Conservation and Management Actions (CMAs) are required mitigation measures for Development Focus Areas (DFAs) and Variance Process Lands (VPLs) in California. These were identified in the 2016 Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) Land Use Plan Amendment (LUPA), applicable for some BLM-administered lands in southern California.
Most CMAs apply to both DFAs and VPLs; CMAs that only apply to only one of the allocations are specified in the LUPA. LUPA-wide CMAs also apply to both DFAs and VPLs. Applicants for projects within DFAs and VPLs must demonstrate that proposed activities will avoid, minimize, and/or compensate for impacts to sensitive resources as per the CMAs.
The CMAs were designed to achieve the goals and objectives for activities within the LUPA's various land use allocations. These measures identify a specific set of avoidance, minimization, and compensation measures, and allowable and non-allowable actions for siting, design, pre-construction, construction, maintenance, implementation, operation, and decommissioning activities on BLM-managed lands. The intent of these is to provide certainty on what avoidance and minimization measures, design features, and compensation/mitigation measures would be required for a particular action within any one of the LUPA's land use allocation types. Some CMAs apply planning-area wide, whereas others apply only within specific land use allocations. CMAs are required for the following seven land allocation categories and resources, and can be found in the DRECP LUPA, Section II.4.2:
Land Allocation Categories:
As part of subsequent project-specific NEPA analyses, a project applicant may be able to propose alternative methods for compliance with a particular CMA. The BLM California State Director will review such requests, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Energy Commission, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and may analyze, as appropriate, whether any proposed alternative approach or design feature to avoid, minimize, or mitigate impacts: (1) meets the goals and objectives for which the CMA was established, and (2) provides for similar or lesser environmental impacts. Such alternate methods would be addressed as part of any subsequent project-specific approvals.
During its NEPA analysis for future renewable energy development in DFAs and VPLs, the BLM will tier to the DRECP analysis, as appropriate, in order to streamline the project-level review.