WASHINGTON - The Department of the Interior announced a draft rulemaking for the Bureau of Land Management that will ensure that public lands are managed for multiple use and sustained yield by prioritizing the health and resilience of ecosystems across those lands.
National Audubon Society commends the Bureau of Land Management for taking action to promote conservation and land health, which is consistent with its mission, authorities and responsibilities.
“Conserve is a verb. You have to do it,” said Sara Brodnax, Director of Public Lands Policy at the National Audubon Society. “From the Bald Eagle to the Greater Sage-Grouse, we’ve learned that conservation takes deliberate action. It doesn’t happen by chance and it doesn’t happen by simply hoping that nature will find balance – especially in sensitive ecosystems that have endured decades of overuse or neglect. That’s why the Bureau of Land Management must have in place policies to balance responsible development with land and wildlife conservation and must engage in active management to help restore degraded areas.”
The Bureau of Land Management manages and maintains more public lands than any other agency in the United States – more than 245 million acres found primarily in the western United States. From deep canyons to the sagebrush sea to the northernmost reaches of Alaska, BLM lands encompass iconic, loved and sacred landscapes. And within the BLM’s very mission is a responsibility to conserve these places for future generations.
But for decades, the agency has largely focused on oil and gas, mining and other extractive uses. These uses must be balanced with conservation, recreation, wildlife, watersheds, and cultural resource protection. This rulemaking process gives the BLM an opportunity to balance its priorities and demonstrate an approach to management that gives respect to community-led conservation, landscape health and resilience, wildlife habitat and connectivity, and Tribal co-stewardship.
“The Bureau of Land Management has the mission and authority to balance conservation with other uses of public land,” said Brodnax. “But it has not been empowered to deliver on its mission. It’s time to give intentional focus to conservation and landscape health at the BLM and commit to deliver on a true legacy for both present and future generations.”
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The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.