SERCD participates as a cooperating agency in federal decision-making processes related to federal plans, policies, and programs that will impact local land use, management of natural resources, the citizens, and the local tax base.
The District has adopted specific policies for those priority issues of concern within the list of resource categories below. Refer to the Long Range Plan for further details.
• District Operations/Education
• Ecosystem Services
• Energy Development & Mining/Minerals
• Private Property Rights
- Vegetation – General, Conservation Forestry,
Rangeland Health and Management
- Water Resources
- Wild and Feral Horse
On-going Planning Activities
Click on any all CAPS word to access more information.
Waters of the United States (WOTUS ) Rulemaking
On December 7, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army (“the agencies”) announced a PROPOSED RULE to revise the definition of “waters of the United States.”
This proposal marks a key milestone in the regulatory process announced in June, 2021. The agencies propose to put back into place the pre-2015 definition of “waters of the United States,” updated to reflect consideration of Supreme Court decisions.
This familiar approach would support a stable implementation of “waters of the United States” while the agencies continue to consult with states, tribes, local governments, and a broad array of stakeholders in both the current implementation and future regulatory actions. The proposed rule was published in the FEDERAL REGISTER. The PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD is now open and will close on February 7, 2022.
The EPA says the Navigable Waters Protection Rule respects the primary role of States and Tribes in managing their own land and water resources.
The Clean Water Act, U.S. legislation enacted in 1972 to restore and maintain clean and healthy waters, is the primary federal law regulating water pollution in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army are the federal government agencies tasked with implementation of the law. Over the years, many other laws have changed parts of the Clean Water Act. These agencies have the authority for rulemaking to implement the Clean Water Act. The definition for Waters of the United States has and continues to undergo changes to what waters are under federal jurisdiction based upon the rules made. The Conservation District plays an active role in commenting on any proposed changes.
Landscape Vegetation Analysis (LaVA) Project
The Medicine Bow National Forest moved into the implementation phase of the Medicine Bow Landscape Vegetation Analysis project, known as LaVA on August 13, 2020 when the final Record of Decision was signed. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents can be found on the MEDICINE BOW-ROUTT NATIONAL FOREST WEBSITE or for more project specifics, you can view the LaVA PROJECTS PAGE. The project provides an environmental foundation to improve forest conditions using a wide range of tools on a maximum of 288,000 acres, spread over a 15-year period, beginning in 2020.
The Mullen fire last fall had an impact on part of the LaVA analysis area. As a result, a Supplemental Information Report (SIR) was prepared and released on August 12, 2021. A SIR is often prepared after a decision has been signed and a changed condition that has the potential to result in effects that may not have been within the bounds of the original analysis has occurred. A SIR is NOT a NEPA analysis but rather a recommendation analysis. The responsible official determined there will be no significant effects identified in the SIR that were not previously considered resulting from the implementation of the LaVA Project.
Land Use Plans Regarding Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation
On November 22, 2021, the Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior (BLM) announced they intend to address the management of Greater sage-grouse (GRSG) and sagebrush habitat on BLM-managed public lands in the States of California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming through a land use planning initiative. The BLM will prepare environmental impact statements to support the planning initiative, and by this notice is announcing the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public comments on the planning initiative.
The BLM amended or revised land use plans in 2014 and 2015 in Wyoming (2015 Sage-Grouse Plan Amendments) and other states to provide for GRSG conservation on public lands. Subsequently, the BLM amended several of those plans again in 2019 States including Wyoming (2019 Sage-Grouse Plan Amendments). On October 16, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Idaho preliminarily enjoined the BLM from implementing the 2019 Sage-Grouse Plan Amendments (Case No. 1:16–CV– 83–BLW).
The proposed rule was published in the FEDERAL REGISTER. To comment or obtain additional information click HERE. The comment period closes on February 7, 2022.