Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was established in 1946 through the consolidation of the General Land Office (created in 1812) and the U.S. Grazing Service (formed in 1934). The functions of the BLM are also addressed in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA).
The BLM is responsible for carrying out a variety of programs for the management and conservation, of resources on 258 million surface acres, as well as 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate. These public lands make up about 13 percent of the total land surface of the United States and more than 40 percent of all land managed by the Federal government.
Most of the public lands are located in the Western United States, including Alaska, and are characterized predominantly by extensive grassland, forest, high-mountain, arctic tundra, and desert landscapes. The BLM manages multiple resources and uses, including energy and minerals; timber; forage; recreation; wild horse and burro herds; fish and wildlife habitat; wilderness areas; and archaeological, paleontological, and historical sites.
In addition to its minerals management responsibilities noted above, the BLM administers mineral leasing and oversees mineral operations on Federal mineral estate underlying other state, private, or Federally-administered land, and manages most mineral operations on Indian lands.
The public lands provide significant economic benefits to the Nation and to states and counties where these lands are located. Revenues generated from public lands make BLM one of the top revenue-generating agencies in the Federal government. In 2007, for instance, BLM’s onshore mineral leasing activities will generate an estimated $4.5 billion in receipts from royalties, bonuses, and rentals that are collected by the Minerals Management Service. Approximately half of these revenues will be returned to the States where the mineral leasing occurred. The Bureau administers about 57 million acres of commercial forests and woodlands through the Management of Lands and Resources and the Oregon and California Grant Lands appropriations. Timber receipts (including salvage) are estimated to be $55.4 million in fiscal year 2007, compared to estimated receipts of $33 million in Fiscal Year 2006 and actual receipts of $13.5 million in Fiscal Year 2005. Under its multiple-use management mandate, the Bureau administers more than 18,000 grazing permits and leases and nearly 13 million authorized livestock animal unit months on 160 million acres of public rangeland. BLM manages rangelands and facilities for 57,000 wild horses and burros. The 258 million acres of public land administered by the BLM includes over 117,000 miles of fisheries habitat. The Bureau has an active program of soil and watershed management on 175 million acres in the lower 48 states and 86 million acres in Alaska. Practices such as revegetation, protective fencing, and water development are designed to conserve, enhance public land, including soil and watershed resources. The BLM is also responsible for fire protection on public lands and on all Interior Department in Alaska, as well as for wildfire management on the public lands on the public lands in Alaska and the Western States. The job of balancing this mix of resources and uses grows more complex each year, as the West’s population growth creates new pressures and heightens existing management challenges. With over 68.3 million people living in the region today, the West continues to be the fastest-growing area in the nation. This growth - and the urbanization that accompanies it - places new demands on BLM-managed land. Working with its partners at the local, state, and national levels, the BLM will ensure the health and productivity of the public lands for current and future generations.
Credit: Bureau of Land Management
It is the mission of the Bureau of Land Management to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of the present and future generations.