What is "The West Mojave Plan (WEMO)"?

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The WEMO planning area is one of three major planning areas (others being NEMO & NECO) within the 12-million acre, 1976 congressionally-designated, California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA). The CDCA Plan is based on land-use management by geographic zones, i.e. the types of uses that are appropriate in light of existing resource values. Since 1976, the listing of federal and state endangered species within the CDCA, and the passage of the 1994 California Desert Protection Act (CDPA), has affected the land management of millions of acres of public lands in the CDCA.

What is "The West Mojave Plan"?

  • The West Mojave Plan is an attempt at defining a regional strategy for conserving plant and animal species and their habitats and to define an efficient, equitable, and cost-effective process for complying with threatened and endangered species laws on approximately 9 million acres (14,000 sq. mi.) in Southern California. Approximately 36 % of the planning area is private land, 26% is administered by the U.S. Department of Defence, and 32 % is public land managed for multiple-use purposes by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

  • Notice of Intent to prepare the West Mojave Plan was published on December 5, 1991.

  • The WMP is being prepared collaboratively with local jurisdictions, state and other federal agencies. It is the intent of the collaborators that the WEMO also serve as a habitat conservation plan (HCP) applicable to the 2.8 million acres of private lands within the planning area. Preparation of the HCP would facilitate the issuance of programmatic incidental take permits by the California Department of Fish and Game and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to participating cities and counties.

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  • The West Mojave Plan is a proposal to provide for the conservation and protection of the desert tortoise and other species of concern and the ecosystems on which they depend upon — while providing developers of public and private projects with a streamlined program for compliance with the California and federal endangered species acts that regulates consistently, reduces delays and expenses, eliminates uncertainty and applies the costs of compensation and mitigation equitably to all agencies and parties. The West Mojave Plan is being prepared in four steps:

  • The West Mojave Plan is being jointly prepared by agencies having administrative responsibility or regulatory authority over species of concern within the planning area. The plan will enable the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) to issue programmatic biological opinions i.e. incidental take permits in compliance with the federal ESA 1 and the California ESA 2 and assurances to each of the participating agencies at the conclusion of the planning process.

  • The suggested strategies are intended to meet two planning needs. They allow state and federal land management agencies to implement their mandate to conserve and protect species of concern and habitats on public lands, a mandate which includes facilitating the recovery of these species. At the same time, the measures suggest a streamlined program to minimize and mitigate the impacts of projects on private lands. Thus the Plan will serve as both a “conservation” plan and a “mitigation” plan.

  • The plan will function as a habitat conservation plan for the permit applications. The plan is currently under preparation and will be completed in 1999. These programmatic opinions, permits and assurances will allow local jurisdictions and agencies to provide developers of public and private projects with permits containing standardized mitigation and compensation requirements that are pre-approved by USFWS and CDFG as being in compliance with the California and federal endangered species acts. Permits could be issued quickly without the need for time-consuming case-by-case consultations with USFWS and CDFG.

    More Dox:
  • Protected Lands Within WEMO 3
  • Remedy Order PDF
  • March 2006 Record of Decision PDF
  • Jan 9 2006 WEMO Biological Opinion PDF
  • Jan 2005 Proposed Plan/Final EIS/EIR PDF
  • June 13 2003 Federal Register Notice HTML
  • June 4 2003 Federal Register Notice HTML
  • March 21 2003 Federal Register Notice HTML PDF
  • July 2003 Decision: Prop. CDCA Plan Amend-Rt. Designation
  • May 2003 Proposed CDCA Plan Amendment-Route Designation
  • May 2003 Executive summary of the draft plan/HCP and draft EIS/EIR
  • March 2003 EA: Off Road Vehicle Route Designation
  • June 7 2002 Revised Notice of Intent To Prepare West Mojave Plan
  • March 1999 Current Management Situation
  • March 1999 Draft Evaluation Report

    Adoption of the plan will benefit landowners, land developers and users, and land management and regulatory agencies by:

    • Providing a streamlined, predictable permit process
    • Defining consistent mitigation and compensation obligations
    • Reducing project costs by eliminating the need for biological surveys in certain areas
    • Reducing the need for project-specific incidental take permits
    • Reducing the uncertainty related to requirements for long-term species and habitat conservation
  • The formulation of the Plan is the responsibility of the Supergroup, including the 28 participating jurisdictions 4 . The evaluation report is one of several resources which are being provided to the Supergroup for its use when it writes the Plan.

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