This month's edition of CLiF Notes features ways to take action for public lands, an update on one of our priority campaigns, protections for the greater Chaco landscape, and much more.
Act Now for Public Lands
The majority of U.S. public lands are managed by the Bureau of Land Management and 90% of these lands are open to extraction and other commodity-driven development. A recently proposed plan, the Public Lands Rule, will help solidify conservation into the agency’s mandate to manage public lands for multiple uses.
This is your last opportunity for your voice to be heard on this issue. The public comment period ends on July 5, 2023. We hope you join us in urging the Bureau of Land Management to manage public lands in a way that will protect wildlife, watersheds, and cultural resources, and promote robust and healthy communities in the West.
Read: Conservation Lands Foundation’s Policy Director Kara Matsumoto recently co-authored a report with the Center for American Progress that examines how the Public Lands Rule will provide meaningful conservation protections to deserving landscapes across the country.
Listen: Retired Bureau of Land Management California State Director and Conservation Lands Foundation Trustee Jim Kenna joined the Center for Western Priorities on an episode of their podcast, The Landscape, to take a deeper dive into the Public Lands Rule and its long-term benefits to public lands.
Photo: Bob Wick
Priority Campaign Update: The Owyhee Canyonlands
Last week, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley re-introduced the Malheur Community Empowerment for the Owyhee Act, a community-driven, Oregon-crafted solution for protecting the most important and threatened places in the Owyhee Canyonlands.
The Conservation Lands Foundation and our Friends Grassroots Network partners– Friends of the Owyhee and Oregon Natural Desert Association–have been working over the last four years to craft this proposal, which includes wilderness protections for about 1.1 million acres, almost 30,000 acres of in-trust lands for the Burns Paiute Tribe, and sustainable economic investments and opportunities for the poorest county in Oregon.
Virtually explore and take action to permanently protect the largest expanse of unprotected wildlands in the lower 48 states through our Owyhee Wonders StoryMap.
Photo: Tim Davis
The Friends Grassroots Network in Action
Friends Grassroots Network member Oregon Natural Desert Association won litigation against the Bureau of Land Management over its original resource management plan for the Owyhee Canyonlands and set a new precedent for forcing the agency to consider managing lands for wilderness values.
The amendment to this plan includes more than 400,000 acres of new lands with wilderness characteristics (administratively managed as wilderness) in the Owyhee region. It also means that while a monument or Congressionally designated Wilderness is important, there are strong administrative protections in place for the time being.
Read more here.
Photo: Vince Ready
Chaco region protected from development
On June 2, the Department of the Interior announced its plan to administratively withdraw over 300,000 acres of public lands and minerals surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park from future oil and gas leasing for a period of 20 years.
Interior Secretary Haaland made this withdrawal official after holding multiple public meetings and seeking comments from the public throughout 2022, during which time Pueblos of New Mexico and the American Southwest, Conservation Lands Foundation, and people from across the state and country spoke up in support of protecting the Greater Chaco Landscape.
We applaud President Biden and Secretary Haaland for taking tangible actions to protect this landscape. The announcement comes one month after the entire New Mexico congressional delegation, led by Senator Ben Ray Luján and Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez, reintroduced the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act of 2023, a bill to permanently withdraw the federal lands and minerals around Chaco Canyon from expanded oil and gas development.
Photo: Department of the Interior
Annual review highlights a year of momentum and success
Our 2022 annual review is here!
We're incredibly proud of a year marked by the people and partnerships that made public land protections happen.
Thanks to your support, we were able to:
Protect what matters. Make a one-time or monthly donation.