •09/2009                  Issue Record of Decision/Approved RMP 

According to the BLM, there will be no major changes to their current management of Clear Creek until the Record of Decision for this EIS is issues.  They will continue to implement the 2006 Record of Decision for the route network and barrens so you will see changes on the ground as they sign open routes and rehabilitate closed routes.


There will be two more public scoping meetings: October 4 in Coalinga and October 11 in San Jose.  Location and times are posted at the bottom of this page in the September 6 entry.


September 19, 2007


Here are more details regarding what the EIS will be looking at.  The following is an e-mail from Sky Murphy, the environmental planner in the BLM's Hollister office:


Hello Ed,


As you know, there are many issues that BLM must address in Clear Creek, but the main reason we are preparing a "stand alone" RMP/EIS for CCMA is because during preparation of the 2006 RMP Amendment for Route Designation EPA had significant concerns about the human health risk from naturally occurring asbestos at CCMA and the fact that they were preparing a new risk assessment study that was not included in the environmental impact statement for route designation.  Therefore, we agreed  to incorporate the information from the EPA risk assessment into a NEPA document once it is complete. Furthermore, we agreed to withhold any land use planning decisions for CCMA from the Hollister RMP (2007) until the EPA risk assessment becomes available. Therefore, the purpose of this new CCMA planning effort is to consider any new information in the EPA Final Risk Assessment (available ~October 20, 2007) and update the land use planning decisions for CCMA that were not addressed in the revised 2007 Hollister RMP (i.e. recreation, grazing, energy, natural and cultural resources mgt., special designations, etc.).


Due to the recent completion of the Record of Decision for Route Designation at CCMA (2006) , we do not anticipate revisiting specific OHV route designations in CCMA. The 2006 ROD established a Route (and Barren) Designation Process that will allow BLM to make improvements to the OHV route network in CCMA outside of the land use planning process (up to 270 miles). However, BLM did make an agreement with EPA to analyze the full range of alternative for off-highway vehicle use in CCMA to protect the public from health risks associated with naturally occurring asbestos (ref; 2006 ROD for CCMA RMP Amendment); which basically means that the range of alternatives will include a "current OHV use" and a "no OHV use" alternative.



The following is an excerpt from the BLM Hollister Field Office Preparation Plan:


Purpose for the Clear Creek Management Area RMP


The Record of Decision for Clear Creek Management Area RMP Amendment and Route Designation (2006) discussed the available studies at the time of publication on naturally occurring asbestos in the CCMA. At the same time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was conducting an asbestos exposure evaluation study in the Clear Creek Management Area. The study was designed to provide further information on the exposure levels from various types of activities in the CCMA. Initial results from the EPA study indicated that an environmental impact statement would be necessary to consider the new information and a range of management options for the CCMA.


Accordingly, BLM agreed to work with EPA and the public to appropriately respond to the new information upon completion of the EPA human health risk study. If the information is significantly different than the 1992 risk assessment, BLM agreed to expeditiously initiate a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review to consider the new information and potential management responses at the CCMA in light of any new findings. BLM and EPA agreed that this subsequent NEPA review would address general public access and recreation at the CCMA and analyze a full range of alternatives.  The Hollister RMP was updated in 2006 to establish goals, objectives, and management actions for BLM public lands that address current issues, knowledge, and conditions. However, the CCMA was not addressed in that document because of EPA concerns about the technical deficiencies of the 1992 health risk assessment. Therefore, current management direction for Clear Creek Management Area is contained in the 1984 Hollister Resource Management Plan and subsequent amendments (Appendix A). This plan and its amendments, while providing a broad overview of goals, objectives, and needs associated with public lands, lack detailed direction and are generally outdated. Social, political, and environmental changes, coupled with significant population growth not anticipated in the plan and amendments, have presented some complex management issues, which will benefit from an updated “stand alone” RMP. The current CCMA plan amendments do not address present program guidance, laws, regulations and policies developed since their conception. Development of a new CCMA RMP would enhance management by addressing planning needs discussed in the Hollister Field Office Land Use Plan Evaluation (2002) as well as concerns about the health risk from exposure to naturally occurring asbestos as agreed upon by BLM and the Environmental Protection Agency. A new stand alone RMP for CCMA will also provide the opportunity for public involvement in a new era of land use planning to address these complex and controversial issues.


The links below provide some background information on the purpose and need for the CCMA RMP, the Notice of Intent, and the announcement for the public scoping meetings to help identify issues that would be considered in the planning process.




Sky Painter Murphy

BLM Hollister Field Office

20 Hamilton Court

Hollister, CA 95023

(831) 630-5039




September 6, 2007

The BLM announced today that they intend to prepare a new Environmental Impact Statement for Clear Creek.  The main purpose of the plan is to address the EPA's recommendation that are due to be released in October.  Here is the text of their announcement:


News Release

For Release:  September 6, 2007                
Contact:  David Christy, (916) 985-4474

BLM Seeks Public Input for Clear Creek Management Area Resource Management Plan

The Bureau of Land Management Hollister Field Office is requesting public comments for the preparation of the Clear Creek Management Area Resource Management Plan. Public meetings will be held in Central California in late September and early October.

The CCMA encompasses approximately 63,000 acres of public lands in southern San Benito and western Fresno counties that is currently administered under the 1984 Hollister Resource Management Plan.

“Since the 1984 Hollister RMP was developed, many social, political, and environmental changes have occurred that affect resource conditions and influence public land uses. These changes, coupled with significant population growth not anticipated in the in the original plan, have presented some complex management issues, which will benefit from an updated land use plan,” said Rick Cooper, Hollister Field Office manager.

Over the next two years, BLM will be preparing a Draft RMP and associated environmental impact statement to guide the future management of public lands within the CCMA. The public is encouraged to help identify issues, questions and concerns to be incorporated into the Draft RMP/EIS during the public scoping period that began with the publication of a "Notice of Intent" in the Federal Register today. 

All public meetings will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. The date and location of each meeting are listed below:


September 27 - Veterans Memorial Hall
649 San Benito St.
October 4 - Harris Ranch Garden Ballroom
24505 W. Dorris Ave.
October 11 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225
150 E. San Fernando St.
San Jose


The BLM will work closely with interested parties to develop management actions that are best suited to the management of the resources and the needs of the public. Planning criteria will be developed during public scoping to help guide the planning effort. This collaborative process will take into account local, regional, and national concerns. Early participation by all interested parties is encouraged and will help guide the planning process and determine the future management of public lands.

Written comments should be submitted within 30 calendar days of the last scheduled public scoping meeting.  Written comments should be sent to "CCMA RMP" BLM, Hollister Field Office, 20 Hamilton Court, Hollister, Calif., 95023. Fax: 831-630-5055, or e-mail,

For further information contact Sky Murphy, planning and environmental coordinator, (831) 630-5039, or e-mail,