The Monticello Field Office has long been an area where paleontological research has been conducted. Some amazing discoveries have been made here Fossils are the remains and traces of once-living organisms, preserved in rocks of the Earth's crust. They convey the story of origins and endings of extraordinary varieties of ocean-dwelling, fresh-water, and terrestrial creatures, played out over nearly 4 billion years of the Earth's 4.6 billion-year history. Significant parts of this record are present in the Monticello Field Office.
The program includes:
Interpretation (and Public Education)
- Interpretation efforts include educating people about the importance of the fossil record and the importance of protecting fossils, partnering with museums to develop exhibits, and development of internet information resources. We suggest that you visit our Paleontology
page for more information.
Protection and Stabilization – BLM actively investigates and prosecutes instances of resource vandalism and theft.
Inventory - Inventory on 1.8 million acres is almost overwhelming. Only a small percentage of these lands have been inventoried. Because of the large amount of land and the limited public funds available, the BLM partners with museums, universities, and paleontologists worldwide to conduct inventories. These partners also conduct excavations to recover fossils of particular significance and to support their goals for research and interpretation. The BLM concentrates its efforts on areas with known paleontological values or areas proposed for projects that are likely to disturb the ground surface and thus damage paleontological sites.
Protected By Law
Paleontological resources are part of every American's national heritage. But it is a heritage that is being destroyed by intentional and unintentional vandalism and looting. The Congress, on behalf of the American people, has enacted laws to protect these national treasures.
In 2009 President Obama signed A New Paleontology Law designed to protect paleontological resources. It establishes that vertebrate fossils are important and must be managed properly. Penalties are established for the unauthorized collection or vandalism of these resources. Permits are required for researchers, and when collected, fossils remain the property of the United States and must be preserved for the public in an approved repository. Programs to increase public awareness are also required.
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