Acting Secretary Bernhardt Signs Order to Ensure Public Access is Considered in Land Transactions

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WASHINGTON – Today, Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed a secretarial order directing that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) adequately weigh public access for outdoor recreation – including hunting and fishing – when determining the appropriateness of the disposal or exchange of public lands. Identifying lands as available for disposal or exchange is required under federal law.

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) directs the BLM to identify lands for potential disposal or exchange, using a public process and with state and county involvement. BLM has carried out these provisions revising land use plans and disposal since 1976. However, the BLM’s criteria do not require the agency to weigh public access considerations for outdoor recreation (fishing, hunting, hiking, etc.).

Biological Opinions for the Resource Management Plans of Western Oregon Publicly Available

BLM LogoPortland, Ore. – The National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publicly released the Biological Opinions for the Resource Management Plans (RMPs) for Western Oregon. Biological Opinions are a formal part of the planning process, and state the consulting agency's opinion on whether the project is likely to jeopardize a listed species or destroy or adversely modify a listed species' critical habitat. In summary:

  • On July 15, 2016, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a biological opinion that found that the Proposed RMPs are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any of the species under their jurisdiction, and are not likely to adversely modify critical habitat for any of the species under their jurisdiction. 

Bishop Statement on Senate Passage of the CRA to Overturn BLM’s Planning 2.0 Rule

house nrWashington, D.C. – Today, the Senate passed H.J. Res. 44 (Rep. Liz Cheney, WY-at large), a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to repeal the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Planning 2.0 rule.
 
“This rule emboldened federal bureaucrats and placed special interests ahead of local communities and states in resource management decisions. I am pleased the Senate followed the House in passing this joint resolution to restore decision making power to the people who actually live in these areas. These communities need more say, not less,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) stated.

BLM Announces Availability of Great Basin Science Tool

BLM LogoBOISE, ID - In opening remarks today at the conference, "The Next Steppe: Sage Grouse and Wildland Fire," Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Neil Kornze announced the release of the Northern Great Basin Rapid Ecoregional Assessment (REA), a next-generation tool for looking at the ecological health of this important geographic region.

"The BLM is using these regional assessments to identify the key challenges and opportunities that exist across the West," Kornze said. "By providing good, current science and looking across broad landscapes we can help ensure that decisions are being made with the best available information."

BLM Mitigation Policy Final Released

BLM logoBLM Provides Mitigation Guidance To Lessen and Offset Impact of Development on Public Lands

National Mitigation Policy Provides Roadmap for Approving Projects

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today finalized itspolicyfor how to lessen and offset adverse environmental effects caused by various uses of the public lands.  This announcement formalizes the agency’s knowledge developed through years of applying mitigation measures in the context of its multiple use and sustained yield mission.

BLM Releases Solar Energy Monitoring Strategy

BLM logoThe Bureau of Land Management released today the final strategy for monitoring the impacts of solar energy development in eastern Riverside County. Public comments from the October draft strategy were considered into this final strategy which is part of the implementation of the Western Solar Plan.

The Riverside East Long Term Monitoring Strategy will help the BLM understand solar energy development's broad-scale effects on resources such as vegetation, hydrology, and air quality. The information generated through the strategy will help the BLM permit future solar energy projects.

BLM taking proactive approach to reduce wildfire risks in California

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The Hazard Removal and Vegetation Management Project Programmatic Environmental Assessment streamlines vegetation management and removal of hazardous trees.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In advancing the Department of the Interior’s commitment to reduce wildfire risk, the Bureau of Land Management on Friday released its Hazard Removal and Vegetation Management Project Programmatic Environmental Assessment (EA). This assessment covers approximately 551,000 acres of BLM-managed public land in central and northern California and streamlines the process for right-of-way holders, utility companies, and counties to treat vegetation and remove hazardous trees within 200 feet of critical infrastructure to reduce wildfire risk.

Collaboration the key to Sage Grouse success

BLM logoRENO, Nev.  In an effort to find common ground to preserve sage brush ecosystem in Nevada, federal and state agencies and key stakeholders have agreed to form working groups to identify regulatory flexibility and improve communication and outreach between themselves and the public.

The agreement came from a workshop held in Reno in early December that focused on collaboration. The workshop, which was attended by about 80 people, was organized by the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service and the State of Nevada. The primary focus of the workshop was teaching participants how to work with each other in order to find common ground, respect others’ point of view, and effectively manage conflict when dealing with issues related to conservation of the sagebrush ecosystem.

Federal Agencies Offer Vision to Ensure Future Generations Can Enjoy Wildernes

BLM-logoWashington, D.C. - The Federal land management agencies that make up the National Wilderness Preservation System signed an agreement that will guide interagency collaboration and vision to ensure the continued preservation of nearly 110 million acres of the most primitive of public lands.

The 2020 Vision: Interagency stewardship priorities for America’s National Wilderness Preservation System will guide the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Geological Survey, all under the U.S. Department of Interior; and the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

FIVE INDIVIDUALS CHARGED IN CONNECTION WITH UNLAWFUL ATV RIDE IN RECAPTURE CANYON

SALT LAKE CITY – A two-count misdemeanor information filed in federal court Wednesday morning in Salt Lake City charges five individuals in connection with an unlawful ATV ride in Recapture Canyon on May 10, 2014.  The information alleges one count of conspiracy to operate off-road vehicles on public lands closed to off-road vehicles and one count of operation of off-road vehicles on public lands closed to off-road vehicles.

Game and Fish Commission passes resolutions on burro management, land use

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(January 21, 2016) PHOENIX - The Arizona Game and Fish Commission approved two resolutions, including one to address an "extreme overpopulation of burros" impacting the state's wildlife, habitat and public safety, and another that bolsters the department's efforts to ensure public access to public lands. The Commission passed the resolutions at its January meeting.

The resolution on burro management states that "the Arizona Game and Fish Commission recognizes there is an extreme overpopulation of burros in Arizona that negatively impacts wildlife, wildlife habitat and public safety."

Under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act of 1971, there should be no more than 1,676 burros within the state. The current population is estimated at 4,860, according to the Bureau of Land Management, which is legally required to maintain burros at established "appropriate management levels." The BLM is hampered by a lack of funding and support from the agency's administration at the national level.

Governors seek DOI consultation

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Western Governors have asked Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke why they were not consulted in advance about DOI's proposal to change the bureaus’ regional office boundaries and shared additional questions regarding the proposal.

"Western Governors appreciate your desire to improve the efficiency of DOI so that it can more effectively respond to the needs of our nation," said WGA Chair and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Vice Chair and Hawaii Gov. David Igein the letter sent Feb. 1. However, the Governors

Interior Works with Partners to Improve 600,000 Acres of Sage-Grouse Habitat in Southwest Idaho

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Excellent example of collaboration between federal and local governments to protect and improve working landscape

WASHINGTON – In an effort to improve the habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse in the West, the U.S. Department of the Interior today issued a Record of Decision for the treatment of 617,000 acres of land in Owyhee County, Idaho. The decision is supported by the Bruneau-Owyhee Sage-Grouse Habitat (BOSH) Project Final Environmental Impact Statement, which analyzes the effects of removing encroaching Western juniper on approximately 617,000 acres of public land within a 1.67 million-acre area of sagebrush-steppe habitat in Owyhee County.

Members Call on BLM to Go Back to the Drawing Board

house nr BLM's Planning 2.0 Rule Crowds Out Local, State Voices in Favor of Special Interests

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held an oversight hearing to hear from state and local representatives on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) draft Planning 2.0 Rule. This draft rule would dramatically shift resource management planning away from local communities to bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

Modernized Regulations and Promoted Clean, Renewable Energy

BLM LogoBLM Marks Major Gains in 2015 Ensuring Safe and Responsible Energy Development on Public Lands

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) made major progress in 2015 promoting responsible energy development on public lands while also managing for a wide range of uses on the agency's 245 million acres.  While BLM advanced modern safety and production-measurement regulations, the agency also made progress on the development of master leasing plans for oil and gas areas as well as new landscape-scale planning efforts to achieve both conservation and energy development goals.   
 
"Each accomplishment is significant on its own, but together, they're a big stride forward in our management of the nation's energy resources" said BLM Director Neil Kornze.
 
Facilitating Renewable Energy Development 

ORI Roundtable Brings Leaders Together

Outdoor Recreation Industry RoundtableSENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS AND RECREATION INDUSTRY LEADERS DISCUSS RECREATION EXPANSION AND IMPROVEMENTS

Senior officials from the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and U.S. Forest Service met with more than 30 representatives of the outdoor recreation industry at Shenandoah National Park April 24 to discuss improving visitor experiences on America’s public lands and waters.  The meeting was hosted by the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable (ORIR) at Skyland Resort – operated by National Park concessioner Delaware North. 

Proposed Joint Fossil Regulation Announced for Interior Department’s Managed Lands

doi logoCollaborative rule clarifies and coordinates paleontological resource management and preservation in areas managed by Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service
 
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Interior today announced a proposed rule to further facilitate implementation of the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act of 2009. The proposed rule provides standards for a coordinated approach to the management of paleontological resources on lands managed by four DOI Bureaus: Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS). It will also clarify how these bureaus manage paleontological resources to ensure they are available for current and future generations to enjoy as part of America’s national heritage.

Significant Progress Made in Landscape-Scale Management Efforts in 2015

BLM LogoProgress on Greater Sage-Grouse, Wildfire Prevention, and Responsible Energy Development

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2015 made major strides toward addressing challenges that require action, analysis and planning across broad landscapes. The Bureau’s accomplishments over the past year include unprecedented efforts to conserve Greater Sage-Grouse; to devise new approaches to prevent and respond to wildfire; to make land- use planning efforts more timely, science-driven and adaptable; and to protect sensitive resources while enabling responsible energy development.  These actions exemplify how the BLM is addressing broad challenges to more effectively meet national, state, and local needs on the national public lands.

Statement from Secretary Tom Vilsack on Ongoing Devastating Wildfire Season

usda-mastheadWASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2015 - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today made the following statement:

"This year, we are experiencing yet another devastating wildfire season, particularly in the drought-ravaged West. Climate change, drought, fuel buildup, insects and disease are increasing the severity of unprecedented wildfire in America's forests and rangelands, which impacts the safety of people, homes and communities. Development close to forests has also increased the threat to property, with more than 46 million homes in the United States, or about 40 percent of our nation's housing, potentially at risk from wildfire.

Wild Horse and Burro Populations Increase

BLM logoWild Horses and Burros on Public Rangelands Now 2.5 Times Greater than 1971 when Protection Law Was Passed

BLM seeks to expand initiatives to address problems with new legislative authority

  • 46,000 Horses Already Being Cared for Off-Range
  • Off-Range Care of Unadopted Horses Would Exceed $1 Billion
  • Necessary Horse Gathers Exceed Available Space and Funding

The Bureau of Land Management announced today that as of March 1, 2016, more than 67,000 wild horses and burros are roaming Western public rangelands – a 15 percent increase over the estimated 2015 population.

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