The Bureau of Land Management’s Phoenix District Office has announced dates, times and locations for three public information meetings at which it seeks public input on recreational target shooting management alternatives for the Sonoran Desert National Monument.

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Based on public comments and suggestions received during the scoping process in 2016, the BLM has developed and analyzed a range of alternatives included in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment released on Dec. 16.

The purpose of the three public meetings is to present the draft management alternatives, answer public questions, and receive public input to be considered as the planning process progresses.

The first public meeting will be held Jan. 19, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the BLM National Training Center, 9828 N. 31st Ave., Phoenix.

The second public meeting will be held Jan. 20, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Hwy., Phoenix.

The third and final public meeting will be held Jan. 21, from noon to 4 p.m. at the City of Casa Grande Dorthy Powell Senior Center, 405 E. Sixth St.

During the first 30 minutes of each meeting, the BLM will provide opening remarks describing the ground rules and will proceed to present the alternatives.

• Alternative A – the “no action” alternative or continuation of the 1988 Lower Gila South Resource Management Plan (target shooting allowed anywhere within the SDNM, or “no restrictions on target shooting”)
• Alternative B – the current temporary restriction on recreational target shooting would become permanent
• Alternative C – the agency preferred alternative, recreational target shooting would be available in the Desert Back Country Recreation Management Zone
• Alternative D – recreational target shooting would be available outside of designated wilderness, lands managed to protect wilderness characteristics, and the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail Recreation Management Zone
• Alternative E – recreational target shooting would be restricted in all areas of the SDNM

Alternative C is the BLM’s current preferred alternative. Alternative C is not a final agency decision but instead an indication of the agency’s preliminary preference that reflects the best combination of decisions to achieve the BLM’s goals and policies.

The last 30 minutes will be dedicated to a presentation on the project monitoring and mitigation procedure. The time in between BLM presentations will be conducted in open house format.

Public comments from these meetings, as well as all written comments for the record, will be considered before a decision is made.

The 90-day comment period will close on March 15.  All comments must be received prior to this date in order to be included in the final analysis.  Following the public comment period, the BLM will consider all of the input and begin work to finalize the RMP Amendment and EIS.

Stakeholders are encouraged to submit their comments for the record through the BLM online land use planning tool, ePlanning. Comment on the document here. Written comments may be mailed to the BLM’s project manager, Wayne Monger, at 21605 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85027, faxed to (623) 580-5623, or emailed to BLM_AZ_SDNMtargetshooting@BLM.gov.

SDNM RMP Planning Website: http://bit.ly/SDNMtargetshooting

All comments will be made available to the public.

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