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H-1601-1 – LAND USE PLANNING HANDBOOK – (Public)
United States
Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management
Land Use Planning Handbook
BLM Handbook H-1601-1

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Table of Contents
I. Introduction ...........................................................................................................................1
A. The Purpose of This Handbook and the Need for Planning Guidance............................1
B. The Basic Planning Process .............................................................................................2
C. Forms of Public and Intergovernmental Involvement......................................................2
D. Collaborative Planning.....................................................................................................4
E. Coordination and Cooperation with Other Federal Agencies
and State and Local Governments .........................................................................................5
F. Government-to-Government Coordination with Indian Tribes........................................9
II. Land Use Plan Decisions........................................................................................................11
A. Introduction......................................................................................................................11
B. Types of Land Use Plan Decisions ..................................................................................12
C. Geographic Areas.............................................................................................................14
D. Scale of Planning .............................................................................................................14
E. Multijurisdictional Planning.............................................................................................15
F. Establishing Management Direction for Lands that May
Come Under the BLM Jurisdiction in the Future. .................................................................15
III. Land Use Planning Process and Products..............................................................................16
A. Planning for Environmental Impact Statement-level Efforts...........................................16
B. Planning for Environmental Assessment-level Efforts....................................................25
IV. Implementation......................................................................................................................29
A. Implementing Land Use Plans.........................................................................................29
B. Defining Implementation Decisions.................................................................................29
C. Making Implementation Decisions ..................................................................................30
D. Making Land Use Plan and Implementation Decisions
in the Same Planning Effort...................................................................................................30
E. Developing Strategies to Facilitate Implementation of Land Use Plans..........................31
V. Monitoring, Evaluation, and Adaptive Management.............................................................32
A. Monitoring .......................................................................................................................32
B. Evaluation.........................................................................................................................33
C. Adaptive Management .....................................................................................................36
VI. Determining if New Decisions are Required.........................................................................37
A. Specific Regulatory Requirements for Considering New
Information or Circumstances................................................................................................37
B. Considering New Proposals, Circumstances, or Information..........................................37
C. Deciding Whether Changes in Decisions or the Supporting
NEPA Analyses are Warranted..............................................................................................38
D. Documenting the Determination to Modify, or
Not to Modify, Decisions or NEPA Analysis........................................................................41
E. Evaluating New Proposals................................................................................................41
F. Plan Conformance ............................................................................................................42
G. Plan Conformance and Ongoing NEPA Activities..........................................................42
H. Determining When to Update Land Use Plan Decisions
Through Maintenance Actions...............................................................................................44
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VII. Amending and Revising Decisions ......................................................................................44
A. Changing Land Use Plan Decisions.................................................................................44
B. Determining When it is Necessary to Amend Plans and
How it is Accomplished.........................................................................................................45
C. Determining When it is Necessary to Revise an RMP or Replace an MFP.....................46
D. Changing Implementation Decisions...............................................................................46
E. Status of Existing Decisions During the Amendment or Revision Process.....................47
F. Coordinating Simultaneous Planning/NEPA Processes...................................................47
Glossary of Terms and Acronyms .......................................................................Glossary - 1
Terms .............................................................................................................Glossary - 1
Acronyms.......................................................................................................Glossary - 9
Appendix A: Guide to Collaborative Planning...................................................Appendix A, page 1
I. Principles...................................................................................................Appendix A, page 1
II. Practices ...................................................................................................Appendix A, page 2
III. Benefits...................................................................................................Appendix A, page 3
IV. Tools.......................................................................................................Appendix A, page 3
Appendix B: Federal Advisory Committee Act Considerations.........................Appendix B, page 1
I. Purpose ......................................................................................................Appendix B, page 1
II. Implementing FACA................................................................................Appendix B, page 1
A. Avoiding Violations...........................................................................Appendix B, page 1
B. Determining if FACA Applies...........................................................Appendix B, page 2
C. FACA Requirements..........................................................................Appendix B, page 2
Appendix C: Program-Specific and Resource-Specific Decision Guidance......Appendix C, page 1
I. Natural, Biological, and Cultural Resources.............................................Appendix C, page 2
A. Air ......................................................................................................Appendix C, page 2
B. Soil and Water....................................................................................Appendix C, page 2
C. Vegetation ..........................................................................................Appendix C, page 3
D. Special Status Species........................................................................Appendix C, page 4
E. Fish and Wildlife................................................................................Appendix C, page 6
F. Wild Horses and Burros......................................................................Appendix C, page 7
G. Cultural Resources.............................................................................Appendix C, page 8
H. Paleontology.......................................................................................Appendix C, page 10
I. Visual Resources .................................................................................Appendix C, page 11
J. Wildland Fire Management.................................................................Appendix C, page 11
K. Wilderness Characteristics..................................................................Appendix C, page 12
L. Cave and Karst Resources..................................................................Appendix C, page 13
II. Resource Uses...........................................................................................Appendix C, page 13
A. Forestry ..............................................................................................Appendix C, page 13
B. Livestock Grazing..............................................................................Appendix C, page 14
C. Recreation and Visitor Services.........................................................Appendix C, page 15
D. Comprehensive Trails and Travel Management................................Appendix C, page 17
E. Lands and Realty................................................................................Appendix C, page 20
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F. Coal.....................................................................................................Appendix C, page 21
G. Oil Shale…………………………………………………………….Appendix C, page 23
H. Fluid Minerals: Oil and Gas, Tar Sands, and
Geothermal Resources…………………………………………………..Appendix C, page 23
I. Locatable Minerals ………………………………………………… Appendix C, page 24
J. Mineral Materials …………………………………………………...Appendix C, page 25
K. Non-energy Leasable Minerals...........................................................Appendix C, page 26
III. Special Designations................................................................................Appendix C, page 27
A. Congressional Designations...............................................................Appendix C, page 27
B. Administrative Designations..............................................................Appendix C, page 27
IV. Support.....................................................................................................Appendix C, page 28
A. Cadastral.............................................................................................Appendix C, page 29
B. Interpretation and Environmental Education .....................................Appendix C, page 29
C. Transportation Facilities………………………………………….....Appendix C, page 30
Appendix D: Social Science Considerations in Land Use
Planning Decisions...............................................................................................Appendix D, page 1
I. Using Social Science in Land Use Planning .............................................Appendix D, page 1
II. Incorporating Socio-economic Information.............................................Appendix D, page 2
A. The Planning Process.........................................................................Appendix D, page 2
B. Objectives of the Analysis..................................................................Appendix D, page 2
C. The Scope of Analysis........................................................................Appendix D, page 4
D. Deliverables in Contracting ...............................................................Appendix D, page 8
E. Analytic Guidelines............................................................................Appendix D, page 8
III. Public Involvement.................................................................................Appendix D, page 10
A. Integrating Social Science into Public Involvement..........................Appendix D, page 10
B. Economic Strategies Workshop.........................................................Appendix D, page 10
IV. Environmental Justice Requirements .....................................................Appendix D, page 11
A. BLM’s Environmental Justice Principles ..........................................Appendix D, page 11
B. Incorporating Environmental Justice Efforts in the
RMP/EIS Process.....................................................................................Appendix D, page 12
C. Documentation and Analysis .............................................................Appendix D, page 13
V. Data Management....................................................................................Appendix D, page 13
A. Types of Data.....................................................................................Appendix D, page 13
B. Data Quality and Analytic Soundness................................................Appendix D, page 13
C. Paperwork Reduction Act Requirements for
New Data Collection................................................................................Appendix D, page 14
VI. Data Sources...........................................................................................Appendix D, page 14
A. Use of the Economic Profile System .................................................Appendix D, page 14
B. References..........................................................................................Appendix D, page 15
C. Environmental Justice References .....................................................Appendix D, page 17
VII. Further Guidance...................................................................................Appendix D, page 17
Appendix E: Summary of Protest and Appeal Provisions..................................Appendix E, page 1
I. Land Use Plan Protests..............................................................................Appendix E, page 1
A. Washington Office Initial Evaluation of Protests..............................Appendix E, page 1
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B. State Office Evaluation and Determination .......................................Appendix E, page 4
C. Washington Office Final Review.......................................................Appendix E, page 6
D. Receiving, Managing, and Responding to Electronic Mail
and Faxed Protests ...................................................................................Appendix E, page 12
E. State Director’s Protest Analysis........................................................Appendix E, page 13
II. Governor’s Consistency Review Appeal Process.....................................Appendix E, page 14
III. Administrative Remedies of Implementation Decisions ........................Appendix E, page 14
Appendix F: Standard Formats for Land Use Plan Documents..........................Appendix F, page 1
Appendix F-1: Recommended Format for Preparation Plans.......................Appendix F, page 1
Appendix F-2: Recommended Format for Scoping Reports ........................Appendix F, page 4
Appendix F-3: Annotated Outline of the Analysis of the
Management Situation...................................................................................Appendix F, page 6
Appendix F-4: Annotated Outline for a Draft and
Final RMP (Amendment)/EIS .......................................................................Appendix F, page 14
Appendix F-5: Annotated Outline for Record of Decision
(ROD)/Approved RMP (Amendment) ..........................................................Appendix F, page 20
Appendix F-6: Recommended Administrative Record File
Plan for Land Use Planning Projects.............................................................Appendix F, page 24
Appendix G: Managing and Applying Data and Information............................Appendix G, page 1
I. Metadata Standards and Requirements......................................................Appendix G, page 1
II. Identifying Data Needs for a Land Use Plan............................................Appendix G, page 1
III. Data Sources ...........................................................................................Appendix G, page 2
IV. Managing Data During Land Use Plan Development............................Appendix G, page 2
V. Integrating Data Application and Display ...............................................Appendix G, page 3
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I. Introduction
A. The Purpose of This Handbook and the Need for Planning Guidance
This Handbook provides supplemental guidance to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
employees for implementing the BLM land use planning requirements established by Sections
201 and 202 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA, 43 U.S.C. 1711-
1712) and the regulations in 43 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1600. Land use plans and
planning decisions are the basis for every on-the-ground action the BLM undertakes. Land use
plans include both resource management plans (RMPs) and management framework plans
(MFPs).
Land use plans ensure that the public lands are managed in accordance with the intent of
Congress as stated in FLPMA (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), under the principles of multiple use and
sustained yield. As required by FLPMA and BLM policy, the public lands must be managed in a
manner that protects the quality of scientific, scenic, historical, ecological, environmental, air
and atmospheric, water resource, and archaeological values; that, where appropriate, will
preserve and protect certain public lands in their natural condition; that will provide food and
habitat for fish and wildlife and domestic animals; that will provide for outdoor recreation and
human occupancy and use; and that recognizes the Nation’s need for domestic sources of
minerals, food, timber, and fiber from the public lands by encouraging collaboration and public
participation throughout the planning process. Land use plans are one of the primary
mechanisms for guiding BLM activities to achieve the mission and goals outlined in the
Department of the Interior (DOI) Strategic Plan.
This Handbook provides guidance for preparing, revising, amending, and maintaining land use
plans. This Handbook also provides guidance for developing subsequent implementation
(activity-level and project-specific) plans and decisions. It builds on field experience gained in
implementing the 1983 planning regulations (43 CFR 1600), subsequent BLM Manual guidance,
and the 2000 Handbook. This guidance does not, however, change or revise the planning
regulations in 43 CFR 1600, which take precedence over this Handbook. Definitions for terms
used in this Handbook are found in the glossary and in the BLM planning regulations in 43 CFR
1601.0-5.
Any interpretation of the guidance contained in this Handbook is subservient to the legal and
regulatory mandates contained in FLPMA, 43 CFR 1600, the National Environmental Policy Act
of 1969 (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)
regulations at 40 CFR 1500-1508, and other applicable Federal laws and regulations. This
planning guidance:
1. Encourages planning on a variety of scales, including both local and regional, in
partnership with other landowners and agencies;
2. encourages active public participation throughout the planning process and facilitates
multijurisdictional planning;
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3. clarifies the relationship between land use plans and implementation plans
(implementation plans include both activity-level and project-specific plans);
4. provides procedural requirements for completing land use plans and implementation
plans;
5. clarifies the relationships between land use and implementation planning and NEPA
requirements;
6. addresses new requirements and approaches for managing public lands or resources;
and
7. addresses the consideration of new information and circumstances, e.g., new listings
of threatened and endangered species, and new requirements and standards for the
protection of air and water quality, etc.
B. The Basic Planning Process
The BLM will use an ongoing planning process to ensure that land use plans and implementation
decisions remain consistent with applicable laws, regulations, orders, and policies. This process
will involve public participation, assessment, decision-making, implementation, plan monitoring,
and evaluation, as well as adjustment through maintenance, amendment, and revision. This
process allows for continuous adjustments to respond to new issues and changed circumstances.
The BLM will make decisions using the best information available. These decisions may be
modified as the BLM acquires new information and knowledge of new circumstances relevant to
land and resource values, uses, and environmental concerns. Modifying land use plans through
maintenance and amendment on a regular basis should reduce the need for major revisions of
land use plans.
C. Forms of Public and Intergovernmental Involvement
Planning is inherently a public process. The BLM uses a number of involvement methods to
work with members of the public, interest groups, and governmental entities.
Public involvement entails “The opportunity for participation by affected citizens in rule
making, decision making, and planning with respect to the public lands, including public
meetings or hearings . . . or advisory mechanisms, or other such procedures as may be
necessary to provide public comment in a particular instance” (FLPMA, Section 103(d)).
Several laws and Executive orders set forth public involvement requirements, including
maintaining public participation records. The BLM planning regulations (43 CFR 1601-
1610) and the CEQ regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508) both provide for specific points of
public involvement in the environmental analysis, land use planning, and implementation
decision-making processes to address local, regional, and national interests. The NEPA
requirements associated with planning have been incorporated into the planning
regulations.
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Coordination, as required by FLPMA (Section 202(c)(9)), involves on-going
communication between BLM managers and state, local, and Tribal governments to
ensure that the BLM considers pertinent provisions of non-BLM plans in managing
public lands; seeks to resolve inconsistencies between such plans; and provides ample
opportunities for state, local, and Tribal government representatives to comment in the
development of BLM’s RMPs (43 CFR 1610.3-1). The CEQ regulations implementing
NEPA further require timely coordination by Federal agencies in dealing with
interagency issues (see 40 CFR 1501.6), and in avoiding duplication with Tribal, state,
county, and local procedures (see 40 CFR 1506.2). See Sections I(E)(1), Coordination
under FLPMA; and I(F), Government-to-Government Coordination with Indian Tribes.
Cooperation goes beyond the coordination requirement of FLPMA. It is the process by
which another governmental entity (Federal, state, local, or Tribal) works with the BLM
to develop a land use plan and NEPA analysis, as defined by the lead and cooperating
agency provisions of the CEQ’s NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1501.5 and 1501.6).
Normally the BLM serves as the lead agency, though in some cases other governmental
entities serve with the BLM as joint leads. Cooperating agency and related roles should
be formalized through an agreement. See Section I(E)(2), Cooperating agency status
under NEPA.
Consultation involves a formal effort to obtain the advice or opinion of another agency
regarding an aspect of land use management for which that agency has particular
expertise or responsibility, as required by statute or regulation. For example, the
Endangered Species Act requires the BLM to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (USFWS) or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-
Fisheries regarding land use actions that may affect listed species and designated critical
habitat (see 50 CFR 402.14).
Collaboration is a process in which interested parties, often with widely varied interests,
work together to seek solutions with broad support for managing public and other lands.
Collaboration mandates methods, not outcomes; and does not imply that parties will
achieve consensus. Depending on local circumstances and the judgment of the Field
Manager, varying levels of collaboration may be used in specific involvement processes.
See Section I(D), Collaborative Planning.
Section 309 of FLPMA (43 U.S.C. 1739) requires that resource advisory councils (RACs) or
their functional equivalent be involved in the land use planning process. RACs, which are
advisory groups chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (86 Stat. 770, 5
U.S.C.A., Appendix 2), may advise the BLM regarding the preparation, amendment, and
implementation of land use plans for public lands and resources within a jurisdictional area. In
addition, Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority
Populations and Low-Income Populations (Environmental Justice), February 11, 1994, requires
the BLM to find ways to communicate with the public that are germane to community-specific
needs in areas with low income or minority populations or Tribes.
Comments or protests submitted to the BLM for use in its planning efforts, including names and
home addresses of individual(s) submitting the comments, are subject to disclosure under the
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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552); however, names and home addresses of
individuals may be protected from disclosure under exemption 6 of FOIA. In order to protect
names and home addresses from public review or disclosure, the individual(s) submitting
comments must request that their names and addresses be held in confidence. Offices must place
the following or a similar statement in all notices requesting public input or announcing protest
opportunities, including public meeting “sign-in” sheets, notices in newspapers, on the Internet,
in Federal Register Notices of Intent and Notices of Availability, and in “Dear Interested Party”
letters in the planning/NEPA documents:
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT CONSIDERATIONS: Public comments submitted for this
planning review, including names and street addresses of respondents, will be available for public review at
the XYZ Field Office during regular business hours (x:xx a.m. to x:xx p.m.), Monday through Friday,
except holidays. Individual respondents may request confidentiality. If you wish to withhold your name or
address from public review or from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, you must state this
prominently at the beginning of your comments. Such requests will be honored to the extent allowed by
law. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as
representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public inspection in
their entirety.
D. Collaborative Planning
Collaboration as a general term describes a wide range of external and internal working
relationships. Early identification of the most appropriate, efficient, and productive type of
working relationships is desirable to achieve meaningful results in land use planning initiatives.
While the ultimate responsibility regarding land use plan decisions on BLM-administered lands
rests with BLM officials, it is recognized that individuals, communities, and governments
working together toward commonly understood objectives yields a significant improvement in
the stewardship of public lands. Benefits of building collaborative partnerships include
improving communication, developing a greater understanding of different perspectives, and
finding solutions to issues and problems.
A collaborative approach to planning entails BLM working with Tribal, state, and local
governments; Federal agencies; and other interested parties; from the earliest stages and
continuing throughout the planning process, to address common needs and goals within the
planning area. At the same time, BLM should consider existing plans of Tribal, state, and local
governments and other Federal agencies. The BLM official must identify the decision space
(i.e., regulations, policies, and local, regional and national interests) within which the BLM must
operate, but the community or group working with the BLM may help focus the planning effort.
Although the initial stages of developing an open and inclusive process are time consuming, the
potential returns from relationship building, cost savings, and durability of decisions more than
compensate for this effort. To provide for effective public participation in any collaborative
planning process, it is important to communicate effectively with the public and invite
participation in all aspects of the planning effort. Outreach to distant interests is also important.
An effective outreach strategy will inform distant publics as well as local residents. Appendix A
of this Handbook provides additional guidelines on collaborative processes. Also see Executive
Order 13352 (Facilitation of Cooperative Conservation).
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The strategies associated with BLM’s national Alternative Dispute Resolution
(ADR)/Collaborative Action Program are valuable resources for providing support to
collaborative planning processes. The principal objective of the Program is to foster or
strengthen ADR-based collaborative engagement with communities and other stakeholders,
focusing primarily on helping to ensure successful outcomes on the ground through ADR-based
collaboration.
Although the primary emphasis is on prevention of conflicts or disputes in the planning process
through early engagement and convening to ensure up-front communication and consultation, the
ADR/Collaborative Action Program’s initiatives also address more formal conflicts or disputes
that may arise during the planning process, as well as those associated with protests and
litigation. The Program’s goal is to prevent, resolve, or mitigate adverse impacts to the Bureau
before a protest or judicial action is filed wherever possible and to address all the parties’
interests.
In using the collaboration and ADR processes, it is important to be aware of the situations where
FACA does or does not apply so that an informed decision can be made to either avoid conflict
with FACA, to utilize the resources of a RAC, or pursue a FACA charter for any advisory groups
(see Appendix B). Failure to review collaborative planning efforts and the requirements of
FACA could result in land use plans being overturned if challenged in court. The Congress
passed FACA in 1972 to reduce narrow, special-interest group influence on decision makers, to
foster equal access for the public to the decision-making process, and to control costs by
preventing the establishment of unnecessary advisory committees.
E. Coordination and Cooperation with Other Federal Agencies and State and Local
Governments
FLPMA and NEPA provide BLM managers with complementary directives regarding
coordination and cooperation with other agencies and governments. FLPMA emphasizes the
need to insure coordination and consistency with the plans and policies of other relevant
jurisdictions. NEPA provides for what is essentially a cooperative relationship between a lead
agency (here, normally BLM) and cooperating agencies in the NEPA process.
(Consultation requirements for specific resources and programs are outlined in Appendix C,
under the Notices, Consultations, and Hearings subsections.)
1. Coordination under FLPMA
Section 202(c)(9) of FLPMA, as paraphrased, requires the BLM to provide for involvement of
other Federal agencies and state and local government officials in developing land use decisions
for public lands, including early public notice of proposed decisions that may have a significant
effect on lands other than BLM-administered Federal lands (for coordination with Indian Tribes,
see Section F following this section). Note that FACA does not apply to meetings with other
governmental entities. Coordination must start as early in the land use planning process as is
practical and must continue throughout the planning effort. This process of early coordination
and involvement by other Federal agencies and state and local governments is often, but not
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always, formalized through various memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between the State
Director and the state or regional heads of other Federal agencies, between the State Director and
the Governor, or between BLM Field Managers and local municipalities, communities, counties,
or burroughs. The intent of a MOU is to establish points of contact and protocols for
coordination between BLM and its partners. Regardless of whether an MOU is used as a tool for
consistency, the principles of collaborative planning must be used in coordinating with these
entities. The BLM can also seek involvement and coordination from associations of elected
officials.
Section 202(c)(9) of FLPMA also requires, to the extent practical, that BLM keep itself informed
of other Federal agency and state and local land use plans, assure that consideration is given to
those plans that are germane to the development of BLM land use plan decisions, and assist in
resolving inconsistencies between Federal and non-Federal plans. The key is ongoing, long-term
relationships where information is continually shared and updated.
Many municipalities, communities, and counties have established community advisory boards,
county commissions, planning boards, public land use advisory committees, or other similar
planning and advisory groups. In some cases a state may have a Federal lands or policy liaison.
These organizations and officials should be actively engaged from the beginning of the planning
effort. The BLM may invite other Federal agencies and state and local governments to be
involved as formal cooperating agencies. In planning efforts led by another agency or
government entity, the BLM can be a cooperating agency.
Involving state and local government in developing land use decisions may require the BLM to
be “at the table” with the various land use boards of the state or local government. In principle,
coordination with and involvement of other Federal agencies and state and local government
goes far beyond merely providing briefings on the status of any planning effort. In practice,
however, staffing and resource constraints by other agencies and local governments may limit
their involvement. BLM’s plans shall be consistent with other Federal agency, state, and local
plans to the maximum extent consistent with Federal law and FLPMA provisions. All BLM land
use plans or plan amendments and revisions must undergo a 60-day Governor’s consistency
review prior to final approval. BLM’s procedures for the Governor’s consistency review are
found in the planning regulations in 43 CFR 1610.3-2(e).
When other Federal agencies and state and local governments initiate planning efforts that may
affect or be affected by BLM’s management decisions, the BLM should collaborate in such
planning efforts to the extent possible.
2. Cooperating agency status under NEPA
Cooperating agency status provides a formal framework for governmental units—local, state,
Tribal, or Federal—to engage in active collaboration with a lead Federal agency to implement
the requirements of NEPA. This guidance supplements CEQ regulations on cooperating agency
status.
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In principle, a cooperating agency shares the responsibility with the lead agency for organizing
the planning process. Within the constraints of time and resources, cooperating agency staff
should be encouraged to participate fully with BLM staff as members of the plan/EIS team.
Responsibilities of a cooperating agency may include:
• Formal involvement in scoping and sharing the responsibility for defining and framing
the issues to be examined in the NEPA process;
• developing information and analysis for which the agency has particular expertise;
• contributing staff to enhance the interdisciplinary team's capabilities; and
• bearing the costs of its own participation.
When properly conducted, the lead agency/cooperating agency relationship provides mutual
benefits. From the BLM’s perspective the goals of the cooperating agency relationship include:
• Gaining early and consistent involvement of key governmental partners;
• incorporating local knowledge of economic, social, and political conditions;
• addressing intergovernmental issues;
• avoiding duplication of effort;
• enhancing the local credibility of the review process; and
• building relationships of trust and collaboration for long-term mutual gain.
a. Criteria for cooperating agency status. The CEQ defines cooperating agency in regulations
implementing NEPA, particularly at 40 CFR 1501.6 and 1508.5. CEQ regulations specify that a
Federal agency, state agency, local government, or Tribal government may qualify as a
cooperating agency because of “. . . jurisdiction by law or special expertise.”
1) Jurisdiction by law means “. . . agency authority to approve, veto, or finance all or
part of the proposal.” (40 CFR 1508.15)
2) Special expertise means “. . . statutory responsibility, agency mission, or related
program experience.” (40 CFR 1508.26)
BLM has interpreted the definition of special expertise broadly. For example, county or Tribal
governments potentially affected by a BLM planning effort would qualify on this basis through
their knowledge of local social, economic, and political conditions.
Cooperating agency status is at the request of the lead Federal agency. Another Federal agency
having “jurisdiction by law” in the matters subject to the NEPA process must serve as a
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cooperating agency when so requested. A Federal agency qualifying through “special expertise,”
or a state, local, or Tribal government qualifying under either criterion may accept or decline a
request to serve as a cooperating agency (40 CFR 1501.6, 1508.5).
Whether or not a federally-recognized Tribe enters into a cooperating agency relationship, its
fundamental connection to the BLM is based on Tribal sovereignty, manifested through the
government-to-government relationship.
b. Responsibilities of BLM managers. Before BLM begins the scoping process to develop,
revise, or amend (EIS-level amendments only) an RMP, the State Director or Field Manager will
invite qualifying Federal agencies and state, local, and Tribal governments to participate as
cooperating agencies. State Directors and Field Managers will consider any requests from other
Federal agencies and state, local, and Tribal governments for cooperating agency status. Field
Managers who deny such requests will inform the State Director of the denial. The State
Director will determine if the denial is appropriate.
c. Role of cooperating agencies in the RMP/EIS process. It is BLM policy to encourage the
involvement of cooperating agencies throughout the planning/EIS process, although practical
limitations in cooperating agencies’ time, resources, and expertise may make full involvement
impractical. Field Managers should encourage the collaboration of cooperating agencies in
identifying issues, developing planning criteria, collecting inventory data, analyzing data for the
analysis of the management situation, formulating alternatives, and estimating the effects of
alternatives. Field Managers should also collaborate with cooperating agencies in evaluating the
alternatives and developing a preferred alternative. Notwithstanding such collaborative efforts,
the designation of a preferred alternative and the final decision remains the exclusive
responsibility of the BLM.
Roles and responsibilities of each party should be formalized and clearly described in a MOU.
The key elements of a cooperating agency MOU are outlined below.
Introduction:
• Describes the planning/EIS effort, and the major statutory and regulatory
requirements it fulfills
• Identifies the government entities assuming cooperating agency status through the
MOU, and their qualifications as defined at 40 CFR 1508.15 and 1508.26:
jurisdiction, special expertise, or jurisdiction and special expertise
Purpose (describes what will be accomplished by the MOU):
Authorities:
• Identifies the principal statutory authorities for the BLM to enter into the MOU
• Identifies the principal statutory authorities for the cooperating agencies to enter into
the MOU
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Roles and responsibilities:
• The roles of each party in the planning process, including contractors if applicable
• Particular interests and areas of expertise of the cooperating agencies relative to the
plan
• Procedures for information sharing and confidentiality
• How the cooperating agencies’ comments, recommendations, and data will be used in
the planning process
• Resource commitments
• Anticipated schedule
• How final decisions will be adopted by the cooperating agencies (as applicable)
• Any other expectations of the parties
Agency representatives (usually enumerated in an attachment):
Administration of the MOU:
• How disagreements will be resolved
• How the MOU may be modified or terminated
• Acknowledgement that the authority and responsibilities of the parties under their
respective jurisdictions are not altered by the MOU
F. Government-to-Government Coordination with Indian Tribes
The BLM will provide government officials of federally-recognized Tribes with opportunities to
comment on and to participate in the development of land use plans. The BLM will consider
comments, notify consulted Tribes of final decisions, and inform them of how their comments
were addressed in those decisions. At a minimum, officials of federally-recognized Tribal
governments must be offered the same level of involvement as state and county officials. It is
recommended that coordination take place as early as possible and before official notifications
are made. Land use plans and coordination activities must address the following:
1. Consistency with Tribal plans
Section 202(c)(9) of FLPMA requires the BLM to coordinate plan preparation for public lands
with plans for lands controlled by Indian Tribes, so that the BLM’s plans are consistent with
Tribes' plans for managing Tribal resources to the extent possible, consistent with Federal law.
This coordination allows the BLM and Tribes to develop management prescriptions for a larger
land base than either agency can address by itself.
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2. Protection of treaty rights
Land use plans must address the protection of treaty rights assured to Indian Tribes concerning
Tribal uses of public lands and resources (such treaty rights in the West are generally limited to
Northwestern Tribes who were subject to the Stevens Treaties of the 1850s).
3. Observance of specific planning coordination authorities
In addition to the FLPMA consistency provisions discussed above, the land use planning
process, where applicable, must comply with the following statutes and Executive orders:
a. Section 101(d)(6) of the National Historic Preservation Act. This act requires the BLM to
consult with Indian Tribes when historic properties of traditional religious or cultural importance
to a Tribe would be affected by BLM decision-making.
b. The American Indian Religious Freedom Act. This act requires the BLM to protect and
preserve the freedom of American Indians and Alaska Natives in exercising their traditional
religions, including access to sites and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and
traditional rites.
c. Executive Order 13007 (Indian Sacred Sites). This requires the BLM to accommodate access
to and use of sacred sites and to avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of sacred sites to
the extent practicable, permitted by law, and not inconsistent with essential agency functions.
The BLM must ensure reasonable notice is provided to Tribes, through government-to-
government relations, of proposed actions or land management policies that may restrict future
access to or ceremonial uses of, or adversely affect the physical integrity of, sacred sites,
including proposed land disposals.
d. Executive Order 12898 (Environmental Justice). This requires the BLM to take into account
the relevant CEQ guidelines and Department of the Interior policies and goals (see Appendix D,
Table D-4).
In some cases, Native American or Tribal interests are represented by certain advocacy groups
that have a “quasi-governmental” authority or interest, but that are not federally recognized.
There is no statutory, fiduciary trust, or government-to-government relationship with these
groups that requires consultation. These groups are consulted by BLM on the same level as any
other nongovernmental organization or advocacy group using the principles of collaboration.
See BLM Manual 8120 and BLM Handbook H-8120-1 for specific guidance on Native
American consultation. See Departmental Manual 512 DM 2 (Departmental Responsibilities for
Indian Trust Resources).
Land use plans and their accompanying EISs must identify potential effects on Indian trust
resources, trust assets, or Tribal health and safety. Any effect must be explicitly identified and
documented in the land use plan, including appropriate mitigation where possible.
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II. Land Use Plan Decisions
A. Introduction
Decisions in land use plans guide future land management actions and subsequent site-specific
implementation decisions. These land use plan decisions establish goals and objectives for
resource management (desired outcomes) and the measures needed to achieve these goals and
objectives (management actions and allowable uses). Section 202(c) of FLPMA (43 U.S.C.
1712) requires that in developing land use plans, the BLM:
1. Use and observe the principles of multiple use and sustained yield;
2. use a systematic interdisciplinary approach to integrate physical, biological, economic,
and other sciences;
3. give priority to designating and protecting areas of critical environmental concern
(ACECs);
4. rely, to the extent available, on an inventory of public lands, their resources, and other
values;
5. consider present and potential uses of public lands;
6. consider the relative scarcity of the values involved and the availability of alternative
means and sites for realizing those values;
7. weigh long-term benefits to the public against short-term benefits;
8. provide for compliance with applicable Tribal, Federal, and state pollution control
laws, standards, and implementation plans; and
9. to the extent consistent with the laws governing the administration of public lands,
coordinate the land use inventory, planning, and management activities of public lands
with land use planning and management programs of other Federal departments/agencies
and state/local governments, as well as the policies of approved Tribal and state land
resource management programs. The BLM must, to the extent practical, assure that
consideration is given to those Tribal, state, and local plans that are germane in the
development of land use plans for public lands. Land use plans must be consistent with
state and local plans to the maximum extent consistent with Federal law. Refer to
FLPMA for the full text of Federal responsibilities detailed under Section 202(c)(9).
Where there are competing resource uses and values in the same area, Section 103(c) of FLPMA
(43 U.S.C. 1702(c)) requires that the BLM manage the public lands and their various resource
values so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet multiple use and sustained
yield mandates.
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Land use plan decisions are made according to the procedures in the BLM’s planning regulations
in 43 CFR 1600 and the implementing regulations for NEPA in 40 CFR 1500-1508. Before land
use plan decisions are finalized and selected, they must be presented to the public as proposed
decisions and can be protested to the BLM Director under 43 CFR 1610.5-2 (see Appendix E).
B. Types of Land Use Plan Decisions
Land use plan decisions for public lands fall into two categories: desired outcomes (goals and
objectives) and allowable (including restricted or prohibited) uses and actions anticipated to
achieve desired outcomes.
1. Desired outcomes
Land use plans must identify desired outcomes expressed in terms of specific goals and
objectives. Goals and objectives direct the BLM’s actions in most effectively meeting legal
mandates; numerous regulatory responsibilities; national policy, including the DOI Strategic
Plan goals; State Director guidance (see 43 CFR 1610.0-4(b)); and other resource or social
needs. Desired outcomes should be identified for and pertain to resources (such as natural,
biological, and cultural), resource uses, (such as energy and livestock grazing), and other factors
(such as social and economic conditions). Definitions and examples of goals and objectives are
listed below:
Goals are broad statements of desired outcomes (e.g., maintain ecosystem health and
productivity, promote community stability, ensure sustainable development) that usually are not
quantifiable. Since the release of the original Handbook, the BLM has worked with RACs to
develop Land Health Standards applicable to all ecosystems and management actions. These
Land Health Standards must be expressed as goals in the land use plan. Goals can also be drawn
from the Departmental and/or the DOI Strategic Plan or other sources. A sample goal for a Land
Health Standard is: “Maintain healthy, productive plant and animal communities of native and
other desirable species at viable population levels commensurate with the species and habitat’s
potential.” A sample goal from the Strategic Plan is: “Sustain desired biological communities
on Department of the Interior-managed and -influenced lands and waters in a manner consistent
with obligations regarding the allocation and use of water.” These goals, or modifications
thereof, could be used in a land use plan.
Objectives identify specific desired outcomes for resources. Objectives are usually quantifiable
and measurable and may have established timeframes for achievement (as appropriate). A
sample objective is: “Manage vegetative communities on the upland portion of the Clear Creek
Watershed to achieve, by 2020, an average 30 to 40 percent canopy cover of sagebrush to sustain
sagebrush-obligate species.” When quantified, the indicators associated with Land Health
Standards are one possible source of objectives.
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2. Allowable uses and management actions anticipated to achieve desired outcomes
(goals and objectives)
After establishing desired outcomes, the BLM identifies allowable uses (land use allocations)
and management actions for different alternatives that are anticipated to achieve the goals and
objectives.
a. Allowable uses. Land use plans must identify uses, or allocations, that are allowable,
restricted, or prohibited on the public lands and mineral estate. These allocations identify surface
lands and/or subsurface mineral interests where uses are allowed, including any restrictions that
may be needed to meet goals and objectives. Land use plans also identify lands where specific
uses are excluded to protect resource values. Certain lands may be open or closed to specific
uses based on legislative, regulatory, or policy requirements or criteria to protect sensitive
resource values. If land use plan decisions close areas of 100,000 acres or greater in size to a
principal or major use for 2 years or more, Congress must be notified of the closure upon its
implementation as prescribed in 43 CFR 1610.6.
The land use plan must set the stage for identifying site-specific resource use levels. Site-
specific use levels are normally identified during subsequent implementation planning or the
permit authorization process. At the land use plan level, it is important to identify reasonable
development scenarios for allowable uses such as mineral leasing, locatable mineral
development, recreation, timber harvest, utility corridors, and livestock grazing to enable the
orderly implementation of future actions. These scenarios provide a context for the land use
plan’s decisions and an analytical base for the NEPA analysis. The BLM may also establish
criteria in the land use plan to guide the identification of site-specific use levels for activities
during plan implementation.
b. Management actions. Land use plans must identify the actions anticipated to achieve desired
outcomes, including actions to maintain, restore, or improve land health. These actions include
proactive measures (e.g., measures that will be taken to enhance watershed function and
condition), as well as measures or criteria that will be applied to guide day-to-day activities
occurring on public land. Land use plans also establish administrative designations such as
ACECs, recommend proposed withdrawals, land tenure zones, and recommend or make findings
of suitability for congressional designations (such as components of the National Wild and
Scenic River System).
While protection and restoration opportunities and priorities are often related to managing
specific land uses (such as commodity extraction, recreation, or rights-of-way corridors), they
can be independent of these types of uses as well. In certain instances, it is insufficient to simply
remove or limit a certain use, because unsatisfactory resource conditions may have developed
over long periods of time that will not correct themselves without management intervention. For
example, where exotic invasive species are extensive, active restoration may be necessary to
allow native plants to reestablish and prosper. In these cases, identifying restoration
opportunities and setting restoration priorities are critical parts of the land use planning process.
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Appendix C provides additional program-specific guidance for developing land use plan
decisions.
C. Geographic Areas
A variety of different geographic areas are associated with planning:
Planning Area. The geographic area within which the BLM will make decisions during a
planning effort. A planning area boundary includes all lands regardless of jurisdiction; however
the BLM will only make decisions on lands that fall under the BLM’s jurisdiction (including
subsurface minerals). Unless the State Director determines otherwise, the planning area for a
RMP is the geographic area associated with a particular field office (43 CFR 1610.1(b)). State
Directors may also establish regional planning areas that encompass several field offices and/or
states, as necessary.
Decision Area. The lands within a planning area for which the BLM has authority to make land
use and management decisions. In general, the BLM has jurisdiction over all BLM-administered
lands (surface and subsurface) and over the subsurface minerals only in areas of split estate
(areas where the BLM administers Federal subsurface minerals, but the surface is owned by a
non-Federal entity, such as State Trust Land or private land).
Analysis Area. Any lands, regardless of jurisdiction, for which the BLM synthesizes, analyzes,
and interprets data and information that relates to planning for BLM-administered lands.
Analyses that extend beyond the planning area boundary allow management decisions to be
made within the context of overall resource conditions and trends within the surrounding area,
considering local, state, other Federal, and Tribal plans. Examples of such information include
the relative significance of BLM lands for a certain resource (such as a threatened or endangered
species), or the anticipated impacts to resources (such as air quality, socio-economics) based on
activities on BLM-administered lands. The analysis areas can be any size, can vary according to
resource, and can be located anywhere within, around, partially outside, or completely outside
the planning or decision areas.
D. Scales of Planning
Planning and decision making may vary geographically (regional versus site-specific) or
temporally (short-term versus long-term), providing a comprehensive basis for implementing
resource management actions.
Planning at multiple scales may be necessary to resolve issues for a geographic area that is
different from the planning area for the RMP. For example, if broad-scale (regional) analysis
identifies issues such as invasive weeds that cross BLM field office boundaries or other
jurisdictional boundaries, desired outcomes and management actions in a planning area may be
described and addressed in the context of the broader landscape.
Information presented at multiple scales also helps the BLM to understand priority resource
issues, tailor decisions to specific needs and circumstances, and analyze cumulative impacts.
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When establishing goals and objectives and making management decisions, it is also important
to consider temporal scales. Some natural processes affected by decisions may occur over very
long timeframes. For example, complete restoration of a degraded habitat may take much
longer than the typical time span of a land use plan.
E. Multijurisdictional Planning
Within a planning area, the BLM surface lands and subsurface mineral estate interests are often
intermingled with non-Federal mineral estate, or with lands that are managed by or under the
jurisdiction of Tribal, state, or local governments or other Federal agencies. As an outgrowth of
these landownership patterns and responsibilities, other governmental entities and BLM have
increasingly sought to coordinate their decisions and plans.
Multijurisdictional planning assists land use planning efforts where there is a mix of
landownership and government authorities and there are opportunities to develop complementary
decisions across jurisdictional boundaries. Planning can be accomplished for subbasins, entire
watersheds, or other landscape units. A multijurisdictional plan may include both land use and
implementation decisions that are germane to each jurisdiction involved in the planning effort.
However, the BLM still retains authority for decisions affecting the public lands it administers.
The BLM office leading or participating in a multijurisdictional plan must assure conformance
with the BLM’s planning regulations, as well as all other applicable laws and regulations for the
BLM-administered lands. This can be accomplished by completing the notification, public
review, and procedural requirements of 43 CFR 1600 and 40 CFR 1500-1508 as part of the
multijurisdictional planning effort. Where BLM becomes a cooperating agency for
implementation actions in conformance with the existing land use plan, the lead agency’s
planning process may be followed provided that NEPA requirements are met.
In cases where the BLM-administered lands make up a small part of the planning area for a
multijurisdictional planning effort, it may be desirable for other jurisdictional interests to lead the
planning effort. The BLM may act as a cooperating agency’s facilitator, convener, leader, or
participant, as appropriate, to encourage positive relationships and to develop a mutual
understanding of resource conditions and multiple-use management options. In some cases, law
may define the lead role. In most cases, planning procedures of Tribal, state, or local
governments and other Federal agencies will differ from those of the BLM. Therefore,
successful multijurisdictional planning efforts are normally guided by MOUs, which clearly
delineate lines of authority and roles and responsibilities for all participants, including the BLM.
F. Establishing Management Direction for Lands That May Come Under the BLM
Jurisdiction in the Future
If it is foreseeable that the BLM will acquire management responsibility for certain parcels of
land through purchase, exchange, withdrawal revocation, administrative transfers, or some other
means, then the BLM can establish management direction for these lands, contingent on their
acquisition, in conjunction with planning efforts on adjacent or similar BLM-administered lands.
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If acquired lands are surrounded by or adjacent to BLM lands, the BLM can extend applicable
land use plan decisions, through plan maintenance (see 43 CFR 1610.5-4), to these lands after
they are acquired without completing a plan amendment, as long as there are no unresolved
management issues associated with the newly acquired lands. In some cases, regulatory
requirements may dictate a plan amendment be completed, such as when establishing or
modifying boundaries of ACECs.
III. Land Use Planning Process and Products
Planning requirements vary depending on the type of planning efforts and the level of
environmental analysis needed. There are three types of planning efforts:
1. New plans. A set of decisions for an area previously managed by an entity other than
the BLM, or for an area previously managed by the BLM under a MFP (the land use plan
predecessor to the present-day RMP).
2. Plan revisions. A complete or near-complete rewrite of an existing RMP.
3. Plan amendments. A modification of one or more parts (e.g., decisions about
livestock grazing) of an existing RMP.
The level of environmental analysis differs by the type of planning effort, as shown in Table III-
1.
Table III-1.—Planning efforts and required NEPA analysis
Type of planning effort
Type of associated NEPA document required
New plans
▪ EIS
Plan revisions
▪ EIS
Plan amendments
▪ EIS or EA/FONSI: Depends on the scope of the planning effort and on the
anticipated impacts.
A. Planning for Environmental Impact Statement-level Efforts
Figure 1 shows required planning steps for EIS-level planning efforts, followed by a description
of each step.
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F
igure 1.—EIS-level planning efforts: Required steps for new plans, revisions, and amendments
3
Issue NOI
1
to prepare the
RMP(amendment)/EIS and
start scoping
Analyze the
Management Situation
Document results in an
analysis of the management
situation (AMS)
Conduct Scoping
Provide a minimum 30-day
comment period on issues and
planning criteria
Document results in a
scoping report
Prepare a Draft RMP
(Amendment)/Draft EIS
Formulate Alternatives
Analyze Effects of Alternatives
Publish NOA
1
& provide a
90+-day public comment period
Publish NOA
1
, provide a 30-day
protest period, and resolve
protests
Provide a 60-day Governor’s
Consistency Review period
2
NOTES
1) The chart shows
minimum planning
requirements according to
law, regulation, or BLM
policy. BLM managers
can go beyond these
requirements as needed or
desired.
2) Boxes around steps
indicate required
documents.
3) Inventory of resource
extent and condition should
occur as needed, but is
most useful prior to the
analysis of the
management situation.
Abbreviations:
EIS Environmental
Impact Statement
NOI Notice of Intent
NOA Notice of
Availability
RMP Resource
Management Plan
1
BLM must publish a notice in
the Federal Register.
2
States can negotiate a shorter
review period with the Governor.
3
If changes are significant, issue a
notice of significant change and
provide a 30-day comment period.
Implement, Monitor, and
Evaluate Plan Decisions
Select a Preferred Alternative
Prepare to Plan
Write a preparation plan
Prepare Record of Decision/Approved RMP
(Amendment)
Prepare a Proposed RMP
(Amendment)/Final EIS
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1. Prepare to plan
The preparation plan is more than merely a vehicle to secure planning funds. A properly
prepared preparation plan provides the foundation for the entire planning process by identifying
the preliminary issues to be addressed, the skills needed to address them, a preliminary budget
that can be used for the cost estimate, preliminary planning criteria, and data and metadata
available and needed. If the plan is to be contracted, the preparation plan also forms the basis for
the statement of work. Offices should use a full interdisciplinary team to develop a realistic
preparation plan. If the plan is to be contracted, include the procurement staff on the
interdisciplinary team.
It is important that the preparation plans use the principles of project management and address
the findings in the existing plan evaluation. A comprehensive preparation plan provides
management direction, oversight, structure, cost estimate, and focus for the planning process.
Preparation plans should be as brief and concise as possible.
PRODUCT: PREPARATION PLAN—Appendix F-1 (Recommended Format for Preparation
Plans) contains a more detailed outline and discussion of specific components for a preparation
plan.
2. Issue a notice of intent to prepare the RMP (amendment)/EIS and start scoping
At the earliest opportunity, the BLM should notify the public, Indian Tribes, other Federal
agencies, and state and local governments about its intent to engage in land use planning for a
given area. BLM managers should take whatever measures they feel necessary to ensure all
interested parties are notified of upcoming planning actions. At a minimum, however, the BLM
must distribute two types of notices.
a. Publish a notice of intent (NOI) in the Federal Register. The BLM must publish a
NOI in the Federal Register prior to scoping to announce its decision to prepare an EIS
(and associated planning document) (40 CFR 1501.7). The NOI should identify
preliminary issues and planning criteria (see the following Conduct Scoping section).
b. Distribute scoping notices. Simultaneously with the Federal Register NOI, the BLM
should submit a scoping notice to Federal agencies, state agencies, the heads of county
boards, other local government units, and Tribal chairmen or Alaska Native leaders and
any other entities/individuals who have requested such notice or the Field Manager has
reason to believe would be concerned with the planning effort (43 CFR 1610.3-1(d)).
BLM should request the current status of government entities’ officially approved or
adopted resource-related plans, and the policies and programs contained therein.
Publication of the NOI in the Federal Register formally initiates the plan development, revision,
or amendment process and begins the scoping process. Information discussions with cooperators
(or potential cooperators), RACs, Tribes and other groups may occur before formal scoping
begins.
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3. Conduct scoping
Scoping is a requirement of both the NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1501.7) and the BLM planning
regulations (43 CFR 1610.2 and 43 CFR 1610.4-1). The land use planning process is issue-
driven. Scoping is a collaborative public involvement process to identify planning issues to be
addressed in the planning process. Planning issues are disputes or controversies about existing
and potential land and resource allocations, levels of resource use, production, and related
management practices. Issues include resource use, development, and protection opportunities
for consideration in the preparation of the RMP. These issues may stem from new information
or changed circumstances, and the need to reassess the appropriate mix of allowable uses.
Planning issues are addressed in and provide major focus for the development of alternatives (see
Section III(A)(5), Formulate alternatives).
Scoping also involves the introduction of preliminary planning criteria to the public for
comment. Planning criteria guide development of the plan by helping define the decision space
(or the “sideboards” that define the scope of the planning effort); they are generally based upon
applicable laws, Director and State Director guidance, and the results of public and governmental
participation (43 CFR 1610.4-2). Examples of planning criteria include but are not limited to the
following:
a. The plan will be completed in compliance with FLPMA, NEPA, and all other relevant
Federal law, Executive orders, and management policies of the BLM;
b. where existing planning decisions are still valid, those decisions may remain
unchanged and be incorporated into the new RMP (or amendment);
c. the plans will recognize valid existing rights; and
d. Native American Tribal consultations will be conducted in accordance with policy and
Tribal concerns will be given due consideration. The planning process will include the
consideration of any impacts on Indian trust assets.
PRODUCT: SCOPING REPORT—The BLM must document the results of scoping (43 CFR
1610.2(d)). Field offices must either write a scoping report to capture public input in one
document (recommended), or include the results of scoping in the Analysis of the Management
Situation (AMS) (see following Section III(A)(4)). The documentation must summarize the
individual comments received during the formal scoping period of the planning process. It must
also describe the issues and management concerns from public scoping meetings, internal
scoping meetings, and those included in the preparation plan. See Appendix F-2 (Recommended
Format for Scoping Reports).
4. Analyze the management situation
The BLM must analyze available inventory data and other information to characterize the
resource area profile, portray the existing management situation, and identify management
opportunities to respond to identified issues. This analysis provides, consistent with multiple use
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principles, the basis for formulating reasonable alternatives, including the types of resources for
development or protection (43 CFR 1610.4-4).
The analysis should (as briefly and concisely as possible) describe the current conditions and
trends of the resources and the uses/activities in the planning area to provide information for the
affected environment, provide the basis for the no action/present management alternative, and to
create a framework from which to resolve the planning issues through the development of
alternatives. The analysis should describe the status, or present characteristics and condition of
the public land; the status of physical and biological processes that affect ecosystem function; the
condition of individual components such as soil, water, vegetation, and wildlife habitat; and the
relative value and scarcity of the resources. The analysis should also address social and
economic conditions that influence how people, communities, and economies interact with the
ecosystem. Appendix D provides additional detail on addressing social science and economic
considerations in the land use planning process in the context of the larger landscape.
PRODUCT: ANALYSIS OF THE MANAGEMENT SITUATION—Field offices should
produce a report called the analysis of the management situation (AMS). Field offices are
encouraged to make a summary of the AMS findings (or the entire report) available to the public.
Parts of the AMS should easily translate into the introduction chapter, the no action and action
alternatives, and the affected environment chapter of the EIS.
Formulation of the AMS can begin as soon as the planning project is approved. Documentation
supporting the AMS should be maintained in the field office for public review. The AMS
document can be made available to the public during or after scoping. The scoping report can
also be included in a published summary of the AMS if desired. See Appendix F-3 (Annotated
Outline of the Analysis of the Management Situation) for additional guidance.
5. Formulate alternatives
Considering a reasonable range of alternatives helps the BLM and its partners understand the
various ways of addressing the planning issues and different scenarios for management of the
resources and uses in the planning area. Development of alternatives should draw on the
management opportunities identified in the AMS. Each alternative includes desired outcomes
(goals and objectives), and the allowable uses and actions anticipated to achieve those outcomes.
It is important to keep in mind the following about alternative formulation:
a. The BLM must consider all reasonable alternatives, including the no action alternative
(the continuation of present levels or systems of resource use). Some alternatives,
including the no action alternative, may be developed for detailed study, while others are
considered but not analyzed in detail. Both types of alternatives are described in the
RMP/EIS. Rationale should be briefly described to document why certain alternatives
were not studied in detail (43 CFR 1610.4-5). An example may be that one alternative is
a reasonable variation of an existing alternative analyzed in detail.
b. Reasonable alternatives analyzed in detail meet the purpose and need of the project
and can be feasibly carried out based on estimated cost, logistics, technology, and social,
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and environmental factors. An alternative may be considered reasonable even if it is
outside the legal jurisdiction of the BLM because it may serve as the basis for modifying
congressional approval in light of the analysis (40 CFR 1502.14(c); Forty Questions No.
2(b)).
c. Each fully-developed alternative represents a different land use plan that addresses
and/or resolves the identified planning issues in different ways.
d. Each alternative will include a different suite of potential planning decisions to
address the issues. Some potential planning decisions may be common to multiple, or all
alternatives.
e. Goals typically pertain to all alternatives (will not vary by alternative). Objectives,
allowable uses, and management actions may (1) be consistent across alternatives, and/or
(2) vary by alternative. A plan could include some objectives that vary by alternative,
and other objectives that are consistent across alternatives.
f. Goals typically apply to the entire planning area. Objectives, allowable uses, and
management actions may (1) apply to the planning area as a whole, and/or (2) be specific
to certain geographic areas, such as those listed below:
1. Landscape-level systems (such as ecosystems and watersheds);
2. specific resources (such as threatened and endangered species and cultural
sites);
3. areas (such as allotments and special management units); and
4. areas needing restoration or maintenance in order to meet land health
standards.
g. All components of an individual alternative must be complementary. Desired
outcomes, allowable uses, and management actions can (and probably will) conflict from
one alternative to the next. However, they must not conflict within any one alternative.
For example, an alternative should not allow all lands open to oil and gas leasing while
having all lands designated as Visual Resource Management Class I or II.
h. When identifying allowable uses in alternatives, consider resource development
potential, levels of use, and restrictions to best achieve the identified goals and objectives
(see Analysis of the Management Situation above). These uses and restrictions are based
on resource protection needs and social and economic factors, and represent the most
appropriate mix of uses and protections for the resources in the planning area. Different
protection and restoration measures and the availability of areas for certain uses, levels of
uses, and restrictions are presented in alternatives.
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i. In developing alternatives, the BLM must consider the relative scarcity of the values
involved and the availability of alternative means and sites for realizing those values (43
U.S.C. 1712(c)(6)).
j. Alternatives should be developed in an open, collaborative manner, to the extent
possible.
6. Analyze the effects of alternatives
The BLM must estimate and describe the physical, biological, economic, and social effects of
implementing each alternative considered in detail, including the no action alternative (43 CFR
1610.4-6). This analysis should provide adequate information to evaluate the direct, indirect,
and cumulative impacts of each alternative in order to determine the best mix of potential
planning decisions to achieve the identified goals and objectives (the analysis should also
specifically address the attainment, or non-attainment, of Land Health Standards expressed as
goals). The assumptions and timeframes used for analysis purposes (such as reasonably
foreseeable development scenarios) should be documented. The effects are described in the draft
RMP (amendment)/draft EIS (see Section 8).
7. Select a preferred alternative
By evaluating the alternatives in the EIS, the BLM must determine which combination of
potential planning decisions contained in the alternatives best meets multiple use and sustained
yield mandates of Section 103(c) of FLPMA (43 U.S.C. 1702(c)). If any one alternative
contains the desired combination of potential planning decisions, then that alternative should be
identified as the preferred alternative. If the combination of potential planning decisions is
drawn from different alternatives, then those potential planning decisions should be compiled
into a new alternative (identified as the preferred alternative) and the impacts analyzed
accordingly.
The preferred alternative should:
a. Meet statutory requirements;
b. represent the best combination of decisions to achieve the goals and policies of the
BLM as reflected through the DOI’s Strategic Plan and State Director guidance; and
c. best respond to the purpose and need and best resolve the issues pertinent to the
planning effort.
These and other agreed-to selection criteria should be used in selecting the preferred alternative.
Development of criteria and evaluation of alternatives should include the involvement of RACs,
cooperators, and interested members of the public to the extent practical. The final decision to
select a preferred alternative, however, remains the exclusive responsibility of the BLM.
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The Field Manager recommends the preferred alternative to the State Director. The State
Director approves the selection of the preferred alternative along with the other alternatives
under consideration.
8. Prepare a draft RMP (amendment) and draft EIS
PRODUCT: DRAFT RMP (AMENDMENT)/DRAFT EIS—This document describes the
purpose and need for the plan, the affected environment, the alternatives for managing public
lands within the planning area (including the preferred alternative), the environmental impacts of
those alternatives, and the consultation and coordination in which the BLM engaged in
developing the plan. See Appendix F-4 (Annotated Outline for a Draft and Final RMP
[Amendment]/EIS).
9. Publish a notice of availability and provide a public comment period
The BLM must provide at least 90 days for the public to comment on the draft RMP
(amendment) and draft EIS. This public comment period officially starts with the Environmental
Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) publication of a NOA for the document in the Federal Register (43
CFR 1610.2(e)). The BLM also publishes a NOA in the Federal Register to provide information
not contained in the EPA’s NOA about the project, comment period, contact information, and
other supplemental information. The BLM may also announce the start of the comment period
(and the dates, times, and locations of public meetings) through other mechanisms, such as press
releases, planning bulletins or newsletters, direct mailings and e-mailings, and Internet postings.
Public comments may be submitted in a variety of forms, including written, electronic, and oral.
The BLM must assess and consider all comments received (similar or “like” comments may be
grouped for analysis). The BLM responds to public comments by one of the following ways (40
CFR 1503.4):
a. Modifying alternatives, including the proposed plan;
b. developing and evaluating alternatives not previously given serious consideration;
c. supplementing, improving, or modifying analysis;
d. making factual corrections; and
e. explaining why comments do not warrant further response, citing the sources,
authorities, or reasons that support the agency’s position, and, if appropriate, indicate
those circumstances that would trigger reappraisal or further response.
Although the BLM is not required to write to individual commenters to explain how their
comments were addressed, it is required to respond to substantive comments and include the
response in the proposed RMP (amendment) and final EIS. Nonsubstantive comments are those
that include opinions, assertions, and unsubstantiated claims. Substantive comments are those
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that reveal new information, missing information, or flawed analysis that would substantially
change conclusions.
10. Prepare a proposed RMP (amendment) and final EIS
PRODUCT: PROPOSED RMP (AMENDMENT)/FINAL EIS—The proposed RMP
(amendment) and final EIS builds on the draft RMP (amendment) and draft EIS to include
appropriate responses to public comments received on the draft RMP (amendment) and draft EIS
as well as a description (either verbatim or summary) of the comments received. It also corrects
errors in the draft RMP/EIS identified through the public comment process and internal BLM
review. The proposed RMP and final EIS may also contain modification to the alternatives and
the accompanying impact analysis contained in the draft RMP/EIS. However, substantial
changes to the proposed action, or significant new information/circumstances collected during
the comment period would require supplements to either the draft or final EIS (40 CFR
1502.9(c)). The proposed RMP (amendment)/final EIS should clearly show the changes from
the draft RMP (amendment)/draft EIS. The proposed RMP/final EIS should also display land
use plan and implementation decisions (and clearly distinguish between the two types of
decisions). One way of doing this is in the Dear Reader Letter. See Appendix F-4 (Annotated
Outline for a Draft and Final RMP [Amendment]/EIS).
11. Publish a notice of availability, provide a protest period, and resolve protests
Issuance of the proposed RMP (amendment)/EIS officially occurs with the EPA’s publication of
a NOA for the document in the Federal Register. The BLM publishes a NOA as well, which
contains information about the project, protest period and filing instructions, contact information,
and other supplemental information not contained in the EPA’s NOA.
Individuals and entities have 30 days from the publication of EPA’s NOA of the document to file
a protest with the BLM Director. The protest period cannot be extended. The BLM must
resolve any protests on a proposed RMP (amendment)/final EIS before issuing a record of
decision (ROD). A ROD may be issued on any portion of the proposed RMP not protested, in
coordination with the Washington Office. See Appendix E (Summary of Protest and Appeal
Provisions).
12. Provide a Governor’s consistency review period
In addition to a 30-day protest period, the BLM must also provide a 60-day review period to the
Governor of the state in which the RMP (amendment) is being proposed to ensure consistency
with state and local plans, policies, and programs. The protest period and the Governor’s review
period should occur simultaneously in order to save time. Sending a print-ready copy to the
Governor at the same time the document goes to the printer will allow both periods to end at
about the same time. BLM state offices can potentially negotiate a shorter review period with
the Governor.
Any responses from a Governor on consistency must be resolved before the BLM issues a ROD.
If the Governor does not respond within the review period, the BLM can assume that the
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proposed land use plan (amendment) decisions are consistent (43 CFR 1610.3-2(e)). If the
Governor recommends changes in the proposed plan (amendment) that were not raised during
the public participation process, the State Director shall provide the public with an opportunity to
comment on the recommendations (43 CFR 1610.3-2(e)). This public comment opportunity will
be offered for 30 days and may coincide with the 30-day comment period for the notice of
significant change (see Section III(A)(13) below). If the State Director does not accept the
Governor’s recommendations, the Governor has 30 days to appeal in writing to the BLM
Director (43 CFR 1610.3-2(e)).
13. Determine need for a notice of significant change and provide a comment period if
necessary
The protest letters and comments from the Governor could result in the need to significantly
modify the proposed RMP (amendment)/final EIS. For planning purposes, “significant” is the
equivalent of “substantial” as used in 40 CFR 1502.9(c). If the change is significant, the BLM
must announce the intended changes to the public and provide a 30-day comment period.
Without this step, the public would not have an opportunity to understand and respond to the
potential change (43 CFR 1610.5-1(b) and 40 CFR 1505.2). The BLM must then respond to the
comments as described in previous Section III(A)(9).
Should the BLM issue a notice of significant change, it may also be necessary to issue a
supplemental proposed RMP (amendment)/ final EIS (see 40 CFR 1502.9(c)(1-4)).
14. Prepare a record of decision and approved RMP (amendment)
PRODUCT: RECORD OF DECISION /APPROVED RMP (AMENDMENT)—The ROD
/approved RMP (amendment) serves as a more concise and useful tool to land managers and
stakeholders than a cumbersome EIS. It is typically the proposed RMP (amendment) as
modified in response to protests, the Governor’s consistency review, or other considerations. It
describes the goals, objectives, and management actions for fulfilling the management direction
developed within the land use planning process.
An RMP (amendment) is officially approved when the State Director signs a ROD adopting the
RMP (amendment). The ROD should precede or coincide with the adoption of the RMP (40
CFR 1506.1(a)). The ROD, which provides the rationale for the decision (this should parallel the
rational for the preferred alternative, using the same criteria), should be published and released in
the same document with and reference the approved RMP (amendment). See Appendix F-5
(Annotated Outline for a Record of Decision/Approved RMP (Amendment)).
15. Implement, monitor, and evaluate plan decisions
See Sections IV and V of this Handbook.
B. Planning for Environmental Assessment-level Efforts
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The BLM completes environmental assessment (EA)-level planning efforts mainly for certain
types of plan amendments. In general, there are fewer planning steps involved in EA-level
planning. The number of steps and extent of work involved with each step varies with the
complexity of identified planning issues. Figure 2 shows the required and optional steps
associated with EA-level planning. Steps are required unless noted as optional (designated by
italics).
1. Prepare to plan (optional)
It is highly recommended that field offices engage in preplanning activities, though they are not
required. Field offices should complete preplanning steps necessary to help ensure efficient and
effective planning efforts. For example, field offices could write preparation plans similar to
those required for EIS-level planning efforts (see Section III(A)(1), Prepare to Plan and
Appendix F-1).
2. Issue a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare the RMP amendment and review planning
criteria
The BLM must publish an NOI in the Federal Register to initiate the start of the planning effort
(43 CFR 1610.2 (c)). The BLM can include the draft planning criteria in the NOI to solicit
public review of the criteria. Alternatively, the BLM can make the planning criteria available to
the public at a later date if desired (see following Section III(A)(3), Conduct Scoping). Note,
however, that public review of planning criteria is required at some point, whether at the time of
the NOI or at a later date.
3. Conduct scoping
Field offices must engage in an appropriate level of scoping activities. At a minimum, the BLM
must offer a 30-day public comment period on issues and planning criteria. Depending on the
local situation and planning issues, the BLM can also conduct a more involved scoping effort
and include a series of public meetings, for example.
The BLM must document the results of scoping either in a scoping report, the draft plan
amendment and EA or the proposed amendment/EA (if a draft plan amendment and EA is not
prepared).
4. Analyze the management situation (optional)
The BLM is not required to analyze the management situation or produce a report that describes
it. However, prior to formulating alternatives, the BLM should understand current conditions
and trends of the resources and the uses/activities that will relate to potential decisions in the plan
amendment. It is highly recommended that the BLM begin the process of gathering existing
data, and supplementing data as needed, early in the plan amendment process. This information
will create a solid base for analysis to support amending planning decisions. This could be
accomplished by reference to and/or augmenting the existing AMS.
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Prepare to Plan
Write a Preparation Plan
NOTES
Figure 2.—EA-level planning efforts: Required and optional planning steps
4
Issue NOI
1
to prepare the RMP
Amendment and review planning criteria
1) The chart shows required
and optional steps for EA-level
planning efforts.
Conduct Scoping
• Provide a minimum 30-day
comment period on issues and
planning criteria
Formulate Alternatives
Prepare a Proposed RMP
Amendment/EA/FONSI
Provide a minimum 30-day
public comment period
2
Provide a 30-day
protest period and resolve
protests
Provide a 60-day Governor’s
Consistency Review period
3
2) Steps in italics may be
appropriate in some cases but
are not required for EA-level
amendments. Steps in boxes
indicate required documents.
3) Inventory of resource extent
and condition should occur as
needed, but is most useful prior
to the analysis of the
management situation.
Abbreviations:
• EA Environmental
Assessment
• EIS Environmental Impact
Statement
• FONSI Finding of No
Significant Impact
• NOI Notice of Intent
• NOA Notice of
Availability
• RMP Resource
Management Plan
1
BLM must publish a notice in
the Federal Register.
2
For decisions involving areas
of critical environmental
concern, provide a 60-day
comment period and publish a
NOA in the Federal Register
(required).
3
States can negotiate a shorter
review period with the
Governor.
4
If changes are significant,
issue a notice of significant
change and provide a 30-day
comment period.
Implement, Monitor, and Evaluate
Plan Decisions
Prepare Decision Record/
RMP Amendment
Analyze Effects of Alternatives
Analyze the Management Situation
Document results in the analysis
of the management situation
(AMS)
Prepare a Draft RMP Amendment
and EA/FONSI
Document results in a
Scoping Report
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5. Formulate alternatives
The BLM must formulate appropriate alternatives for EA-level planning efforts. The process is
similar to that for EIS-level amendments.
6. Analyze the effects of alternatives
The BLM must also analyze the effects of alternatives.
7. Prepare a draft RMP amendment and EA/FONSI (optional)
The BLM must prepare a draft RMP amendment and EA/finding of no significant impact
(FONSI) when it is determined that a public review and comment period are appropriate (for
example, when proposed ACEC designations are being considered per 43 CFR 1610.7-2(b) or to
meet NEPA requirements under certain limited circumstances per 40 CFR 1501.4(e)(2).
Otherwise, a draft plan amendment is not required, and the BLM can simply go from analyzing
the effects of alternatives (step 6) to preparing a proposed RMP amendment/EA/FONSI (step 9).
The FONSI should be unsigned.
8. Provide a public comment period (optional)
If the BLM prepares a draft RMP amendment and EA/FONSI, it must offer a minimum 30-day
public comment period. The BLM must offer a 60-day comment period for potential decisions
regarding ACEC designation.
9. Prepare a proposed RMP amendment/EA/FONSI
The BLM must prepare a proposed RMP amendment/EA/FONSI for all EA-level planning
efforts. The proposed RMP amendment/EA/FONSI is typically arranged in an EIS format (with
chapters). The FONSI should be signed (if a FONSI cannot be signed, an EIS should be
initiated).
10. Provide a protest period and resolve protests
Like EIS-level planning efforts, EA-level efforts require a 30-day protest period. The protest
period cannot be extended. Since a NOA is not published in the Federal Register for EA-level
amendment, field offices are encouraged to widely notify the public (including publication of
legal notices in local newspapers) to announce the protest period. The BLM must resolve these
protests before issuing a decision record/RMP amendment. A decision record may be issued on
any portion of the proposed RMP amendment not protested, in coordination with the Washington
Office.
11. Provide a Governor’s consistency review period
Like EIS-level planning efforts, EA-level efforts require a 60-day Governor’s consistency review
period.
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12. Issue a notice of significant change and provide a 30-day public comment period (if
necessary)
This step is identical to that for EIS-level efforts.
13. Prepare a decision record/RMP amendment
The BLM issues the decision record/RMP amendment after it resolves all protests and any
potential consistency issues received from the Governor’s office. The decision record should
precede (or coincide with) the RMP amendment (40 CFR 1506.1).
14. Implement, monitor and evaluate plan decisions
See Sections IV and V of this Handbook.
IV. Implementation
A. Implementing Land Use Plans
When an approved land use plan or land use plan amendment decision document (i.e., ROD or
decision record) is signed, most of the land use plan decisions in the plan are effective
immediately and require no additional planning or NEPA analysis. See Appendix C for a listing
of program-specific land use plan decisions.
Some programs have specific requirements that must be taken in order to make certain decisions
effective. An example of a land use plan decision that requires an additional action for
implementation would be a recommendation to withdraw lands from entry under the mining
laws. Formal action requiring Secretarial-level review and decision making would follow if the
BLM planning process results in a withdrawal recommendation and the applicable regulations in
43 CFR 2300 are followed.
Upon approval of the land use plan, subsequent implementation decisions are put into effect by
developing implementation (activity-level or project-specific) plans. An activity-level plan
typically describes multiple projects in detail that will lead to on-the-ground action. These plans
traditionally focused on single resource programs (habitat management plans, allotment
management plans, recreation management plans, etc.). However, activity-level plans are
increasingly interdisciplinary and are focused on multiple resource program areas to reflect the
shift to a more watershed-based or landscape-based approach to management. These types of
plans are sometimes referred to as “integrated or interdisciplinary plans,” “coordinated resource
management plans,” “landscape management plans,” or “ecosystem management plans.” A
project-specific plan is typically prepared for an individual project or several related projects.
B. Defining Implementation Decisions
Implementation decisions generally constitute BLM’s final approval allowing on-the-ground
actions to proceed. These types of decisions require appropriate site-specific planning and
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NEPA analysis. Unlike land use plan decisions, implementation decisions are not subject to
protest under the planning regulations. Instead, implementation decisions are subject to various
administrative remedies, particularly appeals to the Office of Hearing and Appeals (Interior
Board of Land Appeals). Where implementation decisions are made as part of the land use
planning process, they are still subject to the appeals process or other administrative review as
prescribed by the specific resource program regulations after the BLM resolves the protests to
land use plan decisions and makes a decision to adopt or amend the RMP. The proposed plan
/final EIS should display land use plan and implementation decisions (and clearly distinguish
between the two types of decisions). One way of doing this is in the Dear Reader Letter. See
Appendix C for a listing of program-specific implementation decisions.
C. Making Implementation Decisions
Implementation decisions are made with the appropriate level of NEPA analysis along with any
procedural and regulatory requirements for individual programs. See 40 CFR 1500-1508, the
BLM NEPA Handbook (H-1790-1), and 516 DM 1-7 for detailed descriptions of NEPA
procedures. An EA, EIS, or EIS supplement must be prepared for subsequent implementation
planning unless the decisions and actions contained in the implementation plan are:
1. Identified as exceptions to the BLM NEPA requirements (e.g., actions specifically
exempted from NEPA by Congress);
2. categorically excluded (refer to Departmental Manual 516 DM 2, Appendix 1; and
516 DM 6, Appendix 5.4, for a current listing (May 19, 1992) of categorical exclusions);
and
3. fully covered by a previously prepared EA or EIS that does not need to be updated as
documented by a documentation of land use plan conformance and NEPA adequacy
(DNA).
D. Making Land Use Plan and Implementation Decisions in the Same Planning Effort
The BLM may use a single land use planning/NEPA process to make both land use plan and
implementation decisions, provided both types of decisions are adequately addressed with the
appropriate level of NEPA analysis. This may be appropriate in RMPs or plan amendments
covering relatively small geographic areas or where there are a number of activity-level projects
such as timber sales being addressed simultaneously with land use planning efforts. When
describing the protest procedures for proposed RMPs, the BLM must make clear which decisions
are land use plan decisions and thus protestable under the planning regulations and which
decisions are implementation decisions that are not protestable. At the decision-making stage,
the BLM can separate the two categories of decisions into two decision documents, one adopting
the RMP (or amendment) and the other approving the implementation decisions; or the BLM
may use a single decision document that adopts the RMP (or amendment) and approves the
implementation actions. If a single decision document is used, the BLM must clearly distinguish
the land use plan decisions from the implementation decisions and describe the administrative
remedies for both.
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When considering land use plan and implementation decisions in the same land use
planning/NEPA process, the implementation decisions are usually approved at the same time or
after the decision to approve the RMP (or amendment). An exception may occur when some/all
of the implementation decisions are in conformance with decisions in the current RMP. In this
case, the BLM may issue a ROD/decision record on the implementation decisions that are
consistent with the current plan prior to approving the ROD/decision record on the new RMP (or
amendment). This situation may occur when there is a need to approve high priority
implementation decisions before the protests to the proposed RMP (or amendment) are resolved.
Making implementation decisions as part of the land use planning process and analyzing them
concurrently with land use plan decisions does not change their administrative remedies or the
timing of those remedies. See Appendix E (Summary of Protest and Appeal Provisions).
E. Developing Strategies to Facilitate Implementation of Land Use Plans
A documented, well-organized thought process is essential to the successful implementation of
land use plans. An implementation strategy lists prioritized decisions that (1) will help achieve
the desired outcomes of one or more land use plans and (2) can be implemented given existing or
anticipated resources. Developing implementation strategies enables the BLM to prioritize the
preparation of implementation decisions.
There are no procedural or approval requirements for an implementation strategy.
Implementation strategies may be developed in conjunction with developing land use plan
decisions, but strategies are not land use plan decisions and are not subject to protest or appeal.
As a rule, they should not be included in the RMP. A well thought-out implementation strategy
should prioritize each decision for funding and implementation. The strategy should also be
interdisciplinary (not program by program). Developing an implementation strategy creates an
important opportunity for continued collaboration with the public, Tribes, state and local
governments, and other Federal agencies.
Described below is a suggested collaborative four-step method for developing an implementation
strategy with partners involved in developing the land use plan:
1. Develop framework to portray the work. Identify specific projects to (a) achieve
desired natural resource conditions, (b) achieve desired heritage and cultural resource
conditions, (c) address anticipated demands for recreation, (d) address anticipated
demands for forage and forest products, (e) address anticipated demand for direct
community services, and (f) address demand for energy and minerals.
2. Identify priorities for the next 3 to 5 years. Using the framework in step 1, and
considering current budget capabilities, identify priorities within each workload (a.
through f. in step 1) and priorities across workloads. Factors that influence decision
priorities are:
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a. Statutory mandates, including, but not limited to, compliance with the Clean
Air and Clean Water Acts, the Endangered Species Act, the National Historic
Preservation Act, the Taylor Grazing Act, and FLPMA;
b. goals listed in the DOI’s Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan;
c. present risks to resources, with resources at high risk ranking above resources
without known or substantial risks;
d. likelihood of success, with management actions using proven techniques
possibly ranking higher than management actions using experimental techniques;
e. cost-effectiveness of management actions; there is no requirement to develop a
cost/benefit analysis, but management actions that have a high likelihood of
improving resource conditions for relatively small expenditures of time and
money should receive relatively higher priority;
f. willingness and availability of cooperators to meet similar resource objectives
for adjacent non-Federal lands and resources; this would include opportunities to
cooperate on a watershed basis and to leverage limited resources;
g. willingness and availability of partners interested in helping accomplish
priority management actions needed to meet desired outcomes;
h. budgetary and staff resources required to implement the decisions; and
i. socioeconomic analysis of the local community.
3. Develop a 3 to 5 year budget. Identify specific tasks to accomplish each project and
associated funding needs, including labor and operations costs. Identify potential funding
sources including base, flexible, and contributions.
4. Develop an outreach strategy. Identify a strategy for both internal and external
communications needed to support implementation. This could be in the form of annual
plan updates and website development, etc.
V. Monitoring, Evaluation, and Adaptive Management
The regulations in 43 CFR 1610.4-9 require that land use plans establish intervals and standards
for monitoring and evaluations, based on the sensitivity of the resource decisions involved.
A. Monitoring
Land use plan monitoring is the process of (1) tracking the implementation of land use planning
decisions (implementation monitoring) and (2) collecting data/information necessary to evaluate
the effectiveness of land use planning decisions (effectiveness monitoring). In Appendix C, each
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resource program identifies desired land use plan decisions. BLM field offices must determine
what management actions are needed to implement those decisions. Sometimes actions occur
just once, e.g., the development of an implementation plan; or actions occur on a fairly regular
basis, e.g., steps taken to repair a damaged watershed. Monitoring is the process of following up
on these management actions and documenting BLM’s progress toward full implementation of
the land use plan and the achievement of desired outcomes. Field offices are encouraged to
involve Tribes, state and local governments, and the public if they express an interest in
participating in this process.
Implementation monitoring is the process of tracking and documenting the implementation (or
the progress toward implementation) of land use plan decisions. This should be done at least
annually and should be documented in the form of a tracking log or report. The report must be
available for public review (one way to accomplish this is an annual planning update which can
be sent to those who participated in the planning process or have expressed an interest in
receiving the report). The report should describe management actions proposed or undertaken to
implement land use plan decisions and can form the basis for annual budget documents. In
subsequent years, reports should document which management actions were completed and what
further actions are needed to continue implementing land use plan decisions.
Effectiveness monitoring is the process of collecting data and information in order to determine
whether or not desired outcomes (expressed as goals and objectives in the land use plan) are
being met (or progress is being made toward meeting them) as the allowable uses and
management actions are being implemented. A monitoring strategy must be developed as part of
the land use plan that identifies indicators of change, acceptable thresholds, methodologies,
protocols, and timeframes that will be used to evaluate and determine whether or not desired
outcomes are being achieved.
The monitoring process should collect information in the most cost-effective manner and may
involve sampling or remote sensing. Monitoring could be so costly as to be prohibitive if it is
not carefully and reasonably designed. Therefore, it is not necessary or desirable to monitor
every management action or direction. Unnecessary detail and unacceptable costs can be
avoided by focusing on key monitoring questions and proper sampling methods. The level and
intensity of monitoring will vary, depending on the sensitivity of the resource or area and the
scope of the proposed management activity.
B. Evaluation
Evaluation is the process of reviewing the land use plan and the periodic plan monitoring reports
to determine whether the land use plan decisions and NEPA analysis are still valid and whether
the plan is being implemented. Land use plans are evaluated to determine if: (1) decisions
remain relevant to current issues, (2) decisions are effective in achieving (or making progress
toward achieving) desired outcomes, (3) any decisions need to be revised, (4) any decisions need
to be dropped from further consideration, and (5) any areas require new decisions.
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In making these determinations, the evaluation should consider whether mitigation measures are
satisfactory, whether there are significant changes in the related plans of other entities, and
whether there is new data of significance to the plan.
The plan should be periodically evaluated (at a minimum every 5 years) as documented in an
evaluation schedule. Plan evaluations should also be completed prior to any plan revisions and
for major plan amendments. Special or unscheduled evaluations may also be required to review
unexpected management actions or significant changes in the related plans of Indian Tribes,
other Federal agencies, and state and local governments, or to evaluate legislation or litigation
that has the potential to trigger an RMP amendment or revision.
Evaluations may identify resource needs and means for correcting deficiencies and addressing
issues through plan maintenance, amendments, or new starts. They should also identify where
new and emerging resource issues and other values have surfaced. Evaluations may also identify
new and innovative practices that improve effectiveness and efficiency so that other offices may
benefit.
1. Process for completing land use plan evaluations
The following section outlines the recommended process for completing land use plan
evaluations.
a. State offices, with input from the field, identify reasons for evaluating the RMP.
b. Where appropriate, state and field offices identify land use plans that can be
grouped/batched in a geographic region or planning area to look at issues that cut across
boundaries (state and field offices). Each plan should have its own evaluation
documentation as well as a combined (grouped/batched) evaluation for all RMPs
identified in the geographical region or planning area.
c. State and field offices identify what the evaluation is to measure. In some cases, the
RMP/ROD may have identified both monitoring and evaluation measures, units, and
programs, and may even have specified the monitoring/evaluation questions to be
answered.
The state office may develop and send questionnaires to field offices (specific to the state
and field offices) to focus the evaluation, along with instructions for completing it.
Evaluations must be tailored to individual land use plans; however, a comprehensive
evaluation must address the following questions:
1. Are management actions outlined in the plan being implemented?
2. Does the plan establish desired outcomes (i.e., goals and objectives)?
3. Are the allocations, constraints, or mitigation measures effective in achieving
(or making progress towards achieving) the desired outcomes? This
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determination is often made based on information obtained from resource
assessments.
4. Have there been significant changes in the related plans of Indian Tribes, state
or local governments, or other Federal agencies?
5. Are there new data or analyses that significantly affect the planning decisions
or the validity of the NEPA analysis?
6. Are there unmet needs or new opportunities that can best be met through a
plan amendment or revision, or will current management practices be sufficient?
For example, are there outstanding requests for ACEC designations to protect
resource values? Note: ACECs must be designated through the land use
planning process.
7. Are new inventories warranted pursuant to the BLM’s duty to maintain
inventories on a continuous basis (FLPMA, Section 201)?
8. Are there new legal or policy mandates as a result of new statutes,
proclamations, Executive orders, or court orders not addressed in the plan?
d. The state and field office establish/identify an interdisciplinary team that will
complete the evaluation(s). If available, the team should include specialists from state
and field offices as well as adjoining state(s), and representatives from Washington
Office, and Tribes, other Federal agencies, state and local governments, and the public.
The interdisciplinary team should represent the major resources/programs present in the
land use plan evaluation area and should be encouraged to incorporate other (technical
procedures) evaluations or analyses that address and provide useful information on the
same resources.
e. The evaluation team should review both published and unpublished documents that
implement or support the RMP decisions and NEPA analysis (e.g., AMS, area-wide
mineral reports, socio-economic studies/analyses, reasonably foreseeable development
scenarios, ACEC reports, documents incorporated by reference/adoption, and other
studies [wild and scenic river, threatened and endangered species, water, etc.]). The
evaluation reports should also cite examples of implementation plans (at the activity
level) that incorporate new information, address new issues, and provide either more
detailed decisions or additional protective management direction. These may include
formal decision-making documents as well as watershed-level analyses and other
landscape units or plans.
f. The evaluation team should review NEPA compliance and procedural conformance
records within the land use plan evaluation (e.g., documentation of land use plan
conformance and NEPA adequacy, which typically relies on the RMP and associated
NEPA documents [categorical exclusions]).
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g. The State Director should approve or concur with all evaluations.
2. Evaluation report
An evaluation report documenting the findings of the evaluation must be prepared. Following
State Director approval or concurrence, the report will be made available to the public. The
following report format is recommended. If appropriate, use charts, diagrams, and matrixes to
display or summarize information.
a. Introduction
b. Purpose
c. Method and Scope
d. Results and Findings
1. Document conclusions regarding achievement of desired outcomes as well as
any individual program or resource management issues associated with plan
implementation
2. Identify decisions to be carried forward (i.e., no change needed), decisions
needing to be modified, decisions needing to be dropped, and new decisions
needed
e. Recommendations, including any resource- or program-specific management actions
needed and other follow-up opportunities for the BLM field and state offices or
interagency consideration
f. Approval/Concurrence
Also see Section VI for more information on determining when new decisions are required.
C. Adaptive Management
The Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance (OEPC) issued ESM03-6 providing initial
guidance to all Department of the Interior agencies on implementing adaptive management
practices in NEPA compliance. While this guidance does not provide specifics on the process
and procedures for integrating adaptive management into the NEPA and land use planning
process, it does formally define adaptive management as:
. . . a system of management practices based on clearly identified outcomes, monitoring to determine if
management actions are meeting outcomes, and, if not, facilitating management changes that will best
ensure that outcomes are met or to re-evaluate the outcomes.
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The BLM has initiated an effort to develop policies and procedures to integrate adaptive
management into the NEPA and land use planning processes. When those policies and
procedures are developed, they will be incorporated into this section of the Handbook.
VI. Determining if New Decisions are Required
A. Specific Regulatory Requirements for Considering New Information or Circumstances
New information, updated analyses, or new resource use or protection proposals may require
amending or revising land use plans and updating implementation decisions. The primary
requirements for considering new information are as follows:
1. The BLM planning regulations require evaluating whether there is new data of
significance to the land use plan (see 43 CFR 1610.4-9) and whether plan amendments
(see 43 CFR 1610.5-5) or revisions (see 43 CFR 1610.5-6) are required;
2. the CEQ regulations (40 CFR 1502.9(c)) require the BLM to prepare supplements to
draft or final EISs if the agency makes substantial changes in the proposed action that are
relevant to environmental concerns, or if there are significant new circumstances or
information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its
impacts; and
3. joint agency Endangered Species Act regulations (see 50 CFR 402.16 (b)) require
consultation to be reinitiated if new information reveals that decisions may affect listed
species or critical habitat in a way or to an extent not previously considered, including
exceeding the incidental take for a particular action.
B. Considering New Proposals, Circumstances, or Information
New data or information can include, but is not limited to:
1. Changes in status, new listings or new critical habitat designations for endangered,
threatened, and other special status or sensitive species (see Appendix C, Section (I)(G));
2. changes in intensity of use or impact levels for a particular resource (e.g., increased
recreation use as a result of urban expansion);
3. changes in social and economic conditions resulting from urban expansion or broad
conservation efforts (e.g., open space management);
4. public comment or staff assessments indicating that new information or changed
circumstances warrant a reconsideration of the appropriate mix of uses on particular
tracts of public lands;
5. a biological opinion issued by the USFWS or NOAA-Fisheries on actions in the
planning area;
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6. information from Tribes, elected county officials, state agencies, or other Federal
agencies on significant changes in their related plans or resource conditions that are
critical to the BLM land use plans and/or subordinate implementation plans;
7. new state listings of water-quality-limited streams (Clean Water Act, Section 303(d)),
total maximum daily load (TMDL) developments, or non-attainment area designations
(Clean Air Act) that may lead to the identification of new management practices that
would require additional NEPA compliance and could require new land use plan
decisions;
8. new geochemical, geologic, or geophysical data;
9. new cultural resource data;
10 environmental disturbances that significantly change natural conditions (e.g.,
wildfires, floods, or noxious weed infestations);
11. monitoring data and resource assessments associated with implementing resource
management actions designed to achieve resource objectives and Land Health Standards;
12. Land use plan evaluations that weigh and interpret information gathered through
resource monitoring;
13. determinations as to whether mitigation measures outlined in the plan are effective;
14. new national policy or a change in legal duties resulting from laws, regulations,
Executive orders, or the BLM directives. An example would be congressional
designation of a river segment under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that mandates a
protection and enhancement standard that, in turn, may affect resource management
objectives, conditions, or uses (e.g., livestock grazing, timber sales, or other proposed
projects) outlined in the land use plan; and
15. information from the public or others regarding conditions or uses of resources on
public lands.
C. Deciding Whether Changes in Decisions or the Supporting NEPA Analyses are
Warranted
The determination whether to amend or revise an RMP based on new proposals, circumstances,
or information depends on (1) the nature of new proposals, (2) the significance of the new
information or circumstances, (3) specific wording of the existing land use plan decisions,
including any provisions for flexibility, and (4) the level and detail of the NEPA analysis. A
“yes” answer to any of the following questions suggests the need to revisit existing decisions
and/or the NEPA analysis:
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1. Does the new information or circumstance provide for interpretations not known or
considered at the time existing decisions were made that could significantly affect
ongoing actions? For example: Current land use plan decisions may require that all
wildland fires be suppressed to limit the fire to the smallest acreage possible and make no
provision for wildland fire use. This conflicts with new Secretarial policy guidance that
wildland fire, as a critical natural process, must be reintroduced into fire-dependent
ecosystems;
2. Are the decisions in the current land use plan no longer valid, based on significant
new information or changed circumstances? If decisions are not valid, the decisions need
to be vacated, replaced, or changed through plan amendment or revision. Examples of
situations that may require new or changed land use plan decisions include, but are not
limited to, the following:
a. Monitoring information may show the need to discontinue managing a herd in
an existing herd management area because it is not practical to preserve or
maintain a thriving ecological balance with the multiple use relationships in that
area; conversely, new herd management areas could be established if an analysis
of monitoring data shows that a viable herd could be established and meet the
requirements for maintaining a thriving ecological balance;
b. the inability to achieve Land Health Standards under any level or management
of livestock use may affect the decision identifying that allotment as being
available for livestock use;
c. consultations resulting in new requirements or actions that are not in
conformance with the existing land use plan to protect threatened or endangered
species or critical habitats may require new land use plan decisions, including
new or supplemental NEPA analysis;
d. new requirements or actions that affect land use allocations or areawide
constraints or restrictions established at the land use plan level would require
amendment of land use plan decisions;
e. current scientific knowledge, as reflected in scientific literature, could
highlight a need to change plan decisions; and
f. public comment or a staff assessment supporting a different mix of uses on the
lands that will better promote the long-term health and sustainability of the lands
and their resources could require an amendment.
3. Are implementation decisions no longer valid, based on new information or changed
circumstances? Site-specific resource-use levels or management actions normally do not
require a land use plan amendment if the land use plan decisions provide broad direction
for these uses and actions; however, they may require appropriate NEPA analysis. For
example:
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a. The level of livestock use permitted in an allotment may normally be modified
based on allotment-specific resource assessment, condition, and trend-monitoring
data.
b. Resource use levels or management practices, such as permitted livestock use
or pre-commercial forest thinning, may normally be modified or eliminated on a
site-specific or project-level basis to satisfy the needs of threatened or endangered
species or their critical habitat, as detailed in biological opinions or approved
recovery plans. Elimination of livestock grazing on an entire allotment is a
management decision that should be thoroughly analyzed through the plan
amendment process and not through a maintenance action.
4. Are the effects of proposed or ongoing actions substantially different from those
projected in the existing NEPA analyses associated with the existing RMP? If “yes,”
conduct a new or supplemental NEPA analysis to the extent necessary to address the
differences and document the findings. Determine whether the new NEPA analysis
should be conducted as part of a RMP plan amendment.
a. Consider direct and indirect effects and their significance.
b. Consider cumulative effects and whether the new information or circumstances
identify or produce incremental impacts added to those resulting from other past,
present, and reasonably foreseeable future management actions. Does the
additional effect, in the context of the ongoing action, require further mitigation or
new RMP decisions?
For example, upon receipt of a proposal to develop an oil and gas field, the BLM would
evaluate the proposal for conformance with the RMP. If the proposal is consistent with
the reasonably foreseeable development analyzed in the RMP/EIS and the proposal is
consistent with the RMP decisions, changes to the RMP/EIS are probably not necessary.
In this instance, the BLM would work with the lease holders to obtain appropriate site-
specific information, then prepare an activity-level EA or EIS to approve some or all of
the wells in the field and set the stage for subsequent application for permit to drill
approvals.
If the proposal exceeds the reasonably foreseeable development analyzed in the current
RMP/EIS, a new reasonably foreseeable development scenario and NEPA analysis
supplementing the RMP/EIS would be warranted. If the proposal exceeds and is
substantially different from the reasonably foreseeable development analyzed in the
RMP/EIS, and the new NEPA analysis could reasonably be expected to result in changes
to RMP decisions, a plan amendment may also be warranted. When it is not certain
whether the project proposal and resulting NEPA analysis will result in the need to
amend the RMP, considerable time and cost savings will be achieved by beginning the
process as a plan amendment (issuing a NOI). If it is later determined that a plan
amendment is not warranted, the amendment may be cancelled and the supplemental
NEPA analysis continued.
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The supplemental EIS/RMP amendment could also address site-specific review for some
or all of the proposed wells and related facilities so that decisions on the field
development could be made sequentially with the decisions regarding the proposed RMP
amendment. Where site-specific development proposals are known, such a
planning/NEPA effort would promote efficient NEPA analysis and result in both plan-
level and implementation-level decisions in the same document, thus reducing the need
for additional NEPA analysis.
5. In light of new information or circumstances, are there now inconsistencies between
the ongoing action and the resource-related plans of Indian Tribes, state and local
governments, or other Federal agencies that render earlier consistency findings invalid?
Changes in land use plan decisions through amendment or revision must be accompanied
by new consistency determinations.
Further NEPA analysis may be conducted to help determine whether decisions are still valid. It
is possible to conduct additional NEPA analysis and reach a conclusion that no change is needed
in decisions, but the decisions cannot be changed without additional NEPA analysis.
D. Documenting the Determination to Modify, or Not to Modify, Decisions or NEPA
Analysis
It is important to document decisions to modify or not modify the land use plan or NEPA
analysis when these decisions are reached as part of the formal land use plan evaluation process
(Section V). In reviewing new information or circumstances that are controversial or of interest
to the public, it is also important to provide all interested parties with written documentation of
the BLM’s determination.
In response to an outside application or internal proposal, a decision not to change land use
decisions will be documented in the case file and/or in the response to the applicant. Case file
documentation of decisions to not amend must be signed and dated by the Field Manager and
State Director. If the decision not to amend the plan was made through a NEPA analysis, then
that decision can be documented in the Plan Conformance section of the NEPA document. If the
decision is to change decisions or revisit the NEPA analysis, the rationale to modify, revise, or
further evaluate decisions or NEPA analysis may be documented in a NOI prepared during
scoping activities or in the planning or NEPA document. Also see Section VII(B).
E. Evaluating New Proposals
New proposals can stem from specific BLM implementation actions, such as a proposal to
prepare a livestock grazing allotment management plan, or from non-BLM-initiated proposals,
such as a rights-of-way request for a new powerline.
A new proposal should provide enough detail to allow the BLM to determine whether it
conforms to existing land use plan decisions and to facilitate screening for adequate NEPA
compliance (See Figure 3). The NEPA Handbook (H-1790-1) describes the screening process in
more detail.
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F. Plan Conformance
The term “plan conformance,” as defined in the BLM planning regulations, means either that the
plan specifically identifies a resource management action or (if not) the action is consistent with
the terms, conditions, and decisions of the approved plan (43 CFR 1601.0-5(b)). Key
considerations in making and documenting conformance determinations include the following:
1. Do land use plan decisions allow, conditionally allow, or preclude the action?
2. Do land use plan decisions call for a new decision to accommodate the action?
3. If the plan does not specifically mention the action, how clearly consistent is the
action with plan objectives, terms, conditions, and decisions?
G. Plan Conformance and Ongoing NEPA Activities
After the RMP is approved, any authorizations and management actions approved based on an
activity-level or project-specific EIS (or EA) must be specifically provided for in the RMP or be
consistent with the terms, conditions, and decisions in the approved RMP. A land use plan
amendment may be necessary to consider monitoring and evaluation findings, substantive new
data, new or revised policy, changes in circumstances or a proposed action that may result in a
change in the scope of resource uses or a change in the terms, conditions, and decisions of the
approved RMP. If the BLM determines that a plan amendment may be necessary, preparation of
the EIS (or EA) and the analysis necessary for the amendment may occur simultaneously (43
CFR 1610.5).
In those instances when activity-level or project-specific EISs (or EAs) are being used to analyze
an action that may not conform to the current land use plan, the BLM has several options: adjust
the actions or condition the authorization to conform to the plan or achieve consistency with the
terms, conditions, and decisions in the approved RMP; or prepare the EIS (or EA) as a RMP
amendment, as described in Section VII.
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Key for Evaluating New Proposals
This key poses the six critical screening questions (1 through 6 below) for any proposal or
action (see BLM NEPA Handbook [H-1790-1] for additional detail).
1. If the proposal or action conforms to existing land use plans, go to 2.
1. If the proposal or action does not, go to 1a.
1a. If proposal or action warrants further consideration, then amend plan
1
or modify
proposal to conform.
1a. If proposal or action does not, then deny action.
2. If proposal or action is an exception from BLM/NEPA requirements, then no
additional NEPA analysis is necessary.
2. If not, then go to 3.
3. If proposal or action normally requires an EIS, go to 3a.
3. If not, go to 4.
3a. If impacts are expected to be significant, go to 8.
3a. If not, go to 7.
4. If proposal or category of action is listed as a Categorical Exclusion, go to 4a.
4. If not, go to 5.
4a. If any of the 10 exceptions apply, go to 7.
4a. If none apply, then the proposal or action is Categorically Excluded.
5. If existing analysis and documentation is sufficient, then Document NEPA
Adequacy.
5. If insufficient, then go to 6.
6. If environmental impacts are expected to be significant, go to 8.
6. If insignificant, go to 7.
7. Complete EA; if no significant impacts are identified, then issue FONSI.
7. Complete EA; if significant impacts are identified, go to 8.
8. Proposal or action requires an EIS.
1
This may also be accomplished through a new plan, plan revision, or planning analysis.
Figure 3—Key for evaluating new proposals (an overview)
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H. Determining When to Update Land Use Plan Decisions Through Maintenance Actions
The BLM regulation in 43 CFR 1610.5-4 provides that land use plan decisions and supporting
components can be maintained to reflect minor changes in data. Maintenance is limited to
further refining, documenting, or clarifying a previously approved decision incorporated in the
plan. Maintenance must not expand the scope of resource uses or restrictions or change the
terms, conditions, and decisions of the approved plan.
Plan maintenance is not considered a plan amendment and does not require formal public
involvement, interagency coordination, or the NEPA analysis required for making new land use
plan decisions. Maintenance actions must be documented in the plan or supporting components
(i.e., recorded so that the change and Field Manager concurrence are evident). Examples of
maintenance actions include:
1. Correcting minor data, typographical, mapping, or tabular data errors in the planning
records after a plan or plan amendment has been completed;
2. refining the boundary of an archaeological district based on new inventory data;
3. applying an existing oil and gas lease stipulation to a new area prior to the lease sale
based on new inventory data (e.g., apply an existing protective stipulation for sage-grouse
to a newly discovered sage-grouse lek);
4. refining the known habitat of a special status species addressed in the plan based on
new information;
5. modifying or waiving the lease stipulation language in the RMP consistent with the
criteria outlined in the land use plan; and
6. refining or adjusting the boundary of a fire management unit (FMU) or other
equivalent fire-related polygon through interagency coordination based on updated fire
regime condition class inventory, fire occurrence, monitoring data, and/or demographic
changes.
Plan maintenance must occur continuously so that the RMP and its supporting records reflect the
current status of decision implementation and knowledge of resource conditions.
VII. Amending and Revising Decisions
A. Changing Land Use Plan Decisions
Land use plan decisions are changed through either a plan amendment or a plan revision. The
process for conducting plan amendments is basically the same as the land use planning process
used in creating RMPs. The primary difference is that circumstances may allow for completing a
plan amendment through the EA process, rather than through the EIS or supplemental EIS
process. The process for preparing plan revisions is the same as for preparing new RMPs, and an
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EIS is always required. Refer to Section III for an overview of the EIS-level and EA-level
planning processes.
B. Determining When it is Necessary to Amend Plans and How it is Accomplished
Plan amendments (see 43 CFR 1610.5-5) change one or more of the terms, conditions, or
decisions of an approved land use plan. These decisions may include those relating to desired
outcomes; measures to achieve desired outcomes, including resource restrictions; or land tenure
decisions. Plan amendments are most often prompted by the need to:
1. Consider a proposal or action that does not conform to the plan;
2. implement new or revised policy that changes land use plan decisions, such as an
approved conservation agreement between the BLM and the USFWS;
3. respond to new, intensified, or changed uses on public land; and
4. consider significant new information from resource assessments, monitoring, or
scientific studies that change land use plan decisions.
The BLM regulations in 43 CFR 1600 and the NEPA process detailed in the CEQ regulations in
40 CFR 1500 guide preparation of plan amendments. The process is tailored to the anticipated
level of public interest and potential for significant impacts. In simple, routine cases, it is
possible to complete the amendment process in less than 6 months. See Section III for
procedures for preparing land use plan decisions.
Plans needing amendment may be grouped geographically or by type of decision in the same
amendment process. Similarly, one amendment process may amend the same or related
decisions in more than one land use plan. The amendment process may also be used to update
plans adopted from another agency.
In reaching a decision to amend a land use plan, the BLM must not only consider the resource,
but also other workload priorities, budgetary constraints, and staff capabilities. In situations
where available budgets allow and staff capabilities are restricted, consider contracting for all or
portions of the plan amendment’s NEPA analysis, including baseline data acquisition. If the
manager decides not to amend, then nonconforming actions cannot be taken. Any proposal
requiring an activity-level or project-specific and programmatic EIS that could result in new or
modified RMP decisions, or the need to amend the current RMP prior to implementation, should
be prepared as a RMP amendment whenever feasible.
Activity-level or project-specific EISs that address significant new information or circumstances
not considered in the EIS for the current land use plan should be prepared as supplements to the
EIS for the RMP whenever feasible. In most cases, if a supplement to the RMP/EIS is necessary,
the BLM should also consider whether or not a simultaneous plan amendment is necessary.
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Where a proposal is not in conformance with the land use plan, the Field Manager may deny the
proposal without further review. The decision to deny is subject to appeal to IBLA.
An applicant may request that BLM amend the land use plan to allow an otherwise non-
conforming proposal. If the Field Manager determines that the request is warranted, a plan
amendment is initiated. If not warranted, the Field Manager submits to the State Director a
recommendation to deny, along with appropriate supporting documentation. Denial of a request
to amend the plan is a plan level decision made by the State Director and is protestable to the
BLM director under 43 CFR 1610.5-2(a) (Carrasco, 90 IBLA 39 (1985)).
The State Director may terminate an ongoing plan amendment at any point if the Field Manager
provides documentation that the amendment is no longer necessary or appropriate. This is also a
protestable decision under 43 CFR 1610.5-2(a).
In either case, whether an appealable or protestable action is taken, the Field Manager should
provide public notice of the action and the applicable protest or appeal procedures through news
release, letter to mailing list, or other appropriate means. No Federal Register notice is required.
C. Determining When it is Necessary to Revise an RMP or Replace an MFP
RMP revisions (see 43 CFR 1610.5-6) involve preparation of a new RMP to replace an existing
one. RMP revisions are necessary if monitoring and evaluation findings, new data, new or
revised policy, or changes in circumstances indicate that decisions for an entire plan or a major
portion of the plan no longer serve as a useful guide for resource management. Plan revisions
are prepared using the same procedures and documentation as for new plans.
As funding and capability permit, all MFPs will be replaced by RMPs. The priority for replacing
MFPs will be guided by the extent to which those plans fail to meet the statutory requirements
for land use planning in FLPMA (see Section II(A)), and the need to modify decisions to meet
resource management needs.
D. Changing Implementation Decisions
Implementation decisions are changed through an interdisciplinary NEPA process in conjunction
with the BLM resource program-specific guidance.
Any NEPA analysis that will be used to approve on-the-ground actions in conformance with the
current RMP should include the appropriate level of site-specific information to facilitate
approval of as many of the implementation actions as possible and reduce the need for additional
NEPA analysis.
During an on-going RMP revision, it is possible to amend the current RMP to implement an
action analyzed in an activity-level or project-specific EA or EIS. The BLM must carefully
consider the implications of the information and analysis being prepared for either document. At
a minimum, the documents must be carefully coordinated to ensure consistent utilization of
available information and analysis.
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E. Status of Existing Decisions During the Amendment or Revision Process
Existing land use plans decisions remain in effect during an amendment or revision until the
amendment or revision is completed and approved. The decisions of existing land use plans do
not change. For example, if current land use plans have designated lands open for a particular
use, they remain open for that use. Land use plan decisions may be changed only through the
amendment or revision process.
During the amendment or revision process, the BLM should review all proposed implementation
actions through the NEPA process to determine whether approval of a proposed action would
harm resource values so as to limit the choice of reasonable alternative actions relative to the
land use plan decisions being reexamined. Even though the current land use plan may allow an
action, the BLM manager has the discretion to defer or modify proposed implementation-level
actions and require appropriate conditions of approval, stipulations, relocations, or redesigns to
reduce the effect of the action on the values being considered through the amendment or revision
process. The appropriate modification to the proposed action is subject to valid existing rights
and program-specific regulations. A decision to temporarily defer an action could be made
where a different land use or allocation is currently being considered in the preferred alternative
of a draft or proposed RMP revision or amendment. These decisions would be specific to
individual projects or activities and must not lead to an area-wide moratorium on certain
activities during the planning process.
F. Coordinating Simultaneous Planning/NEPA Processes
When preparing an activity-level or project-specific EIS (or EA) during an on-going RMP
revision (with its accompanying EIS), there may be opportunities to consolidate some
components of the NEPA process, such as the cumulative effects analysis, and public
involvement activities, such as public meetings and mailings, to reduce overall costs and
simplify the overlapping processes for the public. Depending on the timing of the two decisions
(one for the activity-level or project-specific EIS or EA and one for the on-going RMP revision),
and the conformance of the management actions to be approved in the EIS or EA, the BLM may
chose to amend the RMP in order to implement the proposed actions being analyzed in the EIS
or EA prior to completing the on-going RMP revision. In such cases, the BLM must consider
the effect of amending the RMP on the on-going RMP revision process. Depending on the
nature of the new land use plan decisions, the alternatives to be considered in the on-going RMP
revisions process, such as the no action alternative, may need to be modified. Any land use plan
decision changed during the on-going RMP revision process could also have a “ripple” effect on
many elements of the analysis being prepared for the on-going RMP, such as the purpose and
need, affected environment, and environmental effects section.
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Glossary of Terms and Acronyms
Following are the acronyms and definitions for terms used in this Handbook. Also see
definitions for terms used in Section 103 of FLPMA and the planning regulations at 43 CFR
1601.0-5. This glossary does not supersede these definitions or those in other laws or
regulations.
Terms
Activity plan a type of implementation plan (see Implementation plan); an activity plan
usually describes multiple projects and applies best management practices to meet land use plan
objectives. Examples of activity plans include interdisciplinary management plans, habitat
management plans, recreation area management plans, and allotment management plans.
Alternative dispute resolution any process used to prevent, manage, or resolve conflicts
using procedures other than traditional courtroom litigation or formal agency adjudication.
Amendment the process for considering or making changes in the terms, conditions, and
decisions of approved RMPs or MFPs. Usually only one or two issues are considered that
involve only a portion of the planning area.
Assessment the act of evaluating and interpreting data and information for a defined purpose.
Beneficial outcomes also referenced as “Recreation Benefits”; improved conditions,
maintenance of desired conditions, prevention of worse conditions, and the realization of desired
experiences.
Best management practices (BMPs) a suite of techniques that guide, or may be applied to,
management actions to aid in achieving desired outcomes. BMPs are often developed in
conjunction with land use plans, but they are not considered a land use plan decision unless the
land use plan specifies that they are mandatory. They may be updated or modified without a
plan amendment if they are not mandatory.
Broadscale data broadscale data sets are intended to support state, multi-state, or regional
information needs. Such data could be used for bioregional assessments and conservation
strategies, and typically employ a map scale of 1:250,000.
Categorical exclusion (CX) a category of actions (identified in agency guidance) that do not
individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment, and for which
neither an environmental assessment nor an EIS is required (40 CFR 1508.4).
Closed generally denotes that an area is not available for a particular use or uses; refer to
specific definitions found in law, regulations, or policy guidance for application to individual
programs. For example, 43 CFR 8340.0-5 sets forth the specific meaning of “closed” as it
relates to off-highway vehicle use, and 43 CFR 8364 defines “closed” as it relates to closure and
restriction orders.
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Collaboration a cooperative process in which interested parties, often with widely varied
interests, work together to seek solutions with broad support for managing public and other
lands.
Collaborative partnerships refers to people working together, sharing knowledge and
resources, to achieve desired outcomes for public lands and communities within statutory and
regulatory frameworks.
Community recreation-tourism market a community or communities dependent on public
lands recreation and/or related tourism use, growth, and/or development. Major investments in
facilities and visitor assistance are authorized within SRMAs where BLM’s strategy is to target
demonstrated community recreation-tourism market demand. Here, recreation management
actions are geared toward meeting primary recreation-tourism market demand for specific
activity, experience, and benefit opportunities. These opportunities are produced through
maintenance of prescribed natural resource and/or community setting character and by
structuring and implementing management, marketing, monitoring, and administrative actions
accordingly.
Conformance means that a proposed action shall be specifically provided for in the land use
plan or, if not specifically mentioned, shall be clearly consistent with the goals, objectives, or
standards of the approved land use plan.
Conservation agreement a formal signed agreement between the USFWS or NOAA-Fisheries
and other parties that implements specific actions, activities, or programs designed to eliminate
or reduce threats to, or otherwise improve the status of a species. Conservation agreements can
be developed at a state, regional, or national level and generally include multiple agencies at both
the state and Federal level, as well as Tribes. Depending on the types of commitments the BLM
makes in a conservation agreement and the level of signatory authority, plan revisions or
amendments may be required prior to signing the conservation agreement, or subsequently in
order to implement the conservation agreement.
Conservation strategy a strategy outlining current activities or threats that are contributing to
the decline of a species, along with the actions or strategies needed to reverse or eliminate such a
decline or threats. Conservation strategies are generally developed for species of plants and
animals that are designated as BLM sensitive species or that have been determined by the
USFWS or NOAA-Fisheries to be Federal candidates under the Endangered Species Act.
Consistency means that the proposed land use plan does not conflict with officially approved
plans, programs, and policies of Tribes, other Federal agencies, and state and local governments
(to the extent practical with Federal law, regulation, and policy).
Cooperating agency assists the lead Federal agency in developing an EA or EIS. The CEQ
regulations implementing NEPA define a cooperating agency as any agency that has jurisdiction
by law or special expertise for proposals covered by NEPA (40 CFR 1501.6). Any Federal,
state, local government jurisdiction with such qualifications may become a cooperating agency
by agreement with the lead agency.
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Designated roads and trails specific roads and trails identified by the BLM (or other
agencies) where some type of motorized vehicle use is appropriate and allowed either seasonally
or year-long.
Desired outcomes a type of land use plan decision expressed as a goal or objective.
Destination recreation-tourism market national or regional recreation-tourism visitors and
other constituents who value public lands as recreation-tourism destinations. Major investments
in facilities and visitor assistance are authorized within SRMAs where BLM’s strategy is to
target demonstrated destination recreation-tourism market demand. Here, recreation
management actions are geared toward meeting primary recreation-tourism market demand for
specific activity, experience, and benefit opportunities. These opportunities are produced
through maintenance of prescribed natural resource setting character and by structuring and
implementing management, marketing, monitoring, and administrative actions accordingly.
Director (BLM Director) the national Director of the BLM.
Documentation of Land Use Plan conformance and NEPA adequacy (DNA) a worksheet
for determining and documenting that a new, site-specific proposed action both conforms to the
existing land use plan(s) and is adequately analyzed in existing NEPA documents. The signed
conclusion in the worksheet is an interim step in BLM’s internal analysis process and is not an
appealable decision.
Environmental Justice the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless
of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and
enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment means that no
group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socio-economic group should bear a disproportionate
share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and
commercial operations or the execution of Federal, state, local, and Tribal programs and policies
(see Executive Order 12898).
Evaluation (plan evaluation) the process of reviewing the land use plan and the periodic plan
monitoring reports to determine whether the land use plan decisions and NEPA analysis are still
valid and whether the plan is being implemented.
Explicit recreation management objective specifically targeted recreation activity,
experience, and benefit opportunities (i.e., recreation opportunity outputs) and their attainment
(i.e., recreation outcomes).
Extensive recreation management area (ERMA) a public lands unit identified in land use
plans containing all acreage not identified as a SRMA. Recreation management actions within
an ERMA are limited to only those of a custodial nature.
Fine-scale data fine-scale data sets support local information needs and represent the highest
thematic detail and spatial accuracy. Data at this scale are intended for project-specific planning,
monitoring, and evaluation, and would be typically represented at the 1:24,000 map scale.
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Geographic information system a system of computer hardware, software, data, people and
applications that capture, store, edit, analyze, and graphically display a potentially wide array of
geospatial information.
Goal a broad statement of a desired outcome; usually not quantifiable and may not have
established timeframes for achievement.
Guidelines actions or management practices that may be used to achieve desired outcomes,
sometimes expressed as best management practices. Guidelines may be identified during the
land use planning process, but they are not considered a land use plan decision unless the plan
specifies that they are mandatory. Guidelines for grazing administration must conform to 43
CFR 4180.2.
Implementation decisions decisions that take action to implement land use plan decisions;
generally appealable to IBLA under 43 CFR 4.410.
Implementation plan – an area or site-specific plan written to implement decisions made in a
land use plan. Implementation plans include both activity plans and project plans (they are types
of implementation plans).
Indian Tribe (or Tribe) any Indian group in the conterminous United States that the Secretary
of the Interior recognizes as possessing Tribal status (listed periodically in the Federal Register).
Land use allocation the identification in a land use plan of the activities and foreseeable
development that are allowed, restricted, or excluded for all or part of the planning area, based
on desired future conditions.
Land Use Plan a set of decisions that establish management direction for land within an
administrative area, as prescribed under the planning provisions of FLPMA; an assimilation of
land-use-plan-level decisions developed through the planning process outlined in 43 CFR 1600,
regardless of the scale at which the decisions were developed. The term includes both RMPs and
MFPs.
Land Use Plan boundary a BLM land use plan boundary is defined as the geographic extent
of a RMP or MFP.
Land Use Plan decision establishes desired outcomes and actions needed to achieve them.
Decisions are reached using the planning process in 43 CFR 1600. When they are presented to
the public as proposed decisions, they can be protested to the BLM Director. They are not
appealable to IBLA.
Limited generally denotes that an area or roads and trails are available for a particular use or
uses. Refer to specific program definitions found in law, regulations, or policy guidance for
application to individual programs. For example, 43 CFR 8340.0-5 defines the specific meaning
of “limited” as it relates to off-highway vehicle use.
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Management decision a decision made by the BLM to manage public lands. Management
decisions include both land use plan decisions and implementation decisions.
Midscale data midscale data sets support information needs at scales between the local and
state/regional. Such a level is usually represented at the 1:100,000 scale. Typical usage includes
land use planning, rangeland monitoring, and assessment.
Monitoring (plan monitoring) the process of tracking the implementation of land use plan
decisions and collecting and assessing data/information necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of
land use planning decisions.
Multijurisdictional planning collaborative planning in which the purpose is to address land
use planning issues for an area, such as an entire watershed or other landscape unit, in which
there is a mix of public and/or private land ownerships and adjoining or overlapping Tribal, state,
local government, or other Federal agency authorities.
Objective a description of a desired outcome for a resource. Objectives can be quantified and
measured and, where possible, have established timeframes for achievement.
Off-highway vehicle (off-road vehicle) any motorized vehicle capable of, or designed for,
travel on or immediately over land, water, or other natural terrain, excluding: (1) any
nonamphibious registered motorboat; (2) any military, fire, emergency, or law enforcement
vehicle while being used for emergency purposes; (3) any vehicle whose use is expressly
authorized by the authorized officer, or otherwise officially approved; (4) vehicles in official use;
and (5) any combat or combat support vehicle when used for national defense.
Open generally denotes that an area is available for a particular use or uses. Refer to specific
program definitions found in law, regulations, or policy guidance for application to individual
programs. For example, 43 CFR 8340.0-5 defines the specific meaning of “open” as it relates to
off-highway vehicle use.
Planning analysis a process using appropriate resource data and NEPA analysis to provide a
basis for decisions in areas not yet covered by an RMP.
Planning criteria the standards, rules, and other factors developed by managers and
interdisciplinary teams for their use in forming judgments about decision making, analysis, and
data collection during planning. Planning criteria streamline and simplify the resource
management planning actions.
Project plan a type of implementation plan (see Implementation plan). A project plan
typically addresses individual projects or several related projects. Examples of project plans
include prescribed burn plans, trail plans, and recreation site plans.
Public land land or interest in land owned by the United States and administered by the
Secretary of the Interior through the BLM without regard to how the United States acquired
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ownership, except lands located on the Outer Continental Shelf, and land held for the benefit of
Indians, Aleuts, and Eskimos.
Recreation experiences psychological outcomes realized either by recreation-tourism
participants as a direct result of their onsite leisure engagements and recreation-tourism activity
participation or by non-participating community residents as a result of their interaction with
visitors and guests within their community and/or interaction with the BLM and other public and
private recreation-tourism providers and their actions.
Recreation management zones (RMZ) subunits within a SRMA managed for distinctly
different recreation products. Recreation products are comprised of recreation opportunities, the
natural resource and community settings within which they occur, and the administrative and
service environment created by all affecting recreation-tourism providers, within which
recreation participation occurs.
Recreation niche the place or position within the strategically targeted recreation-tourism
market for each SRMA that is most suitable (i.e., capable of producing certain specific kinds of
recreation opportunities) and appropriate (i.e., most responsive to identified visitor or resident
customers), given available supply and current demand, for the production of specific recreation
opportunities and the sustainable maintenance of accompanying natural resource and/or
community setting character.
Recreation opportunities favorable circumstances enabling visitors’ engagement in a leisure
activity to realize immediate psychological experiences and attain more lasting, value-added
beneficial outcomes.
Recreation opportunity spectrum (ROS) one of the existing tools for classifying recreation
environments (existing and desired) along a continuum ranging from primitive, low-use, and
inconspicuous administration to urban, high-use, and a highly visible administrative presence.
This continuum recognizes variation among various components of any landscape’s physical,
social and administrative attributes; and resulting descriptions (of existing conditions) and
prescriptions (of desired future conditions) define recreation setting character.
Recreation setting character conditions the distinguishing recreational qualities of any
landscape, objectively defined along a continuum ranging from primitive to urban landscapes,
expressed in terms of the nature of the component parts of its physical, social and administrative
attributes. These recreational qualities can be both classified and mapped. This classification
and mapping process should be based on variation that either exists (i.e., setting descriptions) or
is desired (i.e., setting prescriptions) among component parts of the various physical, social, and
administrative attributes of any landscape. The recreation opportunity spectrum is one of the
existing tools for doing this.
Recreation settings the collective, distinguishing attributes of landscapes that influence, and
sometimes actually determine, what kinds of recreation opportunities are produced.
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Recreation-tourism market recreation-tourism visitors, affected community residents,
affecting local governments and private sector businesses, or other constituents and the
communities or other places where these customers originate (local, regional, national, or
international). Based on analysis of supply and demand, land use plans strategically identify
primary recreation-tourism markets for each SRMA—destination, community, or undeveloped.
Resource advisory council (RAC) a council established by the Secretary of the Interior to
provide advice or recommendations to BLM management. In some states, provincial advisory
councils (PACs) are functional equivalents of RACs.
Resource use level the level of use allowed within an area, based on the desired outcomes and
land use allocations in the land use plan. Targets or goals for resource use levels are established
on an area-wide or broad watershed level in the land use plan. Site-specific resource use levels
are normally determined at the implementation level, based on site-specific resource conditions
and needs as determined through resource monitoring and assessments.
Revision the process of completely rewriting the land use plan due to changes in the planning
area affecting major portions of the plan or the entire plan.
Scale refers to the geographic area and data resolution under examination in an assessment or
planning effort.
Setting character the condition of any recreation system, objectively defined along a
continuum ranging from primitive to urban in terms of variation of its component physical,
social, and administrative attributes.
Social science the study of society and of individual relationships in and to society, generally
including one or more of the academic disciplines of sociology, economics, political science,
geography, history, anthropology, and psychology.
Special recreation management area (SRMA) a public lands unit identified in land use plans
to direct recreation funding and personnel to fulfill commitments made to provide specific,
structured recreation opportunities (i.e., activity, experience, and benefit opportunities). Both
land use plan decisions and subsequent implementing actions for recreation in each SRMA are
geared to a strategically identified primary market—destination, community, or undeveloped.
Special status species includes proposed species, listed species, and candidate species under
the Endangered Species Act; state-listed species; and BLM State Director-designated sensitive
species (see BLM Manual 6840, Special Status Species Policy).
Standard a description of the physical and biological conditions or degree of function required
for healthy, sustainable lands (e.g., Land Health Standards). To be expressed as a desired
outcome (goal).
State implementation plan (SIP) a strategic document, prepared by a state (or other
authorized air quality regulatory agency) and approved by the EPA, that thoroughly describes
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how requirements of the Clean Air Act will be implemented (including standards to be achieved,
control measures to be applied, enforcement actions in case of violation, etc.).
Strategic plan (DOI strategic plan) a plan that establishes the overall direction for all DOI
Bureaus, including the BLM. This plan is guided by the requirements of the Government
Performance and Results Act of 1993, covers a 5-year period, and is updated every 3 years. It is
consistent with FLPMA and other laws affecting the public lands.
Total maximum daily load (TMDL) an estimate of the total quantity of pollutants (from all
sources: point, nonpoint, and natural) that may be allowed into waters without exceeding
applicable water quality criteria.
Travel management areas polygons or delineated areas where a rational approach has been
taken to classify areas open, closed, or limited, and have identified and/or designated network of
roads, trails, ways, and other routes that provide for public access and travel across the planning
area. All designated travel routes within travel management areas should have a clearly
identified need and purpose as well as clearly defined activity types, modes of travel, and
seasons or timeframes for allowable access or other limitations.
Tribe see Indian Tribe.
Undeveloped recreation-tourism market national, regional, and/or local recreation-tourism
visitors, communities, or other constituents who value public lands for the distinctive kinds of
dispersed recreation produced by the vast size and largely open, undeveloped character of their
recreation settings. Major investments in facilities are excluded within SRMAs where BLM’s
strategy is to target demonstrated undeveloped recreation-tourism market demand. Here,
recreation management actions are geared toward meeting primary recreation-tourism market
demand to sustain distinctive recreation setting characteristics; however, major investments in
visitor services are authorized both to sustain those distinctive setting characteristics and to
maintain visitor freedom to choose where to go and what to do—all in response to demonstrated
demand for undeveloped recreation.
Visual resource management classes categories assigned to public lands based on scenic
quality, sensitivity level, and distance zones. There are four classes. Each class has an objective
which prescribes the amount of change allowed in the characteristic landscape.
Watershed approach – a framework to guide watershed management that: (1) uses watershed
assessments to determine existing and reference conditions; (2) incorporates assessment results
into resource management planning; and (3) fosters collaboration with all landowners in the
watershed. The framework considers both ground and surface water flow within a
hydrologically defined geographical area.
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Acronyms
ACEC
area of critical environmental concern
ADR
alternative dispute resolution
AML
appropriate management level
AMS
analysis of the management situation
APD
application for permit to drill
AUM
animal unit month
BLM
Bureau of Land Management
BMP
best management practice
CEQ
Council on Environmental Quality
CFR
Code of Federal Regulations
CX
categorical exclusion
DM
Departmental Manual
DNA
documentation of land use plan conformance and NEPA adequacy
DOI
Department of the Interior
DR
decision record (for an EA)
EA
environmental assessment
EFH
essential fish habitat
EIS
environmental impact statement
EPA
Environmental Protection Agency
EPS
Economic Profile System
EPSC
Economic Profile System for Communities
ERMA extensive recreation management area
ESA
Endangered Species Act
FACA
Federal Advisory Committee Act
FLPMA Federal Land Policy and Management Act
FLTFA Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act
FOIA
Freedom of Information Act
FONSI finding of no significant impact
GIS
geographic information system
GSA
Government Services Agency
HA
herd area
HMA
herd management area
IBLA
Interior Board of Land Appeals
IDT
interdisciplinary team
LAC
limits of acceptable change
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MFP
management framework plan
MOA
memorandum of agreement
MOU
memorandum of understanding
NEPA
National Environmental Policy Act
NHPA National Historic Preservation Act
NLCS
National Landscape Conservation System
NMFS
National Marine Fisheries Service
NOA
notice of availability
NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NOI
notice of intent
OEPC
Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance
OEPR
Office of Environmental Policy Review
OHV
off-highway vehicle (also refers to off-road vehicles)
OMB
Office of Management and Budget
PAC
provincial advisory council
PILT
payments-in-lieu-of-taxes
PSQ
probable sale quantity
RAC
resource advisory council
RMP
resource management plan
RMZ
recreation management zone
ROD
record of decision (for an EIS)
ROS
recreation opportunity spectrum
ROW
right-of-way
SHPO State Historic Preservation Office
SRMA special recreation management area
T&E
threatened and endangered
TMDL
total maximum daily load
U.S.C.
United States Code
USDA
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USFWS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
VRM
visual resource management
WO
Washington Office
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Appendix A, page 1
Appendix A: Guide to Collaborative Planning
I. Principles
Collaboration implies that Tribal, state, and local governments, other Federal agencies, and the
public will be involved well before the planning process is officially initiated, rather than only at
specific points stipulated by regulation and policy. The first-hand experience of BLM Field
Managers and staff has resulted in the following suggested guidelines for collaboration.
A. Recognize Tribal, state, and local governments’ role in the planning process.
FLPMA, Section 202(c)(9), as paraphrased, requires meaningful participation by local
officials and consistency, to the extent practicable, with officially approved plans of
Tribal, state, and local governments so long as the plans are consistent with Federal laws
and regulations. Early involvement will help ensure that the BLM develops land use
decisions that are supported by and conform to other jurisdictions in the area to the
maximum extent possible.
B. Be inclusive and explicitly acknowledge the interests of distant groups, individuals,
industry, corporations, and other agencies. An effective collaborative process for public
land planning assures that local, regional, and national interests are integrated. Distant
interests are sought out and encouraged. Effective outreach is the best way to get beyond
the barriers to successful participation. Ensure multiple options for participation.
C. Clearly cite the authority of collaborative groups, including that of the BLM, and
ensure accountability. Participants must understand the roles of all parties in the
planning effort. If the planning effort includes other participants with jurisdictional
responsibilities or decision-making authority, the responsibilities of each must be clearly
identified. Decisions made by each jurisdiction must be within their own authorities.
The BLM retains decision-making authority for all decisions on BLM lands. The BLM
does not need to be the lead agency for agency personnel to participate in collaborative
efforts.
D. Use collaboration to enhance and complement standard public involvement
requirements. Individuals or groups that were unable or chose not to participate in a
collaborative process are still entitled to full input through legally required public review
and comment processes.
E. Recognize that collaborative processes may not be effective everywhere. The BLM
manager retains the authority to manage the planning process and may choose to move
forward with traditional planning processes if collaborative efforts are ineffective or
become unacceptably lengthy.
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II. Practices
A. Face-to-face or one-on-one communication provides the best means of building trust
and good working relationships. Be sure to ask yourself and others questions such as the
following:
1. Who else should I talk to? Who else should be involved? Whom do I need to
approach to ensure the best contacts are made? How can the BLM assure
sufficiently diverse participation to adequately reflect local, regional, and national
interests?
2. What formal and informal opportunities for communication could be used to
relay the BLM’s message?
B. On a local level, postings on local bulletin boards and face-to-face communication
may best serve community needs when presented in both English and local languages,
depending on the unique characteristics of each community. Consider the following
questions:
1. How does this community receive and send information? Would the use of
Internet technology, such as websites and e-mail, be effective?
2. Are there community meetings where information and ideas are exchanged?
Although this approach may seem time consuming at first, it is eventually very effective in
communicating efficiently with a large number of people, motivating people to implement the
agreed upon strategy, building trust, and encouraging broad-based participation. It may seem
daunting in urban settings, but the same approach can be effective once the above questions are
answered. This approach provides the BLM with a technique to more effectively engage the
public in the decision-making process, which normally leads to increased support for the
decisions ultimately reached. This approach also provides an early alert to emerging issues,
giving a BLM manager more time and flexibility to resolve issues up front. As issues are
resolved dynamically, conflict diminishes. These methods can be used in advance of, and are
complementary to, a standard communications plan that defines what communications products
are needed, who is responsible for producing them, and when specific products must be
delivered.
BLM offices should maintain mailing lists of individuals and organizations that request
involvement in specific activities or areas, such as rangeland developments or ACECs. NOIs
and NOAs for planning/NEPA processes, along with other materials should be provided as
requested. Offices should also maintain a listing of planned or ongoing planning/NEPA
processes, make these lists available to the public, and encourage public participation throughout
the decision-making process.
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III. Benefits
Benefits of collaboration include the following:
A. Better decisions are made. Concerns are heard and addressed, information and
technical knowledge are shared, mutual goals and actions to achieve these goals are
agreed upon, and plans are easier to implement as a result. Solutions tend to be more
long-term and hold up to legal scrutiny. Through collaboration with different landowners
and jurisdictions, BLM can more effectively plan for the protection and use of the
resources it administers.
B. Resources are leveraged more effectively. There are a variety of cost-share
arrangements and grants available for collaborative and partnership initiatives that can
help implement on-the-ground projects.
C. Relationships are improved. Collaboration encourages people to continue to talk
despite differences and changing circumstances, thus improving the ability to resolve
conflict and build trust among participants.
IV. Tools
It is highly recommended that training on collaborative skills be completed before undertaking
initiatives to work with private citizens and groups. The BLM National Training Center offers a
series of courses, “The Partnership Series,” which can be taught in BLM locations to mixed
public-private audiences rather than at the National Training Center. Visit their website at
www.ntc.blm.gov/partner for more information.
Innovative partnerships and assistance agreements are very helpful to launching collaborative
efforts. The BLM Washington Office’s Planning, Assessment, and Community Support Group
(WO-210) can provide more information.
The BLM and the Sonoran Institute have prepared “A Desktop Reference Guide to
Collaborative, Community-Based Planning” which is available at BLM state and field offices.
This guide provides suggestions and examples for collaborative planning.
Also see Executive Order 13352 (Facilitation of Cooperative Conservation).
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Appendix B: Federal Advisory Committee Act Considerations
I. Purpose
The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C.A. App. 2 (86 Stat. 770, as amended),
was enacted on October 6, 1972, to reduce narrow special-interest group influence on decision-
makers, to foster equal access to the decision-making process for the general public, and to
control costs by preventing the establishment of unnecessary advisory committees. The FACA
applies whenever a statute or an agency official establishes or utilizes a committee, board,
commission or similar group for the purpose of obtaining advice or recommendations on issues
or policies within the agency official’s responsibility.
The BLM’s managers and staff must understand the provisions of FACA both when they are
gathering public input for decision-making processes and when they are working in collaborative
efforts, including Alternative Dispute Resolution, to ensure BLM’s collaborative efforts comply
with FACA. In essence, any time a group will be consulted or will be providing
recommendations to a BLM official, the BLM should verify whether FACA applies and, if so,
ensure that the FACA requirements are followed. If the BLM fails to comply with FACA, it will
leave its decisions and products open to challenge in court.
II. Implementing FACA
A. Avoiding Violations
To avoid violating the FACA, BLM managers should:
1. Consider whether FACA applies to any current or proposed collaborative or group
activity. FACA will apply if a group is established or utilized by the BLM for the
purpose of obtaining advice. In reaching decisions whether FACA will apply, managers
should refer to the General Services Administration’s (GSA) regulations at 41 CFR 102-3
and consult with the Office of the Solicitor. Further information about when FACA
applies, including the FACA regulations, can be found at
www.policyworks.gov/org/main/mc/linkit.htm or in the Committee Management
Secretariat section of the GSA website.
a. If FACA applies, establishing a committee requires consultation with GSA,
filing a charter, publishing a notice in the Federal Register, and opening meetings
of the group to the public. Also see 43 CFR 1784 (Advisory Committees).
b. Existing groups are covered by FACA if they are “utilized” by a Federal
agency. A group is “utilized” whenever a Federal agency exercises actual
management or control over its operation.
2. For those groups covered by FACA, verify that its requirements are followed,
including the filing of an appropriate charter, balancing the membership, informing the
public of its meetings (time, place, purpose, etc.) through Federal Register publication,
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and opening the meetings to the public. Consult with FACA experts to ensure
compliance with its procedures. Also see 43 CFR 1784 (Advisory Committees).
Collaborative groups that are not initiated by the BLM can avoid application of FACA and can
continue to have active BLM participation by maintaining their independence from BLM actual
management or control.
B. Determining if FACA Applies
Figure 4 outlines the basic requirements to determine if the provisions of FACA apply. If there
is any doubt, the BLM field office should consult its Solicitor. The field office must determine
whether FACA applies to a particular collaborative effort, and if it does, whether it would be
beneficial to pursue the effort by chartering the group under FACA or making it a subgroup of a
RAC (see 43 CFR 1784.6-2). Answers to the following questions can be helpful in determining
whether FACA does or does not apply:
1. Does the group include individuals who are not employees of Tribal, state, or local
governments or other Federal agencies?
2. Does the group have a formal organizational structure?
3. How was the group or meeting initiated? Specifically, was the group established by
the BLM?
4. Is the group subject to agency actual management or control?
5. What is the function of the group? Is it providing consensus advice or
recommendations as a group to the agency?
FACA will not apply to any meeting of more than one individual initiated by the President or
Federal official(s) to obtain the advice of individual attendees, provided that the Federal official
does not exercise actual management or control over the group. FACA does not apply to
meetings held exclusively between Federal officials and Tribal, state, and local elected officials,
or their designated employees, where such meetings are solely for the purpose of exchanging
views, information, or advice relating to the management or implementation of Federal
intergovernmental programs (see Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1534).
C. FACA Requirements
If a group is subject to FACA, there are a number of requirements that must be in place in order
to proceed. Subcommittees of established FACA committees may, under some circumstances,
be subject to these requirements as well. Specific requirements include:
1. A charter describing the committee’s function, duration, members, duties, frequency
of meetings, and costs.
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2. A designated Federal employee to attend all meetings and to approve meeting
agendas.
3. Notices of meetings that are published in the Federal Register and other appropriate
venues.
4. Meetings that are open to the public, with detailed minutes prepared for public review.
Further explanation is provided in the BLM’s Natural Resource Alternative Dispute Resolution
Initiative Strategic Plan and Tool Kit, September 11, 1997, available at BLM state offices.
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Do Federal Advisory Committee Act
(FACA) Considerations Apply?
1. Is there a group providing advice to
a Federal agency which is not made up
entirely of Federal, Tribal, state, or
local governmental officials advising on
intergovernmental programs?
1
3. Does the group provide advice as a
group (rather than as individuals)?
2. Is the group established, managed,
or controlled by a Federal agency?
If yes to all questions: FACA considerations most likely
apply.
Note: This chart is for general guidance; final
determinations regarding the applicability of FACA should
be made in consultation with the Office of the Solicitor.
1
See 2 U.S.C. 1534 for details.
Figure 4.—Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) flow chart: Does FACA apply?
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Appendix C: Program/Resource-Specific Decision Guidance
This appendix provides three categories of planning information for BLM program areas: (1)
Land Use Plan Decisions, (2) Implementation Decisions, and (3) Notices, Consultations, and
Hearings. Each program/resource heading contains resource-specific guidance for each
category. The guidance presented for each resource should be addressed in conjunction with the
guidance presented for other resources to maintain an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to
planning.
1. Land Use Plan Decisions. These broad-scale decisions guide future land
management actions and subsequent site-specific implementation decisions. Land use
plan decisions fall into two categories: desired outcomes (goals and objectives), and
allowable uses and actions to achieve outcomes. Proposed land use plan decisions are
protestable to the BLM Director but are not reviewable by the Office of Hearings and
Appeals.
The application of program-specific guidance for land use plan decisions will vary,
depending on the decision category, and must be applied as follows:
I. Natural, Biological, and Cultural Resources: Decisions identified must be
made during the land use planning process if the resource exists in the planning
area.
II. Resource Uses: Decisions identified must be made during the land use
planning process if the BLM anticipates it may authorize or allow a resource use.
If uses are allowed, decisions must also be made regarding intensity and limits or
restrictions.
III. Special Designations: Special designation decisions identified must be made
during the land use planning process when the BLM anticipates it may authorize
or allow uses which could disqualify inventoried resource values from
designation. Special designation decisions may be made during the land use
planning process when there is no threat to the inventoried resource.
IV. Support: Support needs and decisions may be determined through the land
use planning process, based on individual planning situations.
2. Implementation Decisions. Implementation decisions generally constitute the BLM’s
final approval allowing on-the-ground actions to proceed. These types of decisions
require site-specific planning and NEPA analysis. They may be incorporated into
implementation plans (activity or project plans) or may exist as stand-alone decisions.
Where implementation decisions are made as part of the land use planning process, they
are still subject to the appeals process or other administrative review as prescribed by
specific resource program regulations after the BLM resolves the protests to land use plan
decisions and makes a decision to adopt or amend the RMP (High Desert Multiple Use
Coalition, Inc. et al. Keith Collins, 142 IBLA 285 (1998)).
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3. Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. This section identifies resource-specific
requirements and suggestions for notices, consultations, and hearings when developing
Land use plan decisions that are in addition to those identified in Section III of this
Handbook. Note: Some laws or regulations, such as the Endangered Species Act,
National Historic Preservation Act, and Clean Air Act, have notice, consultation, or
hearing requirements that apply to most resource programs, resource uses, or activities.
These requirements are identified in the primary program narrative but are not repeated
for each resource program, resource use, or activity that may be affected.
I. Natural, Biological, and Cultural Resources
A. Air
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify desired outcomes and areawide criteria or restrictions, in
cooperation with the appropriate air quality regulatory agency, that apply to direct or authorized
emission-generating activities, including the Clean Air Act’s requirements for compliance with:
1. Applicable National Ambient Air Quality Standards (Section 109);
2. State Implementation Plans (Section 110);
3. Control of Pollution from Federal Facilities (Section 118);
4. Prevention of Significant Deterioration, including visibility impacts to mandatory
Federal Class I Areas (Section 160 et seq.); and
5. Conformity Analyses and Determinations (Section 176(c)).
Implementation Decisions. Identify site-specific emission control strategies, processes, and
actions to achieve desired air quality conditions from direct or authorized emission-generating
activities.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Consult, coordinate, and comply with applicable Tribal,
Federal, state, and local air quality regulations, as required by the Clean Air Act, Executive
Order 12088, and Tribal, Federal or state implementation plans. Each field office should work
closely with counties or states on the development or amendment of state implementation plans.
B. Soil and Water
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify desired outcomes (including standards or goals under the
Clean Water Act). Identify watersheds or specific soils that may need special protection from
the standpoint of human health concerns, ecosystem health, or other public uses. For riparian
areas, identify desired width/depth ratios, streambank conditions, channel substrate conditions,
and large woody material characteristics. Identify areawide use restrictions or other protective
measures to meet Tribal, state, and local water quality requirements. Identify measures,
including filing for water rights under applicable state or Federal permit procedures, to ensure
water availability for multiple use management and functioning, healthy riparian and upland
systems.
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Implementation Decisions. Identify site-specific management opportunities and priorities by
using a watershed approach and watershed assessment information. Identify the site-specific or
basin-specific soil, riparian, or nonpoint-source best management practices and rehabilitation
techniques needed to meet Tribal, state, and local water quality requirements.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Consult and coordinate with other Federal, state, and
local agencies, as directed by the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (16 U.S.C.
1001-1009), and the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251) (see BLM Manual 7000). Collaborate
with local watershed groups when developing activity plans.
C. Vegetation
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify desired outcomes for vegetative resources, including the
desired mix of vegetative types, structural stages, and landscape and riparian functions; and
provide for native plant, fish, and wildlife habitats and livestock forage. Desired outcomes
(goals and objectives) may be established at multiple scales. Identify areas of ecological
importance and designate priority plant species and habitats, including special status species and
populations of plant species recognized as significant for at least one factor such as density,
diversity, size, public interest, remnant character, or age. Identify the actions and areawide use
restrictions needed to achieve desired vegetative conditions.
Reference materials for establishing desired outcomes for vegetative resources include:
1. National Range and Pasture Handbook (1997): Natural Resource Conservation
Service (USDA- NRCS) Methodology of Vegetation Inventory, Monitoring, Analysis
and Management of Grazing Lands.
2. Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health: BLM Technical Reference 1734-6.
3. Ecological Site Inventory: BLM Technical Reference 1734-7.
4. Rangeland Health Standards: H-4180-1.
5. Website examples of ecological site descriptions (use Internet Explorer):
• http://esis.sc.egov.usda.gov
• http://www.nm.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/fotg/section-2/ESD.html
http://www.mt.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/ecs/range/ecolsites/
In areas where Healthy Forests Restoration Act authorities are to be used, identify old growth
forest stands or describe a process for identifying old growth forest stands in the land use plan
based on the structure and composition characteristic of the forest type. Provide management
direction to maintain, or contribute toward the restoration of, the structure and composition of
old growth forest stands in areas where these authorities will be used. This management
direction should consider the pre-fire exclusion old growth conditions characteristic of the forest
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type, taking into account the contribution of the stand to landscape fire adaptation and watershed
health, and retaining the large trees contributing to old growth structure.
Implementation Decisions. Identify site-specific vegetation management practices such as
allotment grazing systems, vegetation treatments, or manipulation methods (including fuels
treatments) to achieve desired plant communities, as well as integrated vegetation management
techniques to rehabilitate weed infestations or otherwise control noxious and invasive weeds.
Identify old-growth stands and management practices to achieve old-growth management
direction where applicable. Identify old-growth stands and management practices to achieve
old-growth management direction where applicable.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Consult under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act
with the USFWS and/or NOAA-Fisheries for all actions that may affect listed species or
designated critical habitat or confer if actions are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a
proposed species or result in the destruction of adverse modification of proposed critical habitat
(see 50 CFR 402.14 and 402.10; and BLM Handbook H-6840). Depending on state-specific
laws, agreements, or policies, there may be additional requirements to confer with state wildlife
agencies if Federal actions may affect state-listed species or their habitats.
D. Special Status Species
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify desired outcomes, strategies, restoration opportunities, use
restrictions, and management actions to conserve and recover special status species. Desired
outcomes may incorporate goals and objectives from recovery plans and conservation strategies
or identify ecologically important areas or scarce, limited habitats. Goals and objectives may be
species or habitat specific and can be established at multiple scales (i.e., fine, mid, and broad) to
fully understand the context of the larger landscape.
Given the legal mandate to conserve threatened or endangered species and BLM’s policy to
conserve all special status species, land use planning strategies, desired outcomes, and decisions
should result in a reasonable conservation strategy for these species. Land use plan decisions
should be clear and sufficiently detailed to enhance habitat or prevent avoidable loss of habitat
pending the development and implementation of implementation-level plans. This may include
identifying stipulations or criteria that would be applied to implementation actions. Land use
plan decisions should be consistent with BLM’s mandate to recover listed species and should be
consistent with objectives and recommended actions in approved recovery plans, conservation
agreements and strategies, MOUs, and applicable biological opinions for threatened and
endangered species.
Implementation Decisions. Identify the programmatic and site-specific actions needed to
implement planning decisions for conserving and recovering special status species. These
decisions may be identified in implementation plans for habitat management areas, ACECs, and
grazing allotments, etc.
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Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Consultation with the USFWS or NOAA-Fisheries is
required by the Endangered Species Act for actions that may affect listed species and designated
critical habitat, and conferencing is needed if actions are likely to jeopardize the continued
existence of a proposed species, or result in the destruction or adverse modification of proposed
critical habitat (see 50 CFR 402.14 and 402.10; and BLM Manual Section 6840). Depending on
state-specific agreements or policies, there may be additional requirements to confer with state
wildlife agencies if Federal actions may affect state-listed species or their habitats.
1. Interagency Agreements on Consultation. The BLM has entered into a variety of
Memoranda of Agreement and Memoranda of Understanding regarding consultation on
agency actions to help streamline and bring greater efficiency to the consultation process.
A key element of these includes utilizing early involvement of regulatory agency
personnel in the planning process. Including representatives from these agencies on the
planning team during development of alternatives could improve the BLM’s ability to
address and discuss the effects of management direction on listed and proposed species
and their critical habitats. For additional direction and guidance, consult the most current
versions of these Memoranda.
2. Initial Effects Determination. During preparation of draft land use plan decisions and
associated NEPA analysis, the BLM makes an initial determination of effects to listed or
proposed species. If the BLM makes a determination of “no effect” on the preferred
alternative, informal consultation is not required.
3. Informal Consultation. Informal consultation should be initiated on the preferred
alternative with the USFWS or the NOAA-Fisheries if the initial BLM determination is
“not likely to adversely affect” listed species or designated critical habitat. .“Not likely to
adversely affect” determinations are reached when effects of the action are insignificant,
discountable, or completely beneficial. Beneficial effects are contemporaneous positive
effects without any long-term adverse effects to the species. Insignificant effects relate
to the size of the impact and cannot be meaningfully measured. Discountable effects are
those that have an extremely low probability of occurring.
Informal consultation is concluded if the Services concur with the BLM determination.
This concurrence must be documented in the planning record by a written letter of
concurrence from the USFWS or NOAA-Fisheries. If the Services do not concur with
the BLM determination, formal consultation must be initiated.
3. Formal Consultation. Formal consultation is required when proposed management
direction and resource allocations in the preferred alternative are determined to be “likely
to adversely affect” to listed species or designated critical habitat. The Endangered
Species Act and 50 CFR 402.16 outline criteria for re-initiating consultation when there
has been significant change since the original consultation was completed. Based on
these criteria, consultation on land use plan and implementation decisions must be re-
initiated for any of the following reasons:
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a) New information shows that the plan decisions may affect listed or proposed
species or critical habitat in a way or to an extent not previously considered;
b) land use plan and/or implementation decisions are modified in a way that may
cause adverse effects to the listed or proposed species or critical habitat that were
not considered in the biological opinion;
c) implementation of existing land use plan decisions could affect a newly listed
species or newly designated critical habitat; or
d) the amount or extent of incidental take is exceeded.
4. Conferencing. The BLM will conference with the Services on any action which is
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any proposed species or result in the
destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. The conference is
designed to assist the Federal agency and any applicant in identifying and resolving
potential conflicts at an early stage in the planning process. Conferencing includes
informal discussions concerning an action that is likely to jeopardize the continued
existence of the proposed species or results in the destruction or adverse modification of
the proposed critical habitat at issue.
5. Consultation under Endangered Species Act with Indian Tribes. Department of the
Interior’s Secretarial Order 3206, American Indian Tribal Rights; Federal-Tribal Trust
Responsibilities; and the Endangered Species Act; requires Interior agencies to consult
with Indian Tribes when agency actions to protect a listed species, as a result of
compliance with Endangered Species Act, affect or may affect Indian lands, Tribal trust
resources, or the exercise of American Indian Tribal rights. Consultation under this
Order should be closely coordinated with regional or field offices of the USFWS and/or
NOAA-Fisheries for game and non-game species.
E. Fish and Wildlife
Land Use Plan Decisions. Designate priority species and habitats, in addition to special status
species, for fish or wildlife species recognized as significant for at least one factor such as
density, diversity, size, public interest, remnant character, or age. Identify desired outcomes
using BLM strategic plans, state agency strategic plans, and other similar sources.
Describe desired habitat conditions and/or population for major habitat types that support a wide
variety of game, non-game, and migratory bird species; acknowledging the states’ roles in
managing fish and wildlife, working in close coordination with state wildlife agencies, and
drawing on state comprehensive wildlife conservation strategies. Identify actions and areawide
use restrictions needed to achieve desired population and habitat conditions while maintaining a
thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationships. (Also see previous Section D,
Special Status Species.) Identify essential fish habitat (EFH) for federally managed fish species
(Oregon, Washington, California and Idaho only).
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Implementation Decisions. In coordination with state wildlife agencies, identify site-specific
actions, such as riparian fencing, guzzler placement, fuels management, etc., needed to manage
ecosystems for all species and habitat for special status species. Identify specific measures to
conserve and enhance EFH.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Consult under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act
with the USFWS and/or NOAA-Fisheries, for all actions that may affect listed species or
designated critical habitat or confer if actions are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a
proposed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat
(see 50 CFR 402.14 and 402.10; and BLM Handbook H-6840). Depending on state-specific
laws, agreements, or policies, there may be additional requirements to confer with state wildlife
agencies if Federal actions may affect state-listed species or their habitats. Consult with the
NOAA-Fisheries on any action authorized, funded, or undertaken that may impact EFH (through
existing environmental review processes in accordance with NEPA). Comply with Executive
Order 13186 for the conservation of migratory birds.
F. Wild Horses and Burros
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify the following (see 43 CFR 4700):
1. Herd Areas. Herd areas (HAs) are limited to areas of the public lands identified as
being habitat used by wild horses and burros at the time of the passage of the Wild Horse
and Burro Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1331-1340). HA boundaries may only be changed
when it is determined that (1) areas once listed as HAs are later found to be used only by
privately-owned horses or burros, or (2) the HA boundary does not correctly portray
where wild horses and burros were found in 1971.
2. Herd Management Area Designation. Herd management areas (HMAs) are
established only in HAs, within which wild horses and/or burros can be managed for the
long term. For HMAs, identify the following:
a) Initial and estimated herd size that could be managed while still preserving and
maintaining a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationships
for that area.
b) Guidelines and criteria for adjusting herd size.
3. Herd Areas Not Designated as Herd Management Areas. Where appropriate, the land
use plan may include decisions removing horses from all or part of a HA. Examples
include intermingled and unfenced lands within HAs where private landowners do not
want to make them available for wild horse or burro use; or essential habitat components
are not available for wild horse or burro use within a HA.
4. Wild Horse and Burro Ranges. An HMA may be considered for designation as a wild
horse or burro range when there is a significant public value present, such as unique
characteristics in a herd or an outstanding opportunity for public viewing.
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5. Areawide Restrictions Needed to Achieve Objectives. For example, if domestic horses
in HMAs are not compatible with wild horse management policies, then, domestic horse
grazing must not be permitted in HMAs or adjacent to HMAs if domestic and wild horses
are likely to intermingle.
Implementation Decisions. Identify and set objectives for herd composition, animal
characteristics, and habitat development needs. Establish appropriate management levels
(AMLs) based on monitoring and evaluations, including the population range within which the
herd size will be allowed to fluctuate. (Commission for the Preservation of Wild Horses, et al.,
139 IBLA 24 (1997).)
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, as
amended (16 U.S.C. 1331-1340) requires BLM to consult with Federal and state wildlife
agencies and all other affected interests during land use and implementation planning for the
management of wild horses and burros.
Public hearings are required when anticipated management activities involve the use of
helicopters to capture, or the use of motor vehicles to transport, wild horses and burros.
Hearings are held in the state where the activities are proposed and are normally conducted on an
annual basis (see 43 CFR 4740).
G. Cultural Resources
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify special cultural resource restrictions that may affect the
location, timing, or method of development or use of other resources in the planning area.
Identify site-specific use restrictions from cultural resources currently being actively managed.
Identify area wide criteria for recognizing potential cultural resource conflicts, such as
geographic characteristics of sacred sites, historic properties, or cultural landscapes (springs,
ridges, peaks, caves, and rock shelters, for example). Consider these restrictions and criteria in
all proposed land and resource use decisions. Identify measures to pro-actively manage, protect,
and use cultural resources, including traditional cultural properties.
The scope and scale of cultural resource identification are much more general and less intensive
for land use planning than for processing site-specific use proposals. Instead of new, on-the-
ground inventory, the appropriate identification level for land use planning is a regional
overview: (1) a compilation and analysis of reasonably available cultural resource data and
literature, (2) a management-oriented synthesis of the resulting information that includes
priorities and a strategy for accomplishing needed inventory (see Manual Section 8110.) If land
use decisions, however, are more specific in terms of impacts, they may require a more detailed
level of identification of the scope and nature of cultural resources during land use planning.
RMPs will include at least the following two goals:
1. Identify, preserve, and protect significant cultural resources and ensure that they are
available for appropriate uses by present and future generations (FLPMA, Section 103
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(c), 201(a) and (c); National Historic Preservation Act, Section 110(a); Archaeological
Resources Protection Act, Section 14(a)).
2. Seek to reduce imminent threats and resolve potential conflicts from natural or
human-caused deterioration, or potential conflict with other resource uses (FLPMA Sec.
103(c), NHPA 106, 110 (a) (2)) by ensuring that all authorizations for land use and
resource use will comply with the NHPA Section 106.
All cultural properties in the RMP area, whether already recorded or projected to occur on the
basis of existing-data synthesis, including cultural landscapes, will be allocated to the uses listed
in Table C-1 according to their nature and relative preservation value. These use allocations
pertain to cultural resources, not to areas of land.
Table C-1.—Cultural use allocations and desired outcomes
Use allocation
1
Desired outcomes
a. Scientific use
Preserved until research potential is realized
b. Conservation for future use
Preserved until conditions for use are met
c. Traditional use
Long-term preservation
d. Public use
Long-term preservation, on-site interpretation
e. Experimental use
Protected until used
f. Discharged from management
No use after recordation; not preserved
1
The majority of the cultural properties in a given geographic area will fall into categories (a) and (f). The less-common properties in categories
(b)–(e) are likely to be associated with particular settings that can be delineated geographically in the planning process. As the plan is developed,
properties in categories b–d will require the most attention to balance their proactive uses with other land and resource uses.
Implementation Decisions. Identify site-specific information needs, impacted resources,
protection measures and opportunities to use cultural properties for scientific, educational,
recreational, and traditional purposes. Evaluate whether intended uses would result in changes to
cultural properties’ significance or preservation value, and if so, how resource condition should
be monitored, measured, and maintained at an acceptable level.
1. Cultural properties allocated to uses are subject to the management actions listed in
Table C-2 to realize their use potential.
Table C-2.—Cultural use allocations and management actions
Use allocation
Management
a. Scientific use
Permit appropriate research, including date recovery
b. Conservation for future use
Propose protective measures/designations
1`
c. Traditional use
Consult with Tribes; determine limitations
1
d. Public use
Determine permitted use
1
e. Experimental use
Determine nature of experiment
f. Discharged from management
Remove protective measures
1
Safeguards against incompatible land and resource uses may be imposed through withdrawals, stipulations on leases and permits, design
requirements, and similar measures which are developed and recommended by an appropriately staffed interdisciplinary team.
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2. Categorize geographic area as high/medium/low priority for future inventory of
cultural properties.
3. All authorizations for land and resource use will comply with Section 106 of the
National Historic Preservation Act, consistent with and subject to the objective
established in the RMP for the proactive use of cultural properties in the public interest
(NHPA Sec. 106, 101(d)(6), 110(a)(2)(E); national BLM-ACHP-NCSHPO Programmatic
Agreement of March 1997).
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings.
1. Consistent with the national Programmatic Agreement and individual state BLM-
SHPO protocols, invite the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) to participate
from the outset of planning in order to reduce the potential for cultural resource conflicts
with other resource uses as plans are implemented.
2. For states not operating under a BLM-SHPO protocol, such as Eastern states, consult
with the SHPO before plan approval concerning any actions that may be directly
implemented upon plan approval and could affect a cultural property listed in or eligible
for the National Register of Historic Places (see 36 CFR 800).
3. Formal consultations under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act
usually take place during implementation planning; however, consult with the SHPO
during land use planning regarding cultural resource evaluation recommendations (36
CFR 800.4(c)).
4. Consult Tribal leaders and traditional religious practitioners under the American
Indian Religious Freedom Act about any management objectives and actions that might
affect Native American religious practices, including access to sacred sites. Consult
Tribal leaders under the National Historic Preservation Act about any management
objectives or actions that might affect properties of traditional cultural importance.
H. Paleontology
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify criteria or use restrictions to ensure that (a) areas containing,
or that are likely to contain, vertebrate or noteworthy occurrences of invertebrate or plant fossils
are identified and evaluated prior to authorizing surface-disturbing activities; (b) management
recommendations are developed to promote the scientific, educational, and recreational uses of
fossils; and (c) threats to paleontological resources are identified and mitigated as appropriate.
Implementation Decisions. Identify appropriate protection measures and scientific, educational,
and recreational use opportunities for paleontological localities.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. No additional specific requirements exist.
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I. Visual Resources
Land Use Plan Decisions. Manage visual resource values in accordance with visual resource
management (VRM) objectives (management classes). Designate VRM management classes for
all areas of BLM land, based on an inventory of visual resources and management considerations
for other land uses. VRM management classes may differ from VRM inventory classes, based
on management priorities for land uses (see BLM Handbook H-8410-1 for a description of VRM
classes).
Implementation Decisions. Manage resource uses and management activities consistent with
the VRM objectives established in the land use plan. Design all BLM resource uses,
management activities, and other implementation decisions to meet VRM objectives established
in the land use plan. Utilize visual resource design techniques and best management practices to
mitigate the potential for short- and long-term impacts. Contrast ratings are required for all
major projects proposed on public lands that fall within VRM Class I, II, and III areas which
have high sensitivity levels (see Handbook H-8341-1 for contrast-rating procedures).
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. No additional specific requirements exist.
J. Wildland Fire Management
Land Use Plan Decisions. Fire management strategies must recognize the role of wildland fire
as an essential ecological process and natural change agent. Fire management strategies must
result in minimum suppression costs, considering firefighter and public safety, benefits, and
values to be protected; consistent with resource objectives. Fire management decisions (goals
and objectives, and allowable uses and management actions) must reflect that the protection of
human life is the single, overriding priority. Other priorities (protecting human communities and
community infrastructure, other property and improvements, and natural and cultural resources)
are based on the values to be protected, human health and safety, and the costs of protection.
Consistent with these principles, identify landscape-level fire management goals and objectives,
which would be achieved through allowable uses and management actions. Use fire
regime/condition class methodology to identify desired wildland fire conditions. Wildland fire
management goals and objectives must be closely coordinated with vegetation management
goals and objectives.
Identify allowable uses and management actions to achieve the fire management goals and
objectives, and support the goals and objectives for vegetation, wildlife, and other resources.
As part of identifying allowable uses, identify the geographic areas that are suitable for wildland
fire use, provided conditions are appropriate. Also, identify the geographic areas where wildland
fire use is not appropriate due to social, economic, political, or resource constraints (e.g.,
wildland urban interface areas); and where suppression action would be taken.
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As part of identifying management actions to achieve goals and objectives, identify the types of
fuels management or vegetation management treatments (e.g., mechanical, biological, and
chemical treatments and prescribed fire) that would be implemented.
Allowable uses and management actions include the identification of restrictions on fire
management practices (including both wildfire suppression and fuels management) needed to
protect natural or cultural resource values. Restrictions may be structured to allow flexibility to
apply restrictions on a seasonal or annual basis, based on resource conditions, weather factors,
and operational capability.
Establish landscape-scale fire management priorities or provide criteria that will guide more site-
specific priorities at the fire management plan level.
Implementation Decisions. Identify site-specific fire management practices and fuels treatment
actions needed to meet the broad-scale land use plan goals and objectives (such as wildland fire
use, prescribed fire, mechanical thinning, biological, and chemical treatments) including their
location, size, and specific layout and project design features, as well as any measures needed to
protect sensitive resources.
For additional guidance, see the DOI and BLM Fire Management Manuals and Handbooks.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings.
1. Consult, coordinate, and comply with Tribes, Federal agencies, and state and local
governments regarding smoke management where required by the Clean Air Act,
Executive Order 12088 (Federal Compliance with Pollution Control Standards), and State
Implementation Plans.
2. Consult and coordinate with adjacent Tribes, Federal agencies, and state and local
governments to establish protection and fuels management priorities.
K. Wilderness Characteristics
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify decisions to protect or preserve wilderness characteristics
(naturalness, outstanding opportunities for solitude, and outstanding opportunities for primitive
and unconfined recreation). Include goals and objectives to protect the resource and
management actions necessary to achieve these goals and objectives. For authorized activities,
include conditions of use that would avoid or minimize impacts to wilderness characteristics.
Implementation Decisions. Identify site-specific protection measures to insure protection of
wilderness characteristics.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. No additional specific requirements exist.
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L. Cave and Karst Resources
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify significant caves as mandated by the Federal Cave
Resources Protection Act of 1988. Criteria for identification of significant caves is set forth in
43 CFR 37.11(c). If it is determined that a cave meets these criteria, it must be designated as
significant as set forth in 43 CFR 37.11(f).
For each designated significant cave, consider whether or not an administrative designation (e.g.,
ACEC) is needed to provide adequate protection for significant cave resources (see III. Special
Designations). Regardless, it is vital that both management objectives and setting prescriptions
be set for each designated significant cave. Management objectives should be outcome-based
(i.e., not facility- or project-based). Setting prescriptions should specify conditions needed to
facilitate achievement of the management objectives.
Implementation Decisions. Address four basic but broad types of cave and karst resource
management actions for all significant caves:
1. Management (resources, visitors and facilities);
2. marketing (outreach, information and education, promotion, interpretation, and
environmental education);
3. monitoring (social, environmental and administrative indicators and standards); and
4. administration (regulatory, permit/fee/fiscal, data management, and customer liaison).
All BLM implementing actions must be conditioned by the specific management objectives and
accompanying setting prescriptions incorporated within land use plan decisions for each
significant cave.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Certain actions involving impacts to cave and karst
resources may require consultation and coordination with other Federal, state and local
government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations or individuals as mandated by Section
4 of the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act; Section 106 of the National Historic
Preservation Act; Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act; and Section 8 of the Public
Rangeland Improvement Act.
II. Resource Uses
A. Forestry
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify characteristics (indicators) to describe healthy forest
conditions (i.e., desired outcomes) for forest/woodland types found within the planning area
(also see I(C), Vegetation). Identify the suite of possible management actions (including
appropriate harvest, reforestation, and forest development methods), and associated best
management practices, that can be applied to meet desired outcomes.
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Identify areas that are available and have the capacity for planned, sustained-yield timber harvest
or special forest product harvest. A probable sale quantity (PSQ) should be determined, if
possible, for those areas determined to be available for harvest. The PSQ is the allowable
harvest level that can be maintained without decline over the long term if the schedule of
harvests and regeneration are followed. PSQ recognizes a level of uncertainty in meeting the
determined level; this uncertainty is typically based on other environmental factors that preclude
harvesting at a particular time (for example, because of watershed or habitat concerns). A PSQ
is not a commitment to offer for sale a specific level of timber volume every year.
Implementation Decisions. Identify individual timber or special forest product sale locations
and schedules; site-specific intensive management practices, locations, and schedules; and
restrictions associated with forestry activities. Identify individual forest health treatment
activities by location and schedule (Headwaters, Inc., 116 IBLA 129 (1990)).
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. There are no additional specific requirements.
B. Livestock Grazing
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify lands available or not available for livestock grazing (see 43
CFR 4130.2(a)), considering the following factors:
1. Other uses for the land;
2. terrain characteristics;
3. soil, vegetation, and watershed characteristics;
4. the presence of undesirable vegetation, including significant invasive weed
infestations; and
5. the presence of other resources that may require special management or protection,
such as special status species, special recreation management areas (SRMAs), or ACECs.
Decisions identifying lands available, or not available, for livestock grazing may be revisited
through the amendment or revision process if the grazing preference or permit on those lands has
been voluntarily relinquished, or if there are outstanding requests to voluntarily relinquish the
grazing preference or permit. If an evaluation of Land Health Standards identifies an allotment
or group of allotments where Land Health Standards cannot be achieved under any level or
management of livestock use, then decisions identifying those areas as available for livestock
grazing need to be revisited.
For lands available for livestock grazing, identify on an areawide basis both the amount of
existing forage available for livestock (expressed in animal unit months) and the future
anticipated amount of forage available for livestock with full implementation of the land use plan
while maintaining a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationships. The land
use plan needs to describe how these public lands will be managed to become as productive as
feasible for livestock grazing, including a description of possible grazing management practices
such as grazing systems, range improvements (including land treatments), changes in seasons of
use and/or stocking rates. In addition, identify guidelines and criteria for future allotment-
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specific adjustments in the amount of forage available for livestock, season of use, or other
grazing management practices (Joel Stamatakis, Steve Stamatakis; 98 IBLA 4 (1987)).
Implementation Decisions. For areas available for grazing, identify allotment-specific (for one
or several allotments) grazing management practices and livestock forage amounts based on
monitoring and assessment information, as well as constraints and needs related to other
resources. Grazing management practices and levels of livestock grazing use must achieve the
desired outcomes outlined in the land use plan, including rangeland health standards (or
comprehensive Land Health Standards), or must result in significant progress toward fulfilling
rangeland health standards; they must also conform to the guidelines required under 43 CFR
4180.2(b).
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Conduct appropriate consultation, cooperation, and
coordination actions as required under 43 CFR 4130.2(b). Copies of proposed decisions on
grazing use are sent to interested members of the public in accordance with 43 CFR 4160.1.
C. Recreation and Visitor Services
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify special recreation management areas (SRMAs).
Each SRMA has a distinct, primary recreation-tourism market as well as a corresponding and
distinguishing recreation management strategy. For each SRMA selected, determine whether
that primary market-based strategy will be to manage for a destination recreation-tourism
market, a community recreation-tourism market, or an undeveloped recreation-tourism market,
and state that determination in the land use plan. Then describe the market that corresponds to
that specific recreation management strategy (who they are and where they are located). Divide
recreation areas that have more than one distinct, primary recreation market into separate
SRMAs.
For each SRMA identified, delineate discrete recreation management zone (RMZ) boundaries.
Each RMZ has four defining characteristics - it: (1) serves a different recreation niche within the
primary recreation market; (2) produces a different set of recreation opportunities and facilitates
the attainment of different experience and benefit outcomes (to individuals, households and
communities, economies, and the environment); (3) has distinctive recreation setting character;
and (4) requires a different set of recreation provider actions to meet the strategically-targeted
primary recreation market demand. To address these four variables within each RMZ, make the
following land-use allocation decisions:
1. Identify the corresponding recreation niche to be served;
2. write explicit recreation management objectives for the specific recreation
opportunities to be produced and the outcomes to be attained (activities, experiences, and
benefits);
3. prescribe recreation setting character conditions required to produce recreation
opportunities and facilitate the attainment of both recreation experiences and beneficial
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outcomes, as targeted above (the recreation opportunity spectrum is one of the existing
tools for both describing existing setting character and prescribing desired setting
character); and
4. briefly describe an activity planning framework that addresses recreation
management, marketing, monitoring, and administrative support actions (e.g., visitor
services, permits and fees, recreation concessions, and appropriate use restrictions)
necessary to achieve explicitly-stated recreation management objectives and setting
prescriptions (see Implementation Decisions subsection below).
Visual resource management classes need to be correlated with the recreation management
objectives and setting prescriptions that have been set for each RMZ delineated.
Anything not delineated as an SRMA is an extensive recreation management area (ERMA).
Management within all ERMAs is restricted to custodial actions only. Therefore, actions within
ERMAs are generally implemented directly from land use plan decisions and do not require
activity-level planning. Land use plan decisions must, therefore, include recreation management
objectives for all ERMAs. Consider addressing visitor health and safety, user conflict and
resource protection issues in particular through these recreation management objectives.
However, land use plan decisions for ERMAs need to also identify implementing recreation
management, marketing, monitoring, and administrative support actions of the kinds listed for
SRMAs under Implementation Decisions below (because no follow-up implementation decisions
at the activity plan level are required for ERMAs) Note: If recreation demand (i.e., from an
undeveloped recreation-tourism market) requires maintenance of setting character and/or
production of associated activity, experience, and benefit opportunities/outcomes, the area
should be identified and managed as an SRMA, rather than being custodially managed as an
ERMA.
Recognition of singularly dominant activity-based recreation demand of and by itself (e.g., heavy
off-highway vehicle use, river rafting, etc.), however great, generally constitutes insufficient
rationale for the identification of an SRMA and the subsequent expenditure of major recreation
program investments in facilities and/or visitor assistance. This does not mean that the
expenditure of substantial custodial funding is unwarranted when circumstances require it, but
such expenditures should be geared to take care of the land and its associated recreation-tourism
use and not to provide structured recreation opportunities which characterize SRMAs.
Identification, but not formal designation, of both SRMAs and ERMAs is required (see Manual
Section 8300).
Implementation Decisions. For all SRMAs, address four basic but broad types of recreation
actions:
1. Recreation management (of resources, visitors, and facilities [i.e., developed
recreation sites, roads and trails, recreation concessions, etc.]);
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2. recreation marketing (including outreach, information and education, promotion,
interpretation, environmental education; and other visitor services);
3. recreation monitoring (including social, environmental, and administrative indicators
and standards); and
4. recreation administration (regulatory; permits and fees, including use restrictions
where necessary and appropriate; recreation concessions; fiscal; data management; and
customer liaison).
All BLM implementing actions for SRMAs must be conditioned by both the identified primary
recreation market strategy and the specific RMZ land use allocation objectives and
accompanying setting prescriptions incorporated within land use plan decisions. Since the BLM
is not the sole-source provider of public lands recreation, be sure to address any actions of other
key recreation-tourism providers within local service communities (i.e., local governments and
private recreation-tourism businesses). The BLM cannot dictate to its local government and
private business providers. Yet, without their collaborative engagement as managing partners in
plan design and implementation, recreation opportunities targeted by land use plan management
objectives cannot be produced over the long run, nor can prescribed recreation settings be
sustained.
To the greatest extent possible, and appropriate to the setting prescriptions for the area involved,
all new construction and modifications to recreation facilities, outdoor developed areas, and any
related programs and activities will be accessible to people with disabilities in accordance with
the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as
amended, and in conformance with relevant building standards, accessible outdoor program
guidance, and program regulations.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. No additional specific requirements exist.
D. Comprehensive Trails and Travel Management
Land Use Plan Decisions. Delineate travel management areas and designate off-highway
vehicle management areas.
1. Delineating Travel Management Areas. Comprehensive travel management planning
should address all resource use aspects (such as recreational, traditional, casual,
agricultural, commercial, and educational) and accompanying modes and conditions of
travel on the public lands, not just motorized or off-highway vehicle activities. In the
RMP, travel management areas (polygons) should be delineated. Identify acceptable
modes of access and travel for each travel management area (including over-land, over-
water, over-snow and fly-in access [remote airstrips and float planes]). In developing
these areas, consider the following:
a. Consistency with all resource program goals and objectives;
b. primary travelers;
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c. objectives for allowing travel in the area;
d. setting characteristics that are to be maintained (including recreation
opportunity system and VRM settings); and
e. primary means of travel allowed to accomplish the objectives and to maintain
the setting characteristics.
2. Designation of Off-Highway Vehicle Management Areas. All public lands are
required to have off-highway vehicle area designations (see 43 CFR 8342.1). Areas must
be classified as open, limited, or closed to motorized travel activities. Criteria for open,
limited, and closed area designations are established in 43 CFR 8340.0-5(f), (g) and (h),
respectively.
For areas classified as limited consider a full range of possibilities, including travel that
will be limited to types or modes of travel, such as foot, equestrian, bicycle, motorized,
etc.; limited to existing roads and trails; limited to time or season of use; limited to
certain types of vehicles (OHVs, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, high clearance, etc.);
limited to licensed or permitted vehicles or users; limited to BLM administrative use
only; or other types of limitations. In addition, provide specific guidance about the
process for managing motorized vehicle access for authorized, permitted, or otherwise
approved vehicles for those specific categories of motorized vehicle uses that are exempt
from a limited designation (see 43 CFR 8340.0-5(a)(1-5).
At a minimum, the travel management area designation for wilderness study areas
(WSAs) must be limited to ways and trails existing at the time the area became a WSA.
Open areas within WSAs are appropriate only for sand dune or snow areas designated as
such prior to October 21, 1976. Existing roads, ways and trails must be fully documented
and mapped. This applies to both motorized and mechanized transport (see Interim
Management Policy and Guidelines for Lands Under Wilderness Review H-8550-
1(I.)(B.)(11) for mechanized transport). In addition, future designations may be made for
a WSA if it is released from study.
Except as otherwise provided by law (e.g., the Alaska National Interest Lands
Conservation Act), congressionally designated wilderness areas are statutorily closed to
motorized and mechanized use. These areas should be shown in the land use plans along
with the acreage affected.
Existing laws, proclamations, regulations or Executive orders may limit the use of the
open area designation or impose additional requirements relating to travel management in
specific circumstances.
For RMP provisions related to national scenic, historic and national recreation trails,
national back country byways, or other byway designations (see Appendix C, III. Special
Designations).
Implementation Decisions. Complete a defined travel management network (system of areas,
roads and/or trails) during the development of the land use plan, to the extent practical. If it is
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not practical to define or delineate the travel management network during the land use planning
process, a preliminary network must be identified and a process established to select a final
travel management network. Possible reasons for not completing the final network might be size
or complexity of the area, controversy, incomplete data, or other constraints.
If the final travel management network is to be deferred in the RMP, then the RMP should
document the decision-making process used to develop the initial network, provide the basis for
future management decisions, and help set guidelines for making road and trail network
adjustments throughout the life of the plan. The identification of the uncompleted travel
management networks should be delineated in the land use plan and the following tasks
completed for each area:
1) Produce a map of a preliminary road and trail network;
2) define short-term management guidance for road and trail access and activities in
areas or sub-areas not completed;
3) outline additional data needs, and a strategy to collect needed information;
4) provide a clear planning sequence, including public collaboration, criteria and
constraints for subsequent road and trail selection and identification;
5) provide a schedule to complete the area or sub-area road and trail selection process;
and
6) identify any easements and rights-of-ways (to be issued to the BLM or others) needed
to maintain the preliminary or existing road and trail network.
If the decision on delineating travel management networks is deferred in the land use plan to the
implementation phase, the work normally should be completed within 5 years of the signing of
the ROD for the RMP.
At the implementation phase of the plan, establish a process to identify specific areas, roads
and/or trails that will be available for public use, and specify limitations placed on use. Products
from this process will include:
1) A map of roads and trails for all travel modes.
2) Definitions and additional limitations for specific roads and trails (defined in 43 CFR
8340.0-5(g)).
3) Criteria to select or reject specific roads and trails in the final travel management
network, add new roads or trails and to specify limitations.
4) Guidelines for management, monitoring, and maintenance of the system.
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5) Indicators to guide future plan maintenance, amendments, or revisions related to
travel management network.
6) Needed easements and rights-of-ways (to be issued to the BLM or others) to maintain
the existing road and trail network providing public land access.
In addition, travel management networks should be reviewed periodically to ensure that current
resource and travel management objectives are being met (see 43 CFR 8342.3).
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. No additional specific requirements exist.
E. Lands and Realty
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify the following consistent with the goals and objectives for
natural resources within the planning area:
1. Lands for retention (43 CFR 2400), proposed disposal, or acquisition (based on
acquisition criteria identified in the land use plan; FLPMA Section 205(b)) (Oregon
Natural Resources Council, 78 IBLA 124 (1983)). Lands are to be retained in Federal
ownership, unless it is determined that disposal of a particular parcel will serve the
national interest (FLPMA Section 102(a)(1)). Land use plans should avoid prescribing
the method of disposal, acquisition, or property interest to be acquired.
2. Lands or interest in lands that are available for disposal under a variety of disposal
authorities, provided they meet the criteria outlined in FLPMA (Sales, Section 203, 43
U.S.C. 1713(a); Exchanges, Section 206, 43 U.S.C. 1716(a); and Reservation and
Conveyance of Minerals, Section 209, 43 U.S.C. 1719(a)) or other statutes and
regulations. Lands available for disposal must be identified by parcel or by specific areas
(on a map or by legal description).
3. Lands available for disposal under the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act of
2000 (FLTFA). The FLTFA amended FLPMA to allow retention by the BLM of receipts
received from sale of land or interests in land under Section 203 of FLPMA or
conveyance of mineral interest under Section 209(b) of FLPMA provided a land use plan
was completed prior to July 25, 2000. The FLTFA currently does not apply to lands
identified for disposal after July 25, 2000. In Nevada, the FLTFA does not apply to lands
eligible for sale under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, Santini-
Burton Act, Mesquite Lands Act, or Lincoln County Land Act.
4. Proposed withdrawal areas including existing withdrawals to be continued, modified,
or revoked (including how the lands would be managed if the withdrawal were
relinquished and an opening order issued) (see 43 CFR 2300).
5. Land Classifications under Section 7 of the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, as amended
(43 U.S.C. 315f). The procedures applicable to Section 7 outlined in 43 CFR 2400 must
be followed. The following actions require classification: Recreation and Public
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Purposes Act sales (see 43 CFR 2740) and leases (see 43 CFR 2912); agricultural entries
(see 43 CFR 2520, 2530, 2610); and state grants (see 43 CFR 2620). To the extent that
the land use planning procedures pursuant to 43 CFR 1600 differ from applicable
classification procedures under 43 CFR 2400, the latter procedures shall be followed and
applied. The analysis that supports classification decisions is normally the same analysis
utilized in the land use planning/NEPA process to make decisions concerning the
disposal or retention of public lands. For any classification decision made through the
land use plan, initiate the classification decision requirements (i.e., proposed and initial
decisions required under 43 CFR 2400) at the time the decision document is issued for
the land use plan.
6. Where and under what circumstances authorizations for use, occupancy, and
development (such as major leases and land use permits) may be granted (see 43 CFR
2740, 2912, 2911, and 2920, respectively).
7. Existing and potential right-of-way corridors (potential corridors include existing
right-of-way routes with the potential for at least one additional facility and thus can be
considered a corridor if not already designated) to minimize adverse environmental
impacts and the proliferation of separate right-of-ways (see 43 CFR 2806).
8. Existing and potential development areas for renewable energy projects (e.g., wind
and solar), communication sites, and other uses.
9. Right-of-way avoidance or exclusion areas (areas to be avoided but may be available
for location of right-of-ways with special stipulations and areas which are not available
for location of right-of-ways under any conditions).
10. Terms and conditions that may apply to right-of-way corridors or development areas,
including best management practices to minimize environmental impacts and limitations
on other uses which would be necessary to maintain the corridor and right-of-way values.
Implementation Decisions. Identify exchange agreements, land sale plans, approvals of leases
and permits, and all subsequent phases of case processing. Identify issuance of site-specific
right-of-way grants and authorizations. Identify authorization notices for those actions that
require classification or other notices, including sales, exchanges, state selections, Recreation
and Public Purposes Act sales and leases, agricultural entries, and other land disposal actions.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Consult with parties to Interagency Agreements or
MOUs relating to corridor identification or use. The Western Utility Group must be consulted
when developing decisions affecting utility use. Consult with Indian Tribes and state and local
governments having an interest in or jurisdiction over lands proposed for disposal or acquisition.
F. Coal
Land Use Plan Decisions. The land use plan is the chief process by which public land is
reviewed to assess whether there are areas suitable for leasing or unsuitable for all or certain
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types of coal mining operations under Section 522(b) of the Surface Mining Control and
Reclamation Act. Identify the following consistent with the goals and objectives for natural
resources within the planning area:
1. Unleased coal lands that are acceptable for further consideration for coal leasing and
development and those that are not (see 43 CFR 3461).
2. Areas unsuitable for surface mining of coal (43 CFR 1610.7-1) under the criteria set
forth in 43 CFR 3461.5.
3. For acceptable lands, areas suitable for development by all mining methods or by only
certain stipulated mining methods, such as surface or underground mining (see 43 CFR
3461).
4. Any special conditions that must be met during more detailed planning, lease sale, or
post-lease activities, including measures required to protect other resource values (see 43
CFR 3461).
5. An estimate of the amount of coal recoverable by either surface or underground
mining operations or both (43 CFR 3420.1-4(d)). Only those areas that have
development potential may be identified as acceptable for further consideration for
leasing.
6. Areas that have development potential for coal leasing according to the screening
process outlined in 43 CFR 3420.1-4(e)(1–4).
7. Areas to be withdrawn from further consideration for leasing to protect other resource
values and land uses that are locally, regionally or nationally important or unique and that
are not included in the unsuitability criteria discussed in 43 CFR 3461.5.
Implementation Decisions. Offer leases with appropriate conditions and stipulations, process
lease exchanges, process preference right lease applications, and delineate coal tracts for
disposal.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings.
1. Prior to or as part of the initiation or update of a land use plan or land use analysis, a
call for coal and other resource information shall be made to formally solicit indications
of interest and information on coal resource development potential and on other resources
which may be affected by coal development for land in the planning unit. Industry, state,
and local governments and the general public may submit information on lands that
should be considered for coal leasing, including statements describing why the lands
should be considered for leasing (43 CFR 3420.1-2).
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The Call for Coal and other Resource Information may be combined with the notice of
intent to conduct land use planning published in accordance with 43 CFR 1601.3(g) or
with the issue identification process in accordance with 43 CFR 1600.
2. Publish in the Federal Register a notice under 43 CFR 3461.2-1(a)(2), providing for a
minimum 30-day comment period on the results of the application of unsuitability
criteria, exemptions, and exceptions.
3. Consult as required under 43 CFR 3461.5 for unsuitability criteria 7 through 11,
criteria 13 through 15, and criterion 17.
4. Consult qualified surface owners as required under 43 CFR 3420.1-4(e)(4) and
1610.2(j) to determine their preference for or against surface mining. If a significant
number of qualified surface owners in an area do not support surface mining, BLM can
consider only underground mining unless one of the exceptions in 43 CFR 3420.1-
4(e)(4)(ii) or (iii) applies.
5. Consult Indian Tribes, other Federal agencies, and states as required under 43 CFR
3420.1-6 and 3420.1-7.
6. Hold a public hearing as required under 43 CFR 1610.2(k) and 43 CFR 3420.1-5 if
requested.
G. Oil Shale
Refer to the Fluid Minerals section (Appendix C, Section II.H below) for applicable decision
guidance, making decisions that consider the unique development aspects of oil shale, from
underground mining to in-situ production techniques.
H. Fluid Minerals: Oil and Gas, Tar Sands, and Geothermal Resources
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify the following consistent with the goals and objectives for
natural resources within the planning area (refer to H-1624-1):
1. Areas open to leasing, subject to existing laws, regulations, and formal orders; and the
terms and conditions of the standard lease form.
2. Areas open to leasing, subject to moderate constraints such as seasonal and controlled
surface use restrictions. (These are areas where it has been determined that moderately
restrictive lease stipulations may be required to mitigate impacts to other land uses or
resource values.)
3. Areas open to leasing, subject to major constraints such as no-surface-occupancy
stipulations on an area more than 40 acres in size or more than 0.25 mile in width.
(These are areas where it has been determined that highly restrictive lease stipulations are
required to mitigate impacts to other lands or resource values. This category also
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includes areas where overlapping moderate constraints would severely limit development
of fluid mineral resources.)
4. Areas closed to leasing. (These are areas where it has been determined that other land
uses or resource values cannot be adequately protected with even the most restrictive
lease stipulations; appropriate protection can be ensured only by closing the lands to
leasing.) Identify whether such closures are discretionary or nondiscretionary; and if
discretionary, the rationale.
5. Resource condition objectives that have been established and specific lease
stipulations and general/typical conditions of approval and best management practices
that will be employed to accomplish these objectives in areas open to leasing.
6. For each lease stipulation, the circumstances for granting an exception, waiver, or
modification. Identify the general documentation requirements and any public
notification associated with granting exceptions, waivers, or modifications.
7. Whether the leasing and development decisions also apply to geophysical exploration.
8. Whether constraints identified in the land use plan for new leases also apply to areas
currently under lease.
9. Long-term resource condition objectives for areas currently under development to
guide reclamation activities prior to abandonment.
A plan-level decision to open the lands to leasing represents BLM’s determination, based on the
information available at the time, that it is appropriate to allow development of the parcel
consistent with the terms of the lease, laws, regulations, and orders, and subject to reasonable
conditions of approval. When applying leasing restrictions, the least restrictive constraint to
meet the resource protection objective should be used.
Implementation Decisions. Offer leases with appropriate stipulations. Address site-specific
actions such as geophysical exploration, approval or disapproval of applications for permit to
drill (APDs) with attached restrictions or conditions of approval, well siting, tank battery
placement, and pipeline routing.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Public notice shall be given 45 days before offering
lands for lease and 30 days before approving APDs or substantially modifying the terms of any
lease (43 CFR 3101.1-4).
I. Locatable Minerals
Land Use Plan Decisions. For lands that are open to the location of lode, placer, and mill
claims, the claimant has statutory authority under the mining laws to ingress, egress and
development of those claims. This authority means that those areas open to mineral entry for the
purposes of exploration or development of locatable minerals cannot be unreasonably restricted.
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Identify the following consistent with the goals and objectives of locatable mineral exploration
and development in concert with the protection of natural resources within the planning area.
1. Areas recommended for closure to the mining laws for locatable exploration or
development (that must be petitioned for withdrawal).
2. Any terms, conditions, or other special considerations needed to protect other resource
values while conducting activities under the operation of the mining laws.
Implementation Decisions.
1. Process notices and plans of operations according to the 43 CFR 3809 regulations.
2. Manage the use and occupancy on public lands for the development of locatable
mineral deposits to that which is reasonably incident to prospecting, mining or processing
operations under the mining laws (43 CFR 3715).
3. After a resource management plan or plan amendment in which lands are designated
unsuitable is approved, the authorized officer shall take all necessary steps to implement
the results of the unsuitability review as it applies to locatable minerals.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Recommend proposed withdrawals to the Secretary of
the Interior for appropriate action pursuant to Section 204(a) of FLPMA. Comply with the
congressional notice provisions of Section 204(c) of FLPMA (43 U.S.C. 1714(c)) for
withdrawals of 5,000 acres or more.
Areas that are petitioned for designation as unsuitable for mineral development shall receive
public review and hearings as appropriate.
J. Mineral Materials
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify the following consistent with the goals and objectives for the
exploration, development, and disposal of mineral materials in concert with the protection of
natural resources within the planning area.
1. Areas open or closed to mineral material disposal.
2. Any terms, conditions, or other special considerations needed to protect resource
values while operating under the mineral materials regulations.
Implementation Decisions.
1. Establish common use areas and community pits and process and approve disposal of
mineral materials through prospecting permits, free use permits, and competitive and
noncompetitive permits and sales.
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2. After a resource management plan or plan amendment in which lands are designated
unsuitable is approved, the authorized officer shall take all necessary steps to implement
the results of the unsuitability review as it applies to mineral materials.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Recommend proposed withdrawals to the Secretary of
the Interior for appropriate action pursuant to Section 204(a) of FLPMA. Comply with the
congressional notice provisions of Section 204(c) of FLPMA (43 U.S.C. 1714(c)) for
withdrawals of 5,000 acres or more.
Areas that are petitioned for designation as unsuitable for mineral development shall receive
public review and hearings as appropriate.
K. Non-energy Leasables
Land Use Plan Decisions. Applies to minerals leased under the mineral leasing acts and to
hardrock minerals leasable under Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1946. Identify the following
consistent with the goals and objectives for exploration, development, and disposal of non-
energy leasables in concert with the protection of natural resources within the planning area.
1. Areas open or closed to non-energy leasing and development.
2. Any area wide terms, conditions, or other special considerations needed to protect
other resource values while exploring or developing minerals under the non-energy
leasable regulations.
Implementation Decisions.
1. Issue mineral use authorizations for prospecting permits, exploration licenses,
preference right lease, competitive leases, lease modifications, and use permits.
2. After a resource management plan or plan amendment in which lands are designated
unsuitable is approved, the authorized officer shall take all necessary steps to implement
the results of the unsuitability review as it applies to non-energy leasables.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Recommend proposed withdrawals to the Secretary of
the Interior for appropriate action pursuant to Section 204(a) of FLPMA. Comply with the
congressional notice provisions of Section 204(c) of FLPMA (43 U.S.C. 1714(c)) for
withdrawals of 5,000 acres or more.
Areas that are petitioned for designation as unsuitable for mineral development shall receive
public review and hearings as appropriate.
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III. Special Designations
A. Congressional Designations
Land Use Plan Decisions. Develop stand-alone RMP/EIS-level plans for all national
monuments and congressionally designated national conservation areas, national recreation
areas, cooperative management and protection areas, outstanding natural areas, and forest
reserves (in accordance with the establishing statute or Presidential proclamation).
For designated national scenic and historic trails:
1. Identify goals, objectives and measures to achieve them, as well as allowable uses and
surface restrictions to avoid potential adverse affects. Land use plans must also
reference, incorporate, or be amended with provisions from applicable comprehensive
management plans required by the National Trails System Act.
2. Establish VRM designations; identify SRMAs, recreation management zones, and off-
highway vehicle designations; identify trail-related lands for retention, acquisition,
withdrawals, avoidance, and exclusion areas; identify appropriate special leasing
conditions, terms, constraints, or stipulations; designate trail segments as ACECs; and
identify interpretive measures.
3. Concentrate on high potential sites and segments along national historic trails, national
register eligible segments, and the primitive character and connection of national scenic
trail segments. Consider the historic context and/or current and future landscape
condition along the trails.
Implementation Decisions. Develop site-specific implementation actions and plans for
congressionally designated areas.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. No additional specific requirements.
B. Administrative Designations
Land Use Plan Decisions. Consistent with the goals and objectives for the planning area, make
the following determinations:
1. Manage WSAs under the interim management policy (H-8550-1) until they are
designated wilderness or released by Congress. Identify management direction for WSAs
should they be released from wilderness consideration by Congress.
2. Assess all eligible river segments and determine which are suitable or non-suitable per
Section 5(d)(1) of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, as amended (see BLM
Manual 8351).
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3. Designate ACECs and identify goals, standards, and objectives for each area, as well
as general management practices and uses, including necessary constraints and mitigation
measures (also see BLM Manual 1613). This direction should be specific enough to
minimize the need for subsequent ACEC management plans. ACECs must meet the
relevance and importance criteria in 43 CFR 1610.7-2(a) and must require special
management (43 CFR 1601.0-5(a)) to:
a) Protect the area and prevent irreparable damage to resources or natural
systems.
b) Protect life and promote safety in areas where natural hazards exist.
4. Designate research natural areas and outstanding natural areas as types of ACECs
using the ACEC designation process.
5. Designate BLM Scenic or Back Country Byways. Detailed procedural guidance for
nomination and designation of BLM byways, as well as other byway designations
occurring on BLM lands (such as All American Roads, National Scenic Byways, State
Scenic Byways, Forest Scenic Byways, and similar) can be found in Handbook 8357-1:
Byways, 12/17/93.
6. Designate national recreation trails, watchable wildlife viewing sites, wild horse and
burro ranges, or other BLM administrative designations.
Subject to valid existing rights, avoid approval of proposed actions that could degrade the values
of potential special designations. Proposed actions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and
impacts to an area’s values will be assessed. The standard for this review is the protection of the
area’s resources and values so that the area will not be disqualified from designation. Subject to
valid existing rights, proposed actions that can not meet this standard should be postponed,
relocated, mitigated, or denied until the planning for the area is completed.
Implementation Decisions. Develop site-specific management actions and constraints. Evaluate
and issue permits for scientific, educational, or recreational activities, and develop project plans
for trails, interpretive exhibits, resource rehabilitation, and other site-specific activities.
Protective management provisions must be followed to enhance or protect identified resource
values and/or characteristics.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. Publish a Federal Register notice providing a 60-day
comment period on proposed ACEC recommendations and resource use limitations (see 43 CFR
1610.7-2(b)).
IV. Support
The planning regulations at 43 CFR 1601.0-5(k)(6) provide that land use plans may identify
support needs. These are based on individual planning situations.
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A. Cadastral
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify planning boundaries so the geographic extent of land use
decisions is clearly understood. The plan may identify areas where additional cadastral survey
work is needed to locate and mark boundaries on the ground, including those areas identified for
disposal. The plan may also identify the need to complete more detailed boundary management
plans.
Implementation Decisions. If necessary, develop a boundary management plan for locating and
marking priority areas. Identify areas needing immediate trespass resolution.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. No additional specific requirements.
B. Interpretation and Environmental Education
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify management goals and/or objectives for interpretation and
environmental education, and describe the significant resources or areas that will be made
available for interpretation/environmental education. For units of the NLCS, significant resource
or area descriptions should be based on the designation or proclamation language establishing
each area.
Implementation Decisions. Determine what management actions are necessary to achieve
identified interpretive and environmental education goals and/or objectives. Address the
techniques to be used, and the partners and volunteers needed, to implement these management
actions. The following factors should be considered for relevant activity-level interpretive and
environmental education plans:
1. Key stories unique to the area;
2. primary messages or themes;
3. educational goals which support management objectives;
4. primary recreation opportunities;
5. distinctive recreation setting character;
6. key resource as well as recreation-tourism attractions; and
7. administrative services and controls.
The key interpretive stories and educational themes are best identified by collaborating with: 1)
community groups; 2) service providers and other interested partners; and 3) other federal, state,
and local government agencies. These key stories and themes are often about unique historical,
biological, geological, or other resource and human values found within the planning area. The
interpretive and educational themes relate to the primary values of the areas and/or their
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associated resources. LUP management goals should be incorporated into primary interpretive
messages where appropriate.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. No additional specific requirements.
C. Transportation Facilities
Land Use Plan Decisions. Identify land areas available or suitable for transportation facilities.
Identify types of transportation facilities that are appropriate for the planning area. Identify
limitations, if any, on the types or locations of facilities for specified areas.
Identify the area(s) having in-place transportation facilities that should be removed. Identify
road repair, road rehabilitation, road construction, and maintenance standards appropriate to
specific areas. Identify limitations, if any, on road repair, road rehabilitation, road construction,
and maintenance actions. Identify limitations, if any, on road density (i.e., miles/section) for
specific areas.
Also refer to Appendix C(II)(D), Comprehensive Trails and Travel Management.
Implementation Decisions. Develop a map or other type of specification document that displays
and describes the intended use of the individual geographic units within the planning area. In
conjunction with the process of identifying a road network (see Appendix C, Section II.D,
(Comprehensive Trails and Travel Management)), develop a transportation plan outlining
specific road types and designations such as Federal, state, county, and Tribal roads, BLM
administered/maintained roads, and BLM public roads. Identify roads in congressionally
designated conservation units, Presidential conservation designations, and administrative
conservation designations such as back country byways.
Notices, Consultations, and Hearings. No additional specific requirements.
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Appendix D: Social Science Considerations in Land Use Planning Decisions
I. Using Social Science in Land Use Planning
Appendix D provides guidance on integrating social science information into the planning
process. Any information gathered in support of a planning effort must be considered in the
context of BLM’s legal mandates.
The BLM is required to manage the public lands on the basis of multiple use and sustained yield
and to meet the needs of present and future generations. As the human population continues to
increase and social values evolve, resource conflicts are likely to increase. More importantly, the
American public is increasingly aware of the importance of the public lands to its well-being and
is demanding a larger voice in resource management decisions. Given these realities, the
planning process can represent a constant balancing of competing needs, interests, and values.
The effective use of social science can be critical to understanding and reconciling these
differing perspectives.
Social science information in land use planning can include the economic, political, cultural, and
social structure of communities, regions, and the Nation as a whole; social values, beliefs, and
attitudes; how people interact with the landscape; and sense-of-place issues. The social sciences
integrate a wide variety of disciplines, generally including economics, sociology, demography,
anthropology, archaeology, political science, geography, history, and landscape architecture.
Though the information appropriate to a given analysis depends upon the specific issues being
assessed, the social science information usually important for resource planning decisions can be
grouped in the following categories:
• Demography and Social Indicators
• Social Organization and Institutions
• Attitudes and Values
• Human Geography
• Economic Value
• Employment, Income, and Subsistence
• Public Finance and Government Services
• Environmental Justice
By statute, regulation, and Executive order the BLM must utilize social science in the
preparation of informed, sustainable land use planning decisions. Section 202(c)(2) of FLPMA
requires BLM to integrate physical, biological, economic, and other sciences in developing land-
use plans (43 USC 1712(c)(2)). FLPMA regulations 43 CFR 1610.4-3 and 1610.4-6 also require
BLM to analyze social, economic, and institutional information. Section 102(2)(A) of NEPA
requires Federal agencies to “insure the integrated use of the natural and social sciences . . . in
planning and decision making” (42 USC 4332(2)(A)). Federal agencies are also required to
“identify and address . . . disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental
effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income
populations in the United States” in accordance with Executive Order 12898 on Environmental
Justice.
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II. Incorporating Socio-economic Information
A. The Planning Process
To be effective, social scientific data and methods should be integrated into the entire planning
process, from preparing the pre-plan to implementation and monitoring. The main social science
activities for the various planning steps are outlined in Table D-1.
Table D-1.—Social science activities in land use planning
Planning steps
Social science activities
Steps 1 & 2—Identify Issues and Develop
Planning Criteria
▪ Identify publics and strategies to reach them
▪ Identify social and economic issues
▪ Identify social and economic planning criteria
Step 3—Inventory Data
▪ Identify inventory methods
▪ Collect necessary social and economic data
Steps 4—Analyze Management Situation
▪ Conduct social and economic assessment, including existing conditions
and trends and the impacts of continuing current management
▪ Document assessment methods in an appendix or technical supplement
Step 5—Formulate Alternatives
▪ Identify social and economic opportunities and constraints to help
formulate alternatives
Step 6—Estimate Effects of Alternatives
▪ Identify analysis methods
▪ Analyze the social and economic effects of the alternatives
▪ Document impact analysis methods in an appendix or technical
supplement
▪ Assess mitigation opportunities to enhance alternatives’ positive effects
and minimize their negative effects
Steps 7 & 8—Identify Preferred Alternative
and Finalize Plan
▪ Identify potential social and economic factors to help select the preferred
alternative
Step 9—Monitor and Evaluate
▪ Track social and economic indicators
B. Objectives of the Analysis
Beyond contributing to the public involvement strategy (see Appendix D, Section III), socio-
economic input to BLM’s resource management planning has three main elements: baseline
assessment, impact analysis, and mitigation.
1. Baseline assessment
Characterize existing conditions and trends in local communities and the wider region that may
affect and be affected by land use planning decisions. This baseline assessment should be
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included or summarized and referenced in the Affected Environment section of the EIS. In
particular, the baseline assessment should:
a) Review and summarize the relevant published and unpublished literature on the
history, economy, and social system(s) of the study area;
b) characterize the economic structure and activity of communities and groups within the
study area that are affected by the management of BLM lands; and
c) characterize the social structure, activities, and values of such communities and
groups.
When preparing RMP amendments for activity- or implementation-level projects, the social
science and economic portions of the Affected Environment chapter may be referenced to the
original RMP or reduced in complexity, based on the actual issues associated with the proposed
actions.
2. Impact analysis
In the Environmental Consequences section of the EIS, characterize impacts to existing
conditions and trends from each of the alternatives under consideration, including the no action
alternative, relative to the baseline assessment. Impacts include direct, indirect, and cumulative
effects for all resources that make up the human environment. In particular, impact analyses
should:
a) Analyze the positive and negative economic effects of each alternative developed
within the RMP on those communities and groups;
b) analyze the positive and negative social effects of each alternative developed within
the RMP on those communities and groups; and
c) in fulfillment of Environmental Justice requirements, identify any disproportionate
negative effect on low-income or minority populations associated with one or more
proposed alternatives (see Appendix D, Section IV).
3. Mitigation measures
As appropriate, identify measures that may reduce or avoid potential adverse economic or social
effects of the alternatives, and maximize their positive effects. Determination of the preferred
alternative as expressed in the RMP ROD should reflect this analysis. Note that the preferred
alternative is not required to be the alternative with the least cumulative adverse impacts or that
provides full mitigation to all social and economic impacts.
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C. The Scope of Analysis
There is no standard scope of work for socio-economic analysis because the key topics and
methods are shaped in part by the social context and potential resource allocation decisions of a
given resource management plan. The social and economic assessment (affected environment)
and impact analysis (environmental consequences) should assist the reader to understand the
human context of the planning effort, and in particular to identify the potential effects,
constraints, and opportunities associated with planning alternatives. Table D-2 presents 27
topics of socio-economic information. We suggest ranking topics as follows:
1 Basic: topic should be addressed (example: population trends)
2 Optional: address if warranted by context and issues
3 Not currently indicated: address if indicated by new information
In Table D-2 some topics considered basic to all socio-economic analyses are assigned a priority
of 1. Field office staff responsible for directing the socio-economic aspect of a resource
management plan can use the list of topics to define an appropriate scope of work, identifying
which topics should be included in the analysis by ranking as 1 (basic), 2 (optional), or 3 (not
currently indicated).
These topics are available as a stand alone Checklist for Socio-Economic Analysis, available on
the BLM social science website (see Appendix D, Section VII). For each topic the checklist also
includes a field for “plan-specific guidance” to provide BLM staff or contractors with more
precise direction as to which groups, issues, and activities should receive particular attention.
Note also that the required Economic Strategies Workshop (see Appendix D, Section III[B])
provides an excellent opportunity to discuss with interested government leaders and the public
what topics should be emphasized in the socio-economic analysis.
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Table D–2.—Topics for socio-economic analysis
Topic
Planning relevance
Examples
Priority
Population
Potential demand on BLM
lands and resources
Population trends;
migration, distribution by
age and gender
1
Inequality
Differences in visibility and
influence; identify vulnerable
populations (Environmental
Justice)
Income distribution;
percent of households in
poverty
1
Social difference Barriers to public involvement;
different user needs and values;
identify distinctive populations
(Environmental Justice)
Ethnicity; languages
spoken in household;
Tribal affiliation
Demography
and Social
Indicators
Social indicators Can indicate community
strengths and weaknesses that
may have implications for
planning issues
Crime rates, divorce
rates, unemployment,
education, length of
residence
Government
Potential cooperating agencies;
contacts for plan coordination
(identified in pre-plan)
Municipal and county
governments in/near
planning area; special
districts; Tribal
governments
1
Non-govern-
mental
institutions
Potential partners for plan
implementation; sources of
economic and social resilience
Chamber of Commerce;
church groups; ethnic
advocacy organizations
Communities of
place
Local and regional population
centers relative to planning area
effects may differ by
community
Gateway communities;
natural resource-
dependent communities
1
Social groups
and networks
Opportunities for informal
contacts in seeking public
comment and communicating
plans and proposals
Networks linking
ranchers or retirees
Social
Organization
and
Institutions
Occupational
and interest
groups
Provide range of perspectives
on potential land use decisions,
effects may differ by distinct
group
Wilderness advocates; oil
and gas producers,
Cattleman’s Association
1
Attitudes and
Meanings
Attitudes and
beliefs
regarding local
environment and
its use
Local understandings may
shape acceptability of proposed
land use decisions
[formal techniques: surveys,
interviews, focus groups]
1
Survey to clarify local
understanding of effects
of coal bed methane
technology on ground-
water conditions
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Topic
Planning relevance
Examples
Priority
Significance of
proposed land
management
actions for
various publics
While public attitudes are
elicited in scoping, formal data
collection can identify
important differences between
groups, providing further
information to help identify
impacts and mitigation
strategies
[formal techniques: surveys,
interviews, focus groups]
1
Interviews to assess
social impacts of
prescribed burning
Quality of life
Can indicate community
perceptions that may have
implications for planning issues
Perceived access to
community resources;
satisfaction with
community conditions,
such as opportunities for
employment
Distribution of
communities,
roads, and
resources
Clarify geo-spatial context; can
predict potential conflicts and
impacts over proposed land use
allocations
Wildland-urban interface,
recreational demand from
nearby cities
1
Land ownership
and access
Can predict potential conflicts
and impacts over proposed land
use allocations
Split estate ownership of
sub-surface minerals
Human
Geography
Culturally and
socially
significant
places and areas
Identify constraints on site-
specific activities, help to
identify mitigation
(may be developed in cultural
resource analysis)
[formal techniques: surveys,
interviews, focus groups]
1
Locally valued buildings,
sites, and landscapes;
sense of place; traditional
religious/cultural use
areas
Interrelation-
ships among
producing
sectors
Regional economic sectors and
their interrelation as a context
for BLM management
decisions (when allocation
decisions are of sufficient scale
to have macroeconomic effects,
consider national–level
economic interrelationships)
Annual purchase and
sales by economic sector
(transaction matrix)
1
Economic
Value
Non-market
values of
resources and
activities
Consider the significance of the
non-market values associated
with resources managed or
impacts by BLM when
formulating the management
alternatives
Estimate the value of
open space, improved
riparian areas, improved
wildlife habitat
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Topic
Planning relevance
Examples
Priority
Dependence on
BLM lands and
resources
Understand and quantify the
potential local and regional
impacts of land use decisions
Value of BLM timber
sales, visitor-day
expenditures, grazing and
mining to the local
economy
Employment
Quantify the anticipated
employment impacts by sector
to determine the population
changes and the associated
demand on the infrastructure in
the study area
Temporary jobs from oil
and gas development
versus service jobs
created by increased
recreational opportunities
1
Personal income Forecasting the anticipated
change in income, occurring as
a result of the BLM alternatives
Non-labor income
(dividends, transfer
payments)
1
Economic
diversity and
resilience
Ability of stakeholder
communities to respond to
external change
Level of dependence on
single economic sector
Regional
economic
organization
Identify amount and
geographic distribution of new
indirect and induced
employment resulting from
additional local investment
New local jobs resulting
from proposed increase in
oil and gas production on
public lands
Employment,
Income, and
Subsistence
Subsistence
activities
Non-market production from
BLM lands for local use
Amount and value of
subsistence hunting by
local residents
Government
revenues and
expenditures
Fiscal capacity and resilience
under change
Change in tax revenues
and county PILT receipts
Public Finance
and
Government
Services
Public
infrastructure
and services
Community services may be
impacted by resource or
recreational development of
public lands
Expenditures on schools,
roads, social services
Characterize
Environmental
Justice
populations in
planning area
See Demography and Social
Indicators: inequality, social
difference
Much of the commercial
harvesting of non-timber
forest products in Pacific
Northwest is organized
through ethnic networks
1
Environmental
Justice
Assess potential
for
disproportionate
impacts to
Environmental
Justice
populations
Identify whether
Environmental Justice issues
require further modification of
alternatives, or further
mitigation of impacts
Oil and gas development
in areas where American
Indian populations collect
medicinal plants
1
1
Primary (new) data collection methods may be subject to requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act. See Planning Handbook,
Appendix D, Section V(C). Secondary data may also be available.
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D. Deliverables in Contracting
It is recommended the field offices contracting for socio-economic analyses in resource
management plans require the following deliverables.
1. Baseline social and economic assessments, for inclusion in the AMS document.
2. Abbreviated baseline social and economic assessments, for inclusion in the Affected
Environment chapter of the plan/EIS.
3. Proposed impact analysis strategy, describing the social and economic variables, the
key data sources, and the analytic methods proposed. These should be based on
requirements provided by the contracting officer’s representative, issues identified in the
pre-plan, information obtained through scoping and other public involvement, guidance
from cooperating agencies, and the social and economic baseline assessments.
4. Social and economic impact analyses, for inclusion in the Environmental
Consequences chapter of the plan/EIS.
5. Analysis of Environmental Justice compliance.
6. A brief methodological statement, presented as an appendix to the plan/EIS,
summarizing the significant analytic assumptions and methods utilized in preparing the
statement of social and economic impacts.
E. Analytic Guidelines
Social science information provided for resource management plans should be consistent with
the following guidelines.
1. Scale and level of effort. The scope of analysis and level of effort should be
commensurate with the importance of the particular resource issues. In other words,
focus data collection and analysis on those issues and sectors that are important for the
agency’s decision-making or important for the publics, as identified through scoping and
other formal and informal forms of public involvement.
For example, a regional programmatic plan would likely provide a broad characterization
of communities within and near the planning region as well as an examination of
national-scale public land priorities. A single RMP would likely focus on a much smaller
area and include a more detailed analysis for each community. At the implementation
plan level, the analysis would focus on more site-specific information, such as the groups,
networks, or individuals affected by the decision under consideration.
2. Assessment area. The assessment (study) area for economic and social analysis may
be larger than the designated planning area (for example, because of a major retail center
outside but near the planning area). Depending on the issues, the boundaries of the social
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and economic study areas may not be identical. The analysis may also require describing
populations that do not reside primarily in the assessment area, such as recreational users
coming from metropolitan areas.
3. Schedule. Information should be gathered early enough to be included throughout the
discussion and decision-making phases of the planning effort.
Note that the economic analysis (and indirectly, the social analysis) is dependent on
sound output projections for each significant resource, over each alternative to be
evaluated. For example, the economic analysis of recreation-related impacts (changes in
assessment area payroll and employment) cannot be done until the recreation specialists
have determined the changes in visitor days, by alternative. The economic analysis of
mineral development cannot be done until the geologists have developed an analysis of
the changes in mineral availability and production, by alternative.
4. Dimensions of impact analysis. Impact analyses must make clear how the social and
economic effects of each management alternative—both positive and negative—are
distributed among the communities and groups in the assessment area, and among other
relevant populations (for example, recreational users who live outside the study area).
Potential impacts have multiple aspects relevant to decision-making; a well-crafted
impact analysis should describe the aspects listed in Table D-3.
Table D-3.—Dimensions of impact analysis relevant to decision-making
Aspect
Describe
Space
Impacts across multiple geographic scales: individual, household, community, region,
and where appropriate, national society.
Time
Impacts across multiples time scales: short-term versus long-term.
Social identity
Who would be affected, and in what ways. If different groups or publics (for example,
distinguished by income, ethnicity, gender, or occupation) will be unequally affected,
describe and explain why. Where low income, minority, or Tribal populations would be
disproportionately affected, ensure that this is documented in the Environmental Justice
assessment (see Section IV).
Magnitude
The magnitude and significance of projected impacts.
Probability
The likelihood of a projected impact occurring.
Causation
The direct, indirect, and cumulative projected impacts.
Acceptability
The anticipated desirability or acceptability of projected impacts.
5. Analysis of no-action alternative. For the Environmental Consequences section of the
EIS, characterize impacts to existing economic conditions and trends from each of the
alternatives under consideration, relative to the no action alternative. While the no action
alternative assumes no new actions within the RMP’s scope of decisions, it should
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include other changes reasonably anticipated to affect the study area within the planning
timeframe.
6. Non-market value. The analysis of economic impacts for each plan alternative should
consider not merely anticipated expenditures (market transactions), but where feasible,
the anticipated consumer surplus generated by the proposed activity, as determined by
estimates of willingness-to-pay (non-market values). To estimate non-market values for
activities proposed under a plan alternative, it is often more practical to utilize benefit
transfer methods than to undertake new research within the study area, by applying
soundly derived non-market values established for comparable sites and activities.
III. Public Involvement
A. Integrating Social Science Into Public Involvement
Development of the social and economic analysis should take place as part of a larger
collaborative dialogue between BLM and the public. Staff or contractors responsible for social
science contributions to the RMP should integrate information from public involvement
processes with technical data collection and analysis. Moreover, social and economic analysis
can provide information about affected groups that can improve plans for public involvement.
To the extent feasible, BLM's public involvement process should seek not only attitudes and
values relevant to planning issues and alternatives, but also suggestions regarding sources of data
and methods of analysis. Involving local publics in discussions of appropriate data and methods
early in a planning process increases the likelihood that the resulting analysis of effects will be
considered credible and useful. State and field offices are encouraged to engage potential and
existing partners in the collection, preparation, and analysis of social and economic data leading
to the formulation of alternatives, their anticipated impacts, and potential mitigation.
Partners include other Federal agencies and state, Tribal, county, and municipal governments.
Information-sharing with partners is crucial to the formulation of cumulative social and
economic impacts from alternatives that span jurisdictional/regional boundaries. Consider
cooperating agency status where appropriate and look for opportunities to combine analysis with
partners' planning processes. Other participants, such as universities, communities, religious
institutions, industry representatives, and non-governmental organizations may also share vital
information not obtainable through standard data sources.
B. Economic Strategies Workshop
The public involvement effort on all new RMPs, RMP revisions, and RMP amendments
accompanied by EISs must include at least one economic strategies workshop. Such workshops
provide an opportunity for local government officials, community leaders, and other citizens to
discuss regional economic conditions, trends, and strategies with BLM managers and staff. Such
workshops must meet three objectives:
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1. Imparting skills on analyzing local and regional economic and social conditions and
trends;
2. assisting community members to identify desired economic and social conditions; and
3. collaborating with BLM staff to identify opportunities to advance local economic and
social goals through planning and policy decisions within the authority of BLM, its
cooperating agencies, or other partners.
Field Managers are welcome to select appropriate workshops from qualified vendors, or to work
with State Office or Washington Office social science staff to design a workshop appropriate to
their situations. The cost of such workshops should be included in the RMP planning budget and
indicated in the pre-plan. For sources of further information on such workshops, see Section VI,
Further Guidance.
IV. Environmental Justice Requirements
Environmental Justice involves the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people
regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development,
implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair
treatment means that no group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socio-economic group
should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from
industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of Federal, state, local, and
Tribal programs and policies.
Executive Order 12898, issued in 1994, requires that “. . . each Federal agency shall make
achieving Environmental Justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate,
disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs,
policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations.”
A. BLM’s Environmental Justice Principles
1. The BLM will determine if its proposed actions will adversely and disproportionally
impact minority populations, low-income communities, and Tribes (reference Executive
Order No. 12898, Environmental Justice) and consider aggregate, cumulative, and
synergistic effects, including results of actions taken by other parties. While
Environmental Justice analysis is specifically concerned with disproportionate effects on
the three populations, the social and economic analysis produced in accord with NEPA
considers all potential social and economic effects, positive and negative, on any distinct
group.
2. The BLM will promote and provide opportunities for full involvement of minority
populations, low-income communities, and Tribes in BLM decisions that affect their
lives, livelihoods, and health.
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3. The BLM will incorporate Environmental Justice considerations in land use planning
alternatives to adequately respond to Environmental Justice issues and problems facing
minority populations, low-income communities, and Tribes living near public lands,
working with, and/or using public land resources.
4. Where disproportionately high adverse impacts are anticipated, the BLM will work
with local community groups/associations, governments, and Tribal leaders to determine
if land disposition and/or acquisition policies affect real estate values and real income of
minority and low income communities, and Tribes.
5. The BLM State and Field Offices will continue to make Environmental Justice a
mandatory critical element for consideration in all land use planning and NEPA
documents.
B. Incorporating Environmental Justice Efforts in the RMP/EIS Process
1. Consult with other Federal agencies, Tribal leaders, states and local governments,
community groups/associations, churches, etc., to identify minority and low-income
communities, and reservations, including migrant and/or seasonal workers. Work with
the above groups to determine any potential disproportionately high and adverse impacts
posed by the proposed action. With the cooperation of the partners, affected minority
populations, low-income communities, and Tribes, adopt and implement creative
measures to eliminate, minimize, and/or correct identified Environmental Justice impacts.
2. Through collaboration, identify potential planning areas where proposed action(s)
could have disproportionately high and adverse impacts on the health of minority
populations, low-income communities and Tribes or their surrounding environment, and
document findings and recommended solutions.
3. Share appropriate information about potential high and adverse impacts with minority
populations, and/or low-income communities, and/or Tribes through workshops, informal
meetings, or other forums and solicit feedback and recommendations.
4. Publish NOIs and NOAs announcing scoping/issue identification meetings in the local
media (newspaper, radio, or television) of identified minority and low-income
communities and Tribes informing them of such meetings.
5. Develop mailing lists of identified minority populations, low-income communities,
and Tribes. Become knowledgeable of the geographic areas of proposed actions and the
people that live there (minority and low-income including those in transitory status).
6. When appropriate, schedule scoping/issue identification meetings in minority and
low-income communities or on Tribal reservations; and
7. Consider the need to translate to other languages planning and NEPA documents
mailed/circulated to identified minority populations, low-income communities, and
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Tribes. Consider also the need to have an interpreter present at all scheduled meetings if
there are potential language problems.
C. Documentation and Analysis
1. Pre-plans should identify known low-income, minority, and Tribal populations within
the assessment area, and should indicate what measures will be taken to encourage their
participation in the planning process.
2. Data and analyses needed to ensure Environmental Justice compliance should be
incorporated in work plans for social and economic impact analyses.
3. Environmental Justice considerations should be documented by the RMP/EIS social
and economic analyses in (a) the Analysis of the Management Situation, (b) the Affected
Environment chapter, and (c) the Impact Analysis (Environmental Consequences)
chapter. An explanation of how any Environmental Justice issues have been considered
and, where possible, mitigated should be included in the description and rationale for the
preferred alternative.
V. Data Management
A. Types of Data
The type of data to be collected and analyzed should be appropriate to the planning scale and the
issues identified through the scoping process.
There are numerous sources of data available at the national, state, and local levels from
government, university, and private sources. Utilize BLM sources as well as other governmental
agencies that routinely collect and report economic and social data. Much of the government
data is easily available online. Locally and regionally produced reports on social and economic
conditions that are produced on a one-time basis (such as county or community planning
documents and university extension studies) may also be useful.
Use existing data to the extent possible: planning documents and environmental impact
statements do not routinely require primary data collection. Nonetheless, collecting primary data
may be necessary, particularly for social impact assessment, using techniques such as surveys,
focus groups, or key informant interviews. Any plan to include primary data collection should
be justified in terms of gaps in available data or special circumstances.
B. Data Quality and Analytic Soundness
Social and economic analyses should be performed in a manner consistent with professionally
recognized approaches, methods, and techniques. In addition, the Information Quality Act
(Public Law 106-554, §515) requires Federal agencies to ensure that influential information,
such as that used in the preparation of resource management plans, be characterized by
reproducibility and transparency.
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BLM recognizes that influential information should be subject to a high degree of transparency
about data and methods to facilitate the reproducibility of such information by qualified third
parties, to an acceptable degree of precision. It is important that analytic results have a high
degree of transparency regarding (1) the source of the data used, (2) the various assumptions
employed, (3) the analytic methods applied, and (4) the statistical procedures employed. It is
also important that the degree of rigor with which each of these factors is presented and
discussed be scaled as appropriate, and that all factors be presented and discussed. (See BLM’s
“Information Quality Guidelines,” available at: http://www.blm.gov/nhp/efoia/data_quality/.)
Data sources and methods of analysis must be clearly and briefly described in the text of the
RMP/EIS and described in more detail in a technical supplement or RMP appendix.
C. Paperwork Reduction Act Requirements for New Data Collection
RMP/EIS teams must ensure that any new (primary) data collection complies with the
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-13).
If answers to identical questions are to be collected from 10 or more members of the public—for
example, through a survey questionnaire—the Paperwork Reduction Act requires Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) approval for the study. Note that for purposes of the Act,
“public” also applies to state, local, and Tribal government employees, though not to employees
of the Federal government. OMB review is normally a lengthy process, which must be initiated
through the BLM Washington Office. Unless the proposed data collection can be processed by
expedited review under the terms of an existing generic OMB authorization (such as that for
Customer Satisfaction Surveys), approval is likely to be time consuming.
VI. Data Sources
A. Use of the Economic Profile System
Developed by the Sonoran Institute under an agreement with the BLM, the Economic Profile
System (EPS) and its companion, EPSC (for Community), produce standardized economic and
demographic profiles for a selected region, county, or community in any of the 50 states. EPS
and EPSC simplify the socio-economic research required for land use planning by gathering and
presenting, in a variety of useful formats, data from multiple Federal databases. These
information tools were created to improve planning and more efficiently accomplish the time-
consuming task of gathering important social and economic data. EPSC uses the Decennial
Census to provide in-depth community-level profiles. EPS draws upon a variety of governmental
databases to produce thorough and multi-faceted profiles of economic and demographic changes
over the past 30 years.
Field offices are encouraged to use EPS and EPSC as tools for characterizing economic and
social baseline conditions. EPS and EPSC profiles can be provided in an appendix to the AMS
or RMP/EIS, while selected figures and tables can easily be incorporated in the main RMP/EIS
text. Where a plan or NEPA analysis will be prepared by contractors, planning leads are
encouraged to have contractors utilize EPS in plan preparation, and to seek commensurate cost
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savings in contracted work. Note that EPS and EPSC are not impact models: they cannot be
used to quantify the economic impacts of a proposed activity or planning alternative.
For further information on EPS and EPSC, see Section VI, Further Guidance.
B. References
The following references are provided as potential sources for social and economic information.
Data and information from these and other sources must be used within the context of the laws
governing BLM’s management of the public lands.
The Federal Interagency Council on Statistical Policy. Fedstats Website:
http://www.fedstats.gov/. This website provides access to a wide variety of data produced
by over 70 Federal agencies for public use. It provides access to statistics for demographics,
economics, natural resources, the environment, energy, health, education, and many other
areas. Much of this data is available at the county, state, and/or regional level.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. The USDA Forest Service’s course 1900-03,
Social Impact Analysis: Principles and Procedures, includes a helpful student manual. This
source is available through Ecosystem Management Coordination (EMC), USDA Forest
Service, but is not available online. [Yates Bldg. 3CEN, 201 14th Street, SW, Washington
DC 20250; 202-205-0895]
The Human Dimensions website contains much useful information about human dimensions
analysis and includes sites from which economic and demographic data can be downloaded.
Source: http://www.fs.fed.us/emc/nris/hd/ or
http://fsweb.nris.fs.fed.us/hd/software/hdmodule/index.shtml
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Census data includes the economic
characteristics of cities, towns, counties, and states, as well as a wide variety of social and
demographic information such as population, age, and migration rates. The Census Bureau
also presents information on county governments including financial characteristics
[Website: http://www.census.gov].
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Includes data for states, counties,
and economic regions for such factors as personal income and employment by industry,
gross state product, and more [Website: http://www.bea.doc.gov/].
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. This Federal agency collects and reports
data on the labor market, including labor trends, detailed information on employment by
industry, and unemployment rates. It also reports price indices such as the consumer price
index and the producer price index [Website: http://www.stats.bls.gov].
U.S. Department of the Interior, BLM. The BLM collects data on a wide variety of commercial
uses of public lands. This data is useful for putting public land uses in the context of overall
use in a planning area. Examples of the data collected include grazing use, mining, timber
product sales, coal, oil and gas leases, recreation, rights of way, and payments-in-lieu-of-
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taxes (PILT). To obtain this data, contact resource specialists for those uses or refer to
BLM’s annual Public Land Statistics publication [Website:
http://www.blm.gov/publications/].
The Interorganizational Committee on Principles and Guidelines for Social Impact Assessment:
Principles and guidelines for social impact assessment in the USA. Impact Assessment and
Project Appraisal 21(3), September 2003. This document provides a clear model, as well as
principles and steps for social impact assessment.
[http://www.iaia.org/Members/Publications/Guidelines_Principles/US%20principles%20fin
al%20IAPA%20version.pdf]
Local sources of data. There are many local government agencies and organizations that collect
data that can be useful in land use planning. Such sources of data include state and local
employment departments, city and county governments (e.g., building departments,
departments of motor vehicles, or county tax assessors), local and state Chambers of
Commerce, local and state economic development commissions, etc.
Resource-specific sources of data. There are many state and Federal agencies that collect and
report data on specific industries, such as agriculture (farming and ranching), mining,
forestry, and recreation. For agricultural data, the USDA Economic Research Service
(Website: http://www.ers.usda.gov/ http://www.econ.ag.gov) and the National Agricultural
Statistics Service (Website: http://www.usda.gov/nass/) are two good sources of
information. The Economic Research Service also conducts studies on rural conditions and
trends.
The following text citations are provided as examples of possible sources for field offices:
Branch, K., et al. 1984. Guide to Social Assessment: A Framework for Assessing Social
Change. Westview Press, Boulder, CO.
Rabel J. Burge, R.J., et al. 2004. The Concepts, Process and Methods of Social Impact
Assessment. Social Ecology Press, Middleton, 2004.
Goldman, L.R., ed. 2000. Social Impact Analysis: An Applied Anthropology Manual. Berg
Publishing, New York, NY.
Rosenberger, R.S., Loomis, J.B. 2000. Benefit Transfer of Outdoor Recreation Use Values: A
Technical Document Supporting the Forest Service Strategic Plan. USDA-Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-72, Fort Collins,
CO.
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C. Environmental Justice References
Table D-4.—Web-based Environmental Justice sources
The CEQ has prepared detailed guidance
on complying with Environmental Justice
objectives in the NEPA process:
“Environmental Justice: Guidance Under the National Environmental
Policy Act, 1997,” available at:
http://ceq.eh.doe.gov/nepa/regs/ej/justice.pdf
The Interagency Working Group on
Environmental Justice, organized by EPA,
has useful guidance and other resources:
http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/interagency
/index.html.
For assistance in identifying Tribal,
minority, and low-income populations
within a planning area:
“Environmental Justice Geographic Assessment Tool,” available at:
http://www.epa.gov/enviro/ej/
The Department of the Interior’s Office of
Environmental Policy and Compliance has
information on Environmental Justice
policy and projects:
http://www.doi.gov/oepc/justice.html
VII. Further Guidance
For further information on the topics in Appendix D, contact your state office social science
staff, or social science staff at the Planning, Assessment, and Community Support Group,
Washington Office (WO-210). Effective use of other agencies’ plans and reports, including, but
not limited to local government, state agencies, and community development organizations is
strongly encouraged.
A website to provide social science guidance, tools, and information resources is under
development.
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Appendix E: Summary of Protest and Appeal Provisions
The BLM must distinguish between land use plan and implementation decisions in all proposed
RMP documents (new RMPs, revisions, or amendments) and related decisions (records of
decision [ROD] and decision records [DR]), and clearly describe for the public the
administrative remedies for each type of decision. The Dear Reader Letter or the Executive
Summary could be used to communicate this information to the public.
I. Land Use Plan Protests
The protest procedures in 43 CFR 1610.5-2 provide the public an administrative review of the
State Director’s proposed land use plan decisions. The BLM Director determines through this
process whether the State Director followed established procedure, considered relevant
information in reaching proposed decisions, and whether the proposed decisions are consistent
with BLM policy, regulation, and statute.
The Director has delegated signing of response letters to protests to the Assistant Director,
Renewable Resources and Planning (AD-200). Acting in support of the Director, the Group
Manager for Planning, Assessment, and Community Support (WO-210) is responsible for the
oversight of the entire process once a protest is filed through final resolution. Each protest is
considered in close coordination with the involved State Director and affected Washington
Office groups, other Washington Office policy officials, and as appropriate, the Office of the
Solicitor. The WO-210 Group Manager makes recommendations to the Assistant Director for
final resolution of the protest.
It will be the BLM’s goal to resolve all protests within 90 days. If it is not possible to resolve
and respond to the protest(s) within 90 days, the WO-210 Group Manager should send a letter
acknowledging receipt of the protest to the originating party, indicating that a more detailed
response will follow. Refer to Figure 5 for a summary of the protest process.
A. Washington Office Initial Evaluation of Protests
When possible, all actions in this section will be completed within 5 business days of receipt of
the protest letters:
1. The Protest Coordinator will establish a case file for each protest received. Each protest
will be consecutively serialized using the following coding: PP-SO-PN-FY-#
a) “PP” means Plan Protest,
b) “SO” means the responsible State Office,
c) “PN” means a plan name identifier of up to several letters,
d) “FY” means the last two digits of the fiscal year,
e) “#” is a sequential number assigned as the filings are received.
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Protest Process Flow Chart
WO-210 Protest Coordinator
1) Establishes case file for each protest.
2) Determines if protests are timely filed.
3) Determines whether protests are “complete”.
4) Sends copies of timely-filed and “complete” protests to responsible state and field office.
State Office and Field Office
1
1) Determine “standing” for each protest.
2) Determine whether issues have been raised previously in the planning process.
3) Determine whether issues are germane to the planning process.
1
These steps occur in coordination/interaction with WO-210.
WO-210 Liaison
1) Reviews state office initial determination of issues.
2) Works with state office/field office to finalize list of issues and comments.
State Office Prepares and Provides WO-210
1) Detailed issue analysis.
2) Draft protest response (decision letters).
WO-210 State Liaison Conducts Final Review
1) Drafts protest response letter(s) based on field/state office input and independent evaluation of
the planning process (whether to uphold, remand plan, or uphold/remand in part).
2) Circulates draft letter(s) for Washington Office surnaming.
3) Works with protest coordinator to prepare final protest response letter(s).
Assistant Director (AD-200)
1) Signs letter(s) dismissing all protests, or
2) Remands protest(s) to State Director to correct flaws in proposed plan decisions and/or
underlying NEPA documentation.
2
2
ROD may be approved by the State Director covering just those parts of the plan that are upheld in the protest
review process; remanded decisions are reevaluated and/or subject to further NEPA analysis and subsequent
protest process and separate ROD.
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2. The Protest Coordinator will check to ensure that each protest was filed within the
protest period (see 43 CFR 1610.5-2(a)(1)). Plan protests are deemed timely if the
postmark is not later than the last day of the protest period (see Receiving, Managing, and
Responding to Electronic Mail and Faxed Protests at the end of this section). Normally,
BLM does not need to actually receive a protest by the end of the protest period—the
protest letter must only be postmarked by that date. In certain instances, the BLM may
require that protests be received by the end of the protest period. This requirement may
only occur if the public is widely and officially notified (at a minimum, in the Federal
Register notice and Dear Reader Letter). In all cases, the protest period shall be 30 days
and always end on a business day. If the 30th day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the
protest period shall end the following Monday. The protest period may not be extended
for any reason. Due to security screening delays, some protests may arrive in
Washington, D.C., 3 weeks after the protest period ends, or later.
The following strict standards will determine timeliness:
a) If the originator filed a protest after the protest period, the Washington Office
will dismiss it and respond to the originator in writing.
b) If the originator filed a protest timely, proceed to the next steps.
c) The publication of the EPA’s Federal Register NOA starts the protest period
for EIS-level plans and amendments. The initiation of the protest period for EA-
level plan amendments is the publication of the notice of the amendment’s
effective date (generally, this notice would be included in the Dear Reader Letter
for the amendment).
3. The Protest Coordinator will examine each protest to see if it is complete (see 43
CFR 1610.5-2(a)(2)(i)-(v)). The term “complete” means that the following five protest
components are submitted in the protest filing:
a) The name, mailing address, telephone number, and interest of the person filing
the protest;
b) a statement of the issue or issues being protested;
c) a statement of the part or parts of the plan or amendment being protested;
d) a copy of all documents addressing the issue or issues that were submitted
during the planning process by the protesting party or an indication of the date the
issue or issues were discussed for the record; and
e) a concise statement explaining why the State Director’s decision is believed to
be wrong.
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The BLM will not dismiss a protest solely because the protest omits some of the
documentation required by item (3) above. If BLM is uncertain about standing (see B.1.a
below) and the missing materials are necessary for BLM to make this determination,
BLM shall request, in writing, the protesting party to provide the missing materials to the
protest coordinator. Requested materials must be postmarked no later than 10 days after
BLM’s request for these materials is received by the protesting party (return receipt
verified). If following BLM’s request for missing materials, the protest does not meet the
five protest components and if standing cannot be determined by this additional step, the
protesting party will be denied standing. Case-by-case consideration will be given to
appropriate actions for incomplete submissions. Minor omissions will not be used as a
reason to dismiss a protest.
The requirements for filing a protest in accordance with the regulations apply to each
protesting party. Merely attaching or referencing another protesting party’s protest is not
sufficient to qualify as a valid protest.
4. The Protest Coordinator will forward a copy of protest letters meeting the above five
components to the responsible state and field office(s) for further evaluation and a
detailed analysis. Protests that meet the requirements noted above will be forwarded to
the affected state as soon as practicable rather than waiting until the end of the protest
period. Washington Office liaisons should also ensure that copies of the protests are
distributed to all affected Washington Office program staffs.
B. State Office Evaluation and Determination
1. The State Director and field office(s) will use the following criteria to determine the
validity of the protest as documented on the “State Director’s Protest Analysis” form at
the end of this section:
a. Does the protesting party have standing? The protesting party must have an
interest which is or may be adversely affected and must have participated in the
planning process by:
1. Sending written comments;
2. making oral comments (at a hearing or meeting);
3. attending a public meeting;
4. calling the BLM field office; and/or
5. discussing the project with BLM employees in the field.
The administrative record should be checked for appropriate documentation of the
protesting party’s participation in order for BLM to substantiate the protesting
party’s standing. The responsible field office manager will review the planning
records to make this determination. If the record does not support the protester’s
allegations of participation, the field office shall attempt to verify the alleged
participation with the protesting party, giving the protester the benefit of doubt if
there is a dispute. If the determination is made that no participation has occurred,
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no further review of the protest is required. The AD-200 will issue a written
decision that dismisses the protest for lack of standing. Even though the protest is
dismissed, the AD may address any comments that were raised.
Individual members of an organization do not obtain standing solely because their
organization has participated in the planning process. To file a protest as an
individual, the individual has to meet the requirements for standing (they must
have participated in the planning process). Conversely, an organization does not
obtain standing solely because one of its members has standing (an officer or
official representative of the organization must have participated in the planning
process on behalf of the organization in order for the organization to have
standing).
b. Have the issues been raised before in the planning process? Issues raised on
protest must have been previously raised for the record in the planning process.
The issue does not need to have been raised specifically by the protesting party.
If some of the issues were previously raised, the State Director’s analysis will
indicate which issues were raised previously and which are newly introduced. If
the responsible state/field office determines that one or more issues have not been
raised before, those issues will be treated as comments.
c. Are the issues raised germane to the planning process? An issue is not
germane to the planning process if it is beyond the scope of a particular planning
effort, or if it involves a matter normally addressed in plan implementation.
Issues that are not germane to the planning process will not be considered as
protest issues but treated as comments.
If the answers to the questions in a., b., and c. above are all yes, the State Director
should continue the analysis starting with Step 2 below. If the answers to one or
more of the questions is no, the State Director should complete a draft response
and forward the document to the appropriate WO-210 state liaison who will
complete a response that dismisses the protest wholly or in part.
2. A detailed analysis will be prepared for each issue or comment raised (see Section E,
State Director’s Protest Analysis) in a protest letter. The following factors must be
addressed in the State Director’s analysis:
a) Facts considered;
b) procedures followed;
c) authorities cited;
d) references from applicable documents; and
e) applicable BLM policies.
When citing published data from the planning record, the document, date of publication,
and page number(s) must be part of the analysis used in the response to the protest issue.
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When citing material from unpublished BLM records, sufficient information must be
included to show that the material existed and was relevant during the planning process.
3. The State Director will document the detailed analysis of each protest using the format
in the State Director’s Protest Analysis. The preparation of preliminary draft responses
will expedite the protest resolution process. Other pertinent information that would help
resolve the protest should also be included. Completed packages will be sent to the
Group Manager, WO-210, no later than 60 days after the protest is received in the state
office.
4. The State Director, in consultation with the Washington Office, may determine that
discussion and negotiation with protesting parties are appropriate if these discussions
may lead to resolution of one or more issues. When these discussions result in resolution
of protest issues, advise the protesting party to give the Director a written notice
withdrawing the protest. The protesting party may decline to withdraw the protest, but
may be willing to accept a clarification or minor change to the proposed plan that
effectively resolves the contested issues. This type of change must not trigger a “notice
of significant change” required by 43 CFR 1610.5-1(b). For large numbers of protests or
complex protests, the Washington Office may send a team to work with the state office
and field office in analyzing issues and preparing draft responses.
C. Washington Office Final Review
1. WO-210 state liaisons, in coordination with the respective state/field office, will
evaluate each protest for content. 43 CFR 1610.5-2(a)(2)(v) requires that protests include
a “concise statement explaining why the State Director’s decision is believed to be
wrong.” Statements that merely reflect disagreement, express opinions, or make
demands or allegations without the support of this concise statement will be addressed as
comments and will not cause a change in the plan being protested.
2. The Group Manager, WO-210, will prepare a draft response and decision on each
protest. Decisions should have standard organization and phraseology. The decision
will:
a) Incorporate the results of the Washington Office and State Office evaluations;
b) incorporate the State Office and WO-210 analyses of the protest points; and
c) provide a clear statement of the action taken on the protest (dismissed, denied,
returned to the State Director for further consideration, or upheld in total or in
part).
The bases for upholding protests include:
a) Approval of the proposed plan or amendment would be contrary to the
Director’s policy guidance;
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b) significant aspects of the proposed plan or amendment are based upon invalid
or incomplete information; or
c) the proposed plan or amendment does not comply with applicable laws,
regulations, policies, and planning procedures.
Protests upheld on any of the three bases above will be returned, in whole or in part, to
the State Director for:
a) Clarification;
b) further planning or consideration; or,
c) change, in whole or in part, of the proposed management decisions.
3. As the protest responses are drafted, WO-210 will coordinate with other Washington
Office program staffs. Program offices are consulted when a protest involves one or
more of the following:
a) Precedent-setting departures from the existing resource management practices;
b) failure to comply with national policy guidance and legal requirements;
c) a major change in the use of resources in the area covered by the plan; and/or
d) subject areas or matters where special expertise is required.
4. The WO-210 state liaison will forward the draft proposed response(s) for surnaming
to the appropriate Assistant Directors. The following strategy will be used for expediting
the surnaming process:
a) Use of staff from appropriate groups and directorates to prepare draft protest
responses.
b) WO-210 will provide “heads up” to AD-200 when draft protest responses are
ready for surnaming.
c) AD-200 will provide “heads up” at staff meetings to alert Group Managers of
the availability of draft protest responses.
d) WO-210 will provide briefings for Group Managers as needed (including
Group Managers from other Directorates as needed) 2 to 3 days prior to obtaining
necessary surnames. Requested changes should be substantive rather than
editorial.
e) WO-210 will conduct “working briefings” with the AD-200, Deputy Director,
Chief of Staff, etc. (including Departmental staff as necessary), early in the
process as possible and prior to approval of protest responses.
5. A formal surnaming package should be prepared for each protest response. The
format and content of the folder should include the following:
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a) Cover sheet prepared for surnaming by the following individuals:
1) Protest Coordinator
2) Author (generally the WO-210 state liaison)
3) Deputy Group Manager (DGM)
4) Group Manager (at the discretion of the DGM or author)
5) Washington Office Group Managers who have an interest in the EIS,
plan, or issues raised in a protest
6) Deputy Assistant Director (DAD)
7) Assistant Director (AD) at the discretion of the DAD
8) Director (at the discretion of the AD)
9) Others at the discretion of the author
b) The letter of protest.
c) A Summary Brief (one or two pages) in the following format:
1) Background concerning the plan (or plan amendment) and the NEPA
document (EA, EIS)—including what kinds of documents were prepared,
when were they completed, etc.;
2) date the protest period closed;
3) requirements statement as to whether all of the NEPA, FLPMA,
regulatory, and policy requirements were followed by the BLM State/Field
Office;
4) position of constituents or other sensitivities—factual, political,
litigation, etc;
5) summary of the major issues in the protest and responses to issues;
6) recommended decision or if you are recommending remand (return) in
whole or part, why and what are the circumstances;
7) state/field office collaboration, who you worked with in the state/field
office and whether they reviewed the draft letter; and
8) Washington Office coordination, who you worked with in the
Washington Office (make sure they are on the surnaming sheet).
Note: for large numbers of protests, the above information may be arranged in a
tabular format rather than preparing individual summary briefs for each protest.
d) Response letter.
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These are typical responses to protests where the State Director’s proposed
decision is being upheld. Protests where the State Director’s proposed decision is
being returned in whole or in part, or the boilerplate paragraphs below do not fit
the protest, will require a different response.
1) Standard Paragraphs
Each letter of response should contain the following paragraphs:
Paragraph 1: “The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has carefully
reviewed and considered your letter dated [insert date], regarding the
[insert name of plan]. As the Assistant Director for Renewable Resources
and Planning, I am responsible to the BLM Director for reviewing and
resolving all protests of BLM land use plans. The purpose of this letter is
to inform you of the results of my review.”
Paragraph 2: For protests that are determined to be invalid because the
protesting party does not have standing:
"As outlined in the Dear Reader Letter for the proposed plan, the planning
regulations at 43 CFR 1610.5-2 outline the requirements for filing a valid
protest. I find that you do not meet these requirements because you have
not participated in the planning process or you do not have an interest that
is or may be adversely affected. Therefore, I am dismissing the protest.”
(Optional: Even though your protest is being dismissed, you provided a
comment(s), which is (are) addressed below.)
For protests that are determined to be invalid because they were filed
after the protest period:
“As outlined in the Dear Reader Letter for the proposed plan, the planning
regulations at 43 CFR 1610.5-2 outline the requirements for filing a valid
protest. I find that you do not meet these requirements because your letter
was not filed by the required date. The regulations at 43 CFR 1610.5-2 do
not allow for an extension of the protest period for any reason. Therefore,
I am dismissing the protest.” (Optional: Even though your protest is
being dismissed, you provided a comment(s), which is (are) addressed
below.)
For protests that are determined to be invalid because they were filed
electronically or by fax and not followed with an original letter:
"As outlined in the Dear Reader letter for the proposed plan, the planning
regulations at 43 CFR 1610.5-2 outline the requirements for filing a valid
protest. I find that you do not meet these requirements because your letter
was filed electronically (or by fax) and you did not provide the original
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letter by the close of the protest period. Therefore, I am dismissing the
protest." (Optional: Even though your protest is being dismissed, you
provided a comment(s), which is (are) addressed below.)
For all protests that contain only issues:
“As outlined in the Dear Reader Letter for the proposed plan, the planning
regulations at 43 CFR 1610.5-2 outline the requirements for filing a valid
protest. I find that you meet these requirements. Your protest issue(s) is
(are) addressed below.”
For protests that contain both issues and comments:
“As outlined in the Dear Reader Letter for the proposed plan, the planning
regulations at 43 CFR 1610.5-2 outline the requirements for filing a valid
protest. I find that you meet these requirements, in part, and therefore
portions of your protest letter are considered a valid protest. I have
determined that your letter also contained a comment(s) which is (are) not
considered a valid protest issue(s) because . . . ” (Explain why: “the
comment(s) represent opinions or observations not substantiated with a
concise statement of why the State Director’s proposed decision is
believed to be wrong, contains issues not previously raised in the planning
process, or the issues you raised are not germane to the planning process”,
etc.). “The issue(s) and comment(s) are addressed below.”
For protests that contain only comments:
“As outlined in the Dear Reader Letter for the proposed plan, the planning
regulations at 43 CFR 1610.5-2 outline the requirements for filing a valid
protest. I find that you do not meet these requirements because . . .” (see
above). “Therefore, your protest is not valid and is hereby dismissed.”
(Optional: Even though your protest is being dismissed, your letter
contained a comment(s). That (those) comment(s) is (are) addressed
below.)
2) Issues Identified by the Protesting Party
In the response letters, issues should be addressed within separate
paragraphs for the issue and response, in the same order as in the
submitted protest letter. Issues should be quoted wherever possible.
Where issues cannot reasonably be quoted (e.g., they are long, rambling or
contain material not pertinent to the issues), they should be clearly
summarized. It is sufficient to have some issues summarized and others
quoted. The statement of the issue must capture all pertinent points
addressed in the response. If comments are addressed (optional), they
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should be addressed at the end of the response letter. Use the following
format for addressing issues and comments:
Issue/Comment #:
Response:
Protest response letters should clearly document whether BLM followed
the correct procedures in arriving at the proposed decision(s). Authors
should identify any regulatory basis for responding to a protesting party’s
assertion. Do not argue or be defensive in the response. BLM’s response
to each issue should cite page numbers, where possible, in the NEPA
document that specifically relate to the issue or comment and not rely
solely on what was said in meetings or derived from notes, files, or phone
calls. Focus on what was in writing or in the formal planning process.
3) Comments
If comments are addressed (optional) they are addressed in the same
manner as protest issues. The response letter must clearly identify why
comments are not treated as protest issues, either in the opening
paragraphs of the letter or the response to the comment. If comments that
are part of a valid protest are not addressed, they should be responded to
separately by the state or field office.
Letters addressed to the protest coordinator stating “this is not a letter of
protest” should be forwarded to the respective state office. A letter should
be sent to the sender from WO-210, informing the sender that BLM has
forwarded the letter to the respective state office for consideration as a
comment.
4) Standard Paragraphs after the Issues
Decision: For protests in which the State Director’s proposed decision is
being upheld (protests in which the decision is being returned, in whole or
in part, will require a different response):
“After careful review of your protest letter, I conclude that the BLM
[insert state] State Director and the [insert field office] field office
manager followed the applicable planning procedures, laws, regulations,
and policies and considered all relevant resource information and public
input in developing the [insert name of plan] proposed
RMP/amendment/final EIS. There is no basis for changing the Proposed
RMP/amendment as a result of your protest.”
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“This decision is the final decision of the Department of the Interior on
your protest letter (43 CFR 1610.5-2(b)). The Interior Board of Land
Appeals (IBLA) does not hear appeals from a decision by the Director of
the BLM on protests concerning RMPs. Any party to a case who is
adversely affected by a decision of a BLM official to implement some
portion of an RMP may appeal such action to the IBLA at the time the
action is implemented.”
“Thank you for your participation (if the protest is being dismissed for
lack of standing, substitute “interest” for “participation”) in the
development of the [insert name of plan] proposed RMP/amendment/final
EIS, and for your interest in the public lands. Land use plans are designed
to balance the public demands for various land uses while ensuring
appropriate levels of resource protection. While there may be times when
BLM cannot meet the needs of all those interested in the public lands,
BLM strives to address all public input in a conscientious manner. I
encourage you to remain actively (for protests being dismissed for lack of
standing, substitute “become” for “remain actively”) involved in BLM’s
resource management activities and to provide information and input
during the implementation of the plan. If you have any questions, or wish
to further discuss any issues regarding the plan, please call [insert name],
field office manager, [insert phone number].”
When the revised draft response is surnamed, the WO-210 state liaison and the Protest
Coordinator will finalize each protest response and prepare a letter for signature by the
Assistant Director (AD), WO-200.
Once the AD has signed the protest response, the Protest Coordinator will send it to the
protesting party by certified mail, return receipt requested. A copy will also be sent to the
appropriate State Director and Field Manager(s). The State Director may sign the land
use plan decision document only after all protest response letters have been signed and
mailed, and any other requirements for approval have been met.
Portions of the proposed plan not under protest or remanded for reconsideration may be
approved and implemented. In such cases, the state office should consult with the
Washington Office for further direction.
If the proposed decision and its supporting analysis are returned in whole or in part to the
State Director, WO-210 will negotiate the necessary follow-up with the affected state and
field office.
D. Receiving, Managing, and Responding to Electronic Mail and Faxed Protests
All protest letters sent to BLM via facsimile (fax) or electronic mail (e-mail) will be considered
invalid protests unless a properly filed protest is also submitted. BLM will refer to such
correspondence as “comments” and respond accordingly. If the protesting party also provides
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the original signed copy of the protest postmarked by the close of the protest period, then the fax
and/or e-mail correspondence will be considered an advance copy of the protest. Advance
copies of protests provide BLM an indication of the number of protests that will come in after
the close of the protest period.
The planning regulations (43 CFR 1610.5-2) require that all protests must be in writing.
“Electronic signatures” for certain types of correspondence are now recognized where systems
have been established and mechanisms are in place to enable the affected parties to verify the
authenticity of the electronic signature. Such systems and mechanisms are not in place for BLM
protest procedures. Consequently, BLM requires protests be sent to the protest coordinator via
regular mail or other delivery service.
New standard language regarding e-mail and fax protests to include in the Agency’s Federal
Register NOA and in the Dear Reader Letter is provided below:
“E-mail and faxed protests will not be accepted as valid protests unless the protesting party also
provides the original letter by either regular mail or other delivery service postmarked by the
close of the protest period. Under these conditions, BLM will consider the e-mail or faxed
protest as an advance copy and it will receive full consideration. If you wish to provide BLM
with such advance notification, please direct faxed protests to the attention of the BLM protest
coordinator at [insert phone number], and e-mails to [insert e-mail address].”
E. State Director’s Protest Analysis
When citing published data from the planning record, the state/field office must provide the
document, date of publication, and page number(s).
State Office Analysis For Protest Number:
1) Plan Name:
2) Closing Date for Protest:
3) Name of Individual or Organization:
4) State Office Evaluation Results:
a. After review of all planning records, the protesting party has standing through
participation in some phase of the planning process (check one)?
Yes [ ] No [ ] (The protesting party must also show an interest that is or may be
adversely affected.)
b. Have the issues raised in the protest been raised before by the protesting party
or another party in some phase of the planning process (check one)?
Yes [ ] No [ ] (Indicate from the identified list of issues those not raised during
the planning process with an X.)
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c. Are the issues raised in the protest germane to the planning effort (check one)?
Yes [ ] No [ ] (Indicate with an X from the list of identified issues those that are
not germane and why.)
5. List of Issues Raised:
6. State Office Detailed Analysis of Identified Issues:
7. State Office Detailed Analysis of Identified Comments:
8. State Office Recommendations or Opportunities for Resolution:
II. Governor’s Consistency Review Appeal Process
The planning regulations in 43 CFR 1610.3-2(e) allow a state Governor an opportunity to appeal
to the BLM Director if the BLM State Director does not accept the Governor’s recommendations
on plan consistency.
Prior to approval of a proposed plan, revision, or amendment, the BLM State Director will
submit the proposed plan, revision, or amendment to the Governor(s) of the state(s) involved and
identify any known inconsistencies with approved state or local plans, policies, or programs.
The Governor has 60 days to identify inconsistencies and to provide written recommendations to
the BLM State Director. If the BLM State Director does not accept a Governor’s
recommendations, the BLM State Director must notify the Governor in writing; the Governor
then has 30 days from receipt of the State Director’s letter in which to submit a written appeal to
the BLM Director.
The BLM Director will accept the Governor’s recommendations if the Director determines that
the recommendations provide for a reasonable balance between the national interest and the
state’s interest. The Director must communicate to the Governor in writing and publish in the
Federal Register the reasons for accepting or rejecting the Governor’s recommendations.
III. Administrative Remedies of Implementation Decisions
Implementation decisions are subject to the administrative remedies set forth in the regulations
that apply to each resource management program of the BLM. These administrative remedies
for final implementation decisions usually take the form of appeals to the Office of Hearings and
Appeals, though for certain proposed or non-final implementation decisions, including those
affecting timber sales, oil and gas lease sales, land exchanges, and proposed grazing decisions,
the regulations provide for an internal agency review (usually a protest to the authorized officer)
which must be completed before the final implementation decision can be appealed to the Office
of Hearings and Appeals (OHA). This type of protest to the authorized officer should not be
confused with the protest of land use plan decisions to the BLM Director (there is no OHA
review of land use planning decisions).
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Appendix F: Standard Formats for Land Use Plan Documents
Appendix F-1: Recommended Format for Preparation Plans
Preparation plans should contain the following information and discrete sections.
A. Introduction and Background
B. Anticipated Planning Issues and Management Concerns
Issues are identified by BLM staff and managers based on their knowledge of the planning area
and its users. Planning issues may be based on:
1) Contacts or correspondence with users, adjoining districts or field offices, and
interested public (including other agencies).
2) Ongoing consultation, advisory council meetings, interagency and intergovernmental
coordination, and informal sessions with users and interested public. Preplanning does
not involve public notices or public participation activities since they are specifically
provided for in the RMP and NEPA processes and key preplanning results are publicly
reviewed during scoping.
3) Staff and management knowledge of resource uses, users, conditions, needs, and
trends.
Management concerns are generally of a program-specific nature, and while they may not be
externally generated or controversial, deserve the appropriate level of consideration in the
planning process.
C. Preliminary Planning Criteria
Planning criteria are the constraints or ground rules that guide and direct the development of the
plan. They ensure that plans are tailored to the identified issues and ensure that unnecessary data
collection and analyses are avoided. They focus on the decisions to be made in the plan and
achieve the following:
1) Provide an early, tentative basis for inventory and data collection needs.
2) Enable the manager and staff to develop a preliminary planning base map delineating
geographic analysis units.
3) Stimulate the development of planning criteria during public participation.
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D. Data and GIS Needs, Including Data Inventory
Managers of planning efforts are encouraged to use existing data compiled by other Federal
agencies; state, local, and Tribal governments; and private organizations, if applicable, to address
assessment questions. Data compiled by other agencies which are used in BLM land use plans
should be consistent across administrative boundaries and landscapes, where available.
Regardless of its source, sufficient metadata (data about data) should be provided to clearly
determine the quality of the data, along with any limitations associated with its use. To define
the information required to support each individual planning effort, each preparation plan should:
1) Create a list of currently available data (list by theme, data elements, and explain how
that data will support the plan in dealing with anticipated issues and planning
requirements).
2) Identify the anticipated data gaps in available data required to deal with the
anticipated issues, as well as the planning and analysis requirements.
3) Create a realistic data inventory and collection strategy (including work months,
personnel involved, costs and timeframes involved) for acquiring critically needed data
and information.
See Appendix G for more information on managing data and information throughout the
planning process.
E. Participants in the Process
1) Describe and list roles, responsibilities, and authorities.
2) Provide team lists (including management team, core team, interdisciplinary, and
support teams).
F. Process for the Plan
1) General steps and format.
2) Alternative formulation: Identify preliminary plan alternative themes that focus on
resolving anticipated issues and reflect the preliminary planning criteria.
3) Internal review of the plan.
4) Form of input from the interdisciplinary team and reviewers.
G. Plan Preparation Schedule
The schedule provides estimated timeframes for the completion of the required plan components.
It identifies:
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1) All planning actions (43 CFR 1610.4) and support actions expected to be done either
consecutively or concurrently.
2) Target completion dates for each action.
3) Time periods needed for preparation and award of contracts, if any, and preparation
costs required for use in the budget process.
H. Public Participation Plan
The public participation plan is to be prepared as a part of the preparation plan. Every effort
should be made to assure meaningful public involvement throughout the planning process. This
includes:
1) Goals and objectives of public participation.
2) A description of the public known to be interested or affected and any contributions
they may make or information they may need during the planning process and the
involvement techniques most appropriate (including involvement of cooperating
agencies).
3) Target dates and other pertinent details for public participation activities, notices, and
availability of printed information.
4) Provisions for updating the plan, as necessary, during plan preparation.
5) A description of how the results of public participation activities will be summarized,
analyzed, documented, and used by the line manager in making decisions in the plan.
6) Internet technology that will be used to provide information to the public and/or
solicit comments.
I. Budget
The budget includes all costs associated with development of the plan including, data needs
collection, contracting costs, BLM staff work months, Federal Register notices, vehicle, travel,
and support costs. It should address the level of program sources funding provided by the field
or state office, as well as increased funding needs.
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Appendix F-2: Recommended Format for Scoping Reports
The following is a suggested format for field offices to prepare scoping reports to achieve a
common and consistent approach that meets minimum requirements. It is recognized that some
situations (for example scoping reports dealing with an unusually large number of comments)
may require additional content and detail. Documents should be as brief, concise, and user-
friendly as possible. Authority for the scoping report can be found at 43 CFR 1610.2(d).
A. Cover Letter
Optional; signed by field office manager.
B. Introduction
a) Overview/purpose and need for the plan (tie to planning evaluation)
b) Brief description of the planning area (including a map)
c) Brief description of the scoping process (NOI history, meetings, contacts, etc.)
d) Cooperating agencies/invitees
e) Collaboration and consultation with Tribes
C. Issue Summary
a) Summary of public comments
b) Issues identified during scoping
c) Anticipated decisions to be made
d) Issues raised that will not be addressed (including rationale)
e) Valid existing management to be carried forward
f) Special designations, including nominations
D. Draft Planning Criteria
Include if not previously published in initial notice; otherwise incorporate by reference.
E. Data Summary/Data Gaps
Include if not previously published in initial notice; otherwise incorporate by reference.
a) Refer to more detailed lists in preparation plan or elsewhere (state that these are
available upon request)
b) Identify any relevant data provided or identified as available during scoping
c) List data gaps identified during scoping
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F. Summary of Future Steps in the Planning Process
Identify planning process timelines and opportunities for public participation (including
webpage address and key contact address and information, etc.)
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Appendix F-3: Annotated Outline of the Analysis of the Management Situation
The analysis of the management situation (AMS) should describe the current conditions and
trends of the resources and the uses/activities in the planning area in sufficient detail to create a
framework from which to resolve the planning issues through the development of alternatives.
This analysis should be short, concise, and focused on the issues relevant to resource
management in the area. It should not be an exhaustive review of everything known about the
area.
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION
A. Purpose of Analysis of the Management Situation
Describe the role of the AMS in the planning process.
B. General Description of Planning Area, Geographic Scope, and Resources/Programs
C. Key Findings
Summary of the most important conclusions drawn from the AMS.
CHAPTER 2. AREA PROFILE
This chapter describes the existing condition of the resources, resource uses, and other features
of the planning area (i.e., area profile). It should provide a context for resources and uses by
incorporating information compiled at multiple levels to describe the large-scale ecoregions
associated with the planning area. The information will become the basis for the Affected
Environment chapter of the RMP/EIS. Table F-1 shows the components of the area profile (not
necessarily all-inclusive).
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Table F-1.—Area profile
Resources
Resource uses
Special designations
Social and economic
Air quality
Geology
Soil resources
Water resources (surface and
groundwater)
Vegetative communities
1
Fish and wildlife
Special status species
Wild horse and burros
Wildland fire ecology and
management
Cultural resources
Paleontological resources
Visual resources
Wilderness characteristics
Cave and karst resources
Facilities
Forestry and woodland
products
Livestock grazing
Minerals (leasable,
locatable, salable)
Recreation
Renewable energy
Transportation and
access
Utility corridors and
communication sites
Land tenure
Land use
authorizations
Withdrawals
Areas of critical
environmental concern
Back country byways
National recreation
areas
National trails
Wild and scenic rivers
Wilderness
Wilderness study areas
Tribal interests
Public safety
(abandoned mines,
debris flows, and
hazardous materials)
Social and economic
conditions
1
Vegetative communities can be identified at a variety of scales and include forests, woodlands, rangelands, riparian areas, and wetlands.
A. Resources
The Resources section should have both an introduction common to all resources and a section
specific to each resource. The information presented in the introduction should help the planning
team relate the resources in the planning area to the regional setting, and define the current
condition and key features of those resources. It should also help the team highlight potential
management opportunities in Chapter 4 of the AMS by addressing the regional importance and
function of resources within the planning area.
1. Regional Context:
Different agencies and organizations have compiled geospatial datasets for large-scale
ecoregions such as the Wyoming Basin and the Colorado Plateau. Ecoregions of this scale range
in size from 3.5 million acres to 88 million acres (averaging 23 million acres). Most planning
areas will fall into one or two ecoregions, depending on the scale at which they were developed.
Planning boundaries may overlap ecoregional boundaries, so it is important for planning areas to
coordinate in collecting and sharing information.
These large-scale geospatial datasets provide broad-level biological information that
complements local planning efforts by identifying dominant patterns on the landscape and threats
to resources. Other existing fine and midscale data (e.g., state and Heritage programs, BLM-led
assessments such as Land Health Assessments, Recovery Plans, and Conservation Strategies)
used in combination with broad scale information can provide a complete picture of current
conditions and key features of the resources (definitions for broad, mid, and fine scale data are
provided in the Glossary). For example, BLM-led Land Health Assessments contain information
on upland, riparian, and stream channel condition that can be used to refine ecoregion conditions
from larger datasets. Use multiscale information to complete Table F-2.
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Table F-2.—Ecoregion/Planning Area Information
Information about the ecoregion
Information about the planning area as it relates to the
ecoregion
Size and general geographic location.
Orientation of the planning area within the ecoregion.
Percent of the ecoregion that (1) all lands in the planning area
cover and (2) BLM lands in the planning area cover.
Overall ecoregion condition (past versus
present) and major issues affecting
function and resource trends (i.e., fire
suppression, habitat fragmentation, and
invasive species).
The overall condition of the BLM lands relative to the
condition of the ecoregion.
Information relative to how current land use allocations and
management BLM lands might be contributing to or helping to
alleviate the major ecological issues of the ecoregion.
Features of the ecoregion that are
unique or are particularly important to
ecological condition (e.g., large blocks
of grasslands or sagebrush).
The extent to which the planning area or portions within it
may be ecologically important to maintaining ecosystem
function.
1
1
This information may not be available depending on the source of ecoregion information used.
2. Resource-specific information
The AMS should include resource-specific information organized by the following five factors:
a. Indicators. Identify factors that describe resource condition such as ambient pollutant
level, visibility, and fire regime condition class. Indicators should be quantitative
whenever possible. There are many potential sources for indicators, including Standards
for Rangeland Health.
b. Current Condition. Describe the location, extent, and current condition of the
resource in the planning area. Condition can be determined by comparing the value of
indicator(s) to an established standard (current plan goal or objective) and/or benchmark.
Relate the condition assessment to Land Health Standards as appropriate. The scale of
the analysis may extend beyond the immediate planning area boundary and encompass a
logical landscape (the analysis area). For instance, the analysis can occur at different
levels such as by watershed, geographic area, or region.
c. Trends. Describe the degree and direction of change between the present and some
point in the past. Explain whether the trend is moving toward or away from the current
desired condition based on the indicators. Also describe the drivers or agents of change.
Note that for some resources, a desired condition has not been established or there will
not be enough information to describe trends. When describing trends, note whether the
trend is based on quantitative or qualitative information. For example, the trend for
ambient pollutant levels most likely can be described from a quantitative standpoint; that
is, based on changes in levels of criteria pollutants over time as recorded in published
data. For other resources where data are not available, a qualitative approach would be
used.
d. Forecast. Predict changes in the condition of resources given current management.
Describe the drivers or agents of the anticipated change.
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e. Key features. Describe the geographic location, distribution, areas or types of resource
features that should guide land use allocation or management decisions. For example,
certain areas may be particularly important to special status species habitat, or some soil
types may be better able to support certain land uses than others.
B. Resource Uses
For each resource use, describe the following:
1) Current level (including potential) and locations of use (map each use).
2) Forecast, or the anticipated demand for use (levels and locations)—the reasonable
foreseeable development.
3) Key features, or the areas of high potential for the use (these areas do not necessarily
have to be currently managed for the use).
C. Special Designations
Identify the location of existing special designations such as ACECs, wilderness areas,
wilderness study areas, wild and scenic rivers, and other applicable designations. Also identify
areas meeting the relevance and importance criteria to be considered as potential ACECs or
potentially eligible river segments, etc.
D. Social and Economic Features
Listed below are the topics to describe for each of the social and economic features.
• Tribal interests—Identify the Tribes with interests in the planning area. Describe
features not otherwise described in the cultural resources section, such as treaty-based
subsistence uses, traditional use areas, and rights of access.
• Public safety (abandoned mines, debris flows, and hazardous materials)—Identify
areas where public safety is an issue.
• Social and economic conditions—See Appendix D.
CHAPTER 3. CURRENT MANAGEMENT DIRECTION
This chapter describes current management direction based on existing land use plans and
amendments by program (and later becomes the basis for the no action alternative). Provide a list
of management decisions and their sources for each resource or resource use. Identify
management decisions from all applicable BLM plans (RMPs, MFPs, and amendments for
planning-level decisions). Note that some resources will not have any management decisions
established.
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A. Relevant Plans and Amendments
The list of management decisions should be drawn from all applicable BLM plans (RMPs and
amendments). List all plans and amendments that influence current management. This list can
be displayed in a table such as the one below:
Table F-3.—Sample format for list of relevant plans and amendments
Document title
Year
Other relevant information
Admininstrative
record document
number
B. Management Decisions
Describe all management decisions that will become the no action alternative in the draft RMP.
Table F-4 is a recommended format.
Table F-4.—Current management for resources, resource uses, and social and economic features
Current management
decision
Planning decision
number
Decision source
Status
Insert decision title
and/or description.
Insert decision number or
other identifier if known.
Insert source document
for the decision, such as:
Lower Gila South RMP
Insert the status of the
decision: whether it was
completed and when,
progress if not completed,
etc.
To the extent possible, document decisions by logical management units or zones. Special
management areas (special designations) would be included in this manner. Types of special
management areas include ACECs, back country byways, national recreation areas, national
trails, wild and scenic rivers, wilderness, and wilderness study areas.
CHAPTER 4. MANAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Identifying management opportunities is a process of considering changes in management to
respond to (a) information gathered in the area profile (Chapter 2) and (b) issues and concerns
elevated through scoping. It serves as a starting point for alternative formulation by providing a
list of possible management opportunities for later sorting and refining into a framework of
compatible alternatives. Consult Appendix C as a guide to the program-specific land use plan
decisions that should be made as part of the planning process when identifying management
opportunities.
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A. Analyze the Ability of Current Management Direction to Achieve Desired Conditions
and Address Resource Demands
Based on the current condition and trends of the resources and the current and trends of demands
on those resources, analyze the ability of current management direction to achieve desired
conditions and address resources and demands for use of the resources. Discuss field office(s)
capability in terms of staff, annual budget, summary of workload ranked by subactivity and/or
program elements.
While discussing the management adequacy of each decision, also discuss options for changing
the management if the decision does not adequately respond to current issues, changes in
circumstances, new information, etc.
Fill out Table F-5 for each resource, resource use, special management area and social and
economic feature. Notice that the table is similar to Table G-4 in Chapter 3(B), which describes
the management decisions.
Table F-5.—Adequacy of current management direction and options for change
Planning decision
Is decision
responsive
to current
issues?
Remarks (rationale)
Options for change
Insert decision title and/or
description.
(Y/N)
Describe why the decision is/is not
adequate.
Insert options for
changing management.
As appropriate, include
decisions from other
jurisdictions that
warrant consideration.
B. Identify Areas of Relative Ecological Importance to Guide Land Uses and Management
Identifying areas of relative ecological importance enables planners to understand tradeoffs when
establishing land use allocations and management requirements. Regional knowledge, gained
through broad scale assessments, can highlight the importance of an area in the context of the
larger ecoregion. This information is fundamental to developing a range of alternatives and
analyzing the effects of the alternatives in the RMP/EIS, and to managing for “the health,
diversity, and productivity of the public lands.”
Understanding relative ecological importance should guide land use allocations and management
approaches, rather than preclude uses. For example, this information should feed into alternative
development by helping to identify opportunities for maintenance and/or restoration of habitats.
Note that relative ecological importance may change over time with new information and
changes in land uses and condition.
When assembling information on relative ecological importance, focus on dominant patterns
across the ecoregion, and on habitat extent, habitat condition, species connectivity requirements
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and overall plant and animal species diversity within the planning area. There are many ways to
assemble this information. One way is to create maps using information and datasets collected
for both the ecoregion or for the preparation of the area profile and AMS. This approach is
described in Figure G-1, and can be applied using a geographic information system (GIS) or
transparencies.
CHAPTER 5. CONSISTENCY/COORDINATION WITH OTHER PLANS
Identify plans in areas surrounding the planning area and discuss the implications for the
planning area from these plans. Identify resources that are in common, dependent, or
interdependent.
1) County/city plans
2) State Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategies and State lands plans
3) Other Federal agency plans (including fire planning units)
Identify significant opportunities for enhancing coordination or gaining expertise through
cooperating agency relationships.
CHAPTER 6. SPECIFIC MANDATES AND AUTHORITY
All resource specialists should provide a description of laws, regulations, and policy applicable
to their resources. Information on Federal, state, local, as well as BLM policy should be
included.
CHAPTER 7. SCOPING REPORT OR SUMMARY OF SCOPING REPORT
CHAPTER 8. LIST OF PREPARERS
Provide the following information for each person working on the project: name, responsibility,
qualifications, and participation.
CHAPTER 9. GLOSSARY
CHAPTER 10. REFERENCES
Provide references for each resource section according to the format noted in the project work
plan. All references should be included and complete reference information should be submitted
with each resource section.
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Figure F-1.—One potential method for identifying areas of relative ecological importance
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Appendix F-4: Annotated Outline for a Draft and Final RMP (Amendment)/EIS
The following outline applies to draft and full text final EISs. If minor changes consisting of
technical, editorial, or nonsubstantive factual corrections are made in the draft EIS in response to
comments, then an abbreviated final EIS may be prepared. An abbreviated final EIS only
contains substantive comments received on the draft, responses to those comments, and an errata
section with specific modifications and corrections to the draft EIS in response to comments (see
40 CFR 1503.4).
Contractor logos should not be placed anywhere in the documents (although it is recommended
that the role of the contractor be acknowledged in the list of preparers in Chapter 5).
1. Abstract (Inside front cover)
2. Cover sheet or title page
3. Dear Reader Letter (include privacy statement)
4. Protest procedures (final EIS)
5. Table of contents
6. Summary (approximately 15 pages)
(Optional Reader’s Guide to help explain chapter format and contents)
7. Chapter 1. Introduction (approximately 5–10 pages)
A. Purpose and Need for the Plan
B. Planning Area and Map
C. Scoping/Issues
1. Issues Addressed
a. Issues used to develop alternatives
1
b. Issues addressed in other parts of the EIS
2. Issues Considered but Not Further Analyzed
a. Issues beyond the scope of the plan
b. Issues addressed through administrative or policy action
D. Planning Criteria/Legislative Constraints
E. Planning Process
1
Italics here show optional categories for issues.
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1. Relationship to BLM Policies, Plans, and Programs
2. Collaboration
a. Intergovernmental, inter-agency, and Tribal relationships
b. Other stakeholder relationships
F. Related Plans: Discuss consideration of state, local, and Tribal land use plans that
“are germane in the development of land use plans for public lands.”
2
G. Policy: Discuss policies and decisions that existed prior to the plan being written
that are outside the scope of the plan but may influence the decisions, constrain the
alternatives, or are needed to understand management of the area. Examples include:
proclamations, legislative designations, and court settlements.
H. Overall Vision:
3
Identify the overall vision for management of the planning area.
This vision should reflect the goals that are common to all alternatives. This can serve to
help integrate programs.
8. Chapter 2. Alternatives
4
A. General Description of each Alternative: Highlight the characteristics that
distinguish each alternative. Rather than naming alternatives, number or letter each
alternative and briefly describe the theme of each alternative.
B. Management Common to All Alternatives: Primarily goals for resource conditions
and resource uses.
C. No-Action Alternative: Description of existing management direction including
current decisions from relevant plans and reasonable, foreseeable, management
scenarios.
D. Action Alternatives:
5
Detailed description of each of the alternatives, by alternative,
needed to display a reasonable range of options to meet the stated Purpose and Need and
address issues. Each alternative description should address the issues or programmatic
areas. The decisions in the alternatives should follow the format for land use plan
“Management Decisions” provided in Appendix F-5.
2
Federal Land Policy and Management Act, Section 202(c)(9).
3
Optional.
4
There has been some discussion of reversing the order of the Alternatives and Affected Environment
chapters of the EIS. However, the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance in the Department of
the Interior has issued guidance stating that we must follow the recommended format in the CEQ
regulations (40 CFR 1502.10) or obtain approval from OEPC to deviate from it.
5
At the draft stage in the preparation of an EIS, the preferred alternative is identified in Chapter 2 of the
draft EIS. At the final EIS stage, the proposed plan is presented with the alternatives. The proposed plan
should be in a clearly delineated section to make it easily identifiable and may also be pulled out as a
separate document.
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E. Alternatives Considered but Not Analyzed in Detail
F. Comparison of Alternatives (table)
G. Comparison of Impacts (table)
9. Chapter 3. Affected Environment (keep as short and concise as possible): Limit
discussion to what is needed to understand issues and environmental consequences and provide
context for the Goals and Objectives. This chapter may also be formatted in the same way as the
Area Profile section of the Analysis of the Management Situation (See Appendix F-3).
A. Resources: Physical, biological, and cultural resources (current conditions and
trends). This is not necessarily a comprehensive list.
1. Air Quality
2. Geology
3. Soil Resources
4. Water Resources
5. Vegetative Communities
a. Forests and Woodlands
b. Rangelands
c. Riparian and Wetlands
6. Fish and Wildlife
7. Special Status Species
8. Wild Horses and Burros
9. Wildland Fire Ecology and Management
10. Cultural Resources
11. Paleontological Resources
12. Visual Resources
13. Wilderness Characteristics
14 Cave and Karst Resources
B. Resource Uses: Resource uses (current conditions and trends). This is not
necessarily a comprehensive list.
1. Facilities
2. Forestry and Woodland Products
3. Livestock Grazing
4. Minerals
a. Leasable Minerals (e.g. oil, gas, and geothermal)
b. Locatable Minerals (e.g. gold and silver)
c. Salable Minerals (e.g. sand and gravel)
5. Recreation
6. Renewable Energy
7. Transportation and Access
8. Utility Corridors and Communication Sites
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9. Land Tenure
10. Land Use Authorizations
11. Withdrawals
C. Special Designations
1. Areas of Critical Environmental Concern
2. Back Country Byways
3. National Recreation Areas
4. National Trails
5. Wild and Scenic Rivers
6. Wilderness
7. Wilderness Study Areas
D. Social and Economic
1. Tribal Interests
2. Public Safety
a. Abandoned Mines
b. Debris Flows
c. Hazardous Materials
3. Social and Economic Conditions (including Environmental Justice and other
considerations)
10. Chapter 4. Environmental Consequences. Document sufficient analysis to support all
conclusions. This chapter may also be formatted in the same way as the Area Profile section of
the Analysis of the Management Situation (See Appendix F-3.)
A. Introduction
1. Analytical assumptions (reasonably foreseeable development scenarios for oil
and gas, anticipated levels of vegetation treatment, etc.)
2. Types of effects to be addressed (direct, indirect, and cumulative)
3. Summarize critical elements that are addressed, not affected, or not present
4. Incomplete or unavailable information
For program areas, include discussions as outlined in 40 CFR 1502.16 for the alternatives
by program area listed below.
B. Resources: Physical and biological resources addressed in alphabetical order. This
is not necessarily a comprehensive list.
1. Air Quality
2. Cave and Karst Resources
3. Cultural Resources
4. Fish and Wildlife
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5. Geology
6. Paleontological Resources
7. Soil Resources
8. Special Status Species
9. Vegetative Communities
a. Forests and Woodlands
b. Rangelands
c. Riparian and Wetlands
10. Visual Resources
11. Water Resources
12. Wild Horses and Burros
13. Wilderness Characteristics
14. Wildland Fire Ecology and Management
C. Resource Uses: Resource uses addressed in alphabetical order. This is not
necessarily a comprehensive list.
1. Facilities
2. Forestry and Woodland Products
3. Land Tenure
4. Land Use Authorizations
5. Livestock Grazing
6. Minerals
a. Leasable Minerals (e.g. oil, gas, and geothermal)
b. Locatable Minerals (e.g. gold and silver)
c. Salable Minerals (e.g. sand and gravel)
7. Recreation
8. Renewable Energy
9. Transportation and Access
10. Utility Corridors and Communication Sites
11. Withdrawals
D. Special Designations
1. Areas of Critical Environmental Concern
2. Back Country Byways
3. National Recreation Areas
4. National Trails
5. Wild and Scenic Rivers
6. Wilderness
7. Wilderness Study Areas
E. Social and Economic
1. Tribal Interests
2. Public Safety
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a. Abandoned Mines
b. Debris Flows
c. Hazardous Materials
3. Social and Economic Conditions (including Environmental Justice and other
considerations)
11. Chapter 5. Consultation and Coordination
A. Description of specific actions taken to consult and coordinate with:
1. Tribes
2. Intergovernmental (State, Local, County, and City)
3. Federal Agency
4. Interest Groups
5. National Mailing List
B. Describe additional collaboration
C. Responses to comments by issue area (FEIS only)
D. List of Preparers
12. Appendices
13. Glossary
14. References
15. Index
16. Abbreviations/Acronyms (inside back cover): Placement can also occur with the Reader’s
Guide, Summary, or in the Glossary.
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Appendix F-5: Annotated Outline for Record of Decision (ROD)/Approved RMP
(Amendment)
At the end of the protest period on the final EIS and proposed plan and after protests are
resolved, the ROD
6
is issued. The ROD must be published in the same document with and
reference the land use plan (proposed plan from the final EIS as modified in response to protests
or other considerations between the final EIS and issuance of the ROD). The ROD/RMP serves
as a more concise and useful tool to land managers and stakeholders than a cumbersome EIS.
Separation of the approved RMP from the final EIS and attaching it to the ROD clarifies the
different roles served by a plan and the supporting NEPA analysis. Additionally a stand-alone
ROD/RMP will improve internal agency and partner understanding of the plan and improve our
long-term ability to implement the plan.
I. Record of Decision (ROD)
A. Introductory Material: (on a cover sheet or at the top of the first page)
1) Title
2) Preparing office and office location
3) Cooperating agencies (if any)
4) Signature and title of responsible official and concurring officials (if any)
7
5) Date of signature(s)
B. Summary: (if ROD exceeds 10 pages)
C. Decision: The primary decision is to approve the attached land use plan.
8
D. Alternatives: Briefly discuss the alternative or alternatives that were considered to be
“environmentally preferable.”
9
E. Management Considerations: Provide the rationale for the decision.
F. Mitigation Measures: In addition to identifying approved mitigation measures, state
whether all practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm from the alternative
6
The format for the ROD can be found in the NEPA handbook (H-1790-1), Chapter V, pages V-22 to V-
23.
7
Signatures and date of signatures can occur at end of ROD.
8
Example: “The decision is hereby made to approve the attached plan as the resource management plan
(Plan) for [insert title]. This Plan was prepared under the regulations implementing the Federal Land
Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 CFR 1600). An environmental impact statement was prepared for
this Plan in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. The Plan is nearly
identical to the one set forth in the [insert title] Proposed Resource Management Plan and Final
Environmental Impact Statement published [insert here]. Specific management decisions for public lands
under the jurisdiction of the [insert here] Field Office are presented in Chapter [insert] of the plan. Major
decisions include: [insert here].
9
See 40 CFR 1505.2(b).
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selected have been adopted, and if not, why. Summarize any monitoring and enforcement
program being adopted for mitigation measures.
10
G. Plan Monitoring:
H. Public Involvement: Briefly describe public participation in planning process.
II. Approved Resource Management Plan
A. Introduction.
11
1. Purpose and Need for the Plan
2. Planning Area and Map
3. Scoping/Issues
a. Issues Addressed
i) Issues used to develop alternatives
12
ii) Issues addressed in other parts of the EIS
b. Issues Considered but Not Further Analyzed
i) Issues beyond the scope of the plan
ii) Issues addressed through administrative or policy action
4. Planning Criteria/Legislative Constraints
5. Planning Process
a. Relationship to BLM Policies, Plans, and Programs
b. Collaboration
i) Intergovernmental, inter-agency, and Tribal relationships
ii) Other stakeholder relationships
6. Related Plans: Discuss consideration of state, local, and Tribal land use plans that
“are germane in the development of land use plans for public lands.”
13
7. Policy: Discuss policies and decisions that existed prior to the plan being written that
are outside the scope of the plan but may influence the decisions, constrain the
alternatives, or are needed to understand management of the area. Examples include:
proclamations, legislative designations, and court settlements.
10
See 40 CFR 1505.2(c).
11
This introduction section is optional material for the land use plan document.
12
Italics here show optional categories for issues.
13
Federal Land Policy and Management Act, Section 202(c)(9).
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8. Overall Vision:
14
Identify the overall vision for management of the planning area.
This vision should reflect the goals that are common to all alternatives. This can serve to
help integrate programs.
B. Management Decisions.
15
List management decisions by issue or programmatic area,
making clear how decisions in one issue or programmatic area may affect others.
1. Goals:
16
Identify goals for resource conditions, resource uses, and other goals as
appropriate.
2. Objectives:
17
Identify objectives with their rationale (include associated goal[s]).
Reference which goals are advanced by the objective.
3. Management Actions: Make these adaptive as appropriate and practical. Relate
each decision to all goals and objectives impacted. This section should address special
designations and land tenure decisions.
a. Allowable uses: This should include allowable uses, restricted uses, and
prohibited uses. Incorporate maps where appropriate.
b. Actions: Management measures that will guide future and day-to-day
activities. Project design features, stipulations, best management practices,
standard operating procedures, and guidelines should be included in this section
as well.
c. Implementation decisions: Include any implementation decisions (see
appropriate guidance for distinction) related to particular land use planning
decisions.
4. Monitoring (and adaptive management if applicable): Describe plans for monitoring
to assess progress toward meeting goals and objectives. If appropriate, discuss plans of
action if monitoring indicates actions are not meeting goals and objectives or if actions
are no longer needed.
C. Public Involvement. Describe how the public and partners can be involved in
implementation.
D. Management Plan Implementation. To the extent practical and appropriate, identify
priorities and costs of the management program. Costs should be estimated at a scale that is
14
Optional.
15
The format of this section is designed to (a) clarify the distinction between goals, objectives, and
management actions; (b) move toward (or demonstrate) objectives and management decisions that will
work toward meeting multiple goals; (c) demonstrate the connectivity between programs; and (d) reduce
conflicts internal to the document.
16
Goals are broad statements of desired outcomes; and usually not quantifiable.
17
Objectives are specific desired conditions; usually quantifiable and measurable and may have timeframes
for achievement.
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useful for budgeting (thousands of dollars and whole work months). It may be useful to identify
priorities into two groups: one time projects and ongoing tasks.
E. Plan Evaluation/Adaptive Management. Identify a tentative schedule for land use plan
evaluations and the management actions that could be taken after an evaluation.
F. Appendices
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Appendix F-6: Recommended Administrative Record File Plan
for Land Use Planning Projects
For draft EISs, final EISs, and records of decision (ROD)
A. General Information
1) Federal Register Notices
2) Iss