U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
EMS TRANSMISSION 03/22/2006
Instruction Memorandum No. 2006-113
To: All State Directors
From: Assistant Director, Minerals, Realty and Resource Protection
Subject: Marking and Posting of Bureau of Land Management Property and Jurisdictional Boundaries
Program Area: All land managers with activities on or near Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property or jurisdictional boundaries.
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) supersedes IM 2005-211, and is intended to (1) establish a BLM policy which ensures legally defensible and visible property boundaries and jurisdictional boundaries are clearly posted, and to (2) minimize legal proceedings and adverse publicity for the BLM which result from improperly identified and marked boundaries.
Policy / Action: Boundary identification is required for land management activities that could imply a false property boundary to the adjoiner or to the public.
The BLM’s Cadastral Surveyors are the subject matter experts for Federal boundary identification. Bureau employees, contractors, or agents, shall consult with their respective Cadastral Survey program before any action is taken to identify or mark a BLM property boundary. This includes, but is not limited to the following situations:
· Utilization or manipulation of Federal resources of high value along property boundaries. (i.e., energy development,
timber harvesting, fencing, wilderness boundary, etc.)
· Adjoining landowner activity is planned and cost savings can be achieved through cooperative agreements.
· Litigation is pending or title claim has been asserted.
· Encroachment is suspected.
Consultation with the Cadastral Survey program will ensure existing boundary survey records are evaluated and an appropriate method for identifying the boundary is selected. The BLM manager responsible for the direction and oversight of activities on the Federal land will determine when boundaries require identification and select the best method. Circumvention of this policy by “backing off the line” (offsetting from a theoretical position of the boundary line) and placing boundary signs or marks is hereby prohibited.
Any BLM sign which indicates or states that it marks the boundary of a property line between BLM and an adjacent landowner must be placed within one foot of the legal boundary.
Timeframe: Effective immediately.
Budget Impact: A case by case assessment will be necessary to determine the true budgetary impact of this IM. The protection of the Federal interest in natural resources, as well as protecting the rights of private property owners, must be weighed in this determination.
Background: The Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976, Section 201(b), 43 U.S.C. § 1711, requires the Secretary to ascertain the boundaries of the public lands and provide means of public identification to those lands. When an approximation or an inaccurate marking or posting of Federal boundaries occurs, it misleads the public and can undermine the Federal interest in its resources. The creation of conflict free and positively-identified Federal boundaries is essential to total resource management.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None.
Coordination: This IM has been coordinated with program managers throughout the BLM.
Contact: If you have any questions about this IM please contact Don Buhler, Chief Cadastral Surveyor, at (202) 452-7781.