The Bureau of Land Management: Who We Are, What We Do
BLM is focusing on landscape approaches for managing public lands. (Photo of Fisher Towers, Utah).
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) may best be described as a small agency with a big mission: To sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. It administers more public land – over 245 million surface acres – than any other Federal agency in the United States. Most of this land is located in the 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also manages 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.
The BLM’s multiple-use mission, set forth in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, mandates that we manage public land resources for a variety of uses, such as energy development, livestock grazing, recreation, and timber harvesting, while protecting a wide array of natural, cultural, and historical resources, many of which are found in the BLM's 27 million-acre National Landscape Conservation System. The conservation system includes 221 Wilderness Areas totaling 8.7 million acres, as well as 16 National Monuments comprising 4.8 million acres.
The BLM does its complex and challenging work with an annual budget of more than $1 billion and a workforce of about 10,000 full-time employees. The BLM is one of a handful of Federal agencies that generates more revenue for the United States than it spends. For example, in Fiscal Year 2012, nearly $5 billion will be generated by activities on BLM-managed lands, including an estimated $4.3 billion from onshore oil and gas development, with about half of those revenues going to the states where the mineral leasing occurred.
The BLM is focusing on the following priorities:
- The America’s Great Outdoors initiative, which is aimed at enhancing the conservation of BLM-managed lands and resources and reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.
- The New Energy Frontier, which encourages and facilitates renewable energy development – solar, wind, and geothermal – on the Nation’s public lands.
- Cooperative Landscape Conservation, a scientific initiative that recognizes the need to better understand the condition of BLM-managed landscapes at a broad level.
- Youth in the Great Outdoors, which supports programs and partnerships that engage youth in natural resource management and encourages young people and their families to visit, explore, and learn about the public lands.
- Climate Change, which is affecting public lands in ways that could impact on Americans’ quality of life. The BLM is responding with two interconnected initiatives: a proposed landscape approach to land management and Rapid Ecoregional Assessments, which will improve the agency’s understanding of public land conditions to inform future management decisions.
By strengthening existing and forging new partnerships with stakeholders, the BLM will ensure that the nation’s public lands are managed and conserved for future generations of Americans to use and enjoy.