logo6b.jpg (15396 bytes)

U.S. Department of the Interior

Bureau of Land Management


Part 5

PRESERVATION OF SIGNIFICANT
CULTURAL AND NATURAL FEATURES

On America’s pubic lands, the BLM is responsible for preserving and protecting threatened and endangered species; wild free-roaming horses and burros; significant archaeological, paleontological, and historical sites; areas of critical environmental concern and other outstanding natural areas; and wilderness or wilderness study areas.

The BLM strives to improve its management efficiency by consolidating lands into manageable areas through land exchanges (Table 5-1).  These consolidations help us to improve the management of natural resources.

Bureau-administered permanent or seasonal habitats on public lands are home for over 3,000 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and amphibians.  Priority treatment is given to federally listed threatened or endangered plant and animal species (Tables 5-2 and 5-3) that depend on public lands for all or part of their habitat needs.

The Bureau also administers the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, which provides for the protection, management, and control of wild horses and burros on the public lands.   A major responsibility under the Act is to preserve a thriving natural ecological balance on the range.  To do so, it is necessary to remove excess wild horses and burros, which are then offered to the general public for adoption. Tables 5-4 and 5-5 portray wild horse and burro populations and adoptions.

The Bureau of Land Management is steward for the Federal government's largest, most culturally diverse, and scientifically most important body of cultural resources.  To carry out this stewardship responsibility, the Bureau's cultural resource management program is designed to inventory, evaluate, and manage cultural and paleontological resources on public lands under its jurisdiction.  The BLM has inventoried over 13.9 million acres for cultural resources and has recorded almost 228,000 properties (Table 5-6).

The Bureau provides special management prescriptions for public lands designated as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, Research Natural Areas, National Natural Landmarks, and National Conservation Areas (NCAs) (Tables 5-7 and 5-12).  All of America’s NCAs are managed by the BLM. As of the end September 1999, there were 8 NCAs, totaling nearly 11.7 million acres, to be increased by 57,000 acres in October 1999, with the designation of the new Gunnison Gorge NCA in Colorado.  The Bureau also manages 136 designated wilderness areas (increasing to 137 in October, 1999) encompassing over 5.2 million acres and 622 wilderness study areas encompassing 17.3 million acres (Tables 5-8, 5-9, 5-10, and 5-12).

Much of America's beauty is embodied in the rivers that flow across the public lands administered by BLM.  These rivers contain some of the Nation's most treasured aquatic and riparian resources. Rivers have long served us as the highways and byways of America.  Native American Indians and pioneers alike used these rivers, much as we use our roads and interstate highways today.  The rivers carried many of them on frontier expeditions and served as major trade routes.  Today, they take us on our spiritual journeys as well as support our commercial ventures.  People are drawn to water and especially rivers.  As has often been said:  "You cannot step into the same river twice; every river trip is different."  For those early vestiges that remain, BLM celebrates their beauty, their spirit, and their individual character.

The BLM administers 20 percent of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.   Some 34 Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSRs) are located in five States comprising 2,038 miles and protecting nearly one million acres (Tables 5-11 and 5-12).  These rivers provide some of the world's greatest diversity of recreational, natural, and cultural resources, and offer unparalleled white water and scenic beauty.  A key component of managing WSRs is retaining each river’s free-flowing character and protecting and enhancing the "outstandingly remarkable values" that resulted in their formal designation.  WSRs are carefully managed by the BLM to protect their unique natural values, enhance recreational experiences and opportunities, and reduce user conflicts.

 5-1 Land Exchanges 99pl5-1.pdf
 5-2 Federally Listed Threatened or Endangered and Candidate Plant Species 99pl5-2.pdf
 5-3 Federally Listed Threatened or Endangered and Candidate Animal Species 99pl5-3.pdf
 5-4 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Populations 99pl5-4.pdf
 5-5 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Removal and Adoption by Office 99pl5-5.pdf
 5-6 Cultural Resource Management Activities 99pl5-6.pdf
 5-7 Areas of Critical Environmental Concern 99pl5-7.pdf
 5-8 BLM Wilderness Study Areas 99pl5-8.pdf
 5-9 BLM Wilderness Recommendations to Congress Pending 99pl5-9.pdf
 5-10 BLM Lands Designated as Wilderness by Congress 99pl5-10.pdf
 5-11 BLM Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers 99pl5-11.pdf
5-12 Number and Size of Designated Special Management Areas 99pl5-12.pdf

Return to 1999 Public Land Statistics Homepage