May 2 – Victorville OHV Commission Meeting Topics to Include Renewable Energy & Desert Protection Plan

A meeting of the Off Highway Motor Vehicle Commission Recreation Commission will be held on May 2, beginning at 8 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Victorville.

Following are some of the action items to be presented and discussed (go all the way to the end of this article for “How to Get Involved” with websites:

A Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) Report will be presented.

The DRECP is a multiagency conservation and planning framework plan intended to
guide renewable energy project siting in the Mojave and Colorado deserts of California
helping to ensure that California can meet its Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) and
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. The DRECP will provide for the
conservation and management of certain species, habitats, and natural communities
and also protect the historic and intrinsic land uses and values within the California
desert. An interim draft document was released in December 2012. The public draft
DRECP will be released this spring.

Renewable energy development is critical to California’s future. California has a 33%
RPS, one of the highest in the country, and a GHG standard to reduce emissions to
1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. All are aimed at preventing
impacts of climate change.

The DRECP is designed to comprehensively provide for the conservation of sensitive
species and ecosystems and to streamline environmental review and permitting for
renewable energy and transmission projects. The DRECP consists of three major
planning components:

– A BLM Land Use Plan Amendment (LUPA) in accordance with the Federal Land
Policy and Management Act.

– A Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP) to comply with the California
NCCP Act and the California Endangered Species Act.

– A General Conservation Plan (GCP) to comply with the Federal Endangered
Species Act.

The DRECP plan area encompasses ~22.5 million acres of private, state, and federal
land (approximately 50% encompassing BLM administered lands). The plan area
includes seven counties (Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino,
and San Diego), several state and federal agencies, and a large spectrum of uses,
values, and resources. There are twelve State Parks within the DRECP plan area
including Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA), Heber Dunes SVRA
and the proposed Eastern Kern County Property Acquisition.

DPR/OHMVR Division (Division) staff has been proactively involved in DRECP
interagency collaboration at all levels of policy and management decision making.
Division interests include ensuring the sustainability of OHV recreation opportunities
within the California desert, maintaining ecosystem viability and connectivity with lands
bordering State Parks, and collaborating with OHV stakeholders to ensure the interests
of the Division Grant funding investments are protected and sustained in perpetuity.

What to expect in the DRECP public draft document

– A range of action alternatives will be included along with a no action alternative.

– Permitting would be streamlined for projects within Development Focus Areas
(DFAs). DFAs are proposed where conflicts with biological and non-biological
resources have been determined to be relatively low.

– Several public land designations will exclude renewable energy – BLM National Landscape Conservation Lands, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, Special Recreation Management Areas (SRMAs), and Open OHV areas.

– The plan does not propose to close any existing BLM designated routes.

– The DRECP via the BLM LUPA would create new or expanded SRMAs on public
lands.

Release of Public Draft document

– Interim document was released in December 2012.

– Public draft plan planned to be released later this spring with a 90-day comment period. Public meetings will occur throughout the planning area to support the release of the DRECP public draft document.

– Data Basin – DRECP Gateway (www.drecp.gateway.org) is an online web-based mapping tool that provides easy to use functionality for anyone interested in reviewing the plan. Information on alternatives, documentation of underlying data and information, key images, modeling, and adaptive management will be available on this mapping site tool. This dynamic tool supports the DRECP as an adaptive management plan.

DRECP Implementation Plan

– Ensures collaboration among participating agencies, entities, and stakeholders and facilitates coordinated decision-making.

– Key to the successful implementation of the GCP, NCCP, and LUPA, which are integral to accomplishing the goals and objectives of the DRECP and the decision making process.

– Ensures plan implementation is transparent and understandable.

Desert Renewable Energy Conservation
Plan Overview
– Multi agency comprehensive planning effort:
Conserves desert resources, habitats, and intrinsic values
– Idenify appropriate lands for uility–‐scale renewable energy projects (50 MW+)
– Streamline and standardize endangered species permittng
Help California meet its energy goals and facilitate the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS)

Key Regulatory and Policy Drivers

– Energy Policy Act 2005: President Bush (2005)
Tax incentives and loans for innovative technologies

– Interior Secretarial Order 3285 (2009)
RE production DOI priority

– California Legislation AB32 (2006)
– Reduce CA GHG to 1990 levels by 2020
80% below 1990 GHG levels by 2050

– Executive Order S-14-08 and codified with SB X1 2 in 2011
33% of California’s energy via renewables by 2020 (RPS)
Established the REAT, DRECP, and the RETI initiative
MOU between DOI and State of California

Renewable Energy Action Team Agencies:
– California Energy Commission – (CEQA Lead)
– California Department of Fish and Wildlife
– Bureau of Land Management
– (NEPA Lead)
US Fish and Wildlife

Other participating federal and state agencies:
– California State Parks
– The Natural Resource Agency
National Park Service
Environmental Protec$on Agency
– California Public Utility Commission
– California State Lands Commission
– Department of Defense
– California Independent System Operator

Numerous other Stakeholders:
– OHV (CORVA /ORBA)
Local Governments
Native American
Organiza$ons/Tribes
– NGS
Industry

DRECP Plan Area:
Mojave, Colorado, and Sonoran desert regions
• Counties include:
Imperial
– Inyo
– Kern
– Los Angeles
– Riverside
– San Bernardino
San Diego
2.5 million acres

Development Focus Areas
• Allow for flexibility of siting
• Permitting is streamlined

Minimal Biological Requirement Areas

Max permit efficiency

Moderate Biological Requirement Areas
Additional survey Req.

• Acres within DFAs is not the same as development footprint acres.

Provide for flexibility of project siting.

DRECP Covered Activities

• Utility ‐ scale (20MW+) renewable energy associated activities and facilities
– Solar
– Wind
– Geothermal
Transmission

DRECP Conservation Strategy
• 52 Covered Species
• 31 Natural Communities
• Biological Goals and Objectives
• Conservation Management Actions
• Reserve Design
• Monitoring and Adaptive Mgmt.

State Parks within the DRECP
Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve SNR
• Antelope Valley Indian Museum SHP
• Anza–‐Borrego Desert SP
• Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland SP
• Heber Dunes SVRA
• Ocotillo Wells SVRA
• Picacho SRA
• Providence Mountains SRA
• Red Rock Canyon SP
• Saddleback Butte SP
• Salton Sea SRA
• Tomo–‐Kahni SHP
• East Kern County acquisition

Recreation Interests
• Sustaining Recreation opportunities historically supported by the OHMVR Division Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program
– Connectivity of OHV routes
– Facilities
– Motorized access to non motorized areas

• BLM Land Use Plan Amendment (LUPA) will designate:
– National Conservation Lands
– Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs)
– Wildlife Allocations
Special Recreation Management Areas (SRMAs)

• Development Focus Areas will not impact BLM open OHV areas

Plan will not affect designated routes on BLM land
Conservation & Management Actions required to reduce impacts to recreation
– Buffering of roads, trails, and visitor facili$es
– Mitigation for direct impacts to roads and trails and maintaining net access in development areas
Working cooperatively with State Parks to ensure joint land use and recreational opportunities are sustained

State Parks Current Involvement
Renewable Energy Policy Group
• Renewable Energy Action Team Meetings
• Coordinate with DRECP leadership, stakeholder agencies, and organizations
• DRECP communication and outreach team
• Internal Interdisciplinary RE Team

What to Expect
• Public Draft expected to be released spring/ summer 2014 with 90 day
comment period
• Public Meetings throughout planning area
• “DRECP Gateway” – web based mapping tool

How to Get Involved:

• DRECP website – List-server
• Comment on DRECP Public Draft document
• Attend Public meetings
• DRECP Gateway
• Involvement in the Implementation of DRECP

For more information:

• Data Basin – DRECP Gateway
www.drecp.gateway.org

• DRECP
www.drecp.org

• DRECP List–‐server
hgp://drecp.org/about/contact.html#listserver

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