County takes issue with BLM draft plan for dunes

June 26, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL

Staff Writer

The county sent its comments Tuesday to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on its Imperial Sand Dunes draft management plan and environmental study.

One of the draft plan's proposals is to limit visitors to the dunes.

The county's letter states the draft's economic impact analysis does not provide enough detail on the possible decrease in income to businesses in Imperial County if dunes visitors are limited.

American Sand Association president Jerry Seaver addressed the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, saying the county should give more input to the BLM. The county is in a unique position to make important comments on the economic impacts of dunes visitors, Seaver said.


The letter states the county does not agree with the draft on several issues, including limiting to weekends only those vendors who sell food and equipment. Such a limitation may create a safety hazard if people do not have needed access to repair equipment.

Another issue, limiting alcohol at the dunes, would be impossible without more discussion on how alcohol would be monitored and how the limit would be enforced, the county letter states.

The letter states a large number of visitors could affect air pollution as motor homes and off-road vehicles kick up dust and increase vehicle emissions.

Imperial County doesn't meet air pollution standards for ozone and partially doesn't meet the standards for PM-10, a measure of particulate matter 10 microns or less, small enough to be inhaled into lungs.

The county's Air Pollution Control District sent a separate letter to the BLM on May 23 with comments on the draft about air quality at the sand dunes.

The district's letter states the county does not measure PM10 levels at the sand dunes. Monitoring stations at the dunes would not meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements because the agency requires stations not be on unpaved roads.

But the district made a commitment to the state last year to require BLM to develop a dust control plant for its land in Imperial County.

In addition, the board:

· continued transition of child support services from under the District Attorney's Office to a separate county department;

· approved a countywide abandoned vehicle cleanup program with about $115,000 in money from the state. Local cities must agree to the program and submit a plan to the California Highway Patrol for review by August 1;

· increased the Office of Employment Training's budget by $268,403. The increased amount would come from federal grants;

· opposed state Senate Bill 1993 on water transfers, supported SB 1975 that would move the date of the primary election from March to June and supported Assembly Bill 2346 that proposes to expand the authority of correctional peace officers.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or

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