Question about the Cave Protection Act

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Re: Question about the Cave Protection Act

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Dec 1, 2009 11:03 am

John Lovaas wrote:I've never seen a monument marker in any of the Buffalo River caves I've visited- but that's most likely due to me not being observant!

Some do, some don't. You'd never find the one near the Bat Entrance of Fitton without knowing it was there; we spent a huge amount of time looking for it, back when the cave was open, in order to tie a survey into that point!
"Although it pains me to say it, in this case Jeff is right. Plan accordingly." --Andy Armstrong
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Re: Question about the Cave Protection Act

Postby Rick Brinkman » Dec 1, 2009 11:11 am

Thanks wyandottecaver and Theresa. and everyone else. Guess I mainly needed a slight attitude adjustment. :tonguecheek: I'll try and keep a more open mind.

I've had some "souring" experiences with government agencies relating to recreational activities. It's not much fun to do a lot of work, only to be locked out of the area a few months later. (Motorcycle and snowmobile trails) I don't want the same to happen with the caves.


Still....seems like the Cave Protection Act leaves little a caver can do if the land manager(public lands are MANAGED by the agencies, WE own the land) decides to not cooperate. I hate the "Black Hole Effect"...information goes in, but never comes back out.
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Re: Question about the Cave Protection Act

Postby caverdan » Dec 1, 2009 11:55 am

The cavers in Colorado work with the different agencies in the state through our cave survey group called Colorado Cave Survey. The grotto's elect the members from their grotto to represent them at the survey meetings and serve on the BOD. We sign MOU's like Teresa mentions that help us work together on projects and exchange information. I can give contact info for the survey group if you want to know more about how we do it. It has worked pretty well so far and something you could do in your own state.
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Re: Question about the Cave Protection Act

Postby ArCaver » Dec 1, 2009 3:06 pm

Teresa wrote:arcaver -- I seriously doubt if all caves on the Buffalo, or the Ozark National Forest have brass markers. I know this is not true for the Mark Twain or likely for most caves on Ozark Riverways. Too many caves, not enough money, too little time.


Perhaps not. I have always been able to find the cap in those that have been inventoried if I take a few minutes to look. Once you've spotted a couple of them they get easier to find. It could be they had more money to do such things when they first decided caves were worth documenting and mapping.
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Re: Question about the Cave Protection Act

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 1, 2009 9:11 pm

Rick,

Remember that you can and should require data sharing as opposed to data donation even if both sides might fudge some.

my advice is to evaluate their request just like you would any other. What do they want? Why do they want it? In many cases land managers want more data simply to have more data. As a property manager I always tried to gather as much information as I could. Thats not a bad thing but it also isn't necessarily a *need*. In some cases land managers do need specific data relevant to imminent or proposed management decisions and thats where cavers can step in. Rumbling Falls is a prime poster child example of a cave "going public" due to a management need.

MOU's are a useful tool for formalizing data sharing but remember that once shared you never really get data back. In our case, our MOU's specify that data is shared (both ways) and the ownership of the data we provide remains with the State Survey and is essentially being licensed (for free) to the Federal agency. (this helps defer FOIA requirements among other things...they cant share what isn't theirs and is actually quite useful for both the Agency and us) We also stipulate the agency have a single custodian who coordinates data use as needed but access to the full dataset itself is limited to only that custodian. Also remember that you can and should pick and choose. We generally only provide data relevant to ownership thus a DNR dataset would look very different from a USFS dataset which is again different from the full dataset which itself doesnt include certain caves.....

In my own opinion, where future agreements need to improve is on formal access rights. Data is a commodity and like any commodity we should get something back. In the past, protecting the resource was enough. With WNS and lots of local Knutty Putty style issues combined with what I see as an outright cave and mine gating frenzy (ACCA is even now gating in the West) recreational cavers need to either own more caves outright or have robust legal agreements for access.
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Re: Question about the Cave Protection Act

Postby Evan G » Dec 1, 2009 11:05 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:Rick,

Remember that you can and should require data sharing as opposed to data donation even if both sides might fudge some.

my advice is to evaluate their request just like you would any other. What do they want? Why do they want it? In many cases land managers want more data simply to have more data. As a property manager I always tried to gather as much information as I could. Thats not a bad thing but it also isn't necessarily a *need*. In some cases land managers do need specific data relevant to imminent or proposed management decisions and thats where cavers can step in. Rumbling Falls is a prime poster child example of a cave "going public" due to a management need.

MOU's are a useful tool for formalizing data sharing but remember that once shared you never really get data back. In our case, our MOU's specify that data is shared (both ways) and the ownership of the data we provide remains with the State Survey and is essentially being licensed (for free) to the Federal agency. (this helps defer FOIA requirements among other things...they cant share what isn't theirs and is actually quite useful for both the Agency and us) We also stipulate the agency have a single custodian who coordinates data use as needed but access to the full dataset itself is limited to only that custodian. Also remember that you can and should pick and choose. We generally only provide data relevant to ownership thus a DNR dataset would look very different from a USFS dataset which is again different from the full dataset which itself doesnt include certain caves.....

In my own opinion, where future agreements need to improve is on formal access rights. Data is a commodity and like any commodity we should get something back. In the past, protecting the resource was enough. With WNS and lots of local Knutty Putty style issues combined with what I see as an outright cave and mine gating frenzy (ACCA is even now gating in the West) recreational cavers need to either own more caves outright or have robust legal agreements for access.


Sorry when I was reading this I was laughing so hard I was crying mainly because I wish we had small amount in which you are portraying towards. Private cave land owners are very rare out here is it mostly USFS, Park Service, BIA, BLM, and smidgen of state land which is usually managed by federal. The feds are usually happy that your willing to helping. There is no such thing as state survey or repository of cave data within WY or MT, I WISH!!!

Gating is the usual for significant caves in the west because there is very little man power to regulate otherwise. The Cody Office has ONE ranger in the Bighorn Basin which is the size of Rhode Island.

I have to the point that my foot is tired, tried to make the Tag-O-centeric NSS (Not my idea but FED jargon) that we have very little of the cave management experience in the northern mountain west that you have in cave latent limestone of TAG and east. What the hell is an MOU's? 99.9% of the caves out here have generalize management plan that was drafted in the early 80's which I personally tried to rally support in changing thru the NSS I received two replies. I know without a doubt that the BLM Cody would love interjection of an experienced cave and karst management ideas and help with the ability to create a stable relationship for the BLM-NSS management of Great X in which they management approx 95% of and probably more.

Hey Rick does this sound familiar? Hey Rick, when the last time you showed up at a grotto or NSS function and there was more than 30 people?

Sorry for rant but people have to realize the National part of the NSS. Where dying out here.....
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Re: Question about the Cave Protection Act

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 2, 2009 12:11 am

Evan,

A lack of a formalized Cave Survey certainly hurts, though a grotto could do the same thing if individual cavers were willing to share data (unlikely in the survey and shovel mindset of the west :roll: ). while I am not intimately familiar with the West, in our case the Memorandums of Understanding generally are in fact dealing with government owned caves, not private ones unless they lie near a boundary. Essentially cavers have been locating and mapping these caves (generally ungated despite virtually no manpower devoted to them) on their own and have now started sharing that data through the MOU's. since every property everywhere (except the big federal caves) is generally understaffed regarding cave inventory and management.

In the case of help in re-drafting management plans Im not sure what you were requesting. The Federal process for creating/revising a formal management plan is a nightmare and is generally done mostly in-house. If however you mean having someone familiar with caving and cave management read over and comment on them I cant imagine no one is interested......

Great X is another pet peeve but I'm not familiar with the NSS/Agency issues there. *lightbulb* sell great X to the government and use the proceeds to build a new HQ...... :tonguecheek:

Just as a side note, our grotto meetings average 8 people, our Cave Survey Meetings average 4-6 (well they did, I havent physically attended one in almost 2 years due to meeting times and locations but that is another rant...)
Your situation is also not unlike many of our northern IN cavers who drive 5 hours just to get to a cave....well a REAL cave anyway :big grin:
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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Re: Question about the Cave Protection Act

Postby Evan G » Dec 2, 2009 12:47 am

wyandottecaver wrote:Evan,

A lack of a formalized Cave Survey certainly hurts, though a grotto could do the same thing if individual cavers were willing to share data (unlikely in the survey and shovel mindset of the west :roll: ). while I am not intimately familiar with the West, in our case the Memorandums of Understanding generally are in fact dealing with government owned caves, not private ones unless they lie near a boundary. Essentially cavers have been locating and mapping these caves (generally ungated despite virtually no manpower devoted to them) on their own and have now started sharing that data through the MOU's. since every property everywhere (except the big federal caves) is generally understaffed regarding cave inventory and management.


Interesting


wyandottecaver wrote:In the case of help in re-drafting management plans Im not sure what you were requesting. The Federal process for creating/revising a formal management plan is a nightmare and is generally done mostly in-house. If however you mean having someone familiar with caving and cave management read over and comment on them I cant imagine no one is interested......


Actually this is starting to make sense because when I was asking for help the reply was," Oh that is typically general form that Feds have and it follows an EA". Mmmm I call Bullshit (I'm know it not TOS) the BLM has nothing on the books. The big break thru was when I order "Cave Covservation & Restoration" from the bookstore. Holy Carp! We were guano and giggles. That book allow us too jump over stalagmites with the gracefulness of a Troglodyte...Mmmm take that as you will.

To me the NSS equates conservation of caves thus the ability to help with management plans within the US whether it be Federal or private management of a deep dark hole on their lands. Are you saying this is not true? and/or within the cave you have deal with?

wyandottecaver wrote:Great X is another pet peeve but I'm not familiar with the NSS/Agency issues there. *lightbulb* sell great X to the government and use the proceeds to build a new HQ...... :tonguecheek:


*Funny* If it came up forsale it would be either me or Bart that would buy it, the BLM knows this....

wyandottecaver wrote:Just as a side note, our grotto meetings average 8 people, our Cave Survey Meetings average 4-6 (well they did, I havent physically attended one in almost 2 years due to meeting times and locations but that is another rant...)
Your situation is also not unlike many of our northern IN cavers who drive 5 hours just to get to a cave....well a REAL cave anyway :big grin:


Sad .... same here, I thought it was better in the east. Grass is greener equation.....Ignorance is bliss, piles of guano why do I always like to think!!!
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Re: Question about the Cave Protection Act

Postby Rick Brinkman » Dec 2, 2009 12:06 pm

Well.....to get back on topic.... :big grin:

I may be reading an abbreviated version of the Cave Protection Act. Where can I find it in it's entirety???
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Re: Question about the Cave Protection Act

Postby boogercaver71 » Dec 2, 2009 12:57 pm

As far as I know here is the complete U.S. Code

http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/.../blm/. ... avelaw.pdf
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Re: Question about the Cave Protection Act

Postby Rick Brinkman » Dec 2, 2009 2:47 pm

Just found this site:
http://ikc.caves.org/fcrpa.htm

It has the full Cave Protection Act, as well as, the USFS and BLM regulations for caves.
Guess that answers all of my questions and concerns.


U.S. Forest Service
ec. 290.4 Confidentiality of cave location information.

(a) Information disclosure. No Forest Service employee shall
disclose any information that could be used to determine the location of
a significant cave or a cave nominated for designation, unless the
authorized officer determines that disclosure will further the purposes
of the Act and will not create a substantial risk of harm, theft, or
destruction to cave resources.
(b) Requesting confidential information. Notwithstanding paragraph
(a) of this section, the authorized officer may make confidential cave
information available to Federal or State governmental agencies, bona
fide educational or research institutes, or individuals or organizations
assisting the land management agencies with cave
management activities. To request confidential cave information, such
entities shall make a written request to the authorized officer which
includes the following:
(1) Name, address, and telephone number of the individual
responsible for the security of the information received;
(2) A legal description of the area for which the information is
sought;
(3) A statement of the purpose for which the information is sought;
and,
(4) Written assurances that the requesting party will maintain the
confidentiality of the information and protect the cave and its
resources.
(c) Decision final. The decision to permit or deny access to
confidential cave information is made at the sole discretion of the
authorized officer and is not subject to further administrative review
or appeal under 5 U.S.C. 552 or parts 217 or 251.82 of this chapter.




BLM
Sec. 37.12 Confidentiality of cave location information.

(a) Information disclosure. No Department of the Interior employee
shall disclose information that could be used to determine the location
of any significant cave or cave under consideration for determination,
unless the authorized officer determines that disclosure will further
the purposes of the Act and will not create a substantial risk to cave
resources of harm, theft, or destruction.
(b) Requesting confidential information. Notwithstanding paragraph
(a) of this section, the authorized officer may make confidential cave
information available to a Federal or State governmental agency, bona
fide educational or research institute, or individual or organization
assisting the land managing agency with cave management activities. To
request confidential cave information, such entities shall make a
written request to the authorized officer that includes the following:
(1) Name, address, and telephone number of the individual
responsible for the security of the information received.
(2) A legal description of the area for which the information is
sought.
(3) A statement of the purpose for which the information is sought,
and
(4) Written assurances that the requesting party will maintain the
confidentiality of the information and protect the cave and its
resources.
(c) Decision final. Decisions to permit or deny access to
confidential cave information are made at the sole discretion of the
authorized officer and are not subject to further administrative review
or appeal under 5 U.S.C. 552 or 43 CFR parts 2 or 4.
Caves are rare and precious things. Cavers...even more so. Treat each accordingly.
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Re: Question about the Cave Protection Act

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 2, 2009 6:14 pm

Evan,

I'm not trying to be rude but your sentance structure often makes it hard for me to get your meaning. As to management plans, maybe it would be better if you told me what you wanted from the BLM/USFS. Do you want to try and negotiate access to gated caves? get information on cave locations, help in creating new/revised management plans? start a conservation project to restore a damaged cave? or all the above?
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