A committee met at the courthouse on June 20 to vote on revisions to the Valley County Resource Use Plan. Envisioned in 1973 as something necessary for the “health, safety and welfare of the county,” the first interim plan was written in 1991 and petitioned into existence, according to Sierra Stoneberg-Holt, a committee member. The 2003 plan was first revised in 2006, and interested people have been trying to get a new revision since 2010.
“A resource use plan is important under FLPMA (the Federal Land Policy and Management Act governing the multiple use management of BLM lands) and other acts,” Stoneberg-Holt said. “The feds must take it into account.”
The group of 14 people at the meeting approved suggested wording enlarging the historical brief about Valley County. They approved consistent use of a statistic that only 39 percent of the 3.75 million acres of land in Valley County, some 1.47 million acres, is under private patent.
Another amendment supports the Clean Water Act’s intent of achieving and/or maintaining fishable and swimmable water quality standards when practicable and realistically achievable, but shields vested water rights.
Local history, custom and culture are given more space in this version of the plan. Ranching is traced back to the trail herds from Texas, through the open range days, to the Taylor Grazing Act and the present.
“The county’s residents have a heritage of ranching, farming and other natural resource based industries, such as energy development, and they continue those activities today,” a new section says in part.
“I feel knowledge is power. The more information we have, the better,” Stoneberg-Holt said.
The introduction of any wild horses, mules or burros is not allowed under the plan.