The U.S. Forest Service (FS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are developing Comprehensive River Management plans (CRMPs) for the Deep Creek and Whitewater River Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSRs) on the San Bernardino National Forest and in BLM’s California Desert District. All of Deep Creek is under FS jurisdiction and, therefore, the Deep Creek WSR CRMP is the sole undertaking of FS. A portion of Whitewater River is located on land BLM manages, and the rest is on lands the FS manages.
Each of these two rivers was designated a wild and scenic river by the 2019 Omnibus John Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Restoration Act, as an amendment to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 (the Act). The Act requires agencies to develop a CRMP for all rivers added to the National Wild and Scenic River System to protect and enhance the rivers’ outstandingly remarkable values (ORVs), free-flowing condition and water quality.
The CRMP will formalize boundaries of the two WSRs; establish programmatic management direction for the rivers; and address resource protection, land use and user capacities.
As part of the development of the CRMPs, the agencies will each conduct an environmental analysis that will evaluate direct, indirect and cumulative environmental impacts that could result from the proposed management actions.
An initial part of the CRMP process is to complete a Resource Assessment, which describes the baseline conditions of the ORVs, as well as other values considered in the planning process. These ORVs become the basis for managing the WSR corridors and, therefore, the basis of the CRMPs.
FS and BLM have drafted a preliminary Resource Assessment (RA) for both rivers and are soliciting public comments on the RA document from interested agencies, groups and individuals. The public is invited to participate in the planning process by submitting thoughts about these river corridors.
Review project information, read the preliminary RA and provide comments electronically on the FS project website at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=61613, preferably by March 25, 2022. To continue to receive information about the CRMP process, click on “Subscribe to Email Updates” on the right side of the project page. To speak to someone or ask questions, call Jihadda Govan with the FS at (909) 382-2697 or email [email protected] or [email protected]
The RA is the first of multiple opportunities for public input. The following table shows current estimated dates for future milestones. The agencies will invite collaboration throughout the process, and formal public participation from all identified interested parties at the time of scoping, the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and Management Plan, and Final Environmental Assessment/Draft Decision Notice.
Milestone Estimated Date
Proposed action/scoping July 2022
Draft EA for review/comment August 2022
Final EA for review/objection December 2022
Decision finalized March 2023