Bureau of Land Management Public Lands Rule

Oranges and purples color clouds and the Arkansas River as it flows between tree covered banks.
Arkansas Recreational River, Colorado, Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, CC BY 2.0.

The Bureau of Land Management has proposed a Conservation and Landscape Health Rule. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to support public lands conservation. It is very important for conservation-minded individuals to show their support for this rule. The comment deadline has been extended to Wednesday, July 5, 2023.

Nearly 40% of all US public lands are overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. These lands provide clean drinking water and fresh air, support healthy natural areas for wildlife and recreation outdoors, and protect innumerable cultural sites and landscapes valued by Indigenous and other communities across the West. However, for nearly 40 years the agency has prioritized resource extraction over conservation, recreation, wildlife, fragile watersheds, and cultural resource protection in partnership with tribes who have stewarded these lands for centuries.

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to modernize its national policies to balance conservation with other uses on public lands. This policymaking creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure local land managers in the agency have clear directions, reliable funding, and credible science to prioritize conservation for the benefit of western communities, wildlife and a sustainable future.  


The following webpages have more information about the proposed rule:

How to Comment

It is very important to comment on this rule to show broad support for conservation and to counteract well organized opposition. Comments are most useful when submitted on or before Wednesday, July 5, 2023.

Talking Points

Great Things in the Proposed Rule

  • Puts conservation on an equal footing with other uses of Bureau of Land Management lands.
  • Focuses on identifying and protecting intact landscapes.
  • Strengthens designation of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs).
  • Increases focus on restoring landscapes back to health.
  • Expands land health standards beyond the grazing program.
  • Supports reducing harm from development through mitigation actions including mitigation-focused conservation leasing.
  • Promotes meaningful engagement with Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations.
  • Incorporates Indigenous Knowledge into decision making.
  • Closes gaps in Bureau of Land Management rules to meet conservation aspects of the Federal Land Management Policy Act (FLPMA).

Things that can be improved

  • Identification of and protection for intact landscapes and ACECs is proposed to happen only through the Resource Management Plan revision and amendment process. The rule should provide guidance and deadlines for these actions.
  • The proposed conservation leasing program does not well support restoration partnerships with tribes, community organizations, and non-profits because of the cost burdens and other complexities. The rule should rework the conservation leasing program for restoration activities outside of compensatory mitigation or create a different framework.
  • As part of putting conservation on equal footing with other uses, funding for protecting and restoring natural habitats and ecological functions should be on par with funding associated with other uses such as grazing, recreation, and resource extraction.

Final Thoughts

  • Email Alison Gallensky if you have any questions or want more information.
  • You can sign up for information about the Department of the Interior’s conservation efforts here (the Bureau of Land Management along with the National Park Service and others are all part of the Department of the Interior).