U.S. Department of the Interior

Bureau of Land Management


Part 2

HEALTHY PRODUCTIVE LANDS

Most of the goods and services that the BLM provides to the American people are resource-based, and the agency's ability to provide them ultimately depends on the health of the public lands. Healthy lands sustain resource-based economies. Degraded lands do not. The BLM is committed to maintaining lands in a healthy condition.

To effectively carry out its mission, the Bureau needs to (1) better understand historic and present conditions of the land, (2) use science and technology to identify and relieve stresses to the land's health, and (3) work with the public to develop consensus goals for the health of the land. Obtaining this information and achieving these goals will require coordinated planning and collaborative approaches. Periodic assessments will be conducted to help the Bureau (1) define critical baseline information on the status and trend of the land's health; (2) predict direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of activities on the land, water, and air; and (3) identify and evaluate long-term trends.

Table 2-1, Percent of Acreage by Ecological Status by State, provides a summary of the ecological site inventories that have been conducted by the BLM over the years. This table is updated annually to reflect new inventory work and changes in ecological status. Ecological site inventories provide land managers with useful information for determining site capability and assessing whether resource management objectives are being met.

Table 2-2, Condition of Riparian-Wetland Areas, was first reported in PLS in 1995. Riparian-wetland areas make up less than 10 percent of the public lands administered by the BLM. The benefits of these vital oases, however, far exceed their relatively small acreage. In September 1991, the BLM launched its "Riparian-Wetland Initiative for the 1990s," a program to restore and maintain these vital areas in proper functioning condition. A riparian-wetland area is functioning properly when adequate vegetation, landform, or large woody debris is present to dissipate the energy associated with high waterflows.

Table 2-3, Resource Conservation and Improvement Accomplishments, is a summary of the many conservation, rehabilitation, and development projects completed on the public lands during the past year. These efforts help stabilize soils, maintain or improve water quality, control siltation and salinity, reduce surface runoff, and control flooding. They help improve ecologic site condition, promote healthy riparian areas and wetlands, and enhance overall watershed health.

Table 2-4, Forest Development Accomplishments, shows the numerous reforestation and improvement projects completed during FY 1998. These efforts lead to improvement of forest health conditions on the public lands.

Table 2-5, Types of Habitat on Public Lands, describes the various types of wildlife habitats that exist on the public lands. No single Federal or State agency manages more fish and wildlife habitat than the Bureau of Land Management. As the quality and quantity of the Nation's fish and wildlife habitats decrease, the varied habitats on public lands become increasingly important to maintaining our national fish and wildlife heritage.

Table 2-6, Estimated Number of Big Game Animals on Public Lands, shows an estimate of the numbers of big game species located on public lands. Most of this data is provided by the various State wildlife agencies.

Table 2-7, Fish and Wildlife Habitat Improvements Completed, portrays the variety of improvement projects used to enhance fish and wildlife habitats on public land over the past year. Habitat quality and quantity are the key to the future of wildlife. On-the-ground activities to preserve, enhance, or restore wildlife habitat represent a wise investment in the future. Most habitat improvement efforts are accomplished in cooperation with State wildlife agencies and conservation groups.

Table 2-8, Emergency Fire Rehabilitation Projects, displays the Bureau's fire rehabilitation projects that were needed to stabilize soils and restore watersheds after wildfires occurred. Fire rehab actions are necessary to prevent unacceptable resource degradation, minimize threats to public health and safety, prevent unacceptable off-site damage, and minimize the potential for the recurrence of wildfire. The number and acreage of fire rehabilitation projects vary yearly, depending on the severity of the wildfire season on the public lands.

Table 2-9, Prescribed Fire Projects, shows the Bureau's efforts to utilize fire as a critical natural process to maintain and restore ecosystems, rangelands, and forestlands, and to reduce the hazardous buildup of fuels that may threaten healthy lands and public safety. Responding to the 1995 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy, the BLM has revised Fire Management Activity Plans, and land use plans as appropriate, to incorporate the use of wildland fire as a management tool to protect, maintain, and enhance resources. Prescribed fire projects are often accomplished in cooperation with other Federal agencies, as well as State and local partners. In FY 1998, the BLM significantly increased the acreage that it treated with prescribed fire.

 

 2-1  Percent of Acreage by Ecological Status by State  PDF
 2-2  Condition of Riparian-Wetland Areas  PDF
 2-3  Resource Conservation and Improvement Accomplishments  PDF
 2-4  Forest Development Accomplishments  PDF
 2-5  Types of Wildlife Habitats on Public Lands  PDF
 2-6  Estimated Numbers of Big Game Animals on Public Lands  PDF
 2-7  Fish and Wildlife Habitat Improvements Completed  PDF
 2-8  Emergency Fire Rehabilitation Projects  PDF
 2-9  Prescribed Fire Projects  PDF

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