Of the public lands in the U.S., roughly 250 million acres are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Most of this land is in the western states. The mission of the BLM is “to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.” BLM land is managed for a variety of uses including: oil and gas drilling, recreation, grazing, conservation, hunting and fishing, etc. The vast areas of public land managed by BLM provide habitat for a diversity of plant and animal species, including roughly 20% of the world’s threatened or endangered species. These lands are some of the most biologically diverse in the nation.
Large areas of intact roadless and undeveloped lands managed by the BLM need to be protected to conserve biodiversity, maintain natural processes important to our communities, and provide opportunities for quiet recreation, solitude, wildlife watching, and adventure.
Only a small fraction of Western lands and waters are permanently protected for future generations, and those that are not are disappearing at a staggering rate. Many types of development are contributing to loss of natural areas and carving natural landscapes into smaller and smaller areas. This process, called fragmentation, has severe consequences for the movement and survival of wildlife, the provision of clean water, and the conservation of biodiversity.
Protecting Remaining Undeveloped Lands
There are opportunities to protect what is left of our wild lands. The BLM is uniquely positioned to permanently protect large expanses of roadless and undeveloped public lands. The BLM is currently undertaking revisions of long-term land-use plans (known as Resource Management Plans or RMPs) for millions of acres of public lands in Colorado. These plans make decisions about which public lands will be open to energy development, which will provide recreation opportunities, and which will be prioritized for protection to conserve biodiversity, natural processes, and wilderness.
Here at Rocky Mountain Wild, we work to protect public lands managed by BLM:
- Protecting roadless and undeveloped lands
- Identifying and mapping Lands with Wilderness Characteristics
- Advocating for protection of Roadless Areas, Wildlife Habitat, and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). Some current activities include:
- Monitoring Energy Development