California Native Plant Society

Conservation Actions & Archives

Western Mojave Off-Highway Vehicle (WEMO)

In the September 28, 2009 summary judgment order, the Court held that (1) the “decision tree” that the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) used to designate Off Highway Vehicle (“OHV”) routes was flawed because it did not comply with regulations mandating that the BLM consider various “minimization criteria” when designating OHV routes; (2) because the Plan authorizes numerous OHV routes that were not in existence in 1980, the Plan is inconsistent with the governing land use plan which limits OHV routes to those existing in 1980; (3) the Environmental Impact Statement was flawed because it did not contain a reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed action because all alternatives considered the same 5,098 mile OHV network, and because its discussion of the “no action” alternative was incomplete; and (4) the EIS was flawed in that its analysis of impacts on cultural resources, certain biological resources, and air quality, is incomplete.

CNPS joined Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and other organizations in its suit against BLM.

The Court’s 2009 Order RE: Summary Judgment Motions found that defendants violated the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and the Federal Land Policy Management Act (“FLPMA”) in adopting the March 2006 Western Mojave management plan amendment (“2006 ROD”), but that the defendants did not violate the Endangered Species Act. After unsuccessful settlement talks, the parties agreed to a briefing schedule for determining the appropriate remedy in this matter, including the terms of a vacatur of the decision, the terms of any remand, and any injunctive relief during the remand period.

Court Orders

(1)     Within 60 days of this order, the BLM should provide the Court4 with a detailed
implementation plan for signing all open routes in the WEMO. The signing should be
completed within 180 days of the date of this order.

(2)     Within 210 days of the Court’s order, the BLM shall update all BLM-produced and
available maps to include accurate and updated route information and, as necessary, include a notice in the form below, in at least 20 point type, on all maps, pamphlets, kiosks, and other literature regarding WEMO OHV routes distributed by the BLM.

(3)     Within 90 days of the Court’s order, the BLM shall provide the Court with a monitoring plan to determine (a) compliance with route closures and (b) whether new illegal routes are being created. The monitoring plan should demonstrate that the effort will be adequate to determine compliance at a statistically significant level.

(4)     The BLM shall carry out additional information gathering and monitoring regarding (a) air quality in and around open areas through air quality monitoring, (b) status of the Mojave fringe-toed lizard and its habitat, and (c) riparian areas and UPAs, including new “proper functioning condition” (“PFC”) assessments for all of the springs and seeps in the West Mojave planning.

(5)     Within 90 days of the Court’s order, provide the Court and the parties with a plan for maintenance of the open route network and installation of informational kiosks at all major OHV access points.

(6)     Within 90 days of the Court’s order, provide the Court and the parties with a plan for providing additional enforcement capability for the route network in the WEMO.

(7)        Provide the Court and the parties quarterly reports indicating the BLM’s progress in implementing requirements 1-6.

Current Status

BLM is working to comply with the Court Orders outline above. Within 90 days of the ruling, the Court and the parties will have agreed on a plan for BLM’s compliance with the Court Orders. BLM must comply with all of the Court Orders by March 31, 2014.

CNPW WEMO Press Release

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