Well we all better think again. The document I'm about to describe provides for the BLM to have 14 new monuments on existing BLM land and acquire at the very least 2.6 million acres to add to the NLCS.
I am in possession of part of a DOI document marked "Internal Draft - NOT FOR RELEASE".
The part I have is pgs. 15-21, and includes Attachments 4,5 & 6. There is no date.
Attachment 4 is titled Prospective Conservation Designation: National Monument Designations under the Antiquities Act.
The Document then states:
Many nationally significant landscapes are worthy of inclusion in the NLCS. The areas listed below may be good candidates for National Monument designation under the Antiquities Act; however further evaluations should be completed prior to any final determination, including an assessment of public and Congressional support.
The document then lists the following 14 areas, with a paragraph description/justification for each:
San Rafael Swell, UT-- 75 by 40 mile giant dome
Montana's Northern Prairie, MT-- No acreage given (2.5 million acre cross boundary unit)
Lesser Prairie Chicken Preserve, NM-- 58,000 acres
Berryessa Snow Mountains, CA-- 500,000 acres
Heart of the Great Basin, NV-- no acreage given
Otero Mesa, NM-- 1.2 million acres
Northwest Sonoran Desert, AZ-- 500,000 acres
Owyhee Desert, OR/NV-- no acreage given
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, CA (expansion)-- no acreage given
Vermillion Basin, CO
Bodie Hills, CA
The Modoc Plateau, CA
Cedar Mesa region, UT
San Juan Islands, WA
Attachment 5 of the document is titled Conservation Designations: Areas worthy of protection that are ineligible for Monument Designation and unlikely to receive legislative protection in the near term.
The three areas listed are:
Bristol Bay Region, AK
Teshekpuk Lake, AK
Red Desert, WY
Attachment 6 is titled Cost Estimates: High Priority Land-Rationalization Efforts.
The following projects are then listed, with a description section and a cost estimate section:
(i) Checkerboard Consolidation, NV OR CA WY UT-- $5 million/year for 10 years
(ii) Alpine Triangle, CO-- Acquire 25,000 acres-- $37.5 million
(iii) Upper Missouri River, MT-- Acquire 80,000 acres-- $24 million
(iv) Pioneer Range, ID-- Acquire 140,000 acres-- $1,000 to $20,000 per acre
(v) John Day River, OR-- No acreage given-- $67 million
(vi) Upper Green River Valley, WY-- Acquire 397,210 acres-- $2.3 billion
(vii) National Historic and Scenic Trails (multiple states)-- No acreage given-- $7 million/year for 10 years
So what is this document? I'm not sure. Clearly the sections I have were prepared by the BLM. Probably they are part of a larger document that was floated up to the Secretary listing potential conservation initiatives. But again, I just don't know, especially since there is no date.
Stay in touch. This should all see the light of day in the near future.
One final thought for now. How do you like that "Land-Rationalization" title? The checkerboard part indicates land exchanges, purchases and sales. But all the rest is pure, unadulterated land acquisition. "Rationalization" my ass.