• Storm Damage - Clearance of mud and debris accumulated on the roadway due to a
storm event. Road crews will complete these projects as soon as possible following the
end of a storm event, and may use the excess mud, dirt, and rock on the roadway as fill
• Weed Control - Control of vegetation within road rights-of-way (including graded
shoulder areas and open or closed channels) by means of mowing, discing, hand labor, or
herbicide application in order to control weed populations and eliminate sight distance
problems, roadway hazards, prevent fires, and provide proper drainage. This includes the
control of weeds and grasses in revegetated mitigation areas and landscaped areas in
order to allow plant establishment by the methods outlined above.
• Grading Shoulders - Shoulder grading up to 12 feet from the edge of paved or unpaved
roadways in order to reduce accident potential and improve safety. Additional fill
material may be needed to restore the original grade at the edge of the pavement; such
material may consist of dirt, gravel, decomposed granite, or rip rap.
• Grading Existing Dirt Roadways - Grading of existing County-maintained dirt
roadways in order to reduce accident potential and improve safety.
• Dust Stabilization - The placement of dust stabilizers on the soil including, but not
limited to, magnesium chloride, permazion, penetration and gravel, in order to prevent
erosion, provide dust control and improve site distance when traffic visibility is reduced
due to dust clouds.
• Culverts/Drop Structures - Construction, replacement, and cleaning out of
culverts/drop structures in areas where flooding hazards may arise. This includes the
clearing of brush, sand, sediment, debris, and other obstructions to flow.
• Curbs/Gutters/Sidewalks - Construction, replacement and repair of curbs, gutters and
sidewalks as necessary in order to reduce vehicular and pedestrian accident potential,
improve safety and prevent storm damage.
• Roadway Widening - Minor widening of an existing roadway that does not add through
travel lanes, but may add turn lanes at intersections or paved shoulders as necessary for
• Berms - Construction of berms within the road right-of-way as part of a resurfacing
project to control drainage.
• Roadway Resurfacing - Grinding the pavement surface, paving, and grading of dirt
shoulders, including chipseals, slurry seals, micro and macro paving.
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• Ditch Clearing -Clearing of ditches and stabilization of the banks of drainage courses
• Landscape Maintenance - Maintenance and repair of irrigation systems, landscape
plantings, and associated facilities.
• Bridge Maintenance - Removal of vegetation, debris, sand, silt, sediment, and other
obstructions to flow.
• Roadway Reconstruction - Removing existing paving to regrade, base and pave an
• Roadside Maintenance - Litter and debris removal, sign lighting, mechanical sweeping
of shoulders and/or centerline, and graffiti removal.
• Best Management Practices - To meet NPDES permit work, includes but limited to;
drainage Inspection, roadside stabilization, erosion control, illicit connections, illegal
discharges, water quality structural treatments and ground water treatment facilities.
• Traffic Control Devices - (needs to include) pavement markers, roadside markers and
vehicle energy attenuators.
• Snow and Ice Control - Snow removal, drift prevention, ice control, installation and
maintenance of snow fences, snow pole installation, repair and removal, maintenance and
control of tire chain installation points.
W.2 Guidelines for Safety Improvements for Existing Roadways Within Public/Quasi-
Maintenance and operation activities conducted for safety purposes, as described above, are
subject to following guidelines.
• Timing of construction activities shall consider seasonal requirements for breeding birds
and migratory non-resident species. Habitat clearing shall be avoided during species
active breeding season defined as March 1 to June 30.
• Silt fencing or other sediment trapping materials shall be installed to minimize the
transport of sediments off-site. Sediment and erosion control measures shall be
implemented until such time soils are determined to be successfully stabilized.
• The footprint of disturbance shall be minimized to the maximum extent feasible. Access
to sites shall occur on pre-existing access routes.
• Equipment storage, fueling and staging areas shall be sited within existing ROW or on
non-sensitive upland habitat types with minimal risk of direct discharge into riparian
areas or other sensitive habitat types.
• Exotic species removed during safety improvements shall be taken off-site to prevent
sprouting or regrowth.
• Construction, maintenance and operation activities may be restricted within and adjacent
to wetlands, vernal pools, restoration areas and sensitive wildlife habitat (e.g., during the
breeding season) at the discretion of the Reserve manager.
• Fencing or other barriers shall be used to restrict access to sensitive areas during
construction, operation and maintenance activities.
• Vegetation removed from the site shall not be stockpiled in any channel, streambed, lake
or on the banks. Spoil sites shall not be located within-a channel, basin, stream, or lake
where spoil or debris can be washed back into the channel or basin or a stream/lake, or
where it will cover aquatic or riparian vegetation.
• The selection and application of (herbicides and rodenticides) shall comply with all
applicable local, State and Federal permitting or licensing requirements or regulations.
• All debris, bark, slash, sawdust, rubbish, silt, cement, concrete, or washings thereof,
asphalt, paint, or other coating material, oil or other petroleum products, or any other
substances resulting from project-related activities which could be hazardous to aquatic
life or waters of the State, shall be prevented from contaminating the soil and/or entering
the waters of the State. None of these materials shall be allowed to enter into or be placed
within or where they may enter or be washed by rainfall or runoff into waters of the
State. When operations are completed, any excess materials or debris shall be removed
from the work area. No rubbish shall be deposited within 150 feet of the high water mark
of any channel, basin, stream or lake.
BIOLOGICAL TRANSITION AREAS
DROPPED FROM FURTHER
BIOLOGICAL TRANSITION AREAS
DROPPED FROM FURTHER CONSIDERATION
In the very earliest planning stages, the biological evaluation team (Bureau of Land
Management 1999) identified three different tortoise management areas: Desert Wildlife
Management Areas (DWMAs) for tortoise conservation, Incidental Take Areas (ITAs) for
authorized development, and Managed Use Areas for remaining lands. Following the September
1999 publication of the Biological Evaluation during public meetings, the Managed Use Area
concept was dropped in favor of Biological Transition Areas, or “BTAs.”
During these meetings, various BTA boundaries were discussed. Two original BTAs
were subsequently merged into respective DWMAs: north of Silver Lakes into the Fremont-
Kramer DWMA and south of Highway 62 into the Pinto Mountain DWMA.
During the public review of the Draft EIR/S, both the BLM and the counties expressed
concern that the BTA concept was highly complex, would be very difficult to implement and
offered little in the way of additional conservation for desert tortoises. As result of the concerns
expressed, the West Mojave Team re-evaluated each BTA on an individual basis to determine
the values that each area was anticipated to provide. Those areas with important conservation
values were added to the adjacent tortoise DWMA, while those areas that were judged to have
minimal contribution to the overall conservation design were deleted.
The 11 BTAs designated for the desert tortoise were depicted in Map 2-1 of the Draft
EIR/S (foldout map in Volume 1). Table X-1 presents an overview of these 11 areas, including
the county in which the BTA is located, and the acres of public and private lands included within
the BTA. There was no differentiation between State-owned lands and other private ownership.
Percentages following BLM acreage are relative to the total size of the associated BTA. Public
lands accounted for 34% of the total, while 66% of the BTAs were in private ownership. Most
of the private land BTA acreage (i.e., 59,223 of 79,664 acres, or 74%) was found in San
Bernardino County. BLM lands accounted for as little as 5% of the BTA in the Edwards Bowl
area and as high as 72% in the area between Highway 395 and the Kern County line.
Characteristics of the 11 Biological Transition Areas Associated With DWMAs.
GIS-Based Acreage (acres)
Generic BTA Name
1. Desert Tortoise Natural Area
2. HWY 395 to Kern Co. line
3. East of Harper Lake
4. Southeast of Harper Lake
5. West of Calico Mountain
6. West of Newberry Springs
7. East of Newberry Springs
8. Edwards Bowl area
9. North of Adelanto
10. Northern Lucerne Valley
11. Twentynine Palms
The Draft EIS/R referred to a heightened review of projects occurring within BTAs.
However, it failed to list project types that would be incompatible with tortoise conservation.
Nor did the Draft EIR/S attempt to identify what “heightened review” entailed. Such a
heightened review was not identified for DWMAs, which are intended to be the main location
for tortoise conservation. Eliminating BTAs would not increase the area of incidental take, as
BTAs were already designated as part of the Incidental Take Area (ITA). With or without
BTAs, the counties would continue to consider projects in the context of CEQA, and would need
to determine potential significant impacts to rare and endangered species. Similarly, the BLM
would be required to complete Environmental Assessments or Environmental Impact Statements
for all projects, including those in BTAs. Given this information, there appears to be little
difference in tortoise conservation with or without BTAs.
The primary function of BTAs was to prevent “spillover” impacts from projects located
within the BTA onto the adjacent DWMA. Post-Draft analysis revealed that there really was no
proximate urban interface to the following BTAs: 1, 2, 6, and 7. In several cases (BTAs 2 and
10), they are mostly comprised of public lands managed by the BLM, so there is little chance
they would be used for residential, agricultural, and several other types of development. Six of
the BTAs are situated between DWMAs and adjacent areas that are actively being developed:
BTA 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, and 10. These six areas are where BTAs would most likely have provided a
protective function, and these could be the focal areas for alternative means to accomplish
Given the findings of this analysis, it was determined that eliminating BTAs would not
substantially reduce tortoise conservation. DWMA boundaries were expanded in 7 of the 11
areas to facilitate tortoise conservation in critical habitat and on BLM lands (see Table 2 below).
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