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Planning 2.0: New Planning Rule Released for National System of Public Lands


Media contact: Catalina Tresky, (202) 772-0253 or ctresky@defenders.org       


Planning 2.0: New Planning Rule Released for National System of Public Lands

WASHINGTON (December 1, 2016) -- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released new regulations today modernizing resource planning on 245 million acres of federal public lands. The new rule encourages more ecologically appropriate planning boundaries on BLM lands, advances the role of science in land use planning and encourages the development of conservation objectives to guide regional mitigation strategies.

Although the regulation contains notable improvements to BLM’s land use planning process, it fails to fully incorporate statutory mandates and executive and departmental direction that the agency contribute to the conservation and recovery of imperiled species, and assess, plan and adaptively manage for climate change effects on public lands.

Mark Salvo, vice president of landscape conservation for Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

"The new regulation is an important step forward for landscape-level planning and resource management at the Bureau of Land Management, though we remain concerned about the lack of provisions to support imperiled species conservation and climate change adaptation on public lands. We look forward to working with the agency to ensure these priorities are addressed in implementing guidance."


BLM is the nation’s largest land management agency, administering 245 million acres of public lands, mostly in the American West.

BLM defines landscapes as “large, connected geographical regions that have similar environmental characteristics.” These regions can span administrative boundaries and can encompass all or portions of several BLM field offices.

A landscape approach to public land management aims to identify important ecological values and patterns of environmental change on vast public lands that may not be evident when managing smaller, local land areas. This approach informs and enhances BLM planning and management, as well as its coordination with states, other federal agencies, Indian tribes and stakeholders.

The Secretary of the Interior’s Climate Change Order directs Interior agencies like BLM to consider climate change in landscape-level planning and decision-making. 

The Interior Secretary’s Improving Mitigation Policies and Practices of the Department of the Interior directs the development of a coordinated department-wide strategy to effectively offset impacts of large development projects of all types through the use of landscape-level planning.


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.