marcia8.jpg.jpg (10768 bytes) Ridin' Point

- a weekly column published in the Siskiyou Daily News

Coordination Update: “Coordination” is an order in law or regulatory code to federal agencies to work with local government when developing their plans, projects and regulations. (There are few requirements for coordination on the state level, but some feel that because of a comingling of funds, state agencies are subject to coordination as well.)

Various agencies have different instructions in their statutes and codes. For instance, through the National Forest Management Act (NFMA,) the US Forest Service is required to develop its land and resource management plans in coordination with the land and resource management planning processes of local governments. The USFS 1982 Planning Rule specifies that the “responsible line officer’ will coordinate forest planning with related planning efforts of local government. The USFS is required to meet with local governments at the beginning of the planning process to develop procedures for coordination. The officer will review local planning and land use policies and any objectives expressed therein. The USFS has to do an assessment of the impacts of local plans and policies, determine how they will “deal with” those impacts and consider planning alternatives where there are conflicts.

Although the NFMA language has remained in effect, the details in the 1982 Planning Rule were superseded by later rules and removal of coordination language. However, because various court cases voided these later planning rules, the 1982 rule now remains in effect by default. Current efforts by the USFS to pass a new planning rule would undercut the clear coordination clause in favor of “cooperation” and “collaboration.”

For the past several years, the Regional Council of Rural Counties (RCRC) and Congressman Herger’s Forest Roundtable of Counties have worked with the USFS Region 5 Forester to gain universal recognition of requirements to hold coordination meetings – particularly as pertains to Travel Management Plans. I have been involved in those efforts.

Siskiyou County has had several coordination sessions with the Klamath National Forest and the Shasta Trinity National Forest on the topics of: (1) wildfire; (2) Travel Management Plans; and (3) forest management. In these initial meetings, the Board of Supervisors met with the Forest Supervisors in a public government to government meeting to present and highlight our written plans and policies on these issues. We look to hearing back from the USFS as to their planning alternatives to resolve conflicts.

Siskiyou County has not been as successful in its attempts to coordinate with the federal Department of Interior (DOI) and the CA Dept of Fish and Game (DFG) on dam issues, or NOAA Fisheries on fish issues.

The DOI under its Federal Land Management Policy Act (FLPMA) is required to coordinate the land use inventory, planning, and management activities of or for such lands with the land use planning and management programs of …local governments within which the lands are located…” The Secretary is supposed resolve, “to the extent practical, inconsistencies” between plans including early notice of proposed decisions. Local governments are authorized to “furnish advice to the Secretary with respect to the development and revision of land use plans, land use guidelines, land use rules, and land use regulations for the public lands…Land use plans of the Secretary under this section shall be consistent with State and local plans to the maximum extent he finds consistent with Federal law and the purposes of this Act.”

In February of 2009, the Board of Supervisors sent a letter to DOI Secretary Salazar requesting coordination, meaningful participation and a place at the table on dam issues and the KBRA (Klamath Basin Restoration Act.) There was no response.

In December of 2009, BoS sent a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation (BoR) requesting coordination on a government to government basis. On February 2010, the BoR replied that the only lands involved in relicensing were PacifiCorp’s private lands. There were no public lands involved.

In May of 2010, the BoS sent a letter to John Bezdek, Solicitor for the DOI and Mark Stopher of CA DFG stating that they were required to consult and coordinate with the County in their environmental review of the dams and KBRA  under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA.) The DOI did not respond. In June 2010, CA DFG responded that: “The Department does not have the resources or the capacity to commit to a separate coordination process with Siskiyou County regarding the Comprehensive Land and Resource Management Plan, and as a matter of law this is not required.”

Copies of this correspondence and the initial NOAA fisheries letters on coordination can be found on the County’s website or at my webpage where you can learn more about coordination


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