U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
 
August 31, 2012
 
In Reply Refer To:
9601 (350) P
 
EMS TRANSMISSION 08/31/2012
Instruction Memorandum No. 2012-178
Expires:  09/30/2013
 
To:                       All Washington Office and Field Office Officials
                            Attn: Field Office Managers and State Office Chief Cadastral Surveyors
 
From:                   Assistant Director, Minerals and Realty Management
 
Subject:               Policy When to Increase the Scope of Benefiting Activity and Reimbursable Cadastral Surveys and How to Fund Expanded Surveys
 
Program Area: All Land and Resource Programs.
 
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) establishes that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) state and field offices will increase the scope of a cadastral survey and will identify funding or revenue to execute expanded cadastral surveys.
 
Policy/Action: An expanded cadastral survey occurs when:

(1)        High risk land[1] is identified,

(2)        The expanded land boundary(s) is outside the scope of the original request for survey, and

(3)        The estimated potential resultant rent, royalties, bonuses, damages prevented, and/or other receipts and penalties are equivalent to or nearly equivalent to the estimated expenditures to fund the increased scope of the cadastral survey. 
It is expected cadastral surveyors conducting surveys will identify and report high risk lands.
 
For BLM-managed lands, when an expanded cadastral survey has been identified, the state and field office will assist the impacted program(s) to identify funding and revenue to execute the expanded cadastral survey to include identifying the appropriate service charges, deposits, and forfeitures functional area(s), e.g., L5101, L5320, etc., and benefiting functional area(s), e.g., L1300, L1600, L6300, etc.
 
For non-BLM managed lands, when an expanded cadastral survey has been identified, the BLM will provide assistance in identifying opportunities where high-valued resources may provide potential revenue opportunities to the agency, tribe, individual Indian, Alaska native corporation, or Alaska native. The requesting agency or entity may use an appropriate functional area account or equivalent to meet funding needs.
 
The responsible office(s) and/or agency/entity will provide the necessary information to the respective State Office Chief Cadastral Surveyor. Upon receipt of the required information, the State Office Chief Cadastral Surveyor will coordinate a response with a Management of Land Boundary (MLB) Plan, to include a Plan of Action (POA). The MLB Plan will describe what makes the area of interest high risk land outside the scope of the original request for survey, and include a cost estimate to conduct cadastral services and related administrative costs as well as an estimate of revenues to be recovered or damages to be prevented.[2]
 
The POA will outline the extent of the field and office work necessary for executing recovery or protection of Federal land and/or resources. The final decision to proceed with the POA remains with the field manager/authorized officer in administrative charge of the area of the expanded cadastral survey.
 
Timeframe: This IM and associated activities is effective upon issuance.
 
Budget Impact: Where a potential expanded cadastral survey is identified, there will be a small cost to prepare the MLB Plan and POA, including an estimate of revenue, research of land tenure data, and additional cost estimates. Where an expanded cadastral survey is executed, the BLM expects savings to its budget and increased Federal revenues as trespass, encroachments, settlements, related litigation, and loss of public land and resources are identified, prevented, and recovered.[3]
 
Background: The policies and procedures in this IM are consistent with the Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of Inspector General (OIG) Final Audit Report, “Department of the Interior’s Management of Land Boundaries” (Audit No. C-IN-MOA-0001-2009), July 16, 2010 (OIG Report), including the BLM response of April 2, 2010, and the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management (ASLM) supplemental response of August 6, 2010. OIG Recommendation 2: “Develop and implement a plan to increase the scope of (benefiting activity and) cost reimbursable cadastral surveys to include evaluating significant boundary risk attributes.”
 
The Instruction Memorandum will require offices to evaluate land status features in greater detail during survey planning.  When non-BLM land managers are reluctant to pay for the increased scope where there is a high potential for undiscovered Federal revenue, the BLM will identify potential funding source(s).
 
The ASLM and the Director concurred with the OIG Report recommendation and agreed that the BLM will (1) pursue review of funding for surveys with significant boundary risk attributes, and (2) develop budget directives for benefiting programs to contribute to these high risk survey projects. The planned actions in this IM addresses the concerns raised in the OIG Report with which DOI concurred.
 
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: This IM transmits interim policy that the BLM will incorporate into BLM manuals, handbooks, and supplements impacted by the issuance of the directive.
 
Coordination: The Division of Lands, Realty and Cadastral Survey (WO-350) coordinated preparation of this IM with ASLM, BLM field offices, and the Solicitor’s Office.
 
Contact: For further information, please contact me at 202-208-4201, or your staff may contact Don Buhler, WO-350, at 202-912-7353 or at dbuhler@blm.gov. For state-specific questions, contact your State Office Chief Cadastral Surveyor.
 
 
 
Signed by:                                                                 Authenticated by:
Steven Wells                                                             Robert M. Williams
Acting, Assistant Director                                          Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Minerals and Realty Management

[1] High risk land means any Federal interest land with high market or nonmarket value(s) and a high risk boundary, e.g., Federal interest land with high value resources (e.g., coal, oil and gas, right-of-way, timber, etc.), adjoining highly developed non-Federal property, or Federal interest land that is set aside for special management (e.g., units of the National Park System, units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, National Monuments, areas of critical environmental concern, etc.). High risk boundary means any boundary line or corner of Federal interest land not clearly marked on-the-ground by an official survey, e.g., unsurveyed, surveyed but not marked with regulation posts and line markers, often referred to as an antiquated boundary or antiquated survey.
[2] The preparation of the MLB Plan will be funded from an appropriate functional area, e.g., 5000 series, or cost recovery account(s).
[3] The recent OIG audit report found that the “BLM’s Cadastral Survey program has been missing the opportunity to identify and perform surveys on high risk lands where significant potential revenues could be collected by the Department of Indian tribes.” The report noted that “[t]his revenue could result from collection of fees or royalties from identifying (a) unauthorized uses including rights-of-way violations and (b) the improper removal of oil, gas, timber, or other resources from Federal or Indian lands.” 

 
Last updated: 08-31-2012