What is "The West Mojave Plan (WEMO)"?
New Feature! Travel Route (Route Designation) Page
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
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
© 2003 NPLnews
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:
(1) Foundation (assembling the best science reasonably available);
(2) Evaluation (a review of the effectiveness of current agency management
and suggestions for improvement);
(3) Supergroup writes the Plan; and
(4) Publication of Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS).
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.
BENEFITS OF THE PLAN
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
The formulation of the Plan is the responsibility of the Supergroup, including the 28 participating
. The evaluation report is one of several resources which are being provided to the Supergroup for its use when it writes the Plan.
Go to the Top
©2003 NPLnews, All Rights Reserved