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Cal Poly Corporation

 I cannot support funding this grant – it is just too unproven a technology upon which to invest nearly $200K of OHMVR funds, with too unclear a benefit to OHVs. UAV technology may indeed provide SAR benefit, but this $200K is a gamble, with no actual implementation scheduled beyond development, testing, and demonstration. For this project to be worthwhile, there would need to be plans/schedules to *use* it, for instance, a letter pledging support and buy-off from SLO County Search and Rescue (SAR). For projects with clear OHV involvement, the Land Manager certifies their buy-off with a 'Written Agreement with Land Manager' (the Cal Poly Corporation grant application lacks this document) -- I'd suggest that if SLO County SAR does indeed have plans to do anything beyond testing this technology, that they provide a similar written agreement stating their intended usage, and the benefits that usage will provide to SLO County’s SAR operations as they engage OHV users. Indeed, the 'OHV Safety, Environmental Responsibility, and Respect Private Property' section of the grant application is entirely empty, and that's where benefits of this program would be documented.
I'm sure this technology has the potential to become a benefit to general SAR operations, but until it can be shown to benefit OHV recreation, I do not support providing OHMVR funding at this juncture – with as many proven programs as we have that need funding, OHMVR should not fund skunk-works projects to develop unproven technology without clear benefit to OHV recreation. I might support an Education grant for this in the next grant cycle, if this technology can be more proven, and a Safety or Ground Operations grant if SLO County SAR commits to the technology and can enunciate clear benefit to OHV users.
If this application is not withdrawn due to the questionable OHV linkage, it needs rescored to reflect that project scope spans only development, testing and demonstration – the current scoring seems scored to reflect potential future implementation which is not detailed in Section A: Statement of Activity or Product. This would rescore Question 12 (level of personnel utilized), Question 13 (length/frequency of SAR provided), Question 14 (project personnel training), and Question 15 (resources trained in specialized environmental conditions). The scores for these questions would need zeroed, since there is no actual implementation detailed in this grant application. [Randy Burleson - 4/5/10]

 I would like to comment on the grant request by the Cal Poly Corporation, grant #G09-08-01-S01

As much as I support the role of higher education for our community, especially in the area of education and safety, I question both the amount of this grant request, and the actual on-the-ground need of the OHV community of the UAV program.

Certain elements of the grant request have caused me considerable consternation, including the 25 person training at Camp Roberts. Although I understand that the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Department would like to augment their force by use of these UAV's, I don't understand why the OHV Community should bear the cost of this entire program. It is an unproven method with unproven benefits to the OHV community. In my preliminary cost/benefit analysis, I certainly cannot justify a grant amount of $112,000 on a program with unproven benefit specifically to the OHV community.

Therefore, I cannot support this grant request, and recommend that this not be funded. There are many other grant applications in the category that deserve serious consideration, but this is not one. [Amy Granat - 4/5/10]

 This is a fascinating grant for Education .  I would like to see it incorporate some system likes the drones that the military use so that law enforcement can have these fly remotely in areas where violations take place and then just follow the "Willfully Ignorant" to their camp or loading vehicle and give them a big welcome, "Free card to jail"   This would be an incredible tool for Law Enforcement.  Good job.  [Ed Waldheim  "OHV activist for access to the public lands for all" - 3/28/10]

 The following are my comments for the OHV Grant funding request:
I do not think that funding for a development project is appropriate use of OHV Grant Funds. This project is for 2, unproven, one of a kind, systems. While most of the components in them would be off the shelf items, the complete systems are not. With volunteers doing the development and construction, what happens in the future if there are problems with the systems?
I do hope that other funding can be found for these as they sound very useful.
Thank you for considering my comments. [Bruce Brazil - 3/7/10]