Point Reyes National Seashore's
General Management Plan Amendment (GMPA)
Background: The Point Reyes National Seashore (Seashore) was established in 1962 when President John F. Kennedy signed the enabling Act. The Seashore supports a rich diversity of habitats including marine waters, sandy beaches, wetlands, coastal scrub and riparian corridors, grasslands, and fir and pine forests ecosystems. These habitats support a wide variety of plants and animals, more than 1,500 species. The Seashore is important for migratory and nesting birds, and is located along the Pacific Flyway where more than 54% of all North American birds have been recorded. In addition, the Seashore provides habitat for more than 50 species that are listed by the state or federal government as endangered, threatened, or special status. The Seashore comprises almost 72,000 acres, of which 33,000 acres are designated and potential wilderness lands, and 18,000 acres are leased to beef and dairy ranching operations within an area sometimes referred to as the pastoral area. Another 10,000 acres is part of the northern district of the Golden Gate National Recreational Area. The Seashore requires careful management strategies that are based in scientific study and public involvement to ensure that park resources are managed so that they are not only unimpaired but have improved management for the benefit of future generations.
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what is the general management plan amendment (GMPA)?
In spring 2014, the National Park Service (NPS) initiated the Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan (RCMP) for the approximately 28,000 acres of active beef and dairy ranching on NPS lands in Point Reyes and the north district of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The RCMP was in response to a decision made by Secretary Ken Salazar in 2012 requesting the Seashore to pursue long-term ranching and dairy leases.
The RCMP planning process was interrupted in 2016 by litigation asserting that NPS should complete an update to the Seashore’s General Management Plan (GMP) to address where ranching and dairying operations could continue, rather than how they should continue. The court approved a multi-party Settlement Agreement on July 14, 2017. Per the Settlement Agreement, the NPS agreed that in lieu of the RCMP, they would prepare a GMP Amendment (GMPA) and Environmental Impact Study (EIS) addressing the management of the lands currently leased for ranching in Point Reyes and the north district of Golden Gate.
NPS initiated the GMPA in the fall of 2017, accepting public comment on a wide variety of resource management issues. A compilation of the more than 3,000 public comments was released in the spring of 2018. October 2018, NPS released the Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for a General Management Plan Amendment that officially started the NEPA process for the GMPA. April 2019, NPS released 1,350 public comments. Comment areas include topics that impact the Seashore including (but not limited to): continued ranching, diversification, Tule Elk management, ranching and grazing practices, water quality, silage production, species of special concern, socioeconomics, visitor use and experience, vegetation impacts, natural resource protection, wildlife, and cultural resources.
The Draft EIS was released in August for a 45-day comment period. Click here to read the current update.
Where eac stands on the gmpa
Since 1971, EAC has addressed the important environmental issues facing our community and our public lands. We have worked on community development and public access to parks and coastal areas, supported pathways for ecologically sustainable agriculture, supported full designation of wilderness areas, promoted affordable housing development, protected wildlife, supported strong coastal protections, provided environmental education, and protected Tomales Bay and West Marin’s watersheds.
EAC supported the 2012 determination by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to designate Drakes Estero as Wilderness. Part of that memorandum directed the Seashore to pursue issuing long-term leases to the ranches and dairies within the Seashore.
EAC continues our support for environmentally responsible ranching and dairies within the Seashore. The GMPA process is the appropriate method for making the determinations on where and how ranches and dairies may operate in an environmentally responsible manner within in the Seashore.
The GMPA must advance the protection, restoration, and preservation of park resources using ranch leases that ensure that multi-generational, environmentally sustainable ranching is complementary to the natural resources and visitor experiences within the park.
National Park Service Proposed GMPA Timeline:
Phase One: November 2017Public scoping period where NPS defined a range of conceptual alternatives to present to the public on potential management strategies for the programmatic planning area.
Phase Two: November 2018Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. Public meetings and comments received to outline the scope of the GMPA update in the planning area.
Phase Three: November 2019:Draft Environmental Impact Statement released for 45-day public comment. Public meetings and comments obtained to assist with identifying what has been overlooked or requires update in the draft. Intention of an Environmental Impact Statement is required to describe impacts that will result from the proposed activities as well as any mitigations (methods to reduce or remove negative impacts).
Phase Four: Date Not Determined (estimating based on Record of Decision June 2021)Final Environmental Impact Statement released with a minimum 30-day waiting period. Record of Decision must be signed by July 14, 2021.
EAC remains committed to our guiding principles to to ensure the protection and preservation of natural resources, restore degraded habitats and park resources, and to allow maximum public access to parklands.