Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan Revision
Proposed Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement Expected Out Soon...
Wild Connections & Others call for suspending the release amid COVID-19 Health Crisis
TWS BLM ECRMP Proposed RMP Suspension Request Letter that Wild Connections signed onto. Click to see the letter.
The proposed Eastern Colorado Resource Management Plan (ECRMP) and final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) are due out soon, with the BLM speculating mid-to-late May 2020. Wild Connections, other organizations, and individuals have sent in comments to the BLM to suspend the release of the proposed plan due to the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 health crisis in Colorado.
See The Wilderness Society letter (left) that Wild Connections signed onto that was sent to BLM Colorado and the BLM Royal Gorge Field Office last month.
Disappointedly, the BLM has moved forward with other plans at this time despite locally voiced concerns regarding the COVID-19 health crisis, so we are currently expecting similar for the ECRMP.
The proposed ECRMP will come with a 30-day public review and protest period (for those who have previously commented on this plan) and a governor’s consistency review process.
BLM's Draft Resource Management Plan Lacks Protections
for Wilderness, Wildlife, Backcountry Quiet Recreation and Areas of Special Biodiverstiy
The Plan Opens Vast Areas for Potential Energy Development
The BLM Royal Gorge Field Office released their long awaited Draft Resource Management Plan in the summer of 2019, only to threaten the future of our local Colorado wild public lands by systematically ignoring public input and local economic benefits, while prioritizing development over conservation and area wildlife.
The Draft ECRMP, which came with a 90-day public comment period, was just a shell of the previous iterations of this plan that we had seen. BLM National instituted the Trump administration’s energy first policy, which not only completely ignored local public input, but also the local cooperators and agency’s expertise, as BLM stripped out most of the proposed protections in the plan’s preferred alternative, to have them more accessible for oil and gas and other mineral developments.
Proposed management for LWCs went down to just 1,300 acres, less than 1% of the 190,000+ acres that the BLM identified in the region. And total conservation designations were slashed to only 47,300 acres, a far cry from the 278,400 acres that BLM Royal Gorge sent to BLM National for approval in 2018. Unfortunately this plan is all too similar to other recently released BLM plans across the west, where local experts and stakeholders are being cut out of the decision making processes.
We are heavily invested in BLM’s ECRMP, and the wild landscape that it impacts, and will fight for Lands with Wilderness Characteristics and other conservation designations in and beyond this plan. We greatly appreciate your support and actions as well to protect our BLM managed wilderness quality public lands.
A good summary and implications of the BLM ECRMP Draft plan are in a blogpost by Wild Connections' John Sztukowski at BLM Wild. Wild Connections's Fact Sheet also has many details.
If you want to explore the Draft plan in detail, check out BLM's story map. You can find the major provisions, zoom the map to a place of particular interest, or use an interactive map to compare selected features of each alternative.
Echo Canyon, Table Mountain at Bighorn Sheep Canyon. Photo EcoFlight.
Eastern Colorado RMP plannign area. Click on the map to enlarge.
Priority Areas for Protection
The conservation coalition used Wild Connections' inventory of "Lands With Wilderness Characteristics" to select these places of exceptional natural values. You can learn more about them: ... Pew Charitable Trusts' #BLMWild has a splendid presentation with photos and detailed descriptions of these areas ... On our Priority Areas page there are links to several fact sheets ... Or download a briefPriority Areas Descriptions PDF file..
Along the Arkansas River in Bighorn Sheep Canyon:
Echo Canyon, Table Mountain
North and South Badger Creek
North of Cotopaxi: Sand Gulch and Falls Gulch Mountain
Bear Mountain, West Table Mountain
In the Gold Belt Region
Cooper Mountain, north of Canon City
Upper Red Canyon, adjacent to the popular Shelf Road climbing area
Eightmile Mountain - Thompson, Gribble, and Twin Mountains off of Highway 9
Cucharas Canyon, northeast of Walsenburg on the plains
In South Park
Go here to download the Planning Area map as a PDF file
Go here to download the Arkansas Canyon map as a PDF file