A Carrizo Plain National Monument sign stands in a large valley with mountains in the background.
Rafting the Kern River Three Pump Jacks, Midway-Sunset Oilfield Painted Rock. Carrizo Plain National Monument. Poppy Piedras Blancas Lightstation, San Simeon
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Bakersfield Field Office

Land Use Planning

In 1976 Congress passed "The Federal Land Policy and Management Act", often referred to by its acronym of "FLPMA". With this act, Congress directed how BLM is to manage public lands. FLPMA specifies several key instructions for the Bureau, notably:

  • that goals and objectives be established as guidelines for public land use planning, and that management be on the basis of multiple use and sustained yield unless otherwise specified by law;
  • and that the public lands be managed in a manner:

    • that will protect the quality of scientific, scenic, historical, ecological, environmental, air and atmospheric, water resources, and archaeological values;
    • that where appropriate, will preserve and protect certain lands in their natural condition;
    • that will provide food and habitat for fish and wildlife and domestic animals;
    • and that will provide for outdoor recreation and human occupancy and use.

As prescribed by FLPMA, BLM prepares land use plans that identify goals and objectives for the management of public lands, and allocate certain kinds of uses.
Examples of land use allocations within the Bakersfield Office include:

  • identification of lands to be leased for oil and gas development, and what stipulations may be attached to those actions;
  • identification of lands available for livestock grazing, and how grazing will be managed;
  • identification of lands available for sale or exchange; and
  • identification of lands that warrant protection as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.
Resource Management Plans

The Bureau of Land Management calls its land use plans "Resource Management Plans" (RMPs). These plans prescribe management only on BLM managed public lands and federal mineral estate - they have no jurisdiction over private or state lands, or public domain managed by other agencies.

Resource management plans are built upon public involvement. Prior to preparation of the plan, the public is invited to help identify issues and concerns, they are briefed on proposals through open houses and public advisory councils, they are invited to comment on the draft plan, and if they feel that the proposed RMP is misguided, they may even protest the action in question. Once completed, an RMP may guide management for fifteen or more years.