Shape the future of conservation

Danielle Murray
|April 17, 2023

85 percent of Bureau of Land Management-managed lands are currently unprotected, making them vulnerable to oil and gas development, transportation, overgrazing, and overuse. We have an enormous opportunity to accelerate the protection of millions of acres of these public lands across the West and in Alaska. We can achieve this by helping move the Bureau of Land Management in a positive direction that enhances and grows conservation protections for more than 200 million acres. 

The Bureau of Land Management manages three times as much land as the National Park Service. Only 15% of BLM-managed lands are currently protected.

Land management with a conservation ethic

The Bureau of Land Management’s mission states a commitment to managing America’s public lands by balancing multiple use and sustained yield in order to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of our time. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Land Management has never fully embraced nor implemented the conservation portion of its mission. To meet the needs of the twenty-first century, the agency must implement new policies and guidance which clearly outline how the agency will protect climate-resilient landscapes across the West.

Take Action: Act Now For Public Lands

Thankfully, the Bureau of Land Management already has the tools needed to ensure we can meet these goals. The agency has many types of protection classes they can identify through their land-use planning processes such as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, Backcountry Hunting Areas, and Wilderness Study Areas. It’s going to take a concerted effort from senior Interior Department officials to the local and state agency offices to better identify and conserve these places throughout the West. Learn more.

The successful protection of intact wild lands will help confront the climate crisis and biodiversity losses in the U.S. Photo: Avi Kwa Ame, Nevada by West Cliff Creative

Prioritizing conservation 

The Bureau of Land Management has taken critical steps toward developing a more holistic conservation vision for public lands that support all of us. In November 2022, the Bureau of Land Management released new guidance instructing land managers to prioritize wildlife conservation and habitat connectivity in order to more effectively address wildlife loss in the face of climate change. And in March 2022, the Bureau proposed a new plan to bring balance to its mission of managing lands for multiple use.

While the Bureau of Land Management leadership is working on policy actions and agency directives necessary for implementing a bold conservation plan, Conservation Lands Foundation is working with staff from the White House, the Center for Environmental Quality, and the Department to make clear that this is an immediate priority for the Administration’s climate and conservation agenda. 

There is broad and growing support to see the Bureau of Land Management tackle an ambitious conservation vision for public lands. Hundreds of local elected officials across the West along with members of Congress, members of the public, and dozens of organizations have publicly called for this kind of policy shift.

Western communities are rapidly feeling the impacts of climate change. But collaboration and shared planning across federal, state, and tribal entities will secure a healthier future for us, for wildlife, and for the natural systems that support us all.

This is a decisive time for the future of the West, and together we can help chart a new direction for the future of America’s public lands.

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  • DM
    Danielle Murray published this page in Latest News 2023-04-17 11:01:07 -0600