Bering Sea Western Interior – DRAFT Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement Summary
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bering Sea Western Interior DRAFT Resource Management Plan (RMP) / Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is out for public review. The plan will decide allowable uses of 13.5 million acres of land in the lower Yukon and Kuskokwim River areas. Learn about the DRAFT plan here and make your voice heard. Comments are due to BLM by by June 13, 2019.
Four plan alternatives are presented by BLM in the draft RMP/EIS – A, B, C (BLM’s preferred alternative), and D.
Alternative A: The do-nothing alternative. In this alternative, all land management remains the same as it is today.
Alternative B: This alternative provides many protections that were requested by over 14 communities in nominations for Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.
Alternative C: BLM’s Preferred Alternative opens the entire planning are to mining, creates high-value-watersheds which are open to mining only protects 1% of the planning area from mining.
Alternative D: Opens all areas to mining, oil and gas development, timber harvest and grazing, protecting only 1% of the planning area from mining.
Here is more information about BLM’s Preferred Alternative C:
- There are no Areas of Critical Environmental Concern in Alternative C. Existing Areas of Critical Environmental Concern are eliminated. No areas nominated by local communities as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern are designated.
- High Value Watersheds are designated for 14,888 River Miles. All High Value Watersheds are open to mining above the 100-year floodplain.
- Mining is not allowed on 1% of the planning area (43,953 acres) and the other 99% of the planning area is open to mining. Closed areas include the Unalakleet River Wild and Scenic River and two places on the Iditarod National Historic Trail –1% of the planning area.
- Mining is allowed on 13,418,941 acres or 99% of the planning area.
- There are some areas designated as Right-of-Way Avoidance Areas and Right-of-Way Avoidance Areas where roads, transmission lines and pipelines are either discouraged (Avoidance).
- Some High Value Watersheds are Right-of-Way Avoidance Areas
Information About Alternative B:
- Areas of Critical Environmental Concern are designated 3,912,698 acres (29% of planning area) as follows:
- Anvik River Watershed ACEC 248,867 acres;
- Anvik Traditional Trapping Area ACEC 21,366 acres;
- Gisasa River ACEC 278,241 acres;
- Inglutalik River ACEC 70,888 acres;
- Kateel River ACEC 692,659 acres;
- Nulato River ACEC 344,182 acres;
- Shaktoolik River ACEC 191,067 acres;
- Sheefish Spawning ACEC 696,901 acres;
- Swift River Whitefish Spawning ACEC 220,032 acres;
- Tagagawik River ACERC 301,044 acres;
- Unalakleet River Watershed ACEC 733,995 acres;
- Ungalik River ACEC 113,454 Acres.
- High Value Watersheds are created in Alternative be on 21,382 river miles and 4.8 million acres.
- Mining is not allowed in Alternative B high value watershed.
- Mining not allowed on 9,842,497 acres in Alternative B – 68% of the planning area.
- Mining is allowed on 3,623,397 – 25% of planning area in Alternative B.
- Alternative B prohibits constructing roads, pipelines and transmission lines (Right-Of-Way-Exclusion Areas) in Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.
- In Alternative B there are no designations for ‘No Surface Occupancy’ (No Surface Digging and Building) because High Value Watersheds are closed to oil and gas development.
- NULATO – Alternative B creates a Nulato River Area of Critical Environmental Concern, 344,183 acres in size.
- The area is closed to mining, grazing, commercial woodland harvest and it is a right-of-way avoidance area upstream from the Village of Nulato.
- UNALAKLEET – Alternative B creates a Unalakleet River Watershed Area of Critical Environmental Concern
- The area is closed to mining, grazing, commercial woodland harvest and it is a right-of-way avoidance area upstream from the Village of Nulato
Want to learn more about the alternatives? View the Alternative Comparison Matrix here.
Submit a comment here.