WELCOME

Welcome to the project website supporting the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for Land Acquisition and Airspace Establishment to Support Large-Scale Marine Air Ground Task Force Live-Fire and Maneuver Training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California ("the Combat Center").

Please note: The 30-day waiting period following publication of the Final SEIS ended on February 6, 2017. Two Records of Decision (RODs) have been signed (by DoN and BLM, respectively) and a Notice of Availability (NOA) of the two RODs was published in the Federal Register on February 24, 2017 (see the Documents page on this website). This concludes the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process for this action.

BACKGROUND

In 2006, the Marine Corps adopted new specifications for large-scale training exercises at the Combat Center. Although the Combat Center has been an effective training site since 1952, the Marine Corps must now train for highly specialized and diverse situations. These scenarios combine the movement of three infantry battalions with aircraft support, ground troops and live fire.

In July 2012, the Department of the Navy published a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that analyzed the environmental effects of acquiring lands adjacent to the Combat Center to accommodate required large-scale training exercises by three Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEBs). Since training in specific portions of the acquired lands would impact federally-threatened desert tortoise populations on those lands, the Marine Corps prepared a General Translocation Plan (GTP) in support of the Final EIS that would move the tortoises to nearby areas outside the affected training area. The GTP was evaluated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a 2012 Biological Opinion (BO). A Record of Decision (ROD) associated with the Final EIS was issued in February 2013.

In December 2013, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 (NDAA 2014) was signed into law, changing the boundaries between the Combat Center and adjacent public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This legislation withdrew approximately 151,000 acres of public land in the Johnson Valley area, shifting 98,000 acres to the Marine Corps for Exclusive Military Use and designating 53,000 acres for shared use with the public. In December 2013, the 98,000 acres designated as Exclusive Military Use in the 2014 NDAA were immediately transferred to the Marine Corps and closed to the public.

SCOPE OF THE SEIS

The 2013 ROD committed the Marine Corps to various measures to protect resident desert tortoises by moving them from areas where they would be exposed to impacts from the MEB training to nearby areas that would not be affected by the MEB training. The approach to translocation of the desert tortoises has changed over time due to various factors and new information. In addition to the 2011 GTP, two alternative translocation plans have been developed. The SEIS focuses on the tortoise translocation. This “focused” SEIS will evaluate the following three approaches to translocation:

No-Action Alternative: implement the 2011 GTP that was analyzed in the 2012 BO.
Alternative 1: implement a March 2016 Translocation Plan.
Alternative 2: implement a June 2016 Translocation Plan.

Section 508 Compliance and Geographic Information System (GIS)-based Figures
At present, the accessibility of GIS in compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is limited. The inherent graphical nature of GIS and the volumes of data represented make compliance difficult. SEIS maps developed from GIS software currently do not meet the full Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 accessibility requirements. If you use assistive technology and the format of these pages prevents you from obtaining necessary data, please contact the administrator of this website at: 1-760-830-3737.

Last updated on 6 January 2017.