The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has unveiled a draft of its resource management plan for Northern California, marking the first update in 30 years. This comprehensive plan covers an expansive area stretching from the “north coast beaches” to the “foothills of the Sierra Nevada” and spans approximately 14.4 million acres, including 382,200 acres of BLM-owned land that may be impacted by new protections.
Among the plan’s recommendations is the eligibility for “Wild and Scenic River” protections for Butte Creek forks, a move that holds promise for environmental conservation in the region. The vital tributary to the Sacramento River meanders 93 miles through Butte County, flowing beautifully through Chico.
The new plan takes into account changes in human population growth, recreation patterns, and conservation needs. It aims to strike a balance between resource use opportunities, such as recreation and grazing, and ecological preservation.
One significant recommendation involves granting “wild and scenic” status to approximately 5.7 miles of Butte Creek, including 0.8 miles of the West Branch. This designation would safeguard the creek against dam construction and logging near its watershed, benefiting the salmon population.
The plan also identifies other waterways for protection status, including 1.5 miles of Big Chico Creek for scenic and recreational classifications.
The plan also designates 25 “areas of critical environmental concern,” including Corning Vernal Pools in Tehama County and North Table Mountain in Butte County. These areas host rare habitats and threatened species, necessitating protective measures.
This comprehensive resource management plan is open for public comment until December 28, inviting input from various stakeholders to shape the future management of federal public lands in northwest California.