Garfield County requests DOLA grant to improve public lands coordination | PostIndependent.com

Garfield County requests DOLA grant to improve public lands coordination

Garfield County commissioners on Monday OK'd a grant request to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for $100,000 to assist in funding a federal lands consultant who can help the county with natural resources policy.

The consultant will be asked to write what the commissioners said is the long overdue "Garfield County Federal Lands Policy Coordination and Consistency Review Plan."

"These grant funds are sought to assist Garfield County in a 'first-of-its-kind' planning effort that is designed to create a plan where Garfield County and our federal agencies can coordinate and collaborate on a regular basis on federal land management policy development to improve outcomes, reduce conflict and save state, local and federal resources," the request reads.

The county proposed that the plan will include inventory and categorizing of federal lands, drafting important policies around natural resources in Garfield County and providing a formal process where the county and federal agencies can coordinate and collaborate on a regular basis.

The request was for $100,000, and up to $200,000.

At the Monday Board of County Commissioners meeting the commissioners approved the scope of the plan and the grant being applied for.

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The money will be used to find a consultant who is an expert in federal lands and natural resources policy to facilitate a countywide public process and to write the comprehensive plan.

The request states that the plan will help ensure that federal land policies are consistent and compliment Garfield County's own policies and plans,and will help to create more meaningful coordination between Garfield County and the Department of Interior.

The request references the Bureau of Land Management's recent environmental impact statements regarding oil shale and the greater sage-grouse as examples of federal policy planning processes that the commissioners said have not sincerely included existing Garfield County plans and policies.

"Our proposed plan will serve as an important local vehicle to bring our federal agencies and local government together to coordinate and ensure that federal land policies and plans are consistent with local plans and policies," the grant proposal states.

Garfield County would like to see completion of an initial draft by summer 2019 and completion of the project later that fall, according to the project timeline.