Kate Kitchell is the new associate state director of the Montana/Dakotas BLM. She replaces Howard Lemm, who retired in July 2010.
Kitchell began her federal career in 1975 with the National Park Service and joined the BLM in 1989 in Colorado. She’s held BLM management positions in Colorado, Utah, and Idaho in field and state offices. In 2005, she moved to the U.S. Geological Survey where she was most recently director of the Southwest Biological Science Center in Flagstaff. Kitchell has natural resources degrees from the University of New Hampshire (B.S.) and Utah State University (M.S.).
Throughout her career, Kitchell has carried a passion for integrating science into resource management and building partnerships for public land use and stewardship.
“I’m very passionate about applying science to multiple use management, but the practical application of science in the real world is very difficult,” she said. “That’s why it is so important to develop relationships, both internally and externally, and maintain ongoing communication.”
Kitchell looks forward to working with Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, which bring together these two objectives. LCCs are management-science partnerships that involve federal, state, and tribal agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Their goal is to address climate change and other stressors within and across landscapes using science-based, integrated resource management actions. The Montana/Dakotas BLM is involved in two: the Great Northern LCC and the Plains and Prairie Potholes LCC.
Kitchell is also excited about working with communities and land users to further the BLM’s Sound Investment for America and promote public use and enjoyment of BLM’s resources. A relatively small agency, the BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public lands nationwide (8.3 million in Montana and the Dakotas), striving to balance economic benefits with natural resource conservation. BLM-managed activities on public lands support jobs, provide recreational opportunities, and produce energy, timber products, and grazing-related benefits. In fact, the agency raises more money each year for the American taxpayer than it spends.
“I’m excited about the wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities we have to offer – such as the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument and the Madison River,” said Kitchell.
Another effort recently launched by the Montana/Dakotas BLM – the Environmental Management System – also fits well with Kitchell’s interests. The EMS is a framework by which we identify and reduce the impacts from our activities, products, and services. That touches on virtually everything the BLM does -- from how we dispose of outdated electronics to oil and gas field inspections.
“It’s important that we look for ways to incorporate environmental stewardship into our daily business,” said Kitchell. “We already do that to some degree, but EMS will help us do even better.”
Kitchell and her husband, Mike Eldred, enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities. They both anticipate the many recreational opportunities here in Montana and the Dakotas.