Purpose of Planning

The Purpose of Planning

The primary method BLM uses to establish the balance between land use and resource protection is land use planning. Firmly established in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), planning is designed to project present and future land uses and identify management practices needed to achieve desired conditions. Planning provides BLM with the opportunity to collaborate with other agencies, Tribes, and State and local governments, and many customers and stakeholders to develop a common vision for how the public lands should be used and protected and how various land use allocation issues should be resolved.

Land Use Plans are used by managers and the public to accomplish the following:

  • Allocate resources and determine appropriate multiple uses for the public lands;
  • Develop a strategy to manage and protect resources for sustained yield; and
  • Set up systems to monitor and evaluate status of resources and effectiveness of management practices over time.

BLM’s land use plans are developed using an interdisciplinary approach that considers competing values and uses and weighs long and short-term benefits. The land use plans establish management direction for areas that typically contain from 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 acres of public land. Developed with extensive public involvement, land use plans are prepared in conjunction with an analysis of environmental impacts to increase public understanding of the decision-making process and disclose the consequences of plan decisions.

Resource management issues are more complex, more sensitive, and in many ways more important than ever, yet BLM’s mission essentially remains the same: to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

The principles guiding BLM land use planning efforts have been outlined by Congress in Section 202 of the Federal Land Policy Management Act. They are as follows:

  • Follow the principles of multiple use and sustained yield;
  • Use a systematic, interdisciplinary approach, fully considering physical, biological, economic and social aspects of public land management;
  • Identify, designate, protect and specially manage areas of critical environmental concern (ACECs);
    Consider relative significance of the public land products, services, and use to local economies;
  • Rely on the inventory of the public lands, their resources, and other values, to extent such information is available;
  • Consider present and potential uses of the public lands;
  • Consider the relative scarcity of the values involved and the availability of alternative means (including recycling) and sites for realization of those values;
  • Weigh long-term benefits to the public against short-term benefits;
  • Comply with applicable pollution control laws; and
  • ". . . [Coordinate the land use inventory, planning, and management activities of or for such lands with the land use planning and management programs of other Federal departments and agencies and of the States, [tribes,] and local governments within which the lands are located" (Section 202(c)(9)).