Mineral and Surface Acreage Managed by the BLM
The Bureau of Land Management manages more surface land – approximately 245 million acres – than any other Federal agency. These surface lands are located primarily in the West, but the bureau has a national presence with responsibilities for some 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate underlying both Federal and non-Federal lands . The BLM administers mineral leasing underlying lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Additionally, the BLM manages 58 million acres of mineral estate beneath surface lands owned by non-Federal entities such as States and private landowners. These split-ownership lands are referred to as "split estate."
It should be noted that while the BLM has the responsibility of managing Federal minerals beneath lands managed by the National Park Service (NPS), nearly all NPS lands have been withdrawn from mineral leasing and development activities. Mineral leasing occurs in a few units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but most refuge lands have also been withdrawn from mineral leasing or have no mineral potential.
As part of its trust responsibility, the BLM also oversees mineral operations on 56 million acres of Indian lands.
The table below shows mineral estate and surface acres administered by the BLM for fiscal year 2010. The table is based on Table 1-3 from the Public Lands Statistics published annually by the BLM. For a pdf version of this table, select this link. All statistics are in millions of acres.
Total State Acreage
Federal Minerals a
Federal Surface Landsb
BLM-Managed Public Lands d
Split-Estate Federal Mineralsc
Indian Trust Minerals e
Notes and Footnotes
This table presents an approximation of the surface and mineral acreages managed by the BLM. Estimated acreages were based on various sources of published and unpublished data. The rationale used to develop these data is presented in "Public Lands, On-Shore Federal and Indian Minerals in Lands of the U.S.," prepared by Sie Ling Chiang of BLM’s Washington Office in 2000. The first column, Land Total, is taken from Table 1-3, Public Land Statistics 1999, whereas the fifth column, BLM Public Lands, comes from Table 1-4, Public Land Statistics 2010.
a The term Federal Minerals refers to on-shore Federal minerals that are part of the BLM’s responsibilities. The on-shore Federal mineral acreage approximates the sum of Federal Surface Lands acres and Split-Estate Federal Minerals acres shown in the next two columns. As of 1999, the total was approximately 700 million acres.
b Federal Surface Lands include both the public domain and acquired lands of all Federal agencies. With the exception of an estimated 4 million acres of the acquired lands, Federal mineral rights exist in all Federal lands.
c The term Split-Estate Federal Minerals refers to Federal mineral rights under private surface lands. These are patented lands with minerals reserved to the U.S. Reservations and may be for single, multiple, or all minerals. The 58 million acres is the midpoint of estimates ranging from 55 to 60 million acres (provided by the BLM’s Colorado State Office). This results in a significantly lower acreage than that shown in Table 3-2; we hope that any future updates will address this inconsistency.
d On these public lands, the BLM manages both surface resources and subsurface minerals. The surface acreage is part of the Federal Surface Lands shown in the third column. The subsurface mineral acreage is part of the Federal Mineral estate included in the second column. As of 2010, the BLM’s public lands comprise 247.9 million surface acres; refer to Table 1-4, Public Land Statistics 2010.
e As part of its trust management responsibility, the BLM provides technical supervision of mineral development on 56 million acres of American Indian trust lands except for Osage lands. All minerals in Indian trust lands are "leasable." Acreage information was obtained in 1999 from the Real Estate Services staff of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
f Navajo and Hopi oil and gas in Arizona and Utah are managed by New Mexico BLM.
g Ute Mountain oil and gas in New Mexico and Colorado are managed by Colorado BLM.
h The BLM’s Eastern States Office is responsible for Federal minerals in the 31 states east of, or bordering, the Mississippi River.